All New Who

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Post by azriel Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:04 pm

The Daleks are here on Earth & waiting their time, as seen on the roof of this London station ---

All New Who - Page 18 Southg10
AND they keep turning up too often where I bloody live pale

All New Who - Page 18 Dsc05311

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All New Who - Page 18 Jean-b11
azriel
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All New Who - Page 18 Empty Re: All New Who

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:10 pm

{{ i took a great burden upon myself so you don't have to, I decided to rewatch 13's and Chibbers debut series, so see if I had been unfair to it, or to see if it really was as bad as I remembered (its the latter) but I decided to put down all the reasons I feel it doesnt work and why.
This isnt a short one, but then been a while since I posted a huge Who ramble. So pour yourself a buckie, grab half an hour of quiet time and delve on in. And share your own thoughts on what you thought of this new era of Who and if you think Ive been fair to it or not.


1.
Monster of the Week

In the build up to this series Chibbers let it be known there would be no returning classic monsters this series. Instead he promised all new exciting monsters for the Doctor to go up against. In fact they made it a big part of their promotion of the show and Chibnal was keen to bring it up in interviews and promos.
So what did we in the end actually get?

Ep-1: Tim Shaw of the Stenza. A rip off of the Predator alien in concept, but far less interestingly designed and with a dafter reason for doing the hunt and whose most notable trait is having teeth stuck in his face. This is fine, first episode often has a disposable villain its about establishing the Doctor, 12 got generic robots, 11 got giant eyeballs. 10 shouty generic warrior race, 9 a non-talking pile of goopy plastic. But that's what Tim Shaw is, a basic villain. No more defined as a character than the eyeballs, robots, Sycorax or a pile of goo. They are all serving the same limited narrative purpose. Tim Shaw should never have been chosen for a returning monster of the series given this.
Ep 2- Scientifically engineered sentient floating killer bandages. That only appear in one scene before being destroyed by a plot device someone just happened to be carrying with them all episode. The new Doctor comes up against her first setback, and immediately gives up and apologises to everyone for letting them all down.
Ep 3- A racist. No other traits, motivations or backstory of note,just a literal personification of racism. Doctor could stop him at any time but just doesn't and Ryan murders someone but she doesn't seem to care about it. Nor does Ryan for that matter. But, racism is still bad in case you were wondering or weren't sure.
Ep 4- Spiders made large by the evils of genetic engineering, capitalism and environmental damage, so not the monster just misunderstood victims- the Doctor murders them all cruelly therefore and lets the human villain just walk away.
Ep 5- A cute cgi alien that eats stuff and is just misunderstood and not really a bad thing.
Ep 6- Evils of Empire and the dangers of listening to propaganda. The aliens in it are just misunderstood. Especially by the Doctor who has to be told what's happening as she hasn't a clue what's going on throughout.
Ep 7 – Disgruntled worker who turns terrorist to fight back against an unfair corporation. Doctor murders him and sides with the big corporation. The delivery bots and system are made out to be the potential monster of the week, but what do you know they were just misunderstood.
Ep 8- Men persecuting women as witches. So the Doctor babbles technobabble at them and waves her magic looking sonic about in front of them and is shocked and offended to be accused of being a witch, blaming it on the patriarchy.
Ep 9- A  sentient universe in the form of a talking frog. But its not really bad, just misunderstood.
Ep 10- Tim Shaw again, now mistaken as a God for reason never made clear. The Doctor is not present for him being defeated as she is too busy talking quickly and excitedly elsewhere. But she saves the day by using a plot device they had been carrying about with them all episode.

Its not exactly the Weeping Angels, or the unseen yet disturbing creature of Midnight, there's no Vashta Nerada or Silence, or Ood, its not even the Slitheen (which for all their faults at least gave as the dinner scene between Margaret and 9). Compared to the variety and array of stories that previous show-runners used their new creations to tell the Chibnall rota is thin and dull beyond belief.
But there is also a worrying reuse of ideas. So many 'monsters' that aren't really the monster. So many episodes where the monster is the red herring and its really humanity that's the real monster.
That's a fine sentiment for a one off episode in a series, its just repetition and boring when its almost every episode in the series. If you count it up  (including new years episode) there are 3 episodes out of 11 with exact same plot device, gizmo they happen to have with them saves the day, and 6 episodes where the monster isn't really the monster humans are. That means there are only 2 episodes out of 11 with any other ideas in them all series. Compared to previous series the lack of ideas, story types and formats is embarrassingly poor. Like the old joke about Mexican food Chibnal Who is just one dish folded several different ways.
The joy of Who's format is in the flexibility and variety in can offer episode to episode. You can have a humanity is bad episode tackling slavery with something like 10, Donna and the Ood, or be doing something as daft yet fun as fighting a giant wasp with Agatha Christie next. Chibnal Who has lacked that breadth of story telling variety and structure. And the fun of it. There is precious little cheer or fun expressed in this series or fun character interactions with each other or episodes with a fun theme.

But perhaps the biggest monster issue is the knock on effect it has to the 13th Doctor. She doesn't get her “I'm the woman who stops the monsters” moment because the monster is often an undefeatable social issue, she twice has to do nothing but walk away in this series, Rosa and Demons.  And out of the rest in arachnids its capitalism and right wing populism, whose Trump like representative does what he wants using the symbol of the American right the gun - to defy the Doctor prove he can do it and then just walk away untouched, she doesn't just fail to defeat him he rubs it in her face as she just stands there. In Witchfinder they defeat the aliens but not the real monster of the story. James is still sure of his witches, they leave and more women will be treated terribly for centuries to come.
And even when there actually is a monster, Tim Shaw, she isn't even in the room when he is defeated.
We never see 13 beat the monster and save the day. She solves the problem in the end, usually off the top of her head out the blue with little to no narrative set up in a babble of words, but she doesn't get to beat the monster. And beating the monster with cunning, wit, words, and intelligence, humility and a simple desire to put right wrongs where he sees them, they are hallmarks of the character of the Doctor across regenerations from the very 1st. And defeating the monster is the vehicle to expressing all that. When you take it away from the Doctor you lose a lot from what defines the character and makes them heroic.
The other down side is the lack of fun, its much harder to relate to a Doctor who you don't see have real fun with her friends and her adventures. She's bouncy and enthusiastic yes, but as the subjects dealt with are usually heavy social issues it denies us seeing this Doctor just enjoying an adventure and interacting with her companions. Telling us they've had fun adventures at the start of an episode, episodes we never see, doesn't cut it, or count. This is a visual medium Chibnal, you have to show us stuff not just tell us it happened. When Moffat or RTD did this, referenced off screen adventures it was part of creating a broader feel to their travels together and usually for some light hearted banter or moment, but it was never a substitute for also showing us them enjoying their adventures, it was in addition to it. With 13 and the Fam its all we get.

2
Design

The new cameras make episodes look more cinematic. The special effects are as good as they have ever been. Lighting is a mixed bag, its largely functional and at times, like the TARDIS dank and dark interior, baffling.
The TARDIS set itself good on the outside and the inside is terrible, and admittedly so by the production team. The pillars were too large and close to the console, so they obscured it and left little room to get angles and to block out shots, the walls originally had reflective panelling in them but it made it very hard to keep lighting rigs and crew out of shot in the reflections, so they changed it last minute to the oppressive dark mechanically cogs that line the walls. The pillars looked orange on set and pink on camera as they rigged all the lighting but never tested it on camera till they went to shoot on set. So all the TARDIS interior shots wasted money by having to be heavily colour corrected in post.
The reason everyone stands awkwardly round the TARDIS console, often locked unmoving in one spot in this series and why there are no proper wide shots or characters moving through the space of of the TARDIS interior as there used to be is because of blocking and lighting issues and the bad cramped set design. Its a disaster. And also why so few scenes are set inside the TARDIS in this series compared to previous. It was simply an unworkable set. Not a good start when your most iconic set design is terrible and can barely be used.

But again this has another negative knock on effect, we don't get the same sense of the TARDIS being a home to the Doctor and companions as we have with previous series. There's no coats hanging over the bannisters or dvds on the console or phones recharging and a dart board in the corner like with Amy and Rory on the TARDIS.  And the TARDIS itself is less a character too as we barely spend any story time inside there- in Rosa for example they take the unneeded risk of booking into a hotel that has a no blacks policy just to plan what to do next, when they have the completely safe and secure TARDIS parked round the corridor to go to. So why didn't they? Probably because the TARDIS set was no use for shooting the scene in. But it does mean another unforced error in the story, making the Doctor seem again less competent as she chooses a risky choice for which there is no reason over the obvious safe choice.

Jodie's look is I think somewhat unfortunate. Its not 6th Doctor bad, but the combination of the consistently upbeat, bubbly, over enthusiastic babbling, socially awkward, moral espousing lecture giving 13th with an outfit reminiscent of an nursery school teacher, or to UK folk my age a 1970's  Playschool presenter, doesn't help give her any gravitas. I thought she looked better and more Doctory dressed in Capaldi's dark suit in the opener.

3.
Performances

We have to start with Jodie. She is a fantastic actress, series one of Broadchurch can prove that without a doubt. But she isn't in this. For me she never seems to settle or get a handle on her character or representation of the Doctor. With Jodie I feel all she has are the words on the page, she is not bringing enough to the table to elevate those words into something better. She has been accused of just being a poor persons imitation of 10 and 11 mashed up. And she does have 11's manic energy and fast talking, and she does have 10's wide eyed wonder and big smilely-faced joy and infectious enthusiasm at seeing something new.
But 11 had a sense of age. An old man in a young man's body, he conveyed the weight of his lives decisions and losses, and concealed them in youth all leading to Trenzalore and his Silence. Ten had regret and loss for his actions in the Time War, for his loss of  Rose, guilt for what happened to Martha and Donna, and it all led somewhere in Waters of Mars.
They had far more to their Doctors than just those surface quirky traits Jodie's Doctor shares. Problem is I don't feel 13 has more to her character than the surface quirky traits and it makes her performance at times feel more like a parody or caricature, a cosplay of the Doctor. Not actually the Doctor. Not aided by I feel a poor choice to do that scrunchy faced gurning thing all the time or to wield the sonic with a massive full flourish every time she uses it no matter how large or small the task. They just add to that sense of someone just imitating the Doctor. In some scenes it feels like an over-exaggeration of a previous Doctors character, and in other an underplay of the necessary gravitas and presence to dominate the screen of previous Doctors. Its a performance lost in no-man's land.

She is not aided by scripts that are so inconsistent with the character or write her so passive. Chibnal has to take the blame for that. And the lack of any real threats or villains or conflict with her companions means there is little drama for her to get her teeth into, the only drama she gets is to exposition what's going on, reading out wiki like entries of information on people or places, and moralising inconsistently. But there is nothing of substance to any of it.

Rose confronting 9 about where he is from when she is realising she has gone off with someone she barely knows. Donna demanding the Doctor save someone in Pompey, Martha refusing to budge till 10 tells her what she wants to know about him before she will keep travelling with him. Amy defying 11 and taking things into her own hands even after a very angry Doctor had unfairly told her he was done with her and she was going home. Rory calling the Doctor out for how dangerous he makes people to themselves. Clara throwing the TARDIS keys in the lava to force the Doctor to save Danny Pink. Bill demanding to know if 12 has killed before.
All these characters provide conflict and drama they ask the sort of questions or have emotional reactions to situations of danger, stress and loss that expose something of their nature and character.
The Fam, they stand about in the background, they say a line or two as prompted and fade back out again. They never quarrel, either among themselves or with the Doctor, never disagree with her decisions or actions, she doesn't with theirs either, even when Ryan effectively kills the racist (though she does care about Graham killing tooth face, but that's just another inconsistency along the way). The Fam are basically just yes men. The Doctor's personal cheerleading group. But the result is no drama, no insight into characters through conflict and how they resolve it. Nothing to bind bonds closer between them through shared crisis.

Jodie has also not endeared herself to a large section of the fandom who feared the show was becoming to politically focused and picking political sides to blatantly, loosing its broad appeal. She choose not to watch any previous Who, and I think this was in fact a mistake as I don't feel she has a handle on the depth and facets of the character. Its so long running you need an idea I feel of what came before you.
And she has made some comments which have been unwise in my view, unnecessary divisive and in-light of her having not seen previous Who I don't see how she is in a position to say such as the following-

“Very often, we're only seeing stories being told through the white male gaze. That's what Doctor Who has always celebrated.”- Jodie

For many fans this seemed an attack on all the male predecessors, all the male actors and writers who had played the character or written Who and been on the show, and an attack on previous show-runners and on the character of the Doctor himself. Who, which though it has always been of its time as it must be, has also always been progressive in its messaging within its own time. With strong female role models from the very first companions and headed up by the first female producer at the BBC and the first Asian director. Doctor Who has always had a social conscious, its always championed the progressive causes within its own day and within the acceptable limits of a family tv show of its day. And for the new Doctor to seemingly so openly attack everything and everyone in the show that preceded her did not warm her to many.

Graham is the best in this series because its the best warmest acting performance from Bradley Walsh out of the cast, not for what the does, which is hardly anything, but he does it very well when the chance arises, with heart and soul. But there also isn't much to say about his character as it doesn't develop, he begins an upbeat, optimist sort with a wry, sardonic wit who is grieving for Grace and ends the series the same. The only advance is his relationship with Ryan and that's thinly spread.
Ryan is for me often like a plank of wood, it's as if the actor is bored, he is often all but expressionless when delivering lines and when he does have an expression on his face its seems over exaggerated and cartoony. This however seems entirely down to the limited dialogue he gets and the often perfunctory nature of it. When he finally got given something to get this acting teeth into come the festive episode he showed he can in-fact portray a character- Chibnal just needs to write him one first. His illness feels like something that is there to show how inclusive the show is, not because they had the slightest idea what to do with it in relation to his character or to stories. So instead it vanishes and appears according to if they want to remind us it exists. It doesn't ever play into anything, it doesn't come up as a plot point save to say, 'oh he still has this'. And its yet another thing which is inconsistent across this series.

Ryan and Graham's character arc is all the companion arc we get, and its pretty thin because throughout the series its never actually developed much so much as referenced to remind us its a thing. And the utterly bizarre choice to have that arc essentially conclude in the penultimate episode, when Graham and Ryan spent the episode apart, rather than in the finale where the presence of the man who killed Grace provided a narrative reason for it to resolve still amazes me, I don't know why they would do that. They undercut their own climax to the only companion arc there was.

But another problem with how Ryan and Graham's relationship plays out and resolves is the Doctor is not involved, not even present for the conclusion. None of her actions, her example, or anything directly related to any of the experiences they have been through with her linked the Ryan/Graham arc and the Doctor. The main character was excluded from, not needed for and not used directly in the only companion story line.
Imagine 10 not being part of Roses arc or her of his development. Or Amy and Rory not being part of 11's arc and vice versa. Clara and 12 defining each other. Yet here we have two companions with their main character arc completely separate from their relationship, what there is, with the Doctor.
And again it 's a case of tell don't show. We know they are close and besty friends and the Fam because they tell us it all the time. But we have been shown no evidence for why they are close or so tightly bonded. And a large part of that is the lack of involvement in their lives and stories of the Doctor. And it damages her character too by making her seem distant and apart whilst contradictorily the dialogue tells us otherwise. And the two things never gel. Right to the final episode when the Graham/Ryan arc resolves without ever her even being in the room to witness it let alone be involved somehow. That's how far apart in the writing the Doctor is from her companions. So unneeded her presence isn't even required.

This Fam can be spilt in two Ryan/Graham and Yaz. The two sets never feel genuinely fond of each other either and its because they don't have these interactions, they don't affect each others character or story lines, they are just sort of there together.  They have dialogue that says how amazing a time they are having and how brilliant they think the Doctor is, but its not actually happening, we don't see the examples play out of explaining why they would say that. It's just empty hollow words.
For example we are told the Fam are a tight unit, the three of them in it together for each other. But Yaz only has 1 meaningful conversation with Graham the entire series, in Demons. We never see them forming bonds, they were strangers when they met, yet by the midway point we are supposed to buy they are besty friends forever, without ever seeing them really interact.
Everything runs on its own tracks. Ryan and Graham, Yaz just being there and her almost complete lack of interactions with Graham and Ryan, the Doctor's lack of meaningful one to ones with any of them, odd pep talk here and there but mainly its just telling them stuff, its all running on its own tracks and rarely intersecting.

Yaz is the worst served of all three however. She is largely someone the Doctor expositions things at, and she most openly looks on the Doctor with something between awe and love at everything the Doctor does. Her entire set up of being a police woman who feels undervalued and underused is ironically underused to the point of being almost non-existent throughout. And in episodes like the Witches, or Demons when there is a mystery to solve and police work to do they give it to other characters. Another baffling decision.
I know nothing more about Yaz as a person than I did in episode one. Actually that's not true, in episode one she had the undervalued police story set up, I actually feel like I know less about her by series end as they pretty much dropped that from impacting her personality or behaviour. She's amazingly minus a character trait by series end. She has somehow passed right through nondescript undefined character and into some weird realm beyond where you watch her with a dark fascination just to see if she will actually do anything this week.
I also find the performance stiff and lacking life, like she is reading the lines out from an idiot board.

4.
Music

The new theme tune, bar thinking the percussions to strong in the opening, it's otherwise up there with the best of the modern renditions of the Radiophonic Workshop's and Derbyshire's  groundbreaking original arrangement. The incidental music however is just that for the most part, incidental. Gold could sometimes be a bit over powering, but in general it served to drive the narrative with its strong Doctor goes into action theme, or underlie an emotion with a sad or reflective Doctor theme. It could associate a place to a theme like the Gallifrey theme, or a monster like the Cyberman theme. And sometimes it even hinted at things not yet revealed, like Rivers theme having parts which are played backwards, or the few bars of the Cyberman theme in Dark Water right before the reveal.
I feel the lack of these strong themes to underpin and underline emotion, action and narrative has been one of the things which makes the 13th Doctor feel flatter and less exciting than her predecessors. And why scenes that should be very emotional or exciting often aren't.
13 has enthusiasm and energy and upbeatness but yet she is not dynamic, partly as she mainly just talks at the audience rather than doing things, and partly because the music does not help support her performance.

5.
Direction and editing.

Workmanlike is the best Id say for both categories. In direction there is no Talalay (Heaven Sent and a host of others) equivalent or such here. If you look at the directors for each episode most of them have limited experience, for the most part no genre experience, and have worked mainly on soap operas.
If you look at the resume of the director of Arachnids, Sallie Aprahamian she has worked mainly on a mix of soaps from ill fated Eldorado to Eastenders, and children's shows. Only the children's show aspect could be applicable to Who as experiences in the genre. Which is not to say its bad direction, but its not interesting direction either. Its just functional.
Talalay's resume includes Tank Girl, American Gods, Doom Patrol, The Flash, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Sherlock, Flash Gordon, The Dead Zone and Supernatural among others and more genre feature films. A wide area of genre work and experience in fact.
There's a noticeable drop in ambition, or possibly in what the BBC are willing to pay for directors since Chibnal's era began. And is shows on screen.
There are some exceptions such as up and coming director Jamie Childs, who has directed His Dark Materials, giving some genre experience, and it shows as his episodes stand out for their good direction. But in general its soaps and kids show directors. Directors that will come in do a competent job on time and in budget, but who maybe don't have that same flair, or artistic drive of previous series directors. It  leaves the direction of episodes over all also feeling somewhat flatter, more like how a soap opera like EastEnders would be shot than an action/adventure sci-fi/fantasy epic themed show like Who.



6.
The Writers Room

I was wary of this notion of a US style writers room from the get go. The two main methods of getting to write a Who episode was to pitch an idea (Jamie Mathieson Flatline- I'll stick with him he provides good examples) or to get given an idea you had to flesh out into a story and script (Mathieson again Mummy on the Orient Express, commissioned on the strength of Flatline).
But what it gave was individuality to episodes, each with their own distinct voice. A Writers Room risks everything becoming a samey smear, losing that individual style and voice.

Chibnal wrote 5 out of the 10 episodes this series, and co-wrote one, Rosa. And wrote the special if you count it as part of the series. More than half.
All writers have tricks and devices and if they write one thing for long enough eventually the audience can tire of the devices that used to delight them. But with Chibnal there seems a mix of writing too many too quickly, and not having a great many tricks in the bag to start with, so we are getting repetition of ideas and  plot tricks many times already within the first series.

But not all the blame can be laid at Chibnals feet. He has a Script Editor, and they surely must take some of the blame for the inconsistencies that crop up in the Doctors nature, character, words and actions across the entire series. As well as obvious plot holes, the lack of stuff for Yaz, Ryans illness on/off  etc.

Like his directors the pool of writers Chibnal hired have little to no experience with genre pieces, and there most notable work are often dealing with societal issue or children's television or they are book authors dealing in the same topics.

The range of writers in terms of their diversity of culture, race and background is the widest Who has ever had. This is a good thing.

But their range of experience writing for genre or a wide range of television,or any television at all in some cases is very low to non-existent. And this it turned out is bad.

You can again see in the comparisons, RTD and Moffat hired writers who either had genre experience, a lot of experience writing for television, or some previous connection to writing Who in one of its various mediums, or all three.
To use Mathieson again, he like many of the current writers had a brief television resume and was a new writer relatively speaking and new to Who, but he penned the excellent underrated FAQ About Time Travel film, an episode for the BBC adaption of Dirk Gently, episodes for the supernatural themed series and its sequel series Becoming Human and Being Human, and Sci-fi miniseries Tripped before he got Who. Its all genre and some directly relevant to Who's sci-fi/time-travel subject matter.

Vinay Patel (Demons of the Punjab) has two shorts, a TV movie that was critically very well received about an honour killing in the Indian community and a comfortable Sunday night style drama series called Good Karma Hospital about a white woman who goes to work in a hospital in India, sort of quirky off beat romantic drama with social issues by looks of its trailers. Limited television experience and no genre experience whatsoever as his script shows us, because what he delivered was a perfectly good family drama set during partition interrupted by clumsily inserted Doctor Who elements. He just lacked the experience of how to blend the two strands into one coherent whole, so just separated them out into two stories that barely touch.
Joy Wilkinon who wrote Witch Finders, she has written for Holby City (hospital soap like drama) Casualty (same but different hospital department) Land Girls (feminist leaning drama about women sent to work the fields during WW2). Again no genre experience. She gave us a story about witchcraft and the treatment of women and a history lesson on James the 1st (VI) with some weak bolted on Who elements.
Marjorie Blackman is primarily an author of children's books, but she does have genre experience at least in that she uses sci-fi to explore social and ethical matters. Her biggest selling and critically acclaimed children's novel is Noughts and Crosses, which uses sci-fi themes to explore racism. She unsurprisingly gave us a story about Rosa Park and racism, with bolted on Who elements.

They all share the same thing in common, their episodes are perfectly good ideas for a period social drama, but terrible as Doctor Who episodes. And that's because primarily they are not Who stories, from conception they are social dramas first and foremost with Who just used as the vehicle to deliver them, an afterthought. And the Who elements feel like just that, an afterthought,when watching. And that's an issue when most of the audience is there for the Who not a lecture.

They can do the period setting, they can do the period tale and characters, but none of them have the experience or knowledge how to bring the Who elements into those stories. So in all cases the Who stuff happens on a parallel line to the main story.
Rosa and Demons the Doctor can do nothing at all and does do nothing at all. Her interactions with the main story, the main character of Rosa, are almost non-existent. She's not really involved, just running about the background dealing with a space racist in what may as well be a different story.
Same goes for Demons where she runs about hunting aliens the entire episode on a different story strand from the family torn apart by Partition and then walks away at the end having done nothing at all.
In Witch Finders the entire aliens in the hill thing only comes up at the end and is resolved with little issue shortly afterwards. Its a poor excuse for the witch thing and 'oh weren't women treated awfully in the past and still are today' messaging. Which might be worth mentioning in and of itself, but its not content enough for an entire episode of Who.
Telling a strong Who story that also happens to have good moral and social message is a good thing. Writing a strong moral or social episode that happens to have a poor excuse for a Who story bolted on is a bad thing.
They have to tell a good Who story first and foremost. What we have had so far are good ideas for social dramas with poorly thought out and patched in Who elements as an excuse to tell them.

The deficiency in any real Who stories means episodes lack the necessary conflict, drama and triumph needed to cement the characters. So we don't see them acting under pressure and how they react to set backs and victories along the way. Disagreements among companions and with the Doctor allows for new aspects to come out, informing us on who the person is, like Rose often displaying her jealousy and occasional pettiness which mark her negative characteristics, which come out in certain consistent circumstances, but it tells us something more about her. Along with all Roses' strengths she has weaknesses, human traits of fallibility that help make her feel like a real person.
And this is equally true of the Doctor. What makes the Doctor is not that he is a good man, but that he tries to be and the Doctor is the bar, the ideal by which he holds himself to. If there was nothing about him to overcome there would be no reward in defeating it, in being the Doctor. And for that to work we have to see the  hidden facets peeping through occasionally, the steely determination at almost any cost to win, the thousands of years of loss, pain, defeat, mistakes and regrets that have accumulated. The Oncoming Storm. The Valeyard within. The great depth of pent-up anger at  how cruel and unfair the universe can be. In short you have to see what it is the Doctor has to overcome to be the Doctor to see the heroism in it. To make the Doctor the Doctor.
And more importantly to give the sense to the audience that their own deficiencies of nature, their own flaws of character can be overcome or even turned to good purpose. The Doctor personifies hope over flawed human nature, not because he is above it but because he embodies it all, more than any other, because they represent that any one of us can strive to be better than we are, to be greater then the sum of our parts, in our own way we can all strive to be like the Doctor.

“On a good day, if I try really hard, I'm not just some old Time Lord who ran away, I'm the Doctor.”- 12

We can follow that example, try to always be the best of ourselves. The Doctor has been a good role model to children growing up in the UK for over half a century. And this is why. And 13 lacks it.

13 is upbeat, jokey, bubbly, energetic, cheery, casual about almost everything, and never shown to be wrong. Never questioned in her actions, never called out by a companion. Instead they just adore her for no apparent reasons given (she was involved in why Grace died, she dumped them in space out of nowhere, crashed them on a spaceship, stranded them on a deadly planet, gave up on everything and then took them to be racially abused) at no point during their outings is there a sense that anyone is or should be enjoying themselves. Yet by the fourth episode they are her Fam. All besty friends forever. And not a line of it earned. She has put them through several traumatic events one after the other that would scar most folk for life-and not one of them has an angry thought, a cross word to say about it to her?

Sydney Numan who originally created the show was asked in the 1980's how he thought the show could be revitalised, and his suggestion was for a female Doctor, with this caveat-

"This requires some considerable thought —mainly because I want to avoid a flashy, Hollywood Wonder Woman because this kind of heroine with no flaws is a bore.”

And right there we have the major problem with 13. They cast a woman and now they are afraid to have criticism of her, even within the show itself. She has to be always right she has to always be cheered on, she has to have her companions adore her more than any companion ever has a Doctor before.
The spiders solution is cruel and cowardly, yet the episode plays it as if that and the bad guy just walking away is a triumph, in Rosa and Demons her inaction is played as some great moral victory, but in both cases all they did was not interfere in an event they would never have intervened in anyway, there is no moral sacrifice or peril or pain for the Doctor, its just history playing out as its supposed to.
This series is full of episode endings played as victories or morally significant to our characters when there has been no real victory, no moral victory just the pretence of one.
And its killing the character of the Doctor.

And when you combine it with how inconsistently she has been written across the series, “I love a conspiracy”, “I hate conspiracies” “I don't use guns, let's use a bomb I've made instead!” “I do use guns now if I say I use guns now.”  “These spiders are living breathing creatures, you cant put them out their misery, I've an idea, I'm going to lock them up together in a small room to cannibalise each other over time before the last one slowly dies in agony from starvation, if they don't slowly suffocate to death first. Did I mention I have a TARDIS that can go anywhere in Time and Space and is infinite inside so could easily get them all inside. But I just cant be arsed to save them and find somewhere in the universe they could live happily in peace. I'm supposed to be the Doctor by the way. Is that a worker trying to fight back against a cruel capitalist system? Don't worry I'll stop him!”

And then throw into the mix the fact because the Who story is off to the side somewhere they use the cheap device of her just not doing anything of note to keep her out the way of the actual story. Rosa, she could stop the bad guy any time after she knows he cant physically stop her. But doesn't. Instead he walks away boasting about how he is going to cause more trouble. It happens because he has to be free so the story can happen. But it makes 13 look weak and stupid. She should also have a reaction to one of her new companions sentencing someone to death with a gun he stole, but again, she doesn't. Making it seem like she cares less and isn't as interested in her companions actions as previous Doctors would be.
In Demons they just made her seem dense and stupid by not knowing what was going on and then having the plot explained to her by the aliens. And again scanning the dead man's body for so long and not noticing he had been shot makes her look stupid too, and its only there because they need her to mistake the aliens for the bad guys so the audience do and to give her something to do while the main story unfolds, that she, our Doctor, isn't in. And it goes on, all the way to the finale where the supposed big bad of the series returns and she doesn't even show up for the showdown with him.
It makes her feel less competent, less intelligent, less capable, less involved than when she was as a man. The exact opposite impression than the one you want to make with the first female incarnation.

You put it all together and what you have is an utter mess of a character. A Doctor with no settled personality, no settled morality, and no-one to say a crossed word to her about anything she ever does. She talks non-stop but rarely has anything that's not exposition or just meaningless quirky nonsense to say.

Moffat sent Neil Gaiman a note back on Gaiman's first draft for The Doctor's Wife, telling him that he had made the Doctor talk too much and babble. That the Doctor might seem to talk a lot sometimes or to be talking nonsense, but its never a word wasted. Never talk for the sake of talk. There is always a character reason for doing so. Even if it can be as simple as 'to amuse himself'. But babble is what we get from 13. Talk with no meaning. Or where it does have meaning its generally in the form of exposition or a lecture. And its non-stop all series long.
And all taken together its just not the Doctor.

7.
Diversity, casting and social justice.

No matter Chibnal or the BBC's protestation to the contrary its clear Chibnal had a clear 'agenda' for his era. It was going to be a female Doctor, it was going to tackle social issues and real world issues head on, no more alien threat the real threat is rampant capitalism, environmental damage, treatment of women in a male dominant society, racism. And they weren't going to just talk the talk they'd reflect it in who they'd hire, not just a female Doctor it would be the most diverse pool of writers the show has ever had too.

Problem is at the last UK census 87.2% of the population were white, and of the remainder of the population 3% were black, Asian/Asian British 2.3%  Asian/British Pakistan 1.9%, mixed 2% and other 3.7%
The UK is not London, the UK is not some island wide melting pot, its mainly white folks outside the major cities, or in my case as I'm Scottish, pale blue folk with red blotchy bits, so finding really good writers with all the necessary and usual experience for writing Who out of those numbers is not as easy as it might first seem. If you want a writer from the black community then your looking at 3% of the population as your starting point. Out of those how many become a writer, how many become good writers, or get the lucky break every writer usually needs on the way up? How many then write in a variety of genres? How many have any experience writing in the fantasy or sci-fi genres? How many of those remaining are available and want to write for Doctor Who?And remember they also have to compete for work with the 87% majority who are white.  Its not a huge number to choose from I would imagine. Especially not when you want half of those hired to be female too.
And Chibnal got some very good writers, of romantic drama, children's television and novels.
But they all lack the experience and varying genre writing that used to come as a standard to writers of Who in previous years, when being a middle-aged white men wasn't an automatic disqualification from the job.
With the irony being Chibnal himself is exactly that, a white male middle-aged fan who grew up watching Who. The very people he now excludes from the Who working environment for being the wrong colour, sex and background.
Jamie Maithson, writer of Mummy on Orient Express, Flatline, The Girl Who Died and Oxygen pitched a script for this series- Chibnal rejected it in favour of the writers we got. Can you honestly say hand on heart you believe Maithson turned in a script poorer than Tsgundra, or many others we did get? I find it very hard to believe he did. But then he probably made the mistake of writing 13  a good Doctor Who story and not a social commentary story with Who just as the delivery means.

Chibnal boxed himself in however, he had to hire a diverse writers room to back up his stance, but the amount of writers of high enough calibre, with all the usual expected genre experience, who were also from a minority and the right sex working in the UK and were available is rather small, as its a very small percentage of the overall population to pool from or limit yourself to. And he couldn't fall back on reliable previous writers with the experience as they were mainly middle aged white guys and they would be accused of being hypocritical for espousing equality whilst hiring all white males. So he got the best he could out of who was available, the best writers of various minority perspectives but without the right experience.

Its also of note however that the two episodes in this series which got an audience appreciation score below the magic 80 were both Chibnal's the Unpronounceable Conundrum and the finale Battle we never see at Unpronounceable Place. Our new show-runner wrote the two least popular episodes of the series. And if you count the New Years episode as part of it he got 3 below 80. All in one series. And it only gets worse in his next series, by the end of which that number of poorly received episodes will stand at 7- more than double what RTD got in 4 series and 7 times what Moffat got over 5 series.
Of all the figures the BBC track I am sure the fact Chibnal has failed to make their standard for BBC drama of a score of 80 or above on 7 occasions already is one that has not gone unnoticed. }}

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Post by halfwise Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:30 pm

Good lord. I'll leave this for the Who fans.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:46 pm

{{ If its any incentive I think a lot of it applies to many of the issues that can arise in general in the current climate of 'woke' television.}}

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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:34 am

well thanks for watching them Petty, because I didn't bother after Rosa Parks. Because it wasn't Who, it was more like an episode of Timeless, which is a great show and did multi-racial timey-wimey stuff so much better and far far more engagingly.
Jodie is a Cosplay Doctor, she never translated the script into anything authentic. I always imagine her in a scene with Rose's mum Jackie, a secondary character but with far more authenticity and charm, she would have stolen Jodie's scenes, and that's a very secondary character, whether you like Jackie or not, she was real, when she spoke it sounded authentic, she was solid in her personality and back story, you knew where you stood with Jackie. Also you are right about Chibbers painting himself into a corner with woke, it has got very toxic and kneejerky, with Twitter on fire with ever more absurd micro-offences. The latest 'victim' being Tom Hank's son, who according to the Twitters endorses 'racist font' yes, racist font, the Gothic font used by Gutenberg since the 15th century is apparently racist. Thats how toxic it has got, and Chibbers placed himself at the centre of BLM movement and not as an observer, when in my opinion Who should strive to be timeless and not interlarded with 'fashionable' issues because it ages the program, like mentioning Obama or Bill Gates, real world people in the present imo is a mistake. The Doctor is a white dude, and what on Earth or Galifrey is wrong with that, it was made by white dudes in sheds, white dudes in sheds love it and understand it the best.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:53 pm

{{ Thanks for reading Figg Thumbs Up  The Jackie thing is a goodpoint, 13 would disappear against just about any other secondary female character in Who. Let alone previous female companions, Amy and Clara would dominate her, Donna wouldnt even travel with her as she just wouldnt put up with how 13 behaves and Rose would certainly have not been enamoured of 13 as she was 9 and 10. Martha wouldnt havelasted a series and I doubt Bill would have thought the Doctor worth having as a tutor if it was 13.
And it all comes down to writing.
I mentioned the Fam are all besty friends after only a few episodes, without us ever seeing them meaningfuly interact with each other. Its just somehting we are told.
Compare to Nardole, a companion we dont initially know how the Doctor even ended up with, he is just there in the Xmas special then at start of the new series. But how he interacts with the Doctor and vice versa sells you on the fact that while the show was offscreen they got to know each other, and when the flashback eventually comes halfway through the series explaining how the Doctor ended up with Nardole it fits so the viewer just thinks "yeah, that explains it". It fits what we have seen.
With the Fam there is none of that, they barely talk to each other let alone the Doctor, they have no camaradrie, no banter, no sens eof knowing each other or occasionally being irrated by each other. Its just not there. Yet at the same time we are expected to buy and believe they have formed a close knit almost family unit. And what the viewer is left thinking is "Why are they doing this? Why do they travel with the Doctor? Why do they all keep saying what great friends they all are Ive not seen any of that." And all your left with is empty hollowness, the pretence of companions not actual companions.
And the whole problem revolves around the Doctor shaped void in the middle of the series. Without that strong central character in the middle there is nothing for the Fam to interact against, to be defined by. And same goes the other way, the void that is the companions dont provide anything to help define the new Doctor- they are all adoring yes men so without any conflict with any of them we dont see this Doctor angry, or impatient, or irritable even. There's just nothing to help define her beyond the script blatantly telling us things about her, which the writing, being so inconsitent, she often then immediately contradicts anyway.
And to top it all off Jodie is miscast, she just doesn thave the lead role presence necessary to dominate and command a scene or the camera. Sh elacks the gravitas of the character, the sense of age and knowledge and experience that the Doctor exudes, or should.
When previous Doctros were in the room you could pick them out even if youd never seen a second of the show before, it's in how they carry themselves, their attitude, their presence in the scene and what they do. None of these things is true of 13.}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:37 pm

{{ A good example of where for me 13 lacks the depth and peformance of her predecesors as well as the screen presence. At some point every incarantion has to face the Daleks for the first time, heres how its gone from 9 to 13. In each case we see some new aspect or get some more insight into or it some effect on the nature and character of the Doctor, except 13.}}










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Post by halfwise Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:47 pm

that dalek-babe in the last one would make a better doctor than Jodie.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:48 pm

{{True. Whatever IT is you need to play the Doctor and hold the screen and convey that depth of character and age, she hasnt got IT.

And this is as strong a scene as she gets in her entire first series plus special (its from the special so no scenes where she faces down a foe in the actual series) and if you go to youtube and search for Doctor Who angry youll have to scroll down through a lot of vids before you find a 13th Doctor one, and the first I could find under that search was from Kerblaam- one of those scenes where she just expositions everything at us, worse this episode is about a planet sized space Amazon that through automation has left an entire planet with a massive unemployment issue and the few with a job are constantly monitored, asessed and all the other things Amazon does, until one of them turns terrorist to stop it- and the Doctor sides with the huge corporation and kills the guy!
Nor for that matter is she actually angry in this scene, or at least I dont think its supposed to be anger, her perfomance is so flat its hard to tell.



The Doctors famous for speeches, sometimes with a moral point, sometimes just a big heroic speech, sometimes when confronting the villain. But everyone of them is better than what we got here. (and I had multiple speeches to choose from with previous Doctors)







and back to 13 moralising at the audience about enviromentalism. }}


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Post by Mrs Figg Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:07 pm

I don't care about any of the companions with 13, because they lack any bonds of friendship they are there as placemats. They don't gel or have quirks, their backstories are really dull.
There's no mystery.

Timeless does multi-racial things with a bit of humour and you actually root for them all because they have built up relationships and friendships which transcend race/sex because they all go through things together and it builds their bonds. But the Who Fam hasn't built up real friendships so I don't care what happens to them.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:51 pm

{{ Thought this was a very good analysis of Amy}}


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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:42 pm

.....and you go and ruin it with Pond. Mad
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:47 pm

{{ Deepest, most complex female character in all of Who if you ask me. That video does a good job of explaining why and its only looking at certain aspects of her personlaity and character development- character development wish Chibnal knew what that was! }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:50 pm

{{ One of my favourite pieces of Who music from Murray Gold and the 12th Doctor era. God I miss Murray Gold on the soundtrack. Its amazing after 10 series of scoring Who he was still creating new, beautiful and moving pieces like this. }}


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Post by Amarië Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:08 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:I don't care about any of the companions with 13, because they lack any bonds of friendship they are there as placemats. They don't gel or have quirks, their backstories are really dull.
There's no mystery.

Timeless does multi-racial things with a bit of humour and you actually root for them all because they have built up relationships and friendships which transcend race/sex because they all go through things together and it builds their bonds. But the Who Fam hasn't built up real friendships so I don't care what happens to them.


This made me think of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, super hero story with time travelling. There we have Arthur Darvill/Rory cosplaying as 10th doctor as Rip Hunter the Time Master. Looking back now, I notice that there is even a far better Ryan and Graham dynamics going on with Dr. Stein and Jackson (Firestorm). Laughing
All New Who - Page 18 Martin_Stein_Victor_Garber_and_Jefferson_Jackson_Franz_Drameh-2


Edit: And lets not forget Sarah aka White Canary. Blond, actual leadership and piloting a time machine. AND! John Barrowman is in it.
This gets sillier the more I think of it. Razz

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Post by Mrs Figg Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:02 pm

You should try Timeless Amarie, I really enjoyed it for timey-wimey entertainment, there is a stand alone film for the last season which was made because the fans really wanted a good send off. But then I really enjoyed Legend of the Seeker, so what do I know, maybe I like cheese. Razz
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Post by Amarië Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:32 pm

Cheese has it's uses! We did see Timeless a while ago, but I can't remember how many seasons we saw or if there was a movie... scratch

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