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Why I don’t like Doctor Who anymore

OK, here’s the blog I told myself I wouldn’t write.

Being born in Britain in the 70s I have, of course, grown up with Doctor Who.  Admittedly I took a bit of a break in 1985 when the exciting US programmes enticed me away, programmes such as The A-Team, The Fall Guy, perhaps even home-grown tosh like Metal Mickey.

But when I got my own personal TV for my bedroom in 1987 one of the first shows I had the choice of watching was Doctor Who and I lapped it up.  Even though the 1987 series was a bit weak I still enjoyed Pex vs the Rezzies and aliens crash-landing a bus in a 50s Butlins.

And then one day in 1992 I walked into the Guildford branch of HMV and found some sci-fi TV VHSs.  Early Hartnells jostled next to Kirk-era Star Trek tapes.  I bought An Unearthly Child, both “The Daleks” tapes, both “Dalek Invasion” tapes and The Cage.  I went home, played and enjoyed the marvels of telly styles I’d never seen before.

I also discovered there was a magazine, Doctor Who Monthly, which had been coming out for years!  Nobody had ever told me!  I’d never seen or heard of it.  I started with issue 192 i think, and still have everyone since.  It’s only recently I’ve been thinking about cancelling it.

Because I don’t like Doctor Who anymore.  Or, more accurately, I don’t like any Doctor Who since David Tennant blubbed his final line “I don’t want to go!”.

When Russell T Davies, brought back Doctor Who bigger and bolder than it had ever been (even including the mighty years of Tom Baker) I was thrilled and relieved that they hadn’t ballsed it up.  The same reaction I had to Paul McGann’s 1996 effort, but let’s leave that discussion for another day.

And then… he announced that he was leaving.  And suddenly the Whovians went crazy, all pushing for Steven Moffat to take the job, purely because they liked his stories.  And that’s when I started to feel the collywobbles.  I liked a majority of Moffat’s stories, but I hated such drivel as The Girl in the Fireplace (or G’i’t’F’ace as cleverer wordsmiths than I came up with).  The Doctor falls in love with some blonde woman for no discernible reason, sidelining the other blonde tart he’d been disastrously sorta shacked up with for the season so far.  While she still had a boyfriend, I might add.  Who was with them.

I felt, rather like before the Gulf War, that I was the only one saying “whoa, let’s not get carried away”, but the resounding chorus even got as far as BBC Wales for soon RTD was also promoting Moffat as the man for the job.  Fandom went mad and started calling Moffat “The Grand Moff” and coming up with stupid anagrams “The Vast Toffee M.N.” (because they had two letters left over).  Fandom, as one, were behind him.  I was doubtful.  A great storywriter does not necessarily make a great showrunner.

Fast forward to January 2009 and a sudden shock announcement that David Tennant’s replacement was going to be announced.  Fandom had been hounding David with “when are you leaving?” questions almost immediately he became the Doctor and it never let up.  It drove me crazy, nothing would shut up these people so desperate to not savour the present.  I was somewhat amazed that David lasted as long as he did with this constant erosion.

Fandom again went C.R.A.Z.Y.  They were divided between hyping people like Paterson Joseph and Chiwi Et.. Chiti Ew… another guy with a name so unpronounceable that I can’t even google him.  Both Black guys.  I’m of course no racist, but this would be as ludicrous as the Doctor suddenly being a woman, or from Korea.  You couldn’t adequately explain it away, the Press would have laughed for months, some other countries would stop buying the series, it was just damn silly.  Also, the favourite, Paterson Joseph is not that great an actor, as anyone who’s watched him in many things will know.  He’s competent yes, but not great.  Not like Christopher Eccleston, nor David Tennant.  This of course didn’t stop Doctor Who fandom.  They were certain.  So certain, in fact, that one website even proclaimed he had been cast as the 11th Doctor.

No other names were brought to the fore, just those two.  Racking my brains as hard as I could I couldn’t think of anyone else either.  So I waited for the announcement.  And just before that moment came suddenly another name floated up out of nowhere.  Suddenly the betting shops were offering odds on him.  Strange.  So strange in fact that were I a betting man I’d have put a large amount of money on it.  I have a very suspicious mind.

Sure enough the next day the bombshell was dropped.  They showed footage of this new guy in a show called “Party Animals” and also in a thing with former blonde bimbo assistant, Billie Piper.  And he was terrible.  An awful mockney accent and no presence.  But he’d been cast by Moffat and pals. The only thing they’d talk about was how much they liked his hair.  They decided he was ‘the one’ and wouldn’t even consider anyone who auditioned after him.  My spidey senses tingled.  This seems a bit shallow, I thought.  They’ve pooh-poohed the stuntcasting of a Black actor for the stuntcasting of a 26year-old.  Say what you like, this was stuntcasting.  How do you get press after such a popular Doctor?  You do something completely unexpected and random.  And it worked.

Fandom went crazy, again.  Like they always do.   They declared him perfect and wonderful because of the way he waggled his fingers in the interview.  I’m not making this up.  I voiced some concerns about this shallowness on a website and was shouted down in a nasty series of vitriolic, personal attacks, designed to humiliate.  This received the tacit approval of what had previously been a friendly forum and I left, disgusted.

Doctor Who fandom can be an inclusive friendly place, until you stray from the party line.  There’s a strong “this story is great, this story is crap” which you’re not allowed to disagree with.  People shout loudly at the dogma of which is best without in some cases even to have seen them.  Anyway, fandom had decided that they would love the new doctor.  They projected their own desires on the upcoming season “i think it’s going to be much darker, and he’ll have an older companion to heighten that he’s an old man”.  They’d already decided his costume and where the season would go.  From a few grains of sand they had created a world.

Into this atmosphere, Steven Moffat could do no wrong.  They had decided to love everything and anyone who disagreed would not be received warmly.  The new Logo (a logo?) was revealed.  It was awful.  Fandom declared they loved it.  A new, terrible costume was revealed.  Fandom first went “yuk” then talked themselves into loving it. “It’s growing on me” is the oft-repeated mantra.  The new TARDIS.  Over-simplistic and plasticky fandom went “it’s growing on me”.  I’ve gone on record in a previous blog that I didn’t like it. 

And then finally the new series came.  Steven Moffat could have had Smith sitting in a corner for 60 minutes gurning and dribbling, fandom would have declared it to be Brilliant.  I hated it.  “Geronimo!” is the new Doctor’s catchphrase (you have to have a catchphrase now, for some unexplained reason) and fans love it.  The first episode was slow, slow, slow, very talky, cheap looking and nothing much happened.  There was some tedious drawn-out scene where the Doctor was fed a variety of foods, not liking any of them.  Fandom hooted with laughter.  Moffat had a girl companion in his own personal fetish gear for no good reason, fandom approved.  Oh look, she’s mentally ill, haha, how hilarious, three psychiatrists she’d been through, haha (it may not be three, I don’t care).  Because you see, mental problems are funny!  Like Edina’s comedy drunkeness in Absolutely Fabulous it doesn’t mean anything!  It’s just stuff to laugh at, oh my aching sides!  Let’s ignore reality, let’s just treat it like a sitcom. Smith, for his sins, was ok.  Not great, not terrible.  Not “the Doctor” either.

But no, this new season’s buzzword is “fairytale”.  Not for us the Bidmead RealScience.  RTD’s Magic>the laws of science has been trounced by the laws of fantasy.  Look, a spaceship with an eye.  So presumably this spaceship wasn’t built by spaceship builders eh?  Or maybe it was and they have Giant Eye parts in a warehouse.  Look, a sledgehammer subtle “crack” running through every episode.

What did fandom think?  Guess.  That’s right, as one, like an army of robots they declared it Brilliant.  Wafer-thin nonsensical plot with an “up yours Tennant” scene where Matt Smith walked through an image of the previous incarnations to proclaim “i am the Doctor” in the way a toddler tells his parents “No!” when told to clean up his mess.  Curiously the Doctor defeated the monsters the same way he’d done in an earlier Moffat-written episode.  Remember that.

Realising that they couldn’t be seen to love 100% of it, fandom collectively rounded on the theme tune.  All blame was shifted onto Murray Gold.  Nothing to do with Moffat was it?  Somehow the nasty Murray Gold had forced poor little Steven Moffat to have a dreadful theme tune.  Yup that’s how it works.  In time you’ll hear “it’s growing on me”.

Episode 2 came.  Moffat tried his usual schtick of being frightening.  Or rather, faux frightening.  We’re all scared of wooden heads aren’t we?  No?  Oh well, let’s bung on some scary music from Murray, that’ll fix it.  You’re scared now aren’t ya?  Yeah, thought so.  The episode itself had more than a passing nod to V for Vendetta.  In fact so much did it resemble V-for that had it not been based on the 80s-rejected story of a Space Whale (more fantasy) it would have been a direct rip-off. In one scene the Queen (look, she’s black!  Aha!  Aren’t we clever?!”) is seen in a big flowing cape all neatly laid out (even with an object on top of the fabric) that she couldn’t be more posed and set-up than if Annie Leibovitz had been standing off-camera.

Episode Three followed this lumbering and inadequate episode.  This was the one fans had been waiting for.  This was the final straw for me.  Churchill summons the Doctor to London.  Why?  Erm, well ok, that’s a big plot-hole, there was no reason.  There are Daleks fighting for England.  The Doctor (for that’s what they call this lumpy-faced finger-waggler) goes mad and attacks it.  He then says “I am the Doctor!!!!  And you are The Daleks!!!!” for no good reason.  Possibly the clunkiest line ever in Doctor Who.  The Daleks beam up to their spaceship, the Doctor follows and their spaceship (clearly an empty warehouse) he describes as “pretty beaten up”.  No it isn’t!  There’s no signs of damage anywhere!  Clearly someone forgot to tell the set dressers.  The Doctor does DramaticPose#c perfectly positioned in the centre of the screen, no, left a bit Matt, that’s it lovey, ok, ACTION!  The Daleks for no good reason create uber-Daleks who promptly zap them (ooh, they didn’t see that coming???) and then bugger off.  Oh and there’s a Star Wars rip-off where some spitfires roar into space (ignore the logic, it’s fantasy) and zap away fruitlessly.  There’s a c-plot where someone’s husband is killed but it’s glossed over in a “why did we bother writing this bit?” kind of way.  Churchill (about twice his weight) whips the TARDIS key, Amy shouts “oi churchill!” (a nod to a transient advert), a living bomb is allowed to remain an active threat on Earth and… that’s it.  I could mention the HIDEOUS redesign of the Daleks (so very blatantly an idea to wring more money out of the gullible fans) but i’m sure you’ve already seen the hunch-backed Tefal wok design for yourself by now.  Fandom decided it wasn’t Moffat’s fault, nor the writer Mark Gatiss, it was the fault of a ‘shopping list’ of plot elements.  Some writers can do a shopping list, others can’t.  Mark Gatiss can’t.  But it’s ok, it’s clearly not Moffat’s fault is it?  Happily skirting over that as Showrunner, Moffat is responsible for ALL the major decisions.  The buck stops there, y’know?

And that’s when I decide, this ‘aint for me.  From reports I get back from people still watching, almost every episode is peppered with “ooh that’s a bit like a previous episode/a film” and ‘witty’ dialogue undermining it episode by episode.  Episode 1 features the stellar “who the man?” i remind you.  Ha-ha-hilarious, isn’t it?  no.

Some claimed from ten minutes into episode one that Smith “claimed the role” but I just didn’t get that.  They say “David Who?” about the most popular Doctor there’s ever been and slag off his acting style.

There’s a phrase “50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong!” in an old song, which I disagree with.  Remember how many millions followed Hitler.  How many believe that no-one walked on the moon in 1969?  Weight of numbers does not prove anything to be right.  Fandom is still vociferously claiming that Smith is better.  I don’t see it.  Clearly it’s a problem with me.  Fandom can’t possibly be wrong can it?

32 responses to “Why I don’t like Doctor Who anymore

  1. solar penguin Friday 28th May, 2010 at 7.53 am

    Great post. I agree with most of your points, although I also disagree on a few minor points (e.g. As a classic-series fan, I thought “The Eleventh Hour” was much too fast paced and not talky enough. And the TARDIS interior needs to be a lot *more* simplistic and plasticky if it’s to match the minimalist white look of proper Dr Who. And I love the way the new Daleks remind me of the Cushing/Countdown Daleks, which I always preferred over the TV ones, especially the ugly RTD ones.)

    But these silly minor details aside, you’re right. Fandom is a weird, ugly hive-mind. They always say things like “If you prefer [that] to [this], then you’re not really a true Dr Who fan!” as though it’s the worst possible insult imaginable. I always just reply, “That’s right, I’m not really a ‘true fan’, whatever that is, and I never claimed to be one,” which confuses them.

    And yes, it was still possible to enjoy RTD’s DW, even though I didn’t really like it. But even that’s not possible any more with this new series. I’m still hoping that it’s all just teething troubles for the new star and showrunner, and it’ll start getting better once they’ve had a year or so of real experience at making DW.

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  3. Ccpper Wash Friday 28th May, 2010 at 1.40 pm

    Well….my partner and I have hung in there longer then you did. It’s diffiently a trial by fire. And yes, we found ourselves saying, “didn’t we already see this?” In the last episode when Amy started snogging on him, that’s when I threw in the towel. The vision of the 11th having sex with anyone has scarred me for life. As much as you disliked G’i’t’Face at least we got to see Ten in some snogging action and knew this man knew his stuff. So, now we own season 2,3.4 and all of the specials and will be buying 1 and be content with the legacy 9 and 10 gave us. We have nothing against 11. We wish him the best, he’s going to need it if the stories don’t get better. We’ll check in every once in awhile to see if they have or if he’s regenerated to
    12. To sum up your blog…amen.

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  5. helygen Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 3.48 pm

    Well said.
    I’m still watching “Doctor Who” (Hartnell was my first Doctor; I can’t NOT watch it) and for the most part I still enjoy it, but I no longer love it.
    RTD made me fall in love with the show, the characters, the stories, etc, in a way that previous show-runners had failed to do. David Tennant made me love the Doctor in a way that previous actors had failed to do.
    Moffat is a clever writer, but he clearly has a totally new vision for “Doctor Who” and I don’t particularly like it. I’m watching now purely because it’s “Doctor Who” – for me, the excitement, the anticipation, and the joy of seeing new adventures has completely disappeared.

  6. googoo Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 4.09 pm

    What you say.

    I don’t hate MS, don’t. He’s just not ‘The Doctor’ to me. He’s some guy pretending to be The Doctor and he’s not working for me.

    It feels like the soul has left the show – there is no emotion, and that surprises me because… I was one who wanted Moff to take over. I was not fond of Rustys Mary-Sue’ing and the forever bringing backing of superblonde and superchavvy Rose, so thought Moff would be the man to change all that. He did, but I’m so disappointed, it’s not funny. There is no love, you don’t care about anyone anymore. No one seems to really feel anything. I couldn’t be bothered who does what to who. I’ve proved that old adage – Be careful what you wish for indeed.

    As for fandom – I’m a little bit disgusted by it at the mo. I know DT was not everyones cup of tea, but he was bloody good, he put his heart into it and you could see he loved what he was doing. For some to now be smirking ‘David who?’ and declaring MS so much better than him after a handful of episodes when I have seen nothing that really would lead anyone to say that is strange. I also feel, like you, that you can’t express this without being told you’re not a ‘Fan’ and in my case, because I have the audacity to be a woman, you can add being told that ‘you only say that because fancied David Tennant and being sad won’t accept anyone else’. No. DT was an excellent actor and by the end of his stint he had done the impossible for me and got up there with Tom B in my affections. Not easy to match a childhood hero, but he did and did it with style.

    I feel like I’m a character in The Emperors New Clothes and that I’m pointing and saying ‘it’s not very good is it?’ but nobody wants to agree because they don’t want to step out of line. Maybe it is just us, though, as you said. Maybe we are just not good enough fans. Because as you said, how can fandom be wrong.

  7. Beth Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 6.22 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree! I am still watching, but without the joy and excitement I previously had. Matt Smith is nothing more than a pretend Doctor, but I guess that too is part of the “fairytale”.

  8. ZehnFan Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 7.19 pm

    In Germany, we mostly get US TV, so I first heard about Doctor Who in 2007. I was always a scifi fan, but loved this mix of science fiction, drama, humour and sillyness. I didn’t know what ‘regeneration’ was until I saw it happen in Parting of the Ways. After watching Series 1, I declared it my favourite TV show.

    I enjoyed Chris Eccleston’s portrayal of the Doctor and then *adored* David Tennant’s Doctor. In fact, DT is the first actor whose work I have actively followed. I’m proud to say I’m a fangirl. ;)

    So when DT announced he’d leave Doctor Who, I was quite sad. Steven Moffat would write brilliant stories for the next Doctor and I wished DT would stay for just one more series.
    Then I told myself everything would be fine. I’d watch David in his next projects AND Doctor Who. But it turns out I’m not enjoying Moffat’s Doctor Who.

    I expected to miss DT as the Doctor. And of course I do.
    But I miss RTD as showrunner even more.

    8 episodes in, my biggest problem is the characterisation. Rory is the only believable, likeable main character.
    The Doctor jumps between clumsy idiot, cool hero and choleric, arrogant ass. He doesn’t talk TO people, he talks AT them. His arrogance in combination with his youth just doesn’t work for me.
    Amy is a pretty face with oneliners who fails to react to threats. She treats her fiance like shit. Her character is either just very badly written or a big part of the series arc. Even if it’s the latter, it doesn’t excuse that she makes no sense at the moment.

    Except for maybe “Amy’s Choice” there were no original plots. Moffat even managed to destroy the Weeping Angels for me. “Don’t blink” has become “Don’t open your eyes” because it fitted the plot.

    The jokes are juvenile. “Yours is bigger than mine.”- “Let’s not go there.” Great idea! If I hear one more ‘bits’ joke, I’m going to scream.

    The design decisions — theme tune, title sequence, TARDIS interior, sonic screwdriver, Daleks — are all a change for the worse.

    Moffat seems to aim Series 5 at a much younger audience. ‘Adult’ jokes, Amy ‘Eye Candy’ Pond, and Star Wars/Star Trek/Whatnot references are thrown in to keep the adults interested. “Something for the dads”, Moffat said in the Confidential. How about writing thought provoking or at least entertaining stories for the adults — like RTD did?

    Reading the Gallifrey Base Forum, you’d think Series 5 is an improvement of everything RTD ever did. And I started to wonder if I’m just more tolerant towards mistakes in Series 1-4 because I liked the characters so much. Of course there were weak/weaker episodes (The Long Game, Idiot’s Lantern, Fear Her, 42, The Next Doctor, etc, etc). But I ALWAYS cared for the characters. It felt fresh and fun and bold. In every episode is something I enjoy and wouldn’t want to have missed.

    The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, Flesh and Stone, Vampires of Venice — I was bored or rolled my eyes in every other scene. I left the room in the middle of “Flesh and Stone”, because I was so annoyed. For the first time, I considered just turning off. I have no desire to rewatch any of these, ever.

    I’m still watching. But it’s painful, because it was so much better before.

  9. whogal Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 8.36 pm

    Oh dear. I want to disagree, I really do, but I can’t entirely.

    As previous posters have said, just because I’m a woman, (and therefore I actually have emotions) I feel accused of JUST liking Ten because I fancy David Tennant.
    OK, I admit it, I DO. A LOT. But I also admire his acting, and hate it when people get sniffy about it.

    I don’t actually don’t dislike Matt Smith – I love his ‘old head on young shoulders’ acting, and he can be very cute. BUT he’s not DT. There’s also something missing –
    and as someone’s already said, it’s probably emotion.

    I don’t get excited about DW now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t watch. It means I’m willing to record it and watch it later.
    I’m really hoping for more, because at its best it does still make me laugh and engage me. Let’s keep ‘em crossed.

  10. whogal Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 8.41 pm

    Oh, and I LOVED G’ it F ace. Bite me! :)

  11. TenIsMyMan Saturday 29th May, 2010 at 10.27 pm

    I agree with you completely. The Tenth Doctor was my Doctor, and I knew that it wouldn’t be the same, but I was hopeful. I am severely disapointed with this new series, it isn’t Doctor Who, Matt Smith is NOT the Doctor, and Steven Moffet is horrible at showrunning. I am still watching though, hoping Matt will regenerate, or maybe Moffet with regenerate into someone else.

  12. Timegoddess Sunday 30th May, 2010 at 9.12 pm

    Apart from the fact that I actually like the Ten/Rose relationship I completely agree with every word.

    ZehnFan, you pretty much told my story. (I’m also german as well)

    I love Ten and I like Nine. I enjoyed watching both. Ten is my Doctor and I miss him but I realized what I miss even more is RTD as the showrunner.

    The stories, the actors should make the viewers care about the characters, feel with them which is not the case in anymore. I like the Doctor to be the respectable, caring man he is in the RTD era, the tragic hero, the “man who never would” not the cold, childish idiot that is Eleven. There’s a lack of emotions overall. Using the words of someone else(hope you don’t mind) the magic is gone and the show doesn’t really have a heart anymore.

    I am a David Tennant fan, but there are many other reasons besides the change of leading actor which result in fans loosing interest and enthusiasm about a show they once loved. And I don’t hate MS he’s just not convincing in the role for me and the stories are just rubbish.

    It’s really sad that some fans are running down everyone and everything of the RTD era now and trample on their legacy.

    Especially the comments about David are really hurting, he put his heart into the role, the joy and passion he had being the Tenth Doctor is noticeable every single second.

    Also funny the comments about fandom, I read “it’s growing on me” so many times it’s ridiculous. As you said they force themselves to like it and even worse they’re trying to force it on others and once they know you don’t like Series 5 you’re a target for them.

    Another thing, I know people made a fuss about the Queen Bess reference because apparently they didn’t want the Doctor to be ‘so sexual’ but all those (mostly sexist) hints now are considered okay? I don’t get it.

    It’s very likely that I’ll stop watching and as ZehnFan said I have no desire to rewatch any of these episodes.

  13. Sharma aka DTFan4Life Tuesday 1st June, 2010 at 6.05 am

    I totally agree with you, Rumpio, mate! I only got about an episode and a half into this season before I gave up. So, will you please wake me up when Eleven regenerates and Twelve comes and/or a new showrunner gets ahold of Who, okay?

    After all, to me, S1-S4 was so full of vigor and pizazz and SUBSTANCE and emotion and deliberate mood and tone and great acting (and GOOD, seamless, real-looking CGI too) that seeing S5 was like comparing today’s soggy milquetoast breakfast (S5) to the 5-course lobster dinner (S1-S4) you’d had the night before.

    Let me be frank. I do not like Matt. He can’t act his way out of a paper bag. And I don’t like Herr Moff either. He can’t run the show or write a good episode for pinto beans. And it drives me absolutely batty. Because it was soooooooooo good during the RTD era: cohesive, emotional, and FUN! :D But, only ankle-deep into Moff’s era, it’s already just the opposite, as in sooooooooooo bad: nonsensical, emotionless, and downright crass. :(

    Really, I think it comes down to this. I think that both Chris and David brought such great depth AND breadth AND soul to the role of the Doctor. And I think Rusty brought great variety to the scripts that he wrote and/or accepted into the canon of the show. (In other words, he had some sort of innate creative sense and discerning palate. For the most part, anyway.)

    But, I think that Matt is simply taking us backwards in time, to a ‘just skimming the surface’ Doctor. You never know for sure what is in his head OR what is in his heart. Which is a very bad thing. And I think that Herr Moff has no discerning palate when it comes to picking the ones that will be in his version of Who canon NOR even when it comes to his own stories.

    Let’s compare, shall we?:

    The first two episodes of RTD’s Who relied equally on good-to-great acting, killer dialogue, ambitious scripts AND realistic CGI AND practical action. And they were all swirled together into a tantalizing brew that you couldn’t wait to chug and enjoy.

    The first two episodes in Moff’s tenture, however, TOTALLY relied on really fake-looking CGI creatures as their bad guys. And the accompanying weak scripts and weaker acting sealed the deal-breaker for me. It was like tepid water you forced to drink out of a garden hose.

    And so, with a heavy heart, I must admit that Doctor Who has, for now at least, been officially erased from my ‘must see’ list…

    PS Typos galore were in my last message, hence this updated and modified version. Sorry about that.

  14. James Barnes Friday 4th June, 2010 at 7.15 pm

    Concerning the ‘Fairytale’ buzzword; I admit it has been a tad overused but it is apt to describe this series. The new cameras giving a filmic grain, along with ‘The Mill’s’ etherial colour grading. The strange and fanciful plots and sub-plots. The exponential pacing. The much more though about camera framing.

    Admittedly ‘fantastical’ would be more suitable, but I don’t think it’s merely employed to throw off any plot criticism; yet to summarise the styling. I mean come on, If we’re getting started on that we begin to fall into ‘Pff! Time travel? Give me a break’, and then the show wouldn’t exist at all.

    Admittedly Matt’s doctor is tad shallow, however there’s still time for us to break through the outer crust which I think he’s currently putting up consciously; I think that is how the doctor as an entity would like to appear, but will fail as he always does, succumbing to human emotions. Also his humour doesn’t undermine drama, unlike Tennant’s which, albeit funny, did so; And it’s more my style of comedy.

    I personally love the new series. Admittedly only a Whovian myself since the resurrection, however, I feel production quality, writing, subtlety, characterisation and just generally a different and wholly enjoyable tack has been taken this series. Flouting conventions is what makes things fun, fresh and new; who can blame Steven Moffat for wanting it to be his Who now?

    PS: The only thing that could be improved: Monsters, I mean Giant Eyeballs?

    PPS: Richard Curtis at the helm tomorrow. It should be SUPERB.

    Comments on a few episodes – http://witteringnottwittering.wordpress.com

  15. Barbara Lloyd Wednesday 9th June, 2010 at 10.46 am

    Thanks for a well-written piece and I agree with many of the comments that follow. I don’t like the Moffat vision or storylines and I especially don’t like Matt Smith. More importantly, my children (10 and 13 years old) don’t like him either and are still pining for David Tennant. Matt Smith is without charm. intelligence or vulnerability whereas David Tennant really made us believe both in the Doctor’s incredible speed of mind but also in the loneliness of his existence. I still treasure the Saturdays spent on the sofa with my kids watching the golden years of Russell T Davies plus David Tennant!

  16. 14th doctor Monday 28th June, 2010 at 8.17 pm

    Agreed, agreed, and agreed. It’s not just the Doctor that’s shallow, the whole show is suddenly very shallow indeed. All it’s substance has been replaced overly intricate but illogical timey-wimey plots that collapse into their own plot holes under the weight of their own inconsistency.

    The Eleventh Doctor and Amy are just plain unlikeable – unpleasant spoiled amoral characters played by very poor actors who tend to just stare slack jawed when they don’t have lines, and then horribly overact when they do.

    All the bad aspects of RTD’s era were retained, all the good aspects were thrown in the trash. The show is now far too silly for adults and far too Adult for children. Even the shows aesthetics – Tardis, Daleks, Theme tune, costume – have been changed for the worse. Especially the fat plastic teletubbie daleks!

    I watched the first five episodes and then realised that, for the first time since I started watching Doctor Who when I was a child, the show was pissing me off instead of delighting me. So I stopped watching and am now patiently waiting for Moffat, Smith and Gillan to get the boot.

  17. Sara Thursday 5th August, 2010 at 6.18 pm

    First of all, this new series as a whole left me very confused: this mainly due to the badly-explained plots (or bad writing, or “even when the idea per se is great they’re not able to build an episode that shows it properly” stuff, call it as you please). I’ve never used to go search the net for other people’s opinion because I was more interested in the episodes rather then the fans’ thoughts/community and I had the possibility to discuss them at home whenever I wanted to.
    But since I was so puzzled, I though it could be a good idea to look for blogs and maybe understand what exaclty was so wrong with this “New New Who”, ’cause I just couldn’t figure it out with precision.

    I’ve now come to what I think is the most likely conclusion: it’s a bit of a mix of most of the weak points and missing things so many people around the net have’ve been complaining about in their messages.

    Namely, IMO:
    Characterization
    Because we haven’t had any so far. I’ll just make some examples: Amy and the Doc haven’t changed even the slightest bit since the first episode. Take a clip of Amy doing anything in the first ep., then one of the last, and try to say which belongs to which just relying on her characterization: you probably won’t be able to. Starting off with an arrogant, childish, silly companion who doesn’t respect people (for eg. when she sexually assaults the Doctor. She didn’t rape him, ok, but you certainly don’t act like that – and without any credible reason – if you respect a person) and thinks she’s so perfect is a great beginning that leads to so many possibilities… if you do something with it, if you make her slowly grow. They’ve just left her as it was. Same for the Doctor. Plus, I agree when some whovian say it now looks like the Amy Pond Show, not like Doctor Who.

    Writing/Plots
    I am a huge fan of the RTD era and I think Davies is an all-but-flawless genius. In fact, I’m not saying the show was perfect when he was the showrunner, some episodes were great and some weaker but it certainly was brillant to me and the “soul” of the show was always respected. I was very pleased to forgive some episodes with a mediocre outcome such as Love and Monsters, which was quite boring and useless. I felt like I was in good hands, there was a strong comunication between the viewers, us, and the characters, and I was willing to be carried away by all those wonderful moments and stories.
    He was able to bring substance to the plot/the story arcs.
    With Moffat, we have plenty of colorful garnish but, as many said, we lack in substance (with catchphrases, jokes, laughs, useless chatting around being the garnish and having consistent stories, character development, meaningful events of any sort being the substance).
    Not to mention that the “garnish” itself most of the times fails to entertain and results in a boring and not-so-clever (if not dreary) parody of what Doctor Who is.

    Acting skills
    Yeah, that too. I’m not the kind of person who goes “this one is too young so he’ll be awful” or “he is good-looking and seems funny so he’ll be fantastic” before the first episode is aired. I’m not used to judging after a few episodes, either, and I admit that it could still be early, but after 13 episodes I’m not impressed by Smith and Gillan’s performances. Probably it’s the writing that’s not helping at all, and I guess it mustn’t be easy to perform in an acceptable way when your character hasn’t got any defined characteristics, but I’ve got the impression that the fault here is not just Moffat’s and his job as a showrunner, except that he actually cast them, of course.
    Smith is an OK actor at best, or at least he looks no more than that when acting in the show. I agree, sometimes he fails to emphasize the right line and just shouts when there is no need to, he’s unable to show genuine happiness, satisfaction, concern, pain. You don’t get any emotions, any feelings, you don’t get anything that feels “real”.
    Someone said on a blog he was “way darker than Eccleston’s Doctor”. How is Smith’s Doctor “dark”, exactly? Because we haven’t had any introspection this far, we know nothing of him, we haven’t even started to know him, the only thing we’ve seen him do is make cheap jokes, and this huge hole wasn’t replaced by anything during the episodes. And I still won’t bring in the age issue, because I can remember watching on YouTube 22-year-old Tennant auditioning for Taking Over the Asylum, and he was way more impressive in a few minutes than Smith in a dozen episodes (not really because he’s Tennant, that was just to demonstrate that age doesn’t always count).

    Gillan is no better actress. She has two facial expressions, the one with the surprised eyes and the pout. She’s out there travelling in time and space, risking her life, seeing unbelievable wonders, and her voice sounds like she were chatting with a friend about her last shopping session. In Amy’s choice, she chooses Rory over a life of wonderful adventures with the Doctor out of the incredible love she supposedly feels for her fiancé (which she shows only in that episode, by merely saying it and then by siuciding while pregnant in a very unplausible way, since she treats him so unrespectfully in every other episode of the season). Then, when Rory is about to “go” and she starts remembering him, she is so shocked and is so afraid that she’ll lose him that that scene isn’t even a bit dramatic.

    Emotions
    Well, there aren’t any. Seriously. They never look really scared to death, or angry (even when 11 meets the Daleks it’s just shouting, IMO, he doesn’t look furious and horrified as he’s supposed to be), or depserate, or amazed. Nothing. It’s heartless.

    Oh, and the very last bit. I’ve just noticed how every enemy they meet is “the most dangerous” and every story “the most epic”. They tell you that time is really the worst thing ever, right, except the next time they tell you it’s worse. And the time after that they’ll say it’s *worser*. How is that credible?

    So, basically, I agree with most of what you wrote.
    This series was a big let-down, and for how hard I try I can’t really force myself into liking it.


    PS: The new opening theme is actually rather horrible. Surprisingly, in fact I adored Gold’s soundtrack for the past edition. Don’t know if it was Moffat to “make him” come up to such a terrible readaptation or if he did it all by himself and then Moffat agreed, but IMO it is a very big and sad failure.

    [Please excuse my poor English : )]

    BakaSara

  18. jamie Friday 14th January, 2011 at 10.15 pm

    I like matt smith but not as the doctor up till now.his first series I hated,for bad writing,bad lines and nothing made sense.also worst xmas episode for me.I don’t like amy or rory characters.I’m going to give it one more chance with the new series coming up but I feel it won’t suit me.

  19. Gail Thursday 10th March, 2011 at 6.49 pm

    I’m still sort of waiting for them to bring Doctor Who back.

    When New Who started I was so excited that I couldn’t contain mystelf. My favorite show was back and this time they’d have enough money to do proper special effects so finally the rest of the world could see how great it was without getting turned off by the cheesiness.

    The problem is, the cheesiness just came from a different source, and it was far harder to overlook.

    To me, Doctor Who was always about adventure, about great friendships, about travelling around and seeing things you could never see anywhere else, solving mysteries, having fun, and yes, loving a hero who was always a bit of a goofball, but who was always effective. It was about a guy who had the greatest life ever!

    It was an EXPANSIVE show, creating a universe of wonder.

    New Who contracted that universe down to an unbelievable degree.

    Suddenly the show is all about how the Companion fancies the Doctor. She’s no longer a strong individual in her own right, she’s defined by her romantic relationship (or want of a romantic relationship) with him. The Companion became the Doctor’s girlfriend, and nothing else much mattered. The next Companion wanted to be his girlfriend, and the next one after that virtually tried to rape him. (Donna was the only one “allowed” to just be his friend.)

    Suddenly this series about “Adventures in Time and Space” had virtually noone but humans living in the galaxy. There were humans and monsters, but no aliens. Apparently all the aliens are dead, except for the ones invading Earth. There were not other “civilizations.”

    A series about an ancient alien from a high tech civilization sudddenly had a complete aversion to science or technology. Anything technical got solved by waving the Doctor’s wand, and any science was reduced to “antiplastic,” “jiggery-pokery,” and “timey-wimey.”

    And suddenly, in this apparently family friendly childrens series, there are offensive sex jokes, like implied oral sex with a paving slab, the Doctor comparing dick sizes with his male Companion, and the Doctor himself apparently marrying the “Virgin Queen” then deflowering and abandoning her.

    All in the name of “emotion” and “characterization” and apparently pandering to a theoretical audience that isn’t smart enough to understand plotlines or explanations that aren’t distilled down to it’s most moronically simplistic.

    And apparently the Companions are now required to save the Doctor from himself. Either to have someone there to “stop him” (as if he’s the bad guy) or to “save him from himself” either because he’s so overcome by emotion, or doing something so out of character stupid that even a teenager from Earth can do it better.

    Gah!

    The rationale for all this seems to be that the audiences of today can’t figure anything out from clues, so they have to blatantly told everything. They have to be told that the Doctor is a hero. They have to be told how clever he is. They have to be told that he’s sexy. They have to be told that the situation is serious. They have to be coddled along and spoonfed the stories and plots because they can’t deduce anything for themselves.

    And apparently it is not possible for ANYONE to like anyone else without it being a sexual issue. Men can’t be friends with women without the women fancying them. Men can’t be friends with men without them fancying each other. And all young women must be just aching to get in someone’s pants.

    And the Doctor is required to kiss every one of his Companions. Apparently you’re not officially a Companion until you’ve snogged him now.

    What happened to the wonder of Time and Space?

    I don’t find myself excited about where they might go next, because it will just be someplace just like here. And it’ll all be background anyway while the characters angst around about their “tragic pasts” or their “emotional issues” or the romantic/sexual, “will they-won’t they” “tension”

    The wonder of exploring the universe has been boiled down to the annoyance of watching 20something women slag off their boyfriends while trying to get in the pants of an older man who KEEPS telling them NO!

    And apparently all you need to be a super-amazing, super-intelligent, legendary godlike hero nowadays, is the ability to brag and flip a switch.

    Bring back Doctor Who!

    Bring back the adventures in time and space, where people on other worlds are just as important and interesting as Earth, where problems are solved in a variety of fun, unusual, intelligent ways (not all involving sonic screwdrivers and big red buttons) where a man and a woman can be great, heartfelt friends without needing a romance to confine them.

    Me, I’m still waiting for the return of innocent wonder.

    (And, by the way, scale does not replace scope. Having “the entire universe!” at risk does not increase the scope of a story if that universe doesn’t seem to be populated with anything but a lot of disfunctional humans.)

    • Tim Monday 9th May, 2011 at 9.31 pm

      Gail,

      I give you a standing ovation for your comments. Thank you for saying so many of the things I feel as well. I have been a Doctor Who fan since 1979. I am glad I am not alone. I figured it was heresy to be critical of how the new production has unfolded. I watched the beginning of the new series recently with the ex-CIA agent giving an aside to President Nixon about wanting to get married….to a man. I think that is just about the last straw for me. It was irrelevant to the plot as about 98% of the sexual commentary has been from the “new” Doctor Who. Doctor Who has become about soap opera characterizations, winking and making statements about sexual politics. Thanks also to Raging Against the World for his rapier commentary in this blog entry. Excellent!

      • helygen Tuesday 10th May, 2011 at 8.48 pm

        Tim

        In case you’re expecting a reply, I feel that I should let you know that the email notification of your response to Gail has come to me! I hope that this is merely due to a glitch in the system somewhere, rather than someone (i.e. Gail) using my email address to comment on this blog.

        helygen

  20. Steve Thursday 14th July, 2011 at 5.06 am

    I’m with you. As a Canadian who was also born in the ’70′s, I grew up with the program too. I have not cared much for the new incarnation of the show but still must admit it has produced all-time classics such as Blink, The Family of Blood/Human Nature and very good episodes such as Dalek (where the Daleks’ storyline should have ended), Vincent and the Doctor and Ghosts of Mars. Unfortunately, the majority of the stories are either mediocre or just plain bad.
    I thought that the enhanced budget would have made the new version of DW that much better but it clearly has not. It just seems like they are stuck in this Pirates of the Caribbean self-indulgent mode that is, well, nauseating. The Depp original was clever and funny; the rest of that movie series has either been so-so or awful. I often hate the humor that is thrown in your face; it rarely enhances the story and usually leaves me rolling my eyes.

    Doctor Who was at its best in the Hinchcliffe era and that’s where it needs to go in a modern way. It needs to be more frightening and unpredictable; perhaps the Doctor could even lose one in awhile. I’d like to be able to connect to the characters and not just see them as whatevers.

    There’s being an immersed fan and just a casual fan; unfortunately, I’m in the latter category right now.

    Steve
    Toronto

  21. Robert Wednesday 24th August, 2011 at 6.33 pm

    Glad to see the comments still going on this for I have just finished up the first Matt Smith season and got into the 1969 moon-aliens-cheap X-Files ripoff-yucky episodes (“The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”), which I thought the first part of this one was actually intriguing, but they cannot seem to resolve anything without silly humor and action ‘machismo’ anymore. And I’m there now, I’m to the “I’m done with this.” But like some of the above comments I felt like a traitor to the series as a whole in how aggressive I was feeling against it now. Heck, I held out through the Colin Baker stuff (there was actually some not bad stuff during his tenure) and liked McCoy.

    Like many above I’m a long time Doctor Who geek and I guess maybe that makes me blind to the new universe they are all trying to create now, but I also agree so much with there is no wonder, no grumpy old man/Doctor edge, no emotional grounding, and it is just plain rehashing pop culture silliness.

    I guess my huge issue is why is it always so action heroish? “I AM THE DOCTOR!!!” And then cue a gun battle? Sorry to be a grumpy old Who fan but that isn’t Doctor Who. If they are so influenced by other sci-fi pop culture stuff why can’t they learn from Battlestar Galactica, which does a great job at mashing up the old school stuff with a new urgency and sense of wonder?

    I’ve tried so hard to connect with this new stuff. I actually really enjoyed the Eccleston season. Sure it was a little too brooding at times but it was good, very good, writing and tried some new stuff by building on the “mythology” of the Doctor. I appreciate how people thought maybe it was going too Colin Baker Doctor and too self-emoting as the universe against one man, but still I liked it. Tennant? Oh, I have to admit I got tired of the across the universe “lover’s” romp he and Rose were on where everything (death, destruction, extinction) seemed like a game and I lost interest/got busy with other things so got behind. So then I was excited to reconnect with a new Doctor and one people were heralding as a return to the Doctors of the past.

    Well, again like some of the above comments have noted at least a good amount of the Tennant stuff was fairly well written and love or hate him Tennant isn’t a bad actor. I actually don’t think the actors in the Smith seasons are that bad either (both him and the companions), but they don’t have much to work with. The writer and direction is so inconsistent in that one moment someone like Amy is realizing the dread and horror of the death around her then she’s throwing out pithy Schwarzenegger one-liners and then two minutes later going all self-centered and the Tyra Banks “It’s ALL about me!” And surprised no one has mentioned the River character and wow that is one poorly developed character.

    Maybe the series has improved into season six, but it seems to be getting worse as we progress, so if season six is actually going somewhere maybe someone can sell me on it again (Gaiman did pen a script so might have to check that out) otherwise I’m done.

    Rumpio, you even tried watching again?

    • Jya Friday 16th September, 2011 at 9.55 pm

      Yes me to i am becoming quite descombobulated with doctor who and all of it’s so called fandom!

      what really erks me is the continuing rant against the doctor being female to me this is jsut no big deal the doctor has it in his dna to be eitther sex and or gender and those so opposed to it jsut don’t get it at all i would love to see the doctor as a girl and i am male but am transgenered myself in real time that is i am male but wish and want to be female to me this to is no big deal thsoe of us who are born this way know their is nothing wrong with it whatsoever it is jsut how a lot of us are

      so the doctor regenerating into a girl, would be a very welcome change i say let’s go for it a really good actress could and should be broguth iint to play the part as was Barbabba Benedettin back in thos fan videos in the 1980′s i loved her playing the doctor and am in favor of her being included with all of the official and unoffcila doctors fandom et all!

      yes !: next i alos grwo very tired of all of those who are also oppsed to the doctor and stra trek being combnied i welcome this to when you come right down to it these are aonly tv shows for us to enjoy so why should not doctor who and star trek combine forces come on!

      next i wnat far more multiply doctor who stories with all of the offcial and fan doctors in the stories all of them in one story line to me this is the best of doctor who when all of the doctors come togehther in the same place at the same time i am all for this as well be in short trips and or fan fiction so i will have more soon Thnak’s!:

      Jay!

  22. Oyku Wednesday 14th September, 2011 at 8.25 pm

    Hi,
    First of all, I’m not an old fan, and I haven’t watched the original Who, so I can’t compare the new series and the older ones. But I think you’re quite right about your stance; the future of the new series doesn’t look good. I’ve got a few complaints about Eleven.

    I’ve started to watch DW with Eccleston and immediately thought it was brilliant. I loved Rose as a compagnion. (even though there are a LOT people who hate her, and I understand why but she’s my favorite anyway).

    Tennant was….fantastic. The best thing ever. I’m not only talking about David himself, I mean the whole script, the new charas, acting in general, basically 10′s story. It was so much full of emotion. It was hardcore.

    (With a few pet peeves:
    -I hated Martha. I don’t get to hate charas easily, but I hated her just because she came after Rose and fancied the Doctor.
    -The fact that EVERY single female he’s met just HAD to kiss Ten started to bother me at this point.)

    Series 4 was a turning point, because I didn’t know what to expect after Mr. Tennant. The only thing I knew that none would be like him.

    When I saw the 5th series, I’ve got my mind made up. It took some time but I understood:

    -THIS DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WATCHING DOCTOR WHO.
    -No it had nothing to do with Matt Smith. He’s a good actor in my opinion.
    -No, it wasn’t because the logo, the intro, and the actors changed. The old ones were amazing, and only a stupid would change them, but hey, they don’t really matter THAT much to the episodes.

    It was because STEVEN MOFFAT, The man who’s written my all time fav episodes. This is funny but every single episode he wrote is a fav of mine. Every single.
    And now, I don’t know what the eff he thinks he’s doing with the Doctor.

    Series 5 & 6 are good. The story is good. A funny man travelling with his married friends.

    But it is not Doctor Who.

    When I look at Eleven, I see this goofy stranger, and I understand that my Doctor actually died, back in the Tardis, to save Wilfred.

  23. tom tapper Wednesday 2nd November, 2011 at 10.15 am

    Completely agree with all your points and also with most of the comments. Tennant was the best thing ever for me, he was funny at key points but was serious when it mattered and that is what ms lacks imho. Small trademark things like “Alonsi”, “HA” and the cool spinning aroung the Tardis console while driving added to his immense charm. Moffats stories just tend to annoy me. Some of them have almost drawn me in only to end by some sort of possitive thinking or emotions saving the day. Amy standing over the bomb man and telling him to think about when he has fancied someone in order to stop it just left me feeling unfullfilled. I wish with all my heart that RTD would come back and take over again because I fear that even with a great new regeneration, moffat is incapeable of the head writers job, Maybe we could start up a petition on fb etc and try and get the message across to the bbc. Moffat and smith or at least one of them need to go.

  24. tom tapper Wednesday 2nd November, 2011 at 10.30 am

    PS, i do understand RTD is very unlikely to come back but maybe for a one off ep like xmas it would be great to see a ‘three doctors’ episode with ms, dt and ce. written by moffat and russell…

  25. phil Tuesday 4th September, 2012 at 9.41 pm

    I have to say having watched the series up to the first season 7 episode (all the new series episodes) I don’t like how from the beginning of season 5 and on Moffat decided that everything before it should be erased so now it’s no longer part of the show the daleks don’t know who the doctor is the universe thinks he’s dead and I can’t think of any references too old episodes besides ones in let’s kill hitler where they show some old companions and in the eleventh hour but that is it (this is also only in doctor who episodes so I am not counting sarah jane’s show)

  26. phil Tuesday 4th September, 2012 at 9.43 pm

    well maybe no erased but irrelivent I mean honestly I want to see jack Harkness come back for the 50 year anniversary

  27. Juli Wednesday 27th February, 2013 at 2.22 am

    I have only discovered Doctor Who a month or so ago while searching Netflix, I am from Argentina and the doctor is almost completely unknown here. I fell in love with the show after watching three episodes of series 1 of the new era. I was sad to see Eccleston go but almost forgot all about him after a couple of episodes with David Tennant, I watched series 2 to 4 at a rate of three or four episodes a night. I admit I hated Martha (I found her really irritating and missed Rose) but those seasons were a magnificent journey, I am more of a book person and I almost lack of a sense of humour :) but with DT in charge I laughed, cried, clapped, swore at the TV and the like, I thought it was the most amazing show I had ever watched. I am now on episode 6 of season 5 and I feel like many of you, I’m still waiting for The Doctor to appear, I knew I was going to miss DT, but then I had thought I was going to miss Eccleston and loved DT, I began watching with an open mind, honestly, but both the stories and the new doctor fail to impress me. I stumbled upon this blog while trying to google people feeling the same without getting too many spoilers and it summed up my feelings entirely! I won’t stop watching but I will watch almost hoping for the next regeneration instead of dreading it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  28. butterflypoo Monday 5th August, 2013 at 4.44 am

    I’m relieved that so many others agree with me, and with such passion! My sister and friends watch Doctor Who and most of them feel the same as I do, but they manage to tolerate it more than me.

    I too miss 9 and 10, but miss RTD’s idea’s even more. I honestly don’t expect it to change anytime soon, but *hope* that it will. For a very long time since I caught up to Season 5, I refused to watch DW, and when I finally did decide to watch it, it was because I knew that I had a commitment to the DW world and did not want to miss new aspects of the DT culture. I have found that I do enjoy some stories, such as The Rebel Flesh, and The Silence is an interesting concept, but I enjoy these episodes in a different way.

    I also do not appreciate the sexism that Moffat introduces in so many small ways; I never ever had this issue for RTD!! As a matter of fact, RTD made me feel empowered as a women and like I was in a “real world” where women have the right to be themselves without being objectified. DT under RTD was like an amazing feminist show that was so down-to-earth, you didn’t really feel like it was feminist, it just felt real and raw. I heard from a friend that “Moffat does not write female characters well”, and try to remind myself of this, but end up being disappointed and feeling like I lost an old friend, or a friend has transformed into someone whom I can no longer trust.

    DT has always had a strong message about acceptance of others, curiosity instead of judging/anger, non-violence, believing in yourself, standing up for others, standing up for those whom you love, and that the realities that we claim to be familiar with are much more infinite than we can imagine. I now see weak shadows of these messages or not at all.

    I wonder if the show will be revived properly, for the 2nd time :P, within my lifetime.

    I’m going to go watch Season 3, I actually really like Martha and Ten! :)

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