This is my Doctor Who blog.   Leave a comment

So, hi.

Sometimes I just want to babble about Doctor Who and not torment my friends. Sometimes I’m not interested in other people’s opinions. Sometimes no one cares what I think. And so I created my own place to put that stuff, where no one else has to see it and I can say what I like.

SPOILERS, SWEETIE!

I talk about what I see, when I see it, and I’m not waiting for you. If you don’t want to spoil anything, check the Categories for stuff you already know.

You have been warned.

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Posted September 8, 2014 by Elisabeth in Piffle

Conunundurum   Leave a comment

Daleks-May-Return-Doctor-Who-Season-8

SPOILER ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

There are too many things to love about this episode.

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“Well, medicine, science, engineering, candyfloss, LEGO, philosophy, problems, people, hope. Mostly hope.”

The Cast

They’re diverse, in the buzzword sense of race and gender, but also in education, relationships, skills, and abilities. What they all find in common is what anyone finds when they travel with the Doctor: the courage to do what must be done, whether it’s drop-kicking an alien, becoming a dad, or using your last breath to give strength to another.

The Alien

Pting (I keep thinking T’Pring) may be the cutest accidental murderer since the Adipose. The Doctor’s solution saved the ship’s passengers as well as an innocent creature.

The Quotes

“I’m the Doctor.” “Are you kidding?” “Sometimes. But not right now.”

“Right now I’m imagining you sorting all this out.”

“Are you also experiencing comprehension deficiency?”

Pentagonal number. Interesting.” (I love it when the Doctor gets mathy!)

The Companions

I once witnessed a young man’s forgiveness for his mother when he first understood how difficult her life had been at the time of his birth. Here, Ryan begins on a similar path – and helps another avoid his father’s mistakes.

Yaz I continue to adore. I still feel like I know her less – but she doesn’t talk constantly as Graham does, or wear her feelings on her face like Ryan. Instead, she thinks quietly, asks questions, and delivers her own sports commentary as she bends Pting like Beckham.

Graham and Grace on the couch watching Call the Midwife… who can’t see that?

The History

“The Tsuranga Conundrum” is a classic base-under-siege story, a type beloved since Troughton’s time, gorgeously updated for the era. More please!

Next:

Team TARDIS visit the Partition of India.

A million years ago I commented that it would be nice to see some history that wasn’t either European or colonialist. Like “Rosa,” India’s fraught past is best not explored by yet another white man. Now with our first South Asian companion and our first South Asian writer, we’re going there.

 

Posted November 12, 2018 by Elisabeth in Season 11

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Arachnophobia   Leave a comment

Daleks-May-Return-Doctor-Who-Season-8

SPOILER ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

I found this episode possibly inappropriately hilarious.

I don’t have arachnophobia. I live in the Pacific Northwest where spiders are small, harmless, and ubiquitous. I have walked face-first into more webs than I care to think about. It almost doesn’t even make me cringe anymore. (Though to be fair, a thumb-sized creature in the bathtub sent me in search of assistance.) These spiders are lovely and huge, and somehow hardly scary at all.

I’m so happy to finally get some Yaz time! It isn’t enough, but I don’t think there’s any such thing as enough. We meet her cheery dad, serious mom, and obnoxious younger sister. Yaz seems overly reactive to them; there’s history there, obviously, and it leaves me wanting more. Still, it was a nice peek.

The production continues gorgeously cinematic, and the music creates a wonderful atmosphere. It’s simple, almost stark, and I appreciate the return to electronica – though I can’t help be a little sad that the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra will never get to play it. Still, it’s a wondrous new sound for the new series.

Other things to love:

  • Quips! The Doctor “being weird,” “Yaz’s mum,” Ryan making spider shadow puppets, “I call people dude now,” terrible pakora!
  • Who knew Chris Noth had such comic depth?
  • Yaz’s mum! It’s clear where the younger gets her competence and determination. Perhaps that’s why Yaz’s fuse is so short around her: the child always struggles with the too-similar parent.
  • Three Asian women, two old white dudes, and one baffled young black man
  • The ending! Each of the companions has made their choice in advance, saying goodbye – for now – to the world that’s been home all their lives. They throw in their lots with the Doctor, who for once tells the absolute truth, and the four of them pull the lever on the unknown together.

Next week: the base-under-siege tradition continues with “The Tsuranga Conundrum.”

Posted November 4, 2018 by Elisabeth in Season 11

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New Romance   1 comment

WARNING: Some fans are not going to like this post. Disagreement is acceptable; rude comments will be deleted.

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At the end of episode 4 I came a realization: Yasmin Khan is Chibnall’s Martha Jones.

Yaz, like Martha, is a smart, competent, determined young woman, weighed down by family and societal expectations. She loves her home and her work but they exasperate her. Meeting the Doctor gives her an escape, but also the opportunity to be more than she ever thought possible. As a result she falls head over heels in love.

At first Yaz is baffled by the Doctor, as anyone would be. But in this tiny, indefatigable, frankly bizarre woman, Yaz sees a possibility for herself. She sees someone committed, and yet absolutely free. Someone who makes a difference under impossible circumstances. Her admiration grows slowly at first, but by the end of episode 1 it shines as bright as the smile on her face, and continues to expand from there.

Fortunately for Yaz, Chibnall’s – and Mandip Gill’s – treatment of the character’s outsize adoration works much better than RTD’s in Series 3. Yasmin doesn’t get stupid over a kiss. (Are we even going to see any of that in this series? It looks like not, especially where the Doctor is concerned. I may rejoice.) She doesn’t make awkward advances on narrow tavern beds or pine for her love to be returned. She doesn’t love the Doctor like a teenager loves a movie star; she loves her like we do, with awe and delight. She doesn’t hold her love against the Doctor; she channels it into making herself a better person, doing not just what the Doctor asks, but what the Doctor would do, what needs doing to solve the problem at hand. She’s braver, she’s smarter, and she still has room to grow.

I hope we get to see a lot of that growth this season.

Day of the Romans   1 comment

“The Romans” begins with a “Day of the Moon” feel: a cliffhanger promises death and destruction, then all of a sudden we’re inexplicably weeks later in completely different circumstances. Clearly Moffat came by his whims honestly.

Vicki feels understandably cheated, having been promised adventure, and the Doctor seems mysteriously unwilling to return to the TARDIS, in spite of his restlessness. So instead they head off to Rome, leaving Ian and Barbara to be kidnapped and sold into slavery.

For some reason I came into this season thinking of Vicki as an adult, in spite of her elfin tininess. However, here she’s played even younger than the orphan of “The Rescue.” The TARDIS Data Core pegs her as “sixteen at the most;” in this story I’d consider that generous. However, as Susan was alternately infantilized and handed over in marriage, so Vicki’s behavior seems to have little to do with her physical maturity. She’s enthralled by the Doctor – not as Rose or Amy was enthralled, but in the manner of those young fans who hide behind sofas and need their parents’ coaching to ask their favorite Doctor questions at comic-cons.

Barbara remains glorious. Her error gets them captured, yes, but they had little chance of overcoming two armed men on their own; likely they’d have been overcome shortly anyway. Her statuesque and regal bearing command all sorts of attention from slave shoppers, but it’s her kindness that draws a decent man.

The Doctor is a weirdly amoral character in this story. He has no qualms about assuming the identity of a murder victim (though he claims to have done so with a purpose), engaging in violence, or egging on Nero’s abuse of his subjects – even laughing while Rome burns! He and Vicki remind me of Rose and Ten in “Tooth and Claw” – they’re in it for their own amusement, and to hell with the real lives being thrown into chaos around them.

Once more Ian is the proper hero of the story. He never loses faith in his own success, never lets anyone else suffer for his actions, risks everything for Barbara and his new friend Delos. (He also has fantastic knees.) He and Barbara seem to grow more comfortable and happy together with every story. No doubt in my mind they never leave each other’s side once their TARDIS travels end.

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Doctor Who seems to have a certain fascination with Romans. Not content to leave them to their burning city, the Doctor meets them again in Pompeii, at the Pandorica, and in Celtic Britain – and that’s just in the new series. A lingering effect of the Empire’s impact on Britannia? Or simply a passion for togas?

A recent Verity game posed the question: Given “The Romans” and “The Sensorites,” and the option to save only one while the other is destroyed completely, which do you choose? For me, “The Romans” is an easy choice. It’s silly, fun, enjoyable to look at, and everyone seems to be (mostly) having a wonderful time.

I believe I’ll have another drink.

Posted October 26, 2018 by Elisabeth in Classic, The Long Way Round

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The Rescue   Leave a comment

This one’s a quickie – only two episodes, little more than a vehicle to replace Susan. However it’s captivating enough: a little adventure, excitement, cleverness, and in the end young Vicki joins the crew, charmed by the Doctor’s grandfatherly ways. Sets and costumes run at the low end of the budget, as walls serve for rocks, a neat model for a crashed spaceship, and an assortment of tubes for a monster.

It’s also the first time since “An Unearthly Child” that the TARDIS has taken on new crew. “It’s huge!” Vicki observes, declining to utter the famous line. (Who said it first? It remains to be seen, by me anyway.)

I appreciate that the crew takes a moment to miss Susan, though none seems too concerned about whether she’s happy in her new life. In her absence, the Doctor deigns to teach Barbara how to open the TARDIS doors. All this time and neither she nor Ian has learned the first thing about the TARDIS, barely able to recognize when the ship has landed! Modern companions would be aghast.

In the end, the TARDIS falls off a cliff, and we move on to “The Romans.”

Posted October 26, 2018 by Elisabeth in Classic, Companions, The Long Way Round

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And another thing…   Leave a comment

A Black woman’s perspective on “Rosa”

Posted October 25, 2018 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Season 11

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The season so far   Leave a comment

A few thoughts which MAY be considered spoilery if you’re a purist. Beware.

Cinematography. This season is stunningly gorgeous to look at. I heard a thing about fancy cameras, which I don’t understand and haven’t confirmed, but I sure appreciate the results. (Watch out for lens flares, though.)

Romance, or refreshing lack thereof. This Doctor does not flirt; Yaz and Ryan behave more like friends since primary school than hormonally charged young people looking to make a move. Even when the Doctor and Graham must for safety pose as a married couple, there’s none of Ten and Donna’s “my Doctor doth protest too much” silliness; the moment is endearingly awkward and mercifully brief.

Team TARDIS: I am enjoying the heck out of this crowded TARDIS. The move away from the single companion relieves the inclination toward romance and allows the story to move in multiple directions at once. Case in point: in their latest outing, the Doctor faces the sci fi menace while Yaz digs up facts, Graham fishes for gossip, and Ryan gets an in-depth history lesson, all in service of a shared goal.

It’s not about the Doctor.¬†She is not the title character. She is not the agent of history, but its witness and defender. Here is the traveler, passing through, helping out – a nice shift from the center of the Universe Moffat’s Doctor often was.

Keep it up, DW.

Posted October 24, 2018 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Season 11

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