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kenman

Doctor Who Series 10 Discussion (with Spoilers)

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So tonight was the premiere of the latest season of Doctor Who, and the show was in fine form indeed. Bill is already a wel-defined character, and no doubt will be a joy to watch this year. And I thought the premise of the episode did a great job of showcasing what the show can do and where it can go. It reintroduced the concepts of the The Doctor, the TARDIS, and all...while also setting up our new companion and adding in a few layers of mystery such as why the Doctor has stopped travelling and is on Earth as a professor, and what exactly is up with him and Nardole. 

I plan to watch it again when I get home from work and probably write up a full review on my Who blog. 

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Just watched "The Pilot" tonight; loved it!  Bill is a terrific fit to the Whoniverse; my wife and I loved her right off.  

 

********** SPOILERS (just to make sure :P) *********

The plot was an interesting mix of Tennant's "Waters of Mars" and the Hartnell episode "The Chase."  It also confirms something I've known for a long time; unwanted water/liquid/whatever is a terrifying thing (hehe).   The images of the alien fuel/liquid menacingly dripping very much reminded me of WOM.

I also loved the Doctor trying to send wet-Heather into 'fire' by landing the Tardis on Skaro during the long stalemate preceding the events of the classic series' "Destiny of the Daleks."  I geeked aloud seeing the Movellans retreating... that was cool (I love that episode!). 

The resolution was touching, sad, and a nice little life lesson about 'letting go.'   Well done.   VERY promising. :thumbup:

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I read that. It could be fun, which is what Christmas Specials are all about for me, but it would almost feel too meta having a guy who played the actor now play the part, you know what I mean? Also I am always instantly skeptical of the Mirror stories. They don't have the best track record when it comes to reporting Who in my opinion. 

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I loved ep 1. Delivered everything it promised.  Bill is awesome. My only regret is that because of the showrunner changeover, it seems likely we'll have her for only one season. they did used to carry companions over in the classic show, but in this age of authorial ascendancy over any other concern, I suspect Chibbers will come along with all new characters of his own. Which is a shame - I'd like her to be more than "one-and-gone."

But then, I was hoping for more Capaldi, too. A full four years, y'know? All good things... 

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7 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

I loved ep 1. Delivered everything it promised.  Bill is awesome. My only regret is that because of the showrunner changeover, it seems likely we'll have her for only one season. they did used to carry companions over in the classic show, but in this age of authorial ascendancy over any other concern, I suspect Chibbers will come along with all new characters of his own. Which is a shame - I'd like her to be more than "one-and-gone."

But then, I was hoping for more Capaldi, too. A full four years, y'know? All good things... 

You really think she'll be gone with Capaldi?   I hope not.  The companions usually act as the audience surrogate bridge between old and new Doctors.  It'd be a shame since Bill was so likable right out of the box too.  I like Nardole, but if a companion from the Capaldi era had to get the axe?  I'd give it to Nardole first; he's little more than a one-man/droid Greek chorus anyway.   Maybe Chibnall could make his mark by introducing a second companion rather than eliminate Bill so soon... 

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37 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

You really think she'll be gone with Capaldi?   I hope not.  The companions usually act as the audience surrogate bridge between old and new Doctors.  It'd be a shame since Bill was so likable right out of the box too.  I like Nardole, but if a companion from the Capaldi era had to get the axe?  I'd give it to Nardole first; he's little more than a one-man/droid Greek chorus anyway.   Maybe Chibnall could make his mark by introducing a second companion rather than eliminate Bill so soon... 

Not always. Tenth was alone and we started afresh with Eleven. I too hope she sticks around with Chibnall. We do know he asked Capaldi to stay (or at least the BBC did), there is a chance he is hoping for some continuity and could keep here on. 

I do like Nardole, but I think it is very clear he is only around for this season. 

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5 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

You really think she'll be gone with Capaldi?   I hope not.  The companions usually act as the audience surrogate bridge between old and new Doctors.  It'd be a shame since Bill was so likable right out of the box too.  I like Nardole, but if a companion from the Capaldi era had to get the axe?  I'd give it to Nardole first; he's little more than a one-man/droid Greek chorus anyway.   Maybe Chibnall could make his mark by introducing a second companion rather than eliminate Bill so soon... 

There's no hard and fast rule that says she'll go - it's just what I suspect will happen. I'd love to be proved wrong. The only precedent in the modern era is the handover from RTD to Moffat.

On the other hand, if the BBC ask him to keep Bill, perhaps he will.

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Just watched Doctor Who, "Smile" (2017). 

doctor-who-smile-promo-pics-1.jpg

 

******** SPOILERISH JIBBER JABBER BELOW ********

 

 

At first, it felt like a reworking of the old Sylvester McCoy-era episode "Happiness Patrol" (I almost groaned aloud at the early similarities) but it rapidly turns into something very different and clever.   A bit of the Tom Baker-era episode, "The Ark In Space" thrown in too (the colony ship stuff; with a sentient lifeform seemingly stalking the suspended crew).  Also liking Bill quite a lot as well (her quip on the Doctor's running: "Like a penguin with its ass on fire..." :giggle:).  

Clever 21st century-isms with Bill taking phone pics and the interface robots communicating via emojis (a very simple and universal human language if ever there was one, right?).  Nice idea.   Granted, it may seriously date this episode in a decade or less, but its use right now is spot on.  The changing emoji faces kind of reminded me of Kevin Spacey's HAL 9000-like "Gerty" in 2009's little gem of a movie, "Moon" (costarring Sam Rockwell and well worth a look). 

Nice little "Devil in the Dark"-style solution to the robot/human conflict as well.  Had a nice chuckle when the emoji interface flashed a British pound sterling after the Doctor mentions "rent."  :P   And speaking of ST, the grounded colony spaceship's LCARS-like cross section and "United Earth" emblem had a certain Star Trek-ishness to it.

Overall a solid little episode and very much the kind of story I like on DW; the episodes that show the 'two steps forward, one step backward' awkward progress of the human race as it clumsily makes it way across the stars. 

More like this one, please.  :thumbup:

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After having seen "The Pilot" and "Smile": A very solid start for Bill and the season, IMO, even if it wasn't groundbreaking.

My first impression of Bill is that I like her, but nowhere near the degree of being impressed like by Clara or Rose, she's blander in comparison. I can't quite shake off the feeling she'll end up as a "filler companion", much like Martha (but we'll see).

The two stories are entertaining, sufficiently clever and very solid, but not really groundbreaking... I got the feeling of having seen many of their elements before, in some combination or another. But not everything has to be groundbreaking all the time, does it? Decent, solid crafting is not bad either.

So yeah, a decent start. (And thanks to Amazon Prime, I can watch the episodes the day after the UK premiere, yay! :) )

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Watched the second episode this weekend.  Don't know if I was feeling nostalgic or getting forgetful.  But it seems like some of the incidental music was more akin to the classic Who episodes.  Between that, some of the classic Who references like the pictures of Susan on his desk, and from the trailers for upcoming episodes what looks like either a return to Mondas (could this be that rumored David Bradley as the first Doctor story?) or a return of the classic Mondas cybermen it feels like Moff is trying to be sentimental in his last year.  I like it.  Wonder if we will get to see that bucket list wish of seeing Carole Ann Ford make an appearance.  

Also, other than knowing that the Doctor promised someone he's watch a vault, did I miss anything about why he's at the university?  

 

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I thought the first half of 'Smile' was great, when it's virtually a two-hander between Capaldi and Mackie. It meanders a bit, but there's some charming character development, and the ep looks fantastic. However, it sags badly in the middle and its treatment and definition of grief as a "negative" emotion is a non-starter for me. Grief isn't negative - it's a mechanism for coping with loss, for mending a broken heart, for finding positive ways forward. Having coped with some loss in our family recently, I found myself as a parent having to answer some questions about this, and overall I have to say I found it a pretty superficial treatment of an element that deserved deeper exploration. It was tossed into the mix as a plot fixer. There's a lot of signposts like 'Erewhon' (Google Samuel Butler) to demonstrate the author's cleverness, but no actual development of any of the themes he introduces. 

I also thought the sudden evolution of the robots into sentient AI was the introduction of an old SF trope from out of nowhere to paper over all sorts of explanatory cracks in what seemed like a very rushed resolution. By the time the colonists were grabbing guns to deal with the problem, I was saying out loud, "Please, no." What, is this the only plot involving robots ever? Not one of the colonists knew the robots had a reset switch? The Doctor learned nothing from Bill last week that it's not okay to mindwipe self-aware beings with memories? Even when you've introduced the potentially fascinating idea of the exploitation of visual language? Regarding that, the final sight gag of the GBP sign was just so absolutely glib it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

It felt like a first draft of a script that needed several more to sort out the structural problems. A lot of it is saved by the charisma and chemistry of Capaldi and Mackie, but sorry, for me, this one ended up clunking its way onto the stinkpile.    

 

Edited by Robin Bland

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53 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

I thought the first half of 'Smile' was great, when it's virtually a two-hander between Capaldi and Mackie. It meanders a bit, but there's some charming character development, and the ep looks fantastic. However, it sags badly in the middle and its treatment and definition of grief as a "negative" emotion is a non-starter for me. Grief isn't negative - it's a mechanism for coping with loss, for mending a broken heart, for finding positive ways forward. Having coped with some loss in our family recently, I found myself as a parent having to answer some questions about this, and overall I have to say I found it a pretty superficial treatment of an element that deserved deeper exploration. It was tossed into the mix as a plot fixer. There's a lot of signposts like 'Erewhon' (Google Samuel Butler) to demonstrate the author's cleverness, but no actual development of any of the themes he introduces.  

^
I agree with you that grief isn't a negative emotion; it's for coping and closure.   But... that's one of the issues with such 'binary' robot thinking.  They see someone sad and they assume it's not 'good'; it's one of the reasons that the early part of this episode reminded me of the McCoy-era "The Happiness Patrol."   

Now, you also bring up a good point; how do the robots make the quantum leap from such binary 'yes/no' 'good/bad' 'crying/happy'-thinking towards full sentience?  Now that I think about it a bit more, that part WAS really rushed through without much forethought, I suppose.  

Can't robots or AI have a social order without sentience?  Is that impossible?   Maybe that's one of the inherent native qualities of robots; they can think and organize without feeling or becoming self-aware.   It is also consistent with their failure to properly understand human emotions (i.e any emotion that isn't ridiculously saccharine).   They don't ACT self aware. 

 

59 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

Not one of the colonists knew the robots had a reset switch?

14dXclYKbx2ONW.gif   Um.... yeah, good point.  

(* feeling somewhat embarrassed for not noticing that...* :P)

 

1 hour ago, Robin Bland said:

A lot of it is saved by the charisma and chemistry of Capaldi and Mackie, but sorry, for me, this one ended up clunking its way onto the stinkpile.    

I didn't think it was one of the 'great' episodes, that's for sure, but I enjoyed it a bit more than you did; it was a decent time passer.   And yes, I very much agree that Bill and the Doctor have terrific chemistry; and her wonderfully sarcastic line "penguin running with its ass on fire" still works for me...  :giggle:

Admittedly nothing special, but for me, "Smile" is not "Twin Dilemma"/"Time of the Rani"/"Fear Her"-level bad, either.  

 

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7 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

^
I agree with you that grief isn't a negative emotion; it's for coping and closure.   But... that's one of the issues with such 'binary' robot thinking.  They see someone sad and they assume it's not 'good'; it's one of the reasons that the early part of this episode reminded me of the McCoy-era "The Happiness Patrol."   

Now, you also bring up a good point; how do the robots make the quantum leap from such binary 'yes/no' 'good/bad' 'crying/happy'-thinking towards full sentience?  Now that I think about it a bit more, that part WAS really rushed through without much forethought, I suppose.  

Can't robots or AI have a social order without sentience?  Is that impossible?   Maybe that's one of the inherent native qualities of robots; they can think and organize without feeling or becoming self-aware.   It is also consistent with their failure to properly understand human emotions (i.e any emotion that isn't ridiculously saccharine).   They don't ACT self aware. 

 

14dXclYKbx2ONW.gif   Um.... yeah, good point.  

(* feeling somewhat embarrassed for not noticing that...* :P)

 

I didn't think it was one of the 'great' episodes, that's for sure, but I enjoyed it a bit more than you did; it was a decent time passer.   And yes, I very much agree that Bill and the Doctor have terrific chemistry; and her wonderfully sarcastic line "penguin running with its ass on fire" still works for me...  :giggle:

Admittedly nothing special, but for me, "Smile" is not "Twin Dilemma"/"Time of the Rani"/"Fear Her"-level bad, either.  

 

Good points on "Smile".

As I said above, I enjoyed these first two episodes well enough, but they indeed appeared a bit too conventional, too unoriginal to me.

"Pilot" reminded me of the Tennant Mars episode and to some extent even TNG "Aquiel", and "Smile", you named it.

Not bad, but seasons 8 and 9 had a much stronger start IMO.

Edited by Sim

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