Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Am Human

I got to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who last night which included the introduction of Oswin, the companion who apparently will be taking over once the Ponds leave.

And I have to admit that Oswin's part of the story was the only thing that I didn't completely hate. Granted, I didn't hate the whole thing in general...it still suffers from Moffat's very lazy story telling. And I don't mean lazy as in slow...I watch both French New Wave and Japanese film...I know when slow can be enjoyable.

But ever since Moffat took over the general writing of Doctor Who, it's like he has the certain things he wants to cover, but isn't paying attention to how he's covering.

Also unlike some Doctor Who fans, I really don't have a problem with Matt Smith...yes, he isn't David Tennant, but when Tori Amos came out with her second album, I really wasn't expecting it to be Little Earthquakes Part II.

Now, I am a bit annoyed with Oswin simply because she'll be replacing Amy and Rory, both of whom, I've grown quite fond of, but as has been apparent for quite a long time, people come and go in the show...not just the companions but the doctors as well.

What do you think?

Image via candidly candid lily

PS I do have a slight problem with Oswin: that the Doctor will go back across her timeline, pick her up, and then put her back so that she once again ends up in this episode. I don't like that she's automatically tragic.

8 comments:

SEAN said...

I just don't like the writing or the stories which makes it harder to like the characters. I really stopped watching after 1st season with matt smith. I did watch the marathon because I hate to give up on the series and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE River Song - she keeps my attention and it the redeeming part of this new doctor.

Tim said...

I think your assessment is dead-on correct.

I had a huge problem with the way the show leapt into the Doctor on Skaro -- with fascist architecture no less. What the hell was that?

Rory and Amy's impending divorce also came out of the blue. I found the script offensive almost: Here are two people whose marriage is collapsing because she can't have any more children. Somehow, these two people have been completely and utterly unable to talk about this for years. Then, after just a few minutes of conversation, they reconcile.

First, plenty of people are childless. It doesn't mean their marriage goes on the rocks. One has to assume that Amy and Rory are morons -- and the great crises they have gone through (Rory's 2,000 year wait; Amy's growing old and feeling abandoned; etc.) have not strengthened their relationship but rather horribly damaged it. That's an assumption that flies in the face of all the previous episodes.

Second, it seems Rory and Amy have never heard of adoption. Or have rejected it out of hand. Which is a slap in the face to every adopted kid in the world.

Third, their sudden and complete reconciliation is another slap in the face of actual couples who face childnessness. If it really is a difficult issue which couples have difficulty confronting, this sudden resolution is a slap in the face of people who have struggled to overcome this.

The Doctor also has extensive knowledge of the Daleks. But he's never heard of their Asylum before? That is an unreasonable assumption to ask viewers to make.

Tim said...

Now, I'm not completely opposed to the idea of the Asylum. But the idea that a commercial spaceliner could easily penetrate the shield (and somehow mortally damage it) while nuclear bombs, lasers, and all that could not is simply ridiculous.

I like the idea that the Daleks themselves would be too afraid to enter their own Asylum.

I don't like the idea that somehow the Daleks couldn't use gravity tunnels to drop a planet-busting bomb onto Asylum.

Right off, the idea of nanogenes turning people (living or dead) into Daleks is a suspicious to me. First, it is suspicious because it makes the Daleks into nothing more than Cybermen. The big thing about the Cybermen is that they are willing to take any biped and turn it into a Cyber-being. That's NEVER been true of the Daleks, which have a sort of Aryan/racist idea about "pure" Dalek blood. Second, alarm bells went off in my head immediately about Oswin's survivability. Oswin has to be so hermetically isolated from the atmosphere that she's kept away from them. But it's clear that she's not (she's nailing wood to the door). So right off, I suspected that she was not human.

The use of dead matter to become Dalek-bots was silly and made no sense. If that's the case, the nanogenes should be able to use snow, twisted metal, and overcoats. I'm more willing to accept Harvey, as he was not dead when he was converted. But, once more, I became suspicious that Oswin wasn't some sort of trick to bring the Doctor down to Asylum.

Rory's separation from the Doctor and Amy made no sense. Was his gravity beam somehow more powerful? Why didn't the other two get "tunneled" into the earth as well?

Tim said...

The middle section of the episode seemed boring. It was running around, and not very inventive. Or interesting! It's almost as if Stephen Moffat is bored with having a smart Doctor. His Doctor only bashes things, blows things up, destroys things. He jams his sonic screwdriver into something, and voila. He blows up a whole room of Daleks....

But so what? Doctor Who used to be a show about an incredibly smart Doctor who outwitted his opponents. But Moffat's Doctor has no wits about him at all. Every plot device is deus ex machina here. He "just happens to realize" that Rory is standing on a telepad. He "just happens to realize" how he can blow up a room full of Daleks. There's no thinking here at all.

If I wanted to see smash-'em-up, I'd watch The A-Team reruns on TV Land.

The Doctor giving Amy his nanongene protection bracelet is partly sheer cruelty and partly idiocy. In part, it is sheer cruelty because he allows Amy and Rory to suffer the intense anguish of Amy's possible conversion into a Dalek-bot. His goal, we're told, is to get the two lovers to make up. The idiocy portion is in assuming that these two people -- who have been through hell and back, and yet can't have a simple, honest conversation about child-bearing -- are going to be able to overcome their differences in just a few minutes of "anguish". The second portio of the idiocy is in assuming that Amy cannot feel when something is attached to her wrist.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of the old-model Daleks from the old series (like the Special Weapons Dalek). What I do not understand is why the Daleks are out of power. If they are all out of power, then why are the "sane" Daleks so afraid of them?

The show's climax is also poor. Showing Oswin-Dalek AS a Dalek seems inexplicable, seeing as how Harvey, Darla, and the dead Alaska crewmembers were never converted into Daleks. Moreover, it violates every tenet of race-purity that the Daleks have advocated for decades on the show. Finally, having Oswin-Dalek chained to the floor -- only to break free easily -- is moronic.

Lastly, having Oswin-Dalek delete all memories of the Doctor from the Dalek race seems silly and pointless. Silly, because you'd think the Time Lords would have done this years ago (and erased the Daleks' ability to use their weapons, or know about time-travel, or know about hyperspace drives, or...). Silly, because the show has to rely on the "hive mind" of the Daleks -- when no such thing has EVER been suggested before. And pointless, because there seems to reason for doing it. Has this changed the show, somehow? Rewritten history somehow? Alters how the Daleks will see the Doctor from now on? No.

Overall, the episode seemed pointless. It's another of the "let's put Amy and Rory through the wringer again" episodes. It's another Dalek episode -- and my GOD how many of these can they do every year???? In the old series, years would pass between Dalek shows. In the revived series, weeks pass. Bleah! I never felt bad for Amy and Rory, as it was blatantly obvious from the get-go that their divorce was silly and would be quickly ignored. I never felt anything about the Doctor, and Oswin's predicament was clouded from the beginning by my suspicions about how she survived.

As Wikipedia points out: io9 reviewer Charlie Jane Anders noted that the plot "is mostly just an excuse to explore the Doctor's ongoing relationship with the Daleks, and to show how sad it's gotten".

Yup.

Kyle Leach said...

The only thing about the Who universe that is constant is change. I lament each time we loose someone we fall for, but in the end it makes the tapestry between all the characters so rich. Loss is only significant if it really shakes you to your bones. It doesn't matter if it is real or imaginary, the loss is the same.

Writer said...

Sean, and the writing is so confusing: Moffat's Sherlock is excellent but his Doctor Who not. Maybe he just doesn't understand the Doctor. :(

Writer said...

Tim, I agree with all your comments. Especially the very last comment about how many freaking episodes do we have to have each year with Daleks in them. I don't even find the Daleks all that frightening even though it is obvious that the intention is that they are the biggest bad of the Doctor Who universe.

And look at that word there: universe. We know there is a whole big universe and all kinds of alien characters but it seems that since the reboot with Christopher Eccleston, the writers have basically reduced the baddies down to Daleks, Cybermen and the Sontarans. (Especially the Daleks.) It's gotten old quickly. Can we have some new baddies or at least some new alien characters?

Writer said...

Kyle, I guess it isn't something that I'm used to. Which is another reason why I've been wanting to watch Who from the beginning. In reading the wikipedia summations of the episodes, the changing of companions seems rather casual...I think it was season 2 before a companion actually died...and maybe that will making the moving on of characters less...well...grr.