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13 April 2016 @ 08:14 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Time of the Doctor  
It's the Eleventh Doctor's final story and, oh look! it's Victorian Christmas planet again. I really didn't rate this story much last time around so I was suprised to find myself liking it much better on second viewing.

I think the finale really benefits from having watched the whole Eleventh Doctor arc play through for a second time with the knowledge of how it fits together. On first viewing I felt Time and the Doctor smacked of frantic resolution of plot threads. This time the overall structure was much clearer; the Doctor's death and the events surrounding it have been echoing back throughout his final regeneration. This is typical of the kind of plotting Moffat has favoured in Doctor Who. To an extent the whole thing is Blink writ large. I still think a lot of the dots don't join as well as they might. The universe/history has now been rewritten on a grand scale at least twice, if not three, times during the Doctor's eleventh incarnation which is certainly a convenient continuity get-out-of-jail-free card for future producers though one feels it is perhaps twice more than was necessary.

There are still parts of the finale that don't really work. Clara's family, in particular, making their only appearance seem rather wasted. Possibly Moffat (who was presumably even, at the time, thinking of centering the next season around Clara's every-day life more) was experimenting with a more Davies' era set up where some of the story is driven by intra-family tensions, but it seems like he must have ultimately decided he didn't want to take that route. Here it's fairly obvious that the family scenes exist only to give Clara something to do in between the moments where she is needed on Trenzalore and, in a story, already straining a bit with the amount it is trying to do it is awkward to have time wasted in this way.

The town of Christmas on the planet of Trenzalore with its 19th century technology level, no light to speak of and, once it is the focus of invading nasties, presumably very little trade with the better lit parts of the planet, makes no sense at all. This time around I knew this going in however, so just rolled my eyes and let it wash over me.

The jokes about nudity seem pointless and silly. I'm not sure the idea that the Doctor must stay in a fixed time and place for hundreds of years actually receives the attention it needs to work. And the core story, which is basically about all the Doctor's enemies hanging around for 300 years waiting for him to die, doesn't actually have much happening. I think this explains why Time of the Doctor both seems over-frenetic and over-leisurely - there's a lot of explaining to do but not much actual plot to get through.

First time around I thought Time of the Doctor was a bit of a mess. I still think it is a bit of a mess, though it works better on re-watching. Still, as a story, it is burdened with trying to explain a lot, resolve a lot, set up alot and that prevents it really telling its own story.

I asked The Child if she wants to rewatch the Twelfth Doctor stories - Deep Breath being where she came into the show and she has decided not. She wants to see the "important" classic Who stories (which is defined as companions arriving and leaving, Doctor's changing, and other significant events - I'm guessing first appearances of recurring monsters and characters) plus the "really good" ones. I have a tentative list though I'm dubious about some of it (even deciding that if only telesnaps exist we may content ourselves with just watching the relevant bits of episodes). However, given she's seen An Unearthly Child, we obviously need to watch The Daleks next and we'll play it by ear from there.

Could be a while though, there is the family Buffy rewatch to get through and Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/189771.html.
a_cubeda_cubed on April 13th, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
Good luck with Jamie and Zoe's introduction!
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 14th, 2016 10:00 am (UTC)
Even when we get past the missing episode era, the "important" stories include such gems as "The Twin Dilemma" and "Time and the Rani"...
a_cubeda_cubed on April 14th, 2016 12:02 pm (UTC)
But also Destiny of the Daleks, Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, Castrovalva and the Caves of Androzani.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 15th, 2016 11:20 am (UTC)
I'm not worried about Destiny and Caves, and I'm hoping that generic goodwill generated by Tom Baker will sustain her through Keeper and Logopolis.
bookwormsarahbookwormsarah on April 14th, 2016 02:46 pm (UTC)
One of the first classic stories I watched was the second Peladon. I absolutely loved it (Jon Pertwee is my favourite Doctor). I like the Third Doctor era generally, and I have a sneaking fondness for Liz who was chronically underappreciated.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 15th, 2016 11:23 am (UTC)
I've never seen the second Peladon, in the 1990s Tame Layman and I made a couple of attempts to get our hands on it on VHS (by which means we acquired a Seven of Nine Boxset which we did enjoy even if it wasn't Monster of Peladon) before deciding that for whatever reason it was jinxed and we were destined never to see it. We'll have to see if it's still jinxed when the randomizer rolls around - though what we did see of it (one of the VHS's we acquired did have the first two episodes on it) seemed to be quite slow.

I can't for the life of me recall why we were trying to buy Monster of Peladon on VHS. There must have been a reason why that and not any other Pertwee story, but my mind is a blank.
liadtbunny: DW One Barbara & Ian justliadtbunny on April 14th, 2016 02:55 pm (UTC)
It's nice to hear your child wants to watch the old stuff:)
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 15th, 2016 11:24 am (UTC)
I think she's definitely got a bit of the completeist about her. She's come down and watched the odd episode with us when we've been on Randomiser views, but I'm not sure they've exactly grabbed her, but we'll see.
liadtbunny: DW First I wonder...liadtbunny on April 16th, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC)
It's important to see the first and last eps I think.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on April 14th, 2016 10:02 pm (UTC)
I also enjoyed this story more on second viewing, but watching the eleventh Doctor's run in order it does feel a bit as if Moffat ran out of ideas for his arc, or simply lost interest in it, and then suddenly had to tie up a lot of loose ends in the final episode. The impossible girl arc doesn't really connect with the Silence arc and by the time we get to The Time of the Doctor the Silence arc and the exploding TARDIS seem quite distant.

Also, agreed about the nudity jokes being pointless and silly. It felt like padding for an under-running episode, but actually we needed more time on the main plot to make it feel less rushed and to give more time for world-building on Christmas town.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 15th, 2016 11:26 am (UTC)
Structurally speaking, I can't help thinking that the Eleventh Doctor era should have ended with the Ponds (or at least a little closer to their departure). The impossible girl arc feels out of place both in terms of the Eleventh Doctor's run and in terms of Clara and the Twelfth Doctor.

Insofar as an arc can be filler, it feels like filler.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on April 15th, 2016 12:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've often felt like that myself.
cynthia2015cynthia2015 on April 15th, 2016 04:21 am (UTC)
Moffat tried to stray away from domestics but had to bring in family when the plot needed it.

When Clara lost Danny she had her grandmother to console her because she needed someone to talk to. She was all angry at the Doctor.

In the old series champions weren't tied to family but the structure of the show was different.

louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 15th, 2016 11:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, but Time and the Doctor didn't need family for the plot, it just needed something for Clara to be doing when she was out of the action on Trenzalore.
cynthia2015: pic#126069635cynthia2015 on April 15th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
I guess Clara celebrating Christmas alone is boring?.

Clara didn't necessarily have to pretend the Doctor was her boyfriend. I forgot why he had to be naked or why Clara had to be either.

How about Amy and her parents. Gone. Brought back. Gone. Its just Moffats writing style.