Nu-Views

Taking Satisfaction

May
09

The Angels Take Manhattan (Series 7, Ep 5; 2012)
Viewed 16 Apr 2018

Doctor/Companion: Eleven, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song
Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston
Preceding Story: The Power of Three (Eleven, Amy, Rory)
Succeeding Story: The Snowmen (Eleven, Clara)

    This coming weekend, I get to take my daughters to their first Doctor Who con—in fact, their first con of any sort since becoming fans of the show. As you may recall, the three members of the Paternoster Gang were slated to be the guests of honor, and I was trying to figure out how to give the girls enough background to appreciate said guests.

    Since then, Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra)—the first of those guests to have been announced, as I recall—has had to cancel, and my kids have blown through so much Doctor Who that they've now seen not just one, but every extant episode in which the Paternoster Gang appears. I'm no longer worrying about their excitement for meeting these actors; now it's a matter of which Doctor do we watch next (and next, and next...).

    Not only are we watching lots of episodes together, but it's also been a ridiculously long time since the Ladies have gotten together to watch anything other than the most recent series (scheduling can be a real bear). And since a commenter suggested it might be fun to read more about what my daughters think about these new-to-them stories, I thought I'd choose a few during which to record their reactions and reboot the NuViews section of the blog in earnest.

    At the time I made that decision, we were in the middle of Series 7A. A Companion departure story seemed like a really good one to capture, so when it was time to watch The Angels Take Manhattan, I got out my clipboard and—with the girls' permission—started taking notes.

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    Nu-View #21: Disgust & Side-Eyes

    Jan
    24

    Love & Monsters (Series Two, Ep. 10; 2006)
    Viewed 15 Jan 2018

    Doctor/Companion: Ten, Rose Tyler
    Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper
    Preceding Story: The Satan Pit (Ten, Rose)
    Succeeding Story: Fear Her (Ten, Rose)

      It's been some three-and-a-half years since I last did one of these. Aligning four adults' schedules often enough to keep up on new episodes with the Ladies—let alone review old ones—has proven a serious challenge. We are, in fact, still in the middle of Series Ten. I'm hopeful we'll get caught up with the Christmas episode by midsummer.

      When Verity! podcast released their Love & Monsters commentary a couple weeks ago, though, I knew it was time to relaunch a new version of the NuViews. It felt like Fate, because my 11-year-old twin daughters' introduction to the modern show had paused right at that exact episode. If I could convince them to watch with me again, I could both get them back in the proverbial saddle and share their unique perspective with my readers.

      The girls were game, and so we sat down (not without trepidation on my part) to watch Elton's vlog about his encounters with the Doctor. I realized immediately that this would be a different kind of experience than watching with the Ladies. To start, H & V are still quite new to Who; they don't have a whole lot of context upon which to draw for comparison. For another, they are for the most part still simply absorbed in the story; any comments they make tend to be direct gut reactions rather than the snarky comments of jaded adults. It's refreshing, even if it means there are fewer mid-episode impressions to report.

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      Nu-View #20: Brave New Worlds

      Aug
      13

      New Earth / Tooth and Claw (Series Two, Eps. 1-2; 2006)
      Viewed 05 Aug 2014

      Doctor/Companion: Ten, Rose Tyler
      Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper
      Preceding Story: The Christmas Invasion (Ten, Rose)
      Succeeding Story: School Reunion (Ten, Rose, Sarah Jane Smith)

        Our latest WhoFest was meant to be the first in my new home. The depressing fact that it wasn't (and that our move is rapidly receding into the realm of myth) was somewhat alleviated by jO's return to the fold after an extended absence.

        The early, jaunty Ten had been similarly absent from all of our Who viewing in recent years. "Look how young he looks!" exclaims jO. "When was this?"

        I remind the Ladies that Series Two went out in 2006, and jE summarizes our common reaction perfectly: "We're getting old."

        Old we may be, but at least we're not hanging onto our youth in sheer desperation like Cassandra. And she's a crafty one, redirecting Rose to her lair for her own nefarious purposes. "[Rose] knows she's not on Ward 26," observes jE. "Why doesn't she just get right back in the lift?" It's one of several plotting flaws we notice this evening.

        I found it interesting to realize how I always think of this story as having a lot of Zoë Wanamaker (Cassandra) in it, when she actually only plays the character for a few minutes. With all the body-swapping, even Sean Gallagher (Chip) spent nearly as much time as Cassandra as Wanamaker did. And, by the way, kudos to Gallagher; Chip was a physically awkward character to play, especially running through corridors with his arms straight down at his sides.

        But I digress. Comedic body-swaps aside, the supposed main storyline of the episode is about the mass of humanity that's been vat-grown to use as medical guinea pigs. The Matrix-y vibe of the endless rows of pods in the Intensive Care ward is stronger this time around than I've previously noted. Then another precognitive similarity stands out. Defending her order's actions, Novice Hame explains that these creatures aren't real people. "The Sisterhood grew its own flesh," she tells the Doctor. "That's all they are. Flesh." Why do I get the feeling Moffat found some inspiration in that moment?

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        Nu-View #19: Enter Number Ten

        Jul
        16

        The Christmas Invasion (Series Two, Ep. 0; 2005)
        Viewed 08 Jul 2014

        Doctor/Companion: Ten, Rose Tyler
        Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper
        Preceding Story: The Parting of the Ways (Nine, Rose)
        Succeeding Story: New Earth (Ten, Rose)

          As the Ladies gather one last time at the current Chez Neowhovian, the impending move to a new house is top on everyone's mind. Next time we get together (hopefully jO will finally be able to join us again; it's been too long!), we'll be at a completely new place.

          We barely even mention in passing that we've tried before to watch this episode (though there's a little muttering about it as Mickey shushes his coworkers to listen more carefully to the TARDIS materializing). The next thing we know, Jackie's delivering the classic joke line ("Doctor who?") and the opening credits crash across the screen.

          Poor Mickey is still getting the short end of the stick. "Can you just let it be Christmas?" he begs Rose. "Not so much," jE answers for her. On screen, Rose herself is trying a little harder, nodding acquiescence.

          "You promise?"

          "Yeah," she assures him.

          "Well, yeah, until the life or death stuff," amends jE. "Then I'll renege on my promise." And so it goes.

          We watch the mystery of this new alien threat unfold while Rose, Mickey, and Jackie try to figure out what to do on their own. Memories of our first experience with this new Doctor bubble to the surface, too. He's kind of scary serious when he briefly wakes to defuse the murderous Christmas tree, and send away the "pilot fish" St Nick-costumed brass players. No wonder everyone looks at him like they've never met him before. In retrospect, it's really interesting to see that side of him so early; he had that ominous presence a lot in his later stories, but it's anomalous for Series Two.

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          Nu-View #18: Special Surprise

          Jun
          11

          Planet of the Dead (Series Four Special; 2009)
          Viewed 03 Jun 2014

          Doctor/Companion: Ten, Lady Christina de Souza
          Stars: David Tennant, Michelle Ryan
          Preceding Story: The Next Doctor (Ten, Jackson Lake)
          Succeeding Story: The Waters of Mars (Ten, Adelaide Brooke)

            Having finished the Ninth Doctor's tenure last time, the Ladies and I are ready to leap into the Tenth Doctor's debut. Fate is, however, against us.

            It turns out that my Doctor Who evangelism is as disorganized as the rest of my life right now. Around New Year's I'd loaned my DVDs of Series Two to a friend whose kids were just getting into Who, and never asked for them back. I only discover this oversight for our WhoFest viewing plans as the Ladies are setting themselves up with wine and snacks.

            Not to waste one of our increasingly rare opportunities to spend time together with each other and the Doctor, we decide to postpone our watch-in-order exercise for another time and select an episode that we collectively know less well, at jE's request. It's an unexpectedly good choice; not only has jE seen it only once, but we discover that jA has never seen it at all! (I'm not sure how this egregious error came about; it's good we're correcting it now!)

            So off we go on the Lonely God's last "romp." First we meet our bored, aristocratic cat burglar as she takes advantage of the "worst security system ever" (as jA puts it). For someone who's meant to be so clever, Christina's a bit of a dullard for ripping off her identity-concealing mask whilst still inside the museum she's in the process of robbing.

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