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I want to talk about one of my favourite shows which ended tonight. I adored that each character was given thought, believable character development and a moment of grace. It was the perfect goodbye to some people I have loved.

But enough about the Gavin and Stacey series finale, let's talk about the Doctor Who series ender...

I'm just going to talk about things I loved and did not like in a wandering sort of way.

I was working today, until about 7.30, which is half an hour past deadline but, eh, sameoldsameold. I did weaken for one moment and click on BBC1 on the TV system we have on our macs, but fortunately I only saw Rassilon having a spit, which was in the trailer.

Then there was the long wait until the DVD recorder had finished recording the Confidential and Gavin & Stacey – which was oddly gorgeous after an uneven but funny series -- and I sat down *dreading* what was to come.

Really there was nothing to dread. It was so much better than the canon wrecking ball I was expecting, though it was far less than the sum of its parts, as nothing was quite explained and nothing *quite* fit together properly.

It was peculiar that the return of Gallifrey was basically 15 minutes of Rassilon and the Master shouting, significant eyedarts and mysterious glances before they all buggered off back to wherever.

I liked that the Doctor locked up his own people at the end of the Time War because Rassilon was leading them into genocide, because they turned bad themselves. It makes sense of Ten's frequent excursions into megalomania and wibbling and lifts some of the guilt from Eleven. The notion that Rassilon has made the Master who he is I am okay with, as long as it's not the entire explanation. I don't want it to be that simplistic, as though any child picked by Rassilon could have ended up being the Master.

I even liked that it turned out to be Rassilon. The backstory in my head for that is fantastic and I hope we never get any canon confirmation of how it happened. As for the woman who appeared to Wilf, I think it's tremendous that they never said who it was. So far, in my head!canon, it has been Romana, Donna a long time in her future or Ace, become part of Gallifrey as part of her education.

I loved that "he will knock four times" turned out to be such a small, knifing thing, though when Ten started yelling about Wilf being "not remotely important" and him being so fabulous and having so much to do, I did actually yell at the TV "OH STOP WHINING!" and then felt better. And I wish, so much, that Ten's last words had been "Now I'm ready", so that after all that railing he could go into a new phase at peace with himself.

RTD wrapped up the storylines of his characters in such a way that any one of them can be drawn back into the series except perhaps Rose. Her story is done anyway. I didn't particularly like that they paired up Mickey and Martha, though the pair of them looked *awesome* and were doing great things and I am so glad they were there. But pairing up people just because they are spare, with the potential subtext that it's happened because they are the two characters of colour? Oh, and also, dear.

I didn't particularly like that RTD suggested that Donna's problems would be solved by "settling" for Shaun even though he seemed like a nice fellow, what little we saw of him. I didn't like that he suggested that money makes you happy. It doesn't, though lack of money certainly makes you miserable.

I also think it's a crying shame that when Tennant and Tate have such chemistry they didn't have any scenes together, which is RTD writing himself into a corner again, I assume. For as wonderful as Cribbins was, I wish that they'd had more scenes with the three of them.

I loved Sarah's goodbye. The look they exchanged was gorgeous, as was the small moment with Verity Newman. A lovely grace note. And aside from the bloody Star Wars cantina aspect, I actually loved that they didn't deny Jack's mourning, just suggested that Alonso was a step on the way to him hauling himself out of the pit of grief again. (or perhaps I am projecting)

And David, oh David, I am going to miss you, you big old fanboy. You couldn't have done better by your childhood love. And I know you will have noted that in three years it's the fiftieth anniversary, and the production team have been known to do splendid things on fiftieth anniversaries. Go be magnificent, but come back if you can.

The less tl;dr version, bullet points:
• I wasn't particularly impressed but I quite liked it; perhaps because I had such low expectations. I thought it missed its opportunities but at least it didn't dynamite any of the canon I care about.

• I didn't cry. Except maybe there was something in my eye when they did the montage to Never Forget in the Confidential

• I still love Tennant as an actor, and I often loved the way he played the Tenth Doctor (the odd moment of scenery-chewing aside) but not always the things he was asked to play.

• I still think RTD is the writerly equivalent of a great actor miscast, and with a bit of luck I might one day write a coherent post explaining why. But I thank him for resurrecting a series I have loved since I was just a little over seven years old (I just checked the first episode I remember watching, and yes, I was just a bit past my seventh birthday) I wish him luck in his future endeavours. Arrivederci.

• It did not necessarily further joss any of the things I have in various states of non-completion on my HD, 100,300 words. eeep. unlike Torchwood: Children of Earth. In fact it BEGS for the audience to fill in stories around the edges, explain WTF that was, or slide off into slightly AU-land.

• I like Eleven already, which I did not think was possible with so little screentime. He's promisingly weird, and I liked the new trailer. Moff is on notice over the startlingly short skirts of the companion and there had better be little obvious leching but otherwise -- new series this Spring, and I cannot wait.

What with the fantastic ending to Death in Blackpool, it's been a good old, sad old month.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)
I am very dubious about Eleven; your good opinion makes me feel better already.
Jan. 2nd, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
I'd give it a go. He seems quite sweet and I look forward to seeing what he can do to haul himself out of Tennant's massive shadow.
Jan. 2nd, 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
As I'm clearly behind the curve: what is the reasoning behind the name change? And does cromarty have some special significance?
Jan. 2nd, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
There is no reasoning, except I was so sick of the sight of the old one I never updated. Fresh start and all that.

Cromarty is a sea area mentioned in the shipping forecast, which I used to listen for on the radio -- it's the last thing on Radio 4 every night before they play the national anthem -- and my dad was a sailor. It's also the central metaphor of one of my favourite songs, if that's not too poncey a thing to say.

My fic journal is another sea area, so they fitted together, and they were both not taken by anyone else. Thinking up LJ names is hard. *g*
Jan. 5th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
Ahhh!! I am so glad now I asked, as this is an even more interesting answer than I would have expected! And no, fixing on the central metaphor of a favorite song is not too poncey a thing, not in my opinion (and assuming I properly understand the meaning of 'poncey' *g*). I agree that thinking up LJ names is hard but I give you full approval on the choice. Plus, there's an agreeability to 'cromarty' that I quite like. :)
Jan. 2nd, 2010 08:34 am (UTC)
I ended up less pleased than you, possibly because you know me: I have NO PATIENCE AT ALL for that kind of authorial emoting all over the product. It went ON and ON and On, and I don't just mean Ten's farewells.

I'm so with you on the STOP WHINING moment, at exactly the same time. What the Doctor needs is a good dose of humility.

I also got a strong sense of "too much Tennant" from Smith, but I'm (dubiously) willing to give him a chance.

Wasn't Martha supposed to marry that doctor fellow she met during the year that wasn't? At that point in the Great Farewell Tour I started wondering if he was visiting alternate universes.

Anyway, I found it intriguing however not compelling.

The Buffistas ID'd the woman with her hands over her eyes, if you want to know.
Jan. 2nd, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
Let's not even get started on the Martha thing. It was stupid but the fic making it make sense will be splendid, so there's that.

The 'Too Much Tennant' thing isn't worrying me, I think Moffat will make it his own soon enough and Matt Smith is a decent actor. He made a nice job of almost nothing at all in Moses Jones. Plus the last long-running series Moff did was just fabulous in every way. If you can ever find it, check out Press Gang. The only thing that worried me was punching people and guns. That'd better be trailer trickery.

The Buffistas ID'd the woman with her hands over her eyes, if you want to know.

Oh, I know all that bollocks. The Sun said Claire Bloom was the Doctor's mother, her place on the High Council suggested she was Romana, the significant looks suggested she might be Susan, and I say she's Ace because I like being contrary... anyone who says they have a definitive answer is talking bollocks because they left it deliberately ambiguous in a way they didn't with Timothy Dalton's character.

It didn't make much sense but it's *done* now so at least we can get round to being surprised and disappointed with Moffat now, instead of knowing what kind of disappointed we're going to be with the nonsensical and weirdly misanthropic RTD.

ETA: Sorry, that came out a bit grumpier than intended or than I feel.

Edited at 2010-01-02 01:26 pm (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2010 09:26 am (UTC)
Really there was nothing to dread. It was so much better than the canon wrecking ball I was expecting, though it was far less than the sum of its parts, as nothing was quite explained and nothing *quite* fit together properly.

Agree totally with this comment.

pairing up people just because they are spare, with the potential subtext that it's happened because they are the two characters of colour? Oh, and also, dear.


Donna and the money thing? Could he have been any more of a Chav about it? If there is one thing we have learnt from the great examples of gentlemanly behaviour found in Whimsey or Campion, it is that one does not pay off friends with money, even if one is rolling in it.
Jan. 2nd, 2010 10:09 am (UTC)
It left loads of room for stories, which is the good thing about plot holes. Money won't solve Donna "settling" for Shaun and even a triple rollover doesn't mean you're made for life if there are multiple tickets with the right numbers, as has happened quite a few times; Martha and Mickey can only get together with the head!canon equivalent of wrestling a bear; Rose is still in an alternate universe; we still don't know WTF happened with Gallifrey, and there's that time of indeterminate length that the Tenth Doctor spent travelling alone to play with.

End of Time didn't shut off many avenues. Huzzah etc for that.
Jan. 2nd, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
But enough about the Gavin and Stacey series finale

LOL. Oh, how I loved that. I was on the edge of my seat thinking, they'll never make it work, and then they gradually did. I came late to that show and I love it.

(goes off to read the DW part)
Jan. 2nd, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think that this series was a little bit uneven, they had material enough for maybe four and a bit episodes and then filled it up with dancing to Madness and beach-based humour, but I don't care too much. They handle the big occasions beautifully and I loved, loved, loved the ending.

I know some people complain its cosy and overrated but I thought it was lovely. Not everything has to be Nathan Barley
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )