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The Family of Blood

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  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Anyone here watch Doctor Who?

    I just saw this week's episode, The Family of Blood, and I gotta say... somebody give Paul Cornell a knighthood or something. At the very least give him some more work!

    He wrote the great episode "Father's Day" back in the first series. And now he turns in what's in my mind the greatest set of episodes since the new Doctor Who started with "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood".

    I thought the ending sequence, while perhaps a little predictable, worked great as well, especially with the music.

    I don't know why I posted this, really. I just finished watching the episode and felt like saying something about it. And nobody here at the international house watches Doctor Who, far as I know anyway.

    Big Smile

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Sven Groot wrote:


    I thought the ending sequence, while perhaps a little predictable, worked great as well, especially with the music.


    Rather moving though. Although I guess it's rather Brit-o-scentric, as it uses the British rememberance day wording.

  • User profile image
    dahat

    Damn good episode brother of mine.

    Nothing wrong with posting about (what I agree to be) a pair of the best episodes of the new seasons.

    Shame so many of the writers are going to be quitting at the end of the next season.

  • User profile image
    Sabot

    I have to agree that this weeks Dr Who was something special. Out of all those other episodes of Dr Who and in the past this one hit on the fact that time-travel will change events and that merrily blundering from one adventure to the next does come with risks and at a price. My wife had a little tear in her eye afterwards.

    For me it also showed that the Doctor is a actually a very dark, very deep and powerful being. It seems that even after so many episode that we actually know so little about him.

    There are so many decent writers out there, the BBC is actually very good at cultivating them so it will gives others an opportunity to come through. Also the BBC is constantly look for more talent, they very much support the community writing episodes were they have taken ideas from, so there is no reason why any of us can't have a go.

    However I think the BBC put so much energy and time into making the series I think we cannot realistically expect them to keep churning out so many episodes each year at such a high standard, it's not like BSG where an episode can concentrate on another set of characters and circumstances to take the strain off as it is so intense. This is perhaps the reason why so many episodes of TV series in Britain are so short.

    When you look at episodes of Bones, 24, BSG etc, it takes them roughly 6-7 days to make one hour of film and work continues day and night. Film making these days is a production line and it has to be as there are so many channels screaming for content to feed the bottomless stomach of consumption specially as innovations such as Tivo and Sky+ are making us more selective about what we watch and when. I know it's changed my viewing habits, I rarely watch TV now when it's initally broadcast, I won't switch it on as background and just watch what is on.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    blowdart wrote:
    
    Sven Groot wrote:


    I thought the ending sequence, while perhaps a little predictable, worked great as well, especially with the music.


    Rather moving though.

    I agree. The whole scene was just masterfully executed. Music, direction, it was spot on. Plus I'm a sucker for endings like that. Smiley

    I thought the direction was really tight on this episode anyway. The last one dragged just a bit (not enough to be a problem), but it was worth it as setup for this one. The acting was great too, David Tennant really sold John Smith and the Doctor as different people (especially noticeable in that scene where he's holding the watch and does one sentence as the Doctor). And Freema did great as well (I didn't like her as much as Billy Piper initially, but she's starting to grow on me). And the guests too; that possessed school boy was just plain creepy (the eyes! masterful). And unless I'm mistaken that servant woman (Martha's friend) who got possessed, she played the Slitheen woman earlier, right?

    dahat wrote:
    Shame so many of the writers are going to be quitting at the end of the next season.

    I say sign up Paul Cornell as the new number one writer. Smiley

  • User profile image
    dahat

    Sven Groot wrote:
    And unless I'm mistaken that servant woman (Martha's friend) who got possessed, she played the Slitheen woman earlier, right?


    Nay, the servant woman was played by one Rebekah Staton while the Slitheen you are thinking of was played by one Annette Badland.

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    I just watched it last night, it was pretty good, but Irascian is right the audio is always overwhelming the dialog and I miss half the conversations.  I just look at the show as an opportunity to relax, so I am not to worried about the quality of the writing, it's been really good the entire series I thought, but this episode was really good.

    Cheers,

    Richard

  • User profile image
    irascian

    I've been quite vocal about how dire the new Doctor Who has been since day 1. Billy Bunter aka Russel T Davies hasn't got a clue and as script editor seems to think as long as he writes/commissions stories aimed at a three year-old with a bad sense of humour then his job is done.

    Fortunately despite his God-awful scripts, hampered by the most bombastic and inappropriate music which drowns out almost every episode, two writers have shown what CAN be done with the format and that you can have intelligent and scary stories without resorting to infantile deus ex machina endings.

    Paul Cornell, who wrote the book on which this story was based several years ago, is one such writer - the other is Stephen Moffat (his series one 2 parter about World War 1 "Are you my mummy?" was excellent and his "Marie Antoinette" last season came pretty close. By all accounts his new story later this series is of similar quality).

    I disagree with Sabot about the impossibility of producing good episodes for 13 45 minutes of television each year. It's down to the writing. When the BBC are spending so much money on the show (and making so much money from it) the least they could do is commission good writers. Cornell and Moffat aside this they have spectacularly failed to do. The woman who wrote that God-awful two-part "daleks in New York" story should never have been allowed anywhere near a typewriter, and Russel T Davies himself is by far the worst offender. Unfortunately as the man at the top of the whole dung heap he writes far more episodes than anybody else is allowed to - which makes for pretty dire story-telling most of the time.

    What made Cornell's episodes stand so far ahead of all the other episodes was that for once really really good writing wasn't wrecked by sixth form acting (Blimey! Tenant can act instead of endlessly gurning - what a shocker!), bombastic music drowning out everything and was handled by a director who had real class and knew what to do with quality material (although the whole thing did feel incredibly similar to "To Serve Them All My Days" for large parts of its running time - not a bad thing!).

    Personally I think Davies and "all his staff" leaving next year could be the best thing that ever happened to the show. Davies is the "man with the power" at the moment so of course jobbing writers are going to pretend they like everything he does and wouldn't dream of working with anyone else, but bring in a new script editor and a decent team and writers like Moffat and Cornell will hopefully change their minds.

  • User profile image
    m1keread

    Wow, high praise indeed from some obviously very dedicated Doctor Who fans.

     

    My problem with the pair of episodes was that it was not "child" friendly.  I have a 4 and 6 year old that enjoy doctor Who, but this particular story I felt was focused at an older age group.  So, we watched them, but the kids couldn't really follow and also got a bit bored. (Personally, I kinda agree with them.  I think they want more action in a storyline and I watching Doctor Who do also).

    I suppose BBC will always have this problem, some episodes are focussed on all age groups (Daleks, Cybermen, space travel etc).  Some are homed in more to adults. 

  • User profile image
    Sabot

    This is the thing about Doctor Who, it is a 'family' programme which does limit what they can do with it.

    Just a thought Ian, perhaps another reason why the BBC aren't so good at Sci Fi is because in recent years they haven't exactly had a lot of experience!

    I haven't enjoy this series of Doctor Who or any of them they have been middle of the road. Top notch sci-fi still goes to BSG, they have it spot on, it the plot and the acting and telling very human stories that could grace any drama and this is what Doctor Who lacks generally.

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    Agreed. Absolutley top class telly.

    What I like is how it gives a real incite in to how, despite being on the right side, savign the universe all too often, etc, there is something deeply unpleasent about The Doctor...

  • User profile image
    irascian

    Sabot wrote:
    This is the thing about Doctor Who, it is a 'family' programme which does limit what they can do with it.



    It's always been a family programme. My first memory of Britain and TV in particular is as a six or seven year old catching the last few minutes of an episode which had William Hartnell in a large white room with odd round holes looking in terror at a TV monitor and saying a word I didn't understand ("The Daleks!") while a pepper pot showed on screen. I had no idea what it was about but I know I was terrified (I think the end music helped) and made sure I watched it the next week (and every week thereafter).

    The whole point of Dr Who then, as now, was to terrify the bejeezus out of us kids, and fire our imaginations. The new Who rarely does that. If it does start to get a bit scary we get some third rate joke about ipods or Britney Spears in stories set at the end of time defusing the whole atmosphere. The old Who looks clunky with its low budget, moving sets and 'quarry pit of the week' but it would never have had daleks and cyber-men trading jokes with each other about designer clothing.

    The New York daleks story was a classic example of a bad 5 minute story set around The Depression, spread out thinly for two tortuous 45 minutes. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at Billy Bunter's endless gushing on BBC3 in "Who Confidential" at their attention to detail and historical accuracy. It's the depression. There's no money. There's lots of people living rough in Central Park desperate for work. And the posh 'hero' who leads these renegades until the Doctor comes along is.. black?!!!! Way to teach the kids about American History!  Makes you wonder what Martin Luther King was moaning about in later years doesn't it?! 

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    irascian wrote:

    Paul Cornell, who wrote the book on which this story was based several years ago, is one such writer - the other is Stephen Moffat (his series one 2 parter about World War 1 "Are you my mummy?" was excellent and his "Marie Antoinette" last season came pretty close. By all accounts his new story later this series is of similar quality).


    I'll second your comment on the quality of Stephen Moffat's work, he also wrote Coupling which has to be one of my all time favorite TV series.  I never tire of watching that series.

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    Sorry, but how many of you people critisicing it are actually British? Doctor Who, and the humour in it, are very British things, and most people I know who aren't British don't understand why we like it.

    I personaly think that most of the episodes so far (In the first two new series) have been very good. The third series is definitly very mixed and some of this episodes in this third series have been a bit of a let down... (like daleks of manhattan - the science didn't just not follow, it was totaly implausible), but other episodes (such as this double and the Shakespear Code) have been amazing.

    And to  m1keread complaning about it not being child friendly enough - children are meant to hide behind the sofa for the scary bits - do you not know your tradition.

    And you really cannot compare this to something like BSG, it is aimed at a totaly different audience, and been running far longer (since 1963) and I don't have any figures, but even though it is probably now on a high budget compared to it's original it still probably has a much lower budget than BSG.

    EDIT:

    Oh, and cult TV isn't meant to be appreciated by everyone:


  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    Good episode.. though my favorites must be the Dalek episodes. I wouldn't miss them for anything, they're just too exciting Smiley

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    Bas

    I have never, ever, liked Dr. Who. There, I said it.

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    Bas wrote:
    I have never, ever, liked Dr. Who. There, I said it.



    Then you must DIEE!!!!!

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    Bas wrote:
    I have never, ever, liked Dr. Who. There, I said it.


    Exterminate

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