Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Some Stuff About Doctor Who

For the most part, I very much enjoyed this year's series of "Doctor Who", although I did feel that the BBC gave far too much away in their "Next Time..." segments. Overall, this was Peter Capaldi's best series, and Steven Moffat's second best (his best being the first Matt Smith year).

But I didn't like the finale. Or, rather, I didn't like the last few minutes of the finale, and particularly the resolution of Bill's story.

My issue with it is not really what happened (which was indeed foreshadowed, and did make at least a little hand-wavey sense), but rather how it was handled - Moffat pulled back in a very minor, seemingly throwaway character from the first episode, who Bill had a little bit of a crush on, and used her to magic away all the problems?

Yeah, that's not good.

For what it's worth, I think they'd have been better placed to feature Heather more prominently in the series - introduce her in episode one, have her become Bill's on/off girlfriend, and then have her become The Pilot. That gives her a stronger involvement in the story and, more importantly, an actual bond with Bill (beyond a little flirting that really goes nowhere). Plus, conveniently, it mirrors what happens to Bill just a few episodes later...

But most of the rest of the episode was fine. I very much enjoyed the interaction between the Master and Missy, and much as I'll miss the latter it was a fitting end to her story. And I'm really excited to see the First Doctor back, even if just for a little while. (Interestingly, it appears that his appearance is right at the end of his timeline, which suggests that the Christmas episode will feature the First and the Twelth both coming to terms with their impending regenerations. It does occur to me to wonder whether Susan might also make an appearance, given that the First did promise to go back to see her and, as far as I know, never has...)

Anyway, that's that.

In light of Capaldi's tenure coming to its end, I've also given a little thought to his placement in the overall scheme of things. Back in 2014 when I rated the Doctors (http://wherearethefrogs.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-doctors-rated.html), I placed him tenth, above only Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Three years on, though, I'm inclined to rate him more highly - Capaldi's acting has undeniably been very strong, and some of the best material he has been given is very, very good. (He's also had some rather weak stuff to deal with, too, such as last year's Christmas special, but that's true of all the Doctors.)

So, I'm inclined to push him up a few notches - just above Christopher Eccleston and after Peter Davidson, making him fifth. (Had Eccleston done more than a single series, it's likely that he'd move up a notch again; it's all a bit wibbly.)

Finally, on the question of Who should be next?

Personally, I'm leaning towards Tamsin Greig as my choice, if she'd take the role. Between "Black Books" and "Green Wing", she's clearly got the comic timing and the ability to do the slightly zany character that is required. Of course, part of my reason was that she'd previously worked well with Michelle Gomez on "Green Wing", which is no longer valid, but never mind.

(Incidentally, on the topic of a female Doctor... while I don't subscribe to the notion that the new Doctor must be female (or black, ginger, etc), or even to the notion that the Doctor must ever be female (...), I equally can see no reason at all why the Doctor should not be. Unlike James Bond, the character really could be anyone, so find the best candidate and offer him or her the role.)

#31: "Pathfinder: Siege of Stone", by Thurston Hillman
#32: "The Long Cosmos", by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

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