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Clara is still a plot device.


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For starters, while "The Bells of St. John" may be the first appearance of "Clara," it's the third appearance of Jenna Louise Coleman and the third time she portrays a female of the Oswald lineage. The Doctor's interest in her is in solving the puzzle of why he keeps running into the same woman in different points in history. Clara's personality will shift in every episode at the whims of the plot until she stabilizes into an actual character in Season 9. Throughout Season 7 she is nothing but a plot device, and, throughout Season 8 she will vary in every episode. A shame, because Jenna Coleman is an appealing and engaging actress who manages to be likeable despite the scripts she had.

The Doctor's interest in Bill? Is based on Bill's intelligence and inquisitive nature ("When you encounter something you don't understand, you smile... "). Bill hits the ground running as a fully formed, consistent character, and she remains consistent through her too-short run.

The Doctor, for the most part, does have the memories of his past selves. We can assume many memories fade over time, and events in multi-Doctor stories are not retained by earlier incarnations (this is stated multiple times over 36 seasons of story).

Don't even get me started on the Season 7 arc of the Doctor's real name. A terrible plotline that Moffat actually gave a perfect resolution to ("The name I was born with doesn't matter! The name I CHOSE has significance. The name of 'The Doctor' is a promise!"), before dragging it out one story past when it had any interest and relevance.

Look, his real name is Chuck. Moving on...

Ah, budget. NuWho is still a low budget show, but has the advantages of being done in an era of cheap CGI, cheap digital cameras, and cheap LED lighting. Some episodes look fantastic, others terrible. Still, the variable quality of the show has more to do with staffing than money and technology. At the end of Season 10,there will be about 150 episodes of NuWho. There have been 48 directors, 43 Directors of Photography and 38 Editors. It's difficult to establish a consistent look and feel for a show when three of the four key tech positions constantly vary. Still, they do get more money, which helps.

Classic Who seasons 25 and 26 had a budget of 10k
pounds per half hour episode. This works out to (on average after looking up exchange rates) about $36000 per "hour" of story. Compare this to the $1.2 million/episode of season 1 of Trek: Next Gen, and, of course Classic Who looks cheap! Hell, the Doctor Who show budget was less than Patrick Stewart's paycheck!

Doctor Who still fits nicely in my favorite five SF franchises along with Trek (Shatner/Nimoy only), Babylon 5,and the original Twilight Zone. That fifth spot is theatrical-edit Star Wars IV-VI.

Oh, Conrad, all Doctors are different from their predecessors. The show has hinted for decades that a regeneration is driven by the Doctor's subconscious deciding what kind of man he needs to become. This was explicitly stated in NuWho Season 8's "Deep Breath." Each Doctor seems to put himself "on trial" at death and decide to try something else next time. To wit:

One: a crotchety old grump.

Two: a cosmic clown.

Three: a suave dandy.

Four: an anarchic bohemian.

Five: a self-effacing pacifist.

Six: brash, bold and the only Doctor who will kill something then quip about it.

Seven: a quiet schemer--also a rather nasty incarnation.

Eight: a romantic adventurer more into travel than fighting evil.

War: the man who would do what no other incarnation would do. Not evil, but pragmatic and ruthless.

Nine: the PTSD Doctor.

Ten: the lover of life. Ten was more boisterous, cheerful, and willing to get with the girls than any Doctor.

Eleven: quiet, shy, awkward. A tired old man in a young body, haunted by the "knowledge" he's living his last life.

Twelve: seemingly arrogant and detached, really one of the most caring of all the Doctors, he's a teenager in an old body...

Of course one could be cynical and go with the showrunners reversing the Doctor's personality with each incarnation, but that's no fun. The Doctor deciding that his current personality didn't work out and needing to change is more fun...

And now I have to catch up on this season. Capaldi has been my favorite of NuWho by far and I'll be sorry to see him go. Here's hoping he gets a better regeneration story than Matt Smith... "Time of the Doctor," is a truly terrible hour of TV.

Yours,

   Mike Miller



Message Replies:
Last night's Episode... -- Mike Miller (posted: 7/2/2017) 
But ... it must strengthen over time? -- Legendary Conrad (posted: 7/2/2017) 
 
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