Into which art happens

The episode - and this year’s series I think - stops being crap when Capaldi starts being the Doctor. Capaldi deserves real credit for that —

 New theme’s a bit Delaware, isn’t it? 

Moffat’s Vastra is a smug, insufferable bully. Everyone bullies Clara in this episode for the crime of being a woman. It gets better. Without spoilers, this year’s Doctor Who gets much better after this. Watching the premiere again after seeing the rest was a shock - although the premiere also gets much better as it goes — from what I’ve seen it all turns into more normal Doctor Who after the premiere, though I suspect the finale will be terrible. Judging from past years -

Is there a way for me to contact Richard Williams? I want to meet him in person.
Anonymous

I have no personal relationship with Richard Williams, but will try to provide details of his public appearances via orangecow.org/board and the Recobbled Cut Facebook group.

It’s unfair to judge these Doctor Who episodes based on black and white early rough cuts, but — major shocker as episode 3, Robots of Sherwood, turns out to actually be really good. It’s played for comedy and works completely- partly on the strength of its guest stars. There’s a little cameo via a photograph which should make you gasp.

This is also the first Capaldi episode without a Steven Moffat writing credit. Mark Gatiss wrote it.

Clara has settled into the role of “very generic Doctor Who companion” and seems even to have picked up a Mickey Smith of some kind. But here’s the episode where she seems to be having the most fun.

By comparison, episode 2, “Inside the Dalek,” is more of a slog to get through in rough cut form - at least until its ending, which has a very interesting idea behind it. Nothing wrong with the episode- it’s solid enough- but it’s also an echo of things the show has done often, and better, before.

I could say the same about Capaldi’s very solid (and Scottish) but so far generic version of The Doctor. In episode 2 he’s in more of a soul-searching mode, and generally a bit distant and vague - in fact, he’s defined in this episode by being a little bit disinterested and bad at his job. This actually pays off pretty well by the end, considering what the episode is about.

I’m sure it’s hard to do anything new with the Daleks at this point, and overall the episode won’t disappoint fans- but I can only note that when they do “something different with the Daleks,” it feels a lot like the other episodes “doing something different with the Daleks” that they’ve done before.

Capaldi’s Doctor finally gets to really define himself as an actor in episode 4, “Listen.” Eccleston, Tennant and Smith got to do all sorts of actorly things in their first few episodes, but Capaldi’s Doctor has been a more vague presence until this point. His first scene in episode 2 showed a strong, undeniable presence, and that’s the Doctor we see throughout this episode. He has a lengthy monologue at the beginning, and is monologuing throughout in general, and we get a very good idea of who this Doctor is, at his best. An intense and serious presence, lacking the overt comedy of recent Doctors. He is easily distracted, vague about specifics and often disinterested, his mind already elsewhere. This is a bottle episode, with no major guest stars, and there’s not much to it. In black and white rough cut form, the scene transitions are almost absurdly abrupt, cutting from one closeup to another. Any attempt to make this another “Blink” or “Midnight” fails entirely due to the lack of scope- the slight script is closer to “Fear Her.” But this is also the meatiest stuff Capaldi and Coleman have gotten as performers this series so far. Moffat’s writing fails when he’s writing two human beings on a date. Writing real, believable human behavior, and the behavior of and relating to women especially, seems to be more and more of a problem for Moffat, who might actually be from another planet. The other man involved here is a trainwreck so far, in terms of writing. But he and Coleman speak well and I think they’d do very well with better scripts. At any rate, this episode is a great showcase for all three actors and should settle any doubts about this incarnation of Who — if audiences are still watching at this point.

I will give Episode 5 a thumbs up as well. It could just be the black and white rough cut status, but this seems like a fairly cheap series. Then again, what else is new … Keeley Hawes is in episode 5, but underused. Series is firing on all cylinders otherwise at this point, and delivering decent Who. I’m sure the series finale will ruin everything again though. There is a weird undercurrent about the Doctor being jealous of anyone Clara might be dating, and childishly trying to be more impressive than them. It actually works in episode 3, but bubbles up as subtext here. I’m very grateful that Capaldi isn’t flirting with Clara in any onscreen way. Even with this present in the scripts I’m hopeful that he can avoid some of the uncomfortable moments that Matt Smith fell into ….

We are starting to see that Clara has a life of her own, and some sort of continuity as a character. Anything is an improvement at this point. Coleman is charming, despite the generic nature of her role as written …

The relief of all this is that Doctor Who is a grownup again - even if the scripts aren’t always keeping up with that. Capaldi is unsentimental and speaks with an authority the show hasn’t had in awhile …

He’s a complicated man, and no one understands him but the Muppet Movie soundtrack.

Steampunk - Lady Kaledonia

Commission for Jonathan and Claire. A steampunk piece based on an existing cosplay.

Pencil and Copic F02 Drawing Pen on paper. Coloring and painting in Photoshop CS6. Background perspective planned in Poser Pro 2012. Photo reference used for face.

So they’ve made a pornographic parody of Moffat era Doctor Who. I thought Moffat era Doctor Who already was the pornographic parody ….

It’s unfair to judge these Doctor Who episodes based on black and white early rough cuts, but — major shocker as episode 3, Robots of Sherwood, turns out to actually be really good. It’s played for comedy and works completely- partly on the strength of its guest stars. There’s a little cameo via a photograph which should make you gasp.

Clara has settled into the role of “very generic Doctor Who companion” and seems even to have picked up a Mickey Smith of some kind. But here’s the episode where she seems to be having the most fun.

By comparison, episode 2, “Inside the Dalek,” is more of a slog to get through in rough cut form - at least until its ending, which has a very interesting idea behind it. Nothing wrong with the episode- it’s solid enough- but it’s also an echo of things the show has done often, and better, before.

I could say the same about Capaldi’s very solid (and Scottish) but so far generic version of The Doctor. In episode 2 he’s in more of a soul-searching mode, and generally a bit distant and vague - in fact, he’s defined in this episode by being a little bit disinterested and bad at his job. This actually pays off pretty well by the end, considering what the episode is about.

I’m sure it’s hard to do anything new with the Daleks at this point, and overall the episode won’t disappoint fans- but I can only note that when they do “something different with the Daleks,” it feels a lot like the other episodes “doing something different with the Daleks” that they’ve done before.







New video game Kickstarter! Royal Heroes. I did some of the art and animation here, some writing and the voiceover.

New video game Kickstarter! Royal Heroes. I did some of the art and animation here, some writing and the voiceover.