Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode99It’s always a party when we have all six Verities in the house! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, Liz, Lynne, and Tansy as we squee and muse and generally chat about series 9. It’s tons of fun and less chaotic than you might expect. And as always, we veer into thinky territory as we discuss whether this season really is the most feminist of new Who (or whether it’s really feminist at all). There’s lots to cover, and we enjoy the heck out of covering it.

What did you think of series 9? Where do you weigh in on the question of this series’ feminism? What do you think of Clara’s arc? The hybrid (or lack thereof)? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to enter our Big Finish giveaway!


Download or listen now (runtime 1:27:50) 

Comments on: "Ep 99 – Party Like it’s Series #9" (9)

  1. Aussie Kat said:

    This series was wonderful. They raised the bar, which I think was partially allowed by the later timeslot. I can’t pick one favourite. And yes I even like Sleep No More.

    I wonder if all the things, like female writers etc, was because of the change of time. Perhaps there are different bigwigs overseeing the evening timeslots in the BBC’s bureaucracy. Or perhaps Stephen Moffat thought he might be leaving and burned though some internal political bridges to push his hiring choices through the many layers of bureaucracy.

    The idea Deb raised of “Class” writers making it to “Dr Who” anytime soon was funny, in a sweet way. Deb, that’s like saying someone who has only written an ep of “Power Rangers” can jump over everyone else in line to write for “The Good Wife”.

    Lyn, I agree completely -a good story with interesting characters who happen to have an assortment of genders is more important to me than pushing any agenda. (Except perhaps the 3 years minimum between River Song appearances agenda)

  2. It’s not intended or written for a later time slot. It’s ended up shown later than Steven Moffat (and most Doctor Who fans) would prefer because of the scheduling of BBC and ITV celebrity/reality shows.

  3. I use the Android version of the Big Finish app. You can view all your purchases and download/listen to them from your phone/tablet. What is irksome is when you exit from the app, it still keeps playing and there’s no way to turn it off without a force stop. I do wish you could download partials, especially with the massive box sets. Otherwise they take up a LOT of space.

  4. One of my favorite Verity episodes. Thanks to all of you. It’s super hard to decide on a favorite series 9 episode, but I recall being the most affected by The Woman Who Lived because of the emotional impact in some of the scenes combined with the humor of the highway man all mixed in with the interplay between the Doctor and Me.

  5. Neil Ottenstein said:

    Another nice episode with a full Lambert of Verities present. It’s been a good year.

  6. Andrew said:

    Re. Series Nine and Feminism – I agree with this podcast’s assessment that this is probably the “most feminist” series of the show, in terms of representation and thematic content, and in a wonderfully explicit way in many cases. It’s still very much a “Good work, now don’t take your foot of the gas and maybe even do better next time” kind of thing (it really is a shame that we’re celebrating having 2 female writers and 2 female directors as a high water mark, for example), but that’s the case with pretty much all the stuff we call progressive media. And it really does deserve credit for the extent to which it has pushed the boat out – Rachel Talalay, Hettie MacDonald, Sarah Dollard, and Catherine Treganna were all so worth it, and it’s been great to see such a diverse range of interesting female characters.
    And from the thematic perspective, it has been great to see feminist themes (or just well handled and unusual gender politics) crop up repeatedly:
    “I had a duty of care” – the ongoing critique of the Doctor’s paternalism, which comes to a head in “Hell Bent”.
    Multiple female led science crews/ rescue crews/ military organisations, and from an intersectional perspective, a general push for more diversity in front of the camera.
    The subtle awareness of how Ashildr would experience those 800 years of history in “The Woman Who Lived – losing children to the plague and not wanting any more, not wanting to be burnt at the stake, posing as a man at the battle of Agincourt (that’s the battle, right?).
    Clara, Ashildr, and Osgood’s arcs each critique and subvert the “Woman in the Refrigerator” trope in their own way.
    The subtle commentary through Anahson’s character (the daughter from “Face the Raven”): she prefers to present as male for her own safety.
    An even more explicit insistence that yes, gender changing regenerations can happen, as well as further retorts to the arguments that the Doctor can’t be a woman.
    A critique of the removal of Donna’s agency in her departure.
    “Clara Who?” – Clara gets to become Doctor like, and have her own series of adventures, refuting the idea that she “has to” die for being too like the Doctor, and asserting that she, as do all companions, deserves to be as important to the narrative as he is.

    As for my favourite episode? Hell Bent – it brings everything I loved about this season’s arc to a glorious head. Although I’m perfectly willing to recognise that Heaven Sent deserves its status as a consensus fan favourite/ instant classic – everything about it is astonishing.

  7. I very much enjoyed your podcast of the series 9 wrap up. Particularly interesting was your discussion of the slight increase in female writers and directors of Doctor Who. I actually watch a lot of British TV and I have noticed that more and more show-runners and writers of series, both historical and modern, are female, so I’m wondering if that increase is beginning to show up in Doctor Who. As Liz says, if a female writer is going to be hired to write a Doctor Who ep, she’s got to have some experience writing for television. So here are these women coming up, like the ones who wrote the new Poldark series, or the ones who produced and wrote Last Tango in Halifax, etc.

    All of that said, my favorite ep of series 9 is definitely Hell Bent. So many bits and pieces thrown together, so much female agency, so much excellent acting on all fronts. Just a little bit of heaven on my TV!

    As to Peter Capaldi’s performance, he just goes from strength to strength. He is a phenomenal actor, and his subtlety has been such a difference from the other doctors. I would say that he and Eccleston have been the best actors of nuWho, while I think that Peter Davison’s Doctor was one of the better ones of Classic Who (I’m not prepared to fight over that, but I will hold it strongly!)

    Over all, I much prefer series 9 to series 8. Capaldi began to let shine some of the warmth I’ve seen in some of his other characters (not the guy from the Thick of It!). I compare it rather with the beautiful gangly gorgeousnes of his portrayal of Danny in Local Hero, and his stunning portrayal of the minister in Torchwood’s Children of Earth.

    And my beautiful wonderful Clara, I am so happy with how her journey has ended/continued. The very human but strong way in which she has taken control of her own destiny makes me absolutely overjoyed. I wish her and Me well as they travel the galaxy, and I do hope they and Jane Austen have a wonderful time together! Jane Austen on the TARDIS! Oh, yeah!!

    And thank you for helping to resurrect Stephen Moffat’s reputation as a writer who deals well with women, on the whole. I have always been rather incredulous at the accusations leveled at him, when really I have found RTD to be much more hard on women. He was responsible for poor Donna’s end, after all. I think that you hit it on the head when one of you said (was it you, Deb?) that really what Moffat is is an unblushing romantic at heart, and so that sometimes can result in a little bit of gender stereotyping, but as you say, also it seems to be sometimes directed at men, as well. As a long time Moffat fan, I can say that even with all the stereotyping that went on in Coupling, there were really very true moments of male/female interaction that superseded any gender nonsense, and went straight to the heart of the emotion brought up by relationships of any kind.

    So, my dear Verity ladies, I shall look forward to your Christmas podcast and to enjoying hearing all the other fun things you come up with during the hiatus. Have a wonderful holiday, and to those of you who are also Sherlock fans, enjoy the ShSpesh!!!

  8. kelizard said:

    As a newish and casual Doctor Who watcher, this is the series that made me a true fan. Matt Smith may always be “my” Doctor (with Ecceleston a very close second), but Capaldi is now pretty firmly etched in my mind as “the” Doctor. He has been simply brilliant throughout the series, bringing a gravitas to the role even in the sillier moments. I agree that this is the most feminist of the series, and the triad of major women characters – Clara, Missy and Me/Ashildr – has been delightful to watch develop as individuals and in their interactions with each other and with the Doctor.

    This was also the series that made me a committed Verity! listener. I’m not generally a fan of podcasts, but I really appreciate the insights and humor you all bring to the table. I’m also grateful for the welcoming atmosphere for those of us who haven’t watched Classic Who and/or may not be firmly rooted in the history and details of the show. I can often tell when there’s an historical context that I’m missing as I watch an episode, and it’s always fun and educational when I hear you touch on that context during your discussion. Thanks for everything!

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