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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who blogging: “Into the Dalek”


[previous: “Deep Breath”]

warning: spoilers!

It’s not the Fantastic Voyage ripoff that bothers me here — though it’s cheating to have the Doctor talk about medical miniaturization as a “fantastic idea for a movie” as if that should erase any objections. It’s the ripoff of the wonderful early episode of the rebooted Doctor Who: “Dalek.” This episode goes over all the same emotional ground that one did eight years ago: created a moral equivalence between the Doctor and his greatest enemies, used his hatred of them to define how much he — as a character in our eyes and as a man in his own eyes — had been changed by his battles with them.

And maybe all of the rewalking a path we’d already been down would have been okay if the story built around it made the slightest bit of sense in a moment-by-moment, scene-by-scene way, purely on a plot basis. Why does the Doctor choose to save one person — Journey — in the middle of a battle in which presumably hundreds or thousands of people are dying? Why her? Why any soldier at all if suddenly he doesn’t like soldiers for some reason we have no idea what that could be about? How does she know he’s “a doctor” if he hasn’t introduced himself (and there seems to be no time for those sorts of pleasantries to have happened offscreen)? When is this big battle between humans and Daleks taking place? (Go on, Moffat, give us a century, at least. And wait, didn’t all the Daleks kill one another or get caught in a time wastebasket or something in the Time War?)

Why is inside a Dalek “the most dangerous place in the universe”? Why did you think was going to happen, Doctor, if you fixed “a Dalek so damaged it’s turned good” for whom its newfound “morality” is a “malfunction”? When fixing the breach turns the Dalek bad again — cuz what a shock — because it cut off “the radiation [that] allowed it to expand its consciousness,” why not just open the breach up again? (This is separate from the bizarre notion of radiation as consciousness enhancing.) Why on earth would the antibodies stop heading for Clara and Journey once it has its “good” memories back? (It had no conscious control over them before, which is to be expected, as the Doctor pointed out to Clara and others.) What the heck does a Dalek know about “divinity,” or whether the Doctor has any in him? Sorry, but witnessing the birth of a star doesn’t clue you into galactic mythology.

I’m with the Doctor: Death to the Daleks already.

Why does the Doctor need Clara to figure out a good Dalek? Why does he keep coming back to her at all? What’s with the supply closet? Had Clara prearranged to meet Doctor there… after he clearly abandoned her without warning in a distant city three weeks earlier? (And didn’t we see her walking along with him to go get coffee? How could he disappear?) Why does she get in the TARDIS if “no offense but I’ve got plans”?

I simply do not understand Clara at all. Okay, Danny Pink is cute and adorably shy and all, but if there really a choice between a drink after work and flying off into time and space in a magic box with a wonderful madman? If there’s something more compelling that traveling with the Doctor among Clara’s life options, we simply are not seeing it. So she just pops in and out — reluctantly! — of the Doctor’s life, and Moffat has to come up with completely ridiculous reasons — or no reason at all, in this case — to get Clara back into action when she could just be there all the time.


Poor, poor Danny. Not only is he subject to random sexual harassment from a school secretary — which isn’t funny or interesting, so why is it here? — he’s also going to be subjected to random harassment from the Doctor when he inevitably gets shoved into the TARDIS in some forced, phony way. Cuz not only does the Doctor hate soldiers now, he is committed to making fun of Clara and her appalling lack of sexual appeal. I can hear the dialogue already: the Doctor will say something denigrating about her “boyfriend,” she’ll jump right in with “He’s not my boyfriend,” and it’ll go downhill from there. It’ll be a rerun of Rose and Mickey.


I know Moffat is hoping we’ll feel all the feels here — the Doctor upset about not being a good man, Clara “caring” about whatever — but nothing here earns any of the emotion that the episode would have us believe that it does. Moffat has no idea, not a clue, but insert Clever Thing here, and we’re done. *rubs hands together with satisfied glee*

Random thoughts on “Into the Dalek”:

• She’s really drinking that coffee?


Ewww. It’s been sitting around a while…

• Why does Doctor insist on making unkind comments about Clara’s body? Calling her old, deeming her hips manly… this is not the opposite of flirting, not the opposite of not being her boyfriend. It’s just mean and worse, makes no sense. The Doctor is now incapable of seeing human beings in the way he did before?

• This was a nice moment, if an extremely tiny one:


The Doctor says something scary and ominous, and then goes, basically, “Boo!” (I bet that was all Capaldi, and not in the script. It doesn’t really jibe with the Doctor as scripted so far: too playful. Too, dare I say it, flirty.)

• So, they’re covered in goo:


And then minutes later they’re all nice and clean again?


Is there a locker room and dry-cleaning service in the Dalek?

• The breach allowing the radiation leak is a little bit Crack in the Universe:


Please, let that not be a thing again.

• Journey is so clearly the template of the perfect companion in the classic-series mode:


She just lost everything (her brother), she proved herself useful to the Doctor, that I feel like Moffat must be making some sort of point in having the Doctor so cruelly reject her request to take her with him. (She is, also so clearly, exactly what he needs: an actual companion, not someone who bops in and out at random.) I suspect Moffat is telling us that this is not going to be old-style Doctor Who, though I don’t know why that’s necessary at this point.

• Right, so Heaven, run by Missy, is going to be full of people the Doctor got dead:


Great quotes:

A Dalek is “evil refined as engineering.” –the Doctor

“Is he mad or is he right?” –Gretchen, about the Doctor
“Hand on my heart? Most days he’s both.” –Clara

[next: “Robot of Sherwood”]

posted in:
tv buzz
  • Why does Danny Pink already seem so authentic (and sympathetic) as a character after 10 minutes of screen time, compared to Mystery Girl Clara that we’ve followed for so long? Also, Journey Blue.

  • Speaking of which, I wonder if we’ll see a crossover with Orphan Black.

  • Miss AG

    I so badly need this iteration of the Doctor to be going the way it’s obviously going. Dammit Moffatt.

  • Miss AG


  • bronxbee

    well, you covered all my major objections — it is *sooo* irritating; you would think the Doctor would feel empathy with a soldier who is defending her home, her loved ones and her world against *his* big enemies; and it’s obvious there’s a lot more to Journey or she wouldn’t be chucking it all over to beg a ride with the Doctor; dammit Moffat, this isn’t the 1960s, soldiers aren’t the enemy, haven’t you heard? — and Clara AAAARRRRFGH! that is all — slapping the Doctor? W,T,F? and suddenly this little human nobody is who he appoints to be his “carer” — OMG could it get any worse? WAIT — don’t answer that! i’m so afraid of what the answer will be! Give it over Moffat — let someone else take a turn as showrunner, before you actually manage to alienate me from the Doctor! (pun intended)

  • bronxbee


  • the rook

    is it possible that missy is miss evangelista from silence in the library/forest of the dead? and ‘heaven’ is the library?

    the library does have a track record of storing the doctor’s deceased aqssociates.

  • Radek Piskorski

    “How does she know he’s “a doctor” if he hasn’t introduced himself?”
    He DID introduce himself. Please pay attention.

  • Radek Piskorski

    Why on earth would the antibodies stop heading for Clara and Journey once it has its “good” memories back? (It had no conscious control over them before, which is to be expected, as the Doctor pointed out to Clara and others.) What the heck does a Dalek know about “divinity,” or whether the Doctor has any in him?

    The Dalek actually rebooted with all the new memories. The eyestalk actually went out. So the antibodies stopped.

    I’m guessing the divinity is due to the Doctor himself being/behaving god-like or inspiring a godly ‘fear’ in others to the point that they sacrifice themselves for him. Like Gretchen or maybe the droid from the first episode. Maybe Missy is precisely collecting these self-sacrificers.

  • Radek Piskorski

    “Not only is he subject to random sexual harassment from a school secretary — which isn’t funny or interesting, so why is it here?”

    Because a secretary where he worked wanted to sexually harrass him? See, that’s exactly the kind of in-universe mindframe you used to have when reviewing the early seasons.

  • Radek Piskorski

    To me, one of the best NewWho episodes ever.

  • Radek Piskorski

    aren’t soldiers the enemy even more now?

  • While I’m not a huge fan of this episode in particular (and I’m seriously annoyed about this whole “Missy” thing), I did like it on a level with many other average episodes. It was certainly silly, and I agree that we covered this emotional ground in the Eccleston era (and more effectively) — but that stems mostly from me not being super excited about all the “classic” villains, because I didn’t grow up on the show like so many fans did. I like when they try new things. The 2nd episode featuring a new Doctor tends to be a little self-referential. I enjoyed very much “The Beast Below” for instance; much more than “Into the Dalek”.

    MaryAnn I wonder if you’ve just started expecting too much from Doctor Who? I’m not sure there’s anything in this episode that wasn’t around in those Davies days… it all has the same feel to me. But again, I’ve only been watching since the Eccleston Doctor, so I lack that history. Then again, 8 years is a long time.

    It sure was a dark episode though, all those slow-mo shots of Daleks exploding and spurting blue blood everywhere. I mean, I liked it. But I was thinking “oh wow… that’s kinda dark”.

  • bronxbee

    in case you haven’t noticed, this is the age of “support our troops” –

  • bronxbee

    you can make a correction without being a jerk

  • Radek Piskorski

    I thought *she* was being a jerk in her nitpicking and negativity and she’s not even right.

  • Radek Piskorski

    But governments have always urged citizens to support troops. Maybe they want us to support them because now it’s clearer that wars don’t have any moral justification?

  • GeeksAreMyPeeps

    And it would be just like Moffat to not leave his old ideas as they were

  • But even the Doctor should feel — whether we agree with him or not — that war against the Daleks *is* just and moral. Shouldn’t he?

  • Oh please no.

    (That does sound horribly plausibly, though.)

  • You’re right — he does.

    The episode still sucks.

  • Okay, I’ll bite: What in-universe purpose does sexual harassment serve in this episode?

  • My expectations are very low. I’m not expecting much at all.

  • The Dalek actually rebooted with all the new memories. The eyestalk actually went out. So the antibodies stopped.

    That doesn’t explain anything.

  • Can you explain what you liked about it?

  • Radek Piskorski

    My point is that, in-universe, nothing serves any purpose because these are just people doing what they feel like doing. (Not that this is a 100% perfect way of watching things, but this is the posture that I felt your early reviews had.)

  • Radek Piskorski

    Talking about points and purposes, then, I think the point is that everybody is convinced that Danny is a womanizer even though he comes across to us as a very sensitive and introspective men. Even when he clearly states that he was reading and, I dunno, partying hard, people still don’t believe him. My guess is it might have to do with the fact he was a soldier, so that most people instantly assume he’s a ‘hard’ guy.

  • Radek Piskorski

    Hmmm very briefly I would say it was very intense, I loved the idea of going inside a Dalek, I loved Capaldi’s acting and the tension when the Daleks invaded. I loved Jenna’s acting and the moral discussions. The scenes at the school were very well shot and well-acted and the characterization was interesting.

  • Danielm80

    I think that’s the point. He’s killed two people in two episodes, and he nearly allowed a “good” Dalek to die. If a soldier travels with him, she might convince him that killing is just and moral. “Rusty” thought that he was so full of hatred he would make a good Dalek, a good soldier. The Doctor doesn’t want to be that kind of person. He’d rather travel with Clara, who questions whether he’s a good man.

  • Danielm80

    I think it makes sense according to Doctor Who science. The Daleks believe compassion is a malfunction. The visitors are trying to “infect” “Rusty” with compassion, so antibodies are sent out to destroy them. Once “Rusty” decides that compassion is healthy, rather than the result of a radiation leak, the antibodies are no longer necessary.

  • Mark

    *Sigh*. I used to really like these reviews, and the debates that ensued. Thought I’d check in again after a break, to see if it was worth taking the plunge of a subscription. But the trends that had set in a while back have carried on unabated, it would seem.
    Moffat writing The Girl in the Fireplace = good. Moffat running the show = evil. Yeah, I get it, he’s a bad, bad man, and we need reminding of that week in, week out. It’s his job to make sure nothing said, alluded to or hinted at in Doctor Who can possibly be interpreted as contradicting anything else said, alluded to or hinted at in the entire 50 year history of the programme. It’s his job to avoid any possible infringement of any possible ‘-ism’ that anyone could possibly think of. Plus the ones they can’t.
    Oh well, it seems the fate of fandom these days is to become inward-looking, discontent and just plain nit-picky to the point of obsession, and I suppose that needs some form of expression. But coming back here now is a bit like walking into a room full of Victor Meldrews.
    I think this was a pretty good, enjoyable episode. Capaldi is excellent, the plot was entertaining, Missy’s overly-bright “heaven” is intriguing. My kids, who have very different mind-sets to my own, broadly agreed. Talking to most other Doctor Who fans, that’s not a controversial view – but here it obviously is.
    Personally, when I stop enjoying something, I stop making myself endure it, but to each their own.
    Anyway, enough. Farewell!

  • RogerBW

    If the scriptwriting choices of Steven Moffat have not changed, why should the reviews of the results of those choices change?
    If you think they have changed, why not say how?

  • bronxbee

    it’s her site, she’s been reviewing DW for years and you’re a newcomer ; it is a critics job to criticise — you might at least be polite until you’re around a while

  • bronxbee

    GAH — no! and NO (whimpers) please — can’t moffat stop recycling his ideas? pick another writer — or a dozen other writers and get some new villains, new worlds, new amazements

  • Martin

    I’m getting a little tired of Dalek episodes flirting with the idea of whether the Doctor hating the Daleks is a bad thing. I’m pretty sure that the next Dalek episode is just going to be Steven Moffat sat at his desk saying “He who fights monsters… Did I just blow your mind?”

    Whenever people throw that quote around, I’m tempted to respond with “and what of He who doesn’t fight monsters? They usually suffer from death by monster.”

    Yes, it’s hypocritical to try and wipe out a race of genocidal maniacs, but I think everyone can agree that a lack of space nazis is a net good for the universe.

    And I’d welcome Journey Blue as a companion with open arms, Doctor Who is big enough to not need an audience surrogate anymore and if we’re still going to have a beautiful woman as a companion, at least have one that’s more proactive, and possibly hates the Daleks as much as the Doctor does.

  • Well-shot and well-acted? Isn’t that a minimum we should expect from a professionally produced TV program? I mean, is anyone saying that the problems with DW these days have to do with bad craft?

    Going inside a Dalek might be a potentially interesting idea, but we didn’t learn anything that we couldn’t have learned if we didn’t go inside the Dalek. As always, it’s a good idea that Moffat then doesn’t know what to do with.

  • I think this is a stretch. The Doctor trusts the Dalek’s judgment about him, but doesn’t trust his own long history of up-close-and-personal experience with soldiers, who cannot *all* have possibly convinced him that all soldiers believe that all killing is just and moral, *and* that that would rub off on him?

    This would be a dramatic change of heart for the Doctor that would require a *lot* more development to be believable. It’s way too suddenly here.

  • The visitors are trying to “infect” “Rusty” with compassion

    They are?

  • I can only share my honest opinions. They are not, however, “trends.”

    Moffat writing The Girl in the Fireplace = good. Moffat running the show = evil.

    Yeah. Wow. That’s a perfect encapsulation of the tens of thousands of words I’ve written about this show. I guess I can just stop now.

  • Jurgan

    These reviews are getting hard for me to fathom. You were the one who almost single-handedly introduced me to Doctor Who, and I read along with your reviews all the way up to the present. I’m sick of Moffat, too, but with a new Doctor and with “Time of the Doctor” tying up most of the old loose ends (not well, granted), I consider this a fresh start. And I think the last two episodes have been very good. I’ll grant you the dinosaur should have been cut from Deep Breath entirely, but otherwise these seem to really work. I’ve noticed you no longer refer to this as a lovefest, which is telling, perhaps. You loved unreservedly every episode in the first couple seasons, even widely panned ones like Fear Her and Love and Monsters. Now, nearly every episode you say “nothing makes sense.” You’re allowed to like and dislike whatever you will, but it seems like you’re nitpicking things you would have given a pass to in the Davies years.

    The episode wasn’t, I feel, a ripoff of “Dalek,” but a sequel to it. It deliberately calls back to that episode and expands on it. The first dalek told the Doctor he “would make a good dalek,” but now he IS a “good dalek.” He has the violence and hatred of the daleks but with a sense of morality. The 11th Doctor was very violent and did a lot of cruel, questionable things, so now instead of saying he might make a good dalek, he is fully the equivalent of one. The Doctor asks Clara if he’s a good man, and the dalek answers that he isn’t; he’s a good dalek. This feeds into what appears to be the theme of this series: The Doctor has become very dark and cruel and needs to return to his roots. Also, you say this is a ripoff of Dalek, but many people say Dalek was itself a ripoff of the Sixth Doctor audio drama “Jubilee.” The show’s been on the air fifty years, there’s going to be some repetition.

    “Why does the Doctor choose to save one person — Journey — in the middle of a battle in which presumably hundreds or thousands of people are dying? Why her? Why any soldier at all if suddenly he doesn’t like soldiers for some reason we have no idea what that could be about?”

    Why not? He picks the first person he sees and doesn’t have time for any others. And hasn’t the Doctor always been suspicious of authority figures? Doesn’t it make sense he’d have some contempt for people whose whole life is about following orders? Wasn’t that same contempt present when the Third Doctor worked for UNIT?

    “When is this big battle between humans and Daleks taking place?”

    Why does that matter?

    “Why did you think was going to happen, Doctor”

    Save its life without compromising its mind, perhaps? Yeah, he screwed up. He does that sometimes.

    “why not just open the breach up again?”

    Because the wavelength of the radiation gamma waves was keyed to the specific frequency of the who cares? He fixed it, and then he couldn’t unfix it in the exact same way. Would a few lines of technobabble have made this a better story?

    “Why does the Doctor need Clara to figure out a good Dalek?”

    Although it’s never mentioned, I think he’s remembering Dalek Oswin. If she was able to be a good Dalek, maybe she can help him figure out how the mystery of its mind.

    “I simply do not understand Clara at all. Okay, Danny Pink is cute and adorably shy and all, but if there really a choice between a drink after work and flying off into time and space in a magic box with a wonderful madman?”

    See, this really bothers me, and it’s not the first time you’ve made this argument. You seem to think there’s something wrong with a character on this show if they don’t want exactly what you would want. Clara has a good job teaching students she appears to care about. She has an interest in a normal man who can relate to her as an equal. She also likes the occasional adventure with the Doctor, but doesn’t want it to be her whole life. In essence, she’s the career girl who also wants a strong personal life and doesn’t feel the need to choose between the two. Maybe you would drop everything and run away in that situation, but there’s nothing wrong with another woman choosing differently than you. I’ll admit, it frustrated me when Amy kept trying to push the Doctor away for a “normal life,” but that was more about the indecision, and how they kept reusing the same conflict long after it became stale. In these two episodes, I know more about Clara than in all of season 7.2, and I fully believe she cares about her life in modern-day England.

    “I know Moffat is hoping we’ll feel all the feels here — the Doctor upset about not being a good man, Clara “caring” about whatever — but nothing here earns any of the emotion that the episode would have us believe that it does.”

    I don’t think Moffat wrote this script- he had a cowriting credit, I think, which means he polished a bit. Regardless, I disagree. I did like the Doctor and Clara’s interactions, I think she is helping him, and I think it is earned.

    “• The breach allowing the radiation leak is a little bit Crack in the Universe:”

    Yes, I saw that, too. I am also hoping it’s just a coincidence.

    I’ll keep reading your reviews, of course, but this season might be the first time we’ve been in strong disagreement.

  • Jurgan

    Or Reservoir Dogs.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Though I haven’t yet watched this season (I’m waiting for my daughter to catch up – we’re up to “The Crimson Horror”) I’ve had to resign myself to the notion that I’m going to be avoiding the Doctor Who blogging posts for the foreseeable future. The removal of the “lovefest” disclaimer at the top is not unexpected; I think it’s time to acknowledge that what MaryAnn is doing now is hate-watching the show, which is a very different way to interact with it. Of course, she doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that she’s hate-watching it. And that’s a shame. Frankly, she’d probably enjoy the experience more for the catharsis of it, and the posts themselves would be a lot more fun to read (though not something I engage in, especially for a show I enjoy).

  • RogerBW

    Let’s not forget that the Doctor in the old show did actually like the Brig, Sergeant Benton, and the rest of the UNIT crew. He might disagree with them, he might argue with them, but he didn’t think that they were unworthy of his consideration.

  • So now I’m not just a bad fan but a delusional one as well.

    Maybe I should just stop doing these posts.

  • I’ve noticed you no longer refer to this as a lovefest, which is telling, perhaps.

    Yeah, well, I was tired of taking shit for that.

    You seem to think there’s something wrong with a character on this show if they don’t want exactly what you would want.

    No. There’s something wrong with a character who doesn’t seem to even want to be in the damn story, and the writers have to keep shoving her in in ways that don’t feel organic.

    it seems like you’re nitpicking things you would have given a pass to in the Davies years.

    The RTD episodes were *much* more emotionally involving. The stories were *much* better written. Even the early Moffat years were infinitely more engaging than what we’ve gotten of late.

    Obviously, you disagree.

  • Jurgan

    I don’t see how Clara “doesn’t want to be in the damn story.” It seems clear to me she wants to be involved with the Doctor’s adventures, but only sometimes. The Doctor asks her to come help him with something, and she agrees. What’s artificial about that?

    I agree that the RTD years were better than the Moffat years. But I do think the show has turned a corner with Capaldi’s joining the cast, and I’m hoping it continues to get better.

  • Jurgan

    Yeah, that was a little rude, Doc.

  • Jurgan

    From “The Runaway Bride:”

    “So is it any surprise that a smitten fan would be totally infuriated by Donna? What a stupid bint! I mean, yes to Catherine Tate, who’s very funny, and I gots no complaints against the clear dramatic impetus behind throwing the Doctor in with someone who doesn’t like him, doesn’t like what he does, and just wants out. But she does not deserve him. She is not worthy of traveling with him.”

    From “Last of the Time Lords:”

    ” How can Martha walk away from the Doctor after all this? Yeah, her family is suffering from a kind of posttraumatic stress that they can never see a shrink about, but they’ve got one another. The Doctor has no one. I’d stay, and be crazy in unrequited love.”

    From “The Power of Three:”

    “And, okay, Amy and Rory committing to life on Earth. I still do not understand why they don’t think of life with the Doctor as real. How is there any decision to make between hiding under Henry VIII’s bed and sour milk in the fridge and no more washing tablets?

    They don’t deserve to be his companions — it’s wasted on them.”

    This is what I’m talking about. It’s a pattern where you put down any character who chooses not to be with the Doctor indefinitely, and it frankly seems kind of gross to judge another’s life choices as being wrong because they don’t do what you would have.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, no, I’m not saying that at all.
    Hate-watching is a legitimate thing to blog about. There are a lot of reasons bloggers do it: it’s a show they can’t quit; it’s a show that delves into dangerous stereotypes that need to be exposed; it’s a show that’s so bad it’s good; etc. Hate-watching blogs start from a position that the show is bad. That is taken as fact, and not justified week after week. So blogging about it becomes not “Is the show awful this week?” but rather “In what new way is the show awful this week.”

    So, no, I don’t think you’re “delusional”. (Seriously, where do you get that??) I think that anyone reading can see that you don’t enjoy the current iteration of the show (the Steven Moffat era) and haven’t for a while (starting about midway through series 5). Anyone who’s been reading your work for any significant amount of time can tell that blogging about the show has become difficult for you. I think it’s because you’re trying to pretend you don’t dislike the show, and I don’t understand why you don’t start from that point. Removing the “lovefest” disclaimer indicates you’re moving in that direction, anyway. I think you’d enjoy the writing more, and the humor you’re so great at injecting into analyzing bad film will come out, making the blogs more fun for the reader.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m not seeing how what I wrote is any more rude than what you wrote.

  • Jurgan

    Maybe you didn’t mean it that way, but “Of course, she doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that she’s hate-watching it” seemed pretty harsh to me. Asserting you know someone’s real feelings and accusing them of… I don’t know, lying to themselves? Maybe it’s a case of text conversation lacking nuance, but to me that line seemed really pushy, and obviously Maryann had similar thoughts.

  • RogerBW

    I don’t think that your definition of “hate-watching” is what’s going on here. What I get from these reviews is the same process I went through a few years earlier: “I love what this show can be; it’s done amazing and wonderful things; at its best it’s one of the best programmes out there… but this, this particular episode, is really pretty poor. Maybe next week will be better. I hope so.”
    I moved from there to not watching at all, which is my current state. I tried to watch the new season but while Capaldi is great there’s still the same old Moffat throw-out-cool-stuff, never-mind-the-plot attitude, the same old Moffat “women are strange and mysterious creatures whom men can never hope to understand”, the same old Moffat “emotion conquers all”. I’m bored with it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Maybe it’s a word choice issue? I could replace “acknowledge” with “recognize”. Or maybe, “embrace”?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Unless you think that hate-watching necessarily requires that you never, ever admit that the show has done anything well, ever, then no, it’s not a definition problem. On the contrary, a good hate-watch blog will highlight the good parts, in order to say, “GODAMMIT! Why can’t the rest of the show be like this?!?!”

  • Okay: the Doctor somehow contacts Clara to ask her to meet him in the supply closet. She shows up, and then says, “But I’ve got plans.” She doesn’t sound like she’s kidding. And she goes along anywhere.

    I’ve been accused elsewhere in this thread of not looking for in-universe explanations for things that aren’t making sense for me. But that’s exactly what I am doing. Good drama does not force us to make constant presumptions about characters’ motivations. It should be immediately obvious to us what is keeping Clara on Earth… and I am not seeing it. I mean, I complained about this same thing with Amy, but at least she had Rory and the prospect of a “normal” life after her entire childhood was apparently upset and disrupted. It did not convince me, but that is infinitely more justification than we have had regarding Clara.

    I don’t see that the show has turned a corner yet, but I’m hopeful. I really am.

  • Okay, these *are* fictional characters, not real people. I will judge them — if that’s what I’m doing — all I want. :->

    Perhaps the reason the show has lost much of the sense of wonder it once had is that the people writing it don’t see the potential for wonder in it, and they’re not writing characters who see the wonder, either.

    As I wrote in response to your other comment, Clara has even less reason (that we have seen) than any of these other companions to resist running away with him. As far I’m concerned, anyway.

  • No. I don’t mind being disagreed with. Obviously. Or I would have shut down this site — or at least the comments — a long time ago.

    But I do not appreciate being told that I don’t know my own mind. That’s what you’ve done here, and none of these vocab options change that.

    I am NOT “hate-watching” *Doctor Who.* I want every episode to enthrall me. And I am hugely disappointed when they do not.

  • I promise you, I am not “pretending” anything.

    It *really* hurts for someone who has been around here as long as you have to say that you don’t think I’m being completely honest. Which is ALL I have ever been. What would be the point of *any* of this if I weren’t?

  • Yes.

  • That’s precisely how I took it.

  • Jurgan

    I think he’s saying that you might be burning yourself out by repeatedly watching a show and hoping to like it only to be disappointed. But in the end, that’s your decision to make. Personally, I’d miss these reviews a lot; even though I’m disagreeing with you now, it’s still fun to discuss them.

  • Jurgan

    Well, fortunately she didn’t have to cancel her plans, since she’s with a time-traveler who drops her off thirty seconds later. That’s unusually precise compared to what we’ve seen in the past, such as trying to return Rose twelve hours later and instead getting twelve months.

    To me, the simple fact that Clara has a job as a teacher says a lot. Rose was working as a shop girl, and Donna was a temp. The best teachers I’ve worked with saw the job as a calling and felt it was too important to give up on a whim. I’ve had the same job, and I wasn’t very good at it, but it took me three years of failing to admit it wasn’t what I wanted. So the simple fact that she has this job and seems to be at least somewhat good at it is enough to convince me she has a place on Earth.

  • bronxbee


  • bronxbee

    same here — i start watching each episode with a little catch of my breath and a hiccup of hope — i hate being disappointed, or feeling that the show was better, had more original and thoughtful ideas when it was simply a kids’ show

  • bronxbee

    i think things need to be a bit more than just “soldiers always = bad” from the Doctor

  • bronxbee

    they may eventually do something with that particular storyline — maybe danny has to travel with the Doctor and teach him something about the compassion and heart of some soldiers — that could work, if Moffat doesn’t forget it!

  • Paul

    Yeah, no more recycling. Let’s ditch the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans and all the rest. Oh, and while we’re about it, that stupid blue box. And with it this tired old concept of travelling in space and time.

    After all, no great art is ever made by using ideas that already exist…

  • bronxbee

    there was a long season of John Pertwee’s where he was on Earth stuck without his TARDIS, and there were some very creative episodes and bad guys in that stretch — and i wouldn’t mind if the Doctor travelled a hell of a lot *more* in space and time but surely there must be other situations out there, maybe even some that don’t require a *baddy* just a situation or problem that needs solving

  • That’s even more surprising to me. Let’s do a rewatch of New Who sometime soon, see if the older episodes still get high marks from you. I’m really curious :)

  • Yeah, except for how the anti-soldier thing is so contrived. Maybe it’s a special quirk of this Capaldi Doctor, but he’s the first one to express this weird sentiment. I think Clara is cute and all, as a character, but I can already imagine all the interactions she and the Doctor will have… this Journey character though, it’d be really cool to have someone like that on the TARDIS for once. Maybe get the Doctor into some for real danger that he can’t talk or sonic his way out of, and she has to go all Gina Carano on some killer robots or whatnot.

    I’d be up for that.

  • Yeah, it’s true… on the inside Daleks are just as boring as they are on the outside.

  • Paul

    This ‘weird sentiment,’ as you put it, may come out of the blue to you, but for me, it’s of a piece with the whole history of the programme, albeit in a more bluntly expressed form. The militarism of the Saward years is the exception, not the Doctor’s aversion to the military and its methods. And yes, I did watch the Pertwee UNIT episodes when they were broadcast, and that’s one of my strongest reasons for saying this.

    I appreciate that an aversion to soldiers is regarded as weird in highly militarised countries, but it is not uncommon in other countries. Britain, though highly militarised in many ways, also has a chunk of its civil society with more pacifist drives. Hence, for example, CND, and activities such as the Aldermaston Marches, which took place in the formative years of Doctor Who.

    In light of the programme’s success in the US, Into The Dalek may be presaging a return to Saward values, which are more in accord with US populism; given the way it contains the Doctor’s strongest yet expression of his resistance to the military, I’m inclined to doubt it.

  • I still think it’s fun to discuss them, too, even when I’m disappointed.

  • Yeah, but you’re just guessing at all of that.

    she has this job and seems to be at least somewhat good at it

    Does she? Based on what?

    I know. You just said you can accept that without seeing it. I can’t. It’s not like she’s choosing between working as a teacher and working in a shop. I might as well guess that if she is passionate about teaching, she could well decide that traveling with the Doctor and seeing the universe will make her an even better teacher. And if the Doctor can pop her back right after she left, then why *not* stay with him for weeks or months at a time?

  • And not everything made by recycling old ideas is great art.

  • I’m not gonna have time for that. Sorry.

  • I appreciate that an aversion to soldiers is regarded as weird in highly militarised countries

    If that’s directed at us Americans, you may rest assured that not all Americans are military-crazy.

    The problem here isn’t an “aversion to soldiers” per se: it’s that it is a bolt out of blue here. There’s not enough that happens in this episode to justify that Doctor’s sudden vehemence.

  • Paul

    It wasn’t directed exclusively at Americans, and I do know (literally, as in, have as friends) Americans (who) are not military-crazy. I’m aware that you, for example, are very far from being a cheerleader for the military-industrial complex. But that, surely, is because you are aware of what a pervasive force it is in society?

    My argument was that it isn’t a bolt out of the blue, because it’s a more vehement affirmation of the Doctor’s existing value system.

    A bolt out of the blue would have been if he had embraced the military unequivocally, and ended the episode toting a blaster.

  • Paul

    Then maybe what it comes down to (and obviously I agree with Dr. Rocketscience here, as he says — more eloquently — what I was trying to say some months ago) is that it doesn’t come over as fun.

    Criticism, even extremely harsh criticism, can be fun, but here it feels, for want of a better word… painful.

    I think that’s why he described it as ‘hate-watching’. For all that you protest that you don’t hate, and that you hope it will be better, your actual reviews come over as if (and that’s deliberate emphasis: I’m not accusing you of being delusional) your motivation in watching the show is to look for things to slam.

    On reflection, it may also be that the intense atmosphere of Moffat-hatred spread by STFUMoffat and their like colours reactions to more reasoned criticism. By way of analogy, it can sometimes be hard to say things like ‘I deplore the bombing of schools and hospitals by the Israeli Army’ without being accused of anti-semitism. The criticism is reasonable, but centuries of violence directed at Jews have generated a certain heightened sensitivity.

  • LJS

    One of the things that was novel about Rose was that she had a family that became continuing characters. It grounded her and the Doctor in a different way from other incarnations. Same with Donna — I felt the draw of home less with the others and I was less interested in their home life. I think the creative team is trying to continue keeping the companion grounded and identifiable for the audience, but are not doing it as well with Clara. (Beats her as magic pixie girl, tho.)

  • RogerBW

    I’d be in favour of a moratorium on bringing back old monsters for a bit if I had any confidence in the production team’s ability to come up with interesting new monsters.

  • RogerBW

    I think you are perhaps missing the distinction between generally disapproving of military adventurism and thinking that all soldiers are bad people. Claiming that these are the same thing is a common tactic of the American right wing; actually the people who are most disapproving of the American style of random invasions to see what happens tend to be actual soldiers.

  • Danielm80

    I think Moffat may have phrased the line clumsily, in a way that inspires a #NotAllSoldiers sort of response. Elsewhere in the episode, he sets up a contrast between Danny Pink, a soldier who’s deeply affected by the loss of life, and this particular troop of soldiers, who treat killing as an essential part of their job:

    The Doctor: This isn’t a battleship. Medical insignia. It’s a hospital.
    Colonel Morgan Blue (Michael Smiley): We don’t need hospitals now. Daleks don’t leave any wounded. And we don’t take any prisoners.
    The Doctor: I saved your little friend here if that’s in any way relevant to mention.
    Journey Blue: That’s true sir, he did.
    Colonel Blue: Thank you.
    The Doctor: You’re welcome. I wish I could have done more.
    Colonel Blue: And you should have.
    The Doctor: Okay.
    Colonel Blue: But you did save Journey. For that I am personally grateful.
    The Doctor: Well.
    Colonel Blue: However. Security on this base is absolute, so we’re still going to kill you.
    The Doctor: It’s a rollercoaster with you, isn’t it.

  • Paul

    I think you are, for some reason, coming up with a straw man. The Doctor did not, at any point, say that ‘all soldiers are bad people.’ He said he refused to take soldiers with him in the Tardis. As has been pointed out on other forums, there are a number of possible reasons for that, but a compelling one, given certain other exchanges in that episode (‘You are a good Dalek’ for example), is that he is worried about what ‘orders’ he might give with a soldier at his command. Early in the episode he questions the morality of his own actions, so expressing that self-doubt in the form of a prohibition on his own ‘use’ of soldiers is hardly a bolt from the blue.

  • I_Sell_Books

    This episode really irritated me. The Dalek storyline made no sense – although they were fantastically creepy, Old school Daleks – Journey absolutely needs to be the next companion, I <3 Peter Capaldi but he is getting short shrift here, and finally, Steven Moffatt needs to find a good sci fi writer for the rest of the series. I nominate Tanith Lee. These plot holes are big enough to drive a truck through.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I feel like this episode comes later in the series – it just doesn’t sit right.

  • I_Sell_Books


  • Danielm80

    Wasn’t that the point of the mission, and the reason they triggered the memories of the star? I think I’m missing something that’s obvious to everybody else.

  • Vanessa

    OK. I haven’t commented on here in a long time, but I would like to say first, that I also have difficulty with the on-again off-again companion, but for specific dramatic reasons–if he can pop in and out, why get Clara when he needs Donna or Sarah Jane or whomever? Why would he always go get the same person? The dramatic tool of having the companion travel with the Doctor created a reason that this was the companion he would be with for the next adventure. However, even though I think it is an awkward choice, it is clearly a dynamic Moffat is trying out and it follows on the latter Pond years where Amy and Rory had a life at home. I’m not averse to it if it could be more smoothly integrated into the plots.

    As a writer yourself, the reviews I like best here are the ones that thoughtfully critique the creative process, and I hope that you can bring more of that into your reviews of future episodes.

  • Radek Piskorski

    Couldn’t agree more. Especially with:
    “but it seems like you’re nitpicking things you would have given a pass to in the Davies years.”

    But I would also add that MAJ wrote very positive things about Season 5, to the point of speculating that maybe it was the best DW season ever. I re-read all her Moffat reviews until they started to turn too bitter and I pinpointed that in “Let’s Kill Hitler”. So it can’t be anything specifically against Moffat because she wrote really endearing things about him when she was reviewing season 5.

  • Radek Piskorski

    You have a point there. The Daleks don’t wage an actual ‘war’. As I see it, there is a very strong point to be made that the very existence of Daleks is against the concept of goodness (and maybe that’s why the ‘good’ Dalek wanted to kill all of them). But the Doctor did object to the Time War as well, didn’t he? He wasn’t a proper soldier, he was trying to do his own thing. Maybe he objects to the hierarchy of the military? Like, resisting and fighting crazy genocidal maniacs is justified, but the way you go about organising such a resistance might turn out to be harmful? I’m just guessing here. I wonder what kind of armed resistance would please the Doctor.

  • Radek Piskorski

    I think the issue is that by now the Doctor has come to define himself against the Daleks. So the Daleks’ opinion of him matter a lot, almost to the point of being the same a his judgement of himself.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to hear later that this was not originally intended to be Capaldi’s second episode.

  • No, they already knew the Dalek had somehow turned “good” before they went in. They went in to save it from dying, which is what repairing the radiation leak was about. When that also cured the “goodness,” that’s when they went about trying to retrigger the memory of the star. They should have reopened the leak, gotten the hell out of there, and let it die. Or tried to figure out a way to keep it alive and also keep it “good.”

  • But the Daleks are not rational beings. It would like me accepting Phyllis Schlafly’s opinion of me as a reasonable appreciation of my worth as a person.

  • Danielm80

    My point is: Up until the mind meld, the Dalek’s internal systems were programmed to believe that a “good” Dalek is an unhealthy Dalek. The antibodies were meant to stop the Dalek from becoming “good.” (The radiation leak was a separate–but related–threat.) The Doctor reset the programming to say: Moral=healthy. After the reset, the visitors were no longer considered a threat.

    Is your problem with my use of the word “compassion,” or am I still missing some central point?

  • Radek Piskorski

    Well I didn’t say the Doctor was right about that! =P But he did tell Rusty that he actually found himself only after visiting Skaro. He said that before that he was kinda pointless, wandering all over.

  • spinetingler

    “Clara and her appalling lack of sexual appeal.”

    Er, is that a thing? Because I find her particularly appealing.

    I’ll be in my bunk.

  • Whutevah

    It’s weird being a fan of a series that I’m often tepid on, but MaryAnn’s complaints are often parallel to those of my girlfriend when I try to show her the original Doctor Who series. It’s often strange the lines people draw in their suspension of disbelief and their willingness to comply with the whimsy of what amounts to children’s television.

  • My problem is that you think their mission was to inject anything: compassion, goodness, whatever you want to call it. I don’t see that at all. As far as I can see, the only objective of the mission was to keep the Dalek alive because a “good” Dalek is a potential weapon against the bad Daleks.

    The antibodies attacked after that one idiot soldier did something that the Dalek’s body perceived (correctly) as damage.

    I don’t see how turning the sun memory back on changed the Dalek’s programming as you describe. But even if it did, that was not the original point of their mission.

    Am *I* missing something? Are you interpreting what happened, or is there some line of dialogue or something that I’ve forgotten?

  • Apparently the Doctor’s constant abuse of Clara in this regard is meant to be hilarious.

  • Jemcat

    I didn’t mind the episode but two things did niggle.
    Firstly, after Clara started to seem like a real person in the last episode, we see the creeping return of quippy ‘little mother’ Clara from 7B. Hopefully that was simply Moffat throwing in some lines to pep up the episode but I *hated* that aspect of Clara last season – all perky and smug.
    Secondly, I agree with you about the awkwardness in the story telling where Clara is a take it or leave it companion. She segues from an amazing life and death adventure to worrying about whether her hair looked nice for her date with Danny. Where is the sense of wonder or real fear? We saw some of that last week but this week it seemed all about making little quips and exasperated noises about the Doctor.
    Capaldi is great, but……he just doesn’t exactly seem comfortable with the dialogue.

  • Danielm80

    I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but you’re coming very close to saying, “It’s a children’s show. It doesn’t have to be good.” If anything, children’s shows need to be better than the shows for adults. I’d like the next generation to have very high standards. They’ll eventually be responsible for the shows that we watch, not to mention the society we live in.

  • Whutevah

    Ha ha ha. Wow. You took that in a… unique direction. Also, I was implying that many of the deepest criticisms stretch back to the show’s origins so long as you don’t have nostalgia goggles on.

  • Danielm80

    My impression was that Clara triggered the memory in order to remind “Rusty” how beautiful it was to see the birth of a star. That memory, in combination with the Doctor’s mind meld, created a “good” Dalek–or at least one who wanted to destroy other Daleks.

    I was speculating that the Dalek’s internal systems were designed to prevent that sort of change and view it as a malfunction. But you may be correct that the first wave of antibodies didn’t show up until there was actual physical damage. I’ll have to watch the episode again.

  • RogerBW

    I’m seeing a lot of the same reactions here (though rather better argued) that I do when MaryAnn gives negative reviews to other products aimed at the geek market (e.g. Scott Pilgrim, Expendables 3, etc.). Why is there this need for validation that forces people to attach themselves to properties over which they have no influence, then argue with anyone who find those properties less than perfect? We’re not sports fans here!

  • Danielm80

    Well, I like whimsy in adult television as much as I like it in children’s shows.

  • Whutevah

  • Paul

    Oh, but we are!

    (The term ‘fan’ was originally coined for baseball fans)

    Your point is bang on the money, but the same argument cuts two ways. This, I think, is connected to what Dr. Rocketscience was referring to with his ‘hate-watching.’ The same high level of emotional investment that makes people upset to see their fan object criticised (and which also generates the oft-observed fan entitlement, where they think their fan object should be tailored to their preferences) also generates a heightened level of criticism when the fan object doesn’t live up to expectations.

    In other words, MaryAnn is harsh towards MoffatWho precisely because she is a fan of Who, has emotional investment in it, and feels betrayed. Isn’t that the just the flip side of those who don’t like negative reviews?

    Incidentally, you may note I haven’t actually yet given an opinion of the episode myself. I didn’t like it. Despite a few good lines, and the anti-military subtext, it was too ‘gun’ for me. So I’m not especially precious about seeing the episode criticised.

  • The big difference between the old show and the new is that in the old, there was massive room for subtext, which gave you space to fill in a lot of blanks. But there’s no subtext at all now. So we’re left with little more than what is actually on the screen. So what’s there has to do a helluva lot more work than it used to.

  • The “good” Dalek was already present when the Doctor arrived on the scene.

  • RogerBW

    Speaking for myself: if I didn’t care about the show or know it could do better because it has in the past, I wouldn’t be bothering to take an interest in it at all, just as I didn’t take an interest in the recent Robin Hood series or the Tomorrow People remake. I don’t think I’m holding the show to unreasonably high standards when I ask, in 2014, for the occasional non-stereotypucal female character, for a story that holds together through the episode rather than a series of incidents of spectacle; it’s true, I wouldn’t bother to say these things about, oh, Star-Crossed, because I didn’t care to watch it in the first place, but I don’t think that makes me a hate-watcher as Dr Rocketscience originally defined it (someone who’s watching the programme looking for things to criticise).

  • spinetingler

    I wonder if the thought here is that, because we know that as a younger regeneration he was physically attracted to her, that the new older regeneration is trying to convince himself (or her, or the audience) that he isn’t physically attracted to her to reduce the skeevy factor?

    Capaldi and I are essentially the same age, and while I don’t really care if people think it’s skeevy that I think she’s very attractive, it may be something that the producers want to run away from as quickly as possible for a major television show lead.

  • bronxbee

    why does it always have to be “monsters”? why can’t we just have puzzles, situations that are solveable by ingenuity, or compassion, or something … just for a change? i’m not saying “no monsters ever” just… sometimes.

  • bronxbee

    the producers do sometimes over-react to the age difference factor — but in Peter Davison’s era, they went way overboard to separate the Doctor from his companions as possible love interests *because*
    he was young and attractive… so, you can’t win. i can deal with “new regeneration, new body — different attractions” easier than i can with this whole insulting, deriding of Clara’s looks…

  • RogerBW

    I will admit — and Paul is welcome to laugh at me — that I preferred the show where questions of love and sex were left up to the viewers’ imaginations.

  • spinetingler

    Maybe it will prove important to a storyline later. Or maybe the writer(s) responsible for its inclusion could just let it slip off into the darkness.

  • Beowulf

    I’m watching this new BBC series in order (two episodes a week) and am halfway through Tom Baker’s episodes. I can’t wait to finish these and start on the new Doctor (whoever he will be…can anyone replace Tom Baker?). Tell me, are there any more seasons after whoever takes over next? Will the Daleks ever be back?

  • Even if that’s the reason, it would be possible to do that without forcing the Doctor to behave like a misogynist manchild.

  • I don’t necessarily mind it now, but it might be nice if *something* was left to the subtext. The show could have, for instance, never directly addressed the topic of the Time War and left it just lurking in the background.

    Not only is a lot of wonder gone from the show lately, but a lot of mystery, too.

  • spinetingler

    How is it misogynist? I don’t see any evidence that he has a hatred or dislike of women. He just (apparently, for reasons yet unexplained) considers this one unattractive.

    Telling her that definitely makes him a jerk+.

  • Jemcat

    I have a very bad feeling that this is a sign post for this year’s arc. The Impossible Girl story fizzled out with some mumbo jumbo about Clara splintering across time and saving every doctor everywhere to avoid the Great Intellegence – gee that plot point certainly resonates after Name of the Doctor – oh wait, it’s completely forgotten but ugh, what if Missy is some manifestation of one of those infinite number of Claras. Hence, reference to her age, foreshadowing the reveal that she has morphed into Missy and gosh she must be around 50ish looking, so clearly an old unattractive bag. That might also explain the reference by Missy to her boyfriend, the Doctor. Hmmm. As long as Missy isn’t River, that’s probably as ropey a guess at the big reveal of Missy as I could come up with.

    Or maybe they are just hurghh hurggh funny lines coz this Doctor is totally mean and

  • Paul

    No laughter at all. It’s a perfectly reasonable preference.

    Moreover, I’ve seen it well-argued that the old policy actually created an free imaginary space which gave LGBT viewers (not to mention the asexual constituency) more room to project their own fantasies into the show, and that Russell T Davies’s more explicit rendering of all this actually closed off avenues.

  • Paul

    Not only is a lot of wonder gone from the show lately, but a lot of mystery, too.

    True, but that is what happens with just about any long-running series, especially given the massive pressure from fans to have things explained.

    On this programme, it has been going up and down for years. Some felt that the revelation of the Time Lords at the end of the War Games was a big mistake (Terrence Dicks’s)… or their reduction to squabbling bureaucrats in Tom Baker’s time (Robert Holmes’s fault). A very large chunk were offended by the ‘half-human’ thing in the movie.

    Then again there was an effort to put some of the wonder and mystery back in the later days of McCoy, which was largely successful… though in a remarkably similar way to the way Moffat has gone about it. In a way, that McCoy period is fondly remembered because they never got to pay off on any of the secrets: Lungbarrow, looms, the Other, etc., all of which would, for me, have sapped the mystery more than anything Moffat’s has done. Don’t forget, it was the McCoy period that set up the idea that he was somehow something bigger than a ‘mere’ Time Lord.

    In the current show I see Capaldi as the main engine putting mystery (and, with luck, wonder) back in. He’s also the driving force behind the ‘no flirting’ rule. But as with all new Doctors, mileages vary drastically.

  • Paul

    But there’s no subtext at all now.

    There are plenty of people over at the TARDIS Eruditorum who demonstrate several times a week that you’re wrong about this. Plenty of criticism of Moffat there too.

  • RogerBW

    Indeed. Since I have a relatively conventional sexuality that wasn’t part of its appeal to me, but the old policy also meant that stories could be told without sex if they didn’t require it. The modern show, deliberately borrowing soap-operatic elements as it does (how JN-T would have hated that!), can’t seem to go for a single episode without talking about sex in some way, even if it doesn’t fit with the rest of the narrative.

  • RogerBW

    I think that when the programme is run by people who started as fans of the programme this sort of thing is inevitable. (One sees the same sort of thing at the end of the Tom Baker era with the rising influence of Ian Levine.) There’s a constant pressure to be bigger and more important, and I find that the “Doctor as unique mythic figure” approach is simply less interesting than the “Doctor as cosmic hobo and random meddler” approach.

  • Paul

    I think that when the programme is run by people who started as fans of the programme this sort of thing is inevitable. (One sees the same sort of thing at the end of the Tom Baker era with the rising influence of Ian Levine.) There’s a constant pressure to be bigger and more important, and I find that the “Doctor as unique mythic figure” approach is simply less interesting than the “Doctor as cosmic hobo and random meddler” approach.

    I emphatically agree with this. Even though I liked the later McCoy, one thing that did rub me up the wrong way was the ‘unique mythic figure’ angle. RTD then dialled it up, especially with Ten and his swirly-coat-striding-staring-speeches act. Moffat just picked up that ball and ran with it — annoyingly promising to dial it down a bit and then not following through all that thoroughly.

    On soap opera, I think you are wrong about JNT. He was the one who first introduced soap opera elements into the show. He just didn’t do it very well.

  • RogerBW

    In JN-T’s early days he said that he didn’t want any of that stuff; see for example the very abrupt departure of Romana. Once he’d settled in, things seem to have changed a bit. (But I haven’t yet got that far in my re-watch. See http://blog.firedrake.org/tags/doctor%20who if you’re interested.)

  • Paul

    I’m really impressed by the way that some of the anti-Moffat hatred is founded on what the haters imagine he is going to write in the future.

  • His insults are mostly specifically gendered (as in telling her her body isn’t feminine). That’s targeting her for her gender (unlike the egomaniac thing from the previous episode, which made no sense either, but for other reasons, ie, she hasn’t demonstrated anything approaching egomania). And there is absolutely no reason for it… unless (as someone pointed out elsewhere) Moffat thinks there are only two possible ways for a man to interact with a woman: 1) I want to fuck her, or 2) She’s too ugly to fuck. And *that* is most certainly misogynist.

  • Whether *I* see subtext or not isn’t something others can tell me I’m wrong about.

  • Reasonable extrapolation based on recent past performance.

  • Paul

    ‘Reasonable’ is an interesting word to use in this context.

  • Paul

    Whether *I* see subtext or not isn’t something others can tell me I’m wrong about.

    Very true. But then, who is?

    You wrote not ‘But I see no subtext at all now’ but ‘But there’s no subtext at all.’

    Yes, I know that everything you write can be understood to be opinion, but there is a limit. ‘There’s no subtext at all’ is a pretty absolute statement by any standards.

  • spinetingler

    That seems to be stretching the definition of misogyny. Terribly sexist? Yes.

  • In what way?

  • I know that everything you write can be understood to be opinion


    but there is a limit.

    Please just stop now.

  • Terrible sexism is basically the definition of misogyny.

  • Tonio Kruger

    The world can never have enough Tanith Lee.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Isn’t sexism by definition terrible?

  • Tonio Kruger

    Yet just a few seasons ago, it was considered fashionable on this forum to compare the relationship between Donna Noble and the Doctor to bestiality. *Cue Sarcasm * Because there’s certainly nothing misogynist about that comparison. * End Sarcasm *

  • Tonio Kruger

    The Doctor has proved himself many times through both series to be the alien equivalent of Sheldon Cooper in regard to human women, if not a British equivalent of Spock.

    Earlier incarnations tended to work because of the charm of the individual actors and the skill of individual scriptwriters made such an attitude bearable. But now the scripts and the acting is not so charming and while I would like to think there’s a chance that the show might survive this latest incarnation — after all, the original series survived Colin Baker’s run and his characterization of the doctor as written was hardly an improvement on Peter Davison’s (especially in regard to women) — only time will tell.

    After all, the new series has already lasted longer than many popular sci-fi shows including the original Star Trek. It would not exactly be surprising if the show’s writers were to start running out of ideas.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I would have thought that one of the good things about using an older actor in the role would be to bypass the whole “manchild” thing, but apparently the writers don’t agree.

    That said, Misogynist Manchild does sound like a great name for a comic book villain. I don’t suppose you have that name copyrighted, MaryAnn? You might want to use it in a story some day.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Just wait till Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell show up. :-)

  • Tonio Kruger

    I liked Pushing Daisies and that show had its share of whimsy. Of course, it depends on what kind of whimsy we’re talking about. After all, some forms of whimsy tend to be more tolerable than others.

    However, your mileage obviously varies.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Every show that lasts long enough eventually produces quite a few disillusioned fans. It comes with the territory. Nor are such fans always wrong.

  • RogerBW

    Granted. Perhaps a better example would have been Star Trek, or indeed Star Wars: I don’t care what happens with either of those properties, because I have no emotional investment in them, even though both of them were part of my childhood in much the same way as Doctor Who has been. I just don’t expect them to impress.

  • Sure. But as with all other evils, there are degrees of terribleness.

  • I don’t think you can copyright names.

  • Well, no, such a comparison wouldn’t be misogynist, because it’s not about gender but species. So it would certainly be bigoted.

    I don’t know why you have framed your comment as you have. I did mention at some point a notion I had for my own fan fiction, about how Gallifreyans might be bigoted enough to consider a physical relationship between one of their own and a lower primate such as a homo sapiens as a sign of mental illness. How you get “fashionable” and the concurrent implication of *approval* of such a notion, I cannot fathom.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Hyperbole. You see, I have this condition…

    But seriously, MaryAnn…

    I’ll try to think through future responses more carefully.

  • LaSargenta


  • Tonio Kruger

    Given the nature of a Dalek’s favorite activity, does anyone really want to see an exciting Dalek? (I suppose Moffat can always have one do wheelies but still…)

  • Tonio Kruger

    With apologies to Joan Jett:

    I think of Who every night and day.
    Who took my heart and Who took my pride awaaay.

    I hate myself for loving Who.
    Can’t say goodbye or even adieu.

    I wanna quit but I turn back to Who.
    That’s why I hate myself for loving Who

    Sorry, MaryAnn. I couldn’t resist. Given my own mixed feelings about the show, I was bound to post something like that sooner or later. Just be happy I didn’t make a Journey song reference. :-)

  • Tonio Kruger

    No, you shouldn’t. Stop, that is. Just keep on posting what you want to post. After it, it is your site.

  • Danielm80

    Yes. If you’re still having fun writing these reviews, and still enjoy watching the show, then please don’t stop, MaryAnn. I almost always disagree with you when it comes to the merits of a particular episode, but even an episode I hate seems much more interesting after I’ve read your take on it.

  • Radek Piskorski

    Forget it, Missy is Madame de Pompadour! =D

  • Chris Abbey

    Sorry I’m late here. Y’know, I’m not a continuity maven, but… we already saw a good dalek. Named Clara, if memory serves. I won’t go way into the past and bring up that the 2nd Doctor had a bunch of good daleks planted in the horde, something which didn’t pay off until the 5th (6th?) Doctor. Say what you want about RTD, but he at least bothered to watch all the old episodes before making his new pronouncements. Worse, Moffat disagrees that each Doctor is essentially a different person, so he has less of an excuse. But if it were just that, I’d say okay and move on. The problem is these past two episodes have thrown the last year of continuity right through the crack in Amy’s wall. Moffat is great on the internal and personal stories, but he and his writers needs a story editor that isn’t him. (Statue of Liberty as a weeping angel? Hmmm… You’re fired.)

  • Tonio Kruger

    –Stephen Moffat


  • Marquis

    You are joking, right? Tom Baker? Thats like…30 years old?

  • Marquis

    It’s not a childrens show.

  • I think you’re missing some sarcasm…

  • Citation needed.

  • bronxbee

    it is now considered a “family” show — when it started 50 years ago, it most certainly was intended as a children’s show. but children weren’t considered delicate little flowers that had to be protected from life’s cruelties and mysteries and hard lines.

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