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It was a "base under siege" story. Classic. Solid. Not outstanding, but very much in keeping with where Doctor Who has the stories solid roots. The Doctor being angry, then being slapped down worked really well.

I'm going to pass on listing (once again) my problems with day repeating episode.

Well like I said, not awful, but at best mediocre; there have been episodes since which have been similar or better versions of the same formula (the unremarkable The Curse of the Black Spot, the surprisingly good Mummy on the Orient Express, Under the Lake, the very weird Sleep No More).

Sometimes I think the series is trying too hard to be clever and it backfires horrifically, so more of these "bread and butter" style episodes wouldn't hurt... but by and large I would still rather that they try something experimental like Sleep No More once in a while or better yet explore some actually interesting sci-fi themes (as in Heaven Sent, the grondhog one, Extremis and World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, the last finale).

Looking back on it, the series with the moon was really awful. Into the Dalek and Kill the Moon were absolute howlers, the finale was... weird, and not great. Time Heist and Flatline were OK, and I stand by Mummy on the Orient Express (it helps that I had really low expectations with a name like that and coming right after the moon episode, but it was still good). Listen could have been so awesome if only it hadn't been so awful, that was a massive missed opportunity.

Compare it with the last series, though... the worst episodes were still OK, and it had Knock Knock (underwhelming story, but David Suchet), Extremis, and a finale double-bill which I still wasn't totally sold on, but which had a time-dilated spaceship orbiting around a black hole. You have to try very hard to ruin a concept as awesome as that.

Also Moffat is gone as top guy now, so who knows? I really have no idea what to expect of the next series, it could be awful or it could be great.

Mummy on the Orient Express in Space was probably the best episode of that series. Bar is pretty low there.
The less said about the eye-crust monsters, the better. I had forgotten about them. Thanks a lot.

"Into the Dalek" really annoyed me. "What if there's a good Dalek." "There isn't. It's just a malfunction." "But what if there was?" Hmmmm. To whom shall we entrust our fates? To the school teacher with no clue what a Dalek even is or much of anything else? Or to the person with over a thousand years of fighting Daleks, frustrating their plans, and who survived a massive time war against them? Of course we pick the idiotic answer. It isn't as if lives depend on it or anything. oh. Ooops.

I think what might help the show most is cutting the series arcs. While they're great when they work, if they still depend on the weak episodes, the arc is only as strong as the weakest episode.

Moffat wrote 6 of the best stories the show has ever known (counting from 1963 forward) and produced 7 of the worst series/seasons the show has ever known. The new guy has written 5 or 6 really terrible episodes, and from what little I could tolerate of Broadchurch, seems to be heavily into the "Emotions over Substance" school of writing, so I have no hope of him being any better. Maybe Chibnall will surprise us all, but after 6 years of Moffat, I gave up on the show. It is hard for me to even watch the RTD years, knowing what it descends into.

I didn't actually like the eye-crust one myself, but I appreciate that they tried to do something a bit different and some people probably loved it.

Into the Dalek was awful.

I'd expected Mummy on the Orient Express to be, at best, cheesy and kind of naff. Actually it was a pretty decent "base under siege" type with some great supporting actors and also Clara finally got slapped down a bit, hooray.

I think pretty much everyone is agreed that Moffat can write awesome episodes but sucks at the story arcs. The show has definitely been in the doldrums with him in charge (though like I said, that series was rock bottom, last series was actually pretty good) and the finales in particular have mostly been pretty bad (last one was less bad plus it was about a time-dilated spaceship orbiting around a black hole which is basically the most awesome thing ever). I kind of wanted him just to be called in to write like one episode per series of distilled good writing and not allowed to touch the dumb story arcs.

I felt like this was (part of) the problem with Class too. The main story arc was poor and featured the worst/least interesting/most ridiculous villains of the whole series. The other episodes were mostly not that bad.

Series-long story arcs in general kind of annoy me because they feel contrived to fit the TV schedule and don't make so much (as in any) in-universe sense. And really, even "bad wolf" was kind of dumb. I wouldn't really mind if they canned them, though I can see why they don't.

I think the season4 arc was the most logical and best defined, in that it was there, but it wasn't overwhelming. The big downer, for me, was that they felt the neat to bring back the Rose Tyler soap-opera, yet again.

Anyhow, unless multiple people tell me a season is at least the caliber of season 1, if not 3, I'm just not going to bother. Big Finish has been doing a superb job and will hopefully continue to do so.







 

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