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[personal profile] circular_time
 So, this is the first season of new Who I've purchased on Amazon Prime, mostly to support Bill (PoC lesbian!) and because I love Gomez and Capaldi. Also, Heaven Sent was amazeballs. This season... love the characters, but I doubt I'd rewatch any eps except the first two.

Back when they let Bill be HAPPY. When she wanted to go to the future, because she wanted to see that people in the future were HAPPY. Which was such a nice fresh start to get Who out of the angst rut it sometimes falls into. But she hasn't had much fun with the Doctor so far, just dudes hitting on her so she has to say "um... lesbian".

But anyway. I listened to and wrote a detailed liveblog on Spare Parts before watching this week's new Who. And I can only say that the EU one licks the TV version hollow, to misquote Tom Baker’s Puddleglum.

I haven't been this annoyed with Who since Twin Dilemma, which is saying a lot. (Well, okay, Minuet in Hell, but that wasn't on TV. Even The Boy That Time Forgot didn't irk me this much.) 

Let's see.

I've never seen a new Who regeneration story (post-regen, yes, lead-up, no). My standards are Planet of the Spiders, Logopolis and Caves of Androzani, each of which let us connect, really connect with our Doctor being absolutely his most Doctorish, summing up who he was and what he was willing to die for. We suffered along with him all through the story, and it was invariably a tearjerker when the regeneration arrived, even without the fancy effects they have now. (Double tearjerker on this side of the Atlantic, since we usually didn't know it was coming.) New Who has a huge disadvantage; fans know when a character's leaving, so the only buildup is HOW.

But Moffat did his "Gotcha!" thing, wasting our time at the beginning to show, "He dies now, haha!" without any development or buildup to the regeneration, sapping the emotional punch from what is usually a profound moment in a Doctor's run (plus there was last week's fakeout to further erode the drama). Having popped the balloon prematurely, Moffat now has to spend an ep or two reinflating it.


The Doctor:
  • Browbeats a companion (his student, yet) into going with the Master, when Bill's absolutely terrified of the Missy. After all the horrible, horrible things the Master has done to past companions. And Osgood. And destroying a third of the universe. Can't forget that.
  • The Doctor doesn't grab Bill and shuffle her into the TARDIS the moment that guy starts waving a gun and asking "Who's the human?" Instead he... gapes like a fish? And then the Doctor doesn't leap between the gun and Bill, just stands there TALKING about how awesome he is and how great a guy he is and how much the blue dude is going to love him. When did the Doctor become that arrogant? I mean yeah, he's always had more of less of an ego, but I still can't get over the Doctor boasting about himself as a viable substitute for DOING SOMETHING, which happens in New Who far too often. Five would've been between the gun and Bill in nanoseconds!
  • After Bill's shot, he doesn't go ballistic in the way past Doctors did at a companion's (or even a random person's) death. (Repeat after me, in squeaky-angry Five voice: "That wasn't necessary!" Or, better, "I would've helped you, but... you've killed my friend. And I was really rather fond of her. Very fond, in fact. So I'll tell you this, drone leader. I will stop you. I will stop at nothing to see your entire species driven out of the entire Mutter's Spiral!") So Twelve's schtick is not showing emotions? Meh.
  • He doesn't use the TARDIS to go after her. I mean, yeah, he gives a reason, but it's contrived. (I try not to apply other Who, but it's one of those contradictory canon things.)
  • Within a few minutes of Bill apparently dying, he's showing off his cleverness again (except he doesn't even check to see the ship is from fucking MONDAS) and cracking jokes, showing off Venusian karate. Um. Doctor? Bill? Remember her? The companion who begged you to protect her, and you let her die?  
But here's where I really lost it. In fact these were the things that pissed me off when I first started watching, making it like pulling teeth to force myself to finish the episode because I was still fuming about the first ten minutes. In which:
  • Bury your gays. Of COURSE. Of course the first lesbian (not pan, lesbian) companion is shot and killed (?) Of COURSE. After so many fans said "the one thing we dread about Bill Potts being a lesbian is we're afraid she'll fall into the 'bury your gays' trope. As nearly ALL lesbian characters on TV do."  I've been  dreading it since it was first announced. But I still can't believe ... after all the recent fuss about Lexa on The 100, Moffat STILL hasn't heard how sick and tired lesbians are of being killed off at a much higher rate than any other group on TV, even POCs. Oh yes...
  • Black woman shot. Of COURSE. OF COURSE. 
  • Black woman ordered to mop floors, forced into slavery, and not a single peep of protest. Wouldn't normally notice that much, except she was forced into slavery (in fact blackmailed into enslaving the human race) in the very last serial, under the phony name of "consent," so at this point I'm a little crabby on the subject.
And on the side, we have the silly on the nose BS about using "Doctor Who" in-universe and claiming this is "Genesis of the Cybermen."

Which is often what Spare Parts is called, by the way, and surely Moffat bloody well knows it, since there was a big fuss last year when it went to limited edition vinyl after being voted the best? [Heck, the LPs were released iin APRIL to great fanfare.]

I honestly don't mind new Who retconning classic Who. I don't. It would calcify otherwise. But when you're retconning one of the most highly-regarded Doctor Who stories ever, you had better be putting out something with the quality of Heaven Sent.

I felt like the Doctor stands around and dithers for too much of this story. I love Capaldi, but what a waste of his talents for his swansong. Gomez gets a few moments of being charismatic again, at least.

Not much opinion on Simm. I've avoided that whole chunk of Who because the "drums" retcon sounded like something I'd rather skip. Although I did like him pulling the classic Master-in-disguise trick. That was nice. Until he did the "Missy is female so I will flirt with her" *rolleyes* Can we NOT focus quite so much on sex and flirting just because the Master is now female? Sigh.  

I'm just... tired.Which is a pity, because Capaldi and Gomez finally had me hooked last year, and at the moment I’m having to force myself to keep watching.

Then again, that means more time to listen to great Who stories that very seldom let me down. I've got a backlog to get through, after all!

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July 2017

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