Okay, so, first of all, I'm'a have to use cuts here, so I don't have to leave stuff out. But stick around, 'cos unless I forget (I'm kinda sleepy at the moment) this post will contain some Moffat and Torchwood bashing, too. YAY!
The main thing I think I have to address here first is, judging from the total gibbering insanity drooling off of a couple of my replies to the last conversation, YES, I know it's just a TV show. But, we're all fangirls here. We understand getting SO emotional at a show, we have to rant, scream, cry, yell at the screen, tell characters not to do things we know perfectly well they can't stop doing because they're scripted that way, etc. I get it. I do have my mental/emotional problems, but I'm not THAT bad.
That out of the way, let's get onto the meat of things. First, the religious stuff. Like I said, I am not religious, don't believe in incorruptibility or perfection (not forever, at least--some things CAN be perfect, for a while. For a certain definition of "perfect". Then they slip, or go rotten, or the good writers leave, or get lazy...) and find the idea of a universe with just ONE uber-powerful being really, really scary. A universe with many, where they battle each other, fine.
But when I said I don't like it when Christians (or anybody, but the main ones I've run across doing this TO me, were Christians) proselytising, I don't just mean, walking up to me and suggesting it once. I don't go postal the second I see Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormon Missionaries approaching my door, and I live in a place where it's common to get both.
No, I mean situations where, the instant you make the mistake of speaking out loud the fact that you don't belong or go to any church, everybody there goes "OOH! BLANK SLATE!" and pounces on you all at once. And you politely tell them "No thank you." Then they keep doing it. And you slightly less politely tell them no thank you. Then they keep doing it. And you ask them to please stop. And they keep doing it. And you tell them to please stop. Then they keep doing it. And you shout at them to stop, without the please. Then they keep doing it. And you SCREAM at them to stop, using words that are not allowed by the messageboard's rules. Then they keep doing it. All the while, their tone keeps getting louder and louder, ruder and ruder and meaner and meaner, but then, YOU are the one who gets banned, even though YOU aren't the one who started the fight!
The "persuasion" also includes accusations of having no morals, of saying that anybody who isn't Christian is automatically a godless howling devil/poor primitive idiot to be pitied and then educated as quickly as possible, constant warnings of going to HELL, and even when you calm down after the screaming phase and try logic on them--and I don't mean scientific logic, more like, "This is not going to do you any good, you are wasting your own time" kind of logic, such as: "Hell won't work on me as a threat since I don't believe in it", even THAT doesn't work because "But I do, I know it's real so I'm only trying to convert you so I can save your SOUL, because I'm worried about you!" so you drown in the cloying Flandersishness, neighborino...
And then you get banned AGAIN and called "un-American" for not voting for Bush II in the middle of this out of nowhere and get screamed at BY. THE MODS and have your fucking title changed, like a petty little power-abusing trick like we're in Junior High, to say: "Captain Chaotica: Whiny Idiot" under your avatar every single time you post, and have parts of your posts taken out--or sometimes even the entire thing deleted--even though you haven't broken a single rule, not even mild swearing, and ONLY yours, so that the smug little BASTARDS have ONLY their opinions seen and out there, existing, in the world, so that you lose by default no matter HOW HARD YOU FIGHT...
Yeah. Ya get a little bitter!
And this was the SECOND messageboard I frequented that had this kind of thing happening to me...
Oh, and although I'm angry now (and was then, somewhat) my main reaction, at the time? Hurt feelings. I am one of THE most emotionally sensitive people EVER. Always have been. So whenever I came back to find another one of these hateful messages, I didn't think "Well, SCREW YOU, I don't have to take that!", instead, I cried. These stupid religious flame wars, led to me weeping my eyeballs out, more pain, more tears, more total, utter SUFFERING than I have ever had from mere conversation before.
Now, imagine that all through your rebellious adolescent years, you're also living in a culture where the girls calmly and happily talk about how of COURSE a woman's place is in the home, mm-hmm, and are already, in JUNIOR HIGH, making plans to go to college just to catch a boy so they can get MARRIED and start squiring out BABIESS!!!!!! (think the Twilight model of sexual morality, here--'cos that's EXACTLY what it is) and whole buses "spontaneously" bust out into HYMNS together on the way home, everybody except you, so you feel like you're living in the Twilight Zone suddenly. Put that on top of all the above.
Yeah I'm not real fond of even pseudo-Christian proselytising.
So. All the above was to say: I'm not anti all Christians, even the really strict, really religious ones. I'm anti the RUDE ones! (Actually I'm anti-jerk in general, but that goes without saying.)
(The obvious question here is--why would I stay at a messageboard that made me so unhappy? The answer, at first, is loyalty. I joined it when it was first starting up on a server that hasn't existed for well over a decade now, and was a core member. When we moved to another, fancier server, I became better known. I had friends there I could have both intellectual, meaty, and funny conversations with. Then we hit a sort of "golden age" where the place was SO popular and moving so fast, you couldn't keep up with all the new posts that appeared overnight even if you wanted to. Lots of random silliness reigned during this time period, but it was a time of fun and joining together and community feeling. The most epic thread ever of this time was was one called "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" (I forget the exact number of o's) in which Outcasts simply had to lament that she had run out of...something. I'm'a say icecream. This led into an epic back-and-forth of one-liner but actually funny posts that grew to over a THOUSAND replies by the time I even checked the board the next day and saw its existence at all. It got way longer.
Later on, during what was either the tail end of the board's "golden age" or might've been the silver, judging from all the jetpacks and pink Kryptonite around ;) we had a Round-Robin story start up in which we played as our avatars, and somehow, this very meta idea of the board ITSELF being the landscape got started. With the subject of the thread informing what the characters were travelling through. So, like, a thread somebody started to tell us he wouldn't be around for a while because he was going on vacation to Hawaii might result in the characters finding themselves on a tropical island. Well, I ended up in charge of the baddies and their plan somehow, and decided that the old archived threads section was the Spooky Abandoned Forest, that the longer a thread, the bigger a tree/structure it was, and that the baddies' headquarters was the forbidding "Tower of NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" This proved very popular, to the point where it is a running gag STILL remembered to this day by the few remaining core members I bump into from time to time.
Later than that, we had a working chatroom in which I actually managed to organise a couple of real-time MSTings of bad fanfics, and it was GLORIOUS fun, and stupid, and chaotic, and hilarious, we did Mad Libs and I'm Thinking of Someone games, we made up our own very long-running gags along the way, such as "Someone" (starting from the line "No matter what you say, someone will be offended". Then Someone became an imaginary character who kept popping up in dialogue form during random conversations to say: "I am offended!" Then he got drawn, and had an actual established look. Then somebody turned that picture into their forum avatar. Speaking of avatars, I made several for the members there, and I think there are a couple people out there on the 'net STILL using little pieces of my artwork to represent themselves on boards in front of people who have no idea who I am.
We had a real community feel. We laughed, we had in-jokes, we did favours for each other, we played games, we had What Do You Look Like and What Do You Sound Like threads--the latter of which caused several people to say they had added my acapella rendition of the song "You Belong to Me" to their actual WinAmp playlists amongst all the professional singers, and that they even liked my version better than Jo Stafford's original (?!), we made up a more specific version of the board's rules together and I, personally, contributed to this discussion quite a bit...it used to be a fun place.
The BIG fight over religion I discussed above was the only one of quite that bad a size, and happened later on, when things were already starting to fall apart. I had had several scuffles beforehand, scattered out, before that, but nowhere near so bad that I got banned and had my title changed. Oddly enough, THAT was what convinced me and several other like-minded people to leave finally--because it proved that not even the mods could be trusted to be fair, even-handed administrators and keep their own personal emotions out of the fights. We made our own board. Moved it to another server that worked better and changed the name a couple times, which didn't help the popularity. Started off with 20 of us but we had nothing to say, because all the discussion threads we wanted to reply to were back on the OTHER board, and we couldn't think of new ones. Some of them also followed me to a clan specifically of disenfranchised people from this forum, in the Kingdom of Loathing. Their characters are mostly if not all inactive now, and I bet most of them have forgotten about the game entirely. Occasionally I bump into one of them on DeviantArt, and if they've drawn a picture I have something to say about, I say it.
Other than that, the community's gone now. Oh, it still exists, but MAN does it have few posters last time I checked in on it. But as to why I stayed when I was that miserable? First, I only stayed through the LESSER fights, because it was fun and silly and creative and I felt like I belonged, most of the time, and I and a few others had over a DECADE'S worth of loyalty built up--no kidding. The nasty fight I described earlier, however, DID make me leave. So yeah.)
But enough of that--I just wanted to make sure I hadn't accidentally started some kind of inter-faith Incident--on to Doctor Who, and The End of Time.
Believe it or not I actually went into this one knowing very little (except for the very last bits--"I don't want to go", the Companion World Tour, and how his regeneration was SO fucking epic, it even blew up the TARDIS, dude)...and actually expecting the BEST! Yes, really! As negative as I sound, do you know, I actually don't sit down in front of every New Who episode expecting to hate, trying to find reasons to get angry on purpose, deliberately picking out things to make fun of? No, I start off each one with the thought that POTENTIALLY, this could be awesome or at least harmlessly stupid entertainment with a few awesome lines and only start getting mad once things that irritate me whap me directly in the face, on their own. (Then, once I've gotten pissed off once, it quickly goes downhill and I start nitpicking other things I might've let go if I wasn't already in a bad mood.)
Do you know, even in the last episode I just saw (Victory of the Daleks), I was actually squeeing and freaking out at points, the way you're supposed to? (True, only people who recently saw "Captain America" AND have been reading lots of Golden Age comics would be squeeing at the mere fact that it's the '40s, but still...)
So I actually had hopes that "The End of Time" would be decent because if there's ANYTHING Russell can legitimately do well, it's the big dramatic two-parters! Stupid romance plots and sappiness are shoved aside because THERE'S NO TIME! ACTION! When I say run, Rose/Martha/Donna, RUN! Everything comes together and dramatic sci-fi freaky epicness happens and forgotten characters come back and made-fun-of-characters get to come into their own and hints are finally resolved and big new things are mentioned for the first time and basically it's EPIC. Mickey showing up unexpectedly wielding the BFG against the Daleks, for example--NO idea that was going to happen, and I stood up and CHEERED. And clapped so hard I hurt my own hands.
So I went into this giving it more than the benefit of the doubt!--except...the Doctor then steps out of the TARDIS casually and crudely, like a drunken frat-bastard, announces that he's just banged Queen Elizabeth. THE. FUCKING. HELL. One MINUTE in and I started wondering if I'd somehow taken LSD instead of Tylenol, 'cos there was NO WAY IN THE SEVEN HELLS I actually just HEARD that. I mean, sure, it was Tennant's voice and the lip-flaps matched up perfectly, but...no. No, that didn't happen. Surely not.
Wait, we're all out of LSD. Okay, so in that case I WISHED I was on it right then, so I could have the reassuring thought that when I watch this again sober tomorrow morning, that line will have morphed into something more Who-ish...
(Mind you, it's not the sex I object to, it's the WAY he talked about it--bragging and rude. The DOCTOR wouldn't talk like that about a romantic encounter! He'd not bring it up on purpose at all, and if the subject did happen to come up, he'd kind of slyly raise one eyebrow and have a hinty tone in his voice. That's it.)
Also, this immediately brought up a big problem with this serial: Timing. Not just things being done too fast or slow so that it messes up the intended emotion--although that too--but I mean, when it happened in the Tenth Doctor's personal character arc. Namely, that it was happening apparently pretty close after he had gone into Creepy BWAHAHAHAHA!! I'M THE GOD, I'M THE GOD!! mode at the end of the last one. This is unfortunate right at the beginning because apparently this made him react to his impending death in jerk-mode--SCREW the rules, I'm'a go get drunk, buy a hot rod and bang some chicks, bra!
...but more importantly, throughout the whole of "The End of Time", it's unfortunate that they did this right after Waters of Mars, because it means that, in his last story, the one where he's supposed to be THE most loveable he's ever been to make the upcoming regeneration as tragic as possible...
...he was at his DARKEST and LEAST pleasant. He only redeems himself in that short amount of time between after he FINALLY steps into that booth to save Wilf, and before he actually regenerates. Meaning I only had a small section of the special in which to feel sorry for him, instead of THE WHOLE STORY, like it should've been. I'm sorry, but...I just did not have enough time, emotionally, to stop being mad at him so I could cry properly at the actual end! I just didn't! If they HAD to make him go Dark at all, really, there should have been another special in between those two. One in which he's a jerk until the end of THAT one, and then he redeems himself in a really tearful, awesome, wonderful, funny, and uniquely Tennish way at the end...and THEN the cloister bells start ringing. He freaks out, roll credits.
Open credits onto the PROPER "End of Time", and a laughing-to-cover-the-pain but DOCTORLY Ten walks out to talk to the Ood. Mind you, I had no problem with parking the TARDIS like a car. Dumb joke, but not jerky.
(I don't blame him for wanting to have one last fling before he dies either, by the way, but wouldn't a more Doctorly way to do that--including breaking the Rules of Time, even, if he must--be to get all his favourite geniuses from history (and not just EARTH history) together in a seedy pub, drink the place closed, sing bawdy Venusian drinking-songs and dance the tango on top of the piano with his tie around his head? COME ON! TELL me that scene wouldn't rule!)
Moving on...as goofy and unrealistic as this show always has been, apparently I have my limits even when it comes to Who, and one of them is: Random, STUPID, cartoonish-looking superpowers out of absolutely nowhere. I can buy that the Time Lords have mental telepathy, sensitivity to Time, the ability to withstand the effects of somebody/something messing with it nearby and mild telekinesis. All of that fits with a very brilliant race that lives a long time, and has nothing better to do than to better their minds. But leaping into the air and Force-lightning? REALLY? When nothing even close had ever been hinted at before? And the leaps themselves just looked so...cheesy...
You want to know my MAIN emotion/expression, during "The End of Time"? It wasn't the intended sadness, or even my own personal fangirl rage. No, it was...FACEPALM. Eyeroll. Groaning. "Oh my god, are you SERIOUS? No. Just no." I could not stop shaking my head at all the stupid. Especially when we got to the stuff about the "Master race" (OMG YOU DIDN'T)...REALLY? Is ANYbody taking this seriously by this point? Is ANYbody not just laughing their asses off, or feeling embarrassed as all hell on the show's behalf? I mean, yeah, it IS horrible...technically...but sweet Apollo on a flaming chariot...!
This is not, of course, the first time I went "No, sorry, not buying this" on Who--the first times happened in the Hartnell years. But in a big wham-bang high-budget two parter that is supposed to be one of THE most plot-significant stories of the new era, written by a guy who normally DOES knock it out of the park when it comes to these things...
And this is all the more of a shame because it ruined the mood. I do not hate Ten. He'll definitely never be my favourite, but he's got his moments, the rare times I'm actually allowed to think about liking him or not for myself rather than having OMG ISN'T HE AWESOME AND CUTE AND HOT AND NERDLY AND ALL-POWERFUL LOVE HIM, DAMMIT, LOVE HIM RIGHT NOW! shoved down my throat, this was a regeneration story, goddammit, and I was READY to CRY. I actually wanted to feel sad. I really wanted to end his era on an awesomely emotional, heartfelt note, and so I not only did my usual preperations before watching any new-to-me episode of Who (go to the bathroom first, get a snack, get a drink, make sure there are no background noises, make sure I'm in the mood to concentrate, get a blanket/turn on the fan if necessary, etc.) but I even turned off the lights, knowing that would give me eye-strain, just so I could concentrate on this properly. I was SERIOUS.
And then...yeah. One minute in and I literally could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. And it...kinda kept on that way. Not entirely, but a lot. After a while, the feeling of seeing something that was not sinking in went on for SO long, it started to feel freaky and...weird, as if there was actually something wrong with my brain!
So badly-written and off that it actually INJURES me...there's a new one...
(There was ONE part of the Master's new ass-pulled powers I didn't mind--how he had to keep eating because he was burning up his life-force so fast. Anything like that, where there's SOME kind of a price to pay, physically, is always better to me than just unlimited use it however often you want without even a headache. But that's only because the Flash is three of my favourite superheroes (heh) and I was gettting fla--I was being reminded of Barry in the live-action series. He also does the fast-eating thing, only not sinister and somehow an awesome mix of cartoonish and "Oh, poor baby! Are you okay?" (Considering that his body's near-failure to adjust to his new metabolism almost KILLED him a few times in the pilot, that last reaction is not unwarranted.))
Also, the Time Lord in general worshipfulness got really annoying re: the Master, as well, what with him being ressurrected via a Harry Potter spell by a cult of god-damned Death-Eaters, using part of the person who killed him, in the graveyard at Godric's Hollow oh wait I mean a back alley in London somewhere. It was at the point he started lording it around the junkyard and ordering the two homeless guys around (yes, hypnosis has always been his main power but I didn't see him use it here; did you?) that I started actually YEARNING for, of all people, Peri to show up. Why? Because say what you will about her, she didn't put up with no crap from the Doctor OR the Master! She did exactly what a Companion SHOULD do--take a pin to the Doctor's ego whenever it ballooned too much--as opposed to GAZING at him, ADORINGLY, and was the first person to react to the Master the way, really, somebody should have a long time ago:
MASTER: I am the Master, and you will obey me!
PERI: So what? My name's Perpugilliam Brown, and I can shout just as loud as you can!
(Then she threatens to drop a key piece of his TARDIS off a cliff even though he's got the TCE on her at close range. Don't ever change, dear.)
Between that and lines to the Doctor (after just regenerating and being especially obnoxious) such as: "I've never seen anybody more in love with himself for less reason!", her loudness is kind of refreshing, in a way. She speaks truth to power. A phenomenon Davies' Whoniverse DESPERATELY needs. I don't CARE if, in truth, the Emperor is dressed for an Arctic expedition (in terms of actually BEING that powerful and that good--although...Ten is kind of one of the darkest Doctors, sometimes), I just want somebody to SAY he has no clothes! Please! Something to break up creepy pod-people mind-control feeling!
Forget the Doctor thinking he's god--the REAL abuser of power here is Davies himself...look, just because they're all your pawns and you CAN make them all say what you want, doesn't mean you SHOULD. I would say this comes with the temptation borne of being the show-runner AND head writer, but....but no. I can think of a couple examples I know quite well that DON'T do this.
J. Michael Straczynski was the creator and main writer of Babylon 5, a plot he had first written back in 1985 and took until 1993 to finally start getting funded. It was his BABY. He truly cared about this project. The show has a lot of flaws, such as staginess that makes me cringe now that I didn't see before (so much for reccommending this one to magratpudifoot, as I was planning to do since the day I "met" her...sigh) and Philosophical Lines that come across as: "Look, everybody! Here's the quote! Here's the Quote Line!" but one problem it does NOT have, is one character held up as wonderful and perfect and able to do no wrong and "the lonely angel", the "wandering god", the "most wonderful person in the universe" and EVERYBODY constantly lavishing praise on them. There are three who come close, but they get their butts called on the carpet and HARD for things they do actually wrong AND things they do right but go against other peoples' beliefs or plans. And not only by their governments, superiors or co-workers, but even by their and loved ones. There is all KINDS of argument. In Babylon 5, it feels as if people have their own brains, and honest, real emotions. You can't see the puppetmaster constantly pulling the strings.
Similarly, on the incredibly dark and cynical Blakes' 7, showrunner and main writer Terry Nation (yes, really) does NOT let the title character, Blake, get away with everything. He gets yelled at for being a boy scout and having morals that will only get them killed. He gets yelled at for SAYING he's a boy scout and then actually doing bad things, same as everyone else. (That show...has a black-and-grey morality, and then some.) Nation controlled the show itself as well as all the characters, and although he COULD have had everybody toe his party line, he had the other characters yell at the title one.
So YOU COULD HAVE RESISTED THE TEMPTATION, DAVIES. If the guy who created the freaking Daleks can...
As for Ten, the John-Simm Master (which, confession time: I HATED in "The Last of the Time Lords". He was so fucking HATEFUL, smug, vicious, smug, obnoxious, smug, bratty, smug, sadistic, and smug, that I wanted to rip his face off the second he even...existed, in the room, even though I also really did intend to give him a fair chance as well. Just something about him instantly hit me like a dog-whistle to the SOUL. Also this is sorta odd when you consider that one of my favourite villians ever is Emperor Cartagia, who is also prancy, hyper, fey, in power and KNOWS it, and crazy as a loon. But Cartagia had elegance, brocade and cheekbones, and was higher on the crazy, on the crazy-smug continuum.) and all the worshipfullness in general, I came to a not-revolutionary, but new for me, conclusion, the other day:
I think a lot of it depends on how the character hits you. Namely, not all, but a LOT, is probably predicated on the fact that you're supposed to be attracted to the character(s). RTD is not only writing the show to include hormonal teenage butts in the seats, but, it seems at times, solely FOR them and only them, so...if you are giggling and drooling, you'll be bopping along to the Master's goofy dance moves instead of wanting to kill him for what he's actually DOING during those scenes, and you'll feel more forgiving towards Ten for some of the darker stuff he does. I understand this, in principle. There are indeed characters I react to that way--not exactly letting them get away with MURDER, but like, personality traits that would normally drive me up a tree and decisions I'd normally frown at, get a pass.
(I also never got into the Doctor/Master slashfic thing just because it was so blatant, and seemed creepily S&M-ish instead of cuddly and caring. Just another factor that's obviously meant to make you more estatically happy every time they're on the screen together, that didn't work on me. You want me to start writing fanfics about two guys? Fine. Make them both attractive to me (Simm-Master is just so...ORDINARY. I've never understood the drooling. He's young, and has even features. ...and?), likeable, give me enough time to get to know them and their chemistry well, and make me care about it. Just "Say my name" out of NOwhere, cold, when I haven't even met the character yet, is NOT sexy! Basically, their relationship is just supposed to be spicy because it's spicy. Rather than spicy because it's good.)
Before he started thinking he was a god, Ten really WAS one of the more compassionate Doctors out there, I admit that freely. But he does some dark things before this and...while everybody else in his universe still loved him unconditionally, to me the hyperactive bopping around and nerdliness and quoting and whatnot was starting to feel..a little hollow. I wasn't as into it anymore. It wasn't as much fun, knowing that...what he did to the Family of Blood, for example, was in there. Behind those puppy-dog brown eyes. (Yes, I'm aware this was originally a Seven story, in the novel. Watch "Remembrance of the Daleks", "Ghost Light" and "The Curse of Fenric" to see why this does not surprise me at all.)
So, maybe a lot of my problem is that I'm just not "getting it"--I'm not into the groove, on the same wavelength. I get the impression that if I was giggling along with the fangirls, I would enjoy the show a lot more. Sometimes, you know? I actually WANT to be in with the crowd, when it comes to New Who! There's the feeling of superiority you get from being one of the few who can See...and then there's loneliness, 'cos you can't talk honestly about the show to even your very best friend without pissing them off. :(
(Oh, I could show it to my mom and then rant about it together with HER...but I don't want to piss her off for no reason, either!)
Also, it occurrs to me, another problem I have as a whole with New Who, that ISN'T, really, RTD's fault? TIME. I mean, the shortness of the episodes and seasons. Every single thing I dislike about how emotions, especially romantic ones, are portrayed on this show involves a lack of subtlety. Well, what does subtlety, that is, REAL, genuine, non-merely-"informed" chemistry between two characters, a building up that makes you come to conclusions on your own about their possible feelings for each other and then care about a possible relationship, require? TIME! Exactly what this show doesn't have. It requires lots of seperate little glances and tones of voice and moments that eventually become Moments over the course of at least a couple seasons to do this right. And I'm talking full at least 22-episode seasons, here. Maybe 26.
So, really, the fact that you have everybody INSTANTLY fall in love and openly stare if you want to get that in there at all (I disagree that it has to be in there in the first place, but that's another argument) is not entirely your fault, Russell. It's partly a pitfall of the particular format you're working with. I apologise.
It's also partly due to Murray Gold's music--and again, perhaps mainly due to how loud it is in the MIX, not even the music itself, per se. A lot of what I complain about in the THEY'RE IN LOVE! LOOK LOOK LOOK EVERYBODY THEY'RE IN LOVE! WRITE FANFICS! RIGHT NOW!! between Ten and Rose might be...well not entirely due to just the music, but definitely emphasised by it. A lot. Every time there's even so much as a Look between them, there's a sappy huge loud violin sting or summat that not only underlines the moment, but circles it, puts five exclamation points after it, and points HUGE BLINKING NEON ARROWS at it. I wondered, the other day, exactly HOW annoyed would I be by those moments, really, if they were carried by just the acting and not having the intended emotion slammed into our faces by the music? I wouldn't feel quite AS intelligence-insulted, I bet.
Now, Mr. Gold's music is indeed pretty/catchy/cool AS music. I just sometimes think it's a bit over the top for the particular, already over-the-top scenes it's in...
So, that's some apologising to Mr. Davies for maligning him falsely, a bit. However, that doesn't excuse "The End of Time". The Doctor was written WAY the hell out of character right when he should've been the most intensely, specifically, all the BEST parts of Ten-ish, so that we feel as sad and frightened for him as possible, the Master's superpowers were DUMB, the everybody turning into him and the effect used to do so were DUMB, the overall plot was DUMB and made no sense, and there was so much ass-pull and Time-Lord-ex-machina. John Simm did look somewhat more exotic with blonde hair and scruffiness, I'll give them that.
I was glad, however, that I went into it completely unspoiled because OMG TIMELORDS?!! REAL TIMELORDS?!! AND THEY'RE WEARING THE ORIGINAL CHEESY '70S OUTFITS WITH THE BIG COLLARS OMG I NEVER THOUGHT THEY'D DO THAT IF THEY SHOWED UP ON NEW WHO I WOULD'VE ASSUMED THEY'D BE TONED DOWN TO AVOID LOOKING "UNCOOL" OMG SQUEAK FOREVER. Seriously, I missed hearing several lines due to my jumping out of my seat and SQUEAKING at the screen in--this time happy--disbelief at the stupid collars alone! SERIOUSLY, though--look at how they toned down and mundaned the Doctor's outfits as compared to the old days and TELL me you would've ever expected the oldschool Time Lord fashions to make it to New Who intact. Seriously!
Okay, so, that's one part of it I didn't dislike. I also had no problem with the cactus-aliens, even if they did immediately make me think of "Meglos". That's not entirely bad, though...I mean, I think that's one of the cooler makeups of the Tom Baker era, at least. (The coolest would definitely be ELDRAD MUST LIVE.) Donna's "defense mechanism". Wilf being his awesome self. Sylvia actually wasn't as terrible as usual! There were a few good lines.
And yes, I knew, of course, that the Doctor wouldn't REALLY leave Wilf in there to die. He couldn't, right? He was the hero, the good guy, and this was NOT a super Dark-and-Edgy show, right?
See, thing is, watching this when I did--shortly after "Children of Earth", which not only lowered my senses of trust and optimism, but sort of took them out behind the woodshed and SHOT them, the fact that the Doctor had been dark and unDoctorly through a lot of this, AND the fact that SO MANY modern shows I love have gone down the Dark and Edgy path to where I can't watch them anymore and I'm not entirely sure Doctor Who is immune...
...that pause went on WAY too long to be comfortable. Suspense re: a character as truly good as the Doctor is supposed to be should come from whether he has TIME to be a good guy before the clock runs out...not whether or not he IS a good guy. That, was just wrong-scary. And that's why my irrational, babyish screams of "HOW CAN YOU?! HOW?!" in the other post. That was what my brain came up with as my gut-reaction at the time, so that's what I wrote.
I also had no problem with the very Star-Warsian dogfight in space. And the "I don't want to go"/Companion tour didn't bother me as much as I originally assumed they would, after everything else...
Right! Well, enough of that, you want some Moffat bashing? I don't yet quite know what I think of him as a show-runner, having seen only three episodes of Season 5 as of this writing. I do know that I'm amazed at the actually sort of light-hearted, for him, tone of the first three outings, considering he's all about CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARE TERROR OMG get under the covers. I don't know what he's going to do with making time travel as a device get annoying and having Rory die and then come back be really over-used, and I gotta say: Yeah, titles like "Let's Kill Hitler" are NOT exactly raising my confidence for the future.
But I do know one MAJOR problem I already have with his stuff, based off his singleton episodes alone. And I can sum it up in one word:
Moffat is incapable, so far, of writing ANYthing to do with humanoid procreation and any of the behaviours intended to lead up to it/pertaining to it in a way that doesn't just put my teeth on edge or at least roll my eyes. The most grievious part of this is one that seems to, terrifyingly, be a THEME for him:
"Oh, my CHILDHOOD (emphasis mine) imaginary friend, I must INSTANTLY snog you the second I'm a sexy, beautiful adult! And possibly also THROW YOU ON THE BED AND ATTEMPT TO RIP YOUR CLOTHES OFF WHAT THE FUCK THIS CAN'T POSSIBLY BE WHO NO NO NO IT CAN'T MY BRAIN IS NOT ACCEPTING THIS AM I ON DRUGS AGAIN OH WAIT WE'RE STILL OUT OF LSD NO. Just no."
...yeah, I've sorta been accidentally spoiled for certain upcoming scenes, even this far in...
Umm...Mr. Moffat? I'm'a assume the best about you until I have reason not to so I guess you probably didn't INTEND this? But that kind of thing? That is, putting an image in the kids' head at an impressionable age so that she'll grow up wanting that kind of guy and be willing to have sex with him when she's of age? Even if the Doctor didn't at all intend it?
Is kind of close to a real-life thing called "child grooming" and it's like, incredibly fucking creepy? It's at least a TVTrope called "Wife Husbandry", and look up the entry on that, Mr. Moffat! It's not described in a positive way! And both of YOUR examples are right near the top of the "Live-Action TV" section, so it's not just me seeing this!
Now, if Reinette/Amy (he wrote this trope TWICE?!) had not been attracted to him nearly the instant they met him as an adult, it would've been like, "Okay, this is kind of creepy, but it's not over the line yet...not over the line yet...I'm still uneasy but it's still fine...I've got my eye on you, show...okay PHEW we're safe. Dodged that bullet." But he DOES put in the sexuality factor! The females are, indeded, "primed" by their early CHILDhood experiences. That means the creepy, even if the Doctor doesn't at all intend it, is indeed there! The fact that the modern Doctor IS also indeed capable of feeling hormonal feelings for his Companions at least sometimes, in canon, right on the screen, also doesn't help...
See, now there's a MAJOR bit of Moffat-bashing for you, BizOp! Davies' worst writing atrocities are only annoying, and smack of the kind of cliche Fanfic.net tripe that Megane 6.7 (or one of the modern YouTube audio-style Dramatic Readers) should be riffing. Moffat's worst problems are outright ICKY.
Oh, and that's not my only problem with Moffat and sex. The other one came in, of all things...
(cringes and holds up a pillow to shield herself from the oncoming torrent of fangirl outrage)
...Blink. I'M SORRY, but that's the episode it was in! Now, I'm okay with the Weeping Angels, they are indeed creepy as hell. And the messed-up timeline stuff and wibbly-wobbly and video letter back to the past that can answer your questions, fine with all of that. Cool beans. Doesn't make the most sense in the world, but sufficiently creative and freaky. My problem was with how the whole romance between Sally Sparrow (can this guy write a SINGLE female protagonist name that doesn't sound all hippy-dippy and pretentious? "River Song" being the worst offender) and whatshisface started:
He takes off work to
sta follow her to her spot in the parking garage, and TELLS her that he did so, because, quote, "Life is long and you are hot." Um, no. Please to not be STALKING me to a place where I am alone and didn't expect to see you, then use the word "hot". If you want to flirt with me, do it at times when we naturally happen to bump into each other--in public, in daylight--strike up a friendly conversation, and ask me out for coffee maybe. And use words like "cute" or "beautiful eyes" at first, before going to "hot" territory. Kthnxbai.
Even worse was how Sally reacted to it! Not only did it WORK on her, but she accidentally says his last name with her first and then can't stop giggling, tee-hee! WHAT IS THIS, JUNIOR FUCKING HIGH?! Are you now going to doodle the combined name all over your folder in History class, with little dots for the I's (if there are any, I can't be bothered to look this up again and recall the dude's last name)?! WHAT THE HELL, I've never SEEN a grown woman act so embarrassing!
And then they quote the line AGAIN later on, when she meets him as an old man in his deathbed, as if it's meant to be this sad, tragic shared memory of What Might Have Been. Ya know, with a different pickup line and a less creepy situation in which it was used, I MIGHT have had sympathy for this storyline. As it is...
Did not buy the whole romance AT all. And it kinda brought down the rest of the episode for me. The way Sally reacted...she wasn't the TEENSIEST bit freaked out or offended. Because he's cute, tee-hee, and that makes it all okay! Since this was one of the main driving points of the actual plot--that the Angels fed upon the potential energy of people's happiness in their lives (?), and that this was supposed to be such a wonderful, Meant to Be, loving together forever relationship with lots of easily-led little children probably...I think I was kinda justified in having one moment of stupid giggly hormonal idiocy drag the entire story down for me, this time. We never saw any EVIDENCE that this romance was going to be so great. I'm not saying it definitely would NOT have been, but what we saw, was one stupidly-written moment of flirtation in which Sally dragged the whole feminist movement backwards by several decades. This wasn't True Love. This was a shallow teenage crush...with adults.
In a longer review I originally wrote about this episode at the time and then threw away, I realised that Moffat thinks everybody lives in "Instant Happy Bonkville"--at least, the good-looking ones, anyway. Nobody is ever busy or depressed or concentrating on something else or working or having just gone through a bad breakup or just, here's an idea, NOT THERE TO FLIRT--no. Put a good-looking face in front of them and it's sure! Why not? Let's be all cutely spontaneous and sexually liberated becuase it's the 21st century! No matter what the actual circumstances or how they hit on you. No, everybody (good looking) in Moffat's universe is just instantly ready to go, whenever.
(Actually this is a problem I have with New Who as a whole: EVERYBODY always flirting and being attracted EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH BLOWING UP and I'm sorry, I don't think I'm a total prude or anything, but...isn't anybody ever too busy to drool? Ever? Sure, with Captain Jack I accept it, but this happens with LOTS of people.)
Also, um, unless I'm wrong..didn't one of the great romances that was Meant to Be and got patched up by the end, sort of end up being between like, RELATIVES, on account of somebody getting stuck back in time, or...something? Like, close relatives?! Eew! Why does NOBODY ever SAY these things about "Blink"? I can't be the only person who noticed them...
There you go. Premium Moffat-bashing. You're welcome. :P
Now, for notes on "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Beast Below". "Victory of the Daleks" will be in its own seperate post. (Even if nobody cares, I've decided to finally start writing entries on pop-culture stuff I watch WHEN I watch it, at least sometimes. Doesn't do any good for the entire serieses I zipped through before I came to this conclusion, but better late then never.)
--OMG THE THEME SONG EEE! I don't mean the time tunnel having clouds and lightning, that's kind of ridiculous. I mean the music. Am I the only one? I LOVE this new music. It's catchy, and epic, and actually sounds...weird! And retro! The Doctor Who theme song should sound weird. This, sounds weird. Yay.
Not counting unofficial fan-remixes and such, this might be my favourite rendition of the theme song ever since the Peter Howell version from 1980. I want the full version including the bridge and all that so I can rock out to it properly.
--Okay, so the little girl playing kid-Amy is really good. RIDICULOUSLY good. And looks so much like her it's eerie.
--NOW I finally get the "fish-fingers and custard" tag, Robin...!
--It's weird--I thought at first that this one was more back to basics, because he was introduced on a "normal episode", rather than a special. But it IS a special! It's over an hour instead of 41 minutes. Just, doesn't take place during Christmas with evil creepy Santa Clauses throwing deadly razor snowflakes at you. That must be what threw me off.
--AAA THE CRACK IN HER WALL THAT TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODE AAA. (jibblies)
...I forget its name, but there's a Twilight Zone episode involving a creepy crack in a little girl's bedroom wall that goes EASILY as nightmare fuel as anything in New Who. The crack opens up into another dimension (and we're STILL in New Who territory plotwise, aren't we?) an empty, completely white dimension with no point of reference where different people can go in at the same time, holding hands no less, and still NEVER find each other again or their way back, EVER. The little girl gets lost in there, her parents are CRYING out for her and they can't get through and they can't find her and they even knock the wall DOWN and it doesn't help and it's this horrible mix of childhood nursery fears AND Adult Fears, in the "Children of Earth" sense, and please please please never again no.
Amy's wall-crack = THAT, to me. AAAAAA.
--The "I want so and so. Wait, I hate this!" was funny but also gross, and makes me wonder, not for the first time: What is WITH all the gross body function stuff, in New Who? Farting aliens, Ten eating random stuff to de-poison himself in "The Unicorn and the Wasp", Dead-Owen standing on his head and this entire TORRENT comes out, gack, the ending of the third season of the Sarah Jane Adventures (which episode made me sad in general, 'cos for a moment, I thought we actually HAD run into GOOD guys from Raxicoricofallapatorious. Sigh.)
--Again, not at all okay with the Chibi-Amy being totally obsessed her whole life with her "raggedy Doctor" thing, considering what I already know happens later. Not at all.
--Really can't object to Eleven being shown half-naked as he calmly changes into clothes he stole from a hospital, as Three, My Doctor, did EXACTLY THE SAME THING in "Spearhead from Space". Heh. (As "The Doctor Who Podcast" guys pointed out, that makes THREE Doctors who stole their new clothes from hospitals now, what with Eight in the TV movie as well.)
--The porn comments re: Jeff's Internet history are also very jarring, for what's supposed to be a family show. (Notice I didn't say KIDS' but still, family.) Again, Moffat cannot write sex. Although I have nothing against Jeff himself; he seems like he has the potential to be kind of fun as a character, in the ordinary-Joe-Mundane-who-comes-through-i
"The Beast Below"
Only a few things to say about this...one, "Basically." (twirls guns) "I rule.", two, the carnival thingies weren't as creepy as they might've been had we not had TONS of that kind of thing--the inhuman, grinning painted mask going evil and whatnot--in New Who several times before, and three--this is a legitimately curious question, not snarkiness--is the space whale the same type of creature as in that Torchwood episode? Whatever, I always get them both mixed up with the Schroedinger's Whale, from "Oh! My Goddess!" Said storyline also involved hyperspace/pocket dimensions, and a room that was (WAY!) bigger on the inside.
(Also, am I going nuts or somewhere in there did I hear the name "Mavic Chen"? Like from, "The Daleks' Masterplan"? EEE! Wait, now I can't remember if it was in this episode or the one before. I definitely heard the name, though.)
Also, when I first saw the unseen female figure with a creepy white mask on the floor, and us unable to see her real face, I went "AAAA!! HEXIDECIMAL!!!!" but only the Reboot fans in the "audience" would get why THAT freaked me out so god-damned hard...
Oh, the earlier-promised Torchwood-bashing, right, almost forgot. Okay, here's what was going to lead into that: Amy is not only attempting to MAN-RAPE the actual, for real, god-damned DOCTOR rather than some random other guy where it wouldn't be a cultural icon from an originally children's show having this happen to him at least, but she. Is doing this. RIGHT BEFORE SHE GETS MARRIED to SOMEBODY ELSE omg, what the hell! What IS it with the whole New Whoniverse and giving us female protagonists who outright cheat in hateful, bitchy ways on awesome sweet guys who don't deserve it, but clearly still expecting us to sympathise with the GIRL afterwards?! First it was Rose treating Mickey like dirt to blatantly flirt with the Doctor right in front of him, and then my offense for that paled into absolute whiteness at Gwen sleeping with Owen in the first season of Torchwood. Sleeping with him ONCE--putting aside the fact that he came onto her in the ickiest, blatantest, most braggy way ever, I mean, some women actually do respond to that--I can sort of understand, as they had just barely come through a really dark, icky situation and it's that "QUICK! We're alive! Let's really reaffirm that we're alive! RIGHT NOW!!" thing but continuing to do so, after that initial uncontrollable reaction? No. Not excusable.
And then...that SCENE...where she "tells" Rhys but only at the same time he's falling asleep from the RECTON drug, you COWARD, you bitchy horrible dishonest lying little fucktard COWARD!!, and she not only does that, but has the gall--the GALL--to DEMAND that he forgive her, when he can't POSSIBLY? When nobody on Earth or any other planet could forgive RIGHT after first hearing it, in the heat of the very first flare of anger? And she actually moves his mouth to try and make it SEEM like he's saying it, as he was falling asleep? Yeah I wanted to rip her into her component MOLECULES.
I was glad to see that in the final episode, at least, Jack called her on it! I was amazed! Normally everybody the author favours in New Who gets away with nearly EVERYthing!--but then less pleased to see that he then went on to call ALL his other teammates out on things, including those that weren't anywhere near as bad. (Tosh and the alien lady were both single, and nobody was hurt. There was NOTHING wrong done there. And Owen gets called out for the whole Weevil thing, really? LOT of others I would've chosen for him.) At least that episode gave me my crossover snark about how Jack is really a White Lantern, as he defeated a death creature with the White Light of Life! (leading into further snarkily making Rose a Star Sapphire because she's all about LUV! and realising that Martha absolutely must, OHMYGOD, be an Indigo) but that was about it.
But at least Gwen was "only" Rhys's girlfriend at the time. She had not made a serious COMMITMENT to the guy involving a piece of jewelry that probably put him back most of a year's salary. No, she was only engaged as of the second season and what I refer to as the "Earth 2" version of the team--quietly, we just stepped one universe over to where they're almost themselves but just that much more likeable--and nobody ever mentioned it. But that's what happened. No WAY are the Torchwood Season 2 people the actual same characters as the Torchwood Season 1 versions.
But Amy...Amy was quite definitely engaged, when she not only hit on, stared at, fancied from afar or quietly whispered "I love you" with sappy violins in the background but fucking ACTUALLY JUMPED THE ACTUAL DOCTOR OHMYGOD WHAT IS THIS WHAT AM I SEEING PLEASE TELL ME IT'S POSESSION. Or a robot, or a hologram, or alien sex spores, or...something! (looks it up, deliberately violating her own anti-spoiler rule 'cos she just HAS to know, and it's an entire season of Who, an entire season of Torchwood, an entire season of SJA and a whole bunch of specials before she gets there) What? It seems that...it's real? Amy actually DID mean to do that? She knew what she was doing and she ACTUALLY attacked the Doctor, the DOCTOR!--sexually, of sound mind and body, knowing that she was engaged to somebody else and fully what she was doing?
Die, Moffat. Die in a fire. Twice.
The fact that she LOOKS so sweet and ordinary just...makes it so much worse! In that red sweater she had on in "Time of the Angels", she even sorta reminds me of...me, only as a redhead (which some of my cousins and my own father genetically ARE. I also used to own a sweater just like that. Which I MADE. In Home Ec. class) just weirds me out even harder. I'm not saying that to be sexually aggressive/impulsive makes a woman a "slut" and that all "sluts" have to look a certain way, but...can't you have somebody other than the wide-eyed, sweet, fun-loving Companion who still looks closer to a girl than a woman, do this? It's only in her fifth episode! I wanted to give her a chance, and...I'm not sure I'll be able to LIKE her anymore, after that. He's a nonsexual, decades-long cultural icon from what was originally a CHILDRENS' show. She looks like the innocent, spunky young adventuress from a Jim Henson fantasy movie. Like she should be trying to open secret doors, not...pants! Wide-eyed little Amelia Pond.
Could this GET any wronger?
(I saw the Amy-pounces-the-Doctor scene--not just heard about it, SAW it--as part of a video about something to do with...something else, it might not have been about Who at all--on ThatGuyWithTheGlassses.com. This scene was shown as an example about how the double-standard re: female-on-male rape is "okay", is STILL used even in modern shows! In case you're wondering how I got spoiled. Agree on the use of that as an example...wish it hadn't been from an episode I wasn't going to see for several months yet at the time, though.)
I was originally going to use that scene as my make-or-break point as to whether I was going to show the new series to my mother when we finish the old one (we're already up at Seven-and-Ace, so it's not much to go)...like, wait until I got there and watch the whole episode and see how bad IS it, really, in context (until I saw End of Time and THAT decided me once and for all: No.) Except...no. No context will ever excuse that 'cos even though, from what I gather, Amy had the same biological response as Gwen did and for similar reasons in that episode, THAT is NOT a Who scene. That is a TORCHWOOD scene. Moffat, it seems, has even LESS respect for the pathetic, tattered remnants of the show's original traditions than Davies--and THAT takes some doing!
So...at this point I'm still watching out of morbid curiosity, to meet everyone properly, and to FINALLY catch up and not have to worry about spoilers.
Really, for all my rants about the fans, there IS a lot of the associated Doctor Who commuity that I enjoy. Silly parodies. The actors appearing on other shows and making goofy jokes or dressing up in drag. Shots of the cast clearly having tons of fun together. Games. Trivia. Costumes. Macros. Not all the fanfics suck. Gorgeous fanart. Etc. And once I'm finally caught up, I can, say, listen to episodes of Who podcasts that look interesting, without having to skip tons of them because ONE of the subjects listed would be a spoiler! (Seriously, I keep coming across things where the first couple of episodes are listenable by me safely and I find out the hosts are quite funny and and witty, but then all the future episodes, even those that are about a classic serial, ALSO contain something about Seasons Five or Six episodes.) There are some parts of the fandom I WOULD like to participate in, even if only from the sidelines. And someday I do still hope to.
Well, I hope that cleared up a few things, even if it was insanely long. Bear in mind, we're talking about my thoughts re: YEARS worth of show that mostly got unsaid, and also I'm a very talky person. Anyway, see you later! Those of you who are even still awake, that is. :P
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