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FishyFish
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Too short. This is never going to work as standalone 45 minute episodes. So many things under-explained or under-developed. In the original Auton story, Spearhead from Space, the plastics factory gave a decent reason for shop dummies to be used by the Nestene. Here, they were just...there. How did they get there? Who was orchestrating this dastardly plot? How did the boyfriend get from the wheelie bin, to being a fake plastic facsimili and being captured in the time it took Rose to pop into a house for 5 minutes, then back again?

It WAS too short to tell a full story, but I don't think that was the point for the first episode. To me it was to introduce the characters to a new audience in a way that wouldn't be boring, and it did this by getting Rose caught up in the climax of one of the doctors adventures. It would've been nice to see the buildup of the Nestene invasion*, but it might've moved too slowly for the viewers new to Doctor Who.

Someone on another forum said that it was akin to the pre-credits sequence of a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie - a fast, action-packed climax to a previous undisclosed story that works to setup the premise and characters.

* I got the impression that this time the Nestene Conciousness could control ALL plastic, rather than just the items that it had manufactured, although I'd assume that the mannequins were made by it (otherwise the hand-guns would be somewhat hard to account for <_< ).

Fishy

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Someone on another forum said that it was akin to the pre-credits sequence of a James Bond or Indiana Jones movie - a fast, action-packed climax to a previous undisclosed story that works to setup the premise and characters.

Fishy

That's quite spooky, I was thinking the exact same thing. I get the impression that the one off episodes may be laying the foundation for a bigger story arc perhaps. Also, I was under the impression that some of the stories in the series are two or possibly three part in nature.

With the mannequin gun things, I was thinking that they could be just formed from within the plastic, firing little plastic pellets from the main mass. I probably think too much.

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* I got the impression that this time the Nestene Conciousness could control ALL plastic, rather than just the items that it had manufactured, although I'd assume that the mannequins were made by it (otherwise the hand-guns would be somewhat hard to account for  <_< ).

Fishy

Well, that was just one of the things that was poorly explained. If it can control all plastic, why wouldn't loads of household objects etc have come to life? Why that wheelie bin, in that one street, and not the others? Or inded, why the guns in the hand, unless it specifically manufactured them? Another 45 minutes on top would have enabled them to expand on all of that, instead of rushing through it all.

Dr Who always worked best when the actors looked like they could believe in what was happening, no matter how silly. I think that Piper and Ecclestone showed that they have the potential to achieve that, but some of the other elements, like the ridiculously ott plastic boyfriend, served to undo any good ground work. I'm sorry to keep harking back to it, but in the Pertwee story the substitute general just looks a bit...wrong. It's very subtly done, and incredibly creepy. Compare that to the gurning plastic boyfriend sitting in the car, or stuttering through the conversation in the restaurant and...well, there just is no comparison. It pisses all over it.

I really hope some of the later ones are two parters.

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In fact, that really is my biggest worry about the series as a whole - the format. 45 minutes is far too short. Some of the old stories were 6 half hour episodes. That's a 3 hour film. Now, some of those episodes were severely padded out, but not the best ones. Inferno for example, makes superb use of it's 7 episodes.

The original shows were actually only about 25 minutes long, so excluding titles a 45 minute episode is roughly equal to a 2 part original story (The Sontaran Experiment with Tom Baker was a two parter IIRC). Granted you can't do as much in 45 minutes as in an hour and a half or whatever, but as the majority of US shows prove (X-Files, Stargate, etc) you CAN get a perfectly good story into the timeframe. They could've gone for Inspector Morse style hour-and-a-half long episodes I suppose, but budgetary constrains would've probably then meant we'd only get a six story run.

As much as I prefer the original format with the slow building stories, the producers are going to have to tailor it to the modern majority audience if it's to be a success.

Next weeks self contained episode will be interesting to watch in order to see how it copes without the need to introduce the main characters.

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Well I thought it was fantastic. It was always going to be different to the originals, too much time has passed for it to feel the same as it used to, but I think they've done just about as good a job as you could reasonably expect.

Just the right level of cheesiness for me; I must be one of the only people on here who actually enjoyed the arm and the wheelie bin!

Some of the lines were pretty funny too - "If you're an alien, why do you have a northern accent?" - "They do have north on other planets, you know" made me <_<

Liked it when Rose ran into the Tardis - then back out again :(

And the London Eye thing - a great Doctor/assistant moment, reminds us why he needs these seemingly superfluous bods following him around, sometimes the eccentric genius is very lacking in basic common sense!

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But it's not Bill & Ted. That was a one off movie, this is a show that ran for 40 years and had to have rules which allowed it to make some kind of sense if you avoided thinking too hard about it.

But you said it right there, 'make some kind of sense'. Time travel (to the past, at any extent) doesn't make sense at all unless it's done in a completely passive way where interaction with events and the enviroment isn't possible. Instead of focusing on rules of how should and what can and can't be done, it's better to just go with the most entertaining option and say 'Fuck it!' and forget trying to come up with any rules whatsoever.

As someone (possibly yourself) said earlier, there's a rule that says he can't interact with his previous selves yet he's done so on several occasions. The Devil take the rules!

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I've been watching a couple of episodes from the Tom and Peter eras, and they seem s-l-o-o-o-w. Picking up the pace is no bad thing, if you ask me. It may mean you miss a bit of exposition and leave the odd loose end, but I'd rather have that time saved for a bid of wonderment (like the "feel the earth move" speech). I do miss the cliffhangers, but in the other thread cassidy mentioned that there will be a cliffhanger after the pre-credits sequence in each subsequent episode and there are some two part episodes in the run.

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In fact, that really is my biggest worry about the series as a whole - the format. 45 minutes is far too short. Some of the old stories were 6 half hour episodes. That's a 3 hour film. Now, some of those episodes were severely padded out, but not the best ones. Inferno for example, makes superb use of it's 7 episodes.

The vast majority of the old six-parters were heavily padded. Even most of the four-parters, for that matter. I'm a Who fan, but even I admit most of the original stories really, really, really, really dragged in places. It was very, very rare that even a four-parter had four episodes' worth of material. They usually had or or two great moments amid two episodes' worth of decent plot, if you were lucky, with a lot of running around and pointless side incidents to pad it out.

I think the new series' 45 minutes (without needing to do all the introductory stuff) will be fine. Some will be two-parters, as well, and I suspect we'll have post-Buffy style plot threads running throughout the series.

And I thought Rose was ace, by the way. True to the original, but modern. Witty, compelling. Sure, the Auton plot was paper-thin. But that was (hopefully) 'cos of all the other stuff to cover. They won't have to rush every week. And it made me watch TV. Something I seldom do. I even didn't read a book or surf the web at the same time. It's a rare show that makes me actually watch. And - for once - I can't wait for next week. It actually feels good to be watching TV again.

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Actually, you know what would have worked? Doing it like the first episode ever. That was half an hour of the most compelling, mysterious sci-fi ever, and it involved nothing more than the two teachers following one of their students home, discovering the Tardis, and then meeting the Doctor. The first proper story didn't start until the week after that.

I'd have preferred them to do something similar to that, just have Rose meeting the Doctor somehow, scrap all the Auton stuff, then start the first proper story next week. But I guess that wouldn't be snappy enough for today's audience. <_<

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Well, that was just one of the things that was poorly explained. If it can control all plastic, why wouldn't loads of household objects etc have come to life? Why that wheelie bin, in that one street, and not the others? Or inded, why the guns in the hand, unless it specifically manufactured them? Another 45 minutes on top would have enabled them to expand on all of that, instead of rushing through it all.

Dr Who always worked best when the actors looked like they could believe in what was happening, no matter how silly. I think that Piper and Ecclestone showed that they have the potential to achieve that, but some of the other elements, like the ridiculously ott plastic boyfriend, served to undo any good ground work. I'm sorry to keep harking back to it, but in the Pertwee story the substitute general just looks a bit...wrong. It's very subtly done, and incredibly creepy. Compare that to the gurning plastic boyfriend sitting in the car, or stuttering through the conversation in the restaurant and...well, there just is no comparison. It pisses all over it.

I really hope some of the later ones are two parters.

Yeah, I agree that Spearhead from Space was decidedly creepier than this. I loved the Auton stories when I read the books as a kid (and later watched them on shitty 12th generation vhs aquired from the Doctor Who fanatic I used to work with); there was something decidedly unsettling about them - people being replaced by facsimiles, being smothered by plastic chairs and, possibly the worst, being shrunk by The Master. :(

There are three two-parters in the new series though, so there should be scope for bigger stories (and cliffhanger endings!). There's an SFX Doctor Who special out which gives a brief synopsis of the stories to come (with some mild spoilers). I'm looking forward to episode 6 <_<

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And - for once - I can't wait for next week. It actually feels good to be watching TV again.

I wish I could say the same, I really do. I cringed through almost the whole story.

A minor point - I don't remember hearing the key change bit in the theme tune. Possibly because there was loads of talking and a trailer over it, but still, I missed it.

Oh, and Graham - which Baker/Davison stories did you watch?

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Thats the whole point.

and I thank the BBC for keeping the shite effects :)

Give over.

They're shite because they're shite. That's not continuity, that's just shiteness. If someone at the BBC was actually in charge of ensuring the SFX were 'made suitably crap' then the whole aim of trying to appeal to a new, wider audience would go out of the window. It was canned before because not enough people watched it. People didn't watch it because of the substandard scripts, acting, sets and FX. Even if that wasn't the exclusive rule, that's the perception most people had. Who, in their right mind, would commission a new series and actively seek to replicate all the things that caused it to fail in the first place?

And besides which, if your theory about the FX being crap as 'the whole point' holds true, how do you explain some of the good-looking FX they've already previewed? Won't that contradict the 'whole point' when those episodes get broadcast?

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But you said it right there, 'make some kind of sense'. Time travel (to the past, at any extent) doesn't make sense at all unless it's done in a completely passive way where interaction with events and the enviroment isn't possible. Instead of focusing on rules of how should and what can and can't be done, it's better to just go with the most entertaining option and say 'Fuck it!' and forget trying to come up with any rules whatsoever.

As someone (possibly yourself) said earlier, there's a rule that says he can't interact with his previous selves yet he's done so on several occasions. The Devil take the rules!

Don't want to sound like I'm making a big deal out of this, but it makes for an interesting argument. In the scheme of things it really didn't bother me. The rules can be broken, it wasn't me but you're right there are special occasions when the doctor's other selves are released to team up with him. Special occasions. This wasn't a special occasion ...

There are rules otherwise he'd keep running into himself. Or into people who know who he is and what he's done all the time. There was one story where he forgot he'd been somewhere already and turns out he was in fact the reason for the problems that had occurred. Great stuff. But he remembered he'd been there eventually.

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Actually, you know what would have worked? Doing it like the first episode ever. That was half an hour of the most compelling, mysterious sci-fi ever, and it involved nothing more than the two teachers following one of their students home, discovering the Tardis, and then meeting the Doctor. The first proper story didn't start until the week after that.

I'd have preferred them to do something similar to that, just have Rose meeting the Doctor somehow, scrap all the Auton stuff, then start the first proper story next week. But I guess that wouldn't be snappy enough for today's audience.  :)

I don't think many people would tune in next week, though. Wheras I suspect that - with the way this episode turned out - a large % of the 10 million actually will.

Don't forget that the new Who has its history to contend with. If there had been no aliens, the press would have been saying "where were the monsters"? Press support is important for the show's survival.

For a first story, they needed to establish the tone of the show. If most stories are going to feature alien invasions, they really did need to show that. They can do monster-less stories further down the line when the new members of the audience know what to expect.

Comparing it to the other "new doctor" stories, it has as much in common with An Unearthly Child as Spearhead From Space. In both Child and Rose, we see the events from the companion's point of view. And there's a real sense of wonder - at the Earth spinning, at this alien bloke, and at the TARDIS.

I think the forumula worked. On the whole, fans love it. There's anecdotal evidence (on other forums) that kids overwhelmingly love it. On the whole, the press loves it. The public seems to have liked it (next week's viewing figures will tell us).

Who was always a mainstream show for the whole family... until it became increasingly self-referential and fan-wanky in the John Nathan-Turner years. The new Who pulls off a return to the "something for everyone" Who. In today's fragmented TV age, that's nothing short of a triumph.

Sorry you didn't like it! I'm just pleased there's a British show on TV to actually like!

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It was canned before because not enough people watched it.

I'll happily leave you slagging the show off to your heart's content, but get your facts right. Sylvester McCoy got 6.5m viewers at the show's end. It had nothing to do with ratings, but a director general who simply didn't like it.

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I think it's great to have some British sci-fi back on the box. There seems to be a bit of a renaissance at the moment. Theres the new Hitchhikers movie and for those that can get BBC4, a new live broadcast of 'The Quatermass Experiment' is on this Saturday at 820pm I think, just after the good Doctor. Quatermass does quiet chilling menace like no other sci-fi.

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I've been watching a couple of episodes from the Tom and Peter eras, and they seem s-l-o-o-o-w. Picking up the pace is no bad thing, if you ask me. It may mean you miss a bit of exposition and leave the odd loose end, but I'd rather have that time saved for a bid of wonderment (like the "feel the earth move" speech). I do miss the cliffhangers, but in the other thread cassidy mentioned that there will be a cliffhanger after the pre-credits sequence in each subsequent episode and there are some two part episodes in the run.

Totally agree. Watching them back to back is painful at times. As a novel you can get through in 2 hours it's great, but a lot of the stories were played out way longer than was necessary.

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One of the main things with the new series is that it attract new viewers, especially kids. As jaded and cynical 20/30 somethings we all expect the moon on a stick when it comes to updates of our childhood favourites, but if the show succeeds in attracting a new generation of youngsters and generates that same sense of wonderment that it did when we were their age then surely it's doing it's job? And I've seen numerous comments from parents stating that their kids loved it.

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One of the main things with the new series is that it attract new viewers, especially kids. As jaded and cynical 20/30 somethings we all expect the moon on a stick when it comes to updates of our childhood favourites, but if the show succeeds in attracting a new generation of youngsters and generates that same sense of wonderment that it did when we were their age then surely it's doing it's job? And I've seen numerous comments from parents stating that their kids loved it.

it's the Star Wars argument all over again innit?

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Yes, but therein lies the problem. I agree with you, I think he has just regenerated when we meet him in Rose, and that he hasn't been to 1911 yet (for the Titanic story that was referenced, for example). So those photos shouldn't exist, yet, so far as he's concerned (that he didn't personally see them is to me irrelevant, they were in the same time line as he was

um he has a time machine linkster. If the Doctor nips away from Rose in the middle of the story he could be gone travelling alone for years. Then nips back to sort out the nestene stuff. During which time he could also nip to 1963 and Sumatra. Any gap is fair game. If he disappears in any story IMO on his own then who knows where or when he's off too.

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I wish I could say the same, I really do. I cringed through almost the whole story.

A minor point - I don't remember hearing the key change bit in the theme tune. Possibly because there was loads of talking and a trailer over it, but still, I missed it.

Oh, and Graham - which Baker/Davison stories did you watch?

I've seen a bit of Logopolis / Castrovalva. I'm going to watch all of those stories when I get a bit of TV time. The crossover between Tom and Peter are when my strongest Who memories are: old enough to remember more than random scary moments and before I was too old / it turned shit.

I had recurring Escher like nightmares as a child, lost in a familar world where locations kept repeating or moving, and Castrovalva haunted me for a while.

I might get some of the other eps you lots are recommending off uknova (but I think they only carry episodes that are unavailable on DVD).

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it's the Star Wars argument all over again innit?

I suppose so. I think the new Star Wars is shit too.

Thing is, most of the old Who I've seen was as an adult. I was born in 1974, so I missed a lot of Who. In fact Davison was my Doctor really. If I could enjoy old Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee episodes as an adult, why not this?

I can see why a lot of people like the new Who, but so far it's not for me. Not dark enough, too lightweight, too quick, too high energy, not educational enough, not scary enough.

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I'll happily leave you slagging the show off to your heart's content, but get your facts right. Sylvester McCoy got 6.5m viewers at the show's end. It had nothing to do with ratings, but a director general who simply didn't like it.

Won't argue this point, but check here....

Linky

"It axed the show in 1989 because of falling viewing figures, but is now convinced that it could prove crucial in the battle for Saturday-night ratings" ... was where I got that from.

Like I say, haven't been a fan in years, but there's been lots of talk recently about why it got axed originally, and yes I heard the DG didn't like it, but as I understand it he used the poor viewing figures explanation to back that up. Happy to stand corrected.

Is 6.5 million viewers a lot these days? I honestly have no idea. I thought 14-15million was about average for something like Eastenders or something, and that must cost a damn sight less than this new show I'd have though, but I could be totally wrong.

Please don't see me as 'slagging the show off to my hearts content' - that implies I'm actively seeking to discredit the show, finding fault for the sake of being argumentative in an ongoing campaign of vitriol and criticism. I'm just offering my assessment of it. I thought it was very poor. It'll get no more discussion from me, because I've voiced my opinion. I think it's fantastic that other people liked it. Just not for me is all, for all the reasons that I stated.

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