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 Post subject: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:44 am 
Orc
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I LOVE this episode! I was hoping for the return of Romana, but that didn't happen. When I read that Idris MIGHT be a manifestation of the TARDIS, I groaned "Oh, no!" That had already been done in IDW's Doctor Who comic book and I didn't like it there. Still, if ANYONE can pull it off, it's Neil Gaiman.

I've enjoyed everything that Gaiman has written. Coreline? Brilliant! American Gods? Also brilliant! Sandman? Most brilliant of all! Still, the premise left me cold and I was afraid it could have wallowed in its own story to the point of being total fan wank. (Fan wank can be good, but it often doesn't translate well to the screen. Maybe fans can handle it better than the professionals?)

Gaiman didn't disappoint me. After last week's weak pirate story (note to Doctor Who staff: There was talk, at times, of making the second Doctor and even Matt Smith's Doctor into a pirate before filming started. Do NOT go there!), we all needed a shot in the arm. This episode delivered the most rousing single-episode story since "Blink".

Gaiman has always amazed me as a writer. Whatever form he writes in, he masters it quickly. Probably the longest he stumbled was learning to write comic books and even that took less than a year. Some writers have said that writing comic books is the hardest thing they've ever tried to do, yet he got the hang of it faster than anyone I've ever seen. Even Frank Miller took longer to master the form.

Idris wasn't Romana, she wasn't even really a Time Lord, but she still managed to make us all feel she was a part of the Doctor's life. Looking back, we can understand her words and actions as she went from being a mechanical being to a flesh and blood person who wasn't really used to talking and interacting with the Doctor like a human. Her ending was sad and heartbreaking, yet she's still there, if no longer able to communicate with him.

I loved seeing the 9th & 10th Doctors' console room and wish we could have seen more, but I guess the budget wouldn't allow it. In fact, if there's any complaint I have about this season of the show, it's that the budget is showing its strain. More money probably went to this episode than most others, but even here, the lack of TARDIS rooms shows that they were cutting corners to use the CGI stuff at the end.

An interesting side note, from the "Dcotor Who Confidential" episode that followed, is that Karen and Arthur said that in order to get to their console room, every day they have to walk through the old console room set. I doubt that the old set was kept specifically for this episode, so why are they keeping it around? Plans for the 50th anniversary?

The ending is breathtaking, in the way that RTD's better episodes are, without being overly melodramatic. It still touches the heart, but you're far less aware of it. Idris served her function well and the TARDIS and the Doctor got to communicate in a way they never had before.

Anyway, a great episode, but I'd expect no less from Mr. Gaiman.


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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:45 pm 
Minotaur
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Agreed. I enjoyed this one very much. But, are they going to nearly kill or seem to kill Rory in every episode, do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 12:43 pm 
Techgnome
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ericinwisconsin wrote:
I LOVE this episode! I was hoping for the return of Romana, but that didn't happen.

When I first saw the name of the episode in the TV guide, I rolled my eyes and was seriously considering flicking the channel. I was expecting another "huggy & kissy" and painfully forced RTD style episode (Apologies, but I generally loathe RTD episodes), which would put me on the verge of throwing up (when CSI:NY is considered a serious alternative for the evening viewing, things are bad). But then I noticed the writer was N. Gaiman. I have always been a collector of Mr Gaiman's works, so I thought I would give it a chance. And I am extremely glad I did....

There was that awful book (Genesis cell?) in the Dr Who canon which attempted to personify the TARDIS, but this episode is vastly superior to that dross. And I especially liked Mr Gaimans recitation of the 'original script extracts' afterwards in the confidential component.

So far I consider this one the best of the 11th Doc series series (Sorry, I hate 'magic space baby' or 'Reset Button' plots). Though I does seem somewhat they don't know what to do with Rory - they've killed him off once, and are now at a loss what to do with him (like the the Nyssa/Tegan/Adric syndrome of the 80's).

Especially interesting was the TARDIS considered 'she' stole the Doctor by being conviently 'unlocked' at the beginning of it all and wanting to see the universe, as opposed to the other way around. They line of "I always took you where you were _needed_, not where you _wanted_' also explains a great deal.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 6:14 pm 
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While I enjoyed the episode for the most part, the concept was very cool, it helped me to start to figure out what it is I don't like about the new episodes.
I like the companions, I LOVE the Doctor, but....


I don't like the way women are written in the new series. Maybe I'm in no position to complain about such things, being a white western male, but I'm irked by how all the characters fit into one of two catagories based on whether they have boobs or not.

All the female characters are aggressive, sexual/romantic predators.

All the males are easily confused, weak buffoons who are useless when it comes to interpersonal relations of any kind.

The only exception to this I've seen so far was the Doctor Who version of Captain Jack Harkness, who was an extreme version of the female persona in a male body. Which smacks of RTD Mary Sue.

I find that whole theme an uncomfortable annoyance riding on the back of an otherwise enjoyable show. There, I said it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:11 pm 
Costello
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Amen!

What kind of bugged me about this particular episode was that it didn't seem to "go back" far enough. I would liked to have gotten some reference to the Doctor's earlier issues with the Tardis, such as when he was stranded on Earth for most of incarnation Three, and kept trying to get the Tardis working. It also felt kind of "off" when they decided that the Tardis' name was "Sexy," as I couldn't see One or Four or any of the other Old-School Doctors referring to her that way. But I couldn't immediately call to mind anything else they'd have called her, other than "Old Girl" (which, I will admit, lacks a certain something). (Yes, I get that, technically speaking, after The Big Bang, that all of the old school may or may not actually have happened, but I'm finding the disconnect increasingly jarring.)

I was also a little saddened by the idea that, once upon a time, there had been an entire cadre of traveling adventuresome Time Lords. And that all of them had been condemned to slow deaths atop a junk-strewn exo-universal rock with a vicious attitude and half the sense that Dog gave to cabbages.

Is it just me, or do the Time Lords become less and less relevant pretty much every time we see them? At this rate, we'll be wondering how they ever managed to learn to chew gum and walk simultaneously, let alone master the physics of space and time travel.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:28 pm 
Minotaur
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But that's the thing: House eats the one thing that makes these Time Lord adventurers powerful and leaves them as vulnerable no-hopes in the dark doomed to become patchwork. The time lords aren't always omnipotent super gods: Look at Deadly Assassin, it's like the Gallifrey bingo hall!
Brilliant episode that was cursed with a 45 minute slot; hearing Gaiman's other ideas certainly sounded like it should have had more room to fly. But it'll nonetheless go down a classic in a series, based on The Rebel Flesh, that's really beginning to shape up. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:43 pm 
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The TARDIS Traveller wrote:
But that's the thing: House eats the one thing that makes these Time Lord adventurers powerful and leaves them as vulnerable no-hopes in the dark doomed to become patchwork.

That's my whole point. If the only things that differentiate a Time Lord from a human are two hearts, multiple lives and time machines, what good are they, really? Okay, so they have some serious natural longevity. But if they can't manage to deal with the occasional hyperactive hunk of space rock, they can't be all that.

I'm okay with time Lords being vulnerable. But the line between vulnerable enough to be identified with and so vulnerable you wonder where their reputations come from is easy to cross. As the Doctor goes from being a run-of-the-mill specimen of his species to a stand-out world-beater, the Time Lords themselves become less credible. This is mainly a function of us, as the audience. Since the stories are written in a way that allows us to fear for the Doctor when called for, he doesn't seem all that superior to us. But when he handily outmaneuvers and kills an entity that has destroyed "hundreds of Time Lords" you find yourself wondering if these guys are all they're cracked up to be.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 5:20 am 
Techgnome
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Lyger wrote:
I'm okay with time Lords being vulnerable. But the line between vulnerable enough to be identified with and so vulnerable you wonder where their reputations come from is easy to cross.

Well to be fair - before the new series the Time Lords _weren't_ generally portrayed or described as "Shoot lazers from their eyes and crap lightning bolts" demigods.

From the third Doctor onwards they started coming across as a decaying group - powerful yes, but so full of themselves they couldn't comprehend something beating them (see Invasion of Time and Arc of Infinity for examples). They also appeared to sit back on Gallifrey and congratulate themselves how super they were, with only a few 'going' renegade (such as Borusa's Rogues) and going off and learning how dangerous things were 'out there'.

Quote:
Since the stories are written in a way that allows us to fear for the Doctor when called for, he doesn't seem all that superior to us.

I suspect mainly because they have kept telling us how much of a badass he is without actually portraying anything like it. "Great your so awesome and scary because you shout a bit, act rude and threaten about something we've never heard off which wasn't that impressive or successfull anyway....uh huh. I'm quivering in fear". Even the Master - a supposed powerful and ruthless timelord is more in line with a 60's Bat 'Villian' than someone to be afraid of.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:02 am 
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I agree completely with that last post - the Time Lords were never as all powerful as they liked to think of themselves, but they were arrogant as if they had created the universe for themselves and just allowed other beings to exist.

The Doctor has a lot of that attribute himself, more now than before the Time War, when he was the first to put them down for that attitude. Possibly as he feels he has to make up for them. <g>

But anyone who remembers before they were killed off, that it really didn't make a lot of difference in the universe, or the story. They were a staid, do nothing lot that only acted up once in a while to haul the Doctor home and tell him how much his behavior embarrassed the rest of the planet. That was pretty much their function, to have somebody who could yell at the Doctor like the naughty school child he was, and could seize control of his ship if they got serious about it.

The rest of the universe wasn't half as impressed with them as they were with themselves, and when attacked, they were typically not that hard to defeat, being unable to admit their tech wasn't the most superior in the universe, and therefore no serious interest in improving things. It was their ego that was unstoppable.

Time War changed all that apparently. Not a bad story, but I admit, I liked it when they were shown to be 75% ego and staid tradition, with 25% time tech to back them up.

The ep with Idris kind of brought back those days for a minute, a bunch of lost timelords easily lured in and beaten, Idris's longing to escape staid old Gallifrey and the twist of her stealing the Doctor, the only one she found willing to go exploring with her in that stiff necked lot <g> was the sort of fun I loved to see explored.

I remember reading an 8th Doctor novel where his tardis had become a woman - she was a strange robotic like thing who moved stiffly thru various emotions, logically finding no use in them, and wondering why she felt compelled to try to save folks she couldn't save. Idris was a wonderful relief from that, emotions she understood, she clearly always had them, and if she didn't understand her body, she certainly threw herself into every aspect of it to enjoy her less than an hour of life with it as much as she could.

The bit with Rory and Amy was pretty good - so many fans seemed to be wondering if Amy really appreciated what Rory has gone thru for her - seeing his love turned into an obsessive hate in that little vignette was good answer for that question, showing her fears of not being able to match her love and deeds to his, that her failure would someday cause him to realize she wasn't worth all he's sacrificed - a good scary way to tackle those questions.

On the other hand, when Idris rejoined the ship, I didn't feel sad at all. It seemed to me that she wasn't dying, or losing herself, just shifting back to her old form -one that was always intelligent and alive - and the only thing that changed was the talking. And I'm not sure that the talking is entirely done for good. I mean, she's always managed to ring that cloister bell, whose to say she wont find a way to talk with him again? Not all the time, as that would reduce her a bit, so many scifi stories have a woman hologram talk for the ship, and what would that do his future life with River if his ship and partner chose to view her as competition? But sometimes, on special occasions, I can see her coming back, holographically, or a disembodied voice.

(I'd have picked the 13th Doctor's death as the sort of occasion for it - and in the back of my mind I could see a great story where she saves her thief and finds him a new body, so that she wont be alone without him. Of course the dreadful hint that they are completely skipping the long awaited story of the 13th Doctor put a kabash on that.) They did say for certain that a Timelord can switch sex on regeneration, tho, which is the first time that was ever more than fanwank and idle chatter.

The characters in the House were fun and comical - evil without really being maniacal about it, they just accepted their function was to be evil, and well, what can you do? The niece's? death in the beginning was in much the same manner, she was the only one who voiced how scared she was, and everyone agreed calmly she should be, "I should say so."<g>, but neither she nor they seemed inclined to fight it.

The uncle was even calmer about his own death "I'm against it, but " *shrug* "well ..." It was sort of like a visit to the comical villains of Les Mis, the acceptance that their role was to be bad, and rebelling against your god-given (House-given, in this case) role, is sheer irresponsible nonsense.


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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 1:34 pm 
Costello
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Well, the Time Lords, as a species, have never really been characters within the universe. They've been a character, and that character seems more and more pointless as time has gone on. In a lot of ways, the Time Lords are on a par with the Silurians, or one of the other randomly recurring alien species that make for good occasional plot devices, but you never saw them again, it wouldn't make much difference.

Their main role seems to be foil for the Doctor. If the Doctor is X, then the Time Lords are "opposite of X." Which is okay, I guess. But when X = marginally more intelligent than the average bear, the Time Lords seem pretty lame.

So it would have been nice to see another Time Lord as a character unto themselves, rather than just as either a member of the collective, or as the Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:12 pm 
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Well if RTD hadn't knocked them off, I'm sure you would have before now.

There are plenty of old eps with Romana 1 & II, and a few old pals here and there. Lots of the timelord characters in Rich's Ten Doctors came from both sides of the moral fence.

Time Lords being a resilient lot, I'm sure some day we'll run into another one. As it is, besides the lot on Gallifrey with Rasilon(sp?) and the Woman being the bad and good, we've had the Master who is always the Doctor's Moriarty, we've had Jenny, who is on the side of good and a pretty good adventurer, unlearned but willing to get started on her own, and now the mystery time lord child. Surely that's enough to hold us for now, for a race that was wiped out just five seasons ago.


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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:37 pm 
Orc
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Good points, M'reen.

Those of us into comic books like to point out that it seems the only people who died when Krypton exploded were Jor-El and Lara, Superman's parents. Everyone else seems to pop up with alarming regularity.


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 Post subject: Re: The Doctor's Wife (SPOILERS)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:23 pm 
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ericinwisconsin wrote:
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An interesting side note, from the "Dcotor Who Confidential" episode that followed, is that Karen and Arthur said that in order to get to their console room, every day they have to walk through the old console room set. I doubt that the old set was kept specifically for this episode, so why are they keeping it around? Plans for the 50th anniversary?


I can answer this. The Doctor's Wife was origionally intended to feature at the end of season 5, but due to budget issues was moved to season 6 and replaced with The Lodger. So the old set was kept specifically for this episode, although I would bet on it returning for the 50th anniversary as well.

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