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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 October 2018 at 1:50pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

PLOT: The Doctor and her new companions (fellow travellers?) land on a desolate planet where they meet two aliens (human-looking ones) that are engaged in a race to find the "Ghost Monument". Overseeing the race is the mysterious Ilin (Art Malik).

This is pretty good and fairly character-driven. The plot is by the numbers - what can be original in 2018? - but the beautiful South African scenery helps. The Doctor and her companions must get from A to B whilst travelling with two very competitive racers. And what is the "Ghost Monument"? I won't spoil it for those who haven't yet seen it.

I like Whitaker's mannerisms and delivery in this episode. The travellers seem genuinely in awe of what they are seeing. 

If there's one problem I had with RTD/Moffat's Who (and ENTERPRISE), it's that some of the characters seemed to treat their travels in the same manner I treat a bus ride to the supermarket. There didn't seem to be awe. I didn't get that here as the Doctor's fellow adventurers all seem to be taken aback by their experiences.

There are some good lines of dialogue, funny moments and, as I stated earlier, character-driven moments. It's probably hard to allow four characters to shine - especially when you have guest stars to consider, too - but it worked here.

Nothing seems particularly original with fiction now. What can be? It seems we are looking at variations on a theme, but as long as the characters are compelling, and the scripts are good, it's fine.

This new series seems to be about "less is more" (I know it's silly to make a judgement two episodes in). There's no excessive incidental music or constant explosions. I hope that continues.

***SPOILERS***


"Next episode..." shows the Doctor and her pals meeting Rosa Parks!


Edited by Robbie Parry on 14 October 2018 at 1:51pm
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 5:54am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

###may contain spoilers###

Second episode in, and second very standard storyline.
While I thought the first episode had good drama but a
weak story, this just feels weak all round. The drama
was not dramatic, the sci-fi not very sci-fi and I
found myself bored halfway through waiting for them to
get to the well-telegraphed ending.

I honestly get the impression the writers have never
watched or read any sci-fi before - the 'secret' of the
Ghost Monument was obvious the second it was mentioned,
and Chekhov's gun, sorry, cigar might as well have had
a huge neon arrow on the screen pointing at it. It's
not just lazy scifi, but lazy storytelling.

I do like Whittaker, so more than happy to let her bed
in to the character - but could do with less
breathless, shouty Doctor, and more calm, introspective
Doctor.
Not that any of it was awful, it was just all a bit...
so what?

Not to be too damning, I thought again, the visuals
were spectacular, the music subtle and well done and I
really like the moody Tardis interior!

Edited by Jim Muir on 15 October 2018 at 5:55am
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 7:26am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The episode looked a million dollars thanks to the South African location shoot, however the script was pretty poor. None of the guest stars were of any interest and I would have far preferred a character piece about the Doctor and her companions struggling to survive on an inhospitable planet while waiting for the TARDIS to turn up.

Ah, the TARDIS. It's been doing itself up. I didn't like it. The new console room is horrible and reminded me of something the Replicators from Stargate would have put together. Mind you, I haven't liked any of the 21st century TARDIS interiors (Capaldi's being the least worst), so my hopes were none too high to begin with.

Jodie Whittaker continues to impress and, again, I strongly disagree with all the lazy 'Tennant in a skirt' comparisons I've been hearing. She's the most original Doctor to date and I really like the breathless quality Whittaker brings to the role. To my chums across The Pond struggling with her Yorkshire accent I'd just say this: tough - it's our show.* Plus you have plenty of actors of your own who I need sub-titles to understand.

Looking forward to the next episode and a spot of time travel.

*Typed with a wry smile and not meant too seriously.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 7:37am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Ouch, Andrew, that was harsh. ;-)

Be thankful there are no Midlands accents. Quite a few here have a habit of saying, "An 'orse" instead of "A horse". And on and on...
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Robbie, it`s an `Oss!

I found the plot to be very "Meh"
The location was stunning, but i found myself
wondering what that ruin used to be?
On such a desolate planet with no Tardis, nobody
seemed worried about water or food, and i`m no expert
on Dispraxia, but the lad can`t ride a bike or climb
ladders well, but is a crackshot with a blaster?
I feel the cast are trying hard, but hampered by very
average plots and scripts.
I wonder if there will be a sizeable drop in ratings
after the initial novelty of the first episode, and a
very average second?
Most of the Tardis interior looks ok, but i think
those crystaline things around the control panel are
very obtrusive and make for a poor visual, i bet
they`re a bitch to get a camera around.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 8:23am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

(*spoilery!*)

Considering the amount of "all of space and time is at stake" episodes done previously, a narrower focus is very welcome, makes everything more visceral.

I agree about the breathless quality Whittaker is bringing to the role. Energetic, adamant. I liked her noting how her companions weren't going on and on about her calculation error when they might well have. This Doctor seems to have a thought to what others think of her, rather than affecting eccentricities as a sort of shield.

Your mileage may vary, but I like the new TARDIS control room. It looks mysterious and alien.  The biscuit dispenser was an inspired touch.

Some (spoilery) things of note on the episode:  

No one died!  Not unheard of, but far less usual. I also like that the one character who's character grew for the better (if only a little) was Epso, the one who needed it most. Nice mom, btw.  Jeez.

As with Epso, I sense a theme emerging with many of the characters (including The Doctor)--that of outgrowing your past.

I also like (second episode they've done this), where the Doctor only had partial knowledge of the situation not only needed more information to solve things, but was wrong from time to time.  She's had to adjust her opinion of the situation to new data more than once.  This avoids her relying on encyclopedic knowledge of everything, and requires her to be intelligent. It makes her seem less of a laser-guided solution to whatever's going on. While I love the Tennant line "You're the biggest library in the Universe, I'm The Doctor--look me up!" it's exactly what I'm talking about. 

Fourth episode is titled, "Arachnids in the UK," which got a smile out of me.

I fear if anyone is hoping that this will turn back into the broadly-toned Doctor Who of old (and not-so-old), they may well be disappointed.

[Edited to add]

I was impressed how expensive the episode looked.  The VFX were both numerous and well-done.  The South Africa location shoot was also really pretty.  They've come a long way from the weatherman-quality chromakey VFX of the Tom Baker era.


Edited by Conrad Teves on 15 October 2018 at 9:18am
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Robbie says: "An 'orse" instead of "A horse". 

I'm from Huddersfield (where Jodie Whittaker is from) but now live in the Midlands.

I'd say the Midlands (well, Black Country anyway) says 'O'se' while Huddersfield would say 'Orse'. We don't have 'H' at the start of words in Huddersfield, hence the joke 'Udders Feel'd'
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

As an Ugly American, I did hear her say, "Let's get a shift on," in the episode, when in the commercials for it I had to tell myself that she CAN'T be saying, "Let's get **** done"!

I heard fans interpreting some production announcement as there would be no season arc this year, but we get another mention of the Stenza as having previously cleansed a planet, (previously?.. yeah, we've only traveled in space)
and a reference to something called The Timeless Child that the Doctor doesn't know she knows about.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

...struggling with her Yorkshire accent...

•••

A Tale Told Before: I went with one of my high school chums to take his little brother to see Santa at one of the big department stores downtown. Being teenagers and long pasr such trivial pursuits we gote to goofing around, standing in line. Part of it was speculating about Santas with different accents. My friend laughed saying “What about Yorkshire! Imagine Santa with a Yorkshire accent!”

The older guy in line in front of us wheeled around and demanded “Wass wrong wi’ Yorkshuh?”

Luckily for us, the guy’s kid had by then reached the front of the line, so he and his dad were whisked away, and Doug and I did not have to account for ourselves!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 10:34am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Black Country joke:

Enoch sees his friend Eli fishing in the river. “Caught anyfing?”

“O, aye. I caught a whale.”

Enoch looks around. “Where is it?”

“I frew it back.”

“You frew it back? Why?”

“It din’t ‘ave any spokes.”

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Slight thread drift...when i was at Junior school, we
had a student teacher from London, he couldn`t
understand our accent when we said "Weem goooin `um"

Universal translator "We are going home" ;-)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I once heard my maternal grandfather address the pet canary by saying “E’s grond bitol mon, incha?”

(“He’s a grand bit of old man, isn’t you?”)

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 11:23am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Incha? Ah, my nan used to say that.

Mr Byrne, having lived in England, Canada and the US, you must have noticed a variation in pronunciation at times. Even within a country, there can be such things (in Lancashire, some will stay "I was stood..." instead of "I was standing on a street corner when...").
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Two thoughts:

The new control room is...interesting. Definitely like the interior walls, but I'm not sure how I feel about the rest of it yet. (Need to see it more.)

Why has it taken so long for the Venusian Akido to make a return? 

As for the episode itself, I thought it was okay. Not great, but not bad either. And Jim is right about the Ghost Monument and the cigar. Far too obvious with both.

The new title sequence is....meh. Like the theme, but the visuals not so much. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 11:50am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Custard Creams!
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Craig Bogart
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 7:22pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

They lost me when The Doctor got all demoralized and gave up at the end.  "I failed you...  We'll all be dead in a day..."  and it was up to the loyal companions to cheer her up.  Not how my Doctor operates.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 15 October 2018 at 10:25pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Here's my duplicate post from another forum:

tl;dr --  I kind of liked this one.

Well, we could have done a lot worse than a straight-up straightforward "We have to get from Point A to Point B because of the MaGuffin" story in the Classic Who mould. I appreciate that Chibnall didn't make the story more complicated than it needed to be (unlike the Moff). Yeah, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a rather obvious Chekov's Gun... but it's something NuWho has been sorely missing because the new writers get it in their heads there's something wrong with traditional story elements and mechanics and somehow you have to be clever to keep it fresh. There's a reason why these kinds of tropes have been around since humans were banging rocks together -- they are effective and they successfully convey ideas quickly without having to reinvent (or rewrite) the wheel.

Likewise, I felt Jodie was channeling Tennant in her delivery and emphasis which isn't unwelcome. I don't particularly like it when they try too hard to make a new Doctor so different from their predecessors they lose sight of what makes the character work. Jodie seems to be settling in.

I was kind of underwhelmed by the new TARDIS interior. It's not horrible but there's something off about it. It seemed a little unoriginal (a little too much RTD, and I tend to dislike the 'inside of the police box view' esthetic of the new series) and the lighting needs to be turned up a bit -- I suspect improving the lighting will expose some of the corners they cut to save production costs. 

Ladders are apparently the new corridors. Well, at least for Ryan it is.

The companion dynamic is fascinating to watch... it's like a mirror of the Hartnell-era TARDIS crew, with a budding romance between the younger cast and Graham being the level-headed logical one. They also answer one of my biggest nitpicks with the opening epsiode seemingly ignoring the (new series) canon of both the TARDIS and the Doctor needing to be present for telepathic translation to work.

The incidental music was great. The theme music is growing on me and I like that you can hear bits of Derbyshire-Granger in there. Keeping the Classic Who cliffhanger sting is A++, if it isn't broken it doesn't need fixing.

The visuals of the title sequence are... erm... too busy and unfocused and that's being generous. It kind of looks like someone took the films for the Pertwee credits, set them ablaze and then vomited on them to put the fire out. You can see what they were trying to do with it but it just doesn't come together. It's still miles ahead of the "travelling through someones digestive tract to the theme of the X-files" garbage of the early Matt Smith era (or any of the Smith titles for that matter) but that's a pretty easy race to win. I don't think the new series has bested the original RTD titles. They got it right the first time.

So, overall I liked this one a little better than the opener. 
8/10
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 16 October 2018 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I honestly get the impression the writers have never  watched or read any sci-fi before - the 'secret' of the  Ghost Monument was obvious the second it was mentioned, 

———

I don’t get this criticism. It was never played as a mystery. The Doctor (and the audience) realize what the Ghost Monument is immediately, and she demands to see what it looks like. You are complaining that something that is supposed to be obvious is obvious. 
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 16 October 2018 at 2:16am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I respectfully suggest you go back and rewatch the
scene, Michael. The Doctor has --no idea-- what the
Ghost Monument is, until she's shown it on the
holographic display.
She was as surprised as my wife and children were, and
I suspect, much of the casual audience.

Certainly from a storytelling POV, we've now had two
extremely average tales which I would have regarded as
filler material in previous seasons, which is
concerning for a big relaunch.

Rob: <<<<Yeah, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a
rather obvious Chekov's Gun... but it's something NuWho
has been sorely missing because the new writers get it
in their heads there's something wrong with traditional
story elements and mechanics and somehow you have to be
clever to keep it fresh>>>>

Could not disagree more with this. I don't think NuWho
- or any fiction, for that matter - should rely on such
obvious tropes or well worn story mechanics UNLESS you
can make it fresh. Its just plain lazy.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 16 October 2018 at 5:08am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I respectfully suggest you go back and rewatch the scene, Michael. The Doctor has --no idea-- what the Ghost Monument is, until she's shown it on the holographic display.

———

I’d suggest that you go back and rewatch the scene. She hears that the monument appears every 1000 days in the same place, and she becomes focused on what it looks like. I think what you are interpreting as surprise on the Doctor’s face is relief. That expression remains on her face throughout the discussion of it being a police box. Unless you want to believe that she’s completely dumbfounded that the Ghost Monument is the TARDIS, that look isn’t surprise.

Regardless, it’s barely a minute between the Ghost Monument being mentioned as the finish line and it being revealed as the TARDIS. It wasn’t played as a mystery or some big twist. 
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Richard Stevens
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Posted: 16 October 2018 at 7:44am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I also like (second episode they've done this), where the Doctor only had partial knowledge of the situation not only needed more information to solve things, but was wrong from time to time.  She's had to adjust her opinion of the situation to new data more than once.  This avoids her relying on encyclopedic knowledge of everything, and requires her to be intelligent.

******

Agree 100% with this! I think what I'm enjoying most about this series is that's she's been forced to *think* and not *remember.* They took a dollop of what was good about the 8th Doctor (TV movie amnesiac) and mixed it into some pretty straightforward stories about alien things.

I think it has the effect of resetting what is "amazing" on the show. We'd all be crazy amazed to wake up on a space ship or meet an alien, no matter how boring it is. It's satisfying and simpler.

I like the new TARDIS interior better than the screwdriver design, but I can see how they relate to each other and like them more because of it.


Edited by Richard Stevens on 16 October 2018 at 7:49am
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