sholio: (Who-Rose)
Sholio ([personal profile] sholio) wrote2010-07-15 01:18 pm
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Watching Doctor Who again

We're up to episode 5x08, which was where we had to stop last night in order to SLEEP, even though it was a cliffhanger.

I'm finally getting sold on Matt Smith's Doctor. It's taken awhile; he's not as distinctive (compared to past Doctors) as Nine, and he's much more subtle than Ten, and all-in-all feels very Old Skool. But that's not really a bad thing, and I'm finally getting more comfortable with him as him, rather than sort of a Ten knock-off, which was how he struck me at first. I still wish they'd done more to distinguish his overall look from Ten -- when he was wearing the badly hand-knit sweater in 5x07, it made realize that half my trouble relating to him is simply that I don't find his particular, personal style especially appealing, or different enough from Ten's. I liked him in the sweater! But anyway, he's slowly but surely winning me over.

I still find Amy Pond a weird cypher of a character. I know that being focused on the Doctor to the exclusion of all else, including having an actual life, is part of her character, and I'm sort of hoping that a big part of her arc is going to be working out how to be a unique and individual person, without the Doctor as her lodestone. As it stands, though, she doesn't seem to have any particular hobbies, interests or opinions of her own, and the way she deals with Rory reminds me a lot of Rose and Mickey in seasons one and two. I really liked her when she was curious and excited about things (especially wanting him to show her a real! live! alien! planet!), but her general incuriousness about anything that doesn't interest her -- like the museums, or the drilling rig -- is a big strike against her for me. I certainly don't hate her; I just find her hard to like, and after eight episodes, I still don't really feel like I know her at all yet.

River Song, on the other hand, I adore. ♥ ♥ ♥ And I didn't expect to! In "Quiet in the Library", she left me cold. But apparently, River Song, Intergalactic Criminal totally pushes all of my buttons. I love everything about her, from her competence and bravery, to her interactions with the Doctor, to the way she talks and moves -- I just really like watching her. And how much do I love that she's a female action hero, with style and panache, being played by a woman in her late 40s? THIS, THIS, THIS MUCH. And I'm thoroughly delighted that, since we know she has an extensive history with the Doctor, she has to come back! A lot! (Unless they rewrite her history with the Doctor, which would make me Very Sad.)

Another thing that is making me Very Sad is that one of the very few spoilers I know about the show is that Rory dies (and if this is not in fact true, and simply me misinterpreting something I read, PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME; I'm not fond of character deaths, but I love death fake-outs, so right now I'm all braced to lose him! But if I don't actually lose him, I'd rather be surprised than know about it ahead of time). Anyway, along with River, Rory's probably my favorite character in the new cast. I especially love the actor's awesome deadpan delivery of his lines ("You may experience some ... bruising"), as well as his reluctant heroism and the extra element that he adds to the interactions between the cast. I've always been someone who prefers ensembles to one or two characters doing everything, and I much prefer the dynamic that you get when the Doctor is surrounded by a group of people with ongoing, shifting relationships, rather than just being one Doctor and one Companion all the time. I really enjoyed the way that the RTD-era Who built up an ongoing stable of characters who kept coming back, and I really hope to see the same thing from Moffat-Who.

Other thoughts, hmm. The Weeping Angels were just as awesomely creepy the second time around (the faceless angels, omg *shudders*), and as absurd as parts of it were, I think I loved 5x07 the best, because it was tense and fast-moving and absolutely frikkin' hilarious (I kept feeling guilty at laughing so hard at the attacking nursing home zombies, I really really did, but I couldn't help it). And while I can't figure out why ANYONE (including Amy) seriously thinks that a 900-year-old alien would be interested in her, I've actually been enjoying the way that the sort-of-love-triangle has been playing out, without feeling overwhelmed by it.

Anyway! I think we'll be mainlining some more of it tonight. Once again, no spoilers please!

ext_1771: Joe Flanigan looking A-Dorable. (Default)

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Sholio, really: EVERYBODY IS MORE SUBTLE THAN TEN! ;) I liked Tennant just fine, and I love Eccleston but this guy - this formerly unknown kid - works perfectly, brilliantly for me as the Doctor.

I much prefer the dynamic that you get when the Doctor is surrounded by a group of people with ongoing, shifting relationships, rather than just being one Doctor and one Companion all the time.

I won't lie; the whole Dynamic Girl/Boy Duo is a formula that gets me no matter the genre and no matter the set-up as long as there's something that compels me...and Amy does; Amy Pond is the character that I couldn't let go of after The Beast Below. Unlike you, she's never read as a cypher to me - or rather, I've always feel there was something off about her, strange and delightful, deliberately written and even more deliberately yet subtly delivered.

Mainline more, and talk more! :)
ext_1981: (Woolsey baby)

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 10:05 pm (UTC)(link)

*laughs* All right, yes, you have a point.

I wish I could figure out why I'm having so much trouble connecting with Amy. I just ... can't. But I think it's wonderful that a lot of people do. And I'm liking her much better now than I did at first, so we'll see how things continue to go!

And, yeah -- I've always been a lover of an ensemble cast over a lone hero or a duo, in general. Which doesn't mean that I can't get into single characters or duos; it's just a much harder sell for me. But, again, that's really just personal preference, not a comment on the quality of any specific work.
ext_1771: Joe Flanigan looking A-Dorable. (Default)

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 10:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Thinking back, I've probably loved at least as many Ensemble! shows as Duo! shows, but I don't tend to be as actively fannish about the former: they are, if well done, perfectly sufficient on-screen...if, of course, chased by passive consumption of meta and such, with only an icon or discussion post here or there: Firefly; The West Wing; Spooks; Ugly Betty; The Sarah Connor Chronicles; The Sarah Jane Adventures; The Wire; Skins. Lone hero shows I haven't I've ever followed, to my knowledge?
ext_1981: (SGA-Game-John-look)

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 10:36 pm (UTC)(link)
See, I tend to nearly always fan on ensemble shows; I often have favorite relationships within the ensemble, but I usually like them in context of a larger cast -- just the pairing on its own doesn't do it for me. I think that's definitely one of the reasons why I drifted away from Supernatural, because it is very much a Two Guys Against the World sort of show, and I always liked the characters best when they were interacting with other people. IMHO, the show went downhill in other ways too, but that's the specific element that pushed me away, I think.

I would definitely consider SGA an ensemble show, though I know a lot of people didn't fan on it as one -- but even though I liked John and Rodney's friendship the best, I was also hugely enamored of the team and their individual relationships with other people too. For me, it wouldn't have engaged me in the same way if it had actually been The John and Rodney Show in reality.

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 10:15 pm (UTC)(link)
For what it's worth, I didn't really get a sense of Eleven as a distinct character until ... oh, ha, I just realized, episode 11. That wasn't even intentional. But yeah, I just kept seeing faint echos of Ten and nothing really else (except a few glimmers) for a long while. I too found Amy very hard to connect with and adored Rory's effects on the group, but I'm not gonna go into any more about my take on either of them because I don't want to risk spoiling you.

I liked River in the angel episodes more than I did at the Library, I think, but I didn't love her, I think because the script was pushing so hard for me to adore her. I really tend to resent that with characters I'm on the fence about, and I take it out on characters so presented. But that ties into a meta problem I had with all of the writing of the series (which I won't go into, because I'm trying not to squee-harsh); I certainly like the idea of River Song, Intergalactic Badass of a Certain Age. Hee.

If you're up to 8 ... there are episodes I particularly liked after that point, but I don't know to just what degree you're avoiding spoilers (don't call out particularly good episodes? don't reveal episode titles?), so I won't tell you which unless you're particularly curious. Might be better to wait and see what your uninfluenced takes are, heh ....
ext_1981: (Woolsey baby)

[identity profile] 2010-07-15 10:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I'd rather not be influenced, so I'll post my reactions when I get to those episodes. :D And thanks for refraining! We can talk more about the meta-stuff after I've seen the rest of the season if it gets more into spoiler territory, too.

The thing about River Song, I guess, is that I didn't feel that the narration was trying to push me towards liking her, aside from just presenting her as a badass character, which I was down with. *g* And I really love her take-no-nonsense attitude towards the Doctor, which was something I also really liked about his dynamic with Donna. I'm not overly fond of Fumbling Towards Romance plots, generally preferring established romance, which is why I think the Doctor/River romance might actually work for me, in a way this kind of thing normally doesn't -- it's already an established relationship for her (assuming the series isn't planning on throwing a curve ball), and by the time he meets her for the "first" time (from her point of view), it already will be an established relationship for him too ... or at least he will have had time to get used to the idea. In a weird kind of way, there is no "first meeting, getting to know each other" period in their relationship, which is normally where TV romance tends to throw me off. Either he knows her, or she knows him, in that bizarre way that only works when time travel is involved.

Moffat does have a tendency to stick a lot of romance into his plots -- something I'm definitely noticing as the season progresses -- but I find that I generally like his romances; they're melancholy, bittersweet and low-key, and tend to work really well for me, especially compared to the over-the-top way that RTD used to do romance when he'd tackle it. Perhaps that's even why River, as a character, works so much better for me now than she did in the Library episodes, because RTD was still at the helm and RTD seems to go for Doomed Love Through Space and Time, rather than the more subtle way that the River/Doctor interactions seemed to play out in these episodes.

[identity profile] 2010-07-16 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
I don't want to influence or spoil you, but I'll be interested to see your comments after the whole cycle of episodes ;-)

I am so with you on the River Song love. I totally love this woman. She is so much a mystery and there's so much more to get to know about her. I'm looking forward to learning each and everything about her.
ext_1981: (Tea)

[identity profile] 2010-07-16 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
I think the mystery surrounding River is one of the things I really love about her! Usually, the supporting characters on Who are either people who've been around forever and are therefore well known (like the Master), or we get their whole life story when we meet them, like nearly every Companion -- it's not that the Companions are a total open book or that there's nothing to find out about them, but with Rose or Donna, Amy or Martha, we know what they are from the beginning: a shop girl who wants to see the universe, an accomplished doctor, a girl who's been waiting all her life for the Doctor to take her away, or whatever. We have no idea who or what River is, and I find that completely fascinating, especially as little hints about her are dropped.

[identity profile] 2010-07-16 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
She's also the only person the doctor has met out of sequence. It seems to me that everyone else, even his enemies, he's met in a linear fashion, so there's history with them that both parties are privy to. I think that's one of the most amazing things about River Song is that they keep meeting out of order. It does give me a headache trying to unravel it all, but mostly I just enjoy the ride.

[identity profile] 2010-07-16 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, word on everything! (Except I'm not in love with River Song... ) And yeah, I heart Rory.

I think I loved the second part of the season best not just because I got to know the characters, but also because the plotlines appealed to me. I have high hopes for the sixth season.

[identity profile] 2010-07-16 02:46 am (UTC)(link)
It took a while for eleven to grow on me - a rather long while. Like you, at first I felt him to be a bit of a Ten knock off. It also didn't help that the show became a sort of clean slate, as though everything that happened before was pushed into another dimension to make room for the new Who. With Doctors Nine and Ten you had a transition, the Doctor new but everything else the same. With Eleven, everything was new and it really threw me for a while. Even River Song felt different (in a good way, of course :D). In turn, it made me miss Ten like crazy.

But I kept with it because it's still such a fun, interesting and unpredictable show (pretty much the only show I look forward to with a passion). As the show progressed I started to get a better sense of the Doctor. At first I felt him a bit too scatter-brained, but that has now become the aspect I really like about this Doctor. And all I will say about the most recent episode is that it totally sealed eleven for me ;)

Amy was also iffy, but I like her. She reminds me a lot of Donna. River does get more interesting the more she's on. I like that there's so much mystery surrounding her (I do love a good mystery :D) and that we're given clues to speculate on.

What I like about Rory is that his character is the type that the Doctor normally wouldn't give the time of day to. He isn't immediately enamored with the wonders of traveling through time and space, but for the sake of Amy he puts up with it. The whole thing freaks him out but he carries on, and I like the contrast he brings.

[identity profile] 2010-07-17 04:19 am (UTC)(link)
Every point you've made here is the exactly what I think. Matt Smith will evolve once they stop writing for Ten. The only difference between us was I didn't like Eccleston. Of course it didn't help with all the Rose/Doctor stuff. I'm old school and I can't get passed the fact that there was no romance at all in the original series.

River Song is brilliant!!!! I love Alex Kingston and have since I first saw her on ER. In DW she is tough, capable and smart! Just the kind of foil the Doctor can bounce off.

I'll leave Amy Pond alone as I'm not liking her, seems to be a bad cross between Rose and Donna. However, I'm loving Rory :D

[identity profile] 2010-07-17 07:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I still find Amy Pond a weird cypher of a character.

What clicked for me was that statement the Doctor made in one of the first episodes: that she's a Scottish girl in an English town. That she's always been the Scottish girl in an English town, even after living most her life there. She's grabbed hold of her accent and not let go.

So I think she's kind of a cypher to herself, if that makes sense. She's trying to define herself, figure herself out. Her one constant is the Doctor. And, I think he'd agree, he's not that constant. Her first interactions with him is him promising the moon then disappearing. For several years or so.

It's like she's looking for a found-family, but it's not quite working. Which, I think may fit in with the overall arc I see developing with that rip thing. (I'm only on ep 10, so nothing spoilery there. Also, the very real possibility that what I think I see I'm not really seeing. *g*)