Doctor Who Review: Is Every Episode Going to Be a Remake?

harpere

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Doctor Who Review: Is Every Episode Going to Be a Remake?

Though Into the Dalek is another highly derivative episode, it's still a solid entry into the mythos of the Daleks and the Doctor.

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You arent the only one who was reminded of classic dr who.. for me it was the colin baker years when the doctor was an asshole.

the dr's turned into a boring old fart, who is quite happy to let people die and who uses his sonic screw driver as a weapon
 

Tanis

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I liked the episode.
I think it could have gone a LOT better, if it had gone a LOT darker, but I don't blame the BBC for being worried about crossing too many lines.

I REALLY love what Peter is doing for the roll.
He seems to be getting a bit of that 7th Doctor's 'moral ubiquity' and the 2nd Doctor's playfulness.

I hope the next episode works out.
 

Infernai

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I'm just happy to see the Doctor not get everything wrapped up and score a flawless victory. I did like Matt Smith as the Doctor, but the problem i had with his stories sometimes was that you always knew he was going to get everything he wanted: Everyone was saved, bad guys were beat and it's all wrapped up nicely bar the season long mystery plot. There wasn't much, well, to lose if you get what i mean and things stopped feeling tense.

What i liked about this episode was that, yes the Doctor won...but it wasn't a complete 100% victory. The dalek didn't turn good, it just redirected it's hatred of all living things into hatred of the Daleks instead when the Doctor wanted to turn it good. And that's not even getting into the fact people died for realzies without a reset button being hit or something.

It was bittersweet, and that's something i quite liked. And something the series sorely needed in my opinion.

Granted, not saying ALL episodes have to be utter downers and he has to lose all the time or anything. But, if they strike a better balance between the Doctors victories and his losses compared to the last few seasons it helps keep the show interesting. That way it's less "Wander how he's going to wrap everything up in a neat little bow this time" and more "Is he actually going to win this one?"
 

Jamalam

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"So on* one hand..."
"...the acting alone is good reason to tune* in..."
"...you can catch* new episodes of Doctor Who..."

Peter Capaldi continues to be excellent, Clara is improving and the production values are better than ever. It's the stories that continue to let the show down. They're often either derivative or have a lumpy, unsatisfying structure; relying too much on meaningless technobabble to resolve the plot or on mind-blowingly 'epic' moments to carry the entire episode. Look at Moffat's earlier work: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead or to eps like Dalek/Midnight/The Doctor's Wife for examples of satisfying, well-rounded STORIES. Too often these days when discussing Who I notice people praising 'that scene' or 'that one-liner' - rather than the whole episode as a self-contained narrative.
 

Jeroenr

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What was interesting was that the soldier that sacrificed her self ended up in missy's garden.
Makes you think she is collecting "people" whom gave their lives for the doctor.
Also that would mean that the clockwork android wasn't pushed but jumped.

And it would have been interesting if the Dalek gave his live to help the doctor.
This could still happen.
Any way, i'm sure we haven't seen the last of him.
 

Qage

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I've been thinking about it and I really can't decide whether I liked this episode or not. I want to say yes, but something stops me and I think I've put that down to the premise.

[spoiler/]When the Doctor sees the machine, he asks what medical value it has and then asks if they shrink the surgeons down so that they can go inside the patient. My immediate thought was "Why would that be the reason, that's unnecessarily complicated and highly impractical" and then the soldier confirms that that is what the machine is for.[/spoiler]

It took me incredibly off-guard and I just felt that the episode from that point on became based around a big gimmick. Which is sad because I feel that the Eccleston episode that this is clearly remaking, explored the same themes and deconstruction of character without needing such a pointless setup. Although maybe I'm just bitter because Eccleston is still my favourite Doctor.
 

Soviet Heavy

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I think that it wasn't so much ripping off Eccleston's episode as it was following it up. The Daleks said that 9 would make a good Dalek, and now 12 finally *is* a good Dalek. With 9, it was the threat of what he could become, while with 12, it's the horrible realization that he already was as bad as a Dalek.
 

Jeroenr

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It was bugging me a bit was that an army that battle's the Dalek is so useless at it.
As far as i could tell, they killed just one Dalek.
Storm-troopers would have done better.

As seen in Army of ghosts/Doomsday even Cybermen have a hard time with the Dalek.
But some alien races have quite effective weapons now.

And even a hospital ship would have a bit more than just laser pointers on board.
 

Something Amyss

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Rawbeard said:
there are a bazillion Doctor Who episodes, the remake feeling is unavoidable.
I don't know. Moffatt has been "remaking" episodes from the last five years quite frequently. If Doctor Who was an endless runner, and remakes were obstacles, it would be a case of tripping up during the first "easy" stretch.
 

Something Amyss

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Infernai said:
I'm just happy to see the Doctor not get everything wrapped up and score a flawless victory. I did like Matt Smith as the Doctor, but the problem i had with his stories sometimes was that you always knew he was going to get everything he wanted: Everyone was saved, bad guys were beat and it's all wrapped up nicely bar the season long mystery plot.
Were we watching the same show? Aside from keeping Rory and Amy, he rarely got everything he wanted. Hell the arc ends are about the only places this really manifested: Season 5, where he reboots the universe and sacrifices himself but doesn't really, season six where he cheats death at a fixed point in time, season seven where...Okay, this is a little muddier...I'll even let the fifthieth special slide because that's a gimme.

I'm having trouble thinking of episodes where he got everything he wanted. There's...The first Matt Smith episode, and....

No, I'm pretty close to tapped. Maybe "Let's Kill Hitler?" Can you give some examples? I'd like to know what you feel constitutes this. Especially with terms like "everyone saved," because I keep thinking things like "The God Complex," or "Angels Take Manhattan," or "The Curse of the Black Spot," which are definitely not "Everybody lives" episodes.
 

Infernai

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Infernai said:
I'm just happy to see the Doctor not get everything wrapped up and score a flawless victory. I did like Matt Smith as the Doctor, but the problem i had with his stories sometimes was that you always knew he was going to get everything he wanted: Everyone was saved, bad guys were beat and it's all wrapped up nicely bar the season long mystery plot.
Were we watching the same show? Aside from keeping Rory and Amy, he rarely got everything he wanted. Hell the arc ends are about the only places this really manifested: Season 5, where he reboots the universe and sacrifices himself but doesn't really, season six where he cheats death at a fixed point in time, season seven where...Okay, this is a little muddier...I'll even let the fifthieth special slide because that's a gimme.

I'm having trouble thinking of episodes where he got everything he wanted. There's...The first Matt Smith episode, and....

No, I'm pretty close to tapped. Maybe "Let's Kill Hitler?" Can you give some examples? I'd like to know what you feel constitutes this. Especially with terms like "everyone saved," because I keep thinking things like "The God Complex," or "Angels Take Manhattan," or "The Curse of the Black Spot," which are definitely not "Everybody lives" episodes.
I admit on reflection it wasn't a 100% perfect run in some regards, it has been a while since i saw the whole thing but I'll try and trudge up a few examples.

Smiths second episode is an example, the one with the Space Whale. Although, I will sort of let that one slide as it was the start of his tenure and this was after the end Tenth Doctor Period where...well, the universe sort of slapped him in the face for a while so a win at that point wasn't too bad.

The Curse of the Black spot if i recall basically was an everybody lives episode with the Siren of the episode revealed as an artificial intelligence that's gathering sick and injured humans and ends with the captain basically getting a space ship upgrade from his sea ship.

There was also the pre-50th episode where the Doctors timeline get's attacked and he follows Chlara by literally jumping into it despite warnings that terrible things will happen and...absolutely nothing does, they meet the war doctor and then they...walk out? Honestly, that part was a bit muddled and weird. Seriously, did they ever explain how the fuck the doctor got out of that one? I admit that one maybe doesn't fully count as everyone lives but sorta does because Chlara does fix his timestream. But, it does bring up the point of how they got out of that situation...

There were some other episodes, like that guy the doctor ends up becoming the room mate of as well as his sequel episode and also the one where the couple have that kid that's really some weird alien...thingy that happened in the second season. There was the initial Weeping Angels two parter which...ended with a reset button and erased memories. The first christmas special he did where the doctor literally rewrites a guys timeline to make him less of an asshole (Which bothered me because, well, this guy was head of a planet and I'm sure that changing stuff like this would have lead to some serious time paradoxes in the place.)

I will concede though that episodes like The God Complex weren't "Everybody lives" now i have thought back. For example Rory's initial death and the negotiations basically being postponed and ceased was a bit of a loss, but did end on the high note for the negotiation scenario by hinting that they'd wait and try again later down the road. Angels Take Manhatten I admit was a loss, but...by that point my question became "So, are Amy and Rory actually gone this time? Like, for realzies? Permanently? Not coming back?". Given I was half expecting Rory to pop up all fine later on in the tenure, i can't be blamed for this. Do note i didn't hate Amy and Rory initially, but...Smiths Second Season did sour me on them and when they actually did leave i kind of didn't believe it at first.

Anyway, consider my initial point of 100% victories revoked slightly. I was a bit on the tired side when i wrote that, but i will admit on reflection i was slightly wrong as he did have his losses. Still, i remember feeling that in Smiths tenure it felt like he was definitely going to come out on top somehow. While i did like his doctor and i think he played it well, nightmare in silver and Asylum of the Daleks are my favorites of his tenure, he did end up giving me a feeling that he was more or less going to come out of things and i did feel like the stakes were lowered slightly by it.

Jeroenr said:
It was bugging me a bit was that an army that battle's the Dalek is so useless at it.
As far as i could tell, they killed just one Dalek.
Storm-troopers would have done better.

As seen in Army of ghosts/Doomsday even Cybermen have a hard time with the Dalek.
But some alien races have quite effective weapons now.

And even a hospital ship would have a bit more than just laser pointers on board.
Maybe the weapons were on loan from the Imperial Guardsman? xD

...And now I'm wandering what a Doctor Who/40k cross-over would look like. I'm not sure if the Doctor would end up solving things, or would just have an aneurism from the sheer magnitude of the conflict and go "FUck it" before slamming the door of the TARDIS and just going elsewhere.
 

Something Amyss

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Infernai said:
Smiths second episode is an example, the one with the Space Whale. Although, I will sort of let that one slide as it was the start of his tenure and this was after the end Tenth Doctor Period where...well, the universe sort of slapped him in the face for a while so a win at that point wasn't too bad.
Where everyone lived unless you were not a child and taken by the winders. Also, where the Doctor nearly killed a space whale due to his own ignorance and was saved only because Amy Pond was quicker.

The Curse of the Black spot if i recall basically was an everybody lives episode with the Siren of the episode revealed as an artificial intelligence that's gathering sick and injured humans and ends with the captain basically getting a space ship upgrade from his sea ship.
One example.

There was also the pre-50th episode where the Doctors timeline get's attacked and he follows Chlara by literally jumping into it despite warnings that terrible things will happen and...absolutely nothing does, they meet the war doctor and then they...walk out? Honestly, that part was a bit muddled and weird. Seriously, did they ever explain how the fuck the doctor got out of that one? I admit that one maybe doesn't fully count as everyone lives but sorta does because Chlara does fix his timestream. But, it does bring up the point of how they got out of that situation...
Season finale., already covered by my statement that season finales tend to be different.

There were some other episodes, like that guy the doctor ends up becoming the room mate of as well as his sequel episode and also the one where the couple have that kid that's really some weird alien...thingy that happened in the second season.
"The Lodger" features people dying. If you mean he saves Craig and Sophie, yes. But that's a total of two people living. The alien kid, I don't remember the people who were put in the cupboard coming back EXCEPT Amy and Rory.

There was the initial Weeping Angels two parter which...ended with a reset button and erased memories.
This one gets super technical, in that anyone eaten by the crack never lived and therefore nobody died in the episode. They were still erased. I think that should count as casualties.

The first christmas special he did where the doctor literally rewrites a guys timeline to make him less of an asshole (Which bothered me because, well, this guy was head of a planet and I'm sure that changing stuff like this would have lead to some serious time paradoxes in the place.)
Doesn't the object of scrooge's affections die in that one? Hold on, to Wikipedia!

Kazran releases Abigail knowing this will be the last time, but Abigail understands and believes it is time for them to share a Christmas Day. The plan works successfully, and the resulting cloud break-out creates snowfall that falls around the city. As the Doctor rejoins Amy and Rory and prepares to take young Kazran back to the past, old Kazran and Abigail enjoy one last shark-led carriage-ride together.

I will concede though that episodes like The God Complex weren't "Everybody lives" now i have thought back. For example Rory's initial death and the negotiations basically being postponed and ceased was a bit of a loss, but did end on the high note for the negotiation scenario by hinting that they'd wait and try again later down the road. Angels Take Manhatten I admit was a loss, but...by that point my question became "So, are Amy and Rory actually gone this time? Like, for realzies? Permanently? Not coming back?". Given I was half expecting Rory to pop up all fine later on in the tenure, i can't be blamed for this. Do note i didn't hate Amy and Rory initially, but...Smiths Second Season did sour me on them and when they actually did leave i kind of didn't believe it at first.
At the point you're bringing the potential success of negotiations up (after several people died), you're describing EVERY DOCTOR EVER.

Okay, other examples:

Victory of the Daleks: Smith saves the day using Amy's bewbs, but the Daleks are back (and tricked him into reviving them) and they escaped. The Doctor literally trades their freedom for the earth. I doubt that counts as getting his way.

Vampires of Venice: The girls all (or mostly) die.

Vincent and the Doctor: to Amy's dismay, Van Gogh still takes his life.

The Doctor's Wife: The Doctor finds hope that there are other Time Lords out there, only to have it taken away. The only "victory' is a return to status quo.

The Rebel Flesh/Almost People: Several people die. The Doctor manages to save a couple, makes lemons from lemonade, fixes a brain clot.

A Good Man Goes to War: He still loses the b aby, getting tricked by the coalition of his enemies who successfully weaponise the baby. The only positive point is the infuriating way he cheats death at the end of the season. Still, this episode admittedly bugged me, as the bloodless coup of a military installation was just....ARG

Let's Kill Hitler: Everybody lives. Except the Nazis, and the crew of the Teselecta. Oh, and Hitler lives, because the Doctor accidentally saves his life. A high point, Rory clocks Hitler.

That's as far as I care to go, but his win record isn't slightly below 100%, it's horrible.
 

Brockyman

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Infernai said:
Let's Kill Hitler: Everybody lives. Except the Nazis, and the crew of the Teselecta. Oh, and Hitler lives, because the Doctor accidentally saves his life. A high point, Rory clocks Hitler.
Actually, most of the crew of the Teselecta escaped being beamed to a ship. I think maybe one or 2 crew bit it? Also, who cares about the Nazi's dying? In fact, I'd say the worst thing would be River uses all her regeneration energy to save him, which basically means she gave up a few lives to do it.
 

Brockyman

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Actually I'd say the Doctor's OVERALL "Winning Streak" is over 100% If you take the individual stories, a life here or there is tragic, but the fact he's saved the Earth dozens of times, the universe many times, and all of Creation (our Universe and all the parallels and dimensions at least once, as well as taking a big risk to save Galifreay, than I'd say he's doing pretty damn well in the W-L category :)
 

Netrigan

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Seeing as "Dalek" was a remake...

No, seriously. It's based on a Sixth Doctor audio adventure from the same author. Different settings, but the set-up of a tortured Dalek we're supposed to feel sorry for is the same.

I thought "Into the Dalek" was them finally getting right an idea which has been bouncing around Doctor Who since the Troughton Era (where the Human Factor created good Daleks, who destroyed the Dalek Emperor). Davies seemed absolutely obsessed with it as we get Daleks pushed passed their original programming on at least three occasions (Dalek, the New York story, and Donna's finale). That Daleks could finally learn something, but they doomed themselves by doing so. This story finally pushed it past the series of one-offs by having a Dalek motivated by a different hatred, succeeding in learning something, but still a slave to his nature.

Two out of the three Moffat Era stories feature the concept of the Good Dalek (Asylum and Into), so he's following the well-established path of the Davies Era, along with the Big Finish audio plays. The closest to Moffat's idea is the second Dalek Empire audio plays where an alternate universe Dalek fleet shows up who are the "good guys" and end up being as bad as the evil ones. Instead of trying to exterminate all who are different, they seek to assimilate them and the humans have to fight not for their survival but for their humanity. Rusty could lead to a lot of fun mischief in the future and push Dalek stories into different frontiers which are no less nasty than the standard Daleks.

So, no, I don't think of it as a remake of Dalek. Dalek was already on well-worn territory and it's tough coming up with a new angle for a Dalek story. I can see shades of Dalek, Asylum, and Evil (the Troughton one) in this one. Victory is the one honest to goodness remake of a previous, much better Dalek story, that being The Power of the Daleks from the Troughton Era.
 

Smiley Face

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It's important to remember that while many of us will have seen older Doctor Who episodes this is derivative of, Doctor Who is a show that has a large number of fans who have only recently come to it, and many who are also younger children. Similar as it may have been to Eccleston's Dalek episode, that was 8 years ago. The Daleks went on a bit of a back burner during Smith's tenure, and now we've got a new Doctor, maybe they're coming off the bench, so we get an episode reestablishing who they are, how they and the Doctor relate, and while it might be a little repetitive to us, people who are new to it know what's going on now.

Also, there's a difference between a remake and retreading old themes in new ways. Remakes in a TV series are bad form. Retreading old themes builds continuity.
 

gridsleep

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I did not get that Into the Dalek was derivative of any previous Doctor Who episode, but it did remind me of that Lost In Space episode wherein Doctor Smith and Will Robinson have to travel into the Robot who has grown huge under some sort of gamma ray space storm that upset his growth parameters or whatever the heck that means. I'd be surprised if there's a single whippersnapper here who knows what I'm talking about.
 

Fiairflair

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Jamalam said:
Peter Capaldi continues to be excellent, Clara is improving and the production values are better than ever. It's the stories that continue to let the show down. They're often either derivative or have a lumpy, unsatisfying structure; relying too much on meaningless technobabble to resolve the plot or on mind-blowingly 'epic' moments to carry the entire episode. Look at Moffat's earlier work: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead or to eps like Dalek/Midnight/The Doctor's Wife for examples of satisfying, well-rounded STORIES. Too often these days when discussing Who I notice people praising 'that scene' or 'that one-liner' - rather than the whole episode as a self-contained narrative.
You've got me wondering whether we, as fans, invite dumbed down storytelling. I can't help but think that the more fans work themselves up over what are showy (and sometimes cringe worthy) moments of Doctor-centric egoism, the more Moffat and other writers gear the narrative away from strong storytelling for the simple reason that they don't really need to do better. Are fans too eager to believe the best of their favourite show, or do the writers just think fans love everything they put on screen?

Either way, I think a trend toward one-liner stage setting has emerged and I'm keen for a return to the Eccleston or Tennant era approach of using the main protagonist to develop the story, not the other way around.