elisi: (Thirteen)
[personal profile] elisi
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same

(T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding - many apologies)

I had a sort of mini-epiphany. I've said that the show now feels [in texture] like Classic Who, and that you could jump from then to now with no problem.

And I think that's the thing. The show has been re-booted, but it's still anchor-less. There is no part of it that makes it a continuation of New Who. (Except for Thirteen wearing Twelve's clothes and the shorter format etc etc, that's not what I am talking about.)

So far Thirteen is absolutely the Doctor, no doubt about it, and she's brilliant, but like... sort of in parallel to the past? Her stories could be set at any point. She could be a Classic Doctor, like... a re-cast Five? And you needn't change a thing.

I'm not saying this is bad. But it means there is nothing that really grabs me.

So, instead of complaining I'm off to watch Classic Who! Watched Battlefield last night (S26, ep 1, Seven's final season) and loved it to pieces. Next up is Ghostlight which [personal profile] thisbluespirit bought for me. ♥ And once I'm done with Seven I'll start on Six properly. Hurrah for the 50+ years of show!

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 06:24 pm (UTC)
enevarim: (missy-not-so-different)
From: [personal profile] enevarim
Thank you for reminding me how much I enjoyed Battlefield. “Just between you and me, Mordred, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about your mother.”

And of course River's “Well then, soldier. How goes the day?” to Eleventy in A Good Man Goes To War is absolutely a conscious and precisely-chosen echo of Morgaine's “A warrior, no less. How goes the day?” to the Brigadier. (Consciously-chosen by River, I mean. Obviously deliberate by Moffat too, but it means in-story as well as out.)

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 06:30 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (britta warren piece)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
I suspect it’s originally from Shakespeare or similar. I’m not sure of the reference, though.

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 07:03 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (river smile)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Apparently it's Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-phrase-how-goes-the-war

And rather appropriately:

using unorthodox tactics, Lord Nelson was able to destroy the majority of the combined Spanish / French fleet without losing a single ship.

Mind you, I'm sure Moff knew it had already been used in Battlefield when he decided to use it as well.

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 07:01 pm (UTC)
enevarim: (punting)
From: [personal profile] enevarim
how could she possibly know?
– I was imagining extensive research up and down the Doctor's timeline, and I still think it could be that (and with the Doctor's invisibility watch in The Caretaker, an invisibility cloak isn't entirely out of the question either), but Promethia has a point too:

King John, V.iii, The field of battle.

Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT.

KING JOHN How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert.

HUBERT Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?

KING JOHN This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 07:06 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (eleven eyes)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Also an extremely appropriate reference. So, it's apparently a layered allusion. All the better!

(no subject)

Date: 3 November 2018 07:04 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
*tilts head* Unless River had an invisibility cloak/spy cam how could she possibly know?
The same way the Doctor had a picture of her on his desk from the moments after she'd poisoned him, I suspect.

(no subject)

Date: 4 November 2018 12:07 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (twelve close)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
And I think that's the thing. The show has been re-booted, but it's still anchor-less. There is no part of it that makes it a continuation of New Who. (Except for Thirteen wearing Twelve's clothes and the shorter format etc etc, that's not what I am talking about.)
This isn't entirely true, though. The lessons of Twelve are all over her, and maybe some of that is getting back to where things were before the war, but I'm pretty sure some of it is brand new. 'Be sure'? That has never happened on Doctor Who before.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2018 08:54 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Next up is Ghostlight which [personal profile] lost_spook bought for me. ♥ And once I'm done with Seven I'll start on Six properly. Hurrah for the 50+ years of show!

I don't want to be a nuisance hopping up and down and wanting to know if you have watched any of it yet, and whether or not you liked it, because, you know, no strings attached!

That said, btw, have you watched any of it yet? :-D

(I'm not hopping, though, I'm much too feeble for such things right now. Heh.)

(no subject)

Date: 7 November 2018 08:57 am (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Aw, cool! I'm glad the 13 year old liked it too.

It was indeed a strange episode, but in a wonderfully mad way - creepy and peculiar and with a cornucopia of strange creatures. F.ex. the Neanderthal butler was just wonderful. ♥

It really is! Nimrod, Control, Redvers, Light...

Oh and the Doctor tricking Ace... Poor Ace, but I kinda knew that was coming. (And I believe there's more to come on that front.)

Yes, it's hard not to know that if you've been hanging round DW a bit. Now you had the lost luggage speech in context anyway! And, yeah, poor Ace! Although the Doctor very nearly bit off more than he can chew in return. (I love the bit right about there where he begins to realise it's just that bit weirder and bigger than he'd realised: "Even I can't play this many games at once!")

Would like to watch it again, to catch all the details I missed the first time round.

It's definitely one that repays rewatching. Almost everyone and everything is either a reference or a quote from something, or it just feels like it because DW fandom and 2005+ show have been quoting Ghostlight, heh. (I do love Marc Platt's writing. He did Lungbarrow for the NAs, which was even weirder, but since then he's been writing quite a few BFAs, and they're less weird but usually pretty reliably excellent.)

It was actually the last serial they shot, so the final scene of the original run was actually that end moment between Seven and Ace there: "Any regrets?" When I rewatched it earlier in the year, I also rewatched some of the extras and someone mentioned that actually, the original last line had been different, but Sylvester changed it, because if the Doctor wanted to show his affection for Ace at the end, what better way than to speak to her in her own language? ("Wicked!) <3

I hope you also enjoy Curse and Survival when you get to them. Survival has the disadvantage of the Cheetah costumes, but I think you'll get what I meant about RTD's first season being in conversation/continuation with it when you get there.
Edited Date: 7 November 2018 08:58 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 7 November 2018 08:19 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Also I have gotten Promethia to watch Seven and she is enjoying him very much, and rated Silver Nemesis as properly brilliant, i.e. in Moffat's league

Oh my goodness, wait till she hits the good stuff! :lol: (I mean, I have a lot of fun with Silver Nemesis and it was my first ever full DW serial I watched so I also have much gratitude and fondness, but it is not quite up to the rest of S25 in general awesome, it has to be said. I mean, depending on a person's view of the Kandyman, of course...)

I don't mind terrible effects - I rewatched Paradise Towers last week and flailed muchly at 'the cleaners' which are truly, truly awful, but I love them.

True enjoyment of Classic Who (and probably all of it at this point) definitely requires a certain fondness for dodgy SFX and monster costumes!

Good man.

One of the pleasing things about the McCoy era extras is how many times someone will say of some small detail, "Oh, that was Sylvester..." <3

As 'characters of the week' go, this one claims the top spot for interesting & unusual

There's a very brief but rather great ficlet I found years ago about Control & Redvers exploring on here.

(no subject)

Date: 8 November 2018 02:18 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
*tilts head* She's watched it all (as in S25), and she thinks Silver Nemesis is the highlight (as do I).

*tilts head back at you* We may be living in parallel universes and yours has a different Silver Nemesis to mine! I mean, I don't think it deserves to get anything like as low rated as it usually does in polls (it's a lot livelier than most of its typical neighbours for starters), and I think that's due to people still bearing it a grudge for not being much of an anniversary story, but it is by far the most straight-forward of S25-26. It's busy and fun, but ultimately it doesn't really go anywhere & some of the comic scenes are pretty embarrassing. The baffling social workers line was even back then, even when I was 11! (Whereas the Kandyman I will defend to the death! I mean, it's probably actually agressively experimental theatre rather than television, but it's angry and weird and I love it even so. The others I don't usually have to defend much, happily.)

But as long as you are enjoying yourself, that is the thing! Nobody ever sees anything quite the same way, and that's the fun of it.

(no subject)

Date: 9 November 2018 03:08 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
It has a lot of stuff in it, and I'm sorry if I sounded annoying! I remember us talking before, but I just thought you were humoring my odd liking for it. I've never come across anyone who would even agree it wasn't that bad before, so you'll have to forgive me!

It's really interesting that you like it so much & now that I understand how serious you are about that I think I get more of what you're looking for and not finding in Classic Who, and that's very helpful, although also unhelpful, because I don't think there are any other such serials to direct you to, unless possibly you do a voyage of the Gallifrey/Time Lord involved ones, which might prove interesting or useful, at least.

When we talk about meta, thouggh, we seem to mean slightly different things, which has probably been confusing things - so, anyway I mean by it that the story is a metaphor (or more obviously one, given that to a certain extent all story is both literal and metaphor) or metafiction (or approaching it), as Doctor Who gets sometimes. I want themes I can chew on. And I can list the deeper themes and metaphors of the rest of S25-26 - it's one of the main things I love about it as an era, whereas Silver Nemesis doesn't have any of that: its villains are what they are - they aren't also a symbol of war, or tyranny, or the refusal to change, or the selling out of imagination etc. etc.. I can see what you meant about the Moffat-ish elements, though. Even a fez! It's just I want more in a story - but a different kind of more to what you're looking for, I think, and fair enough.

I am always fascinated by how differently we human beings interact with fiction, and nothing demonstrates that more than the fact that barely any fans of any given show can agree for even two seconds about which episodes are the 'good' ones. ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 01:07 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Oh, at one time, almost nobody thought there was any good in the McCoy era at all; it had all got terribly pantomime and killed Doctor Who. (Only actually really, because Doctor Who was dead(ish) at that point.) Battlefield has been re-evaluated more since (RTD has been championing it forever), but it suffered at the time, both from padding and being eclipsed by the rest of S26 (for those who did like Seven, I mean, not those busy thinking all of Seven was rubbish anyway). It's very good, though, and has aged well. (And to be fair, one thing you can never really see at the time, is what everything will look like in 20 or 30 years time! And those who rate Seven would probably still rate Curse and Ghostlight higher, probably Remembrance, too, but it varies. Battlefield tends now to be the one that people who don't like Seven still enjoy!

I spent the first years of my online fannish existence never even daring to talk about Seven because of all the hate! (But that was a good rule in general for rec.arts.drwho - don't talk, just boggle at it all whil everyone else screams at each other. The usual, the usual. A flister once said to me that it must have been so nice when it was just Classic Who and nobody argued, and I just laughed myself under the desk before attempting to reply.

As soon as I have watched the rest of S26 I shall come to you and discuss themes! I like themes and metaphors and all the rest.

I wish I could! I get exhausted even trying to have this sort of conversation still, though (which is even more ridiculous than fandom fighting each other forever, but there we are). I haven't been reading around lately, but I know there are lots of people who have written good stuff on S25 and 26, so I am sure you will find plenty of people with interesting things to say about the various stories. (There's also the About Time books - they're not cheap and I don't know how easy they are to get hold of, but the essays and influences and themes stuff in them are really interesting & might be useful if you keep wanting to delve into past serials. The production side, though, is pretty hilariously dodgy, so never rely on it for that sort of thing, because I'm not sure anyone actually proof-read those bits properly.) One day, maybe I will get to also write my thoughts, but I'll settle for not falling over after commenting about it in the meantime. (Sorry! And, ha, yes, forgive me, but please don't both come chasing after me to convince me of SN's greatness or at least not just yet!)

Also, being first and foremost a librarian, it helps a lot to know more of what you're looking for (both meta and poetry are definitions I use to myself, but for different stories (Ghostlight!!) - we overlap and then diverge confusingly, I think) - but probably stories involving certain kinds of Doctor/Time Lord/Timey-wimey mythology elements would be worth a try, even if there may not be all that much more of the very specific/elusive aspects you're after. (Although the list in my head I'm now inevitably working on is very funny - it definitely contains some of the worst serials...)

I have watched City of Death and whilst it was a perfectly fun and entertaining bit of TV I found it far from the pinnacle of Doctor Who. Possibly due to everyone saying how fantastic it was, and having heard all the best lines quoted all over the place, I may have been expecting too much.

To be fair to City of Death, I think it is excellent in many ways, but it probably rather overrated by Four/Romana shippers (of which there were a lot around LJ in its heyday, so I'm not surprised about it getting over-recced in circles you were in), and I don't think it's a good first Classic Who as it has a lot of typical flaws that are better encountered somewhere else first, while the direction is pedestrian in places, none of which help the newbie. I'd watched a lot of old serials before I first saw it and it was still a very mixed affair for me. That said, the script is fab in a way that simply sings, and so rewatches benefit it a lot (for me, anyway), and now I find it a joy to revisit.

Anyway, on other things, I am very happy to agree to disagree - and agree that Seven and Ace are lovely and that I hope you enjoy the remainder of their run, too. <3

Although it's nice when the disagreement is about which one is slightly ahead, rather than complaining that the other side is EVIL. (Fandom wars are so ridiculous.)

*nods* The other side is EVIL and also Wrong on the Internet and ships my NOTP!! Clearly they must DIE. ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 01:33 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (classic who)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Hello! I've been lurking and rather enjoying the discussion here. My mind is similarly blown that Silver Nemesis is generally so badly rated, but I have a tag for myself that is #promethia does tv wrong, so these things really ought not to surprise me anymore.

Also, being first and foremost a librarian, it helps a lot to know more of what you're looking for (both meta and poetry are definitions I use to myself, but for different stories (Ghostlight!!) - we overlap and then diverge confusingly, I think) - but probably stories involving certain kinds of Doctor/Time Lord/Timey-wimey mythology elements would be worth a try, even if there may not be all that much more of the very specific/elusive aspects you're after. (Although the list in my head I'm now inevitably working on is very funny - it definitely contains some of the worst serials...)

I for one would be very interested in your list of Time Lord myth-arc-y terrible serials, if you feel up to it. I have been persuaded by season nine that it will be worth it. (I too am just dipping my toes into Classic Who. Just finished all of Seven and am starting on Four. Before this I've watched a few scattered things. The most I've ever gotten through is about a season and a half of Three, which I liked just for Three himself, who I find delightful, and for the James Bond nostalgia, and for the time spent silently urging the Brig and Liz to just kiss each other already.)

Having a bit of an architecture background, it occurred to me that the Seventh Doctor and Steven Moffat are the baroque eras of the show: the ones that take the established tradition, send it through a funhouse mirror, and playfully deconstruct and reconstruct it in the chaos. And I do love nothing quite so much as anything baroque. The problem with falling in love with the baroque, though, is that it makes going back to the classical periods somewhat dull (though crucially informative).

ETA: speaking just for myself, I've got a very great love for any stories that actually incorporate time travel within them, rather than its being merely a means of getting to this week's setting. So on that count I do rate City of Death very highly (Also it's funny. I'm very easy for that.) But anyway, the time-hopping premise of Silver Nemesis went a long, long way in endearing it to me.
Edited Date: 10 November 2018 01:50 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 02:11 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
but I have a tag for myself that is #promethia does tv wrong, so these things really ought not to surprise me anymore

I keep watching terrible old TV from 30-50 years ago and falling in love with it (although certainly not all of it), so what can I say? I am certainly not doing TV right, either, that's for sure.

I mean, SN is not my favourite either (as you've gathered) but 11 yr old me loved it without reserve and I do think that it suffered unfairly at the time from not being what people expected of an anniversary story and unfortunately re-running elements of Remembrance only a few weeks later, which is understandable.

I for one would be very interested in your list of Time Lord myth-arc-y terrible serials, if you feel up to it.

I am always up for rec lists! :-D And not necessarily terrible, hopefully, but not always stuff that anyone would automatically put on a general list for newbies. I shall see if I can do one later and make you watch Underworld or something and then you might have to kill me. ;-)

ust finished all of Seven and am starting on Four.

Aw, cool! I hope you enjoy it. Early Four used to be the most popular period, but it's suffered a backlash lately because of that but also because of it being darker than a lot of Classic Who & while that's understandable, I still think there's a lot of great stuff in that period.

nd for the time spent silently urging the Brig and Liz to just kiss each other already

HOW HAVE THEY STILL NOT? :-(

Having a bit of an architecture background, it occurred to me that the Seventh Doctor and Steven Moffat are the baroque eras of the show: the ones that take the established tradition, send it through a funhouse mirror, and playfully deconstruct and reconstruct it in the chaos.

LOL, and Holmes & Hinchcliff is literally the Gothic period? That's true, although every producer/script writer does it differently, of course. In the beginning, too, nobody even knew what they were building and I have a hopeless love for the earliest years of the show as a result. It may be very elderly now, but it's rather fun to see a show that genuinely can be anything it wants to be. (I'd say within budget limitations, but actually they never let that stop them even when all common sense says it should have done.)

So on that count I do rate City of Death very highly (Also it's funny. I'm very easy for that.)

*nods* It took me a second go to reconcile the inevitable cardboard reality with what had been praised for so many years to me, but, yeah. It's lovely. (I may have once committed Clara Splinter/Scaroth splinter fic *cough*, and the Duggan fic out there in the wild is pretty much universally awesome.) But six Mona Lisas!

I have a friend who enjoys Classic Who (in a non-fannish way) and loves Douglas Adams and left her downstairs watching it one night when she was staying and when I saw her again in the morning, she was basically gibbering and going "AND THEN JOHN CLEESE APPEARED!" But I also am dubious about it as Newbie's FIrst Classic Who serial for various reasons. (None of which are Julian Glover or Douglas Adams, or Four/Romana/Paris).
Edited Date: 10 November 2018 02:17 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 08:43 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (brig liz)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
I keep watching terrible old TV from 30-50 years ago and falling in love with it (although certainly not all of it), so what can I say? I am certainly not doing TV right, either, that's for sure.
*gives you t-shirt and hashtag*

I do think that it suffered unfairly at the time from not being what people expected of an anniversary story
I can see how it would be disappointing as a 25th anniversary, absolutely. But I shall be happy that I got to watch it just as another enjoyable episode and for the actual perfection that is the 50th.

and unfortunately re-running elements of Remembrance only a few weeks later, which is understandable.
Remembrance was great. They can repeat elements from that one as much as they want.

And not necessarily terrible, hopefully, but not always stuff that anyone would automatically put on a general list for newbies. I shall see if I can do one later and make you watch Underworld or something and then you might have to kill me. ;-)
The lists for newbies always include Ark in Space, and it took me three tries to get through that one. In the meantime I put off watching End of Time for months because of the way people complained about it. Naturally it's my favorite thing Rusty ever wrote.

Aw, cool! I hope you enjoy it. Early Four used to be the most popular period, but it's suffered a backlash lately because of that but also because of it being darker than a lot of Classic Who & while that's understandable, I still think there's a lot of great stuff in that period.
Four is the first Classic Who era I took a stab at, so I've watched a fair handful of his serials and never took a liking to him. But, yeah, recently I'd heard that Four starts out rather dark and scary and then gets funny and I figured, right, we'll do this properly in order and see how it goes.

HOW HAVE THEY STILL NOT? :-(
I DON'T KNOW!!!! It's simply misunderstandable to me. How can two reasonably attractive people spend so much time bickering amusingly from literally four inches apart and not end up making out? It defies all logic and basically I refuse to believe it didn't happen.

LOL, and Holmes & Hinchcliff is literally the Gothic period?
Good point.

In the beginning, too, nobody even knew what they were building and I have a hopeless love for the earliest years of the show as a result. It may be very elderly now, but it's rather fun to see a show that genuinely can be anything it wants to be. (I'd say within budget limitations, but actually they never let that stop them even when all common sense says it should have done.)
That is the most enticing argument for watching the early stuff I've ever heard by far.

*nods* It took me a second go to reconcile the inevitable cardboard reality with what had been praised for so many years to me, but, yeah. It's lovely.
This is rather the problem with getting excited about any of these, but I seem to be on a roll, so I'm trying to get through as much as I can before I get seduced by the shininess of modern television again. Because I do want to know this stuff, and I do believe there's good stuff in there amongst the bubble wrap. (Though the bubble wrap is beautiful.)

(I may have once committed Clara Splinter/Scaroth splinter fic *cough*, and the Duggan fic out there in the wild is pretty much universally awesome.) But six Mona Lisas!
I'm afraid I've forgotten far too much of the details of the episode to give this the appreciation it undoubtedly deserves . . .

"AND THEN JOHN CLEESE APPEARED!"
Well, isn't that how all the best stories go?

But I also am dubious about it as Newbie's FIrst Classic Who serial for various reasons. (None of which are Julian Glover or Douglas Adams, or Four/Romana/Paris).
I feel similarly about the insistence that newbies should be shown Blink. That's a terrible idea. Think people!

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
But, yeah, recently I'd heard that Four starts out rather dark and scary and then gets funny and I figured, right, we'll do this properly in order and see how it goes.

S12 is also an overhang of Three, with Barry Letts overseeing - much as I was saying below - and while you can definitely see Holmes making his mark, their Hammer Horror period is more S13. It's not much liked by current fandom, but I still do for the most part. (But then I watch Ark in Space for comfort viewing - Sarah and Harry and Four wandering around in white is very soothing when ill - and think End of Time is quite some crack, so it takes all sorts, as they say.)

Though the bubble wrap is beautiful.

Never diss the bubble wrap! <3

That is the most enticing argument for watching the early stuff I've ever heard by far.

They were stuck, not even in the BBC building, but in the tiny studios in the archaic Lime Grove building and they still tried to imagine whole other worlds and times, and, sometimes it's hard to get through, but sometimes it's still amazing, and I love that. But I get that I have more tolerance for b&w TV than most, so I am not necessarily a reliable person on the subject. (Plus, I have a lot of love for the original team TARDIS and also Vicki, who is great.)

The key to old telly is that it was fundamentally trying to be theatre - TV in the US was the small screen, whereas in the UK, the BBC called itself the largest repertory theatre in the world, and ITV broke up its commercial breaks with cards that said "Act One" etc. I find it helps to think of it like that as a starting point, although it's obviously a little more complex than that.

(no subject)

Date: 11 November 2018 07:46 pm (UTC)
enevarim: (and-then-john-cleese-appears)
From: [personal profile] enevarim
AND THEN JOHN CLEESE APPEARED!


From The Discontinuity Guide (the other thing Paul Cornell published in 1995), summing up City of Death and also the hype, but as one of the people who love the story I'm not necessarily disagreeing with it:

The Bottom Line: ‘Exquisite… Absolutely exquisite.’ Witty, happy, plotted so hard that you can sing it, this is as gorgeous as ‘This Old Heart of Mine’ sung by the Isley Brothers outside your window on a spring morning while Emma Thompson gently massages your feet with aromatic oils. It’s a pity that the rest of Doctor Who exists to make this story part of a bigger continuity, because it deserves to stand alone. Just when you think it can’t get any better, John bloody Cleese appears.

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 06:43 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Okay, here is a terrible list of Backstory/Mythology/Gallifrey-related stories (plus a bonus handful of time-travel related ones). With the caveat that I don't by any means think most of these are what [personal profile] elisi was looking for! I think possibly Mawdryn Undead and Trial might be near in some aspects. Also I think this list takes in almost all the most hated stories, so it is boldly going where DW recs lists may never have gone before...

My comments are very biased and subjective! 10 out of 10 DW fans would argue with me. Although to be fair, they would also argue with the other 9.


In chronological order:

The Time Meddler (not especially meta, but the first time we meet another of the Doctor's race. Four parter and with rather a fun script and guest turn by Peter Butterworth, although I find it harder going than a lot of other, much less good serials for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. The Monk is great, though, and time travel is a feature.)

The Power of the Daleks (mainly Daleks, but the first regeneration & David Whittaker's always got excellent character focus, and it is at least now available in cartoon format, even if that gives me uncanny valley problems)

The War Games (I know it's 10 episodes, and again, more significant than meta-ish (first revelation of who the Doctor is and where he comes from), but it actually has enough plot to sustain itself and is excellent)

Three's era is more difficult to comment on because Barry Letts actually paints in quite a bit of backstory for the Doctor, which is generally fairly consistent (and some of it ties in with some of the glimpses of the child Doctor in Twe've's era) BUT it's often a case of six episodes of alien invasion to two brief backstory scenes, so YMMV. I merely point out some of where to look:

Terror of the Autons (again, fairly straightforward, but brings in the Master and the CIA)

(The Time Monster - I am not at all sure this is worth watching just for the Daisiest Daisy. Three would say yes, but basically up to your own personal Three-ometer levels Also involves time travel. Not great, though! But much loved by UNIT family fans.)

The Three Doctors (also here the Doctor gets the ability to pilot the TARDIS back and from now on can control it better, hence you can sometimes get more time travel elements, which was almost impossible previously)

(Carnival of Monsters - technically involves time travel as a plot point and some Time Lord backstory, but I'm not sure how much)

Planet of the Spiders (this is mythology/backstory central, but also comes with bonus epic 70s padding to end all padding, and the worst guest acting ever BUT it is pretty fundamental in who the Doctor is & wraps up some character points/continuity from The Green Death and Invasion of the Dinosaurs)

I know [personal profile] elisi has seen it, but if I'm being completist, I have to at least nod to Genesis of the Daleks for origin stories, CIA interference, the first real non-TARDIS time travel and "Do I have the right?" (but also TERRY NATION OH GOD. sorry.)

The Deadly Assassin

The Face of Evil (not so much a mythology one, and I find it ploddingly directed, but the whole plot comes out of a thing Four did in Robot during his regeneration)

(Technically Image of the Fendahl has some ancient Gallifrey stuff, but rather gabbled in ep3. I love Image for other reasons, but it is not worth watching solely for that. This is a completist list, despite the obvious thing I will no doubt have omitted.)

Underworld. (Caveat: you don't want to watch Underworld! But there are some interesting ideas mixing the terrible consequences of Gallifreyan history and random Greek myths. If you are feeling completist, watch episode 1. If you watch eps 2-3 with the terrible CSO production nightmare in which everyone was literally trying to get through their lines while not falling over because of the budget crises where there wasn't one due to reasons, DO NOT BLAME ME. Episode 4 is okay.)

The Invasion of Time (I have to put this on here, but I'm not sure what vision of Gallifrey this is. Although, that said, what it does have, which is really great, is John Arnatt as Borusa, the Doctor's former teacher - in this incarnation, we can see a very plausible and interesting relationship between them. Plus, we get to see Outside on Gallifrey. It looks like a quarry)

(Sidenote for The Ribos Operation & Armageddon Factor which open and close out the Key to Time season and bring in the Black and White Guardians, who seem to be sort of like Time Lord Gods, but real, if mysterious. Graham Williams loved mythology stuff. It's a shame that he was frequently up against so much production crap, because his vision could have been rather fairy tale-ish and interesting, but he got hit by Inflation and Tom Baker's ego.)

Shada (I actually have not watched this yet - am stretching out my last precious Unwatched serials a bit but I gather it includes quite a bit of Time Lord mythology stuff and is also available in about four different versions, take your pick)

State of Decay (middle of the E-Space trilogy, but stands reasonably alone; some stuff about ancient Gallifreyan history and vampires that I rather loved when I watched it for the first time last year. I want to commit fic on the subject some time, which means it at least worked for me)

(Warrior's Gate (E-Space tril part 3) is not, but if you speculate that the Tharils are the E-Space's Time Lords, it all gets very meta. This is the one that is basically one of those baffling 1980s pop videos reimagined as a DW serial but genuinely great at the same time.)

Arc of Infinity (lots of Gallifreyan stuff, but also anti-matter chickens in Amsterdam, which says it all really, oh, and Colin Baker appears)

Mawdryn Undead (Guardian Trilogy pt 1 - I think this might be one of the most promising to try - multiple time zones, Time Lord history trouble, and past mythology returning. Although also people with spaghetti on their head...)

The Five Doctors (Required watching, if only for the ability to chorus "No, not the mind probe!" A.k.a the Anniversary Party of Rassilon with three Doctors, one imposter, and a wax dummy. Plus, the Time of the Doctor has a really nifty callback to a plotpoint from it. Play the Game of Rassilon if you will, but probably best not to play the Drinking Game of Rassilon as it could be hazardous to your health. Inserts Video of Rassilon)

(I have not watched The Twin Dilemma but I understand as well as being possibly the actual Worst Serial Ever, it also contains an old mentor of the Doctor's. They got drunk together??)

Trial of a Time Lord (next in line after Mawdryn, although obviously with the caveat that a lot of stuff fell through, messing up the ending (and some of Mindwarp). Even so, it might give some more of what you're looking for, and it's hard to be too hard on something where the lead writer died before he wrote the final installment and then the script editor resigned and ran off with the only existing draft of the ending, refusing to let anyone see it, so they had to get Pip & Jane Baker to rush in and do their best as a substitute.)


Bonus time travel for [personal profile] promethia_tenk

The Chase (is a chase through time! The Daleks chase the Doctor in their Dalek time machine and most episodes have a new location. If you like the Ian-Barbara-One-Vicki line up, I think it's fun.)

The Daleks Master Plan is mostly missing, but the Daleks chase the Doctor across time again! With bonus plot and extra episodes! (We only have three episodes, though, so it's a bit hard to make out how it would have gone - some parts awesome, some parts terrible, plus fourth-wall breaking crack as far as we can tell)

The Evil of the Daleks - another David Whittaker Dalek script. It's again v good from what you can tell & the one surviving episodes. Might be worth a try if you can get hold of the BBC audio version, but those vary a lot on how visual the episode was (although they do have linking narrative recorded by the companions).

The Time Warrior

Time-Flight (another contender for worst story ever! Someone hi-jacks a Concorde to prehistory and the Master has even worse cunning disguise than usual)

Timelash (and another! Herbert is quite good, though, and I'm fond of the tacky tinsel tunnel and the sad glove puppet alien and the fact that Six apparently shows Peri his photo album on a regular basis, but YMMV. Ditto above.)

:-) (Please don't try to kill me later even if I probably deserve it!)

ETA: I should also note that I still have quite a few Pertwee-era gaps, so I may well be missing some more stuff there.
Edited Date: 10 November 2018 06:53 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 08:04 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (allison shock)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
OHMYGOODNESSLOOKITIT!

It's so beautiful. Thank you very much indeed. I shall be keeping this open in a tab in my 'currently watching' reference section.

Also I think this list takes in almost all the most hated stories, so it is boldly going where DW recs lists may never have gone before...
I feel so oddly proud about this. Though you did all the work, of course. #watching DW wrong

My comments are very biased and subjective! 10 out of 10 DW fans would argue with me. Although to be fair, they would also argue with the other 9.
*snort*

The War Games (I know it's 10 episodes, and again, more significant than meta-ish (first revelation of who the Doctor is and where he comes from), but it actually has enough plot to sustain itself and is excellent)
I have watched that one! I was talking with [personal profile] owlboy, who is far deeper on Twelve than I could ever hope to be and he said The War Games and Three were the place to go for the roots of the Doctor's internal and external struggles with the military and authoritarianism, so that's when I ended up watching Three. I did enjoy the War Games. Far more than I thought I would when you say 'ten-episode serial in black and white.'

Planet of the Spiders (this is mythology/backstory central, but also comes with bonus epic 70s padding to end all padding, and the worst guest acting ever BUT it is pretty fundamental in who the Doctor is & wraps up some character points/continuity from The Green Death and Invasion of the Dinosaurs)
This is the first good thing I've ever heard about that one. I've only ever seen it referenced as a punchline.

I know [personal profile] elisi has seen it, but if I'm being completist, I have to at least nod to Genesis of the Daleks for origin stories, CIA interference, the first real non-TARDIS time travel and "Do I have the right?" (but also TERRY NATION OH GOD. sorry.)
That is the next thing I'm watching, so we're covered!

Underworld. (Caveat: you don't want to watch Underworld! But there are some interesting ideas mixing the terrible consequences of Gallifreyan history and random Greek myths. If you are feeling completist, watch episode 1. If you watch eps 2-3 with the terrible CSO production nightmare in which everyone was literally trying to get through their lines while not falling over because of the budget crises where there wasn't one due to reasons, DO NOT BLAME ME. Episode 4 is okay.)
Oh man, *giggles* I am exactly the kind of person who this sort of thing makes me want to drop everything and watch this immediately. BUT I HAVE BEEN DULY WARNED.

Graham Williams loved mythology stuff. It's a shame that he was frequently up against so much production crap, because his vision could have been rather fairy tale-ish and interesting, but he got hit by Inflation and Tom Baker's ego.
*whiney noises* That sounds great.

(Warrior's Gate (E-Space tril part 3) is not, but if you speculate that the Tharils are the E-Space's Time Lords, it all gets very meta.
Thank you, I absolutely will!

Arc of Infinity (lots of Gallifreyan stuff, but also anti-matter chickens in Amsterdam, which says it all really, oh, and Colin Baker appears)
You know those moments when you're like 'what would someone think if they walked by right now with not idea what we're talking about?'

Mawdryn Undead (Guardian Trilogy pt 1 - I think this might be one of the most promising to try - multiple time zones, Time Lord history trouble, and past mythology returning. Although also people with spaghetti on their head...)
Yes, it all sounds yummy. Including the spaghetti.

Play the Game of Rassilon if you will, but probably best not to play the Drinking Game of Rassilon as it could be hazardous to your health. Inserts Video of Rassilon)
*helpless giggles*

Even so, it might give some more of what you're looking for, and it's hard to be too hard on something where the lead writer died before he wrote the final installment and then the script editor resigned and ran off with the only existing draft of the ending, refusing to let anyone see it, so they had to get Pip & Jane Baker to rush in and do their best as a substitute.)
Oh dear, that does sound tragically doomed.

plus fourth-wall breaking crack as far as we can tell
Oh, I love fourth-wall breaking crack. So much.

:-) (Please don't try to kill me later even if I probably deserve it!)
I shall do my very best. But this is the most exciting list of Classic Who suggestions I have ever seen, so.

(no subject)

Date: 10 November 2018 08:58 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
I feel so oddly proud about this. Though you did all the work, of course. #watching DW wrong

It does include some typical classics as well, but yeah. It's a very odd list to make, but fun & I think it should be said that I just love all DW hopelessly. I have my preferences, and my objective self will criticise much of it & rate things as much as any fanboy, but my heart was lost a long time ago. So if you turn out to really like anything I've been v flippant about here, know that I actually like it, and have probably watched it ten times already. (I even watch Underworld, although I do fast-forward the middle two episodes, because there are limits).

This is the first good thing I've ever heard about that one. I've only ever seen it referenced as a punchline.

The thing with Planet of the Spiders is that it has huge amounts of padding and the Two-legs on Metebelis 3 really are the worst guest actors. (I'm not sure why - I've seen some of them being fine in other things, so who knows what behind the scenes stuff was going on, I don't want to be mean to the poor souls stuck in what were always going to be thankless roles). However, it was written by Barry Letts and he does tie in a lot of Three's story thematically, with things he had seeded in previous stories (The Green Death, which is awesome, and Invasion of the Dinosaurs, which has pretty much the same greatness/padding ratio as Spiders, only with terrible CSO dinosaurs). So, it's a mix and there are also some things that hover on offensive (not unusually), and I don't want to spoiler stuff, but it is a good thematic ending for Three and the regeneration scene is one of the best even now. So, yeah, it's an odd one to place, which is why I wouldn't normally put it on a recs list, but if we're looking at things from this angle, then it's also got a lot that's worth watching for. It is a real mix, though.

Oh man, *giggles* I am exactly the kind of person who this sort of thing makes me want to drop everything and watch this immediately. BUT I HAVE BEEN DULY WARNED.

It has Leela in it, so it can't be the absolute worst, but the CSO really is that bad and the poor actors were literally going out onto green baize flooring and trying not to fall over while saying their lines without the usual rehearsal period in order to get it done. I have the DVD and the making of is an exciting epic, while the actual serial is considerably less so!

fairy tale-ish and interesting, but he got hit by Inflation and Tom Baker's ego.
*whiney noises* That sounds great.


He started out with a budget crisis, as Philip Hinchcliffe had overspent the previous year before leaving and then wound up battling the inflation crisis in the late 70s, plus the strikes, power cuts and three day weeks. Tom Baker also took against him (Hinchcliffe had worked with him really well and I think hadn't really wanted to go, but the BBC just randomly moved producers round at the time), although I should add that Tom in latter years really regrets that things went to his head as they did, and that Graham Williams having died, he never got the chance to apologise to him as he has to others.

I mean, some of Williams's stuff could be random, but it would definitely have been extremely interesting to have seen what Williams and Douglas Adams would have done between them if they had not been simultaneously battling strikes, inflation, and on occasion, Tom. But he does seem to have been the first Classic Who producer to actually have been keen on the potential mythology of the Time Lords and the universe the Doctor operated in - like Barry Letts, he had also been a writer himself, which seems to make a difference to how they both approached it, but Barry Letts was keen on characterisation and green issues and things like that, while Graham Williams seems to have had a more fantastical bent in there.

Obviously, DW was made so differently then, and one of the things is that the producer/script writer team would commission scripts in advance, the BBC would then move them on (sometimes without warning and against their preferences) and the incoming team would then have to produce 4-6 serials that were the brainchild of the previous team, so you get this odd effect of each era merging into the next, and, sometimes, if they weren't permitted to stay very long, they almost only leave this odd echo of the scripts they commissioned that got made by somebody else. (Derrick Sherwin, for instance, set up UNIT and cast Liz Shaw and was excited about the whole thing, and got moved on before even the second serial of S7, and Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts moved in and had three more seven parters to make with the Doctor stuck on earth, while wanting to get time travelling again.) It's a funny thing, but it adds to the variety. Meta here is a giant jigsaw where you're not even sure the pieces belong to the same puzzle, but it's amazing what you can do with them (and some bits do fit together beautifully as planned). It's been a fun game, I think, anyway!

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 03:04 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (leela)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Thank you for all the historical context--that does really help with understanding some of these era.

It has Leela in it, so it can't be the absolute worst, but the CSO really is that bad and the poor actors were literally going out onto green baize flooring and trying not to fall over while saying their lines without the usual rehearsal period in order to get it done. I have the DVD and the making of is an exciting epic, while the actual serial is considerably less so!
I didn't think it was a bad one, overall? That special effects are lolarious, but the story I thought was totally on par for the era. And it had Leela in it, as you say, so I frankly don't much care what else goes on.

I mean, some of Williams's stuff could be random, but it would definitely have been extremely interesting to have seen what Williams and Douglas Adams would have done between them if they had not been simultaneously battling strikes, inflation, and on occasion, Tom.
Sadly, I did not like that era nearly as much as I was hoping too. And Romana fell a bit flat for me as well (In fairness, she does have the thankless task of living up to her reputation, whereas I went into Leela's episodes with zero expectations and was blown away.) I do mourn for the Douglass Adams scripts that might have been, but I think most of the other writers didn't really have the comedic chops to pull off lighter Doctor Who? City of Death and Shada were great, Ribos Operation was good fun, Power of Kroll was just a solid, normal episode of the kind that could fit in any season, but most of the rest of it . . . just felt a bit insipid to me? And, yeah, Tom Baker's descent into hammier and hammier acting did not impress.

Obviously, DW was made so differently then, and one of the things is that the producer/script writer team would commission scripts in advance, the BBC would then move them on (sometimes without warning and against their preferences) and the incoming team would then have to produce 4-6 serials that were the brainchild of the previous team, so you get this odd effect of each era merging into the next
This has been super interesting and I'm glad you pointed it out to me. Such an odd change from our New Who mindset of giving each showrunner a clean slate. On the other hand, I kind of like the gradual transitionings and the odd, mixed seasons. (Season 18 thrilled me so immensely because suddenly Tom Baker was actually trying to act again and the scripts were so much better, omg and I knew that we were under new management and thus that I was probably going to like Five's era.

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 05:16 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
I didn't think it was a bad one, overall? That special effects are lolarious, but the story I thought was totally on par for the era.

The underlying story is pretty decent, but it's the sheer amount of bad CSO and running down tunnels in the middle that tends to defeat nearly everyone, so yeah. But, as you say, Leela! I am also amused that team TARDIS start out in a really bad mood for no reason. (They read the script?)

Sadly, I did not like that era nearly as much as I was hoping to

It's a very mixed era, but I'd like to have seen how it went without all the crises - Graham Williams started with Philip Hinchcliffe leaving while having overspent all the budget already, Tom Baker was going off the rails, and rl chimed in with inflation crises and strikes, so it's kind of amazing there is any good stuff in there.

It seems fashionable now to hate the Hinchcliffe/Holmes period and love the Williams/Adams one (it was the reverse when I was first in fandom), but much as I enjoy a bit of fairytale and whimsy, I can't really agree overall, either. There are too many stories that should have been better, although, again, probably mainly due the combination of the above, which the producer-scriptwriter teams weren't to blame for. (One of the DVDs has a really interesting documentary about some of Graham Williams's ideas & how he was fascinated by possibly mythologies for the show and I was very struck - although, of course, how they would have worked, or if they'd have been any good, who knows? But as it turns out, it was the era of needing to do emergency surgery on the budget & JNT could do that, but Graham Williams was a writer first, and just couldn't, not in those circumstances.

That said, I clearly enjoy Key to Time overall more than you! (But, hey, I like nearly all of Classic Who anyway. :-D)

and the scripts were so much better, omg and I knew that we were under new management and thus that I was probably going to like Five's era.

I like Five a lot, too. I wish Chris Bidmead had stayed longer. He was weird, but it was the right kind of weird for DW!

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 02:10 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (five)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Just wanted to pop in and let you know that you were totally right: Mawdryn Undead was totally amazing and the best thing of Classic Who I've seen. *flails mighty flails*

My other big winners have been Genesis of the Daleks, Face of Evil, Horror of Fang Rock (mostly for Leela and Four'n'Leela, the story was whatever), City of Death, Shada, the whole arc from Warrior's Gate to Castrovalva, Kinda (runner up for best thing ever: Classic Who edition), and Snakedance.

(I started from Four and have been watching straight through. I'm up to Terminus.)

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 02:45 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
Mawdryn Undead was totally amazing and the best thing of Classic Who I've seen. *flails mighty flails*

LOL, that's brilliant. I want my Official Librarian badge back now. :-D It's a fun one, and gets underrated a lot, I think.

My other big winners have been Genesis of the Daleks, Face of Evil, Horror of Fang Rock (mostly for Leela and Four'n'Leela, the story was whatever), City of Death, Shada, the whole arc from Warrior's Gate to Castrovalva, Kinda (runner up for best thing ever: Classic Who edition), and Snakedance.

A nice mix! You even liked some big fan favourites; is that too heretical for you? Kinda is definitely amazing, though, and Snakedance, too - always high on my list! (One of my big Eric Saward grudges is that, as script editor, he convinced Chris Bailey who wrote those two that he was a rubbish script writer, and that was that. *shakes fist at Eric Saward*)

(I'm not sure whether I'm not relieved or disappointed that you didn't love Underworld, though, but honestly nobody can love that much CSO. Not even for Leela, who is indeed awesome.)

I started from Four and have been watching straight through. I'm up to Terminus.

That's impressive speed! Good luck with Terminus. I expect Nyssa will be removing her clothes any time soon. Oh, and then Enlightenment!

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 03:38 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
LOL, that's brilliant. I want my Official Librarian badge back now. :-D It's a fun one, and gets underrated a lot, I think.
*pins badge on you with all due pomp and circumstance*

It was just so full of different things! And all of them were interesting! And actual, proper, timey-wimey such as would do Moff proud <3 Could not be happier with it.

You even liked some big fan favourites; is that too heretical for you?
Lol. No, I've no problem with liking the things everybody thinks are great (the crowd is right sometimes). I'm just never too surprised when I find myself disagreeing with everybody.

(I think I'm also with the consensus agreement that the stories set on Gallifrey are a bit dull? But I do like them for the background they provide.)

Kinda is definitely amazing, though, and Snakedance, too - always high on my list! (One of my big Eric Saward grudges is that, as script editor, he convinced Chris Bailey who wrote those two that he was a rubbish script writer, and that was that. *shakes fist at Eric Saward*)
This is villainy of the highest order. Alas for what could have been!

(I'm not sure whether I'm not relieved or disappointed that you didn't love Underworld, though, but honestly nobody can love that much CSO. Not even for Leela, who is indeed awesome.)
I liked a lot of the ideas in it quite a lot! (and its connection to Face of Evil with the Time Lords/the Doctor screwing up a whole civilization with their careless interference--that was great). But the script was only middling and the execution indeed awful, so . . . I'd watch it again, sometime.

That's impressive speed! Good luck with Terminus. I expect Nyssa will be removing her clothes any time soon. Oh, and then Enlightenment!
Yeah, I'm through three episodes and she just spontaneously dropped her skirt and I was like . . . huh ?!?!? (Will that get explained, or did I miss something, or is it just weird?)

(no subject)

Date: 17 December 2018 05:23 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
I think I'm also with the consensus agreement that the stories set on Gallifrey are a bit dull? But I do like them for the background they provide.

*nods* And that's pretty much my feelings about them, too.

Yeah, I'm through three episodes and she just spontaneously dropped her skirt and I was like . . . huh ?!?!? (Will that get explained, or did I miss something, or is it just weird?)

I believe the explanation in-verse is that she's feeling ill and getting hot and, she says, "My stomach feels so distended!" (er, as one does). The real reason was that someone wrote in to complain about having covered up the companions too much since Leela's day, and Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton both got stuck with more revealing outfits, plus Nyssa casting off her garments. Mind you, to be fair, at some point Turlough will also strip off for equality! /o\

(no subject)

Date: 11 November 2018 06:29 pm (UTC)
thisbluespirit: (dw - seven & ace)
From: [personal profile] thisbluespirit
You literally went above & beyond. Thank you so so much. <3333

It is a terrible list! :lol:

Now I would say it has very little padding - it certainly held my interest, but hey ho, different strokes. Am glad it's been lifted back up.

Not hugely, 70s six-parter style or anything, but there's a lot of flying around in the helicopter, which is a probably a fair point, whereas the other serials of the season were desperately cutting stuff to fit the running time (Curse particularly).

(I am the person who *didn't* like Midnight, so am out of step with 99.99% of the viewing public.)

It was good, I think, but, yeah - I can admire it, but only from a distance of not watching it again! :-)
Edited Date: 11 November 2018 06:31 pm (UTC)

Profile

elisi: van Gogh almond flowers (Default)elisi
April 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 2019