karenor: (dw-10 sad-betterwithtwo)
[personal profile] karenor
So there has been some tumblr discussion on Ten's exit and character arc and season satisfaction pre- and post- Season 5.

(Go read this post and the preceding comments, if you want to follow along)

So, instead of reblogging again. I figured I'd try a response here. Because I find actual discussion on tumblr or twitter clunky/unsatisfactory.

Okay, so. To me... Ten's incomplete arc feels more... realistic. He learns, then forgets the lessons, needs a companion to show him a different version. It's who he is. And the sort of silly farewell tour did seem to indicate that he realizes he needs people. He LOVES and needs his friends, but never wants to get too close because they all break his heart. Is it frustrating (and selfish and short-sited)? Hell yes. But I think he does learn in the end. He feels that Rose showed him that (see HN/FoB and JE), Martha spelled it out plainly by walking the earth, and yes, he was still totally lost without Donna, but she sees him through. And yeah, her end is devastating and unnecessary.

But I don't feel that "I don't want to go" needed to be about looking forward. I have very few excuses for the cafe speech, except that the emotion seems to be coming from the idea that he might really DIE. And yes, he dispels all that we know is true about regeneration, but I think he's just scared. I KNOW this is ridiculous RTD fuckery, but from a character standpoint, it's not impossible to reconcile. Anyway, point being, I'm okay with his final words. I find them tremendously in character and reasonable for the situation. I think if he WAS looking forward to his next life, I'd have been very disappointed. He had no one (yes, by his own design), unlike Nine, who knew he'd just carry on as he had been, Rose by his side.

Now, I should say, I've not rewatched any Eleven episodes. In point of fact, I don't rewatch much of anything, but with all the fic I wrote re: Ten, and research for it, I'm more intimately acquainted with the Ten era in general. I found a lot of S5 ultimately forgettable, remembering the big arcs, and then only partially, because they're so convoluted. I should also say that I love all Eleven era major CHARACTERS (with the notable exception of River, who I might love if her story made even a little bit of any sense...I went from hating to quite liking to being mostly indifferent to and so over her) but the characterizations and stories drive me so batty I... very nearly gave up, more than once.

Each season is SO problematic, so much more so than Ten's continued angst, that they do indeed feel like different shows (if still the same man). The crack, the two (or more) realities, the reset buttons, River/Melody, the astronaut, the Ponds and their departure. I cannot claim anything near satisfaction (quite the opposite) with the resolution of any of these story arcs or seasons.

And Eleven's development? I too found his effervescence refreshing (though I found this entirely in keeping with previous regenerations, not in opposition to), but the way his story is told... All upside down and 'gangers and robots and past and future, and I have NO IDEA what to make of anything like character development. I like him most of the time, I don't know what's going on more of the time and it's hard to be bogged down in that and judge character...independently?

Subsequently... Clara. I really like her (apart from being yet another vehicle for her creator's snark [i may never ever forgive that "Eleven's the best" moment]), despite the fact that by design, she's not terribly well-rounded (she's fractured?) and I think that gives her short shrift. But her whole conceit, and what it's led up to... that 7b finale... I can't even. I was SO angry. Even if her purpose is to heal the damage being done by the Great Intelligence and the past remains (becomes again) unchanged, I can't be on board with this level of character assassination/exaltation...on all fronts (hers, the Doctors, presumably other companions).

Anyway, I've meandered. My point was (and rereading I feel I've not made it very well) if we're comparing Ten and Eleven's eras for consistency, satisfaction of trajectory of character/story arcs and handling of characters themselves... I have a lot of trouble (despite well-thought out arguments by people whose opinions I value tremendously) seeing how the last few years have in any way accomplished that better than the proceeding years. And personally, I find them supremely lacking.

My two cents, grain of salt, etc. and so forth.

Date: 2013-08-26 10:07 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW blue TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
Reading through your thoughts here -- and I'm glad you've taken the time to articulate them -- this reads to me as if the fundamental issue is that you simply prefer RTD's character-heavy storytelling style to Moffat's plot-heavy style. I'm the opposite, although as I said in my brief comment on Tumblr, there's a lot I love about the RTD era, and in fact, until S5 rolled around, S2 was my favorite.

The difference in storytelling style may also explain why you said you're having a problem sorting out Eleven's character development, while I'm not. He felt Doctorish to me from the moment he turned up, and still does. He's learned he needs his friends around, even if it's still painful when they outgrow him; he also slowly but surely falls in love. (Nine fell in love as well, but that felt more instantaneous to me -- which is not a complaint, just an observation -- and Ten carried over Nine's feelings.)

I do agree that Clara's character is underdeveloped, and I'm hoping that now that her mystery arc is over, we'll get to learn more about her. Nothing we can do but wait and see about that, though.

Date: 2013-08-26 10:35 pm (UTC)
platypus: (tay)
From: [personal profile] platypus
Oddly, perhaps, the things I love about Eleven's era are still heavily character-based; my interest in the plots is secondary, and I don't find them a lot more effective than RTD's plots. (Given the perception of Moffat as the plotmaster, I would've expected his plots to hold up better to scrutiny. I tried to explain to Ken the other day how Rory ended up as a plastic centurion, and it got ridiculous pretty fast.) I find Eleven a very emotional, accessible Doctor, more so than Ten, and the internet has told me that that is completely insane. But I suppose it's like Amy -- a lot of people find her character impenetrable, but it makes perfect sense to me. So does Eleven.

tl;dr

Date: 2013-08-26 11:21 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW blue TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
While prepping dinner, I took some time to think about why RTD's plot holes bother me more that Moffat's, and specifically why the Rory explanation (or lack thereof) doesn't bother me at all. In general, I find Moff's handwaving more compelling, and in Rory's case, the resurrection didn't bother me because it felt in keeping with the fairy-tale theme woven into S5. If Amy's life doesn't make sense because parts of it were essentially "stories" created based on her memories, then an unexplained resurrection of her true love is no different than any other fairy-tale element.

With RTD, there were three specific types of plot issues that bothered me:

1) Crappy and easily disproved scientific handwaving. NO, YOU CANNOT DRAIN THE THAMES IN MINUTES THROUGH A MILE-LONG HOLE IN THE EARTH, ASSUMING THAT HOLE EVEN EXISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE, DAMMIT. And just jumble a bunch of random medicines together to automatically cure every disease! Gah.

2) Saving the day through the power of love. This is something Moff does, too, but with him it doesn't bug me because it doesn't come with the extra side of crypto-religious imagery, cf. Sparkly Tinkerbell Jeebus.

3) Character assassination, but enough about Rose in "Journey's End."

With Moff, when the plot holes bug me, it's that his handwaving has utterly failed to be convincing, like the lack of foreshadowing about how there could be so many Claras, or the GI only showing up in two episodes yet being the Big Bad, or even just needing more time to set up the plot.

Date: 2013-08-26 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karenor.livejournal.com
I find Eleven a very emotional, accessible Doctor, more so than Ten, and the internet has told me that that is completely insane.

It might be? I think Eleven HAS as many emotions, but they're right on the surface and he's usually forthright about them? And with Ten you somehow feel them more deeply? Or he himself doesn't emote as much, but WE know, because he's nuanced like that? I'm not sure. Eleven as more accessible? Maybe. But not more relatable. To me. If that makes sense.

But I suppose it's like Amy -- a lot of people find her character impenetrable, but it makes perfect sense to me.

Impenetrable? How, though? She seems pretty...straightforward. I like Amy, don't get me wrong. And I appreciate her emotions...emotionally. But I don't find her difficult to analyze.

Date: 2013-08-26 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karenor.livejournal.com
you simply prefer RTD's character-heavy storytelling style to Moffat's plot-heavy style.

Putting aside RTD vs. Moffat for a second, as a whole this is probably true. I definitely prefer character-driven drama, especially when it comes to sci-fi. But I don't think it has to be character vs. plot. You can have both and I think there was plenty of that in RTD's stuff. There were season-long (or longer) plot arcs that were well-developed and (though could be cracky) made a fairly logical sense (to me, I'm sure people can write out the ridiculousness of any particular point [the Time Lock or anything like that]). And in the more recent times it's like the logic only exists in Moffat's head and he's just throwing shiny and/or cool stuff at us to distract us from thinking too hard (didn't he practically say as much, re "Angels...Manhattan"?).

I don't want to bash writers here (seriously), but what I'm saying is that plot-heavy is good! If it's good plot. And I'm not sure that's what we've been getting.

He felt Doctorish to me from the moment he turned up, and still does.

I agree on this. I was won over (surprisingly, I might add) on this front right away.

He's learned he needs his friends around, even if it's still painful when they outgrow him; he also slowly but surely falls in love. (Nine fell in love as well, but that felt more instantaneous to me --

I guess because he's a time traveler, the weirdness of their relationship shouldn't matter to him. And I'm not saying it's not love. But it couldn't FEEL organic to ME. And while with Rose it may kinda seem instantaneous (what episode was "Dalek," 4?), to me it seemed more gradual, organic, and easier to connect to as a viewer.

I'm hoping that now that her mystery arc is over, we'll get to learn more about her.

ME TOO. I hope it doesn't make me stabby. ;)

Date: 2013-08-27 08:08 pm (UTC)
develish1: (Blue Seal)
From: [personal profile] develish1
I'm not going to respond in detail, mostly because I've done at least a version of this rant myself on more than one occasion, so....

"I find them supremely lacking"

I couldn't agree more :)

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