Sunday, October 31, 2010

FFS, Spara - The Next Generation?

No, actually this isn't about Sparacus, at least not directly. For poor old Mark G has lost his touch. Rabid followers like JPF, Smoking Jacket, Lunarsea and Mlock have all deserted him. Even LBC is a bit busy with his zionist rants about how "Aspies Must Rule", and the only active thread in the BC section is entitled "The Franchise is Dead" by McCarthy himself. Spara's latest thread was asking for Kate Bush - who did NOT write Kinda - to replace Amy Pond. Rickitt didn't even get a look in. Spara's blog is less updated than Mad Larry's...

But nature... and Outpost Gallifrey... abhor a vacuum.

Presenting the New Psycho Fan to take us into the next decade!


A prolific poster, he has gone absolutely fucking insane over Death of the Doctor, creating huge threads with a handful of vitriolic and self-contradictory posts the likes of which fankind has not witnessed since spara found himself trying to explain how Mickey could be a worthless unemployed chav when he was clearly shown on screen to have a paying job and be reading university textbooks (hah, "he stole them from some students to sell for drugs", yeah, that never went down well...)

But first, the opinion forum equivalent of a regeneration scene...

Following a rant from someone about Ben Chatham

What is this ungodly gibberish?

Trying to recruit Joshua Wynne

I just wondered - does GB discriminate against Aspie's?

NOTE: Thread immediately locked

On River Song being the Doctor's wife

The Doctor could not only marry, he could marry himself, if he was gay, only he isn't. Or herself.

On RTD adapting Doctor Who for the USA

What would it have been like? Amnesty International would have demanded assurances that it wasn't being used to extract confessions from inmates in Guantanamo Bay.

On Matt Smith

Everything I've wanted in a Doctor since the crushing disappointment I felt in January 1982 when the first episode of Castrovalva ended. A Doctor who looked the part, had the mannerisms, and the new born chick look that I think a new Doctor needs, but couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. Now Doctor Who has delivered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


On discovering quite a few people think Peter Davison can act

Oh my goodness - I had no idea Davison was so highly regarded. I don't find him unwatchable or anything, like Colin Baker, but he's so bland he's almost not there, and consequently every story he's been in seems like a Doctor-lite episode to me.

However, perhaps I'm a little to blame for my perception of him, because when he was first cast I thought he'd be BRILLIANT!!!!!!! as I would have said then and I spent the whole year leading up to Castrovalva looking forward to him. starting. I think I mistakenly thought he was good in All Creatures Great and Small when actually it was Robert Hardy making him look good. Then he turned up in Who and it was like a wooden companion had received a battlefield promotion to the role of Doctor.

But in fairness, and because some people seem to think I'm attacking him personally, he does come across as a very nice man in his DVD extra interviews and I find them quite enjoyable.

Bringing this back to the Eleventh Hour, the one thing that shone through for me about Matt Smith's performance is not his acting ability, which is obviously present, but the fact that he's such a good 'leading man' - a quality pretty much impossible to define but you know it when you see it, which is why his CV includes acting opposite Billy Piper in a big, lavish Christmas drama. Davison became the Doctor after playing third male lead in a drama in which his relationship with Robert Hardy was distinctly similar to the kind of relationship a companion has with the Doctor - he was over-promoted basically. In the unlikely event that a moron like John Nathan Turner ever takes control of Doctor Who again let's hope they only go for a relative unknown that actually has, not only the acting chops but the ability to be an effective leading man.

The quality of Moffat's decision making is just superb to be able to pick someone reltively unknown like Matt Smith - a brilliantly calculated risk, and it's just a pleasure as a fan to be able to endorse this decision with my approval having lived through the 80's, when bad casting decision after bad casting decision was made, not to mention the RTD era where we had Eccleston - great, but with no commitment to the show - and Tennant - okay-ish but with a tendency to overplay certain emotions.

We've got YOUNG, FRESH, TALENTED and with STARDUST - this is the best time since the mid 70's to be a Doctor Who fan.

On The Eleventh Hour

The most wonderful, life-affirming writing and acting I've seen for a million yonks. I actually don't feel interested in any Doctor Who that came prior to tonight...IT'S A NEW SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've just realised how boring it is to be a Doctor Who 'fan' and how very wonderful it is to just enjoy new episodes like normal people do.

On The Beast Below

Did anyone else have trouble understanding Liz Ten's 'Gor Blimey' accent? It was as if she'd had elocution lessons in reverse. What is this tendency for actors in Doctor Who to try and sound like Smithfield market porters? Thank goodness Matt Smith doesn't speak in an accent designed to suggest that he is a cabbie or was raised in the ghetto, which is a great relief after Tennant and Eccleston (though at least Eccleston enunciated his words clearly, despite his accent).

But Liz Ten was just silly, and her accent doesn't set a particularly good example to young children either.

I have this old fashioned prejudice in favour of people speaking properly, instead of trying hard to sound like they've been raised in the gutter. Being British I pay for Doctor Who, so I'm entitled to my opinion.

After I made my original post, praising Matt Smith, I groaned inwardly to hear him talk about something called 'orforitee' on Confidential.

On Doctor Who's youth appeal

I was listening to a group of five year olds at a party yesterday and none of them were talking about Doctor Who, they were talking about Total Wipeout. Is the new series as entertaining as Total Wipeout? I loved episodes 1 and 4, not so much 2 and 3, but something about it just isn't connecting with children; and certainly last night I decided not to watch it with my kid, and realised that even if it hadn't been too scary it would have been inaccessible. Which means next week it'll lose two viewers at its regular time, though I'll watch it later on iPlayer.

There's something about Matt Smith too which isn't connecting. He's a wonderful Doctor for grown ups, yet somehow he doesn't have that access to childhood which David Tennant had. Is he too aloof? Too Professorial? Do children like that in a hero or do they only want it in a supporting character?

This series has been really obviously following the Joseph Campbell Handbook - Refusal of the Call (Amy), The Belly of the Beast (The Star Whale), The Labyrinth (Maze of the Dead) and the homages to Star Wars show what Moff has been thinking about, but perhaps there should be more of Lucas (and RTD's) ruthless accessibility. Is it as immediately gratifying as Star Wars, RTD's tenure, or for that matter Total Wipeout, and should it be? I think so.

On Leela's tits

Oh God, thank you.

On the 1960s movies

So is Cushing's second Who film Break Dance 2: Electric Boogaloo?

On the classic series

I tend to take it for granted that Nu Who is better than the Classic series, but this has made me reconsider that assumption.

On the new series

How do the last five years of Doctor Who compare to the first six years? Has the new series achieved as much in the same length of time? I prefer nu Who to Classic Who, but one thing where it doesn't compare is in the creation of memorable, visually striking monsters with interesting back stories - great CGI and makeup is all very well (and welcome) but only the Weeping Angels really seem worthy of comparison to the early years of Classic Who when extraordinary monsters like the Daleks and Cybermen were being created. The Slitheen and Ood seem to sum it up for me - Zygon-lite and Robot (of Death)-lite.

I'll say it again, I love the new series, but where are the truly original monsters?

On RTD's portrayal of UNIT

The whole of that story was a massive insult against our military. Malvinas, my arse.

RTD hates the army, but the next time a foreign power threatens to invade Britain, I don't think the country will be turning to a tall gay Welsh scriptwriter to provide our last line of defence.

I expect RTD still regrets that he never got to write his story where the Doctor helps Neville Chamberlain to remain in power so that Britain can keep appeasing Hitler right up until the swastika is flying over the Houses of Parliament and Churchill has been shot by a Nazi firing squad.

A few minutes later

I've just realised that a comment I made two pages back might have been open to the interpretation that I'm somehow anti tall people, the welsh, or gay people. Not at all. I just wanted to say that my comment was intended only to be a factual description of Russell T Davies which didn't use his name, and that I'm in no way prejudiced against tall people, or xenophobic, or that I'm in any way homophobist as that WASN'T my intention at all. I'm tall myself, and if you dug down far enough I'm sure you'd find my family had roots outside England, and although I'm straight, I'm sure if I wasn't I'd be gay.

On the fact Smith's second year will be filmed in America

They're doing something that JNT wanted to do, and that's good, apparently.

Sorry, why is it so great that they're filming the programme in America? For one thing it's going to be expensive, and the programme is currently suffering from budget cuts, so why take money from the show just to make some supposedly eyecatching overseas episodes? I expect the rest of the season will look distinctly low budget as a result.

Secondly, two words - Miami Twice. That was a BBC programme where the idea of filming in America preceded the story, and it showed. I bet it will be the same here.

Third, why set it in America at all? I would rather watch episodes made in Britain. I can only assume this is designed to help raise the show's 'profile' in America. Sorry, why? Who cares if Americans like the show or not? It's doing very well here, if Americans want to watch it they can, if not, the programme makers shouldn't be going and chasing their business. I'm sure most licence fee payers - which in america numbers precisely zero - would rather see an episode set in some beautiful part of the United Kingdom. Cornwall, Devon, Kent, Yorkshire, Liverpool, Cumbria, Scotland - all British, all visually striking. Why the hell do I want to pay to see some place called Utah that I've barely heard of? I mean seriously, what's so ¤¤¤¤ing special about Utah that it couldn't be filmed here? Does it have some incredible unique landscapes or something that can't be found in Britain? I think not.

Fourth, will the story feature historical American characters? Mention of the oval office suggests it will. I would much rather that British schoolchildren learnt about historical characters from a stirring and heroic era of British history. That money could have paid for a story about a British composer like Elgar, or a writer like Chaucer, or a war hero like Douglas Bader or any of the Kings and Queens from our wonderful history.

Doctor Who is a British show, Americans are all very well, but I cannot for the life of me understand what makes it so essential to throw British licence payers money at them.

and another thing - Doctor Who stories set in America have a history of being terrible. The Gunfighters, The Movie, Daleks in Manhattan. Dalek is an exception, and that could have been set underneath anywhere. This isn't just coincidence - something about America is at odds with Doctor Who's uniquely British sensibility.

I'm not gripped by blind rage, actually, just reasoned argument. Why can't BBC America just send the money back to Britain to make more British episodes, why can they can only contribute to US set episodes? If you want to post a photo of Utah I'll take it under consideration.


Beautiful images, but do they really have to go there? A second unit would surely be enough. If they can recreate Mars in Britain I'm pretty sure Utah isn't beyond the production team given some background plates.

It's not really a question of being on a high horse. British television just doesn't translate well to an american setting, real or otherwise. It just doesn't. Given the choice I would therefore have preferred them to make UK based episodes.

IF the production team had access to an unlimited budget and/ or a time machine and/ or space ship then I would be interested to see how the series developed visually. But at present most episodes are filmed in the UK or countries close by and the programme evokes a distinctly British sensibility and suddenly crowbarring in a location shoot in America is jarring to me. Of course, if two thirds of next season is filmed on different continents then I might reassess my view. And no, this is not about anti-americanism as someone has already touchily suggested.

I don't think it does much for the show's reputation to film in a place where people are executed by firing squads. Unless that's what the story is about.

I'd feel the same if they filmed it in any country that is so enthusiastic about the death penalty. It's not just the company you keep which is important, it's the places you go. Frankly, I don't think they should have gone to Dubai. Why wouldn't you want to be annoyed that licence payers cash went into the local economy of a country with the death penalty? I hadn't thought of this when I made my original post, but when someone jokingly suggested that maybe I'd like steven moffatt to be horribly killed I checked to see what Utah do, and guess what, they employ firing squads!

The BBC is planning to put licence fee payers money into the local economy of a place that basically comes under the heading of 'barbaric' for at least a significant proportion of British people. I think that's quite on-topic. I seem to be even more disgusted now then I was when I made the original post!

Is it not clear from what I've said that I'm not anti-american and that what I've written isn't motivated by anti-americanism? The death penalty aside I have no unfavourable opinion of america, and perhaps if I ever went there I might find it very pleasant. However, I think setting two episodes there is an unecessary expense and I suspect those two episodes will look odd set alongside the rest of the series.

I'm sure america is a nice place, apart from the guns and the executing retarded people for political gain, I just don't want Doctor Who filmed there. I'd feel the same about Australia, China, South Africa or anywhere much beyond the British Isles that didn't look like Britain. And I think it's okay to hold that point of view.

I'm just putting the cocoa on hold to answer this, and then I really am going to bed. For the last time, I've not attacked America or suggested that it's the same as Nazi Germany as this poster seems to think. I have no opinion of that sort. I just object to filming an episode there for the reasons given in my OP plus the fact that Utah has the death penalty and shot someone this year, and my licence fee will be paying for that.

Perhaps the Americans here would like to ask themselves what their response would be if I, a British subject, started telling them how their tax dollars should be spent? Or telling them not to comment on same? Well, I am a licence fee payer and I object to the production money going into the local economy of a state that shoots people.

Matt Smith's Doctor needs to pack a gun.

On the fact the mods dubbed him "racist" and locked this thread of "drivel"

It wasn't a racist rant, your post is a rant.

I'm so annoyed that my thread about filming in America got hijacked by loonies and closed. All I have to add to that particular discussion is that events will prove me right.

On The Deadly Assassin

There is no regeneration limit, it's just some nonsense that someone wrote in the seventies. Completely meaningless. Continuity is dead.

On Death of the Doctor

I have just watched 'Death of the Doctor'. Death of the Doctor indeed.

Sorry, is everyone alright with this, then? I mean no regeneration limit? With a stroke of his pen RTD has destroyed one of the most sacred tenets of Continuity. Is everyone now happy to gorge themselves on Doctor Who till Judgement Day regardless of internal logic, regardless of what this does to the character of the Doctor? We may as well have cliffhangers resolved now by the Doctor growing wings and flying away from his enemies. And as for poor Robert Holmes, who wrote better for the show than anyone, this is nothing less than an unnatural act committed against his memory. Never mind that RTD has written numerous episodes attacking the concept of eternal life - a thinly veiled attack on religion no doubt - when it suits him he's happy to immortalise the Doctor on a whim. Is this not a betrayal of the original show? We were told that the Doctor could regenerate 12 times. Sticking to this limit does not merely have the virtue of consistency - an obvious virtue, most five year olds prefer drama to be internally consistent rather than otherwise - it also has dramatic integrity. A Doctor who knows his days are numbered will be a more sombre, reflective figure. There is more scope for tragedy in the eventual denouement. And there is a clear moral dividing line between him and the Master.

So for God's sake let the Doctor accept his end and let the show also end, magnificently, triumphantly, after the thirteenth Doctor dies. That's not to say we couldn't one day see earlier incarnations again - with CGI and todays electronic trickery all kinds of things are possible. Perhaps we might see the earlier Doctors returning in new adventures - perhaps the show itself might undergo a kind of backwards regeneration to the glories of the classic show, when it was not merely a lurid entertainment but a haunting discursus on the importance of science, solitude and the transformational power of logic. Only the most undemanding will be content to see a Fourteenth Doctor - the rest of us will have our stomachs turned. Please, please, let this be the last time the show is mutilated in this way. The jackal has feasted, we must unite to prevent it from returning to drink our blood. I'm not just angry, I'm boiling mad.

But the way the show ends is important, the way any drama ends is important, and it won't feel like an ending if the Doctor regenrates.

I ought not to be, but once again I am astonished that someone can be attacked and vilified for expressing their opinion. For God's sake, are views not allowed anymore? Truly the forum, like Saturn, is eating its own babies, and yet, if I am alone, I am proud to be alone, because I believe I am alone but right - right about this betrayal, right about the permanent and damaging effect on the programme. Right for not saying, isn't everything jolly good in Doctor Who land, let's not have any strong opinions on anything, la la la la la, right, not for showing complacency and indifference, which really are damaging, but right for saying, look, and really look, the programme is in danger, its inner truth is being compromised and not only is its future in danger, but RTD is threatening its past as well by rewriting something that is fundamental to it, and this is an absolute bloody insult to those of us who have watched it for decades and decades and now find it is NOT the programme we believed it to be and not just to us but to the many creators who toiled to put it in front of children every Saturday teatime, it is an insult to them, to Sidney Newman, Verity Lambert, David Whittaker, Barry Letts, Robert Holmes, Terrance Dicks, Malcolm Hulke, Philip Hinchcliffe, Douglas Adams, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Terry Nation, tom Baker, Christopher H Bidmeand, and most importantly to all those little children down the years, guess what, we took your faith in the Doctor and shoved it up your arses, you stupid little idiots you should have been watching bloody Superman or something because he can't die and neither can the Doctor, and oh look, his planet was destroyed and so was the Doctor's, what a shame the Doctor isn't even more like Superman, because let's face it this is only going in one bloody direction and I think we all know where that is, though God knows we mustn't talk about it. I feel like a man who's been carefully saving Green Shields stamps for decades, has taken them down to Argos to redeem them for an electrical item, and been peremptorily told that the scheme has ended. One line, just like that, bang. Every threat, every story, every cliffhanger, everything is now nothing. It's a bloody disgrace.

It is probably too late anyway. I have no doubt that one day soon we'll all wake up to find the Doctor wearing body armour (sorry, 'armor'), driving a large ugly car, and being told by his companions that he shouldn't be such a maverick, even if he does get results. Darkness has fallen. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On the destruction of all creation

Now don't get me wrong, in the normal course of things I'm all in favour of the continued existence of the universe - yeaay for the universe! - but I find it very difficult to get involved in a drama that hinges around the prospect of its imminent destruction, as happened in series 5 and will probably happen in series 6. For one thing, it's not much of a character, for another we don't see much of it during the series - mostly just earth in fact - so when it's suddenly tied to a railway line at the end of each series, I tend to think 'eh, what?'

There's no emotional involvement on my part, no identification, and besides, when I look out of the window, there it is, large and infinite and comfortingly 'there'. The same thing, to a certain extent, goes for the earth. What's that you say? The earth's in danger? No it isn't - I just rang up for a curry and had no problems placing the call and getting it delivered. Likewise history - don't tell me the whole of history of the earth is about to be altered - it isn't, because time travel isn't possible in reality. But what is possible is for a particular individual or group to be threatened with destruction (because that happens in the real world) and to be so likeable that I care about their demise.

I know we won't see a series that hinges around the fate of a single character, because in Doctor Who, like the James Bond films, the stakes have to be reasonably high. But surely what we need is to be made to care about a particular fictional planet, or group of characters, or civilisation, perhaps via repeated appearances or references in the series. The Ood would be perfect - a finale where the Doctor saved them from extinction, after a series where we had come to appreciate their unique contribution to the beauty of the universe - that would excite me. But putting the universe in peril is a bit like someone ringing me and saying 'I'm looking for everything, do you know where it is? Because if I don't find it something terrible might happen.' I mean, where would you start and how would you make yourself care?

When someone suggested he might be wrong about something

Go on then, astonish me.


Matthew Blanchette said...

I would much rather that British schoolchildren learnt about historical characters from a stirring and heroic era of British history. That money could have paid for a story about a British composer like Elgar

I know he sounds like a Torchwood loony, but Elgar, "stirring"? Made me think of this:

"Listen, how many musicians do you think your side have got, eh? First grade I mean... Two, Elgar and Liszt. That's all. We've got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?"

Aziraphale shut his eyes.

"All too easily," he groaned.

Anonymous said...

This guy might just be enough to get me involved in DW fandom again.


Youth of Australia said...

It has to be said the place is rather dull nowadays. His single-handed flamewars have really livened up the forum, which is sinking back into pre-Xmas coma.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

This guy is much better than Spara. I'm sure I quoted him on my TBB review as well...

That Death of the Doctor rant is wonderful. If psychos on the internet can have Crowning Moments of Awesome... what I love is just when you think he's peaked out on indignation and can't go any further, up up up he goes again.

...I'm not entirely sure how he feels about the classic series, though...

Youth of Australia said...

This guy is much better than Spara. I'm sure I quoted him on my TBB review as well...
Ah, that might be why he sounds familiar.

That Death of the Doctor rant is wonderful.
It merited the post, I thought.

...I'm not entirely sure how he feels about the classic series, though...
Strangely enough, niether does he.

Whenever anyone points out his shifting viewpoints, he always directs them to the wiki entry for "sarcasm".

Well, I was impressed.