caz963: (Eleven ACC)
[personal profile] caz963
Well, I confess I wasn't expecting much, so I wasn't all that disappointed.

Oh, who am I kidding - I was disappointed anyway :(



DWW was a bit like a big candy-floss, wasn't it? All frothy and sugary but with no nutritional value whatsoever! Now, I know that froth and sugar and empty calories are the stuff from which Christmas is made, and I'm sure there will be plenty of people out there arguing that it was exactly the sort of thing the family should be sitting down to watch on Christmas Day, lots of feelgood factor, fun and frolics - especially to contrast with the misery and depression that is sure to follow at 8pm when Eastenders starts. (Which is, incidentally, when the TV goes off in my house.)

So yes, on the one hand - it was whimsical and light and fluffy and even as I was biting my tongue to stop myself saying - "This is Moffat's Who - of COURSE the Dad's not going to die!" , I was reminding myself that it's Christmas and of course, it was completely right that he didn't. But still. I'm getting fed up with SM's MO of "oh, no - they're going to die!" because we all know by now that it's not gonna happen. Not that I wanted a high bodycount or anything like that - I'd just like some dramatic tension back.

As I was watching, I was reminded of how, way back at the start of S5 - or more precisely, in the second episode The Beast Below - for the first time, I looked at my watch during an episode of DW and wondered "when will this end?" Not because I did the same thing here. No, during DWW, I looked at my watch and wondered - "how is it seven-thirty and nothing's really happened yet?" Because that's how it felt. Hence the candy-floss analogy. And I should perhaps, state here that I don't like candy-floss; it's far too sweet and sticky for my taste.

On the plus side, it was a straightforward story with none of the timey-wimeness of S6, or even of last year's Christmas episode; Matt Smith was as engaging as ever, Claire Skinner and the kids were good and the moving trees were effectively realised. Oh, and bonus points for Androzani and the Jabe reference!

On the negative - what a waste of the talents of Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Alexander Armstrong. I know that DW is one of those shows that everyone wants to be in, but these were cameos, not guest appearances. Each of them is a very talented individual, but really, those parts could have been played by anybody. The walking trees as the baddies didn't really work for me either. I have no problem with the idea that the baddies aren't really bad, but are just trying to save their species - I just think that for a one-off, special episode, something with a bit more... "oomph!" is required. And what on earth was all that stuff at the beginning about? Was it to mislead us, to make us think that we were going to get an exciting adventure with explosions and running aboard a space ship (oh - another point for the Star Wars ref.)? Or was it - "hey, look everyone! It's Doctor Who! No - really, it is! Honest! Look, we're doing explosions and stuff!"

And really - the Doctor falling through space without a spacesuit? I didn't mind River and her "air-corridor", but this? I'm not a devotee of hard sci-fi; I don't sit there and point outthat there can be no sound in a vacuum and stuff like that, but that really bugs me. I know DW isn't about hard science; I know it makes things up and it's a fantasy and all of that. But I found that sequence to be just about the silliest thing I've seen on DW (I know, I know!) for several years.

The best bit was, of course, the fact that Amy and Rory "always" set a place for the Doctor at their Christmas table, and his humany-woomamy "happy crying" at the end. Anyone who says that Steven Moffat isn't as emotionally manipulative as RTD can stick that in their pipe and smoke it.

Has it been officially announced that DW is being moved to the Autumn from next year? I take it that the absence of any trailer for S7 confirms that, I'm just wondering if I missed the announcement.

Date: 2011-12-28 12:30 am (UTC)
kilodalton: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kilodalton
Anyone who says that Steven Moffat isn't as emotionally manipulative as RTD can stick that in their pipe and smoke it.

Oh, I say that all the time and I stand by it. RTD would invite you in to get to know the characters, and then would slowly twist your heart around and break it, very Whedonesque in that way. Moffat simply tells without showing. We are told "happy crying is human - and oh btw, Eleven likes the Ponds". In the RTD era, stuff like that was rarely in the dialogue proper - it was infused in the dialogue's subtext. Moffat doesn't (can't?) write that way, so it comes off very flat and emotionless, like a mime.

Look back on the ensemble casts we saw during the RTD years - Midnight, Waters of Mars, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. Each member of that ensemble had a unique personality, one that you could connect to. It's what makes them memorable even when you haven't seen the episodes in months or years. Moffat tries to ape this, but his tell-don't-show tactic is what leaves the emotion (and memorability) coming off very flat.
Edited Date: 2011-12-28 12:31 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-28 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nostalgia-lj.livejournal.com
*tilts head*

Date: 2011-12-28 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nostalgia-lj.livejournal.com
Actually, I think they've both got some show/tell problems. I think I'm just used to it now, really. And then it's perspective, because I've seen people complain about the Midnight characters being flat and I didn't think they were. I though Midnight was great, it was Rusty playing to his strengths and doing that thing where he goes "See, I can do plot when I want to!" which was quite amusing in a way.

Date: 2011-12-28 01:17 am (UTC)
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
From: [personal profile] annissamazing
I actually felt like in this episode he finally got the emotion right. The plot was kind of crappy, I hated the lack of any knowledge of physics in the writing, and I was annoyed at the lip service he gave to "strong" female characters (saying women are strong because they give birth is missing the point of an actually strong female character), but I did get a bit choked up at the end. It was definitely more bad than good, but I can forgive a lot if I actually care by the end.

Date: 2011-12-28 01:23 am (UTC)
kilodalton: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kilodalton
I can forgive a lot if I actually care by the end

So can I - problem is, I didn't care =/

Date: 2011-12-28 03:02 am (UTC)
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
From: [personal profile] annissamazing
That's fair. When I felt my breath hitch there at the end of the show, I mentally yelled at myself for letting Moffat get to me. ;) Like caz said, he's being emotionally manipulative, and as topaz_eyes pointed out, he was being really obvious about it, and yeah, that's annoying.

So, yeah, he got to me. But then he had the Doctor say "humany-woomany" and lost me again.

Date: 2011-12-28 01:05 pm (UTC)
hooloovoo_42: (Doctor sulk)
From: [personal profile] hooloovoo_42
But then he had the Doctor say "humany-woomany" and lost me again.

See, this is why I gave up on DW. "Timey-wimey" worked. "humany-woomany" is just the biggest load of garbage going.

I'm so not interested it's not true. Moffat whines about people giving away spoilers, but then writes such drivel that it's hardly worth the effort of spoiling it. I knew from reading the description that it would be sugary Christmas tosh and I've yet to see anything that has said it was otherwise.

Date: 2011-12-28 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
*nods* IA with all of it, and yes, the bit about the mother being strong because she gives birth made me wince, too.

I didn't mind the ending at all - it was the best of a generally lacklustre episode.

Date: 2011-12-28 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nostalgia-lj.livejournal.com
The best bit was, of course, the fact that Amy and Rory "always" set a place for the Doctor at their Christmas table,

I was like "awwww" and it made the whole thing worthwhile. I mean it's probably a bit rubbish how many Who episodes are redeemed only by a great ending, but they're really really really good endings.

I think my record for watch-watching was Curse of the Black Spot, which went on FOREVER. I bet it's still going on, somewhere.

Date: 2011-12-28 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
I wouldn't go so far as to say it made the whole thing worthwhile, but it did help me to forget some of my frustrations for a few minutes after it ended. One of those frustrations is frequently the fact that SM is a good writer, but that it doesn't always seem that way these days. Perhaps running the show as well isn't allowing him enough time to concentrate on the writing or something. IDK.

Date: 2011-12-28 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topaz-eyes.livejournal.com
DWW was a bit like a big candy-floss, wasn't it?

Not gonna lie, I think the fudge we made for Christmas dinner had less sugar. My teeth hurt. From the show, not the fudge.

humany-woomamy

This totally needs to be enshrined as a phrase.

Anyone who says that Steven Moffat isn't as emotionally manipulative as RTD can stick that in their pipe and smoke it.

I don't mind being manipulated emotionally as long as it doesn't feel like I'm being manipulated. And that IMHO is Moffat's great failing. And yep, a lot of that has to do with his penchant of telling us what we're supposed to feel, not showing it. The end with Amy and Rory always having a place set for the Doctor worked perfectly for me, because the groundwork was laid in the last 2 seasons. (Actually I'd be annoyed if they hadn't said that. It was something I'd expect from them.) The rest of DWW--I felt like I was being whacked on the head with all the "You MUST feel this!" and "You MUST feel that!" going on. I was wondering, am I really this heartless? Then I remembered I watched A Christmas Carol, the Alistair Sim version, on Christmas Eve, and that always gets me, so...

Oh well. My own expectations are no longer great for this show, so it doesn't matter.

Date: 2011-12-28 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
Oh, I have no problem with the emotional manipulation. It was well done and for once, it made sense given what's happened with these characters over the last couple of years. It didn't feel tacked on or forced at all, which is to SM's credit.

But two minutes at the end doth not a good Christmas special make, sadly :(

Date: 2011-12-28 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sue-denimme.livejournal.com
I'm with [livejournal.com profile] topaz_eyes: I don't mind a bit of emotional manipulation. Or even a lot of it.

In fact, IMO, that's what stories are *for*.

But I'm not going to care just because some writer told me to. They have to lay the groundwork first.

Moffat wrote some lovely stuff for RTD's Who, but as showrunner... I get that he wants the Doctor to be this fairy-tale wizard-mentor type of character who you never really know. That's cool, I guess. But I miss RTD's way of bringing the Doctor down to earth (so to speak) and making him a *person*.

I watched this special, and all I could feel was "meh".

Time for another RTD Who-thon, I think.

Date: 2011-12-28 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
In fact, IMO, that's what stories are *for*.

Oh yes, I wasn't actually criticising SM for it - I was rather poking with a stick at those who praise his lack of over-blown emotion and/or sentimentality.

Date: 2011-12-28 12:30 pm (UTC)
develish1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] develish1
I couldn't even come up with enough of a reaction to write a reaction post, so I guess that tells you a lot about what I thought of it.

I think "meh" pretty much covers it.

although I did have a major WTF? moment when a plane through through to vortex, coz yeah, a plane can totally do that, right?

Date: 2011-12-28 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
Oh, God yes - the sphere AND the plane flying through the vortex!! Mind you, as SM is the man who gave someone else the ability to regenerate (even though he took it away again), clearly he's not as enamoured of the Doctor's "special abilities" as some of us are.

Date: 2011-12-28 07:08 pm (UTC)
develish1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] develish1
oh, please don't get me started on how you only need to be conceived on the TARDIS to end up part Time Lord! lol

Date: 2011-12-28 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] canterlevi.livejournal.com
On a completely empty-headed immature note can I say I tee-hee'd at the "Every rose has its thorns" line even though in this case a rose was just a rose?

(Edited for spelling error.)
Edited Date: 2011-12-28 04:37 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-28 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
Yeah, I noticed that. But I didn't like the spaceman line :(

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