The Name of The Doctor? Don’t know, don’t really care

I am remarkably unmoved by the whole thought of the latest DW series finale, and whether or not I get spoiled. I realise it matters terribly to other people so I will be very discreet (not that I know much anyway). But a poll on LJ made me reflect that if I had to number New-Who finales in order of preference, it’s all been steadily downhill from The Parting of the Ways, really. Or possibly Doomsday, which I have trouble viewing objectively since the mere thought of it breaks my little shippy heart.

Seriously, TPOTW still impresses me as a beautifully constructed piece of drama, in which every significant character has something important to do. By the time we got to the one with The Master things were very patchy, and I wish I could erase Tinkerbell Jesus Doctor from my mind, and JE I hated so much I could barely function for a week afterwards. I’m not even going to mention the over-indulgent, incoherent train wreck that was The End of Time. Even Cribbins and Tennant rising to the occasion in some of RTD’s best-written scenes ever couldn’t redeem that one.

As for the Moffatt finales, with the Pandorica one I really appreciated the lack of angst (it says a lot about Doctor Who that the rebooting of the whole of creation seemed a mere sideshow), and the other one was plain barking mad and silly. I confess to being curious about what they’ll pull out of their backside for this latest one, but since the currency of peril in the show is so debased now that the fate of the universe merely generates more than a passing shrug, that only leaves Saving the Doctor by Some Feat of Epic Sacrifice – and that only affects me if I care two hoots about the character (most likely female) who will end up doing it. I don’t even like the Doctor any more. Of course, that may be the point. He may turn out to be Not the Real Doctor, or a Mad Doctor, or Some Doctor That Really Never Existed, but either way, I dislike him intensely at the moment.

I disliked Ten quite a lot of the time, but you could always trace back the narrative arc that had screwed him up, whereas Eleven’s unpleasantness (increasingly manifesting itself as sexism/flirtatiousness) just comes out of left field. Right now I think Sarah Jane would do a better job of saving the universe than he would, and with a lot more moral authority. And if they ever brought Romana back, I’d be in heaven.

What about the nice Victorian lesbian couple? Well, I think ed_rex called it on that one. We all like the idea of them, because we want to be liberal, but even cross-species gay Victorian relationships aren’t actually all that interesting unless the characters are. And these aren’t, not really.

Sadly, DW seems to be turning into a bit of a black hole that sucks up our best and brightest writers. Right now Gaiman is suffering something of a backlash because his Cyberman episode wasn’t as mind-blowingly fantastic as The Doctor’s Wife. But I think we have to remember that most of these episodes are so screwed over, truncated and rewritten by the time we see them that they are barely recognisable. Would Neil Gaiman really have described a female companion as “an enigma in a skirt that’s just a little too short?” As he’s pointed out, DW doesn’t pay well (you don’t even get paid for rewrites to your own episode, in fact, if The Writer’s Tale is anything to go by, you’re lucky if you get to do your own rewrites) and if we bitch too much about celebrity guest writers they might well clear off and do something more rewarding.

As for the notorious early US DVD release – well, if I was really, deeply cynical I would point out that it’s been the most fantastic publicity for the BBC. And that, dare I say it, spoiler-phobia is totally out of control in DW fandom. There, I’ve said it. Unpopular opinion #1. I admit, it’s annoying if you get spoiled for a big episode. But that’s what it is – annoying. Not tragic, not the end of the world as we know it, not even devastating to be honest. To remain spoiler-free will do nothing to end world hunger or stop the Taliban blowing things up. Let’s have some sense of proportion about these things. Personally, I find it patronising and offensive to be offered a free video tidbit if I don’t blab. I’m not in the Upper IV at Malory Towers.

You know what really is heartbreaking, Mr Moffatt? Not DW spoilers. It’s heartbreaking when your son gets mumps the weak of his Finals, and they can’t invigilate him, so he can’t graduate, and he might not be able to do his MA. That’s what we’re dealing with right now, and it kind of puts everything into perspective.

But having said that, I wouldn’t spoil you, even if I could. Enjoy the show.

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6 thoughts on “The Name of The Doctor? Don’t know, don’t really care

  1. According to “The Armageddon Factor” the Doctor’s name is Theta Sigma, his nickname being “Theet,.” Maybe that’s why the Doctor doesn’t want his name revealed, as it would bring back bad memories of fellow classmates shouting out, “Here comes Stinky Theet.”

  2. What about the nice Victorian lesbian couple. Well, I think ed_rex called it on that one. We all like the idea of them, because we want to be liberal, but even cross-species gay Victorian relationships aren’t actually all that interesting unless the characters are. And these aren’t, not really.

    I’m going to just say EXACTLY, here, and not drone on about things I’ve already said many times before this.

    I avoid spoilers, as you know. But having now seen the finale trailer, I can say I was left feeling much the same as you. Meh! I don’t particularly care about Moff’s finales, because they are generally sideshows and follow his pattern of writing so well that they rarely surprise. I don’t think we should know the name of the Doctor. I don’t think we WILL know either. Though River will either learn it or learn something about it that she can share with Ten. And then, it is goodbye River Song, I think.

    I did loath the whole heavy-handed reference to royalty, heavy lies the head and so forth, in the last episode, because it seemed woefully like foreshadowing to me. Though other than that…and the childishly neat ending…I quite enjoyed the last episode. I will have thoughts up on it soon at LJ.

    I will say Gaiman delighted me and confirmed that he should absolutely NOT be the showrunner, because his authorial schtick is too obvious and is better used as seasoning on a series. He has that in common with Moff. What Doctor Who needs now is someone with a good head on their shoulders to straighten out Moff’s messes. Someone, as you note, that can do solid character development.

    As for his skirt comment. I think that was supposed to be another Grandfather reference, rather than something sexual. I think Matt just didn’t quite convince with his “What the Hell?” face. But, I do believe that the line was supposed to reflect that the Doctor loved short skirts on girls and so was surprised to hear himself complaining about them…like someone’s grandfather. It fails because of the current Tweenage mentality of the show that has led us to a point where we think the Doctor might like short skirts on girls at all. I did notice that Gaiman in the flirtation scene with Clara and the CyberPlanner did attempt to redefine the Doctor/Companion relationship without sexual attraction, which was refreshing for me.

  3. The Doctor didn’t say Clara’s skirt was short, he says, she is “a mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little too tight.” Athough, looking at her, it’s clear that her skirt isn’t tight at all.

  4. “The Name of the Doctor” is quite possibly the worst season ender I have ever seen. Are the BBC now going re-issue all the Doctor Who DVDs again, but this time with Richard E. Grant and Jenna-Louise Coleman badly pasted into the picture?

    So, in the very first story, where the Doctor and Ian Chesterton make fire for the cavemen, suddenly the Great Intelligence runs up and throws a bucket of water over it, followed by Clara coming over and handing them a box of matches. “What the hell happened there?” says Ian. “Lucky you have those matches Chersterfield,” but Ian shakes his head. “They’re not mine, Doctor. That girl gave them to me,” “What girl?” says the Doctor, because the eleventh Doctor is the only one who can see her, except of course, when the first Doctor saw her on Gallifrey.

    And then Clara and the Great Intelligence would appear every subsequent story, and Ian, Barbara and Susan would constantly say to the Doctor, “Who are these people?” and the Doctor would continually deny that Clara was there at all, and this goes on into the second Doctor era, and although the Doctor has now had several companions, and although all of them go on to the Doctor about “The mysterious man and woman who keep cropping up from nowhere,” the Doctor still says he can only see the man.

    Finally, during the Doctor’s third incarnation, the Master has a quiet word, and one day the Doctor actually glimpses Clara in the rear view mirror of his car, but he drives on anyway, deciding, inexplicably, to ignore her. Two regenerations later, the fifth Doctor meets the Black Guardian. “I suppose you want to take your revenge on me for all the good I’ve done in the universe?” the Black Guardian looks confused, “The good you’ve done? You’ve done sod all mate. It’s the woman who keeps following you around that’s righted all the wrongs. If things were left up to you and that other bloke, the universe would be in a state of perpetual chaos. No, it’s Clara Oswald who is the true hero of your adventures.”

    The Doctor enters deep denial, and after Clara saves Peri’s life in “The Caves of Androzani,” he regenerates again, puts on loads of weight and starts shouting at everyone.

    “Who’s that strange woman?” asks Ace, “Bla, bla, bla. Can’t hear you,” says the seventh Doctor, “I am the grand manipulator. I’ve met Omega and Rassilon,” Clara sadly shakes her head. “He hasn’t, you know. He’s just trying to impress you.” “When I stole a Tardis and left Gallifrey, I took with me a stellar manipulator called The Hand of Omega. It was so heavy, it took both Susan and I to lift it.” Agan,Clara sadly sakes her head.

    London, 1940, and the eleventh Doctor confronts his mortal foes.” You are my enemy! And I am yours. You are everything I despise. The worst thing in all creation. I’ve defeated you time and time again. I’ve defeated you. I sent you back into the Void. I saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor. And you are the Daleks.” The Dalek looks momentarily confused, “Our mortal enemy is Clara Owald. You can’t even beat the Great Intelligence, and he only has a IQ of sixty. Clara is our greatest enemy. You are just some pathetic hanger on.”

    1842. The Doctor meets a strangly familiar woman.

    DOCTOR: What’s your name?
    CLARA: Clara.
    DOCTOR: Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgh!

    1. Well, it’s a bit confused. The eleventh Doctor say the John Hurt version doesn’t call himself the Doctor, but then we have a huge caption that says, “Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor.” The rumour mill has it that Christopher Eccleston was meant to play the part, but he wouldn’t come back to the role. An obvious replacement would then have been Paul McGann, which would have pleased the fans enormously, but in the muddle headed way the DW production team seems to think nowerdays, they probably thought JH was a bigger draw.

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