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January 12th, 2011

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02:19 am - Late Night Ramblings
I'm editing my current project and am really enjoying it. When talking to Alice about it, I accurately described adventure possibilities for one short section that I've written as follows – It would be like Cú Chulainn's cattle raid, but with sheep, and in space.

Now for a bit of total self-indulgence – a friend recently watched the first season of New Who (with the brilliant Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor) and asked in her lj about Torchwood and the rest of New Who, and so I opined about both and am rather pleased with these particular bits of informative and (at least IMHO) accurate snark.

Guide to Season 1 Torchwood
Ep 1 Good intro
Ep 2 Impressively cheezy
Ep 3 Not too bad
Ep 4 Dreadful - read the wikipedia summary
Ep 5 Utterly pointless, don't even bother reading the wikipedia summary
Ep 6 Rural cannibal horror - good if you like that sort of thing - very different from most eps
Ep 7 Tosh focused episode, very good, first of the good episodes
Ep 8 Utterly awesome
Ep 9 Very good
Ep 10 One of the best eps of any show that I've ever seen - riveting and excellent
Ep 11 Silly and not very good
Ep 12 Very good, also another ep with lots of Tosh (part one of a two-parter)
Ep 13 After an excellent beginning, the two-parter descends into ludicrous badness - no worse than that, and with demon Godzilla stomping Cardiff - bad enough to be funny, likely better with alcohol - lots of alcohol.

Season 2 is as a whole considerably better , but also far darker. The first ep is excellent and contains a glorious performance by James Marsters (who played Spike on Buffy), and then it gets really grim and most people die.

I avoided the Season 3 miniseries due to impressively pointless grimness.

About New Who
Ten bored me. Season 4 rocked in large part because he finally had a companion who would stand up to him (and also because David Tennant is far better at acting opposite women who are older than he is). The last few episodes of 10's time as the Doctor were howlingly terrible, but are much beloved by fans of 10. Also, the season enders for seasons 3, 4, and 5 were laughably bad, with each one worse than the last. Note: fans of 10 will drastically disagree.

I'd rate the Doctors (old & new) overall as
9th Doctor: By far the best – utterly wonderful
11th Doctor: Impressively good, I look forward to more.
3rd Doctor: I love Jon Pertwee and 3's clothing formed my early fashion sense (essentially tied with the 11th Doctor in my opinion)
4th Doctor: Tom Baker is iconic and wonderful
5th Doctor: The celery sprig was cute
10th Doctor: There have definitely been worse doctors
6th Doctor: Like 6
8th Doctor: Wow that was a dismal miniseries
7th Doctor: Did anyone like this guy?
1st Doctor: The actor rarely seemed sober and wow these eps are unwatchably bad.
(I've never seen any eps with the 2nd Doctor)
Current Mood: geekygeeky

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:January 12th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)
You should really watch some 2nd doctor. They are a lot of fun (really pretty bad, like the first doctor, but where Hartnell always seems like he hates every moment of the shit he's being forced to act, Trouton thinks it is a hoot, plus he doesn't flub every third line).

Oddly, Nostalgia (userid nostalgia_lj, but I can't remember how you do lj id tags) loves the 7th doctor, and doesn't seem to be alone in that. I think it is really Ace that people love. I've only seen the last episode, and I've always been bitterly disappointed since I discovered that I misremembered it and Ace didn't actually eat the Master while she was possessed by the Cheetah people.

I have a definite fondness for the 5th doctor.
[User Picture]
Date:January 12th, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
I've heard nifty things about Ace - I only saw one early (pre Ace) 7th Doctor ep and was unimpressed, but much of that might just have been lingering distaste for 6. I also quite like 5, almost as much as Baker (and it was also cool to watch as the show suddenly got a real budget).
[User Picture]
Date:January 12th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
In watching through the old series I've finally gotten to sylvester mccoy, a favorite of my housemate and another best friend, and I find him and Ace really fabulous, and near the top of my favorites list. Then again, I'm also much more fond of Tennant than you are, too.
[User Picture]
Date:January 13th, 2011 10:51 am (UTC)
I just read the wikipedia entry on Ace - I might go back and try some of the 7 + Ace eps. I just saw a couple of early eps, after mostly not watching 6 and getting increasingly tired of Doctor Who, so I might not have been judging it at all fairly. Btw, what do you think of Matt Smith's Doctor?
[User Picture]
Date:January 16th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
I really didn't like 6, but 7's been great for me. Much more so once Ace comes into things, since I found Mel really annoying.

As to the new doctors, I'm really thoroughly poly; I adore Eccleston, Tennant and Smith about equally. Then again, I'm really not hard to please.
[User Picture]
Date:January 13th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
It would be like Cú Chulainn's cattle raid, but with sheep, and in space.

This is a great idea, nothing can possibly go wrong. I am totally using this idea at the indeterminate point in the future that has me running a tabletop game.

Also, your Who summary is helpful to me since I plan to get into watching that at some point.
Date:January 27th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)

guide to Doctor Who

In fact, prompted by John's pithy summaries-for-a-friend, I've decided to make public my much-more-detailed guide to classic Doctor Who, which I put together for some friends a couple years ago. I just threw it into a blog post. http://woodelf.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/essential-doctor-who/
Date:January 27th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)

2nd & 7th

The 2nd Doctor had some of the very best Who stories ever, and also many of the very worst. Unfortunately, most of the ones that have survived are in the latter category, and most of them in the former category are only available as audio. His first story is probably the best Dalek ep prior to Eccleston--it's the only one where the Daleks are actually portrayed as menacing and intelligent. So I think it's right up there with Genesis of the Daleks. And, luckily, the storyline isn't too badly hurt by the lack of visuals--plus, it means you don't have to overlook the sometimes-laughable special effects.

If you like 11, you'll probably like 2--I feel that Matt Smith is very largely inspired by Troughton, in much the same way that Tennant is obviously (and explicitly) largely basing his version on Davison's.

If you haven't seen all of them, you owe it to yourself to watch the 7th Doctor's run. Mel was horrible, and the first couple stories weren't much better. But the last couple years were some of the very best stories of Who, and McCoy brought back real depth to the character that we hadn't seen since the Tom Baker (and maybe first-year Davison) years. And Ace was great, with only one major caveat: you have to remind yourself that the character is 15, and thus has the emotional maturity and general behavior of a teenager, despite the obviously-much-older woman playing her. As soon as I found out that Ace is 15, the episodes made a lot more sense, and the whole run improved vastly.

Oh, except Silver Nemesis. The basic story was pretty cool, but the cybermen were so laughably portrayed that it really hurts the whole effort. And by 'hurts' I mean "just about ruins it".

I will come to Colin Baker's defense: yes, he was unlikeable. Intentionally. But he got better, and the relationship with Peri, starting with Revelation of the Daleks, was interesting. And Trial of a Time Lord, except for the final 2 eps, was quite good. Or, rather, the stories themselves were good, it was only the framing story that was bad. Likewise, 6th-Doctor-in-the-stories-being-entered-as-evidence had morphed into one of my favorites--a very interesting character, who obviously foreshadowed the 7th doctor. Unfortunately, 6th-Doctor-in-the-courtroom was more of the previous season's bombast, and not in a good way. Plus, I *still* want to know what really happened in Mindwarp, absent the Valeyard's distortion of the record.

I used to hate Hartnell, and his eps. Then I sat down and rewatched the entire series (using reconstructions or audio-only for the missing stories) from the start, in order. Oh, there are some bad eps of the 1st doctor's run. A lot of them--almost as many as in the 2nd's. But what's really interesting to me is to watch the evolution of the Doctor himself. He really does grow and change--moreso than any other doctor save the 6th, i'd say. In the very first story, he's ready to do the pragmatic thing and kill an injured man just so they aren't burdened with carrying him in a hostile surroundings. It's only later that he becomes a champion of justice and morality. Plus, while The Daleks goes on--and on, and on--the portrayal of the Daleks themselves is one of the few good ones. Just about every story after that, the writers forgot that they were supposed to be intelligent and ruthless.

And, to give you some basis of comparison: I'd rate 9th, 11th, 4th, and 2nd as all "the best"--I'm really not sure I could rank within that group. I strongly suspect that, given another year of stories, 9th would be indisputably my favorite--his time was just too short. 5th and 7th would be in 2nd and third place, though in which order, I'm not sure. Then season-7 3rd. Then season-23 6th. Then 1st. then seasons-8-to-11 3rd. and season-22 6th brings in the bottom of the list. Oh, I really don't know how I feel about the 8th doctor. The Fox movie is one of the worst Who stories, with padding on par with a 1st-Doctor story, heavy-handed scripting, and a couple ideas that just don't jibe with the rest of Who canon. But McGann is really quite good, and having heard him in a bunch of audio plays, he's really grown on me.

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