Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

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Spannerintheworks
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

Whovastron wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:36 am
I think the show is on the way out. its very sad but it is what it is. It seems the current creative team, or any creative team after series 7, just don’t know how to market to the current audience
As much as I love Capaldi and his Series I do have to agree. Coming out of the 50th (which was its own marketing), the show and the BBC pretty much just took the approach of "Doctor Who is back". Which, yes it was. But other than the show being on they gave little other incentive to check it out. Capaldi had already been hyped and for any fans who'd checked out on Moffat most probably they knew he was still at the helm. Looking at numbers the show followed the same pattern as previous years, where by Capaldi's 3rd year numbers dipped to half of his debut (This happened to Tennant and Smith too, if I recall.) But resting the show a year after Series 9 didn't help and the only advertising jolt the BBC took was the inevitable "The Doctor is now Jodie!", which also coasted on media and news reports the same way the 50th did.

In fact, I'm troubled by the fact the BBC seems to only wake up and strongly advertise Who when there's a new Doctor cast. And honestly the media does some of the work for them in that case. Considering that the show has not had a stable broadcast time (Only the Davies era and Capaldi's first two years had any stability), this seems crazy to me. In the US (where I am) jerking a show around with regard to scheduling is basically a death sentence. I know it differs in several regards with the BBC, but.....

Avoiding debates about Chibnall/Whittaker, the facts (ie, numbers) are that the show's audience dropped faster than any other New Series Doctor. And by the current model, the BBC will advertise heavily.....when Jodie leaves or someone new is cast.

I don't think the show is in danger (yet). But I do think the current model of promotion is inadvisable and unhealthy for the show. I'll put it this way: Under this model, we'd never have a Tom Baker, or even Tennant style tenure from a Doctor. (Tennant EASILY could've stayed for Series 5 or more based on multiple sources.) A new Doctor is the "shiny object" to get viewers watching, and 5-7 years of the same Doctor is just too long if they can't be bothered to care with promotion.

Back to Whovastron's assessment, Whittaker probably signed, was offered, or asked for a 3 series contract. With the current production model that is 5 years of her life where she is doing little else. So.....I'd wager that the show has.....

*A soft relaunch with Yaz/new companions or completely new companion(s) (I really think the latter)
*A new Doctor cast within the next 2 years to hype to viewers.

If the show doesn't see much change with regard to ratings and response/interest with those, THEN I'd worry.

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skifflebits
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by skifflebits »

I really think as long as the show has a large international viewership, they will keep it going as long as they want.

c.f. The Simpsons, which hasn't had a strong US viewership in over a decade, but has such good sales internationally that Fox has no reason to cancel it. Probably ever.
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

skifflebits wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:19 pm
I really think as long as the show has a large international viewership, they will keep it going as long as they want.

c.f. The Simpsons, which hasn't had a strong US viewership in over a decade, but has such good sales internationally that Fox has no reason to cancel it. Probably ever.
So, the Simpsons is on a major US network and generally syndicated in many countries with a main cast that pretty much only does voice work and production that is 100% consistent. (It's an animated show that does not even require guests to a strict timetable; That is, they can record their appearances remotely long before or after the episode's production.) It is completely available with a general subscription to Disney+ as well. (Which is cheaper than most streaming services.)

Doctor Who is a location based show that almost demands a new setting and supporting cast every week, also tries to court attractive guest talent, is not in wide syndication, had Prime and Netflix (which most people have) pass on it and, in my country's case, isn't readily available in the US without signing up for an advanced cable package or a premier online service subscription (Remember, HBOmax is not the base level subscription - it's an upgrade). Also, it has a regular cast that tend to be either established actors who will want to do more with their career (So Who will have to be "worth it" if they aren't fans and eagerly want it) or are up-and-comers who will either want to move on or see a (probably artistic and monetary) reason to stay.

In short...

I'm not sure this is an Apples to Apples comparison.

I doubt outright cancellation. But I could see a rest. Or a "Sherlock" type format of 3 90 minute episodes. Maybe even spread through the year.

Who is a LOT for a TV show. And the BBC certainly have shows that do well with less. (More standing sets/locations, regular cast, general viewer accessibility...)

With what Whittaker represents I doubt they'd let her seem at all like a "failure" in any regard. And honestly, I think she deserves another roll of the dice without 3 companions to weigh down episodes. I feel it's a safe bet we get one more series of 10 episodes and likely a special. But if she does intend to bounce after Series 13 and there's no rebound I'd suspect something will change other than the Doctor too.

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skifflebits
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by skifflebits »

I do see your point, but I think it's pretty apples to apples in terms of survivability.

The big factors in cancellation are budget and audience. Are they making a profit, or is there a high opportunity cost losing a prime time slot that could be making more of a profit?

Doctor Who is still the BBC's biggest global franchise,* even if it's "in decline" in the home market. I don't see them dropping it after Jodie and Chibs leave, though I agree that they'll probably shake things up the moment they're out the door.

*Actually, is there a bigger one? What BBC show is huge worldwide right now? Obviously the Great British Bake Off left the BBC when their contract was up.
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ANewWatchBegins
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by ANewWatchBegins »

I definitely think the BBC don't know what to do with Doctor Who anymore, and a big part of that is how rapidly the television landscape is changing. Doctor Who has always been a unique property, now more than ever. There was a definite attempt with S11+ to make it fall in line with what had been the biggest TV successes, 10 episodes, Sunday night, more budget for each episode. But things like Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials, Stranger Things, these are very different shows that are telling a much more focused narrative. TV and viewership has changed rapidly over the past few years and it's very hard to take a 57 year old show and adapt that to the biggest change in how we consume television, and how shows are made to suit that, ever.

As for my two cents on the Timeless Child.. I’ve taken a big step away from the Doctor Who fandom in the wake of The Timeless Children broadcasting. I just found the extremely hyperbolic reactions to it a bit much, a bit of an overreaction and it just wasn’t fun. Personally, I don’t hate it like some, I don’t really like it, I’m more or less ambivalent to the whole thing.

I’m certainly much more of a fan of the current era than most fans. I enjoyed Series 11, or rather, I really enjoyed what Series 11 set out to do - it definitely had some major execution problems! Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous era. I felt like the show was getting to wrapped up in it’s own lore and history and I didn’t enjoy that. I have nothing against those aspects of the show, it’s just not the main draw for me. Series 11 was a breath of fresh air for me, and The Women Who Fell To Earth totally got me excited for the show again in a way I hadn’t been in years. I did agree with a lot of people, that this era could use to bring back some of the past, a couple of villains or characters, but I honestly feel like they went way too hard on this and the Timeless Child almost doubles down on Doctor Who’s obsession with it’s own past worse than ever before.

The whole thing feels a bit futile and a bit of a waste of time. It definitely totters a bit to close to the line of ruining the mystery of the Doc, but it doesn’t really change anything. William Hartnell is still the First Doctor, and all the events we know that happened up until now remain unchanged. There was a just a bit before, that the Doctor doesn’t really remember. I’m not really sure what the arc is setting out to achieve. And rather than just tack on this new lore at the beginning, you have the complications of Ruth, her companion and this crime, this war, Gat, the Division.. it raises a lot of questions and the way they were raised feels like they demand an answer, rather than deepening the mystery of the Doctor. They have to be addressed now, and they’re definitely going to play a part in S13. I don’t want this whole era to become about solving mysteries of the past. I want this era to tell new adventures with a wonderful Doctor.

I think the biggest flaw of it, for me, is the waste. The biggest waste is the waste of talent. Jodie Whittaker, Jo Martin and Sacha Dhawan.

Jodie is a brilliant actress, and I love her Doctor. Personally, I think 13 is the perfect Doctor to follow Capaldi, and the perfect Doctor for our times. Having 12 go through this arc of ‘am I a good man?’ And then be reborn as someone who really strives to be positive and good makes sense to me, and in the chaotic, depressing times we live in, 13 being a determined optimist in the face of things seems like the best fit for who the Doctor should be at this time.

This series, I loved seeing Jodie’s Doctor show more facets of her character, seeing more snark, bite, sadness, moments like her speech in the Haunting of Villa Diodati. I just wish the context for these moments was a bit better, and felt a bit less contrived. To develop Thirteen, it should be about challenging that optimism through her adventures, about putting her in situations that genuinely challenge her moral code. Her morals have definitely been ambiguous, but this has let to feel intentional from the viewpoint of the writer. And this development has to happen on screen. I’m sick of things being referenced like the Doctor hanging about Gallifrey alone, or for the Doctor to just become cold and distant to her friends. It harms all four main characters to have this weird contentious relationship that seemed to be bubbling in S12, and for all their moments of bonding and breaking to happen off screen. It makes the little of what we get have less impact.

Jo Martin… I think we can all agree that she’s the best thing to come from all this and that we’re instantly in love with her? Okay, good. I think she’s brilliant. I want so much more of her! But her position annoys me. If she’s a pre-Hartnell Doctor then I expect it will be down to BF to tell her story, and we won’t see much of her after this arc wraps up. If they could somehow make he the 14th Doctor, I’d love to get a full series with her. But then it makes the previous Doctor’s era focused on the next Doctor’s, and it takes the limelight away from Jodie. I’m also a bit sad that the first black Doctor isn’t a main incarnation, but rather a footnote. I love Jo Martin, I desperately want more of her, but I feel she’s wasted in this role because I can’t see Ruth Doc getting the time and spotlight she deserves.

Sacha is easily my favourite NuWho Master. He’s great. Such a talented guy, and so lovely, and brings a real depth to it. But kind of with Jodie, I just wish he’d gotten something better to do than what it boiled down to in the final! He deserves more. Anyway, I’d happily have him back for more in a heartbeat.

I think my big issue with the arc is the waste. The waste of time, the waste of these characters and the waste of opportunity. You could have told a great story about Gallifrey’s shady past that ruins the Doctor’s conceptions of her home if you wanted, not that the Doctor’s ever held Gallifrey in particularly high esteem, if you really wanted to explore Gallifrey and the past. I definitely think there’s a good arc to be had in a Doctor who is very evasive of their past and is very closed off, but is forced to deal with her past in a big way. I don’t think this is it.

The arc isn’t over, so I guess we’ll see where it takes us, but I don’t love it. It’s moving the show back to a place that I really wasn’t enjoying, and I don’t want to become apathetic to something that I loved so much again.

But if I’m being really really honest, I still think the phrase ‘timeless child’ in Ghost Monument was a simple reference to the fact that the Doctor is an incredibly old alien yet also newly reborn, hence ‘timeless child’.

Spannerintheworks
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

I find so much in everyone's CONCERNS for the show I sympathize with, especially the navel gazing with it's own existence that New Watch just brought up. But this last post reminded me....

To be snarky for a sec:

If things stand as they are, 13 is now the only Doctor who couldn't save Gallifrey and everyone on it.

The first female Doctor. Couldn't do what literally every other incarnation (male) did onscreen (in some cases more than once), most notably on the widely viewed 50th. Worse, she didn't even save HERSELF at the climax.

I haven't mentioned it before, but....really? For all the "I've had an upgrade" type asides, this looked terrible and still does. Coupled with the desperate "Hey, remember David Tennant?" style ending, she looked hapless and helpless. Not where I wanted to leave her, and given Chibnall's record I don't expect character consideration in our "festive" (!!?!) Dalek special.

BoundryHopper
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by BoundryHopper »

I loved the whole of the most recent series, and especially The Timeless Children...

Don't write her off (from saving Gallifrey) yet! She's still got time. What the Master did was no worse than anything the Daleks would have done during the Timewar, Gallifrey was destroyed and resurrected many times. Also who knows how many escaped his actions and are waiting for the dust to settle in TARDISes in the vortex (or elsewhere). They might have been taken in as refugees by the Neverwere or the Soon To Be.

As for the Doctor imprisoned in a Stormcage facility... there's someone else locked in there with her remember... the Wife!!
:evil: #SAYNOTOSCALPERS :twisted:

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Doctor Gamer
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by Doctor Gamer »

I doubt they’d bring river back. I wouldn’t want them too either. It’d feel cheap. For me, rivers story is done and shouldn’t be messed with.
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

Doctor Gamer wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:30 pm
I doubt they’d bring river back. I wouldn’t want them too either. It’d feel cheap. For me, rivers story is done and shouldn’t be messed with.
Yeah, I completely agree with regard to River, and the potentially overcrowded hourlong "Festive" (because I think Who has lost its Xmas privileges and I REALLY hope they get it off New Year's after 2 years of underwhelming viewing in that slot) special already has to:

*Free the Doctor
*Establish a Dalek threat
*Get the Doctor to said threat and establish stakes.
*Reunite the Doctor with companions, establish drama because...
*Establish why Ryan, Graham, & possibly Yaz are leaving.
*Sort the Dalek problem
*Give a sendoff.

While optionally....

*Working in Jack (rumoured)
*Being "Festive". (Seriously, why? If it's not on Xmas don't. )
*Offer reflection/resolution to "The Timeless Children" (I mean, I would. But I'm skeptical it'll get more than a throwaway line)
*Establish some loss/conflict/reflection/all of the above for the Doctor to carry over to Series 13.

Honestly, something's gonna get the short shift. It's just really down to making what is in the story worthwhile.

Here's hoping....
Last edited by Spannerintheworks on Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BoundryHopper
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Re: Thoughts and Opinions on "The Timeless Children" (spoilers)

Post by BoundryHopper »

Hmmm, I'd rather River than Jack...
:evil: #SAYNOTOSCALPERS :twisted:

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