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#ryan

so, i made this account roughly 3 years ago, give or take. i had just recently turned 16 and i was severely depressed, and this account saved me! being a part of a family, the bfu fandom, got me through one of the darkest periods.

this is my first post on here in 2 years, and i’m doing better. i don’t even know if anyone will see this, and i didn’t log on planning to say anything. but looking back at all the posts i was making when i was so young vs how i feel now, it’s incredible. 16 year old me never would’ve imagined how i feel today. so i just want to thank everyone on this account who supported me in any way, messaged me, or even liked one of my posts. that gave me the push to try to do better for myself.

while i’m here i just want to say: now is the time to support our brothers and sisters. participate in the movement, join protests, donate, sign petitions. speak out, use your voice. black lives matter, and it’s our duty to make them feel like that, and to protect as well as support them in the fight for justice.

thank you 🤍

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madejText

*clutches holy water*

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(Long post)

(Sorry)

Introduction

I decided, still being locked down, to watch some Doctor Who.

Hadn’t watched it in a while, told myself I’d always catch up when I had the time, and the universe decided to give me a lot of it.

I had stopped watching Matt quite some time ago, but caught up about 4 years ago to Capaldi’s first season. I had meant to carry on with it but slow-going times and I forgot and all the other jazz that fills in the space between not doing things.

But I thought I’d storm through them and get them over with. I had heard bad things going onwards, but hey, I’m one of those sad losers that LIKE Love and Monsters. It’s not great but I thought what it did well, it did great.

So, off I went to finally catch up on a show that formulated so much of my younger self, my love for time-travel, interesting sci-fi that ended up getting me into the genre, and a love for character interactions and lore.

I went through Capaldi, and his last two seasons, yeah, they had an odd episode here and there, Sleep No More is a disaster, but I carried on through. I’m a trooper, I got through Fear Her after all.

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But I fell in love with the Doctor again. Heaven Sent is easily the best DW has offered so far, the character building with him and Clara and Bill and hell, Nardole, are superb. The stories were interesting, the Doctor was great and evolved, and the companions were the perfect fit for Capaldi.

And then, after a brilliant goodbye, he was gone.

“Be kind.“

And here we go, we’re with Jodie, she’s northern, she’s confused, and she’s in need of some pockets, falling through the sky, yeah, 200 degrees that’s why they call her missus fahrenheit-

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Not Jodie, but Chibnall

I’m not going to drag this out too far, I ain’t gonna make you read this for ages just to see if I like it. If you don’t want to see me complain about two seasons, this is your point to head out.

I think these are the lowest series of Modern Doctor Who.

But like the title says, it’s not Jodie’s fault. She’s an amazing actress, and she plays the part well. Hell, so does Bradley, Tosin and Mandip. Each one of them is a good actor and when the scene calls for them, they pull it off well.

The issue here is the writing.

And I feel I should go through why I think that.

But first, I think I should point out the good.

The Good: On historical topics and representation

This is the most diverse Doctor Who has been in a while. It was pretty diverse before mind you, let’s not forget the Doctor seems a bit flexible, the companions have been a mix of sexualities, gender, age and race, and each one of them is loved by many. Hell, Jack Harkness was so popular he got his own tv show.

But Thirteenth has gone and made sure that there was more.

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Characters just pointing out they’re gay and it’s just a matter of fact. It’s a statement, not an argument, not being out there or subvertive, it just is. People are more than fine with this. 

I’m surprised Graham the bus driver is so accepting of everyone at the start, but it speaks testament to his character. He fell in love with Grace, he raised a son with a disability, he stands up for those that dare have a go at any of that. Graham didn’t have to grow to learn this in the Tardis, he was accepting from the get-go. 

Well, there’s some conflict about Ryan blaming things on Dyspraxia in the first episode but it comes out of a place of fear of their lives. But any tensions between them are resolved quite well, to the point they can count on each other.

Either way, representation is important and Jodie’s season has it in spades.

As for historical topics, the Doctor tackles them quite well. Honestly, the episodes in the past are her strong suit. And as she’s a woman now, she has a new battle against her. History wasn’t always kind, and the gag of them addressing Graham each time is a genuinely good idea.

Also, Rosa had the opportunity to be butchered. It could have been written badly, it could have been handled with hardly any care, but it was the standout episode of the season. Each character gets some good lines, the gang has to face moral decisions and it’s a genuinely good look into a past that America would sometimes like to forget.

As an aside, I think Bill, even as one character, explored the sexuality thing more and the diversity she faced from it, I think thirteenth doesn’t do a bad job. I liked the astronauts as shown above quite a bit to be fair.

Graham

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The standout star of the show.

This will be unfortunately brought up in my negatives for the show too, but this is the good side.

Graham’s lost his wife, he has to connect to her grandson, his cancer is a constant worry in his head and he comes with the Doctor in an attempt to escape/confront all three.

He is the one who evolves the most as a character in the first season, coming to terms with the death of Grace is something he battles with throughout, he still blames himself. For whatever reason, even in the Rosa Parks episode, he gets the most emotional writing. Ryan and Yaz do get good writing in the same episode mind you, (which is unfortunately one of the few times Yaz does) but it’s heartbreaking to see Graham realise what he has to do.

The Acting

I unfortunately have to put Ryan, Yaz and the Doctor here in one group category. and I hate to do that, but I feel it’d be a disservice not to mention them.

Their actors can act well. When the script calls for it, they do amazing work.

The scene where Jodie is angry and confused at the other Doctor, where Ryan is actually there to support his friend, when Yaz is comforting Ryan about America, where Jodie is fucking pissed at the Master, all good scenes.

But this is a perfect segway into -

The Bad: Asides the retcon

Holy shit where do I start.

I mean, we’ve got the good out of the way, so you know where I stand on the issues a bunch of people wrong accused the show of being. A female doctor is more than fine, the diverse cast is great, the topics of exploring the past is done good.

And I’m not going into the retcon just yet, I feel like going ITS BAD BECAUSE OF THIS ignores so much of the problems to be had

But let’s start with

The Doctor

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This should have been her outfit just saying

I find the best way of describing most of this doctors run so far is…

Imagine, if you will, that you need to write a Doctor Who book. They’ve given you a plot to go with, but they haven’t told you which Doctor it’s for. But tight schedules and they still haven’t told you, so you write up a draft. A template. But you leave the Doctor’s text ambiguous. A template for a Doctor. With some work, you could make it the 12th, the 5th, the 1st, once you add mannerisms and how the doctor would react personally in a situation. So you write in this template Doctor and go to sleep. But you wake up and your assistant has only gone and submitted it.

The Doctor is kinder than any other iteration of her Doctor, but that’s it. I get why the natural progression from Capaldi, and Jodie sells a nice Doctor superbly, but … 

There’s nothing really there to distinguish her as her own Doctor. She’s nice, a bit confused, LOVES things and calls people fam.

But like, that’s it. Where the 9th had coldness, 10 had eccentric, 11 had old man and 12 was furious, Jodie has… nice. But a Doctor needs an edge. 

She’s quiet about her home life and she doesn’t really talk much to her companions about it, but like, that’s understandable, she doesn’t really talk one on one to them or even much about their home lives.

She doesn’t get an arc until Spyfall, and even then it’s largely just turned into “She’s well moody”, and apparently well moody is just being kinda quiet. Jodie says it right when she shouts at them in one scene “You don’t know me!”

And she’s right, but then the companions trust her with everything and they’re part of a FAM and super close but they don’t really talk with each other. Jodie doesn’t have these quiet talks like the other Doctors would have with the companions, it’s just… not there.

And because it’s not there we’re supposed to believe they think of themselves as a tightly knit group but also very apart as characters. And the companions, to their credit, try and confront her on it, but the conflict is over so quick as to not be there at all.

Yaz and Ryan

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This is the best scene of them in, and one of the rare times Yaz makes an impact on a story which isn’t just supporting the Doctor

What they did to these two actors is cruel.

Ryan at least gets to join in on Grahams arc, because it is Grahams arc, not Ryans, really. There’s a plot about his Dad that’s done quite well, so that’s why Ryan doesn’t suffer the same poor fate as Yaz does.

Yaz has absolutely no agency. She wants to be a successful Policewoman but it’s not really much addressed outside of the first episode and the dream episode (which admittedly, is a good episode and explores each character). She gets told by everyone she’s the heart of the team and super brave and like, she hasn’t got an arc, she pretty much blindly follows the Doctor, she has no reason to be there much other than her family’s a bit annoying.

Her actress plays the scenes well, and there’s some touching moments with her in Rosa and the dream episode about how she is the way she is, why she does the things she does. But 2 episodes out of 20 isn’t enough.

Ryan gets a couple of good episodes, a touching one especially comes with horrors of the future and not being there for his friends plaguing his mind, and he manages to get help for his depressed friend, which is touching.

But the two episodes? That’s kind of it.

Ryan gets a nice Dalek episode though.

Orphan 55

The worst episode in Doctor Who. Took any good faith from Spyfall and plonked S12 in bottom tier before we even got to the retcon.

If I talked about everything it did wrong here this would go on too long.

It was just the worst 45 minutes of DW

At least Sleep No More was just boring.

Character Arcs, What Are They

Graham’s arms give out in season 1 for carrying the team.

The Doctor against Tim Shaw is laughable, there’s no conflict past killing a couple of people, so Graham has to have that moral dilemma instead, Ryan manages to respect him and call him gramps, but that’s more Grahams arc than Ryans. Yaz has nothing, the Doctor learns nothing.

But series 2, the Doctor’s given an arc, which is something, considering that before this it was a throwaway line about Timeless Child from a piece of cloth.

Gallifrey is gone again, the insurance rates at this point are through the roof on this planet, she’s been told the Master did it for learning a terrible truth. But she of course doesn’t explore the ruins until she has to, but ah well, we can live with that, that’s fine in Doctor Who. I’m not even being sarcastic, the Doctor through all iterations isn’t very clever.

It gives her a bit of a mood that’s not really explored too much past that, but then we’re given Jo Martin as The Other Doctor

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My opinions on throwing in Doctors from the past aside, (I love you John Hurt but damnit), Jo plays a competent Doctor, and her attitude clashes so well with Jodie that both actresses get to act well in good written scenes.

But then she’s just very confused until Gallifrey rolls around again.

We’ll ignore the retcon, again, but once she learns she gets super fucking pissed. And for good reason. Against the Master, against the Time Lords, against everyone, she’s shouting at everything, lost in her life.

But it’s sorted out very quickly by Jo intervention and then she’s much the same as ever.

Well, I say that, what I mean is “Willing to burn and kill all life on Gallifrey” with a button press. Yeah I know that the Time Lords are dead and the Master is about to kill everyone but you wouldn’t let a Spider be shot through mercy killing and you expect me to jump to “Would absolutely murder the Master and desecrate the bodies of the Time Lords”

It doesn’t matter anyway, for she has not the will to do so.

But she lets someone else do it

For fucks sa-

And at the end, what has she learned? That the thing she only knew half an hour ago shouldn’t affect her, so back to status quo

Wasted potential - Monsters

Imagine a super cool idea for a monster? Cool, add it into an episode.

And now get rid of it super quickly or butcher the premise.

REGENERATING CYBERMEN? Let’s have one shoot the other to show how bad it would be and then kill them immediately.

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The Pting, capabale of disrupting a ships infrastructure an-
Nah, just dick around with the lights.

A TIME TRAVELLING RACIST WHO KNOWS HOW TO FUCK UP THE TIMELINE

Let’s not even reference him 15 episodes later

Cyberman hybrid? 

You get the idea.

The Master, or rather, the Missy Issue

The Master is putting on his best Simms Master homage, and like, I get it. It’s a good Master, and Sacha really puts his all into it.

I can only hope that this Master is before Yana. Missy’s exit was poetic, done well. Of course, just when she could feel ok joining the Doctor, the obstacle in her way was herself. 

It’s not even the fact she died and why is he back now, it’s … this Master has almost no nuance to him. He wants the Doctor to know the truth, which is at least some Master motives, but then its just wanton destruction for the sake of it. Like Simms but “what if we made him more crazy” The Master is more than this, can be more than this. It was nice seeing Jodie try and relate to him but this Master has thrown out three years of compelling evolution of the character. To throw it all out seems … odd.

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I can’t fault his performance though, he can be real damn quiet and sinister and really out there when he’s screaming at things.

The episodes themselves

Good cast, good side characters, good ideas, butchered in execution by not exploring the main cast, falling flat on the ideas and by the second season, losing the fun side characters.

Episodes I liked

  • Woman Who Fell To Earth
  • Rosa
  • Demons of the Punjab
  • WitchFinders
  • Takes You Away
  • Fugitive of the Judoon
  • Can you Hear me

Episodes I hated

  • Orphan 55
  • Arachnids
  • The Timeless Children
  • The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (for cutting everything short)

Everything else was mostly unmemorable
I fell asleep on Ascension of the Cybermen, had to rewind it.

The Retcon

You knew this was coming.

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I put it last for I feel there’s a hundred and one issues here and it’d be cruel to just go for the obvious first. Maybe people would think I’d be against this one thing and that’s why I hate the rest. God no, I was so annoyed going into this episode, let alone for what it was about to deliver.

I don’t outright hate past Doctors. Hell, shove the brains of Morbius in there. It shits a bit on Hartnell and established lore a bit, but still.

“But the Brains of Morbius said-“

The eighth doctor said he was half-human, there are some bits of this canon we ignore.

But oh well, it’s not the main crux of the issue.

The Doctor, before this, was a Time Lord. He wasn’t much of a good one, by Time Lord standards at least. Ran from the schism, wasn’t as good as the Master in school, didn’t like the stuffy nature of his race, or their non-intervention policy. Ran off in a stolen ship with a knackered console and wanted to see the universe.

He flouted the rules. He stood up for people where Time Lords wouldn’t. Observe, don’t intervene. But the Doctor couldn’t, too curious, too inquisitive. He got a fondness for humans, god knows why. 

But this Time Lord was against his own people, he was kinder than them, but alien to us. He wanted to learn, and left his planet to see if there was good in the universe. He was a rather shit Time Lord but helped where he could, making a difference in other people’s lives, trying to be the best he could be, learning.

This got him into trouble with the Time Lords of course, but, hey, it’s a funny old universe.

And we like that, as British folk. An underdog common person just trying to help out and be good.

What we’re not a fan of is saying the the Doctor isn’t just some Time Lord that likes helping out, but a chosen one who is the reason that Time Lords exist in the first place and is of another dimensional world and there were 50 of them and they knew kung fu in the super secret Time Lord service but they wiped her mind because it was super secret guys and she can live forever and is immortal and-

I was annoyed when the 50th made a slight mockery of the Time War. I get we don’t always have to stick so closely to canon, but holy shit the Timeless Child.

The fact it was exposition dumped on us and then wrapped up 10 minutes after with NEW ADVENTURES AT CHRISTMAS was just the icing on the cake.

If you wanted to pull this off, this should have been the Doctor’s struggle for the next season, coming to terms that her life is missing, that the Time Lords did this, that she didn’t even know what was right or not

But no, resolved. Felt not like adding to the lore but upending it on its head to say he could.

It’s why I don’t blame Jodie, who does an excellent job. Or the cast.

I blame Chibnall.

And it wouldn’t be as bad if the writing leading up to it helped serve the episode. But there was nothing there. 

Conclusion

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The writing is trash, the Doctor is underdeveloped, the cast outside of Graham aren’t explored, the setup for the finales are weak and uninspired, the retcons are going to cause major issues down the line and you’ve changed the very nature of the Doctor’s character and didn’t even have good writing behind it nor did much to explore it.

And I’m sorry it had to happen to such a good casting decision.

Here’s hoping you sign on to Big Finish and they give you some good storylines Jodie, you deserve it.

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