Gatiss is an interesting one. Some of his stories are great (The Unquiet Dead), some have an interesting take (The Idiot’s Lantern), some are just bonkers fun (Victory of the Daleks, Robot of Sherwood) and some are just bad (The Crimson Horror).
Sleep No More is the point where I actively started avoiding his material.
Interestingly enough, “Sleep No More” is one of the few times I feel Gatiss worked on something truly interesting. Now, the episode is still not good, but when you step back and take a wider view of it, playing with the recorded television format itself is interesting, more worthy of Moffat than Gatiss (and maybe Moffat had some input, I don’t know; I understand he was usually hands off as a showrunner, but he and Gatiss worked together a lot so I dunno).
One of my little quirks with the Moffat era is that something early on in an episode would strike me as odd, and I’d comment on it, which in my mind was me saying “oh that’s a bad piece of writing that should have been fixed.” But then towards the end a twist would be revealed, and it turns out the thing I commented on was the clue, and my friend always said something like “oh you figured it out from the start.” And I can’t let that lie stand, so I’d tell her I didn’t know what was happening, I just happened to catch the weird thing. So with “Sleep No More” in particular I remember noticing that there was footage from Clara’s point of view even though that shouldn’t have been possible.
So at some point I started realizing “oh that’s a clue” and would then try to work out the surprise, which was sometimes successful. And then Chibnall took over and there were tons of “clues” but it turned out they actually were just bad writing.
EDITED TO ADD: Wow, I really dislike Chibnall, huh? Which is a perfectly acceptable opinion to have, I think, but looking back I realize I’m bringing negativity to this thread. So I’m going to try to tone it down on that front and instead focus on stuff like “hey, isn’t this show super weird and cool?” Feel free to call me out when I go on a little tirade again.
No worries. That seems to be a common feeling. So that being said (at the risk of more negativity), I’ve seen some clips of 42 which was written by Chibnall. I haven’t seen the whole thing but the episode seems to be quite intriguing and I can’t wait until I get to it in my watch. What did you think of that one?
I think, “Chibnall.”
Yeah. That was one of my issues with later Moffat. The first few times it happened, I thought – oh, clever. When he started doing it EVERY SINGLE TIME, it started to feel like self parody. I mean, I appreciate a good formula, but please mix it up a little. I appreciate that Chibnall took some big swings during his run, but where Moffat could string together a series of ideas into a coherent plot – Chibnall just took a bunch of ideas and turned them into a splatter painting. And that made for some disjointed and terribly paced storytelling.
I didn’t much care for Torchwood, and I’m pretty sure Chibnall is why.
I think what really grated the cheese of the fandom in that regard is how it was seen as John Nathan-Turner (notorious for his fondness of loud colors) putting his stamp on the character. Everything I’ve heard about him gives the impression of a cross between William Castle and Michael Scott from The Office.
Terrance Dicks has frequently commented on how he considers four episodes the sweet spot for Doctor Who serial length.
As the Brigadier once remarked, what he’s really wants in a Companion is someone who will hand him his test tubes and tell him how brilliant he is.
Have we talked about Big Finish audio dramas yet? I used to listen to them all the time, but I haven’t in a while. I especially enjoyed the Benny series, about a companion who has never been on TV but really should be. Berniece Summerfeld is a feisty archaeologist who cares as much about science as the Doctor.
I have plugged them twice already. Never listened to the Bernice Summerfield ones yet. I was surprised to learn that Lisa Bowerman was married to (or at least partnered with) David Warner, which I only learned when he died. And speaking of David Warner, the Doctor Who Unbound series from Big Finish is also a lot of fun. Alternate regenerations of the Doctor where they could do whatever because it’s not canon and just a couple hours of story.
There’s one Benny episode involving a genocide and it’s either mostly or entirely a monologue (can’t quite remember), which is probably the best thing I ever heard from them.
I saw a clip from Matt Smith’s doctor where he leans down and says (to Amy, Rory, and River), “I’m being extremely clever up here and none of you are telling me how brilliant I am. What’s the point of having you around?”
You know, in an alternate universe, Ten said that to Donna and she responded with “Oi!” and then completely dressed him down.
And I would PAY to see that scene.
What I would like to see is the Doctor beginning her regeneration, but she stumbles into a TransMat Beam, or wormhole, or some other sort of space-time portal, and disappears. Then Donna has to temporarily assume the role of Doctor Who while the search for the regenerated Doctor goes on.
Random thought as I’ve been watching classic Who clips.
Shortly after regenerating, the Third Doctor says that he’s come to like his new face because “it’s flexible, you know. It would be useful on the planet Delphon where they communicate with their eyebrows.”
I wish that Peter Capaldi with his “attack eyebrows” had gone to the planet Delphon. Even just for 5 minutes.
As I’ve been watching videos on YT, I came across someone who has made tribute videos for every Doctor. The videos are great overall, but the song choices for two of them seem so appropriate based on what I’ve read about the various doctors.
The Runaway Bride is Doctor Who at its’ finest.
That is a really great episode, yes.
One of my spies in England just told me BBC One ran a teaser for the first Tennant special. Anyone catch it?