Monday, September 15, 2014

Capaldi as the Doctor

BBC Promotional image from Wikipedia
I'm not a fan of Steven Moffat. It's not that he's necessarily grossly sexist as much as annoyingly oblivious to his sexism. In his mind he doesn't see anything wrong, and he keeps writing these female characters that are all the same--self-confident, quick witted, sarcastic, with cutesy, sexy banter, and all of them seem to know the Doctor inside and out but have no real personality outside of being a foil to the Doctor. Which can get a little humdrum and boring. Amy is pretty much River Song is pretty much Clara, with minor variations based on the actresses performance.

I'm also not a really big fan of seasons 6 or 7. While season 5 was amazing, and a great follow up to Tennant's Doctor, seasons 6 and 7 were extremely hit and miss and constantly bogged down with story arcs that didn't pay off well in the end. Whole episodes seemed to be limping by to get to the next bit of story-arc plot so we could get to the finale. I thought season 7 ended well with the specials really making a difference and sending Matt Smith out well.

And then there was Capaldi.

My God is Capaldi great.

He's grumpy. He's cranky. He's Scottish. He's world-weary, but there's still enough child-like wonder at the universe that, much like Tennant, Capaldi can carry the goofy scenes and he can carry a dramatic scene like a goddamned lumberjack.

The season premiere was okay. It had some great moments--the Doctor's confusion about who was who was funny, and his interaction with the dinosaur was glorious. But there were times when he wasn't just cranky, he was cruel. Demanding a homeless man fork over his coat is shitty. Later, he has the homeless man's coat, and I was furious. And it was only during the second watch through of the episode that I noticed that they hint that he traded his watch for the coat. Still dicey, but at least the cushioned that.

On the other hand, the Doctor leaves Clara in a horribly dangerous situation, and I don't care that he came back to save her later, fuck that. That is not what the Doctor would do. He does everything he can to make sure everyone else gets out first. He doesn't abandon people. I could see pulling that kind of stunt after the Doctor has been around for a while. I could maybe see Matt Smith being able to pull that scene off and have it be funny and quirky rather than shitty and selfish, but this Doctor is crankier and can't do that.

But the last three episodes have been great. Into the Dalek wasn't bad. You could tell the crew was still getting used to things, and I was as well.

The Robot of Sherwood was awesome. I've had an affinity for Robin Hood since I was a little kid anyway. The guy they got to play Robin Hood must have been channeling Cary Elwes, so much to the point I wondered if he was his younger brother.

And Listen was a great scary Doctor Who episode. They haven't had one in a while. And while I don't think they fully answered all of the questions like most Who episodes, I actually liked that ambiguousness. The Doctor shouldn't know everything, and neither should we.

All in all, I'm very pleased with season 8 (series 8?) of the show. Capaldi's performances are strong, and by God Clara is getting some actual character instead of literally being there only to provide the show mystery and flirt with the Doctor.

It's also nice to see PoC in the show again, even if it is only one guy.