Doctor Who-ERA |OT| It's Almost Time... But Not Yet

SigmasonicX

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Oct 25, 2017
5,429
I still haven't bothered to finish the newest season due to how much it bored me.
And I disagree with the idea that the drama was effective.
 

CommodoreKong

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Oct 25, 2017
2,713
So..... Been out of Doctor Who for a while. Really thought the quality of the show reached Colin Baker level of bad under Moffat and fell off mid-Capaldi. Worth catching up on or am I just going to be disappointed?
I honestly thought the only great episode of the last season of Who was Rosa (which was up there with Vincent and the Doctor for historical episodes) but other than that it was mediocre to bad. Chibnall really stumbled with his first season of Who which is really too bad. I honestly hope he gets replaces sooner rather than later, I never really had a lot of faith in him based on his earlier Doctor Who episodes and this season did nothing to change my opinion of him.
 

APZonerunner

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Thinking critically and analytically about a piece of art/entertainment doesn't mean you're not a fan and doesn't mean you can't enjoy it as well - I enjoy plenty of things riddled with problems, including this latest series of Doctor Who. Often times people involve themselves in such debate because they care and want the thing in question to be better. Some fans absolutely conflate criticism and debate with unbridled hatred and go on the defensive, though.
 
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Dwebble

Dwebble

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Oct 25, 2017
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The last series is a funny one- the highs are undeniably high, but my overall thoughts on the show have been fairly negative. Rosa or Demons of the Punjab would be highlights in a good many series, but I just don't think highly of series 11 as a whole; even in the good episodes, the format and the characters are smothering the best aspects, and the worst episodes are unendurably bad. I'd sooner watch the worst episodes of the Moffat era a thousand times before I watched The Ghost Monument, The Tsuranga Conundrum or The Battle of Marks An Spencer ever again, because even bad Moffat episodes had more of a spark and an energy to them than anything those episodes were doing.

It's a real shame, because I like damned near everything they put together for that series... apart from Chibnall's writing. He's assembled some great ingredients, but he just hasn't been able to get out of his own way with it.
 

acheron_xl

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Oct 27, 2017
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The worst of S11 is easily better than the worst of Moffat or RTD. I'll watch The Tsuranga Conundrum over Fear Her or The Rings of Akhaten 10 times out of 10.
 
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Dwebble

Dwebble

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Oct 25, 2017
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The worst of S11 is easily better than the worst of Moffat or RTD. I'll watch The Tsuranga Conundrum over Fear Her or The Rings of Akhaten 10 times out of 10.
Oh, man, I fundamentally disagree. Fear Her and Akhaten both have more verve and excitement than Tsuranga could even dream of- admittedly, I have a soft spot for Akhaten, but for me they're radically more entertaining.

Tsuranga has the P'ting, and has nothing else to recommend to it. I can't think of a single other modern Doctor Who episode for which that's true- The Doctor's Daughter is an astonishingly bad bit of television, but the worst of series 11 is right down there too.
 

BadAlchemy

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May 2, 2019
206
To me the last series is a pretty significant gear-shift for the show, in the right direction. Chibnall is not nearly as clever a writer as Moffat is - honestly, I do think he's a bit of a hack - but he's very compassionate. Anyone who is upset about Moffat for emphasizing the "duty of care" would probably flat-out loathe the most recent series, because Whittaker's Doctor is a very caring person.

I know it's odd for me to say because the main character is an alien, but my perception of Doctor Who has always been as a humanist show. Being a fan has been instrumental in my development of humanist ideals. I find that the most recent season expresses those ideals in a way the show hasn't necessarily been able to in the past. An episode like "Rosa", for instance, is just not something the show would ever have been able to do before Chibnall came on board as showrunner. I don't see the latest season as a new high for the show by any means, but I do think it's a fantastic framework that the show can build on in the future, and I am excited to find out all of the fantastic and wonderful things the show can do from here.
 
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Dwebble

Dwebble

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Oct 25, 2017
3,562
The Thirteenth Doctor's caring nature is incredibly surface-level - she demonstrates a level of care for individuals that no other Doctor touches, but is time and again unwilling to address the root causes of their pain, and is remarkably passive in dealing with their problems.

Fucking Kerblam, seriously.
 

BadAlchemy

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May 2, 2019
206
I think this is practical! She's not, you know, Michael Landon. Addressing the root causes of someone's problems takes a lot of time and the Doctor lives a pretty peripatetic lifestyle. For my money something like "and then the Doctor spent a thousand years on that planet caring for its people and to prove it here is the Doctor in some terrible old age makeup" is a narrative cheat. For the Doctor to drop by, inspire people, and give them the opportunity to address their own problems in a way they haven't before - I think that's the character at her best!

I do think that Chibnall as a writer is somewhat didactic and prone to telling, not showing, but I also think this is a deficiency of style and not of substance. I'm willing to give him a pass on that to some extent.
 

genjiZERO

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Jan 27, 2019
507
Richmond
Well you can cite evidence from the show to back up whatever your preferred interpretation of the character is, because his characterization has never been consistent! Yeah, sure, Pertwee's doctor was extremely overtly scientific, except when he randomly started using magic in "The Ambassadors of Death", which, by the way, was written by the show's first script editor, who you'd think might have some inkling as to the original intent of the character..

Absolutely, the show is grounded in science. Problem is, it's bad science at best, outright pseudo-science at worst. To invert one of Clarke's Laws, any sufficiently bad science is indistinguishable from fantasy. A "counter-earth" on the other side of the sun? Nonsense. The Fourth Doctor's explanation of dimensional transcendence to Leela? Pure gobbledygook. Travelling backwards in time? Not, as far as anybody can figure out, actually possible. What's left? A staggering array of cheap bug-eyed monsters, rock quarries standing in for alien planets, and endless chases through studio corridors to pad out the running time. Oh yes - and also improbable amounts of ingenuity and creativity devoted to the service of a show about an absurdly clever and tirelessly compassionate character. No, I don't see any inconsistency between Moffat's vision of the show and the parts of the show I like best, not at all.

Changing the mythology? The mythology of the show is self-altering. I have a hard time differentiating between people complaining about Moffat ruining the story engine and the Lofficiers' review talking about how "The Deadly Assassin" was the WORST EPISODE EVER and completely destroyed the mythology of the show.

Doctor Who is an inconsistent show, sometimes maddeningly, sometimes gloriously. It has also, since the show's second episode, been about change. I have little patience for so-called "fans" who fail to recognize that basic reality underpinning the show's extremely nebulous story engine.
I don't mind change. I just don't like shitty writing, and Moffat seemed more concerned with making his imprint on the show than actually making it compelling to watch.
 

plagiarize

Untethered once more
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Oct 25, 2017
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I recently started rewatching the Colin Baker stories, and Twin Dilemma wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. Mark of the Rani, however, is just dogshit. Pip and Jane Baker...man were they lousy.
Mark of the Rani is so much better than Twin Dilemma.

The Doctor and Peri's chemistry is so good in Mark of the Rani. Their subsequent two stories are far from good, but Mark of the Rani is cool. The Rani is cool.
 

genjiZERO

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Jan 27, 2019
507
Richmond
Moffat had a 'drive it like you stole it' mentality with the property, which just made all his worst indulgences feel like (admittedly rather high quality) fanfic.
Agreed. Other than River Song (whom I detest as a character) I really liked the first two Matt Smith series even if it was too magical for my tastes. It wasn't until Clara came on board that those worst tendencies came to the forefront the nail in the coffin being the Christmas Town Episode where he emphatically puts his stamp on the show in one of the worst ways possible.

Mark of the Rani is so much better than Twin Dilemma.

The Doctor and Peri's chemistry is so good in Mark of the Rani. Their subsequent two stories are far from good, but Mark of the Rani is cool. The Rani is cool.
Rani is a great character. The whole Missy thing was really a wasted opportunity to bring her character back.
 

LL_Decitrig

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Oh, man, I fundamentally disagree. Fear Her and Akhaten both have more verve and excitement than Tsuranga could even dream of- admittedly, I have a soft spot for Akhaten, but for me they're radically more entertaining.

Tsuranga has the P'ting, and has nothing else to recommend to it. I can't think of a single other modern Doctor Who episode for which that's true- The Doctor's Daughter is an astonishingly bad bit of television, but the worst of series 11 is right down there too.
I'm not a great fan of Fear Her or Akhaten, but they're okay. The Doctor's Daughter introduces a much loved character who, though only ever seen once on screen created enough of an impression to win a Big Finish audio serial again starring Georgia Moffett in the role.

It's this constant pounding of pejoratives that makes this thread so weird sometimes. Can't anybody else just say they didn't like an episode? You don't have to strive fruitlessly to say everything you don't like is the worst television ever. It's really okay to not like episodes that other people like.
 

Blader

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Oct 27, 2017
9,796
The worst of Moffat > the worst of RTD > the worst of Chibnall

I truly don't understand how or why Capaldi's era in particular seems to get lambasted for "shit writing" given: a) the number of good to great episodes during his run; and b) how much "shit writing" there was under previous Doctors/showrunners, and frankly how "shit writing" is just an inherent part of the show anyway. I really do not think the writing got any appreciably worse during Capaldi (if anything, it became appreciably better) and just don't understand the disconnect here with so many fans. I can only imagine it's partly Capaldi's first impression rubbed people the wrong way and for many, they just never recovered from that initial perception/it was easy to dismiss the good bits of the Capaldi years because they didn't like him off the bat whereas Tennant and Smith's Doctors were obviously more likable right from the start, which maybe makes one more inclined to give them extra leeway?

Or maybe it's just a case of people burning out after eight years of Moffat? I thought S8-10 Moffat was largely a better writer than S6-7 Moffat, but if you're tired out by his style then maybe that doesn't mean much, and you're just going to feel the fatigue in the back half of that run more than anything else. I imagine if RTD had stayed an extra three years people would've soured on him even worse than they already had.

Is the new season ever going to go up for free streaming on Amazon Prime like the Capaldi years did? I've been waiting so long...
Probably closer to when S12 starts.
 

PlanetSmasher

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Agreed. Other than River Song (whom I detest as a character) I really liked the first two Matt Smith series even if it was too magical for my tastes. It wasn't until Clara came on board that those worst tendencies came to the forefront the nail in the coffin being the Christmas Town Episode where he emphatically puts his stamp on the show in one of the worst ways possible.
Ehhhhhhhh. I think Eleven was always marred by the MAGICAL FAIRY TALE MAN thing from his very first episode, and it wasn't helped by the US releases of the episodes having that goofy Amy narration before the credits every single week. The Time of the Doctor definitely pushed it too far, but I think it was a constant flaw of the series during Eleven's run - the show both wanted to portray him as this magical mystery man and also a total monster but it was never able to reconcile the two sides of the coin all that well.
 

Blader

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Oct 27, 2017
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Ehhhhhhhh. I think Eleven was always marred by the MAGICAL FAIRY TALE MAN thing from his very first episode, and it wasn't helped by the US releases of the episodes having that goofy Amy narration before the credits every single week. The Time of the Doctor definitely pushed it too far, but I think it was a constant flaw of the series during Eleven's run - the show both wanted to portray him as this magical mystery man and also a total monster but it was never able to reconcile the two sides of the coin all that well.
The characterization didn't bother me -- if everyone Doctor was framed this way it would get tiresome, but it's interesting for one Doctor -- but I do agree the fairy tale aspect was much heavier during Eleven's era, down to his biggest fear (the crack = being forgotten) and even his final lines ("I'll always remember when the Doctor was me.").
 

PlanetSmasher

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The characterization didn't bother me -- if everyone Doctor was framed this way it would get tiresome, but it's interesting for one Doctor -- but I do agree the fairy tale aspect was much heavier during Eleven's era, down to his biggest fear (the crack = being forgotten) and even his final lines ("I'll always remember when the Doctor was me.").
The funny part is that The God Complex came three episodes before the Doctor ran around erasing himself from history, essentially turning his own worst fear real. And the show never really does anything with this because as soon as S7 started the whole thing became about foreshadowing the Ponds leaving.
 

BadAlchemy

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May 2, 2019
206
Moffat had a 'drive it like you stole it' mentality with the property, which just made all his worst indulgences feel like (admittedly rather high quality) fanfic.
The show has literally been run by fans since the JNT era. I have little patience for bad-faith arguments about "the fans running the show".

As for the Rani, I adore Kate O'Mara, but Mark of the Rani is not good. Pip & Jane make her a textbook Mary Sue. Not only that, she never had a relationship with the Doctor nearly as interesting as the Master did. Since Kate O'Mara has passed, I just don't see a need for the Rani to ever return as a character.
 

APZonerunner

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Moffat had a 'drive it like you stole it' mentality with the property, which just made all his worst indulgences feel like (admittedly rather high quality) fanfic.
It's funny, but while that feels like an accurate description of Moffat's time in charge of the show, I consider the distinctive divider between RTD and Moffat something that'd make you think this isn't the case. Like, in an interview, Moffat once described himself as being "medically unable" to contradict past canon, whereas RTD was quite open about how he'd trash any piece of existing lore if it served the story he wanted to tell.

And, honestly, that defines their eras to me. That's how you get Clara being the one to point the Doctor to the TARDIS, the plot twisting itself into knots to get the chance to hand-wave the regeneration limit, a naff and unnecessary story beats to explain new designs for the Cybermen and Daleks both etc etc. Funnily enough Moffat seemed to loosen up in his last year or two, but to me I'll always think of the two this way, for better and for worse.
 

sir_crocodile

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Oct 25, 2017
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It's funny, but while that feels like an accurate description of Moffat's time in charge of the show, I consider the distinctive divider between RTD and Moffat something that'd make you think this isn't the case. Like, in an interview, Moffat once described himself as being "medically unable" to contradict past canon, whereas RTD was quite open about how he'd trash any piece of existing lore if it served the story he wanted to tell.

And, honestly, that defines their eras to me. That's how you get Clara being the one to point the Doctor to the TARDIS, the plot twisting itself into knots to get the chance to hand-wave the regeneration limit, a naff and unnecessary story beats to explain new designs for the Cybermen and Daleks both etc etc. Funnily enough Moffat seemed to loosen up in his last year or two, but to me I'll always think of the two this way, for better and for worse.
I kind of have the opposite feel, I don't think RTD ever contradicted canon like moff did in Day of the Doctor and Hell Bent. And the canon moff was contradicting was mostly RTD's lol, it wasn't old stuff that's easy to forget.

Even The End of Time made sense (even if it wasn't good), the last we saw of the timelords they were pathetic, so it makes sense they unseal Rassilon in desperation.
 

APZonerunner

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I kind of have the opposite feel, I don't think RTD ever contradicted canon like moff did in Day of the Doctor and Hell Bent. And the canon moff was contradicting was mostly RTD's lol, it wasn't old stuff that's easy to forget.

Even The End of Time made sense (even if it wasn't good), the last we saw of the timelords they were pathetic, so it makes sense they unseal Rassilon in desperation.
Well, this is the point, really - in Day of the Doctor Moffat doesn't contradict canon without explanation; he goes to great, great pains to ensure everything slots together and "works", to make sure that story stands but also doesn't impact any of the RTD canon of the time war... but in going to those pains, it's almost a messier story for it. This happens loads, where it almost feels like he wrote a solid story, then had his continuity editors check it against the past of the show and then wrote a bunch of bunk in to justify stuff that ultimately wrecks it.

I think the only thing RTD did to retroactively fit something to a past event in a big way was to say that Genesis of the Daleks was later viewed as the first act in the Time War (meaning the Time Lords technically started it, but even then that was something he stated rather than wrote in the show.

The point is more that there's a lot of Moffat twisting his stories to fit canon or inserting detours to explain why a story does still fit old canon. The regeneration limit thing is the ultimate example, where RTD ponce said he considered he'd already written around the old established limit in Sarah Jane Adventures - where when one of the kids asks the 11th Doctor how many times he can regenerate, he says "507." That sort of flippant thing is how RTD approached that sort of stuff.

I have to admit I've deleted a lot of Hell Bent from my mind, because jesus christ
 

sir_crocodile

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Oct 25, 2017
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Well, this is the point, really - in Day of the Doctor Moffat doesn't contradict canon without explanation; he goes to great, great pains to ensure everything slots together and "works", to make sure that story stands but also doesn't impact any of the RTD canon of the time war... but in going to those pains, it's almost a messier story for it.

I think the only thing RTD did to retroactively fit something to a past event in a big way was to say that Genesis of the Daleks was later viewed as the first act in the Time War (meaning the Time Lords technically started it, but even then that was something he stated rather than wrote in the show.

The point is more that there's a lot of Moffat twisting his stories to fit canon or inserting detours to explain why a story does still fit old canon. The regeneration limit thing is the ultimate example, where RTD ponce said he considered he'd already written around the old established limit in Sarah Jane Adventures - where when one of the kids asks the 11th Doctor how many times he can regenerate, he says "507." That sort of flippant thing is how RTD approached that sort of stuff.

I have to admit I've deleted a lot of Hell Bent from my mind, because jesus christ
End of Time makes clear that the timelords and the daleks were caught in an endless, unwinnable war with both sides infinitely resurrecting and creating weird stuff. Because of this Rasillon made the decision to use the Ultimate Sanction to break the deadlock, which would wipe out everything, except the timelords who would ascend to a different plane. The doctor found out about this and used the Moment to destroy both sides, sacrificing his own race to save the rest of the universe.
In DOTD this is all forgotten, the Time Lords are on their knees with the Daleks about to finish them off so the doctor uses the Moment. Apparently, every dalek ever is arrayed around Gallifrey even though one of the high council told Rassilon they were at the "furthest edge of the Time War".

And what happened to all the unspeakable horrors like the nightmare child and the could've been king? Are they all loose now? Were they supposedly queuing up at gallifrey with every other dalek ever? The plan that they come up with makes it sound like they're sacrificing the rest of the universe on the altar of the daleks to bring back the time lords. All the stuff that's supposed to slot in with RTD's time lord mythos is the absolute worst writing I've ever seen from moffat (although the stuff in Britain was very good though, especially the Elizabeth stuff).
 
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Dwebble

Dwebble

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I'd sacrifice everything to do with the Time Lords in The End of Time for The Day of the Doctor in a heartbeat.

Besides, it's a Time War- pointing out continuity flaws makes absolutely no sense.
 

LL_Decitrig

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I'd sacrifice everything to do with the Time Lords in The End of Time for The Day of the Doctor in a heartbeat.

Besides, it's a Time War- pointing out continuity flaws makes absolutely no sense.
I enjoyed both, though I do have a preference for Day of the Doctor (three Doctor Whos and one of them is John Hurt!) Canon is silly, anorak stuff, particularly when it gets in the way of telling a good story.

The vast majority of the Doctor Who watching public couldn't tell you who Rassilon is, and probably couldn't even tell you where Doctor Who comes from. A great programme should be bigger than can be contained by naive concepts such as canon.
 

PlanetSmasher

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I enjoyed both, though I do have a preference for Day of the Doctor (three Doctor Whos and one of them is John Hurt!) Canon is silly, anorak stuff, particularly when it gets in the way of telling a good story.

The vast majority of the Doctor Who watching public couldn't tell you who Rassilon is, and probably couldn't even tell you where Doctor Who comes from. A great programme should be bigger than can be contained by naive concepts such as canon.
At least if you watched the Tennant years you’d likely know since David really loved namedropping Gallifrey all the time.
 

filkry

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Oct 25, 2017
690
I'm pretty forgiving of Doctor Who continuity/lore nonsense, but the Time War ending via Daleks being destroyed by all shooting each other at the same time through a vanished Gallifrey is pretty ridiculous.
 

Blader

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Oct 27, 2017
9,796
The biggest Time War-related retcon comes from the End of Time, where the Time Lords have been changed from being pompous and dickish goons into outright evil (and I believe Ten even calls them evil in that ep).

I mean really, RTD contradicted and retconned himself all the time. The Daleks being one of the prime examples. The Dalek in "Dalek" was the last one ever...until it turned out the Dalek Emperor was still alive. Then Rose killed him and his mutants, and that was the end of the Daleks...oh wait, there's a whole bunch of them hiding outside of the universe. So then their numbers are whittled down to Dalek Caan, who is now the last Dalek ever...except he goes into the Time War, something that is supposedly not a thing that could be done, to rescue Davros and create more Daleks. And THEN all the Daleks are really all gone forever...well wait a sec, the show's not over, Moffat and Gatiss have to come up with a new reason for having more Daleks.

While Victory of the Daleks isn't a particularly great episode (though not as bad as I remembered it; having just rewatched it recently I think it's actually fine, with the exception of the dumb 'spitfires in space' idea which I know Moffat was high on but feels plainly shoehorned in) it was smart to end it by simply having the Daleks get away, so they didn't need to keep inventing new reasons for whenever a new Dalek shows up or keep retconning previous Dalek stories to have it make sense.

End of Time makes clear that the timelords and the daleks were caught in an endless, unwinnable war with both sides infinitely resurrecting and creating weird stuff. Because of this Rasillon made the decision to use the Ultimate Sanction to break the deadlock, which would wipe out everything, except the timelords who would ascend to a different plane. The doctor found out about this and used the Moment to destroy both sides, sacrificing his own race to save the rest of the universe.
In DOTD this is all forgotten, the Time Lords are on their knees with the Daleks about to finish them off so the doctor uses the Moment. Apparently, every dalek ever is arrayed around Gallifrey even though one of the high council told Rassilon they were at the "furthest edge of the Time War".
This is two different groups of Time Lords though. In End of Time, we see Rasillon and the council. In Day of the Doctor we're seeing the military leadership (and I think they even mention quickly that Rassilon and his group are up to something else).

And what happened to all the unspeakable horrors like the nightmare child and the could've been king? Are they all loose now? Were they supposedly queuing up at gallifrey with every other dalek ever?
Aren't all those made-up name drops meant to refer to the entirety of the war? In Day of the Doctor we're down to the war's last day, where it's presumably just the Time Lords and Daleks left.
 

sir_crocodile

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This is two different groups of Time Lords though. In End of Time, we see Rasillon and the council. In Day of the Doctor we're seeing the military leadership (and I think they even mention quickly that Rassilon and his group are up to something else).
Doesn't really change anything - Time Lords shift from deadlock to almost defeated, Gallifrey shifts from the furthest point of the war to the last stop on the dalek's victory tour and the reason the moment was originally used is forgotten by the doctor.

Aren't all those made-up name drops meant to refer to the entirety of the war? In Day of the Doctor we're down to the war's last day, where it's presumably just the Time Lords and Daleks left.
It is in Day of the Doctor, but in End of Time (which is supposed to run in parallel) it's just the day the doctor got wind of the ultimate sanction and decided to get and use the moment.
 

EvilRedEye

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Oct 29, 2017
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I don't know why people complain at the way the Daleks were apparently destroyed at the end of Day of the Doctor when it was established yonks ago that a limited number survived. Like, yes, it is implausible they would all die - it's been canon for years that they didn't.
 

LL_Decitrig

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I'm pretty forgiving of Doctor Who continuity/lore nonsense, but the Time War ending via Daleks being destroyed by all shooting each other at the same time through a vanished Gallifrey is pretty ridiculous.
Doctor Who has never not been utterly ridiculous. The principal antagonists for over half a century have been a gang of very angry pepperpots.
 

LL_Decitrig

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dumb 'spitfires in space'
Probably my favourite ever single scene in Doctor Who, if I were forced to choose. I'd be surprised if it wasn't Gatiss's idea as writer of the episode. I remember years later raving about how much I loved this episode to my kids "Spitfires," I said. "In space!" And one of them narrowed their eyes and quoted Amy Pond: "Did you wish really hard?" Perfect.

There honestly should be more, not less, ridiculous stuff. There's no other programme that can regularly make this delirious nonsense work so well. "Good evening. I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife."
 

mclem

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Oct 25, 2017
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I'm pretty forgiving of Doctor Who continuity/lore nonsense, but the Time War ending via Daleks being destroyed by all shooting each other at the same time through a vanished Gallifrey is pretty ridiculous.
And with that I've just realised...

Fundamentally, that's the same ending as Blink.

Moffat really did like to reuse ideas, didn't he?
 

M.Bluth

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Oct 25, 2017
1,674
I still haven't bothered to finish the newest season due to how much it bored me.
And I disagree with the idea that the drama was effective.
It's funny, I started off really liking it for the most part, even though lots of people here didn't. But as time went on I found myself enjoying it less and less with how little character those companions had, while others seemed to be enjoying it.
By the time the finale came around the season had sucked all interest out of me, and I had to stop myself from posting too often because there's no point in being always negative about it.

Series 12 needs more fun and more camp. And more for Yaz to do.
Who?!
 

Blader

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Oct 27, 2017
9,796
Going through S5 again at the moment, this season is really just excellent. The Beast Below is better than I remembered and is a nice follow-up story to The Eleventh Hour in a similar way The End of the World was to Rose.

Also The Vampires of Venice is extremely underrated! And funny as hell.