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(The Mary Sue)   Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat says that the Red Menace is over for good, explains how a clear resolution to the problem was impossible to air on television because audiences are too stupid   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, Doctor Who, Weeping Angels, dream sequence, Steven Moffat  
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5520 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Mar 2013 at 3:37 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-03-16 06:25:58 PM  
6 votes:
Look, I've been a Doctor Who fan since I saw the very first Tom Baker episode ('Robot') back in the '80's.  In many ways, I love the show.

But I must say I find it amusing that people are worried about continuity and plausibility in the show.  Doctor Who has many virtues and many admirable qualities, but never has been, is not, and never will be a bastion of continuity and scientific accuracy.  "Just repeat to yourself, 'it's just this show, I should really just relax'."

For me, Who was always an amusing, entertaining, cheesy little show with great pretensions, but what raised the show itself to greatness was not the science or continuity (if you want those, go elsewhere).  No, for me it was the idea that this show dared to lift its eyes up from the ground, to the horizon and far beyond, to challenge every viewer to be greater than they were when they came in.

It said, Yes, there are principles worth standing up for; Yes, you can be a hero without packing heat; Yes, it's a large, dangerous, scary, and magnificent universe out there, and we're no way ready for it - but let's go larking off on adventures anyway.

Doctor Who is/was silly in many ways.  That's one of its virtues.  It never had a rod up its butt (*cough* ST:TNG *cough* - and I was a Trek fan from the first episode of TOS).

Does Doctor Who contradict itself many, many times over?  Of course it does.  I don't care.  Look, I love good, scientifically accurate SF.  If I want scientifically plausible time travel (and still with a good story), I'll re-read James P. Hogan's 'Thrice Upon a Time'.  But it's a huge universe - there's plenty of room for everybody.  I love Doctor Who, I love it for what it is.  But even if 'what it is' is not something else that I love, that's fine.

'The Next Doctor'?  Superb story.

'The Doctor's Wife'?  I *love* the way Neil Gaiman can stand conventional wisdom on its head and find obvious truths that no one else has ever seen.

'The Waters of Mars'?  *There* was a side of The Doctor to keep in mind!

'The Planet of Death'?  BRING BACK LADY CHRISTINA!

'Blink'? A perfect little jeweled Faberge Egg of a story.

... And Wilf Mott, and Donna Noble.  My heart still aches.  And the Brig.  And Sarah Jane - Thank God the writers brought her back and gave her a dignity she rarely achieved in the old series.  And Leela.  And K-9.

Yep, a lot of stuff there to love in Doctor Who.  I hope folks won't mind if I love it for its indomitable spirit, even I smile tolerantly at its hard science lapses.  Because, occasionally, the power of the story trumps the power of physics.

/and running.  Lots and lots of running.
2013-03-16 12:43:44 PM  
3 votes:
The whole episode was a mess. In the city that never sleeps nobody saw the giant Statue of Liberty walking thru New York City?
2013-03-16 07:23:45 PM  
2 votes:

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Because, occasionally, the power of the story trumps the power of physics.

Doctor Who fans are obviously not Terry Pratchett fans or they would understand this.  Narrative has its own power.  Stories are heavy, universe-altering things.  Sometimes things are just because the story demands it.  Million-to-one chances.  Dramatic nick-of-time entrances.  All the convenient little Deus ex Machina.

I'm going to miss Rory.  Some people have complained Doctor Who turned into "The Amy Pond Hour".  It was on my mind when I recently rewatched nuWho, and I suppose I could see it a bit, but they all seemed to be ignoring Rory.

The Ponds were the first married couple companions.  Seeing how travelling with the Doctor affected a marriage was interesting.  Seeing how the Doctor dealt with companions as people with a life and issues of their own playing out in his TARDIS instead of singular extensions of his own ego was interesting.  Just like Donna Noble gave us the chance to see the Doctor deal with a companion who wasn't desperate to slob on his knob, but instead who was a proper friend in the real sense, happy to tell him when he was being a jerk instead of just gazing all starry-eyed at him.

/My god I hate Rose and Marfa
2013-03-18 08:22:32 PM  
1 vote:
I just realised something a moment ago.  The Tenth Doctor told Ood Sigma at the start of "The End of Time" that he married Elizabeth I. So when Amy coincidently married Henry VIII in "The Power of Three", she became Elizabeth I's step-mother and thus the Doctor's double mother-in-law.
2013-03-17 02:16:34 AM  
1 vote:
BattleFrenchie28:  RassilonsExWife: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Yep, a lot of stuff there to love in Doctor Who.  I hope folks won't mind if I love it for its indomitable spirit, even I smile tolerantly at its hard science lapses.  Because, occasionally, the power of the story trumps the power of physics.

Your newsletter. Let me subscribe to it. :)

Sorry, no newsletter.  I think one of the best, fastest way to kill ideas and discourse is to have to crank stuff out, to order, on a deadline.  (At least in my case.  I doubt I would ever have a whole lot of stuff to say that anyone would find any value in.  As Tom Lehrer said, "I feel that if a person cannot communicate, the very least they can do is to Shut Up."  If I don't think I have anything worthwhile to add, I tend to clam up.  And as slow as my mind works, the worthwhile stuff is few and far between.)

I've never seen anyone kick so much ass in my entire life.


Heh.  Don't know if it's obscure or not, but *I* appreciated the comment.

Vash would make a cool companion.

Vash?  as a companion?  Well, assuming you're talking about 'Vash the Stampede', and not Captain Picard's larcenous acquaintance (who might herself make a decent companion, a la Lady Christina), I -   I -

... I would have to have serious doubts about putting The Doctor into continued proximity to Vash.  Yes, Vash is quite dedicated to finding other solutions than guns to every problem that comes along - but he IS willing to fire when he feels the situation warrants.  And that third gun would *HAVE* to give The Doctor a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.  Hell, that third gun might give *Rassilon* pause.

I've been busy today, untangling various misbehaving machines, and I haven't read this whole thread (have to get to it sometime soon - the glimpses look fascinating).  But one thing occurs, that I don't know if anyone has touched on.

Re: the bullshiat explanation The Doctor gave for not saving Amy and Rory.  Do people realize that the *only* authority present, who can speak to temporal dynamics, the Rules of Time, and all of the wibbly-wobbly stuff...

... is The Doctor.

And Rule #1 is, The Doctor Lies.

If The Doctor wanted to keep his enemies from going after two dear friends who had stood their watch and wanted to live their own lives, would he lie?

I have had serious philosophical disagreements with The Doctor over the decades, particularly in the areas of ethics and morality.  If I were sitting around sharing a beer with the gentleman, I might suggest to him that it's goddam easy to 'take the high road' and refrain from using a violent solution to a life-or-death situation, IF!  you have godlike Gallifreyan technology at your disposal.

For us mere mortals, though, 'What we've got is, What we've got'.  In a whole lot of cases, we do Not have the luxury of The Doctor's ideals.  The Doctor never has acknowledged it (to my imperfect knowledge), but available technology really does change the range of options available to a person.  Just as the technology available to Vash provided him with options that the rest of us could not imagine.

In my opinion, one of the most impressive scenes (and one of the most telling shots ever landed on The Doctor by an enemy) was Davros' speech in 'Journey's End' (season 4 finale).  To paraphrase:  "You never carry a gun.  You turn your friends into guns."  The Doctor had little to say to that, as I recall - it hit him right in his guilt.

And that may be the best theme of the entire show, constantly on display but never (or rarely) overtly stated.  The loneliness of the godlike Doctor, his need for his companions, but who are so far behind in overt power that simply by being with them, he can destroy them.  And that is why he works so hard to stretch them into something more.

Looking over my last two paragraphs, perhaps The Doctor and Vash might understand each other better than I thought.

/ though, philosophically, teaming up The Doctor with another pair of time travelers who used a phone booth might be entertaining.  "Be Excellent To Each Other" always struck me as an unjustifiably underrated philosophy, and one which I think both The Doctor and Vash would approve of.
2013-03-17 12:51:43 AM  
1 vote:
golden goat: In this episode, the Dr. realizes he didn't go back and "save" them from the past; they died (i.e. the gravestone) and lived a life without him (as evidenced in the text of the book). It's not that he couldn't go back, he just didn't, and this fact saddens him, I think.

It's more that he doesn't  need to go back.  What does he need to rescue them from?  At about the point he realizes what's happened, he's already learned that they were together, and lived full and happy lives.  He doesn't have any need to "save" them, since they're happy.  It's their happily ever after.  He's sad because he's realized that he's not a part of that ever after.  It's the culmination of the whole "the companions have lives outside the Doctor" theme of the season.  That's when it really comes home to roost for the Doctor; they didn't need him or adventures to be happy, they really only needed each other.

So he let them be happy.  It's the recognition that their happiness involves his absence that makes him sad.
2013-03-16 06:40:24 PM  
1 vote:

Thorak: That's exactly why the Doctor commited  genocide of his entire species to stop them.

Extremely well said, and I agree completely. But one small point - the Doctor wiped out Gallifrey during the Time War not to stop the Time Lords, but because it was the only way to stop the Daleks from winning. It was a matter of either both sides died, or the Daleks got control of all time and space. (it was established in the novels and while it has never been stated explicitly in NuWho the broad hints indicate that they've taken it as canon.)

Knowing that, go back and watch #9 in "Dalek" when he's first finds himself in the room with one. That's why he freaks the fark out. The only solace he had for the crushing guilt of exterminating his entire planet was "oh well... at least I stopped the Daleks."

And then he walks in to one.
2013-03-16 06:25:24 PM  
1 vote:

thecpt: does anyone actually care. I'm just happy to be past them.  Its a tv show and actors move on, this time for the better.  I don't need a sensible explanation given that most of the show doesn't make sense, with the counter argument to that being "wibbly wobbly."

That should have been Moffat's explanation for TFA's author.
"Why couldn't the Doctor have traveled elsewhere?"
"Because of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff."

It works for me.
2013-03-16 06:11:21 PM  
1 vote:

Optimal_Illusion: Somebody personally send Moffat the link to this page.

/caution! TV Tropes!

It's not that he thinks Doctor Who viewers are morons; it's that he thinks BBC One viewers are morons, and I don't see any reason to ague with him on that one.
2013-03-16 05:42:21 PM  
1 vote:
Still think that Amy wasn't all that bad, and Rory was the best companion since the reboot.

/I just watch the show for fun. You can't take it too seriously.
2013-03-16 05:20:57 PM  
1 vote:
The number one rule of Doctor Who is: Never let anything get in the way of telling a good story.

And honestly, the best way to prevent this would have been to write a different and better farewell episode.  The Weeping Angels are the most overrated, one-dimensional monsters I've ever seen.
2013-03-16 04:55:21 PM  
1 vote:
Moffat does the same thing with DW that he does with Sherlock: if it looks pretty, he hopes you won't notice the massive plot holes that make no sense.
2013-03-16 04:54:06 PM  
1 vote:

Darth_Lukecash: What plot hole? I thought it was alway plain that the doctor couldn't just do what he wanted. It set up that once the future is fixed for a Time Lord, it's fixed.

It's always struck me that it isn't an issue of  can, it's an issue of  will.  In particular, the Time Lords primarily exist to protect the timeline.  As such, they're morally and ethically bound to  not just change things for their own preferences.  If they allowed themselves to do so, they would basically become Gods and the inevitable end would be the destruction of all of time and space.  That's exactly why the Doctor commited  genocide of his entire species to stop them.

This is a man who will not only kill his family, but his entire family history and every other family of his entire species, to prevent them mucking up and destroying the timeline.  When he finds out Rory and Amy are stuck in the past, but lived a happy life, it's bittersweet but he has no real reason to  need to do after them.  They end up living happily ever after.  He just can't see them again.

For someone willing to kill his entire species, that's a pretty small price to pay, to avoid the risk of causing the same kind of damage the Time-lords were causing before he took them out.

People saying "but he could just go to another point and see them anyway" completely miss the point.  They lived a good life.  He'd be "saving" them from that good life.  He's not willing to do that.  He'll risk damaging the timeline, if it's worthwhile, but wanting to see his friends again isn't a worthwhile reason.  He knows he's not some petulant impulsive godling, and doesn't let himself fall into that trap.  That's what made him different from the rest of the Time-lords.
2013-03-16 04:39:21 PM  
1 vote:

LiberalWeenie: I read his explanation as, "The answer is impossible to explain in a way that doesn't seem convoluted and arbitrary, especially within the confines of the dialogue, so we skipped it."

I'm fine with the Ponds being done; they had a good run, and it's time to move on. I hadn't even noticed the plot hole. But this answer kind of smells.

What plot hole? I thought it was alway plain that the doctor couldn't just do what he wanted. It set up that once the future is fixed for a Time Lord, it's fixed.
2013-03-16 03:50:25 PM  
1 vote:
I actually liked how they ended the Ponds story line, yet still left that little door open with the lost, adopted son and grandpa. Our children, however we get them, are how we time-travel, projecting a part of ourselves through them, into the future.
2013-03-16 12:41:24 PM  
1 vote:

Flint Ironstag: That's the problem with a show about a guy with a time machine. When he heard the Brigadier was dead he could have just gone back six months earlier. Crossing his own timeline? He knew Churchill had died but he still went back to WWII to see him. In fact every single person he has ever met he will know that at one point in time they will be dead and at another point they will still be alive. Without exception. Except maybe Captain Jack. He's gone to the far future hundreds of times. Guess what? Sarah Jane and the Brig were dead then. Go back to the 1970s and they were still alive. Interfering with history is what he does. Every week. Every time he tries to fight the bad guys.
If you're the writer you just have to make up something and hope it makes sense to most people.  Moffat is concerned with the moral of the story, the message, not the technicalities of the time travel.

Actually, he seems more concerned with grand ideas and movie poster blockbuster episodes than good episodes.

Of course, this is a change from last season, when it was all about a dense, nigh-impenetrable ongoing storyline where everything meant something but it was mostly forgotten about for a big cliffhanger.

/Moffat wrote some great episodes under RTD, but shouldn't be running the show.
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