Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode61Now that it’s all over, we look back at Series 8 as a whole. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, and Tansy as we discuss the characters and themes that made series 8 what it was. We didn’t love everything, and (of course) we didn’t all love the same things. But we (again, of course) find plenty to chew over after this, one of the most challenging series of Doctor Who to date.

What did you think of S8? Did it hang together well? Was it inconsistent? Was it consistently disappointing? Always awesome? Or somewhere in between? And perhaps most importantly, how much did you love Capaldi (and his hair)?


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Comments on: "Verity! Episode 61 – Permission to Squeeeeeeee (About Series 8)" (30)

  1. Another brilliant episode! I have been lamenting the ‘restricted’ size of Verity! since August, and it was wonderful to hear so many Verities’ opinions of this season (we miss you Lynne!) BTW, IMDB includes user ratings for each individual episode, so I think we won’t need to guess which ones are destined for Hugo nominations 😉

  2. […] Verity! Episode 61 – Permission to Squeeeeeeee (About Series 8) WHOOGLE shared this story from Now that it’s all over, we look back at Series 8 as a whole. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, and Tansy as we discuss the characters and themes that made series 8 what it was. We didn’t love everything, and (of course) we… […]

  3. Wednesday is Verity! day! Thanks for an extra long conversation this week. There is so much to talk about in series 8, it seems you’ve only just begun. I agree with Erika on Danny Pink. I think The Forest of the Night was supposed to cement Clara/Danny, but after his little speech I told Clara, aka the TV, that it was time to break up with him; they just wanted different things. I loved all the emotional meet of the series, and I’m counting on you ladies to get me through my first desert months as a new Who fan.

  4. Why is this myth being perpetuated about In The Forest Of The Night that the Doctor did nothing? If the Doctor had not been there in this episode, the Earth would have been destroyed.

    • I don’t think that’s the case at all. The only thing the Doctor did was provide an Earth-wide Public Address system for little Maebh. Had the Doctor not been there, I’d hope they’d try for another way.

      Honestly though, the idea that her one little message actually stopped very many lumberjacks is something I just can’t get behind. Unless the margin for error was razor-thin, I don’t think people would’ve had time to cut down enough trees to make a difference. The entire ocean surface was forested too. There’s no way folks could’ve combatted those trees in a few short hours. I believe the world would’ve been just fine without the Doctor.

  5. Richard S. said:

    Thanks for the bumper podcast. Must admit I enjoy your disagreements for the purely selfish reason that my own views have more of a chance of being covered by one of you. Great to hear you arguing in your trademark civil & civilised fashion.

    For me, this season was the year that Moffat & co finally found the winning combination of scripts, production design, directors and especially casting, which in itself has been uniformly superb.

    Re: very slightly dubious internet assumptions: after your Listen podcast, I googled one of the regular cast and got a huge great spoiler right across the whole results page: Ellis George joining the team as *Danny’s sister*. Okay, that wasn’t her role in the end, so several weeks of anti-spoiler grumping wasted there, but Ellis was one of the highlights of the year.

    I had two assumptions going into the series. I guessed from Capaldi’s post-regeneration-reboot line that he would spend most of the season learning to be the Doctor again, which is sort of what happened if you move waaay back from the sofa and squint really really *really* hard. Also, from what Moffat said about Clara being a more rounded character when she was leading a hectic double life in The Snowmen, I assumed the first few eps would be Clara at Coal Hill having to excuse the Doctor’s increasingly bizarre appearances & behaviours. And that right there is a big part of why I liked The Caretaker so much – expectations met and often exceeded.

    I’d agree with some of what each of you said about Danny. I don’t think he was deliberately written as a chauvinist bully, I do think he was a (figurative) hostage to the often troublesome Moffat Mystery Character Arc Lockdown with not much in the way of wiggle-room out of his predetermined journey. It reminded me of my major gripe with the Amy/Rory seasons, in that they never had a proper actual fully-involved Christmas adventure, probably due to Karen’s & Arthur’s work commitments but IMHO because Moff’s need to “protect” the integrity of the Ponds’ regular season trajectory of arc-y mullarkey.

    In the case of Michelle Gomez being the inspiration for the female Master, after Moffat saw her name on a shortlist for a previous character, which went to a different female star, unnamed by Moffat for the sake of diplomacy, but fairly easy to figure out when you think back… If that (absolutely stunning, I might add) *other* female star had been the catalyst for Missy, I’d have been on board with the character right from the start, but Missy would have seemed nowhere near as menacing in the finale, and the *other* female star would not have had the chance to play her eventual retro-glamorous role of dual bank… um, I mean, dual *characters*.

    Overall, I think season eight has been the most consistently enjoyable since the classic Who period from January 1981 to March 1982, end of Tom to start of Davison, aka start of Warriors’ Gate to end of Earthshock, aka my own headlong plunge into game-changing bursts of naturally occurring adolescent hormones and real proper adult novels by Asimov, Aldiss, Niven & Le Guin, just as the show was promoting itself as having that very same non-stop hypnotic cabaret of puberty & Bidmeadean SF.

    Quick shout-out to next weekend’s (Nov. 22nd) start of BBC2 sci-fi season, which use of the term sci-fi was greeted with my knee-jerk eyeroll & visions of HG Wells, Roddenberry, James Cameron & not much else… but the first documentary looks very promising indeed, a hidden history of SF presented by the conservative-leaning but otherwise excellent social historian Dominic Sandbrook, whose fan cred is visible on the cover blurb of that recent superb Terry Nation biography.

  6. The only episodes I thought were terrible are In the forest of the Night & Kill the Moon, too childish and frankly pandering.

    Flatline & Mummy where great. The rest were decent to good. Capaldi is great, I’m just sad that Moffat will stay on for another year. His style has gotten old.

  7. Congrats on 100 podcast episodes! I’ve listened to them all, some more than once… I think its safe to say I love you guys! 🙂

  8. lbphilly said:

    Great episode of Verity! I liked the diversity of opinions, delivered in your trademark lively but civil style. Although I’m sorry that there wasn’t a longer discussion of Peter Capaldi’s hair!

    I’m kind of sorry there are so many loose ends on the Clara story. Poor Clara — she decides to be completely honest with Danny at the beginning of the two-part finale, and he goes off and gets hit by a car. She decides to be completely honest with the Doctor at the end, and he tells her how happy that she and Danny are together again. I wouldn’t mind at all if she returned in Series 9 to tie up some loose ends. I suppose all the resolution could be included in the Christmas special. One wants something lighter at Christmas but last year we got a regeneration so the precedent exists.

    This being a darker series, I don’t think it will be the one I go to for comfort food, either, but I think it’s the most thought-provoking, exciting, and unsettling series in New Who. I can’t begin to pick a favorite episode and there’s not a one that I didn’t like (albeit not always on first viewing).

    I know I’m a decidedly minority opinion on this, but I’d love to see Missy/the Master as an occasional Companion. We’ve seen the Doctor and the Master cooperate in limited fashion before (most recently in The End of Time Part 2) and I think there could be some wonderful, spark-striking, comedy gold to be had if Capaldi and Gomez teamed up for some limited time.

  9. As informed and well-considered as ever. I hope Tansy (IIRC) gets to write her Doctor Who and Press Gang article at some point soon.

  10. On the subject of Cyber-emotions, going back to ‘The Moonbase’, we have a Cyberman exclaiming ‘Clever – clever – clever’, and Michael Seely argue in ‘The Quest for Pedler’ that Kit Pedler intended the Cybermen to be self-deceiving; they thought that they could delete their emotions, but they could not, at least not entirely. Lots of work-rounds possible here…

  11. I’ve watched Dr Who since the first episode as a 10 year old, though I’ve never classed myself as a “fan”.
    I’ve loved the return as it definitely fizzled out first time round and discovering this podcast has increased my enjoyment of the show, but I do have a “however”!
    For those of us outside fandom – I can’t be the only one? – some of the terminology requires a lookup in the urban dictionary- hello “head cannon” and “cosplay”! No problem that’s a quick and easy job.
    What I find really difficult though is referring to the different Doctors by numbers. I have no idea who the 4th or 5th doctor is and surely it’s just as quick to say “Jon Pertwee” as it is “The Third Doctor ” ( I just looked that up). Maybe this shows what a lightweight I am!
    What do others think? Am I missing something?

    • lbphilly said:

      Heh. Perhaps we need a Large and Small Catechism for all new and returning Whovians to memorize.

  12. Congratulations on your 100th podcast, and what lovely podcasts they’ve been. This is where I come each week to hear what the SENSIBLE fans have to say. 🙂

    As for series 8, I thought it was marvellous. It didn’t feel as safe and cuddly as previous seasons, and Capaldi clearly isn’t as safe and cuddly as Matt Smith, but these are good things! I loved Matt, but things were getting a bit predictable and I think Moffat has shaken up the formula in all the right ways. The stories are still mad and silly, and yet things feel a bit more grown up now, and I think it was time fro that.

    It must have been so tempting to play it safe and I’ll bet there was pressure on the production team from the Beeb to serve up something less challenging, but I respect them immensely for taking risks with such a successful programme. Now that the 12th Doctor’s character has been pretty well established, it’ll be very interesting to see where things go from here.

    And whatever happens next, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about it! 🙂

  13. sostorm said:

    I love this podcast because always almost every sentiment I have gets expressed by someone at sometime.

    I loved Clara this season. I want complicated and not overly good protagonists, otherwise I can’t relate, otherwise they’re boring. She’s lied to save someone she loves, great I’ve done that, she doesn’t always like the way she behaves, I’ve experienced that, she tries desperately to have everything at once, yep been there, she tries to fit herself into a normal life that might not be for her, done that. She’s just so freaking human and normal, I love it! I can’t relate to people who always does the right thing, those people are like aliens to me.

    I loved how Clara cracked under all the pressure in the beginning of Dark Water, the way she can’t except things. How can you accept that a such important person in your life just got ran over when you’ve seen him do a flip over a killer robot from another planet?

    There’s so much I loved about this season. Capaldi is such a wonderful Doctor and I love that he doesn’t go around giggling even though he does have his own sense of humour. I thought a lot of the writing was pretty stellar. Serious and fun, it’s such a good combination.

    I loved the beginning of Danny but in the end I didn’t really care. I thought his passed was teased about more than it delivered. Even though I do love that some people just says no to travelling, beyond me but I’m sure there are those people around.

    I’m very pleased that they didn’t find Gallifrey this season, it would have felt too rushed. Please feel free to bring the Master back for the search, I’d love that. And Seb, can’t they just recreate him? He had such a sense of dark humour.

    Congratulation on your 100th by the way! Lovely and keep up the good work!

  14. Another fun podcast.

    While I was disappointed that they was no discussion about “The Promised Land” at least you called it out at the end that you weren’t going to discuss it. I really wondered whether the mentions in the couple of episodes where we had aliens looking for “The Promised Land” or heaven or the equivalent (“Deep Breath” and “Robot of Sherwood” – any others?) pure red herrings that didn’t really have anything to do with overall arc? Or was it that they somehow heard rumors of what the Master was doing, misunderstood, and then wanted in on it?

    Anyone have theories about this elsewhere now that we’ve seen the whole series?

  15. I think you identified my anti Danny feelings, Liz. Lack of humour! He seemed so serious and a bit of a party pooper after his first appearance. Great podcast as always, I love it when you agree to disagree.

  16. I added Verity to my short list of DW podcasts so I could keep the conversations going on all week till the next episode and thank you for always posting lively chats. Although even during the season, I shook my head at some reviewers and commenters (not just Verity, but all over the web) who expressed frustration or exasperation with this or that aspect of the story (mostly Missy) or tried to puzzle out the plot engineering when the plot is often the least important part of DW. I wanted to say, “Relax, breathe, unclench yourself. Wait and see. Let it happen to you. Look at the images. Let it dream.” Now that we can see the series as a whole, I hope some deeper conversations will happen over time.

    My own pet peeve: I get a little impatient when people stick so closely to the content and don’t appear to appreciate the form. Moffat is a master of structure at his best, and to have “Death in Heaven” begin with Clara lying and end with Clara lying (the Doctor Lies, and so does Clara) — or “Dark Water” starting with Clara saying I Love You and ending with Danny saying I Love You, with the Doctor’s “betrayal” line actually signaling I Love You — is classic Moffat storytelling structure and points at the themes underlying his stories. These are the things that jump out at me, anyway.

    I agree with one reviewer who said series 8 was maybe not the most exciting or thrilling season but it was certainly the “smartest” season. Capaldi did more standing still than Smith did flapping his arms (and I loved Smith). I had the sense that the series as a whole was mapped out from the start so that there seemed to be less improvising (though the Missy scenes I heard were a late cut-in after the first stories had been filmed) so that Clara’s arc and the Doctor’s arc felt deliberate and measured. There was a great mix of genres and I agree that each story felt new — you never knew what you were going to get. That was so great.

    The Doctor’s Grandpa dance in “Flatline” has to be a high point. And the fact that we’re all still talking and arguing about it all is another high point. What a great series.

    BUT. One exasperation I felt during the Verity conversations was the Danny bashing. Just as Clara was NOT the Mystery Girl, Danny was NOT a mystery either. He had his own secrets, certainly, but he was not a mystery. We did not have access to his inner thoughts and private life as we did Clara, nor did he have the screen time, so his character could only ever be sketched in.

    Danny was there to provide a contrast to both Clara and the Doctor. The Doctor and Clara lie; Danny never does. The Doctor pushes; Danny doesn’t. Clara tries to have it all; Danny is satisfied with what he has and where he is. Because he is kind and honest and does not have an agenda (unlike Clara, unlike the Doctor), I think some viewers felt compelled to provide him with an agenda, namely a subtext of control and therefore lazily slapped “passive-aggressive” as his character tag. Danny is a guy who knows what happens when someone is pushed too far, which is why he never pushes Clara. Since when is a nice guy, who doesn’t lie to his girlfriend, who supports her even when he disagrees with her, even when she’s lying to him, slagged as passive-aggressive? If he’d been aggressive-aggressive and more confrontational, I doubt he’d have seen any more love from the fans. (And if you think I’ve had issues with being the “nice guy” in my past while the aggressive guys soared past me, you wouldn’t be far wrong. I’m on Danny’s side.)

    And Danny’s sacrifice at the end of “Death in Heaven” was cowardly?? Come on! How many other characters have sacrificed themselves in Doctor Who stories to bail the Doctor out of a jam and resolve the story with even less reason? Structurally, that’s what supporting characters in DW *do*, that’s their purpose. Danny was never a major character the way Rory or even Mickey was. His part was underwritten and the actor, though very good, did not bring a lot of fire to it (except when in conflict with the Doctor). His role in the story (among other purposes) was to force Clara to make an impossible decision, to make her have a Bad Day that would change her life in ways traveling in the TARDIS could not heal. We haven’t seen the Christmas special yet, but I would suspect Clara’s view of life is now closer to Danny’s as expressed in “Forest.”

    Much as I’m a Danny-Defender, Danny as a character isn’t substantial enough to argue about; you can only talk about him in terms of what Clara forces herself to do because of her feelings for him.

    Still — he did willingly sacrifice himself for the greater good, shattering the Doctor’s soldier prejudice. I say, let him make a speech and go out in glory.

    Here endeth the rant. Looking forward to the Nicola Bryant interview!

  17. Philip said:

    I became a Who fan with Series 5 and backtracked the new Who I’d missed. I have faint memory of the 4th Doctor from childhood, so you can imagine that my experience with the series as a whole has been somewhat limited. I think that Series 8 has filled in a lot of those blanks, I really appreciate the genre machine description- it’s very helpful. I love this season, Capaldi is amazing! Clara became my favorite companion last season and remains so, due in large part to her platonic relationship with the Doctor. My first regeneration experience was plenty of fun.

    Verity! was excellent, as usual. It’s funny how I can both agree and disagree with any particular host at multiple points. I’m looking forward to the off-season and what the show comes up with. Hopefully lots of “In defense of” episodes, thanks so much for the podcast!

  18. Michael J said:

    Congratulations on reaching your first one hundred-episode landmark! I first heard of your show when it was being introduced on Radio Free Skaro. I’ve been listening faithfully since the very start, and this is a brilliant podcast!
    I’ve been a “Wholigan” my whole life. I was just a baby when my father was stationed in England. And according to my mother, the only show that I would sit down and watch was Doctor Who. This gave her roughly twenty-five minutes to get any chores done while I was glued to the small screen. Jon Pertwee was the Doctor back then, but I don’t have any memories of my time in England, let alone those early episodes. Nine years later, I rediscovered the show when it was airing on PBS here in the United States. The first memory I have of Doctor Who is flipping through channels one night looking for something to watch. I happened upon the opening credits of episode four of “Genesis of the Daleks.” I was mesmerized. I spent the next twenty-four minutes standing there with my fingers on the channel-selector, unable to pull myself away. I’ve been a devoted fan ever since.
    With regards to the newest series, I was disappointed in how it ended, not because of the “bummer-ending,” (fans of the show are no strangers to that) but because there wasn’t really an ending at all. The most prominent theme that I picked up on this series was lying, how it impacts the people who are lied to and how it affects the people doing the lying. At the end of the twelfth episode, the Doctor and Clara both lie to each other, and they’re both left miserable for it. Neither one of them has learned a damned thing. So when Clara returns in the Christmas special, the story will have to pick up there. If it turns out to be her last appearance on the show, then it will have to serve as a resolution of sorts to this storyline. So in effect, the end of this story thread will not BE in Series Eight which makes Series Eight an incomplete story. This frustrates me not just as a completest-nerd but as an admirer of stories and storytelling. I expected better writing from Steven Moffat.
    That being said, I think Peter Capaldi is brilliant, Clara remains THE greatest companion this show has ever seen (even though I’m not very fond of her behaviour this series), and “Listen” is one of the finest episodes in fifty-one years of Doctor Who.

  19. Henrik said:

    Series 8. Seeeeries 8.

    When one mixes apple pie and shit pie one doesn’t get a large apple, or even half apple with some shit in it, pie but rather just a large shit pie.

    Do the morsels of absolute refuse in series 8 end up spoiling the whole thing for me?

    I don’t know. I still don’t know.

    Lynne said on Two Minute Time Lord (I’m listening to it right now) that some fans were put off by, in part, the lack of any trustworthy main characters. I don’t entirely agree that the Doctor really ever became untrustworthy in any way that counts but there might be something to it for some people who were turned off.
    That’s not the case for me but my problem is probably a sort of tangent to it.

    I can’t really abide an untrustworthy writer.

    When the author doesn’t take the reality of the fiction seriously in any sense and demonstrates that nothing can ever be taken as read then I can’t engage with the story and it frustrates me to try to watch it. This problem started to manifest itself for me slightly in ‘Robot Of Sherwood’ but it wasn’t much more pronounced than it has sometimes been in previous stories in ‘Doctor Who’.
    Then ‘Kill The Moon’ happened and it completely broke my suspension of disbelief. For reasons having nothing to do with the moon being an egg, I hasten to reiterate. The same lax approach to verisimilitude was proudly demonstrated in the later ‘In The Forest Of The Night’.

    The show can’t and shouldn’t strive to be science fact. Some will quite ardently argue that it shouldn’t try to be and has never attempted being even science fiction but is just a fantasy TV-show.
    I think that those people are wrong. ‘Doctor Who’ is science fiction. It has at times been silly science fiction and it has often been outrageous science fiction but it has since its start been science fiction.
    When the Silurians are introduced they are so with an explanation that they used to rule the Earth millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet and humans had yet to evolve but they went into hibernation to avoid disaster and overslept. That’s great science fiction. The show proceeds to muck it up slightly by providing insanely wrong time estimates for when this would have occurred and suggests that the disaster was really just the moon being captured, but the writers probably slept through science classes in school and there was at the time no Internet for them to look things up on and maybe the library was closed due to budget cuts and they had a deadline or whatever. OK. Fine. Don’t do it again, show.

    They didn’t say that a wizard did it, end of story. They didn’t suggest that from time to time intelligent lizard people materialise out of thin air when little children are naughty and this is a completely (super)natural process. ‘Doctor Who’ isn’t ‘Merlin’ or ‘Wizards Vs Aliens’ or something like that. It might stray well into ‘Star Wars’ territory but like in that franchise no one should be surprised if along the way there’s the introduction of midi-chlorians to bring some further understanding of how the giant pink elephant, or rather unicorn, in the room functions.

    This series of ‘Doctor Who’ didn’t bother with elephants or unicorns but took an ordinary cat or dog and said that such animals had lasers shooting out of their eyes and could hover quite naturally two meters off the ground whenever a human hugs them and that’s always been so, haven’t you noticed, never mind, on to the other thing. Wait. What? How? Why? Hold on!

    Don’t worry! Says the show. Because then this happens. And then this other thing. Remember that first thing? Too bad. And then another thing.

    I’ll go along with that sort of narrative structure when I occasionally read Axe-Cop but then that comic is written by an actual 5 year old (though I’m guessing the kid is like 15 or something by now).

    But that’s two or three episodes out of 12. And a few of the generally good ones were extra long. There were at least as many outstanding great episodes this series as there was toxic manure ones. The series had a fantastic exploration of the Doctor’s self image. It introduced and handled a great relationship between Clara and Danny. It included one of few really good Dalek stories in the show’s long history of bringing them back every series or two. The series pretty uniformly looked great. Pretty much every performance by the actors was wonderful. There were lots of kids and not one case of them ruining the episodes with kid “acting”. The series brought back the Master and I liked it a lot. The Cybermen even came off as somewhat menacing in my opinion. There was time travel and there was mystery. Good stuff indeed.

    I still don’t know if any of those brilliant aspects of the series are enough to save it for me. The show lost my trust and that’s a tricky thing to win back.

    For me the stories, be they brilliant or be they bad, must always be believable as ‘Doctor Who’ science fiction. Once the show starts to introduce multiple stories in one series that are outright bunk I struggle to bother. I can’t watch an episode and get invested if I can’t trust that the stakes are real for the characters. It’s great to have ‘Amy’s Choice’ when its all shown to be a dream at the end but not if it ends with both worlds being real and no one in the episode even reacts to the different realities presented as being odd. I can’t watch it if the show becomes an exercise in complete absurdism. ‘Doctor Who’ can’t structure episodes as if it were ‘Monty Python’ because though one may laugh like a crazy person when the the show moves on mid-sentence to something completely different one doesn’t then much care for the well-being of the character that was shot a minute ago or whoever appears in the next sketch.

    It spills over and tarnishes the good bits. When I watch any episode after the ones that I found to be pure shit pies I can’t enjoy them without constant worry that what appears to be tasty chunks of apple are also hiding chunks of excrement.

    Even after having made it all the way to the credits there might still be a Santa Claus waiting to make an appearance and soil the thing.

  20. jeremyradick said:

    Another really great podcast. Seriously, you all make one of the best podcasts out there, and part of the reason is the difference of opinion on display. I almost never agreed with Deb on this season, but thought her viewpoint was fascinating and well-expressed it made me question my own thinking on the season. It’s great to have a show do that.

    My opinion on the season is very positive, feel free to check out an article I wrote for a pop culture site if you’re interested:

    Keep up the awesomeness!

  21. Emily said:

    Huzzah to the lovely Verity ladies! I’m glad you’re around to help make the weeks more fun and Who-filled! Here’s to many more! Cheers!

  22. Heather said:

    This podcast was recommended in a Doctor Who group I am in. This episode was interesting to listen to, I enjoyed the experience for the most part. I agreed with a lot of things that were said and was opposed to a few other things. A good time overall though. Keep up the fantastic work. 🙂

  23. I’m still not sure about Series 8… I know that I really enjoyed The Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatliners. I was impressed by Listen. And I also enjoyed the final 2 episodes. But I’m really not at all sure about the rest. I think a full season re-watch might be called for!

    I do think that Verity! has helped to increase my enjoyment of Series 8, in that listening to you all talk about my less-favourite episodes has helped me to appreciate them more. And this episode of your podcast has helped me to place some thematic scaffolding around the series as a whole. My husband, who is not a Verity listener, has really struggled with Series 8 and some weeks it was an effort to get him to watch Doctor Who with me – and he was a mad keen fan in his teenage years, so that tells you how much he didn’t enjoy this series…

    Please please Tansy, get on to that Moffat Who/Press Gang essay ASAP!

    Actually, on second thoughts, wait until after the Christmas break to give me a chance to re-watch Press Gang. I have owned the DVDs for years but have not rewatched in case the well-known “suck fairy” has visited my number-one teenage fandom… I’m terrified it won’t be as great as I remember it.

  24. @AnyOldJeff said:

    I’ve loved the podcasts throughout the series and this episode has been no different.

    I would like to raise one point though: I didn’t find any problem at all understanding the relationship between Clara and Danny. What we’ve seen, inevitably, have been overwhelmingly the friction between them; it was “inevitably” so because we see their interactions when the Doctor is around and the Doctor has been the primary cause of friction between them.

    What we haven’t seen so much of is their relationship in between the Doctor’s visits and it is implied, certainly in the second half of the series, that there has been time passing between the visits, just as there was a fair chunk of time that passed between series 7 and series 8.

    Yes, Clara has made some appalling decisions about balancing her relationships with the two men in her life and has resorted far too much, as you’ve argued, to lies and deception. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a happy core-relationship between Danny and Clara that underlies and underpins all of this. We’ll never know now, of course, whether that would have been strong enough to carry them through the conversation that was so imminent when Danny’s demise got slightly in the way.

    And I do wonder if Clara is pregnant …

  25. James C said:

    Last night I watched the express version of Season 8: Deep Breath followed by Death in Heaven. Inevitably my own recollections of the season, and those discussed on Verity and elsewhere, have focused on the latter half of the season so I wanted to remind myself of how it began. Going in I expected to see two very different episodes – like Robot of Sherwood, I assumed that Deep Breath would feel like it was dropped in from another era. And it does to some degree. It is clearly a transition episode in terms of the design and much of the tone. The Paternosters certainly help (and as an aside, I am not sure that we will see them again, at least not in Victorian London).

    But from there Deep Breath ties right into what follows in the rest of the season. Uncertainty, mistrust, referencing the woman in the shop, Clara taking the first steps to her Doctor persona in her incredible scenes under the restaurant. The strong rapport between the two actors is there. And more. Oh, and the Missy scene is SO much better with knowledge of her identity.

    Then leaping ahead to Death in Heaven it was a real shock to see how the relationship between the Doctor and Clara had changed and matured over the season. It is stated directly in the episode, but they truly are equals as people. Really impressive to see the changes play out.

    As a bonus I watched a little of Into the Dalek also. Fun fact: the first time we see Danny he is ordering the cadets in the schoolyard – and the words he uses directly mirror the beginning of his rallying speech to the Cybermen in the graveyard. Nice symmetry. (Pushing it further you could suggest that his tears prefigure his Cyber-conversion and new Cyber-teardrop eyes. But I wouldn’t dare go that far.


    • James C said:

      A quote from Into the Dalek: ‘nobody guards the dead.’ Talk about foreshadowing!

  26. Some of you may already have heard from other sources, but Catherine Tregenna has been commissioned to write an episode of Season Nine for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor! A woman writing for Doctor Who! I would argue it is a woman with brilliant credentials. Her four episodes of Torchwood are some of my favorites from the first two series (Captain Jack Harkness, Meat, Out of Time, and Adam). She also has written for Inspector Lewis, DCI Banks, Casualty, East Enders, and a number of other popular programs on British television.

    I believe the quote from Neil Gaiman, but it is nice to see that backed up so quickly. The rather uncomfortable tradition of an all-male (virtual) writer’s room has ended. Women writers and women directors. If Rachel Talalay’s work on the show, and Tregenna’s work on Torchwood are any indication, I can only say: Even MORE women please!

  27. Laurissy said:

    So weren’t those titles fantastic. God I love those titles with the time and peter capaldi’s eyes. Aaah peter capaldi’s eyes. Best titles ever. Also I think capaldi is now officially my favourite doctor. I love him to pieces. He,s grumpy but he clearly cares so much but he keeps screwing up. I just want tio hug him. But aside from that I can’t sign of on this season despite my love of the first two things. It’s very frustrating. I think with this season your enjoyment is going to depend on how much you like Clara and I just don’t like her. I hope she leaves at Christmas but I seriously doubt it. In season 7b I thought she was bland and a cookie cutter companion. In this series she has a personality but I just don’t like her. She’s a lying (tardis sound). I just don’t find that fun to watch. I agree with Erica that I genuinely like the companion I could be friends with me and see through their eyes. Clara is just annoying.

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