Doctor Who: "Nu Who" controversial opinion (discussion)*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Captain Leo, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    No, it's not about our lovely new Lady Doctor - I haven't seen her yet.

    But rewatching some Classic Who - particularly Hartnell, Pertwee, and Baker, I noticed a gigantic difference between Classic and Nu:

    The Doctor, and the storylines, are less...for lack of a better word...goofy? In Classic Who.

    Hartnell is basically like a weird mix of Yoda and Dumbledore but not in a goofy way. Like Yoda, he uses the appearance of great age to fool and outwit those who underestimate him and has wit and cleverness in spades. He's like a wizard both in his persona and in how he's portrayed.

    Pertwee is a military man, a man of action, but also of diplomacy. A man who has a hidden softness beneath his stern no-nonsense exterior. He cares, but doesn't show it.

    Tom Baker is eccentric, quirky but ultimately, when it comes down to it, serious as hell. You don't want to mess with Baker. He seems like this bohemian but he'll be your worst enemy.

    The stories are all treated with utmost seriousness but not to the point of self-indulgence.

    While NuWho has better effects and such, I just feel the Doctor has become sort of a meme. He's treated at times in a goofy way, particularly in Tennant's run. I feel like Smith is an attempt to emulate Hartnell and Baker that kind of falls flat. The storylines have this very odd, very silly goofyness to them (think of the Slitheen or Cassandra). So many plots are wrapped up in a happy way or just played for laughs. Like the whole Shakespeare episode, having Shakespeare flirt with Martha??

    Or even like...Returning to so many old villains so often. Yes, Classic Who returned to the Daleks several times but they were always trying to invent new monsters. NuWho seems to just kill off the Daleks, kill off the Cybermen, kill off the Master...only for them to come back! Outside of the Weeping Angels and Silence there's no real new inventive, iconic baddies.

    There's nothing as ambitious or adventurous as say, The Web Planet or the Daemons.

    Also, outside of Donna, every companion has to be the Doctor's love interest? I mean, has a crush on him? You didn't see Sarah Jane Smith crushing on Jon Pertwee. The Doctor treated Vicki like his grandchild, which for him, she was very much a stand-in for. Classic Who's relationships between the Doctor and his assistants were that of true, complementary companions. Not lovesick fan girls with this handsome young Doctor. There's this odd power dynamic where The Doctor lords over his female companions because they're in love with him, or worst of all, he gets in the way of their real relationships (Ponds, anyone? Making Mickey the third wheel?) which makes him seem almost malicious and predatory.

    9's run feels as close to the Classic Series as ever the new one gets. If it was a reboot I could understand but from the show's POV we're picking up where the 63-89 series left off.

    I just would like to discuss these issues and see where I can be enlightened and perhaps persuaded otherwise, and also to see if I am alone in this.
     
  2. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    You really won't get an argument from me on the majority of the points you brought up. The original series took itself more seriously, even when injecting humor into the script. The early producers, especially Barry Letts, felt that the show (and the actors) needed to take the stories seriously. If they ever started to "send-up" the program or not play their roles with sincerity, it would weaken the impact of the show. The eccentricities of the actor's performances (particularly Tom Baker) accented the program and didn't dominate it. Towards the end of the classic run, they started to stray from this approach and the viewership really suffered. They dressed up Colin Baker to look like a clown, making it difficult to take his character seriously.

    I also feel that any romantic plots between the Doctor and the companions should be avoided. By not allowing this in the original series, it made the Doctor seem more alien and distant, more mysterious. The character wasn't driven by the same motivations that drove the human companions. Besides, nobody really missed the lack of romantic plots in the original series.

    And I also agree about how the new series is often mining the program's own past, returning to many of the characters from the classic series. The new series works best when it comes up with original new ideas, not referencing it's own history to make some fans happy. When the infinity of the universe is available, why limit the show to just the same adversaries over and over?
     
  3. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    Yes, I totally agree with this. That's been the main problem with nuWho, where the Doctor's been portrayed too much as a buffoon/clown, too much trying to emulate Tom Baker without realizing that his character's sense of fun and levity didn't equate to being an idiot-clown. That's why my favorite nuWho is still Eccleston. I would prefer they went back to a more scholarly Doctor, which they could have done with Capaldi, but didn't, nor are they likely to do so with Whitaker.
     
  4. KAJ1971

    KAJ1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Worcester, England
    The new 2005 series is like a cover band, chucking in a few of it's own tunes. Why does everything have to keep tying into the past? The portrayal of the first Doc in the Xmas special was awful. I'm surprised they didn't shoehorn the Brig in but the WWI setting scuppered that. So let's have one of his relations. It seems this new bunch of writers have no real ideas of their own. I bailed in '87 post 'Rani' and I just bailed now. See you for Reboot #3!
     
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  5. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I don't think this opinion is controversial...
     
  6. You are not alone in your thoughts.
    I find myself wondering if this is the last show I will watch a bit too often.
    I wonder how much farther they will push a less veiled agenda more and more.
    I wonder if the show will continue moving toward teen aged crushes and obvious romantic leanings. (nothing wrong with a good romance as long as it actually moves forward at some point)

    Anyway, you are not the only Whovian wondering what, why, when concerning the show as it has become.
     
  7. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    For me, The Sixth Doctor's outfit didn't distract me from his character and he is my favorite of the Classic Doctors. I liked that he was such a change from The Fifth Doctor (my least favorite of the Classic Doctors). Despite his outfit, he didn't come off as clownish at all and I liked his abrasiveness and that he didn't have much patience for fools. Also, I liked that he was an assertive personality, having little hesitation to go into trouble. To me, he made it clear that he wasn't human (and he specifically addressed that issue with his companion).

    I haven't watched much of the reboot series, but one thing I'd like to see them do is bring back some of the mystery of The Doctor. This was addressed in The Seventh Doctor story "Silver Nemesis" (at this point it seemed we knew everything about The Doctor) where we find out there is a great deal about The Doctor that we don't know (someone mentioned that he was involved in a time of chaos and The Doctor looked afraid at the mention of that.

    I strong agree about the need for new adversaries. I'd also like to see them bring back some adversaries that we haven't seen all that often. One I like is The Valyard, who could have been a very personal enemy for The Doctor and continuing threat.
     
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  8. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Whatever happened to Romana? Did she go back to Gallifrey and get involved in the Time War? Could they bring a regerated her back as a friend/foil to the Doctor?
     
  9. deadbirdie

    deadbirdie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    A male Romana would be ideal. I mean, Romana's always been a lady and I think the fellas should get a shot at this character.
     
  10. Thwacko

    Thwacko Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    I never cared much for the new series. I watched the first two seasons and that was enough. Some episodes are great, but on the whole nothing to get excited about. Frankly, the show changed so much at the end of Tom Baker's run I don't like anything after that in the Classic series either.
     
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  11. gonz

    gonz Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    My wife would disagree with you.

    And that’s the real problem with nu-who.

    It’s made for women.
     
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  12. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    You never know mate, I'm not sure of the makeup of this board so Nu Who fans might've called me a troll, which I'm not trying to be.
     
  13. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Exactly this.

    My favorite post 1989 Doctor has been Paul McGann. If they'd brought him back for the 2005 series it'd have been perfect; he was still young enough that they could easily have set it in the late 90s should they have chosen. Despite his limited screen-time, I would say he is my favorite Doctor, actually, next to perhaps Hartnell. He embodies all of those otherworldly Doctor-esque qualities.

    Capaldi I was excited for because I thought "finally, they realized they don't need a young lad! He could be keen and wise and such!" and instead they made him into a grouchy old doddering Scotsman with Clara as his nursemaid, always putting him in his place and teaching him. Clara Sue turned me off the series big-time. They had no respect for Capaldi's Doctor, even besides Clara. He never had a chance. Even when they tried to reverse course it came off so cringey...Sonic Sunglasses? Even Hartnell's character, who was portrayed as obviously elderly, came off with hidden cleverness, dignity, and keeness - like Yoda, as I said in my OP. A cunning Wizard wearing the costume of a frail old man is how I define Hartnell. Capaladi is just sort of...like a joke on what Hartnell and Pertwee were about, a cheap plastic imitation with all of the gruffiness and meanness...and none of the mystique or subtlety.

    That's another problem with the Nu Series by the way - too much emphasis on the Sonic Screwdriver. The 1st, 3rd and 4th got on most of the time without it. It's not needed. It's a sign of weak storytelling to have it be this handy "do it all" tool the Doctor can whip out at any time to solve any problem. It robs the audience of a clever plot and the Doctor of his wits and intellect. Why solve a problem with your brain (and maybe teach the kids in the audience too) when you have this all-purpose magic wand to do it for you?

    And look, I get that they were excited that the special effects budget was upgraded, but...Why make the Daleks be able to do things they never could? Keep within some established rules! Why make the TARDIS much more technological than it has to be?

    We know the TARDIS is semi-sentient even in the Classic Series, but did she have to have a face and shown to have romantic feelings toward the Doctor, too?!

    It's like the showrunners since 2005 have no concept of the word "mystery"!!

    Mystery is what made the Classic Series so great. We never got to truly know Hartnell, T. Baker or Pertwee. We got glimpses of the man within but all this emphasis in the new series on his trauma, his scars, how he was a "lonely boy"...It turns a great intellectual sci-fi series into fanfiction material for teen girls, making this ancient being this lost, broken puppy who needs saving. I don't want to know why the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey. I don't want to know much about his childhood or inner psyche. I want to IMAGINE it for myself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  14. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    I like to imagine a real time machine sending a good producer and writer combo back to make the Colin Baker Doctor work. He really could've been the best, and was prepared to stay with it longer than most seem willing to.

    Usually when they get cute and try to be faanishly in-jokey is when they blow the whole thing these days. In the past though there were some real clangers (no offense to Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin)... just with Hartnell there was the sing-song in the OK Corral episode, the tongue in cheek references and flirting of The Romans, the computer naming Doctor Who as Doctor Who in the War Machines (otherwise a good story). We're probably very lucky that the address to the viewing audience by the first Doctor at Christmas was wiped if ever even recorded.
     
  15. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I actually like Colin's performance as the Doctor, once I learned to look past the costume. But ultimately the costume was a blatant advertisement that the show was no longer taking itself seriously. Combined with a series of other mistakes that producer John Nathan-Turner made, the series could never recover once the slide began. As a teenager at the time, I began to feel a little embarrassed to watch the show. I never felt that way about the Peter Davison era, or any of the preceding Doctors for that matter.
     
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  16. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    If it's made for me they've been missing the mark since Chris Eccleston left then. I really disliked the overt romance with companions too. Maybe the 8th could've broken that barrier and made it work with the heart surgeon, but that never happened on-screen as the pilot never led to a series. I assumed they had started aiming more for the kids/teens, upping the 'action', which was fine, but some stories have been rather underestimating what fantasy daftness they will buy into. Probably they're aiming at too many kinds of viewers and serving none very well. Maybe the biggest mistake is to consciously aim at the fans.
     
  17. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    I look at the Doctor as basically a Wizard. Like, take a real Wizard - Gandalf. We know he has a past - He was Olorin in Tolkien's version of Heaven and that he was "taught pity and patience" by a Goddess. We know he has compassion and a special affinity for Hobbits and has been around them for at least a century before Bilbo was born. But we don't know how he came to be involved with Hobbits. We don't know what REALLY drives Gandalf deep down - his hidden desires, his anxieties, his insecurities, what he did in the 2,000 years in Middle-Earth prior to The Hobbit. And do we really or need to know? My answer: No...Because then the character becomes like us, and as such much less interesting. The Doctor should always be a step-removed from humanity, like Gandalf or Yoda. Not as fragile or as human as us. A touch of humanity sure, but always just beyond our reach or full understanding. We can know he likes humans...But why? What's his game here?
     
  18. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    One of the things they could've, maybe should've, done with the new Who at some point was really make a good story out of him taking off with a Tardis and 'granddaughter'. Maybe something in the all knowing more than a mere Time Lord McCoy years conflicted with doing that, but it really seemed there should be a powerful story in there. What would make someone break the rules and steal a ship meant to (at least originally) be piloted by more than one pilot... to save a life/spirit maybe? Earth wasn't a random sanctuary (the 'I Am For Man' I.M.Foreman reference in episode 1)? All this time and they really have only messed things up further where it could've been revelations and going deeper not growing inward with navel gazing.

    You get what you get is pretty much how I've always approached watching Doctor Who, but there are so many might've beens... like Shada, or Colin Baker, Paul McGann, or even McCoy who was just starting to get interesting along with Ace but (so far as I know) so much implied then (Season 26) was never expanded/resolved/spun out.
     
  19. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    I feel the audience was for Classic WHO kids (think 9-10) and adults (say around 30), and the audience for NuWho is girls around 15-20 solely. And that becomes problematic because they put in these winks and nods to the Classic Series that many of these younger people have no idea about. It's like...crap or get off the pot. Be a full blown reboot - which is fine...Or if you're going to adhere to old canon, than respect it, and stop going into the past and violating it, and keep the audience the same. Keep the intelligence level the same. Keep the general framework the same. It doesn't have to be a 4 part serial, it can be one episode one hour long, but keep it serious. Don't make The Doctor a teenage girl's fantasy.

    Also, stop going back into the Doctor's personal timeline and 'fixing' things. AFAIK, they made sure to never directly undo or change or alter The Doctor's past. They sidestepped around various Doctors' footprints (like the episode where 7 goes back to 1963 to recover a device One left) but I don't recall them ever altering The Doctor's past. Even the Genesis of the Daleks...The Doctor fiddles with history but ultimately the result is the same: The Daleks are born and become what they become. He might have changed a detail or two...but the result is the same.

    Also...Another bone to pick. They have a much much much bigger budget than Classic Who, right? So why limit The Doctor's adventures to various time periods in England? In Classic Who, this made sense - they could barely scrape by financially. But even Classic Who took us to totally alien worlds of true Pulp Sci-Fi like the Web Planet. Why does every other NuWho episode have to be set in England (insert year here)? Why can't The Doctor be saving life on other planets more often? Why can't we get grand vistas of mysterious, creepy worlds of wonder? You have the Ood - COOL! Now introduce us to some more neat aliens. One-up Star Wars, mates. Give us some weird fish monsters or something truly alien in its intelligence or look. Nu Who makes The Doctors' universe seem quite small indeed.
     
  20. Trashman

    Trashman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    They even made it a point to suggest that the one thing the Doctor was expressly forbidden to do was to alter his own past. After Adric died in Earthshock, Tegan and Nyssa begged the Doctor to go back and save Adric, but the Doctor said that he couldn't. (Though possibly the Doctor was glad to be rid of Adric... just kidding!)

    The show loses some of its punch if the Doctor has the ability to go back and fix things he did wrong. It removes some of the consequences of his actions when it's possible for "do-overs."
     
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  21. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    And it undoes some of the pathos of his mistakes if he can just go into the past, and say "No, stop it" to his former self. It makes time meaningless. A spoon he can bend with ease.
     
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  22. Deesky

    Deesky Forum Resident

    Oh, sorry, I thought you were talking about Star Trek Discovery! :)
     
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  23. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    Quite alright, Doctor.
     
  24. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    I can't stress enough how much I dislike the love interest angle. Because every time they've done it, it's been with a female who already has a partner, and The Doctor knows it and at the very least doesn't discourage their love, or uses that advantage to make them more pliant. It's not meant to come off that way, but that's how it comes off - he's using the power of their crush on him to have more obedient companions in a sense, totally devoted to him. All of their lovers are made to be the butt monkeys, Mickey in particular and Rory as well. It just has a subtle feeling of almost cruelty to it. The Doctor will steal your girlfriend, basically. Which isn't admirable or cool. It just makes him seem almost like a predator; at the very least like a jerk.
     
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  25. neo123

    neo123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Kentucky
    Of the NuWho Doctors, my favorite is still Tennant with Eccleston a close second. Even though both of them could be goofy at times, they both were also very convincing when they had to be bada$$es. Matt Smith's doctor was my least favorite. He trumped both Tennant and Eccleston in goofiness by a longshot and he wasn't convincing as a bada$$. Every time he tried to be mean, stern, tough, etc., I always just laughed. He was portrayed way too nerdy, especially with that bow tie. Capaldi's doctor took awhile to get used to but I grew to like him (not as much as Tennant and Eccleston.)

    Not all female companions had crushes on their Doctors (Bill being a lesbian, Amy had Rory and at least one or two companions between Rose and Amy had no crushes.) I think Rose probably had somewhat of a crush on her Doctors (Eccleston and Tennant) and maybe the older one who lived with her mom had one on Tennant. My memory might be lacking on that, though. Also, Clara's crush on the Doctor gradually was toned down when they added and then killed off Pink. Also, Clara had the transition of dealing with nerdy Matt Smith to grumpy Capaldi.

    The only thing that got on my nerves about Tennant (and one of the many things about Smith) was the Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey-Wimey speak. I loved the episode with John Hurt as the War Doctor when he put both of them in their places about their childish vocabulary regarding Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey-Wimey. LOL
     
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