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One more Doctor Who reaction post for the end of the season

Funny, despite having bailed halfway through this season, I still have stuff to say about Doctor Who. This is what comes, I suppose, from still paying enough attention to read recap posts, just to see whether I actually want to rebuild my level of give-a-damn.

But from what I saw in’s reaction post over here, one spoiler in particular actually made me go GRR and made Dara promptly announce “Well, darn, so sad that Capaldi’s run GOT CANCELLED HALFWAY THROUGH, isn’t it?”

Here’s the spoiler, now that I’ve found a nice WordPress plugin that lets me hide spoilers inline in text. (Though dammit all, it doesn’t work on Livejournal and Dreamwidth. So if you want to click over from there to see the spoiler, here’s the post’s permalink.)

Also, editing this post to add this commentary, after an interesting discussion with Facebook friend Angela about this, who quite enjoyed the episode.

Even aside from the various issues I have with Mr. Moffat, the overall grimmer, darker tone of this season by itself probably would have made me bail, unfortunately. Even if a story is technically well written, has compelling action, and is acted well, if it’s unremittingly grim, this is just not something I want to deal with in my entertainment. It’s a matter of my personal taste rather than a question of whether the story is inherently bad.

It is, nonetheless, a thing I consider. And a lot of this is tied very heavily to my medical history–because after several successive years of medical crap repeatedly punching me, I don’t want repeated emotional punchings out of my entertainment. I need to see hopeful things. I need to see optimism. This is why I never watched Torchwood’s Children of Earth either, despite hearing from multiple directions that it was a very strong story. Because it’s also a very grim story, and I’m not in a space in my life where I’d enjoy that kind of thing.

Likewise, I avoid reading a great deal of fantasy (both urban and epic) that goes grim and apocalyptic. I avoid dystopias for similar reasons, and only make periodic exceptions–e.g., the Hunger Games, or Carrie Ryan’s zombie books. (Yet in the case of the latter, despite the grim setting, there is still hope and optimism, and that’s what I need in the end.)

In this season of Doctor Who, while with my Writer Hat on I can see the story arc they’re trying to do and even in some ways respect that they’re trying something different… with my Viewer Hat on, it’s just not a story I’m enjoying. That makes me sad.

But I do respect that other viewers aren’t going to share my opinion, and that’s OKAY. Spoilers of the magnitude that this season has ended with are bound to cause shock waves in the fandom, and wildly varying reactions are inevitable. (See also: the wildly divergent reactions in Tolkien fandom to the Hobbit movies, and in particular to Tauriel.)

I’m going to keep paying enough attention to the show to at least read recap posts and listen to podcast reviews, but for the time being, I am not going to be watching. I’m glad other folks are still enjoying themselves with the show though!


Doctor Who reaction post: End-of-season Dark Water spoilers

So even though the household has more or less bailed on giving a damn about watching Doctor Who, I have nonetheless been keeping an eye on the progression of the show via the recap posts that get posted to The Mary Sue and to (Notably, this recap post and this one.

Accordingly, I am now aware of the major spoiler that got dropped in part 1 of the season finale this past Saturday! Discussion of same behind the fold. And this IS a major spoiler, so DO NOT LOOK if you don’t want to be spoiled.

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Belated Doctor Who reaction post for “Kill the Moon”

We just finished watching last week’s Doctor Who, “Kill the Moon”–because we’d gotten behind what with my having to do a hard press through finishing Victory of the Hawk. But even aside from that, I’d been having a very hard time mustering up enough give-a-damn to actually watch this one. I did ask Dara and Paul if we could watch this one finally back to back with this weekend’s episode, and as it happened, we just watched “Kill the Moon” without moving on to today’s episode.

Dara just declared herself done with the show until Moffat’s gone. Me, I’m not sure if I’m bailing completely yet, but the show’s now on very thin probation with me.

(ETA: Adding in a cut tag because I do have a spoiler for the episode in here.)

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Holding out for a hero

The last Doctor Who reaction post I did was for Listen, and y’all may have noticed I didn’t do one for the episode that followed, “Time Heist”. There’s a reason for that, one that pretty much bubbled right up to the fore with this past weekend’s episode, “The Caretaker”.

Which is to say, I’m starting to really not like this season of Who. Dara, Paul and I all watched “The Caretaker” last night, and none of us liked it. Dara calls out her reasons why over here. And to what she has to say, I’ll add this.

As many of you know, I came into Who fandom with the new series. I’d been half-assedly paying attention over Dara’s and Paul’s shoulders when they watched the classic-era episodes on our local public access station, but when the series revived in 2005, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper made me sit up and take notice. And yeah, I’ll say it right out: I really liked the relationship chemistry between Nine and Rose AND Ten and Rose. I’m a romantic sucker. This is known.

But I’ll also note that just because I am a romantic sucker and I greatly enjoyed the love story with Rose, this does not mean I am incapable of appreciating Who in a non-romantic context. I have since gone back to enjoy quite a great number of the classic-era episodes, particularly in the eras of Three and Four, with nary a love story to be seen.

Let me emphasize this: I do not need the Doctor to be a love interest for him to be interesting to me.

But with all due respect to the considerable acting powers of Mr. Capaldi, y’know what I also don’t need him to be? A screaming asshole to everybody in sight. Here is a short list of things I am now really tired of in this season of Who so far:

One, the Doctor’s rampaging anti-soldier bigotry, which appears to have exploded from out of nowhere. I speculate that this may be a leftover from his experiences on Trenzalore, but I don’t know, because we haven’t been given any justification for it so far. Dara points out correctly that the Doctor does have a history of being contemptuous to the military, but for me as a viewer, it seems like it’s been ramped up to 11 in this series, and for no good reason at all. It can’t just be a reaction to Danny, either, because he was starting this pretty much right out of the gate. “Into the Dalek” had it too, and the Doctor specifically, sneeringly denied Journey Blue a chance to come with him in the TARDIS because she was a soldier.

Two, the constant derisive remarks about Clara’s appearance. I’ve counted at least one per episode, and this is starting to become seriously NOT OKAY. Yes. I get it. The Doctor isn’t Clara’s boyfriend! But he’s supposed to be her friend, and friends don’t say shit like that about each other.

Three, the Doctor yelling “SHUT UP” at everybody. This has grown really tiresome, and it’s presenting Twelve as an arrogant asshole without something to legitimately balance it out. It’s making the Doctor come across as not giving a damn about anybody else having a voice in what’s going on–and that’s another thing, this whole notion of the Doctor “not caring”. I don’t like this idea of Clara as his emergency backup conscience. The Doctor’s supposed to be a champion of humanity, and while sure, there’s some amusement value in the snark of him calling Earth the Planet of the Pudding-brains, if he keeps this up, you have to start wondering why he’s still bothering to do anything on humanity’s behalf. “Because Clara is making him do it” doesn’t cut it as an answer to that, either.

Trevor on the Doctor Who Podcast, which Dara and I follow, has been talking in recent episodes about how in this season, he’s just not finding the Doctor heroic, and he’s really having a hard time understanding why Clara or anybody would want to travel with him. And I’ve got to back Trev up on this.

Because right now, the Doctor I’m seeing is not a Doctor I would want to travel with. I don’t care if he’s got a time machine and can go anywhere in the cosmos. If he said shit to me like what he’s been saying to Clara, particularly this past episode’s line of “you explained me to him, but you haven’t explained him to me”, I’d tell him to stuff his sonic screwdriver where the suns don’t shine. Because that, that right there, encapsulates the problem in a nutshell. My immediate reaction to that line was “hey asshole, she doesn’t owe you an explanation for her love life!”

And I really do not want to be thinking of the Doctor as an asshole. It makes me sad and it makes me cranky all at once.

I don’t need the Doctor to be a romantic lead. But I do need him to be a hero.

I need him to be the Doctor.


Doctor Who 08.04 “Listen” reaction post

Half a week late, but this is what you get when you’re me and trying to pull the rest of a novel together behind deadline!

Picoreview for this one: I’ve seen some very positive reaction about this one, and I’ve seen some outright disgusted reaction too. (The Doctor Who Podcast, which I listen to, had dramatically different opinions on it!) For me, it was one of the better episodes I’ve seen in a while–but shaky on the final dismount.

Don’t turn around and look at the spoilers!

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Doctor Who 08.03 “Robot of Sherwood” reaction post

After a bit of a shaky start to this new season of Doctor Who, it was a bit of a relief to have an episode that I actively enjoyed pretty much all the way through. It was certainly silly, but really, I was okay with that. And now I’m actually starting to like Capaldi’s Doctor as well. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve already found him compelling. But in this episode, I actually liked him too.

Spoilers are in the magic box!

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Doctor Who 08.02 “Into the Dalek” reaction post

This was in our household’s consensus opinion pretty much not a good followup to the season opener. Which is a shame, because we like Capaldi, and we’re now hoping he’s not going to be wasted on inferior scripts.

My main beef with it? I’ve been hearing rumblings going around about how this season is supposed to be darker, and how this Doctor is supposed to be more morally ambiguous–except the questions raised in this episode are all questions we’ve seen raised before in far better episodes. And not to mention that we’ve seen the whole “shrinking down to go inside something” plot before. Hell, this thing even namechecked Fantastic Voyage!

Spoilers behind the fold!

(ETA: And oh hey, Dara’s got her own reaction post up. That she has chosen to illustrate her points with screencaps from Lost in Space pretty much sums up what you can expect in her reaction!)

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