I locked my girlfriend in the cellar until she watched Doctor Who. She’s out now & I think we’ll live happily ever after

I don’t know about the rest of the world but I really, really like the resurrected Doctor Who. I find its mischievous, upbeat and sometimes irreverent tone utterly infectious. It is episodic entertainment working perfectly within the constraints of its format. Each episode is a fantastical adventure fraught with danger and intrigue that almost always stands up to scrutiny on its own merits. Yet, throughout these isolated tales small, tantalising clues as to the larger, currently incomprehensible overarching story are sown. I know this is basic television writing and am not suggesting that Doctor Who has revolutionised the structure of plotting over many hours. What I am saying, though, is that these clues and symbols, whether they be recurring phrases or momentary glimpses into the unknown, always, without fail, coalesce into the most satisfying season finales I’ve ever witnessed.

Gushing over, let us get to the problem with Doctor Who. In my professional life working in post production I find myself invariably surrounded by the good Doctor. From his earliest adventures outsmarting men wearing bed sheets and tinfoil, through his days as a private military contractor in Wales, the shitty Eighties where even he wasn’t very entertaining, right up to today where we see him fighting men wearing CG bed sheets and CG tinfoil. All this exposure has led to unhealthy episodes of mania where I am unable to control my consumption, often staying late into the night in the office to re-watch serials whilst simultaneously creating collages of Jon Pertwee’s utterly beautiful hair.

I do this not for selfish reasons, quite the opposite, I do it for my girlfriend. I know, simply know, that old, or classic as it is professionally known, Doctor Who will be of no interest to her, my lovely, wonderful, beautiful partner. Christ, some of them are a stretch even for me and I genuinely like the stuff. The pacing can be terribly ponderous, especially in the Sixties, and a decent level of suspension of disbelief is necessary to enjoy a lot of the lower-budget aspects of the show. I’m big enough to not try and force this onto her, however much I’d to curl up with her under Tom Baker’s scarf and live happily ever after. I’m not big enough, though, to never watch the new stuff with her, even if she thinks she doesn’t like it.

My friend recently bought a flat and last weekend invited us around to test out her newly purchased garden furniture. Everything was going swimmingly until the recently broadcast Broadchurch was mentioned. “I really don’t like David Tennant” said my friend, scrunching her face up so completely until it resembled a potato after being thrown at a wall. “His ratty little face upsets me” she continued, oblivious to her current lack of facial beauty. “I fully agree with you, his little body is silly; his torso is so slight, he just can’t be very manly” piped up my girlfriend helpfully. Well, with that I embarked upon a courageous defence of Mr. Tennant, hitting all the bases I could in the fifteen seconds I had before gang-obliteration. Shakespearean acting chops, perfect Doctor balancing levity and dark brooding like no other, beardy narcissism in the aforementioned Broadchurch, cheeky hijinks in Casanova. I felt as though I’d defended his honour admirably, though it was all for nought. They simply didn’t see the merit in the great man’s talents; I had been bested by x chromosomes and sheer ignorance.

Undeterred, I sat my girlfriend down, partly as punishment for disagreeing with me, partly as a life lesson, and forced her to watch ‘Rose’, the first episode of the new run of Doctor Who. There I was, bouncing on the sofa in time to the running music which makes up about eighty-five percent of the episode, while my lovely partner was sitting stony-faced beside me, clearly having the time of her life. She persevered though, and slowly opened herself up to Doctor Who’s brand of rather particular, cheesy levity. First it was the wordplay and terrible Dad-jokes, then came the slapstick, and finally, last night, she was taken by the drama. In a harrowing episode which sees a previously deceased father saved from his fate only to create the most horrible of paradoxes, which kills the Doctor might I add, and then re-kill himself to set things straight, the tension in my living room was palpable. She smiled, she laughed, she gasped, and I’d go as far as saying she loved Doctor Who for the first time.

Such is the power of perfectly-written-Saturday-night-light-sci-fi. All I need do now is keep bombarding her with episodes until anything that remained of her own personality is gone and she is merely a female version of myself. For that is the real joy of a relationship, no?

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Edited by Scroll

I'm not a fan but Tennant is alright. That's all I have to add.

Posted by OmegaPirate

You monster! doctor who is terrible!

Posted by Snail

You monster! doctor who is terrible!

Effing right.

Edited by MMMman

@omegapirate:

Terrible? Oh my, the very words sting mine eardrums! Granted, it is a little schlocky but I find it so endearing. The pretty terrible CG (although it does get better over time), the incessant running around, the mumbo-jumbo pseudo science; it just feels like a bunch of friends made it on a couple of grand and had a SUPER fun time doing it.

Posted by OmegaPirate

@mmmman: to be fair, im sure there's a lot to love with the show for those that got into it, but i have an acquaintance from work who manages to pretty much destroy my interest in anything he has enthusiasm for.

Star wars for example fell by the way side when he would turn up with a padawan ponytail hairstyle and start speaking alien languages instead of swearing or exclaiming delight.
Doctor who was another one of those 'full retard' things that he went on about so much before i had the chance to even really try getting into it that it killed any chance i had of ever wanting to enjoy the show. (that and the dudes massive forehead is infuriating to me!)

Glad you two have something you can both enjoy together however! even if you had to take extreme measures :D

Edited by MMMman

@omegapirate: Oof, I feel for you there. It's pretty unfair when someone's unhealthy/unnecessary love of something gets in the way. Padawan ponytail? That never looked good; just goes to show how dangerous unchecked fandom can be.

As for the foreheads, I think it's a prerequisite for the role:

Posted by OmegaPirate

@mmmman: foreheads? you mean MOREHEADS?1 amirite?

Posted by deskp

Doctor who is the most fun thing on tv now that spartacus is done.

Edited by Baillie

Doctor Who became terrible, absolutely terrible.

Edited by MMMman

@baillie:

Where do you place the downfall? I agree that the Matt Smith stuff isn't quite as compelling (mainly because he and Karen Gillan are just a bit too conventionally 'cool' in both their appearances and personalities), but the stories were generally pretty solid.
River Song though, now there is a woman.

Edited by HaltIamReptar

@mmmman said:

@baillie:

Where do you place the downfall? I agree that the Matt Smith stuff isn't quite as compelling (mainly because he and Karen Gillan are just a bit too conventionally 'cool' in both their looks and personalities), but the stories were generally pretty solid.

River Song though, now there is a woman.

I'd say that nothing can beat Tennant's goodbye. It went downhill because they reached the apex.

Posted by Baillie

After a season of the Eleventh Doctor. Got too cliché and well, not interesting. Rory and Amy overstayed their welcome. A lot of episodes were rehashes of earlier seasons...

Posted by MMMman

@haltiamreptar: Oh, I can't wait to get to that again, I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it!

We're up to The Empty Child, so a long way to go yet, though I'm pretty excited to see their first real stab at 'horror' again. I get a kick out of the scarier episodes and appreciate that they push pretty hard in that direction for seven o'clock on a Saturday night. When those episodes get it right they really rise above the typical formula for a Who episode and become pretty special, in my opinion anyway.

Edited by Zor

@mmmman said:

@baillie:

Where do you place the downfall? I agree that the Matt Smith stuff isn't quite as compelling (mainly because he and Karen Gillan are just a bit too conventionally 'cool' in both their looks and personalities), but the stories were generally pretty solid.

River Song though, now there is a woman.

I'd say that nothing can beat Tennant's goodbye. It went downhill because they reached the apex.

Tennant's good bye was one of the worst Doctor Who moments i have ever seen. It was like Russell T Davies was throwing a fit or something. He wanted to leave the series, but he didn't want to show to continue on without him. Blah... i would go more into it, but i haven't seen that episode in a while.

In any case, i wouldn't say that was the apex, and i don't think there is one, the show is very wibbily wobbly timey wimey.

Edited by GunstarRed

I still watch it and I'm not entirely sure why. I seem to always have like three episodes on my TV planner because I'm always behind as the show seems more and more like a chore. These past six episodes have been absolutely mind numbingly dull, sure there's a Matt Smith moment here and there, and Clara(?) or whatever her name is is a bunch of fun, but the stories and writing have been atrocious.

I wanted to punch my TV with the Cyber Men & Kids episode. I can't believe such a piece of shit was written by Neil Gaiman. The only bright spot was the haunted mansion in the 70's and even then it was OK at best. The show has run out of steam, Russell T Davies went completely up his own arse with it and Steven Moffat has made the show too confusing. It seems like he wants to be making grown up sci-fi but is confined to making family friendly entertainment that seems neither scary or fun.

Edited by Marcsman

Sleep with one eye open man.

Posted by Oldirtybearon

@zor said:

@haltiamreptar said:

@mmmman said:

@baillie:

Where do you place the downfall? I agree that the Matt Smith stuff isn't quite as compelling (mainly because he and Karen Gillan are just a bit too conventionally 'cool' in both their looks and personalities), but the stories were generally pretty solid.

River Song though, now there is a woman.

I'd say that nothing can beat Tennant's goodbye. It went downhill because they reached the apex.

Tennant's good bye was one of the worst Doctor Who moments i have ever seen. It was like Russell T Davies was throwing a fit or something. He wanted to leave the series, but he didn't want to show to continue on without him. Blah... i would go more into it, but i haven't seen that episode in a while.

In any case, i wouldn't say that was the apex, and i don't think there is one, the show is very wibbily wobbly timey wimey.

I'm not the biggest Tennant fan (though he's got the chops to be exceptional given the right script), but I thought his performance for the regeneration was pretty good. What about it stuck in your craw?

Posted by ZeForgotten

Just keep Steven Moffat away from an episode I'll watch it.
I mean.. erhm. I'll watch any episode but dislike only Moffat ones

Edited by Sackmanjones

So I have almost zero knowledge on this show and chances are Ill never watch it however i would like it if someone can tell me why the actor for the doctor changes every year?

Edited by Draugen

@sackmanjones: They refuse to grant him tenure, man. And politics, you know it's always about politics.

Edited by RagingLion

That was beautfully written - I enjoyed reading.

Edited by psylah

As a twenty-something 'Murican, Tennant is my Doctor Who (since BBC America has only been around since 98)

Posted by rebgav

So I have almost zero knowledge on this show and chances are Ill never watch it however i would like it if someone can tell me why the actor for the doctor changes every year?

Keeps the budget down, I'm sure.

I think that the in-fiction reason is "magical bullshit," but I haven't watched Dr. Who in a long time.

Posted by MMMman
@rebgav said:

@sackmanjones said:

So I have almost zero knowledge on this show and chances are Ill never watch it however i would like it if someone can tell me why the actor for the doctor changes every year?

Keeps the budget down, I'm sure.

I think that the in-fiction reason is "magical bullshit," but I haven't watched Dr. Who in a long time.

Magical bullshit is pretty much spot on; whenever he is injured to the point of death he 'regenerates' into a new body. I always viewed it is a way for the writers to recycle every villain and storyline ever couple of years or so, you know, a new actor can bring a little something different to the same old CYBERMEN ATTACK scenario. That and the obvious need to work around the actors themselves getting too old and/or bored to continue playing the role.

Edited by Baillie

The apex for me is easily The Girl in the Fireplace, by the way. They haven't reached those heights since.

Posted by MariachiMacabre

As an American who started the series last summer, Tennant is by far my favorite Doctor. But, again, I haven't seen any of the old series before Eccleston. I don't know if they show them in the UK but I've never seen them air over here.

Posted by Akyho

@gunstarred: You mirror my own world and Doctor Who. I was super excited for new DW untill the first ep after the next week reel for the submarine ep. I just havnt bothered.

The episodes before just havnt not be fun to watch just a chore and to ome face to face with another "pirate" episode I gave up. Pirate meaning the universly unliked pirate episode with Amy pond.

I caught the recent themepark cyberman ep over my shoulder. It was somewhat fine untill.... "I am bored now!" then the girl runs off and follows more stupidity in writting of a stupid kid.

I thaught we learned this lesson from the pilot ep of Sarah Jane adventures!

Rest of the episode went fine. I just wasnt excited or truley enjoyed it and it hasnt made me want to realy watch the eps I have missed or caught a little of.

Posted by rebgav

@mmmman: Regen was a nice out when they needed to change actors and brought the added bonus of people not caring too much about canon, which is probably quite liberating for a sci-fi franchise. It also gives them a nice launchpad for every revival of the show.

Have they addressed the problem of going beyond 13 Doctors yet or is that going to be the point that the current showrunners bail out and leave it to the next guy?

Posted by sodapop7

I guess I'm weird in that I enjoy all the doctors I've watched (2005 on). Tennant was very good but I enjoy Matt Smith a bunch as well. It's just a fun show.

Posted by MMMman

@rebgav: Oh I don't disagree that regeneration is terrible concept; narratively and practically speaking, it is a master-stroke.
As for the 13 lives, I'm sure when that problem arises a work-around will be written in. With the 50th anniversary coming up featuring John Hurt as a 'forgotten regeneration' between McGann and Eccleston we're nearly at our limit, that is of course, if his character proves to be a legitimate regeneration and not something else. Regardless, the writers play fast and loose with these sorts of things all the time, I see the series continuing far beyond 13, perhaps not in this run, certainly at some point though.

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

All interest left me when matt smith and steven moffat took over.

I'll give him this though, Matt Smith certainly looks like an alien.

Posted by Gnubberen

I fell into the Doctor Who hole last year, where I had a skin infection on my ankle, and I had to keep my foot still for a weekend. Been hooked since, and I'm pretty pumped for tomorrows episode and of course, the 50th Anniversary, where Tennant returns.

That said... I have to agree that this season hasn't been too great. The first half was pretty much a snore fest, with Asylum of The Daleks and The Snowmen, being the only good ones. The second half have been better, mostly due to Clara just being a fresh breathe of air.

I really think they need to get back to making two parts episodes again. Many of the recent episodes have felt just a bit too rushed. Also the sonic screwdriver needs to be nerfed.

But god damn it if I don't just love me some Doctor Who.

Posted by pyromagnestir

I did the same thing, only I don't have a girlfriend, I locked myself in a room as I was wearing makeup and a dress. Since I was the only one who knew about this plan and the door is locked from the other side I've yet to get out.

Help. Anyone?

Posted by Eidderf

Why is there a picture from Luther in the first post, are you hoping Idris Elba will be the next doctor or something?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I don't know how to feel about Doctor Who. It's a show that is as capable of brilliance as it is of being really stupid and corny. I ran out of steam halfway through Tennant's run (i.e. midway through season 3) and have kept up sporadically since then, with my biggest impression of the newer stuff being that it edges closer to the stupid side of the scale and also Mat Smith has a giant forehead.

When I try to be reductive, the phrase "Star Trek for girls but weird and super british" pops into my mind for some reason, which is absurd because Star Trek is for everyone. Doctor Who is ostensibly for everyone as well, but I feel like most of the Who fans I know are female.

Posted by Sackmanjones

@mmmman: that seems a bit off putting of only have an actor stick around for one year. Sure, technically it is the Same character but it seems like I'd be hard toget attached to him. Maybe it's just me

Edited by MMMman

@eidderf: The wife loves Luther, and by extension Idris in general, and Paul McGann has been in both that and Doctor Who. I thought it would be a slightly more interesting image to stick pink text over than one of Matt Smith's face. That and I like slightly left-field header images.

Having said that though, he would make a FANTASTIC Doctor. Or James Bond. Or any other iterative character in need of a spark, for that matter.

Posted by TheHumanDove

doctor who is the worst and extremely overrated and I dont understand its fanbase and never will. Also too britsh

Posted by ZeForgotten

@mmmman said:

@rebgav:

Oh I don't disagree that regeneration is terrible concept; narratively and practically speaking, it is a master-stroke.

As for the 13 lives, I'm sure when that problem arises a work-around will be written in. With the 50th anniversary coming up featuring John Hurt as a 'forgotten regeneration' between McGann and Eccleston we're nearly at our limit, that is of course, if his character proves to be a legitimate regeneration and not something else. Regardless, the writers play fast and loose with these sorts of things all the time, I see the series continuing far beyond 13, perhaps not in this run, certainly at some point though.

If this next regeneration turns out to be a real true regen then we're not only "nearly" at our limit. We're literally at the absolute last generation.
But still, fuck Moffat for at least not pushing to get Eccleston on instead of John Hurt. I like John Hurt but ...

Ugh, I'll say again, fuck Moffat.


Edited by Rhombus_Of_Terror

@eidderf said:

Why is there a picture from Luther in the first post, are you hoping

Idris Elba will be the next doctor or something?

I'd totally watch an Idris Elba Dr Who. Good lord that is such a good idea. Though the next one should be a woman. Mix it up a little.

Posted by MMMman

@sackmanjones: That can pose a problem. The Ninth Doctor was only in effect for a single series and his departure did alter the series. I came to it after that point, convinced he couldn't beat Tennant (and he doesn't) though the way he portrays the character is different enough to make his performance unique. Each Doctor generally differs, though they all inhabit the basic ecentricities set out in the Sixties. That, I feel, allows each actor a degree of flexibility whilst adhering to the overarching character lore.

Edited by sodapop7

I've always heard that Eccleston never really liked being Dr. Who in the first place, why would he come back? He's been by far the most distant from it since his departure. Just retcon the stupid 13 regenerations at this point. Would anyone actually have a problem with that? Hell they could just ignore it completely and I don't think most people would care.

@mmmman said:

@rebgav:

Oh I don't disagree that regeneration is terrible concept; narratively and practically speaking, it is a master-stroke.

As for the 13 lives, I'm sure when that problem arises a work-around will be written in. With the 50th anniversary coming up featuring John Hurt as a 'forgotten regeneration' between McGann and Eccleston we're nearly at our limit, that is of course, if his character proves to be a legitimate regeneration and not something else. Regardless, the writers play fast and loose with these sorts of things all the time, I see the series continuing far beyond 13, perhaps not in this run, certainly at some point though.

If this next regeneration turns out to be a real true regen then we're not only "nearly" at our limit. We're literally at the absolute last generation.

But still, fuck Moffat for at least not pushing to get Eccleston on instead of John Hurt. I like John Hurt but ...

Ugh, I'll say again, fuck Moffat.

Edited by Humanity

I hope she in turn sat you down and forced you to watch something you clearly don't enjoy just because she does.

Edited by Eidderf

@rhombus_of_terror: You know as much I like Idris Elba as an actor I find it a little hard to imagine him as the doctor, it's probably because all I can basically think of is a time travelling Luther but he just seems so physically intimidating compared to the other Doctors (especially compared to Matt Smith) That being said it's not like in Luther he doesn't use his cunning as well as his fists so who knows, though I can't see him being as quirky as that last few incarnations have been, but perhaps that's the sort of change we need to mix things up a bit.

@mmmman I heard people discussing the possibility of him being the next James Bond at one point, I think that's a role that would suit him well.

Edited by omdata

@pyromagnestir: If you really get into Who, none of these things will be a problem.

BUT seriously. I watched it as a small child, the later Pertwee, Baker and Davison years (a few Colin Baker ep's here and there) on public TV, then didn't watch any for decades. About 2 years ago I decided to give the new ep's a shot. Love Eccleston, and grew to love Tennant (Matt Smith and Steven Moffat aren't doing anything at all for me).

However, at the same time, the completist in me (I play games like Vinny and Brad) began seeking out the older ep's, and that's where my real love of the Doctor comes from. I hate the breathless pace of the newer series- even the newer episodes I enjoy, I wish they'd just slow down. They hung a lantern on this tendency in one of the Smith ep's and I just rolled my eyes. STFU and let me enjoy the story for a goddamn minute.

Are the older episodes hokey as hell? OF COURSE. But some of that is straight-up great science fiction. If you can get past the production values, there's a lot more body to the older stories than most of the new ones, IMO. The commentaries and bonus feature videos on the DVD's for the old ep's are fantastic, as well.

I feel the same way about the Doctor as I do about James Bond- I don't think there's ever been a bad one, I love all the portrayals in one way or another (some more than others). But there are definitely creative bents to each one, and the most recent iteration leaves me very, very cold, even though I think Matt Smith is a fine Doctor.

If you're afraid of delving into the older stuff, but are interested, I'd suggest starting with "the 3 Doctors", then "the 5 Doctors", then working your way back with the Doctors you cotton to. Hit up Amazon for reviews of the series in their DVD formats, then rent or purchase as you can. Some good ones up on Netflix, but no real order to most of it. At least they're the complete stories, but some of those are hooked up into larger story tapestries (like the "Key to Time" series).

Posted by MMMman

@humanity: Of course, I wouldn't want anything less. We've been together for a couple of years so this isn't me saying 'watch this or it is the end'; I just thought it time to share something I've enjoyed for a while now.

@omdata: I hear you on the commentaries, part of my job involves making of all of the DVD releases of 'Classic Who' and I find the commentaries and documentaries fascinating, especially where production staff lament the limitations of their technology and/or budget at the time. I always find those segments touchingly humble; people talking about making the best of a situation is always really compelling for me and places the older serials in a tangible production context; fantastically interesting in my opinion.

Posted by Clonedzero

I find doctor who annoying. Its too goofy to be taken seriously, and its too self-serious to be a goofy fun ride. Also doctor who fans are some of the most insufferable pricks, if you say you don't like it, even for valid reasons they act like i killed their dog or something and make it their mission to "prove" my opinion is wrong.

Fuck doctor who. And more importantly, fuck doctor who fans.

Posted by Clonedzero

I find doctor who annoying. Its too goofy to be taken seriously, and its too self-serious to be a goofy fun ride. Also doctor who fans are some of the most insufferable pricks, if you say you don't like it, even for valid reasons they act like i killed their dog or something and make it their mission to "prove" my opinion is wrong.

Fuck doctor who. And more importantly, fuck doctor who fans.

Edited by MMMman

@clonedzero: I think the 'fuck them' stance is a bit harsh, let people who like something you don't lie. We're not trying, or at leat I'm not, to convert you to something abominable like Catholicism.*pure sarcasm*

Edited by omdata

@mmmman: Right on. With a series that's gone on this long, the stories from behind the camera can rival - and certainly enhance - the stories in front of it.

Also, did you just say you work at BBC Video?! If so, that's a RIGHT ON in all-mfin'-caps! Hell, even if you work as a contractor, kudos. From Red Dwarf to Doctor Who, those discs are legit.

(Jon Pertwee's my fave, btw)

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