Wrong place. Wrong time. Again.
'I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another.'

Soooo....The lie of the land. As it were. Some wobbles, yer,but nowt that really strikes me as fault lines**. I mean, okay, Ian's decided it's not gonna' be his best Xmas present ever after all. Someone who's done good things for 'Who' in terms of missing episodes, whose passion can be simultaneously admirable/amusing but honestly guy...As our main man had it, and by no means unique, 'A classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain' on occasion. Plus a spectacular ability to put foot in said mouth. Although, granted, he's by no means alone.

'For it was this mixture in him of male and female, one being uppermost and then the other, that often gave his conduct an unexpected turn.'

And yes, Peter Davison, I absolutely agree, 'It might be more helpful to be encouraging, and not simply scornful, of fans who are uncertain about change.' Although I think there's a limit to the length of the olive branch. Things can get very toxic/Troll very quickly: No excuse, ever, for spiteful, spineless, casually soulless sexism. Experience'n'background perceptions may mark ya' but you've always got a choice. (Portentous Sanctimony Major, Class of Whenever.) But yeah, arse-hattery has a fair few champions at this hour in me humble. I'm also very much with Colin Baker's 'Cannot deny that I am amazed by the 'never watch it again' reaction from some viewers. (I hesitate to call them fans.) Very sad.'
Although I'm certainly not amazed and yep, they're fans Colin, like it or no. (Although here we do stray into that 'loving something so much you think you own it/mistaking devotion for love' chestnut.) Ultimately I'm with Paul Cornell, this is what 'Who' is for. As a very wise woman once said mentalgen, 'Mind your privilege. Listen.' Oh indeed yes Reverend.

'By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. 'Tis the waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.'

'Who' has always evolved and mutated naturally, as many have observed. No reason under the sun why Jodie Whittaker can't take on our eccentric genius outsider archetype. Not even a stretch, let alone a stretch too far for meself. Although I do get the frustration of some of the naysayers, I really do. I don't, personally, agree right now, but I get it.Yep, hands up and bang to rights, I've split hairs/been uncertain on this in the past: Particularly around the golden classics of 'Yeah, but we've had 54 years of bloke Doctor' and 'Shame to lose such a singular male role model' but ultimately, nah...That's feeling, not reason. (Said Cyber-Leader Gantry.) I currently find meself absolutely tickled and really looking forward to it.

'You're putting me on Sarah Jane! Really?!?'

As to natural 'Doctorish-ness', really only Tom Baker has been born to it in me humble. The other previous incumbents have been skilled, eccentric, charismatic to one degree or another, some combination thereof and I'm excited to see where Whittaker takes it. Lawrence Miles was interesting as always, I agreed a lot although not sure about the 'timing being wrong', Tennant should've gone female eight odd years back. I don't think the timing'll ever be right for some on this and fair play, it's a free cosmos (probably). F'sure, there are politics, commercial factors in play here but duh...when were there ever not? (No, that simpler, halcyon daze never existed fanboy, that's yer childhood- put it down/let it go/pick it up/rhapsodize feverishly as required.) Remains a great call in and of itself for meself. As it were.To be idiot prosaic, 'cos, y'know, ultimately we're all gonna' die and the sun'll burn out- it really doesn't matter if the Doctor's a man or a woman. S/he's for everyone. Now, always'n'forever Ma'am.

I only know Whittaker from the Black Mirror 'Complete History of You' episode, 'Attack the Block' and 'Broadchurch' 1 through 3. All of which make me extremely interested/hopeful. Chibnall too I think it'd be utterly wrong-headed to dismiss/diss at this juncture. His two 'Life on Mars' episodes, series 2 'Torchwood' stuff (actually I liked 'Countrycide' a fair bit too), 'Dino's' and '3' from 'Who', 'Broadchurch', especially the first and third series. He can do human, intense, dark and funny...There's a lotta' reasons to be hopeful here. Sure, to take stating of the obvious to a blinding new level, it may not work and all end in tears. But I hope not and I think it could be glorious. Imagination can rewire reality. And so on...

'Keep on keeping on'

*With ongoing apologies to Virginia Woolf

**Erm, yeah...oookaay....The inevitable addendum, all of just over a week down the line at 25/07/17. To quote Nyssa from 'Earthshock'- 'Oh dear,it's all getting rather silly isn't it?' As a final caveat at present, this could be one of fandom and 'Who' 's finest hours: Or it could be when the blinkered brigade on either side let 'emselves and everyone else down rather badly. There's a heck of a lot of reasoned responses out there but strewth, the Pro 'Point, laugh and smirk sanctimoniously' faction and the Anti 'Rage, throw toys and get myopically misogynistic' camp are getting woefully embarrassing. It is what it is, it'll be what it'll be (heck, Wittgenstein and Goethe got nothing on this, I'm on fire) and until such time that we've actually got some episodes to ruminate over, chillax innit? Time out Reverend.
Simply that, really.....


Very good call indeed Mr Chibnall, fingers crossed this is as stellar as I truly think it could be. More excited about 'Who' than I have been in some considerable time: Jodie Whittaker and Mr Chibnall, you have my full and undivided attention...
So. Here we are. Today's the day...again..... Are we calling it in or out? Tea, Reverend? Doesn't seem four summers ago I was burbling about candidates for Twelve. Time flies when yer wibbling on...I mean, if the bookies are to be believed, and the late flurries proved accurate with Smith and Capaldi, it's Kris Marshall or Jodie Whittaker, nothing to wibble here. And it very likely is but just for form/idiocy's sake, for meself it'll again pan out:

A) Safe. Perchance solidly so, perchance worryingly.


B) Interesting and Unexpected- possibly some true 'risk and boldness'.*


C) Utterly out of left field, no-one saw this coming-what in Rassilon's Time Trousers?!!!

'Although actually...He could be a Bondian, gadget Doctor, channeling Pertwee via Tennant with a Sonic Rolex...'

I'll come back to give me honest first reaction and keep it at that for now. Thorts on how Chibnall might handle things etc ad infinatum latterly down the year. But yerse...I'm guestimating one of these three broad reactions:

1) Excited'n'Delighted.
2) Unsettled'n'Uncertain.
3) Whatever'n'Whenever, interest waning...

...and you can latterly colour me:.....???.....Jodie Whittaker, eh Chatteron? 1, no doubt about it, very excited and absolutely delighted Reverend.

*Although I hadn't clocked the BBC '13' reveal trailer when I wibbled this earlier. If there aren't some heavy-handed hints of next up being a woman there, then it's the biggest/most woeful wind-up of all time. Should know in twelve hours or so-lawks.
'Not sure it's gonna' be quite this effervescently chirpy Bill...'

Looking back, my guestimate scores for the eleven stories this time out (I'm treating the Monks stuff as linked but separate) were a little down on me final reactions. On the whole. Eight times expectations were exceeded, to one degree or another. In a couple of cases ('Thin Ice' and 'The Lie of the Land') I was dead on. Another couple, ('Smile' and 'Knock Knock'), things marginally failed to meet expectations.

'It may well be a little bit 'Woooooh!!'...'

But there were no clangers here for meself. Absolutely not. And there were some all out stunners (yer mileage may vary)- 'Empress of Mars' and 'World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls'. 'Oxygen' and the opening two-thirds of the 'Monks' trilogy, truth be told. On a re-watch 'The Pilot' also seems a tad choice, a very slick beast/machine indeed.

'A little bit 'Wa-heyyy!!!'

Sooooo...If the general vibe is a pretty major thumbs up, why am I still left with a lingering, erm, 'flatness'/sense of the mildly underwhelmed. S'weird. The sense of being too kind and a fair few of me ratings should be a coupla' points down but nah...I'll take as I find and the Trad Frock in me was fair impressed with what we have here. The whole remains greater in the sum of its parts. Certainly no weaknesses from the core cast of Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas. Yet still the creeping vibe of 'Yeah, it's okay/good enough but could be better and honestly...kind of 'So what?' innit Reverend'.

'Quite, dear, quite...Do calm down...'

So undercurrents of dissatisfaction/ennui are chiming with me, despite largely bigging it. Plus certain key moments do stick really badly for meself- Bill's resolution most especially. I can certainly see why the general viewership has drifted away a tad, doubly so with unhelpful gaps in production and broadcast. Plus over familiar series/story structure, unexplained stuff such as the TARDIS leaving Mars (presuming Missy/Master interference?), the whole , majorly wobbly 'Vault' arc/arse...What should have been a glorious farewell is increasingly feeling like a last-gasp death shuffle, for this incarnation/variant of 'Who' at any rate...Yer, that last in particular really grated...The 'not really a regeneration hilarious jape' in 'The Lie of the Land'and then the ongoing slow-burn refusal to go, really getting towards quite 'throwing me toys out the time cot' proportions by the close of 'The Doctor Falls'. I mean, y'know, regenerations a big thing...innit? I'm not sure 'doing it differently this time' should equal 'diminishing any impact when it finally happens'. (Although careful what yer saying there Gantry.) But honestly, is Xmas gonna' gift us a Malcolm Tucker style swear-fest of 'I don't wanna' ****ing go!!!'?

'Come again?'

It was good, in places very, very good indeed but it kinda' soared like a kite (which is nice, admittedly) rather than truly flying like a bird. Too many strings and controlling hands in plain view. Godz, show me Magik, not the method...I want to believe..& so on...Here's hoping Chris Chibnall's Series 11 and Thirteen rise like an interstellar Phoenix. Or something.

'Don't mind if I do...'

Of course, we have Steven Moffat's last throw of the dice before Chris Chibnall's first. A throw that apparently harks back to our first incarnation and is possibly doing a bit of an 'It's a Wonderful Life' variant with Twelve and One. Apparently. H'mm and double h'mm cubed to the power of the time vortex...A predictive rating for the Xmas Spesh at present is utterly caught twixt Incalculable Hot Mess/Poignantly Stunning 13+++. Leaning towards a sneaking suspicion it may be a goodie, opening into a truly surprising new era...('Risk and boldness'...Yerse...Sincerely good luck with that Mr Chibnall, hopefully doesn't come back to haunt us all...)

A final thortlet on Series 10- even more than it being the curse of 'same old, same old' perchance for Moffat it's the ongoing headache of 'The broadcast schedule is out of joint. O cursed download generation, that ever I was born to sell this product right.' Pain. Receding image of Saturday Tea Time 1975 hitting you smack in the face from the wrong end of the telescope. And so on...

& in the end...∞...except the end has no end, innit...∞

Chapter XXXIV.II: 'You Were Expecting Something Else?/Missing a Trick'

'Two heads are eviller than one'

Bit Blurt: 10 Random Thortlets

1) The Doctor's scene in the barn with Cyber-Bill. Wow.
2) The Doctor's 'kind' speech: DOUBLE WOW WITH KNOBS ON.
3) Samantha Spiro is a tad under-utilised.
4) Michelle Gomez's Missy is largely wasted/fizzles out. Shame.
5) John Simm is magnificently old skool Masterly and comes out of this perhaps the best bar Peter Capaldi. Loving the eye-liner moment and oh that maniacally laughing kinda' 'Jacob's Ladder' in reverse lift descent. Straight to hell indeed.

'Getting bent out of shape down on the farm.'

6) A series best and a fine exit for Matt Lucas's Nardole. Way to go and then some sir.
7) The 'Farm Under Siege' vibe works well.
8) There is continuing tension and build from last time here, it's just a tad undercut by some crapulous moments at the end for meself. Sort of. But this is largely bloody brilliant.
9) Long wibble short, you shoulda' regenerated Twelve here Steven and let Bill sacrifice herself saving things. But again, perchance circumstances/logistics beyond yer control.
10) Yeah, Psychic trans-dimensional/speed of light puddle girl Heather returning to salvage a mournful/downbeat ending that really doesn't need salvaging isn't really working majorly for me. But no de-railer either.

'Barn-storming performance from Pearl Mackie mind...(sorry)'

So yeah, the familiar mantra of 'You muppet Moffat!' is springing lightly to ones lips. From one viewpoint, this had everything going for it, maintained the dark pace'n'brio of the first half right up until the final eight odd minutes. And then dropped the ball with aplomb. Bloody hell. Not like I couldn't see it coming but really Reverend...To get it out of the way and be upfront about it, I'd give this 13+++ again despite the slightly botched/over-familiar ending and give a definite uber-classic 13+++ aggregate for 'World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls'. Which is pretty darn impressive but what also impresses is Moffat's ability to go from mythic/stellar to underwhelming/woeful in a heartbeat. Perchance 'Misunderstood but his (sic) intentions are good' as the band had it. Anyways...

'Stand and Fall'

The set-up of the farming community on level 507, mother hen Hazran (Samantha Spiro) is all well and good. Moffat absolutely aces it with the 'kids under threat' story and the 'scarecrow' chained up early Cyber converts are very 'Human Nature/Family of Blood'. Also the whole Frankenstein's monster scenario of Cyber-Bill in the barn, scaring the locals. Bill still seeing her old self and having an impossible time adapting really works. But in typical fashion, the guest cast from the first episode are brushed away now Moffat's got his eye on a different ball. Rachel Talalay's direction remains very effective throughout and Brianna Shann is something of a find as plucky/defiant Alit. There's effective build up with the alarm clarion and thunderous knocking but...The Cybermen remain the tragic whipping boys of 'Who'. Capaldi's slow-mo face-off at the end is great stuff but in listing their past defeats just emphasises their innate crapness unfortunately.

'Without remorse, regret or conscience.'

But yer, I really feel Twelve should have regenerated here. The over-familiar 'don't want to go' trope is just boring me now. Annoyingly it even manages to undercut David Bradley's arrival as One at the close. Bah, humbug. I'm sure Christmas will be fine, perchance moving ( enough perchances Gantry) but they coulda' wrapped it here. For someone supposedly sharp'n'risk-taking, Moffat can be amazingly safe'n'predictable. With a tendency to oversell his 'stunning twists' every time.

'So I'm conveniently resurrected by a minor crush from the opening episode.....Okaaayy...Just roll with it...'

We're left with Nardole fighting the good fight on Deck 502 with the unresolved shadows of Black Hole/Cybermen/Master. Double humbug. But such is life I guess. Also the whole Missy 'Vault' arc ends up under-explained, undercut and just...Wibble...This was immensely watchable, largely immensely good but feels like an era that should've now wrapped. The shouty 'don't wanna' go' angst could pall dangerously quickly. One minute Twelve is willing to lay down his life/lives and let go, resurrected and regenerate he's throwing his toys outta' the pram. We're lucky we've got Capaldi and Bradley to navigate us through it. More 'Blunderful Strife' than 'Wonderful Life' is me worrying premonition...*

'Well bong me...'

As to Thirteen, I'm currently left with a kind of 'So what?'/'Do I give a time-rotor anymore?' vibe which surely wasn't the desired intention. And One coming back may well tickle a fanboy's fancy but it's gonna' be worth diddly squat to the general audience. Bizarre, as I'd rate these last two episodes very highly indeed but it feels like an era now running on absolute empty and then some, with a potentially unnecessary/misjudged Christmas coda. Fantastic.

'Stay warm/Get the Radiation gloves- the Doctor is in.'

Truth be told I still feel a rest could be as good as a change for TV 'Who' right now. Although it's clearly not on the cards as yet. Although with Super Bill'n'Heather, plus Clara'n'Me whizzing about the timelines the timing is surely ripe to retire Doctor, h'mmm? Steven Moffat, you remain the most singularly talented/peculiar/inconsistent writer 'Who' has ever had. Respect but really, enough now. Enough. (Which maybe you've realised and a Twelve-One exchange/overview will put the tin hat on all 'Who' up to now. 'Cos I tell ye, Chris Chibnall needs to do a way hard reboot of main man/woman, setting, the support, the whole kaboodle- as big a shock as One's regeneration to Two, black and white to colour in '70, the tonal shift from Letts'n'Dicks (Reverend) to Hinchcliffe/Holmes. Keep it fresh, keep it new, make it not for yer fans but TV anybod'll be happy to see. He sez with ponderous sanctimony but 'Who' I hope yer future's bright.)

On a random final wibble, Mrs Gantry was absolutely fixated with what she saw as the Mondasian Cyber-variant's similarity to the Japanese 'Haniwa'. Spooky junk as it were. Wikipedia interestingly has it that '...Modern popular culture has, in some cases, portrayed the Haniwa as containing a sentient entity, not just as a simple empty sculpture.' So that's a thing vicar.

'Mondasian Cyberman/Haniwa'

*'I wish there was another way,' the Fanboy said to Steven. 'I know, you silly sod,' said Steven, with his rare, eight year tenure Scottish twinkle in his eye, 'I know. See you at Xmas.'

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Kert Gantry

Author:Kert Gantry
Loving the Who from a very early age and invariably banging on about it. Hence the blog.

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