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12 October 2008 @ 11:43 am
Doctor Who 1x09 "The Empty Child" rewatch-review  
As I've stated elsewhere, once I finished season two of New Who, I was going to rewatch and review what I call my "Her Name was Rose" collection (click here for the full list of episodes). I've done the first eight episodes of series one; here comes number nine (as with all two/three-parters, I'm still only doing these one episode at a time).

"The Empty Child." Sigh. If you've been following these rewatch-reviews, you know that I *try* to do them every weekend barring a real-life happenstance taking precedence. You also will know that it's been about a month (shy of two days) since I wrote the last one for "Father's Day." My lack of write-up for TEC prior to this has had nothing to do with real life and more about my dislike of Steven Moffat. I had hoped that I might find that my earlier regard for this episode would still be in place with the passage of time and that fact that there hasn't been any new Moffat-headache-inducing information coming forth. Alas, that is not the case. In fact, I actually found much less to like about this episode than I had expected.

Ironically enough though, one of my issues had nothing to with one I see bandied about quite a bit from others when discussing "The Empty Child." That would be the Doctor explaining the psychic paper to Rose. It's placement was necessary because of the use in the Rose and Jack scene for non-regular and/or die-hard viewers, and the way it was introduced I didn't find insulting to either the Doctor (mostly) or Rose as has been cited. Yes, the Doctor had explained what the psychic paper was to Rose, but that was about two months ago if you were to go just by the weekly episodes. Of course, if you were to take into account that there is likely more time than a week between episodes with adventures we just aren't witness to, it's been longer since we (or Rose on-screen) have seen it. Therefore, it did make sense that the Doctor would automatically begin to explain it, and we DID get Rose cutting him off to finish the explanation showing that she did remember. So that I didn't have an issue with terribly.

What I did have a HUGE issue with is that what I saw throughout this episode was *NOT* Rose Tyler or the Rose/Doctor relationship as has been presented from moment one of the new Who. Let's talk about Rose first: She is NOT some twittering, fluttering, airhead so swept away by a handsome man that she doesn't even hear a word he's saying because he's so dreamy! Give me a break! Nor would she be so forward and in your face with her flirting ... especially with what happened last week between her and the Doctor. (Oh, but I'm sure that Moffat didn't bother reading the episode before this. After all, in "Father's Day," Rose distinctly, specifically said she did NOT have a boyfriend. Period. Therefore, she wouldn't consider Mickey her sort-of-boyfriend a week later. But, of course, Moffat obviously (per usual) didn't care about character continuity. What's the point of that? *roll eyes*) That just was NOT Rose. Rose is more together; Rose is smart and flirty, yes, but in a casual, sweetly innocent way. The flirtiness here was too calculated, too ooh la la. That's not Rose.

Especially a Rose who is building the relationship that she has with the Doctor. A relationship that was written so very badly and so very much off in this episode I was cringing. She was so dismissive, and practically contemptuous of the Doctor. Rose complaining because the Doctor isn't "Spock" enough?! Rose TYLER!?!? What the hell? Seriously. What. the. hell?!?! And even putting aside the fact that Rose would never treat traveling with the Doctor and all that he's shown her with any thing less than joy and wonder, and she would never treat the Doctor with anything less than respect (even if it's tempered with jokes and taking the piss out of him at times), let's look at the inherent stupidity in ignoring all that has come in previous episodes. Namely, Rose being all "Finally!" when Jack used his gadget to find information, something the Doctor does, oh, I don't know, EVERY FLIPPING EPISODE more than once. And back to Rose not being Rose at all. Rose saying "Finally!" in a petulant, dismissive fashion ... about the Doctor. WHAT!?!? Not Rose. Not the way Rose sees, treats the Doctor. EVER.

So, I now have a new reason to dislike Moffat and his take on Who. He made Billie Piper practically unwatchable for me because he wrote Rose so terribly, terribly out of character. (Of course, it must be said that Piper was still wonderful at playing this non-Rose-character because, you know, she's Billie Piper.) And honestly? He didn't do much better by the Doctor. I think that the Doctor escaped almost unscathed for a few reasons. The primary one being because Christopher Eccleston was playing the role. He's not only an amazingly gifted actor who has admitted that he plays the Doctor more instinctively than any role he's ever done, but he's also an actor who stands his ground on what he believes is best for the character. Therefore, he kept the Doctor as much the Doctor as he could even with some dialogue and actions somewhat out of character as written by Moffat. (Assuming Rose wouldn't remember the psychic paper, not making finding Rose his number one priority, not showing an ounce of joy, relief, etc. at seeing Rose alive and well, and then not showing an ounce of annoyance, jealousy, etc. that she was with another pretty boy.)

Also, I think the fact that Moffat's "gotcha" story relied on Nancy looking so young, therefore he wasn't able to sex up the relationship between the Doctor and Nancy. Had she not been required (via the plot) to look like a young teenager, but instead a young woman, I'm sure that we would have seen the Doctor flirting openly, crushing on her, etc. and completely forgetting Rose's existence. Thank goodness for small favors. Or not. Instead, Moffat saved that aspect of his stellar writing for Rose ... and gifted her with the number one out of character prize.

As for the other characters, Jack wasn't as annoying as I remembered actually. I think I'd built it up in my head how much I disliked the character, his flirting with Rose, his smarminess, my general lack of John Barrowman-affection to that degree that I expected to positively despise him upon seeing his introduction. Instead, he came off rather well in retrospect. Playing Rose, playing the situation, he was a conman, but Barrowman did a good job in playing the moments that laid the foundation of a Jack who doesn't really want to be a conman and can be a hero. (Namely in the scene where he breaks almost immediately and explains his con upon seeing the victims in the hospital.)

Finally, Nancy as played by Florence Hoath, was a great character. I will give Moffat that. He does create great characters generally; unfortunately, he just also generally rewrites existing characters to suit his own vision. Also, I'm sure the character was aided by not only Hoath's performance, but by that same script necessity which saved us from enduring the Doctor fancying her: Nancy had to come across as a teenager, and not a young woman, therefore, Moffat was hampered by his own script in sexing her (and thus her relationship with the Doctor) up. Poor Moffat; how that must have pained him so.

Speaking of plot ... I still like the conclusion, but there were many "Gotcha!" moments here that were designed to merely jolt the viewer, as opposed to making any actual sense. The big one I'm specifically recalling is the Doctor showing up at the dinner table when the meat is being passed around. Logically, there is no way at all that the Doctor could have entered the room, sat down and no one would have noticed. Just stupid. It was merely done for the "ooh! Look!" effect. Also, the close-up of the scar on Jaime's hand and then the patients was frustrating in retrospect because it clearly was meant for the viewers to note the similarity and wonder, but not the Doctor. The Doctor?!?! There's no way the Doctor wouldn't have taken note of that, seen the patients and then automatically zero in on that. Again, stupid. (Or rather, he's not, but Moffat wrote him as such for not making the connection automatically.) I don't know, maybe I've forgotten and it's casually referred to in the second-parter which would show that he had noted it, but just in this and along with all of Moffat's other little tricks, I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Random observations and then I'm done (yes, no clips, no caps ... why bother?)

- What was the point of the Union Jack shirt? No, seriously, what was the point? For some cheap shots? Oh, wait. Moffat. Yup, cheap shots. Okay, fine. This one isn't on Moffat. Oh, the horror of being accused of having to make up a reason to dislike Moffat's writing. So, I did have to come in here and correct myself because I wouldn't want anyone to think that, in my book, Moffat doesn't offer up enough actual reasons to make me far from his biggest fan.

According to aflaminghalo: the why of the Union Jack shirt. Apparently, they were quite the popular clothing motif for a while there in Great Britain, thus they chose to combine that pop culture bit with the 1940's motif. Uhm, okay.

- Regardless of Rose's OOC behavior, Billie was still so pretty!

- The oohs! and aah! and chills and mystery that were there upon an initial viewing just aren't there in subsequent viewings, thus the attention to the characters. And we saw how well that turned out. Hmmpphf!

- ETA: (Thanks, shinyopals!) Erm, why were Nancy and Jaime both able to so quickly, quietly and effortlessly disappear? Was that part of the "mystery?" That we were supposed to wonder if they were aliens? Great for the mystery, but lousy as hell for actually making sense once the explanation comes. Pfft.

- A couple more ... I forgot my favorite part of the episode: The Doctor picking up and petting the cat. I'm a cat person and it's nice that I got a positive Doctor/cat moment to counterbalance the disparaging (understandable given his reason) kitty commentary that he later makes in "Fear Her."

- Another stupid Rose point that made me go "huh?" Why would Rose have just grabbed that rope and climbed up it? Yes, she wanted to get to the child, but a rope appears out of the air and she just climbs it? I mean, that was just stupid and Rose is not stupid. She would have found another way.

Finally, handporn! time. Prepare to be amazed. There is no handporn! Shocking! In a Moffat episode!??! Double hmpphf!

And that's all she wrote. (Damn, shortest rewatch-review ever. Thanks, Steve!)

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    Velvet Rain Dropsadriana_is on October 12th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
    How did I miss this the first time?

    You know, I never realized there was no hand holding in this episode at all. However, I never really paid attention to who wrote this episode so, now I get it. :( I have to say that at the time that I watched this, it did strike me as odd that Rose went off and did her thing and the Doctor went off and did his thing and wasn't his usual protective self.

    CE is indeed a gifted actor as is Billie. And, I did enjoy JB's introduction here and subsequent appearances in season 1.

    Arabian: Billie Piper_01arabian on October 12th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
    You didn't miss it; I just wrote it up an hour ago, LOL!

    Yup, no hand-holding, no Doctor/Rose togetherness, awesomeness, shippiness, NADA! I know we get some stuff in the second episode, which almost makes me wonder if RTD either talked to Moffat about it, or did some tinkering. (I know he couldn't touch Moffat's later scripts, but I wonder if that restriction wasn't in place here.)
    Diana: Baggage -- the Doctorbutterfly on October 12th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
    It's been a while since I've seen this set of episodes (only once since I started noticing Moffat's... Moffatness) and, wow, am I very much not enthused at the idea of watching them again (once I pick my own reviews back up). Maybe I'll just go ahead and skip them, despite the introduction of Jack (and I am glad that Jack came off better than you remembered).

    I still like the conclusion, but there were many "Gotcha!" moments here that were designed to merely jolt the viewer, as opposed to making any actual sense.

    Yeah. That's one of the things that I find so frustrating about him -- he plays to the audience for that first showing without thinking about whether or not what he's doing makes character sense (and considering that he actually doesn't write the characters that we've seen him do more than once in a consistent fashion between the episodes, I don't foresee this getting better in time -- I will point, in particular, that the massive character-change that Rose suffers in GitF is almost the complete opposite direction as the one she has here.).

    He doesn't write for the rewatch or the analysis. He writes for the big shock and the award show. It's all about smoke and mirrors. At its heart, it is such shallow writing. And I can't respect that.

    Edited at 2008-10-12 04:59 pm (UTC)
    Arabian: Dr Who (Ten)arabian on October 12th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
    It's been a while since I've seen this set of episodes (only once since I started noticing Moffat's... Moffatness) and, wow, am I very much not enthused at the idea of watching them again (once I pick my own reviews back up).

    It's not fun. It's really not. I'm hoping that TDD will be better simply because I *know* there's great Doctor/Rose stuff which makes me wonder (as I mentioned to adriana_is above if RTD either talked to Moffat or did some tinkering with part two).

    Maybe I'll just go ahead and skip them, despite the introduction of Jack (and I am glad that Jack came off better than you remembered).

    Aww, I'd love to see you rip apart Moffat. You tend to manage to do so without getting insulting and sarcastic, which I'm clearly incapable of doing.

    "I still like the conclusion, but there were many "Gotcha!" moments here that were designed to merely jolt the viewer, as opposed to making any actual sense."

    Yeah. That's one of the things that I find so frustrating about him -- he plays to the audience for that first showing without thinking about whether or not what he's doing makes character sense

    Right. It's so very, very frustrating because once you've gotten past the gotcha's, all you have IS character and arcs, and if those are played false then you have no reason to rewatch it. (And trust me ... I'll NEVER rewatch this episode again.)

    (and considering that he actually doesn't write the characters that we've seen him do more than once in a consistent fashion between the episodes, I don't foresee this getting better in time -- I will point, in particular, that the massive character-change that Rose suffers in GitF is almost the complete opposite direction as the one she has here.).

    Right. It's not just that he writes character OOC, but he doesn't even stay true to his own OOC vision. I have to say that I'm leaning more and more towards just not even bothering with the return of series five. The more I read and watch and hear about Moffat, the more I just don't think I'll like it. And so I continue to pray that David Tennant does NOT resign, because that might tempt me. Damnit.

    He doesn't write for the rewatch or the analysis. He writes for the big shock and the award show. It's all about smoke and mirrors. At its heart, it is such shallow writing. And I can't respect that.

    Yes. Absolutely and one hundred thousand times yes!

    Edited at 2008-10-12 05:15 pm (UTC)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 12th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 12th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 12th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 12th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 13th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 13th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 13th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 14th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 14th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 15th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - ladychi on October 12th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - ladychi on October 12th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 12th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Opal: Rose and Nineshinyopals on October 12th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
    I definitely find myself agreeing with a lot of your points here. I rewatched s1 recently with the family and of all the episodes, these ones were the least interesting to rewatch.

    I don't *hate* these two episodes, but I didn't realise exactly how bored I was going to be until I watched them. They're moving down on my list all the time, really.

    There were just little bits that didn't make all that much sense - like Jamie suddenly disappearing into nowhere when the Doctor opens the door. Sure, I can buy that he's after Nancy and not the Doctor, but he's not some ninja, he walks pretty slowly. Moffat tends to throw out characterisation and sense-making in favour of jokes or trying to be shocking/scary.

    And, to be honest, I think the plot as a whole makes less and less sense as time goes on. The nanogenes are just... if they can recognise the "parent DNA" why can't they recognise the DNA of the child? Why did they replace everyone's consciousness with "are you my mummy?"? Why wasn't the threat airborne from the start? All kinds of niggling little questions which I could quite happily ignore if it weren't for the fact that everyone talks about how clever and how tight Moffat's plots are supposed to be!

    Rose... the less said about Rose the better. If you'd taken Rose out, I can't think of a single serious rewrite that would have been needed other than Jack scanning for alien tech and finding the Doctor from the start. Not that I think the companion should necessarily *always* be the one saving the world, but I tend to find that problem in general with Moffat's scripts.

    But I think Jack came across pretty well - he starts off a conman and a coward but I did like him by the end. Some of the littler things, like him insisting he ensured the Chula ship didn't land on top of anyone are nice details. And Nancy was definitely kind of awesome.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9) - BTarabian on October 12th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
    I definitely find myself agreeing with a lot of your points here. I rewatched s1 recently with the family and of all the episodes, these ones were the least interesting to rewatch.

    Yeah, putting aside the Rose-character assassination, and the utter OOC of the Doctor/Rose relationship, it just wasn't that interesting this time around.

    I don't *hate* these two episodes, but I didn't realise exactly how bored I was going to be until I watched them. They're moving down on my list all the time, really.

    Right. I don't hate it. That's reserved for all time for GitF. (SotL and FotD are special ... I *both* hate AND am bored by them.)

    There were just little bits that didn't make all that much sense - like Jamie suddenly disappearing into nowhere when the Doctor opens the door.

    Right, ooh, I forgot that. I need to go and edit that in (plus the Nancy disappearing too.)

    Sure, I can buy that he's after Nancy and not the Doctor, but he's not some ninja, he walks pretty slowly. Moffat tends to throw out characterisation and sense-making in favour of jokes or trying to be shocking/scary.

    Right! It's like I just edited in the review: Erm, why were Nancy and Jaime both able to so quickly, quietly and effortlessly disappear? Was that part of the "mystery?" That we were supposed to wonder if they were aliens? Great for the mystery, but lousy as hell for actually making sense once the explanation comes. Pfft.

    And, to be honest, I think the plot as a whole makes less and less sense as time goes on. The nanogenes are just... if they can recognise the "parent DNA" why can't they recognise the DNA of the child? Why did they replace everyone's consciousness with "are you my mummy?"? Why wasn't the threat airborne from the start?

    Yes!! YES!!! And I was planning on touching upon this in the second parter, but how the hell does Jaime have the power to make phones ring and electrical equipment say "Are you my Mummy?" The explanation does not hold up AT ALL!

    All kinds of niggling little questions which I could quite happily ignore if it weren't for the fact that everyone talks about how clever and how tight Moffat's plots are supposed to be!

    Right. Admittedly, the first watch-through is fabulous. I'm planning on writing up a post on casual viewing vs. analytical viewing of Moffat episodes and how the former offers wowee praise, while the latter rips it all to pieces. It's like butterfly wrote above: He doesn't write for the rewatch or the analysis. He writes for the big shock and the award show. It's all about smoke and mirrors. At its heart, it is such shallow writing.

    Whereas, Russell T. Davies' episodes get richer and deeper and invite more appreciation in analysis, Moffat is the opposite. Which is why as writers, Rusty owns my soul, while Moffat earns my contempt.

    Rose... the less said about Rose the better.

    He assassinated her character, and it really hurt even more because I rewatched this during the first flush of my OHMYGODBILLIEPIPEROWNSALLINTHEUNIVERSE phase.

    If you'd taken Rose out, I can't think of a single serious rewrite that would have been needed other than Jack scanning for alien tech and finding the Doctor from the start. Not that I think the companion should necessarily *always* be the one saving the world, but I tend to find that problem in general with Moffat's scripts.

    Right. Because she's *just* the girl.

    But I think Jack came across pretty well - he starts off a conman and a coward but I did like him by the end. Some of the littler things, like him insisting he ensured the Chula ship didn't land on top of anyone are nice details. And Nancy was definitely kind of awesome.

    Yes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much Jack didn't annoy me as I expected that. And Nancy was fabulous.

    Edited at 2008-10-12 05:19 pm (UTC)
    Drawn Like A Dreamaflaminghalo on October 12th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
    Hi, I agree with pretty much everything you've said here, especially on Moffats writing being shallow

    But one thing I can explain is the Union Jack t-shirt. For some reason UJ's were a very popular clothing motif in GB for a while, so add popular culture to the fact you've got an episode set in the 40's et voila. (Doesn't stop it being a really ugly t-shirt though :) )
    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on October 12th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
    Hi, I agree with pretty much everything you've said here, especially on Moffats writing being shallow

    Hello, thanks. Glad to see others feel the same way.

    But one thing I can explain is the Union Jack t-shirt. For some reason UJ's were a very popular clothing motif in GB for a while, so add popular culture to the fact you've got an episode set in the 40's et voila. (Doesn't stop it being a really ugly t-shirt though :) )

    Ah, that makes sense. Okay, so I can't blame Moffat for that one. Hmm, should I bother editing it out? Nah.
    (no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 12th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 12th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    jellybean728: Rosejellybean728 on October 12th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
    I think maybe it's because I'm new to this fandom and I've had to watch all the episodes in a weird sort of jumble (it's very timey-wimey) that I started out loving Moffat so much, and now he just pains me.

    The first time I saw these two episodes, I thought well...obviously Rose & the Doctor are going somewhere. But then I saw GitF and I thought ...okay, maybe not. To find out later when I was able to get my hands on the DVDs and watch in some sort of order that they were written by the same man I was stunned.

    But when I rewatch Empty Child & The Doctor Dances, it is clear to me that they are written by someone who doesn't ship these two characters. Part of me wonders if Moffat was 'told' he had to help the build up of that relationship along? Because it's pretty obvious in watching the episodes a second or third time that he doesn't like the idea.

    I'm probably confusing EC & TDD a bit because it's all one big long continuation ... but the scene where Rose & the Doctor are still trapped in the hospital before Jack comes to the resuce is one of the greatest scenes between them, and even that is riddled with lines where Rose just treats the Doctor so poorly it's awful.

    "Why is always the great looking ones?" "No, I mean men." WTF?!?!?!?

    When she was so obviously hurt that the Doctor was flirting with Jabe in End of the World, but now she doesn't even think of him as a man?? It doesn't fit.

    I console myself by saying that this is supposed to be where Rose stops thinking of the Doctor as an ALIEN and starts thinking of him as a MAN who is an alien. Billie Piper did play the scene well, with her surprise that The Doctor dances ... and her expressions when he takes her hand and they do sort of dance. Almost like she's really seeing him in a new way. And her embarrassment at being 'caught' by Jack in the Doctor's arms. That wasn't just being caught with another guy in front of a guy you like. It was geing caught with a guy you like.

    And Chris Eccleston, bless him, delivered that line about 'resonating concrete' in the absolute perfect tone. It was so ...petulant and please-don't-call-my-bluff/I'm-not-bluffing/you-scare-the-hell-out-of-me. Dead perfect.

    Anyway, I agree I don't enjoy these episodes as much when I watch them now, because they don't fit The Doctor & Rose as much as I wish they did.

    But I'm spoiled, because the first episodes I ever saw were Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. Talk about getting sucked into a ship from the start!

    And no hand holding? :( That makes me sad.

    I do like reading your thoughts on these episodes. I'm really just steeping myself in Doctor Who right now, and having no one to talk about it with except my 11 year old does sort of limit the ability to really analyze stuff. So thanks!

    JB
    Arabian: Rose_Thinkingarabian on October 12th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
    I think maybe it's because I'm new to this fandom and I've had to watch all the episodes in a weird sort of jumble (it's very timey-wimey) that I started out loving Moffat so much, and now he just pains me.

    I'm so with you! When I first watched each of his first three episodes becauseI wasn't die-hard in the fandom and was casually watching them, I thought they and he were great. But once you care about the characters and follow the arcs, he's painful.

    The first time I saw these two episodes, I thought well...obviously Rose & the Doctor are going somewhere. But then I saw GitF and I thought ...okay, maybe not. To find out later when I was able to get my hands on the DVDs and watch in some sort of order that they were written by the same man I was stunned.

    Yup. Not only does he not maintain the show's character consistency, he doesn't even do so within his own episodes.

    But when I rewatch Empty Child & The Doctor Dances, it is clear to me that they are written by someone who doesn't ship these two characters. Part of me wonders if Moffat was 'told' he had to help the build up of that relationship along? Because it's pretty obvious in watching the episodes a second or third time that he doesn't like the idea.

    I'm probably confusing EC & TDD a bit because it's all one big long continuation ... but the scene where Rose & the Doctor are still trapped in the hospital before Jack comes to the resuce is one of the greatest scenes between them, and even that is riddled with lines where Rose just treats the Doctor so poorly it's awful.


    Yup, I think you're thinking of TDD because that one DOES have some great Doctor/Rose stuff -- which, as I mentioned above, I think comes from RTD tinkering with the script. Because, bottom-line, you're right ... Moffat not only doesn't ship these two, I think actively dislikes Rose.

    I'm gonna hold off responding to the next batch of paragraphs because you're discussing a big scene in the *next* episode, so feel free to respond with these same thoughts when I write that one up.

    And no hand holding? :( That makes me sad.

    I know. ::sniffsniff::

    I do like reading your thoughts on these episodes.

    Thank you. Feel free to check out the past write-ups. I link to all of them at the top and bottom of the reviews. I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

    I'm really just steeping myself in Doctor Who right now, and having no one to talk about it with except my 11 year old does sort of limit the ability to really analyze stuff. So thanks!

    Yeah, I'm stuck with my sister who really doesn't care at ALL and wants me to shut up about it already. Sigh.


    Edited at 2008-10-12 10:21 pm (UTC)
    erikssiren: The Doctor and Rose don't understand youerikssiren on October 12th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
    I guess I never realized hwo OOC Rose and the Doctor are in this episode. That's how good Billie and Chris are. I literally just watched it last night so it's fresh in my mind. I actually don't dislike this episode, but it's not one of my favorites.

    But I do have to disagree with you on one point. I think the Doctor was jealous of Rose liking Jack, even though it doesn't come across until "The Doctor Dances." His remark about "where'd you pick this one up," his wanting to show Rose his "moves," and even interrupting Rose before she could dance with Jack at the end of the episode. The jealousy's there, it just takes a while for it to surface. Or maybe it took a while for Moffat to realize there should of been, I don't know.

    I also didn't notice the absence of hand holding. I think I just assume it's there so I put it there in my head.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9) - WTFarabian on October 12th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
    I guess I never realized hwo OOC Rose and the Doctor are in this episode. That's how good Billie and Chris are.

    I didn't either, and honestly, if I wasn't analyzing it so I might not have realized just how much they are either. As I rewatch these, I deliberately think through and pay attention to character, plot, etc. aspects for the review.

    But I do have to disagree with you on one point. I think the Doctor was jealous of Rose liking Jack, even though it doesn't come across until "The Doctor Dances." His remark about "where'd you pick this one up," his wanting to show Rose his "moves," and even interrupting Rose before she could dance with Jack at the end of the episode. The jealousy's there, it just takes a while for it to surface. Or maybe it took a while for Moffat to realize there should of been, I don't know.

    Oh, I know the jealously is there big-time in the next episode, but it didn't come across in their scenes in this episode. I'm only covering the first part here, the second part will cover the jealousy ... which was loud and raging (and I think courtesy of RTD tinkering.)

    OT: I finally got around to making my WTF icon to this image because the shot is just so perfect, and certainly fit my frame of mind about this episode.
    Mari: DW Mr and Mrs Whofaeryaeryn on October 12th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
    Smaller, but definitely another great review!!!

    I agree with most of it, especially Rose and the Doctor being a bit off character, but still I don't know why but I like this episode, and I like Jack :)
    Maybe it is because it is a Nine/Rose epi and I just miss him so much, LOL

    Can't wait for more reviews :)
    Arabian: Dr Who (9) - Victorianarabian on October 12th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
    I agree with most of it, especially Rose and the Doctor being a bit off character

    They really, really were.

    I don't know why but I like this episode, and I like Jack :)

    I think for me it's because (a) I'm not a huge Jack fan, never have been, never will be, and (b) characterization is so important to me. It's honestly THE most important thing to me when watching any kind of serialized show.

    Maybe it is because it is a Nine/Rose epi and I just miss him so much, LOL

    That? I can understand.
    jedi_of_urth: seperatedjedi_of_urth on October 12th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
    I agree that the reexplaining the psychic paper to me always felt more like a TV thing than a Moffat hate woman and Rose thing...although these days I'm less likely to give him the benefit of the doubt, but to save a shred of my respect for him it still seems quite possible. The physic paper didn't start being used really consistently until season 2 so to make sure the audience knew what it was when the Jack scene rolled around we needed the Doctor and Rose to reexplain it.

    But the scenes between Rose and Jack are...uneven at best. Sometimes she's close enough to Rose that I can fanwank it, because playing Jacks game is something she *could* do as long as she's doing it intentionally to figure out who he is and what he wants. But the first couple scenes aren't even that, they're just...bubble-headed and very un-Rose.

    I remember the days when I used to love this pair or episodes, but these days I can't help seeing the Moffat issues sprinkled throughout, if a bit less completely than in later seasons.
    Arabian: Dr Who (10)arabian on October 12th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
    I agree that the reexplaining the psychic paper to me always felt more like a TV thing than a Moffat hate woman and Rose thing...although these days I'm less likely to give him the benefit of the doubt, but to save a shred of my respect for him it still seems quite possible. The physic paper didn't start being used really consistently until season 2 so to make sure the audience knew what it was when the Jack scene rolled around we needed the Doctor and Rose to reexplain it.

    Yup, that's how it read to me: Totally a TV-thing. But, sigh, it IS hard to give Moffat the benefit of the doubt when he makes it so easy to assume he's just finding some new way to insult Rose. Grrr.

    But the scenes between Rose and Jack are...uneven at best. Sometimes she's close enough to Rose that I can fanwank it, because playing Jacks game is something she *could* do as long as she's doing it intentionally to figure out who he is and what he wants. But the first couple scenes aren't even that, they're just...bubble-headed and very un-Rose.

    Yeah. I didn't mention it, but there were a few moment that felt like Rose was playing Jack a bit, but considering the whole tone of them that was inherent in the dialogue and set-up of the scenes, I lay those moments that did feel like Rose solely at Billie's feet.

    I remember the days when I used to love this pair or episodes, but these days I can't help seeing the Moffat issues sprinkled throughout, if a bit less completely than in later seasons.

    Sigh. I know. I remember way back before I even watched series two, it'd been two years since I'd watched series one (I was still bitter about losing Eccleston ... David Tennant?! Who did this Tennant person think he was!??!) and my sister asked which episode should she watch to get a feel of the best of the show and (much to my chagrin now) I said this two-parter. Gah. Ah, the virtues of casual versus devoted watching of episodic television.
    bubbles234bubbles234 on October 12th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
    Erm, basically I think exactly the same as shinyopals =]

    Also, can I friend you? xD
    Arabian: Rose_smilearabian on October 12th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
    Okay, cool!

    Also, can I friend you? xD

    Of course! :D
    (no subject) - wendymr on October 12th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 12th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - butterfly on October 13th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 13th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
    Vicki: Fancy a shagkimori1024 on October 13th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
    For the reasons you've stated in your review I usually skip this episode myself. It never sat well with me that the Doctor let Rose wander off somewhere on her own in the middle of the night and then upon finding out that it is in the middle of the Blitz not immediately searching her out. I mean, the man dies for her in the previous episode, risked the entire universe being destroyed just so she was happy with her father and he doesn't care if she gets blown up by a bomb or even just attacked in some dark alleyway?

    Also, I never liked how Rose overtly flirted with Jack. Yeah, sure Jack is handsome and very charming and she might be playing him, but still. Clearly, the Doctor is very important to her, better than a boyfriend. Would those feelings just disappear when some pretty boy shows up?

    The lack of Doctor/Rose relationship dynamic is clearly lost in this episode in very high contrast to 'The Doctor Dances'. Like stated in some other of the comments, it makes me think RTD had something to do with that. I actually like TDD for the whole 'dancing' conversation. That moment may in fact be one of the shippiest moments of the series imho and really pushes their relationship just that much farther. However, Moffat coming up with that? That I doubt big time. I don't think Moffat is capable of respecting the relationship between the Doctor and Rose or even acknowledging its existence (TGitFP anyone?) -_-

    I'm really not looking forward to a full season controlled by the Moff... David better desert us! TT_TT
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on October 14th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
    For the reasons you've stated in your review I usually skip this episode myself. It never sat well with me that the Doctor let Rose wander off somewhere on her own in the middle of the night and then upon finding out that it is in the middle of the Blitz not immediately searching her out. I mean, the man dies for her in the previous episode, risked the entire universe being destroyed just so she was happy with her father and he doesn't care if she gets blown up by a bomb or even just attacked in some dark alleyway?

    EXACTLY! His actions in regards to Rose do NOT match with the Doctor from previous episodes. Now he did go yelling her name in worry down the alley at one point, but I bet that was either the director (James Hawes) OR Chris' take on the scene. I doubt Moffat intended it as such, he probably intended for the Doctor to be annoyed that she disappeared (considering the dialogue he has with the cat). Thank God for Hawes or Eccleston.

    Also, I never liked how Rose overtly flirted with Jack. Yeah, sure Jack is handsome and very charming and she might be playing him, but still. Clearly, the Doctor is very important to her, better than a boyfriend. Would those feelings just disappear when some pretty boy shows up?

    Yes!!! It was so over the top and not only not Rose, but she DOES have feelings for the Doctor and it just wasn't in character at all. Ugh.

    The lack of Doctor/Rose relationship dynamic is clearly lost in this episode in very high contrast to 'The Doctor Dances'. Like stated in some other of the comments, it makes me think RTD had something to do with that. I actually like TDD for the whole 'dancing' conversation. That moment may in fact be one of the shippiest moments of the series imho and really pushes their relationship just that much farther. However, Moffat coming up with that? That I doubt big time. I don't think Moffat is capable of respecting the relationship between the Doctor and Rose or even acknowledging its existence (TGitFP anyone?) -_-

    Actually, now that you wrote this, I wonder big-time if it was Rusty who added the "dancing" conversation -- you know, how that conversation turned the whole Jack/Rose stuff around as in that Rose wasn't actually interested in Jack, but it was just because she thought he was enough *like* the Doctor but with, you know, dancing and dating. And if that's the case, it makes PERFECT sense as to why Moffat then coyly added it to GitF ... likely at a dig at Rusty for making the Rose/Jack stuff, in fact, all about Rose and her feelings for the Doctor (and, you know, those pesky viewers who had the temerity to actually *gasp* like the Doctor/Rose relationship). I'm so exploring this idea further in the next review.

    I'm really not looking forward to a full season controlled by the Moff... David better desert us! TT_TT

    I am DESPERATELY hoping he does. Other than David recently calling Moffat his "new boss" -- which can totally be wanked into semantics -- everything else I've read, heard, etc. pretty much screams that there is no way in hell that David is going to sign on without Rusty. After all, Rusty made it clear that he expected to regenerate 10 to 11 in JE, and that would be his (and David's) swan song, but then the specials -- which *Rusty* is doing -- came along. Therefore, David is sticking around for those. Until I hear it officially, I just don't think he's going to because so much points to the direction that he's not.
    Nindeoronra: 10/Rosenindeoronra on October 13th, 2008 10:23 am (UTC)
    I'm still relatively new to DW, but your review has put into words all the reasons why I never really cared for this episode. Then, it made me realize that Moffat has written every DW episode that's on my list of "this never happened."

    And, Moffat is the culprit for all the banana lines, which for some reason, just drive me up a wall.

    Arabian: David & Billie Dancingarabian on October 14th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
    I'm still relatively new to DW, but your review has put into words all the reasons why I never really cared for this episode. Then, it made me realize that Moffat has written every DW episode that's on my list of "this never happened."

    Aww. Well, I'm glad I could put into words why you don't like it. Just know that other than the second part of this two-parter, I ain't going near another Moffat episode.

    And, Moffat is the culprit for all the banana lines, which for some reason, just drive me up a wall.

    Well, as a lover of the word "banana" (don't ask, I have no idea where it came from), I'm actually fond of those.
    eolivet on October 13th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
    After all, in "Father's Day," Rose distinctly, specifically said she did NOT have a boyfriend. Period. Therefore, she wouldn't consider Mickey her sort-of-boyfriend a week later.

    Wow, good point -- I didn't even catch that!!

    Therefore, he kept the Doctor as much the Doctor as he could even with some dialogue and actions somewhat out of character as written by Moffat.

    You know, it's interesting...I never realized the parallels until I read this, but TEC does follow the same pattern as the majority (all?) of Moffat eps: the Doctor becomes so fascinated by a mystery (attached to a pretty young girl) that he completely forgets/abandons his Companion.

    Why would Rose have just grabbed that rope and climbed up it? Yes, she wanted to get to the child, but a rope appears out of the air and she just climbs it?

    Heh, true. I think of TWP's recap whenever I think of this ep now: it's like half the pages to this ep got lost and was replaced by an old ep of "Friends." :x Way more "slapstick" humor than most DW eps.

    The only thing I'm concerned about is (other than the nanobots becoming airborne) I've always found the plot explanation (the omcomm, the parent DNA, etc.) to make sense to me. I'm looking forward to seeing you dissect that more in TDD. :)

    (And OMG, you got trolled? Of all the nerve!! Nice comeback, though, but still...trolls always feel like intruders in one's home. :/ )
    Arabian: Dr Who (9) - FDarabian on October 14th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
    "After all, in "Father's Day," Rose distinctly, specifically said she did NOT have a boyfriend. Period. Therefore, she wouldn't consider Mickey her sort-of-boyfriend a week later."

    Wow, good point -- I didn't even catch that!!


    I tell ya, these over-the-top, down to the nitty-gritty, detailed analysis/reviews *are* good for something!

    You know, it's interesting...I never realized the parallels until I read this, but TEC does follow the same pattern as the majority (all?) of Moffat eps: the Doctor becomes so fascinated by a mystery (attached to a pretty young girl) that he completely forgets/abandons his Companion.

    Yuppers. You have heard that Moffat plans on getting rid of the permanent companion, right? It will be (likely) babes of the week from series five on. Oh, Moffat. Yeah, I'm not watching it with him at the helm. It's Rob Thomas all over again.

    Heh, true. I think of TWP's recap whenever I think of this ep now: it's like half the pages to this ep got lost and was replaced by an old ep of "Friends." :x Way more "slapstick" humor than most DW eps.

    Because Moffat doesn't give a flying fig newton about making his episodes fit within the arc, the feel, the tone of any and all episodes around his. His vision is the only one that matters.

    (And OMG, you got trolled? Of all the nerve!! Nice comeback, though, but still...trolls always feel like intruders in one's home. :/ )

    I was!! I was so mad at first, and almost deleted it, but thought: Eh, this gives me an opportunity to address quite clearly and firmly (with a detailed breakdown) and knock down what I was accused of. I am NOT one of those fans who doesn't back up my dislikes. You know that about me. The key for me is, always has been, always will be -- Characterization! Characterization! Characterization! That's why I'm one of the few who prefers Veronica Mars season three over season two, because I could make sense out of EVERY single action Veronica (except for the execrable "Of Vice and Men") and Logan made throughout that season's run. I may not have liked some of those actions, but I could make sense out of each one based on the characterization. Season two? Revolved around fanwanking your brains out some sort of character logic ... that would then be shat all over the following episode. Ugh.

    Back to DW and Moffat, I still think that GitF could have fit beautifully, seamlessly and heartbreakingly within the character arc had Moffat not made it a love story between the Doctor and Madame Du Pompadour, but instead that the Doctor was using Reinette just as had tried to use Sarah-Jane and *was* using Mickey to keep the distance between he and Rose. *Sigh*
    (no subject) - eolivet on October 14th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on October 15th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
    alexiscartwheel: dw - nine & rosealexiscartwheel on October 15th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
    We have a lot of similar views on episodes, but on this one I have to disagree with you. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances was one of the highlights of the first season, and one of my overall favorites from the series.

    It's been awhile since I've watched The Empty Child, but I remember really loving it the first time. That was about the point where I went from watching the show and really enjoying it to be truly hooked (and completely hooked on Doctor/Rose). It's got a historical setting, a creepy monster, interesting supporting characters, witty banter, and an oh noes! cliffhanger ending. I'm not saying it's flawless, but for me there was much more that I enjoyed than I didn't, and it left me eager to see the second part.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on October 15th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
    It's been awhile since I've watched The Empty Child, but I remember really loving it the first time.

    I think you should rewatch it, your opinion might change. This one was one of my absolute favorites too. I remember LOVING it!! But sitting down and really analyzing the characters and the relationship, it was so off, it was cringe-worthy. Now, I DO expect TDD to be better, but I also think it's because RTD did script tinkering. After all, there would be no reason to have an edict that RTD *couldn't* tinker with Moffat's scripts, unless he'd done so already. And based on GitF, it's obvious he didn't tinker with that. And based on the characterization in this one, it's clear he didn't tinker, but based on what I recall about TDD, he tinkered in that one.

    That was about the point where I went from watching the show and really enjoying it to be truly hooked (and completely hooked on Doctor/Rose). It's got a historical setting, a creepy monster, interesting supporting characters, witty banter, and an oh noes! cliffhanger ending. I'm not saying it's flawless, but for me there was much more that I enjoyed than I didn't, and it left me eager to see the second part.

    Again, I felt EXACTLY the same way when I first watched it. In fact, my sister asked me (before I watched series two) which episode I should watch to see the best of Who ... and I said this two-parter. So I felt that way once upon a time. I think if you rewatch it now, you might have a different opinion as well. I was rather shocked by how very wrong it all felt, when I ADORED it the first time around.
    sammie28 on October 16th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
    I was wondering where these were! :-) So lovely to see another!

    She is NOT some twittering fluttering, airhead

    AMEN. As you mentioned, both the Doctor and Rose were off in this one. The Doctor's "Where've you been?" after being separated from Rose so long - ! In "EotW", the Doctor's sarcastic "Oh, it would be you" really bothered me, but that I could chalk up to the newness of the relationship. Now I thought the Doctor would be more worried. And Rose more in love with the Doctor.

    And Rose - you hit all the nails on the head. Her stars-in-her-eyes bothered me immensely. Plus, when has Rose EVER cared about tech? Mickey, not Rose, asked about the TARDIS in "AoL"; Jack and the Doctor were excited by the surfboard in "Boomtown". And as you mentioned--why would Rose care NOW about Jack's tech, having seen all those planets and all those eras?

    I could've bought this version of the Doctor/Rose relationship earlier in the season, when both aspects were new to Rose, but not now.

    I do appreciate, though, that Moffat kept some of Rose's "think on your feet" personality. The 2 instances I always think of are "Rose" and "TEC": (1) when she hits the fire alarm to clear the restaurant and (2) when she says "going down" through the floor (especially with both the Doctor and Jack flummoxed!). I love, too, that Rose fooled the con-man for awhile.



    therefore he wasn't able to sex up the relationship between the Doctor and Nancy.

    Maybe Moffatt did imagine her very young. Still, I wonder if our perception of Nancy is because of Florence Hoath, cast after Moffatt wrote. In the episode, she's old enough to have a 4/5-year-old. The Doctor assumes she was 15/16I believe those were the ages) when she had Jamie, making her at youngest 19 and most likely older - definitely older than Rose. For me, Nancy's lines in Moffatt's script made her old and maternal; Hoath's baby face made her young.

    I believe Nancy represents something else for the Doctor and maybe that's why Moffatt didn't sex her up. The Doctor asked if Nancy had lost someone, based on his observance of her actions. She cares for all the children so carefully because she's lost someone. It's the Doctor, microcosm: he's always cared about Earth, but now that he has no Gallifrey and no people, Earth becomes even more important. To me, Nancy was a human mirror of the Doctor, which changed their relationship.



    What was the point of the Union Jack shirt?

    aflaminghalo's input about the popularity of flag clothes would give Rose a good reason to have worn it!

    Plot-wise, Moffatt said in the commentary he was going for maximum danger for Rose. I kept waiting for Rose to be shot out of the sky. Paratroopers and downed pilots were often shot while parachuting down (despite war regs) and many were dead before they hit the ground; paratrooping was one of the more dangerous army jobs. The target was too easy: a huge solid that couldn't move in any direction quickly. And bombers were loaded with machine guns in the front for aerial combat. A person dangling in the sky could be any downed pilot, but a Union Jack isn't going to be Luftwaffe. I believe Rose would have been dead if she wasn't the full season companion!



    Also, the close-up of the scar on Jaime's hand and then the patients'....

    That's an interesting point; I didn't see that. I guess I never thought that the Doctor needed to link the people to the little boy; I figured he already knew, since Nancy told him to go to the hospital and the doctor told him that everyone who handled the boy ended up like him. Most of the Doctor's and Constantine's comments were about the phenomenon itself (heartbeat, mask fused to the face) and not whether the two were linked, which is why I figured the Doctor already knew. I'd assumed the visual was to give US a link (hearing Nancy and Constantine and seeing the evidence), as you'd mentioned.
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on October 16th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
    She is NOT some twittering fluttering, airhead

    AMEN. As you mentioned, both the Doctor and Rose were off in this one. The Doctor's "Where've you been?" after being separated from Rose so long - ! In "EotW", the Doctor's sarcastic "Oh, it would be you" really bothered me, but that I could chalk up to the newness of the relationship. Now I thought the Doctor would be more worried. And Rose more in love with the Doctor.

    Exactly. As you say later down, this episode would actually have (mostly) made sense if it were the third episode or so, but ANYTHING after that? No. Just no.

    And as you mentioned--why would Rose care NOW about Jack's tech, having seen all those planets and all those eras?

    And besides that, the Doctor has a buttload of tech that she's been witness to already. Ugh.

    Maybe Moffatt did imagine her very young. Still, I wonder if our perception of Nancy is because of Florence Hoath, cast after Moffatt wrote. In the episode, she's old enough to have a 4/5-year-old. The Doctor assumes she was 15/16I believe those were the ages) when she had Jamie, making her at youngest 19 and most likely older - definitely older than Rose. For me, Nancy's lines in Moffatt's script made her old and maternal; Hoath's baby face made her young.

    No, I think they cast young-looking specifically because the shock of the whole "reveal" (which I, as a long-time soap viewer, saw coming a mile away) that Jaime was her son, not her brother, was predicated on viewers assuming she's too young to have a child that age.

    I believe Nancy represents something else for the Doctor and maybe that's why Moffatt didn't sex her up. The Doctor asked if Nancy had lost someone, based on his observance of her actions. She cares for all the children so carefully because she's lost someone. It's the Doctor, microcosm: he's always cared about Earth, but now that he has no Gallifrey and no people, Earth becomes even more important. To me, Nancy was a human mirror of the Doctor, which changed their relationship.

    I do like this take on it a lot, but I give you more credit for that then Moffat. I just ... none of his other characterization of the Doctor even remotely approaches that depth, so, no, I can't give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Re: Union Jack shirt ...

    Plot-wise, Moffatt said in the commentary he was going for maximum danger for Rose.

    Ah, that makes sense too, I guess. Okay, okay, I really take back that Moffat just wanted another excuse for cheap shots.

    That's an interesting point; I didn't see that. I guess I never thought that the Doctor needed to link the people to the little boy; I figured he already knew, since Nancy told him to go to the hospital and the doctor told him that everyone who handled the boy ended up like him. Most of the Doctor's and Constantine's comments were about the phenomenon itself (heartbeat, mask fused to the face) and not whether the two were linked, which is why I figured the Doctor already knew. I'd assumed the visual was to give US a link (hearing Nancy and Constantine and seeing the evidence), as you'd mentioned.

    You're probably right then. That was towards the end of the episode and I was just so frustrated with the characterization that I probably was reading too much potential negativity into everything at that point.

    Edited at 2008-10-16 03:34 am (UTC)
    sammie28 on October 16th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
    I'm a Doctor/Rose shipper, but I'm also rather shallow, so if the story is good, I can excuse poorer characterization. 2 things I appreciated about Moffatt's "TEC"/"TDD":

    First, I LOVE history episodes. As brilliant as Gatiss is, I felt Moffatt was more historical. Gatiss' episode could have been modern, except for Dickens. Gatiss' brilliance was in writing a real Dickens.

    Moffatt brought out a real WWII feel to his: officers' clubs, Blitz, barrage balloons, gas masks, children who refused being sent out to the country, air raid shelters, even the typewriter and the recorder. Many were integral plot points, untransferable without major plot changes (mean, where is a kid (if he ever wears a gas mask) going to get killed by a falling bomb in London NOW?). The history wasn't a setting. It was the story.

    Second, I appreciated Moffatt's use of science. Using nanogenes (with modern nanotechnology), making digs at all the cell phone regulations and flying aircraft. "Blink", with the aliens moving only when one isn't watching, has elements of quantum theory. I know it's scifi, but in the same way characters have limits in characterization, even scifi has its bounds. Moffatt tends to pull his scifi out of current science, making it easier to buy - more relevant and touchable, in the same way RTD's character writing makes the Doctor and Rose more relevant and touchable to us as people.

    I know I will now do the unforgiveable by complaining about RTD, but RTD's forte is just NOT the technical stuff. Moffatt makes the characters bend over for his plot. RTD makes the scifi bend over backwards for his characters.

    The "EotW" commentary mentioned a fan pointing out that the Doctor would have just soniced the switch in the engine room (or maybe soniced the fan switch to stop the fans). The excuse the commentary gives wasn't a plot one (it was just too magnificent a scene to cut). Well, that's true, but one can do magnificent without the "duh" factor: e.g. the last scene with Rose in front of the window.

    "JE": 2 Doctors, faux regeneration, Doctor-Donna, the cut scene where Donna and 10 tell 10.5 and Rose that the TARDIS coral can be beefed up to grow exponentially - TOO convenient! Write out BP, write out CT, allow 10.5 and Rose to fly in a TARDIS.... Even RTD called the faux regeneration the biggest cop-out ever (at least he knows it! :-) ) . While I am grateful for Rose with an alt!Doctor, FF writers come up with far more brilliant versions, EVEN holding to the canon that there are no other Time Lords.

    "Christmas Invastion": Ten loses his hand and suddenly regrows one (24 hours into his regeneration). If that were true, Five wouldn't have had to wear that ridiculous celery as his Claritin. An allergy would have been a lot easier to fix than regrowing a hand. Ten's hand - too convenient. Either cut or let Ten play Hook for a bit.

    And, of course, you've already mentioned in previous reviews the tendency towards plot holes in RTD's stories.



    Moffatt, imho (I know I will be covered in rotten vegetables, lol), is a good writer. His stories are relevant and researched. But two deficiencies - first, Moffatt is crap with with others' characters. (He'd be a poor FF writer!) As you mentioned, he MAKES great characters. He crams a lot in little time: in 2 episodes Jack is hot, somewhat bitter, wounded, shocked, guilty, resigned, grateful, puzzled, even looking slightly unsure of himself (at the end). Adam had two episodes and all we got was that he's an arrogant, self-serving, grade A Oscar Mayer weiner. Of course, characters like Jack are created from scratch, designed how Moffatt thought of them.

    Secondly, and maybe this just a deficiency for me - Moffatt loves tons and tons of flirting. I know he's written more than "Coupling", but that's what I think. I refuse to watch "GitF", even if it is historical. I'm old-fashioned: I like faithfulness and loyalty and monogamy. For that reason I won't be watching Series 5, even for David.

    If I could have my way, I'd mush strengths together. RTD, Paul Cornell for characters. Moffatt, Gatiss for research details. Even Shearman and Moffatt for scary.
    Arabian: Billie Piper_03arabian on October 16th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
    I'm a Doctor/Rose shipper, but I'm also rather shallow, so if the story is good, I can excuse poorer characterization. 2 things I appreciated about Moffatt's "TEC"/"TDD"

    Ah, see here is where we differ. For me, characterization is KEY. I can forgive just about any aspect of a show as long as it logically makes sense and is believable coming from these characters. If it doesn't make sense character-wise? You've lost me. So, Moffat's biggest deficiency as you mention below (crappy characterization with characters not of his own creation) is my biggest no-no.

    Moffatt brought out a real WWII feel to his ... The history wasn't a setting. It was the story.

    Yes, I agree completely with this. And this:

    Second, I appreciated Moffatt's use of science.

    But the characterization for the Doctor was weak and pretty close to downright character assasination for Rose. Thus I don't care how good the history or science or individual lines, whatever were. He didn't give me my characters as the characters they truly are, no matter how grand the setting. If the characters don't work, aren't IN character, then I'm not able to enjoy anything else around them because I'm too busy either rolling my eyes or cringing at how out of character they are acting. Seriously, characterization, characterization, characterization for me.

    I know I will now do the unforgiveable by complaining about RTD, but RTD's forte is just NOT the technical stuff. Moffatt makes the characters bend over for his plot. RTD makes the scifi bend over backwards for his characters.

    And, see I don't care about the crack-y science. Who cares if it makes no sense? It's entertainment. No one REALLY watches this show for the science. LOL! But when you twist and manipulate the characters to fit your plot as opposed to staying true to your characters? Why should I bother investing any time or affection in said characters when their actions and reactions aren't dependent upon anything other than the plot of the week?

    Moffatt, imho (I know I will be covered in rotten vegetables, lol), is a good writer.

    No, you won't. Several of us (including myself) have said above he's a good writer. I'd never deny the man is talented. He's just so married to his own ego/vision, that he refuses to remain true to the characters. And that's a deal-breaker for me.

    Moffatt is crap with with others' characters. (He'd be a poor FF writer!)

    Yes, and that's why I stop reading certain fics: When the characters aren't in character. And why I won't be watching series five (with or without David. Sorry, David ... but I really hope it's without!).

    As you mentioned, he MAKES great characters. He crams a lot in little time: in 2 episodes Jack is hot, somewhat bitter, wounded, shocked, guilty, resigned, grateful, puzzled, even looking slightly unsure of himself (at the end). Adam had two episodes and all we got was that he's an arrogant, self-serving, grade A Oscar Mayer weiner. Of course, characters like Jack are created from scratch, designed how Moffatt thought of them.

    And if he had the opportunity to write for Jack again, he is just as likely to continue writing him as that, or something completely different based solely on the plot.

    Secondly, and maybe this just a deficiency for me - Moffatt loves tons and tons of flirting.

    I agree; he throws it in when it's not necessary. I think that butterfly was right above when she said that Martha's line about her and the Doctor being stuck in the house whatever in "Blink" was supposed to hint at hanky-panky, but that Freema played it with frustration because she was following RTD's edict about the relationship being unrequited.

    I refuse to watch "GitF", even if it is historical.

    You are sooooooooooooooooo not missing out.

    I'm old-fashioned: I like faithfulness and loyalty and monogamy. For that reason I won't be watching Series 5, even for David.

    Ditto.

    Even Shearman and Moffatt for scary.

    I'd throw RTD in for that too because "Midnight" was hella tense and scary. And I hate to give Moffat anything (you may have picked up on that, LOL!), but I agree. Dang those Weeping Angels ... brrrr!

    Edited at 2008-10-16 03:38 am (UTC)
    (no subject) - sammie28 on October 27th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on November 1st, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - sammie28 on October 27th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on November 29th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - sammie28 on October 27th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on November 29th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on November 29th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)