Debating TV shows


When was the last time I really loved and was interested in DW?

Capaldi, maybe, simply because I love his work. But even then I watched DW for him and rather tolerated the stories which already seemed reheated, with villains returning again and again.

My favorite era was Tennant, obviously, and I enjoyed his recent return - but again, the stories I felt like I had seen them umpteenth times already. How many times can DW save the whole world until it becomes „yeah, of course, going through the motions“.

The new actor is great and enthusiastic, and I will watch it for him. But I am, sorry, not looking forward to it. Just being a completionist.


Let‘s be honest - without the insane craze for IP this would be a stand-alone mafia show, and maybe it is pretty good.

But a Batman show without Batman makes as much sense for me as a Bond show without Bond.

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Seems about 60 years and counting.

But would you say no to a Superman reboot?

Ha, never!

But Superman is a different character, and as far as I can remember DW not always saved the world. It just seems that studio executives are always screaming now THE STAKES MUST BE HIGHER.


I know nothing about the Doctor (though my husband also likes Tennant the best), so I cannot speak to the upscaling.

But would you prefer Superman sans cape and super powers, and instead have him shopping for suits from the discount store in Brooklyn, fretting over his bracket selections, and getting scolded for forgetting to buy milk on his way home?


I’m honestly kind of getting tired of The Penguin in Batman media. He’s the equivalent of General Zod with Superman. There are more supervillains/mob villains that Gotham City has to offer.

For me it simply comes down to my inability to get my head around this

supposedly being the Penguin I grew up with…


I get that this is supposed to be a more ‘realistic’ show. Or more modern, more ‘gritty’ - but to me it just feels like an ill-conceived Sopranos parody. Kudos to Farrell for really delivering a persona entirely different from his usual fare. But I just can’t see the point of the whole affair.


It is downscaling we have to be worried about. What threat does Penguin 1 pose versus Penguin 2?


I feel the same. I lost enthusiasm during Capaldi’s run and haven’t gone back since. Eccleston, Tennant and Smith was the high point for me, and honestly, even though there have been breaks during the show, I think there should be an even longer one now. To me it does seem like it’s going through the motions, like you say.


I’ve been a fan since I was a kid. Loved the classic series and loved the reboot until about Season 7. I hung on until the end of Capaldi’s run where I just lost all interest. I occasionally watch a clasic serial, which I still enjoy, and I gave the specials a watch to see Tennant and Gatwa but unfortunately didn’t feel any spark. I’ll probably give the new series a go, but my expectations are low.

To be honest, I think part of the reason it all feels samey to me now is that the potrayal of the character has actually become very one note. While the actors in the rebooted series have undoubtedly been fantastic, the various Doctor’s have no real distinction in their personalities.

In the classic series, Doctor’s 1-8 all felt quite distinct, providing variety. 9-15 are by and large all the same personality. They seemed to try something new with Capaldi’s Doctor but very quickly abandoned that in favour of same old reboot Doctor. I think they are afraid to deviate from the ‘Doctor’ template at all.

I was actually expecting something interesting with 14 to make him different from 10, but nope, it was the exact same Doctor, so I don’t even know why they made him a ‘new’ one and not just 10 in some time jump story.

It’s been 19 years since the reboot, and the 7 Doctors have not been distinct enough (though to be fair I only saw a few episodes of 13), so it really just feels like 19 years of the same old, same old. The reboot was fresh and exciting for the first five or so years but it’s long since felt dull.


The show is perhaps a victim of its own success - which came as a surprise to the powers that okayed its revamp in the first place. The original show has always been a bit odd, the hidden gem and insiders’ tip of sci-fi shows, made on a shoestring budget compared to the likes of Star Trek. It had its dedicated audience but was in effect 60s/70s kids entertainment.

The reboot caught that fanbase as adults - and went well beyond that to people who hadn’t seen it as kids behind the sofa. All of a sudden, Doctor Who went from obscurity to being a hip show that got sold to markets which hadn’t been traditionally going strong for it. Every new season sold better and within a short time it turned into an article of ‘British TV Entertainment’ that had to deliver. From that point onwards it’s no longer easy to play with the settings of the mechanism, try out unexpected things or stories.


I did not care for the film, but Farrel’s Penguin was one of the (few) good things in it and Cristin Milioti is ALWAYS a delight, so ill give it a try.




I knew of Doctor Who when I was growing up, but never watched it. My husband, who is nine years younger than me, watched Doctor Who when he was a kid, and was quite excited at news of the reboot. Also the original Bond fan, my husband is the one who converted me to Doctor Who, as well.

And I was glad he did. I very much enjoyed the first season of the reboot. In another bit of linkage with Bond, credit for this goes to the dry English wit that infuses many of the scripts and is so different from the kind of humor I am accustomed to in North American TV series. Christopher Eccleston was an excellent introduction (for me) to the Doctor. I also liked his companion, Rose, and felt her humanness was the perfect contrast to his comically manic, sometimes darkly inscrutable alien.

When Eccleston regenerated into Tennant Doc, initially I was rather underwhelmed by David Tennant’s performance. But he grew into the role, grew on me and became one of my favorites. At the time I was OK with turning the Doctor and Rose into a romantic relationship, but on subsequent viewings, at least for me it didn’t age well. So in hindsight it feels like a mistake, but I doubt that the viewing numbers would have reflected that.

One of the reasons I came to like Donna so much, as a companion, is that unlike Rose and Martha, she was a true friend with no romantic interest in the Doctor. I thought that was very well written and portrayed. Robbing Donna of her memories with the Doctor upset me so much that I’ve never quite forgiven Russell T. Davies for it. I understand he may have resolved this in the most recent specials, but I refuse to subscribe to Disney+, so I’ll have to wait for the DVDs to make their way to my library before I watch them.

Because I enjoyed Tennant Doc so much, I didn’t start watching Smith Doc until after his first full season, I think. Later on, I caught up and found myself enjoying him just as much. One of my favorite Matt Smith episodes was “Asylum of the Daleks” (which introduced us to a future companion, though one with a different name). It was interesting to have a married couple as the Doctor’s companions. Amy and Rory added a new emotional wrinkle to the Doctor’s experience. It wasn’t really a triangle, and yet sometimes felt as if it was. Steven Moffat walked that line very carefully.

“The Angels Take Manhattan” was one of the most emotionally draining Doctor Who episodes I’ve ever watched. So much so that I really didn’t feel like committing to a new companion. And I’m not sure that Moffat really knew what to do with Clara in the beginning. The “impossible girl” was a neat idea, with three different incarnations of Clara, but the character didn’t quite work for me until “The Day of the Doctor” 50th anniversary special.

I so enjoyed Smith Doc that I wasn’t really ready to let go of him, but I liked Clara enough that I was willing to make the transition to Capaldi Doc. At first I was a bit underwhelmed, but Peter Capaldi’s portrayal really grew on me. One of my favorite episodes is his “Heaven Sent” tour de force, so much so that I was somewhat underwhelmed by the “Hell Bent” followup (though I later came to appreciate it just as much).

After Clara, Bill entered the picture as the Doctor’s companion, and as good as many of those episodes are, this is where I began to feel that maybe Doctor Who had run its course. There are only so many new threats that can be introduced, and so many ways in which a Dalek can be incorporated into a story without feeling like, “Oh no, not another Dalek episode!”

Because Moffat had been at the helm for so long, I was apprehensive about Chris Chibnall following him. And, sadly, my expectations were met. I felt that Jodie Whittaker was greatly under-served by her scripts. Who knows what might have been if Moffat, who wrote Missy, the female Master, so well had been the showrunner. But, understandably, he was exhausted by this time and ready to move on, so it was not to be.

The only Whittaker Doc episode that stands out, to me, is “Eve of the Daleks” which I felt rekindled the old Doctor Who wit and charm, if only for one episode. But at least there’s that. It has that quirky whimsy combined with a real sense of the Doctor and those around her being threatened (yes, by Daleks … but with humor), so it works for me.

“The Timeless Children” arc was, for me, a huge mistake. Not just in rewriting Doctor Who canon, but doing it so clumsily. Having the Master do the big reveal in an overwrought, tedious slog of exposition sapped the story of whatever dramatic impact it might have had. It’s not the first time in Doctor Who that established canon has been revised. But the person who takes that on must handle it with care, and do it convincingly. That didn’t happen here.

Earlier I mentioned that I refuse to subscribe to Disney+. So there’s no hope of me seeing the new series until the DVDs arrive at the library. It’s a bit like the new Bond. I may or may not be willing to follow along, given how much I enjoyed Craig’s Bond. I don’t want to be disappointed. But I may give it a try, just to see if the old magic is still there.


Speaking of Steven Moffat and Doctor Whogood news!


Going the mobster route was the right decision, especially after how disparate Meredith was from DeVito. The comics and games have trended in the direction of what we’ve seen with Farrell for a while now. One of my favourite stories in recent times is Penguin: Pain and Prejudice which definitely isn’t child friendly.

With The Batman I like that they finally gave us the Iceberg Lounge in live action, and we’ll witness his evolution as an underworld heavyweight, which he should be. I’m sure Penguin will be a mainstay across the Reevesverse and I’m cool with that.

There’s interesting story potential with him especially if you throw in turf wars with the likes of Black Mask. In general I really like how a lot of characters already exist in this universe like they do in the comics. We’ve already seen Riddler, Penguin, Joker and Catwoman in a way that doesn’t feel overstuffed. The atmosphere of Gotham feels similar to that of the film, and for that alone I’m interested.


‘Blue Eye Samurai’ - not a traditional anime, every single episode of this revenge thriller Eastern looks like a big screen major budget animation. The artwork and direction are outstanding, putting output of some of the best studios to shame. The story unfolds deeper and deeper with every episode, surprising us time and again.

Episode six even has a version of You Only Live Twice’s castle penetration and a - brief - garden of death that’s several leagues more impressive and atmospheric than the NO TIME TO DIE one. Makes me actually wonder what a Bond animation might look like.


You make it sound interesting. I will take a look.

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The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan evidently loves ‘Ripley’:


I will give it a shot.


And on the other hand…