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The Friendly Dalek

My huge Doctor Who episode marathon.

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7 minutes ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

I did like the title with it's play on Anarchy in the UK. 

I still think Spiders In Sheffield would be a catchier title. :lol:

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I didn’t realise this marathon was still going on, I have neglected this part of the forum for too long, I am going to stick around and read your reviews :thumbup:

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1 minute ago, R4wly97 said:

I didn’t realise this marathon was still going on, I have neglected this part of the forum for too long, I am going to stick around and read your reviews :thumbup:

You've missed the best bit (Capaldi).

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3 minutes ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

You've missed the best bit (Capaldi).

It’s missing him hours again 

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2 minutes ago, R4wly97 said:

It’s missing him hours again 

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Just now, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

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31 minutes ago, R4wly97 said:

I didn’t realise this marathon was still going on, I have neglected this part of the forum for too long, I am going to stick around and read your reviews :thumbup:

To be honest I should have been done with it ages ago, but I've been really bad with it, and watching series 12 instead, so it's taken me far longer than it should have. 

Looking back, I watched An Unearthly Child on August 8th, 2018, so it'll have taken me nearly two years to do it. That is kind of scary to think about. :lol:

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14 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

but I've been really bad with it

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7 hours ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Honestly so am I. This should have been completed ages ago. :lol:

I think this is what is known in marathon terms as  "hitting the wall". But the finish line is in site.

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Posted (edited)

The Tsuranga Conundrum- Somehow Chibnall managed to make an episode which is even worse than Arachnids. There isn't a single redeeming quality about this episode.

Jodie is possibly at her most annoying here. Admittedly the dialogue is atrocious, and there's probably no actor alive who could have made this interesting, but her performance really doesn't work. The companions are utterly useless, with not one of them having anything interesting to do. The supporting cast it just as bad. 

As previously mentioned, this is a contender of Chibnall's worst script in my eyes. How this script was approved is beyond me. The episode is visually bland, the spaceship interiors aren't interesting to look at, and the direction is flat. 

The plot is incredibly basic, and filled with useless side stories. Why is there a pregnant man? I don't know, and as far as I'm aware the episode didn't bother to explain it. He's just there to give Ryan and Graham something to do at the end, but it's played for laughs and it just doesn't land. None of the comedy works here.

The Pting is an absolutely terrible monster. We're told many times that it is incredibly dangerous, but we never see anything which reinforces that fact, so I don't buy it as a believable threat. Its design is incredibly stupid. There's no way anyone can take that thing seriously, so it doesn't work as an effective monster.

Overall- 1/10.

I'm happy I've now got this one over with. I absolutely can not stand this episode. It is boring, dull and uninspired, with one of the worst monsters to show has produced in recent memory.

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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The Tsuranga Conundrum - A conundrum indeed as to how Chibnall can take a perfectly good, if unoriginal, premise (alien threat on a claustrophobic spaceship) and make a complete mess of it but he does.

There is nothing to like about this episode. At least I don't think there is. This was so boring I ended up doing some work emails!

The pacing is completely off as is the editing. There is no flow. Jodie Whittaker gives her worst performance but that is mainly due to the writing. Her interpretation of The Doctor is completely off key. There is a good support cast but they are given no material to work with and you don't really care what happens to any of them.

The so called 'comedy' element with the pregnant man just doesn't work on any level. Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

The Pting is laughable but not in a good way. If this is an interpretation of a very dangerous alien then it needs to come across as more threatening.

This episode is best forgotten. So bad I didn't even like Bradley Walsh.

Overall 0/10. This is far worse than any episode that I have previously given a 1/10.

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Posted (edited)

Demons Of The Punjab- Hold on a minute. I actually enjoyed another series 11 episode? How is this possible? :lol:

This is the first episode of series 11 that wasn't at least co-written by Chibnall, and it succeeds in breaking away from the low quality of the majority of his stories. I like how we finally got some proper development of Yaz, it wasn't much, but it's a step in the right direction. It evokes similar themes as Father's Day, as The Doctor takes a companion to see an old relative. Although not as powerful as Father's Day, this one still has good moments. 

The acting from the lead cast is good. Jodie surprised me, she wasn't annoying for a change. The wedding scene is a great example of 13 doing something different. I couldn't see many others Doctors in a situation like that, and that's what I want to see more of from 13. I want things that set her apart, rather than her just feeling like a pale imitation of the best parts of previous Doctors. Mandip Gill get's more to do than usual, and Tosin and Bradley are also good. Unfortunately, the supporting cast let this one down. The weak characterisation of them also doesn't help. I didn't hate any of them, like I have in previous episodes, but there wasn't much depth to them. 

Another thing that let's this episode down is the Thijarians. Once we find out they are peaceful observers, I wasn't at all interested in them. I do like their design though. The human villains weren't good enough to make up for the lack of an alien threat. 

This episode excels from a production standpoint. The visuals are gorgeous, set design is excellent, and Segun Akinola's score is wonderful. It is just poor writing and characterisation that brings this one down. The pacing is good, it doesn't bore me, just the characters could have done with some more depth. 

Overall- 6/10. 

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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Demons Of The Punjab  - Well, well, well. After the deteriorating quality of Series 11 this episode came as a pleasant surprise and is one of my favourites of the Whittaker era.

It's not perfect. But it is a marked improvement. There is some much needed character development for Yaz. Jodie actually gets the opportunity to be a own Doctor rather than a cheap knock off. 

The production, writing, visuals and music are good. The characterisation of the support cast could certainly have been improved but the whole episode flows along nicely.

The Thijarians are visually appealing. I don't actually mind them being observers rather than an actual threat. 

It was nice to have a more character led bit of sci-fi rather than an agenda ridden mess (and let's face it given the time period it was set in there was plenty of opportunity for an agenda :lol:).

Is it any coincidence that this was not written by Chibnall? I think not!

Overall 7/10

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Kerblam!- I'm going to admit it now. This is my favourite episode of series 11. To me, this is the most like Doctor Who that this series gets, I'll explain what I mean by that in this. 

Doctor Who has always been political, and some of the best episodes in the show's history have been political. Examples of episodes that do it right include The Silurians and The Green Death. Kerblam follows the series 11 trend of featuring a major political issue in just about every episode, but unlike most others in this series, it allows a fun story to be told, with the politics being a backdrop, rather than the key focus, making it more like those classic episodes I mentioned.

Doctor Who, at its core, for me, involves The Doctor and his/her companions being thrown into a situation, and they then have to resolve it. A simple and effective formula. The show has diverted from this many times, often to great effect, but this relative simplicity is key to many episodes. Kerblam is an example of this. At its core, this story just involved the team trying to work out who sent them a distress message. It's basic, but it makes for a fun, easy to watch story, and that's a key element that a lot of this series misses in my eyes. Fun. 

This was the episode I was most looking forward to revisiting in this series, and I wasn't let down. It's well paced, and for the most part is well shot and directed. The acting is good, and the characters were actually likeable. The leads are all very good, and Lee Mack is great. Leo Flanagan and Claudie Jessie were also good. I was surprised to find that Kira's death was still effective, something I haven't felt in an episode of Who for a while. The Kerblam men were also very creepy at times.

Although this episode is very fun, it's not without its flaws. Yaz and Ryan still feel wasted for the most part (although not as egregiously as in other episodes), and some of the dialogue really misses the mark in terms of the comedy. The conveyor belt scene adds nothing to the narrative and looks very cheap, I feel like the episode would have been better off without it. Charlie's plan, whilst far more interesting than other villains of this series, still felt silly to me. The exploration of the negative impacts of capitalism and the mechanisation of a work force wasn't explored as effectively as it could have been, with recent episodes such as Oxygen doing it better, but I'd rather have a political message thinly wrapped around a fun story than an aggressively in-your-face political message covering a bad one. 

Overall- 8/10.

This episode was nice to revisit. There's a lot about this one to like in my mind. It's pure and simple Doctor Who.

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Kerblam! - I know I am in the minority here but I am not a great fan of this episode. For me it seems too forced. Were it not for copyright it would undoubtedly have been called Amazon. 

The pacing is off. I found this story a bit boring. The support cast try their best with the material given. The companions (with the exception of Graham) are not utilised well. Jodie's Doctor still comes across as inconsistent. The Kerblam men seem more comedic than threatening. Charlie's plan seems silly. 

I can appreciate why most find this an enjoyable episode but it just wasn't for me. 

Overall 4/10

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As we're in quarantine it might encourage me to get this done a little faster. :lol:

The Witchfinders- The winning streak ends. The writing is sadly back to the average for this series. Jodie returns to being annoying, and the companions are wasted once more.

The most unfortunate thing about this one is that it has clear potential. It could have been something great. The writing absolutely ruins that though. There's nothing to the leads, and the supporting characters are bland. The only stand out is Alan Cumming as King James, who I thought was very good. 

The villain element doesn't work at all here. We've seen witches in modern Who before, back in series 3, but they were so much more interesting there. We got to see them battle William Shakespeare through the power of words. That's an interesting concept which makes use of a historical figure effectively. King James feels like he's just here for comedies sake, and the "witches" (I say it like that as they're just like any other alien threat) aren't approached at an interesting angle, thus making them wholly forgettable. 

Another unforgivable sin committed by this episode is that it's just so boring. I'd much rather watch something bad than something boring, but this episode provides both. I wasn't interested in any of the characters or the plot itself, so I was bored for most of it because I simply didn't care what was happening. 

The main positives I have for this episode are in regard to the technical aspects. The episode looks very pretty, the costume design was nice and the editing was fine (the pacing suffers because of the poor script). 

Overall- 4/10.

This episode at least had the courtesy to try to tell a story over forcing a political ideology in my face, and would you believe me if I said it wasn't written by Chibnall? Shocking isn't it, how some writers actually try to put story first. There are still some moments and quotes which stick out as overtly political, but no where near as badly as in other episodes. Although the vast majority of the comedy didn't work, I already said I liked King James, and I'll admit that Graham's Tarantino joke still got a laugh out of me.

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The Witchfinders - I am going to be positive. 

Alan Cumming was suitably camp as King John.

Bradley Walsh was great.

A good proportion of the comedy worked. 

That's all I can think of. 

Overall 4/10

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It Takes You Away- I really wanted to like this one. It is by far the most creative series 11 gets, and I'll give it credit for trying something so unique, but it's ruined in its execution.

Once again, Bradley Walsh is the only one of the leads who makes a positive impact, with more on that in a bit. Jodie gets some good moments, such as when she gets to interact with The Solitract, but Tosin and Mandeep are pushed aside once again. Ellie Wallwork does a good job as Hanne, but Christian Rubeck gets wasted as Erik. Despite the weaknesses of the script, none of the acting sounds out as particularly bad, in fact everyone was quite good.

This episode is high concept, but places more attention on that than the characters. A story's core is the characters, and it is only as strong as they are. Unfortunately, Hanne and Erik aren't well developed, especially Erik. There's an intriguing set-up with him, but his character goes nowhere. Ribbons was completely pointless. 

The Antizone is visually interesting, but that's about it. The story really picks up once the characters enter the mirror universe. Graham's interactions with Grace are the best thing about this episode in my opinion. The way it explores his grief is brilliant to watch. This human drama is what grounds Doctor Who, and this is what the most recent series' have been missing. Character exploration is what makes a show like this work best, but Graham is the only one who really gets any sort of an arc in this series. The scenes between The Doctor and the Solitract are also great. 

This episode throws some crazy concepts at the viewer, and for the most part they work, but beyond the showiness of the visuals, the script really isn't up to par in my eyes. The episode looks gorgeous, but that can only do so much when the characters are flat and the pacing is weak. There's some very effective moments spread throughout this episode, but as a whole it doesn't work. A lot of people love this episode, and I'm glad they do, but it isn't up to my standard.

Overall- 4/10.  

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It's funny that the one you've had the highest combined score for on this series (Demons of the Punjab) is the one that sticks in my mind as being the point where a part of me just completely gave up on this incarnation of Who.

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7 minutes ago, natedammit said:

It's funny that the one you've had the highest combined score for on this series (Demons of the Punjab) is the one that sticks in my mind as being the point where a part of me just completely gave up on this incarnation of Who.

You lasted longer than I did. I gave up after the double-hit that was Arachnids In The UK and The Tsuranga Conundrum. :lol:

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23 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

You lasted longer than I did. I gave up after the double-hit that was Arachnids In The UK and The Tsuranga Conundrum. :lol:

Please don't tell anyone this, but I'm usually very forgiving and hate criticism of things. I can be very defensive of stuff others are being mean about. Eventually though I have a breaking point and anything goes.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/30/2020 at 2:05 PM, The Friendly Dalek said:

You lasted longer than I did. I gave up after the double-hit that was Arachnids In The UK and The Tsuranga Conundrum. :lol:

I lasted the same amount of time as you. :lol:

It Takes You Away - Continuing on my mission to be positive about every episode.

The interaction between Graham and Grace is excellent. 

I like the idea of The Solitract. But could have done without the frog at the end. 

Sorry my input is short but I am working from memory. 

Overall 4/10

Edited by Peter Capaldi Fan
Typo

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The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos- I'm not going to say this is the worst modern Who finale (although it , this one doesn't annoy me as much as The Wedding Of River Song or Hell Bent for example, but at least they tried to be something. This is by far the most bland and inconsequential finale we have yet. It feels like an episode which would be treated as mid-series filler in any series that wasn't series 11. 

A finale is supposed to have lasting consequences for the leads, but the Tardis team come out of this one entirely unchanged. Once again, the only one who receives anything resembling an arc is Graham, and that story was the only one I wanted to see develop. There was an interesting moral dilemma to explore, wether Graham is justified in his wish to kill Tim-Shaw to avenge Grace's death.  Too bad Chibnall completely abandons this idea within minutes of first bringing it up, so it never gets a satisfying or well-developed resolution. The acting is dull across the board, and the supporting cast don't do much good either, but to be fair no one had good material to work with here. Chibnall's script is absolutely terrible. 

The Ux make no sense if you think about them for more than a few minutes. That seems to be a common issue with Chibnall. Moffat would provide huge, complex arcs, and peole would complain about how he presents the answers to the mysteries he set up. Chibnall, by contrast, seems content to keep the stories small-scale, and doesn't even provide full explanations for what happens in those. Chibnall's scripts only just work if you don't put too much thought into them, but after spending some time thinking about them they crumble thanks to the inconsistencies and illogical things that happen for no clear reason. 

Speaking of illogical things, who thought it was a good ide to bring Tim-Shaw back? No wonder why this finale is bland, it has a villain who is equally boring. I wasn't a fan of this character in the series opener, and this episode does nothing to make him more interesting. His plan involves shrinking planets (seems familiar...) and that's about it. It's hugely basic, and thanks to the lack of set up there's no real tension here. I suppose the episode looks nice, and the pacing and editing is fine. 

Overall- 3/10.

I dislike a finale like Hell Bent more than this because, in the case of Hell Bent (despite being a far more competent script), it makes choices with the characters that I don't like. This episode doesn't do that, but then it doesn't really do anything. I don't hate it because most of the time I forget it even exists, it's just so bland and forgettable, and I'd rather have a hugely forgettable finale than one that angers me to think about. That being said, there's little to praise in this one. Chibnall's awful script and boring storytelling creates a rubbish finale. 

Overall rating for Series 11- 3/10.

This is my least favourite series of modern Who, for a number of reasons, the biggest reason being Chibnall himself. I don't think he was a good choice at all fpr the showrunner, and so far he has continued to prove why I had my doubts when he was announced to be taking over from Moffat. I just don't feel the same passion in his scripts as I felt from RTD and Moffat. As much as this argument has raged on the internet for years now, I'm still going to say that one of the weakest aspects of this series was the politics. In some episodes it was woven well into the narrative, but in most of the politically charged episodes (mainly Chibnall's own) the politics overshadowed the story and ruined what could have been a decent episode. I've already complained enough about this so I'll leave it there for the time being.

The lack of a series arc makes this one feel completely inconsequential. I wasn't wanting to continue the episodes because they weren't building to anything, there was nothing to keep me invested. As a result, the finale is forgettable because of the lack of build up. A series without an arc could have worked if the lead cast were good enough to keep me interested throughout, but they weren't. I really hope Jodie stays on after Chibnall leaves, because I want to give her a chance with a different showrunner, because Chibnall's writing has really let her down. The companions have all been let down as well. I'm sure Tosin and Mandeep are good actors, but they haven't been able to prove that to me in this series. Bradley Walsh is the only standout, but even then his performance is ruined by the dialogue. 

Series 11 had so much potential. We could have seen a similar scenario as what happened with series 5 in 2010. A new showrunner, a new Doctor, new companions, new production team, a fresh start. Series 5 succeeded where series 11 did not, and as a result this one is probably the one with the most wasted potential of them all. The production values were improved, and Doctor Who has never looked this good, but good visuals can only get a show so far.

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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