I'm fond of most of the Old and New Who Companions, in varying degrees. But yes, I do have my favourites. And as far as New Who is concerned, Donna Noble is my absolute favourite, still. Which doesn't mean I don't like/love the others as well, or that I'm going for a "best of" title, because I think that's ridiculous. But she was and is the New Who Companion who resonated most with me.

This started during her first appearance, in the Christmas special The Runaway Bride. Now back then, reaction was mixed. Some, like me, liked Donna. Others complained she was too shrill, too shouty. (A commenter once told me this was entirely due to the first ten minutes of the special, one long slap stick and action sequence - during which, yes, both Donna and the Doctor shout. Which is followed by the wonderful quiet rooftop sequence, btw.) In any event, she was only a one time guest star, or so it seemed, until after the end of season 3 world got around Donna would be back. Given how popular she was by the time season 4 ended, and how great the outcry about the manner of her departure, it's worth remembering this was by no means greated by universal cheer (though I certainly cheered). The British SFX even called her "the most controversial companion since Bonnie Langford" (this was not a compliment), which mostly seemed to be biased on Catherine Tate's comedienne persona, and, once again, the idea of Donna in The Runaway Bride as "shrill. In retrospect, I suspect RTD might have anticipated this, because the first two episodes of s4 are showcases of Catherine Tate's range, from the superb comic timing in the season opener (the silent mimic scene between her and the Doctor being but one case in point, and who cares if RTD cribbed from himself in Casanova, where there's also a silent mimic scene between a David Tennant character and the female lead?) to the dramatic chops in Fires of Pompeii where she has to go to a place where she shares the responsibility for thousands of deaths with the Doctor? Mind you, the entire season 4 is a showcase for Catherine Tate's range, and the naysayers quickly grew silent. Today, sharing the Donna love is definitely a majority thing.

And it remains irresistable to me. Donna was the first New Who Companion neither a girl nor a young woman in her 20s, but at least in her 30s, and one with a figure unlike the slender models to come, which she was utterly comfortable with. (Her insecurities were about other things.) She was loud and brash, yes, and tended to voice what she felt immediately, whether it was joy or fear, compassion or dislike. She loved talking. Which didn't mean she wasn't also a good listener (ask Agatha Christie). She could be oblivious, and she could be insightful. While she had never had a steady job - something which definitely did belong in the insecurities department and contributed to the stressful relationship with her mother - , she was really creative in putting all those years as a temp to creative use everywhere in the galaxy.

And she made a wonderful friend. Part of it was the Tate 'n Tennant chemistry and timing with each other - these were definitely actors who just clicked in a best buddies way - but part was also the way the Doctor and Donna relationship was written from their first outing onwards. She wasn't interested in him romantically, or vice versa, which was a welcome first in New Who; whether arguments or hugs, she gave as good as she got. They were mates exploring the univese together, and I wished it would never end while constantly aware that Catherine Tate had only signed on for one season. The manner in wich it did end is its own controversy, which I have absolutely no desire to revive in a post meant to celebrate Donna. So I will only say this: after having watched Donna Noble be her wonderful self through 13 episodes and a special, I had no doubt she would continue to be extraordinary even with missing memories and on earth. I still don't. Because Donna? Is too vivacious, brave, compassionate, funny and too much plain alive to be anything else.


December Talking Meme: The Other Days
Or, as [personal profile] intriguing put it when prompting, the TARDIS's relationship with the Doctor and what her POV might be.

Now, before I get down to details about this most quintessential of Doctor Who ships (in every sense of the word), first a word about which canon I'll acknowledge. Not the novels, because I haven't read a single one. Not the audios, because while I love me some Big Finish - and sometimes more than the tv show - , the audio canon on the Doctor and the TARDIS includes Zagreus, and I just can't cope with the state of affairs between the Doctor and the TARDIS in Zagreus. (They have a temporary very bitter breakup. This is just not on.) Also Zagreus has the TARDIS being downright misogynistic, disliking the female Companions as rivals, which is also not on. (Other audios don't have that, though she does dislike one specific female Companion, Charley, for which there are Reasons.) In conclusion: as far as the TARDIS and the Doctor are concerned, I accept only tv canon.

Of which there is plenty, all 40 something years of it, and more recently even includes an episode in which the TARDIS does get to voice her pov, the sublime The Doctor's Wife, written by Neil Gaiman. (Which is probably while the TARDIS, temporarily trapped in a human body, has some slight resemblance to Delirium of the Endless.) Stating categorically that as far as she's concerned, the Doctor, aka her Thief, didn't steal her, she stole him, and she's not intending to give him back, ever. Basically, they chose each other, the Doctor and the TARDIS, all the way back in Gallifrey. They were both looked at as somewhat disrepetubable embarassments by the Time Lords for the majority of DW canon, too; practically every other Time Lord in Old Who canon refers to the Doctor's TARDIS disdainfully as an old fashioned model that should have been out of circulation eons ago. As for their opinion on the Doctor's driving skills... speaking of which, in One's day the Doctor has almost no control over the TARDIS' destinations at all, and this changes throughout the show until the present where he can do precision landings. Not that this always works; ask little Amelia Pond. Which brings me to the part in The Doctor's Wife where Eleven says somewhat accusingly to the TARDIS that she's not very reliable and she returns that while she didn't always bring him to where he wanted to go, she always brought him to where he needed to be, which he acknowledges to be true. This, in combination with the fact that the TARDIS is always aware of present, past and future simultanously would indicate that she does have her own agenda as to where to help and where to stay away from. Did she always, even during the days of the First Doctor? Possibly; she already was an out of date model then, i.e. older than the Doctor, who was for all his physical looks still young for a Time Lord, and learning. Whichever is the case, I find this very important in their relationship. The Doctor/Companion relationships all have some give and take, some are more balanced than others, but Romana - who as a Time Lady can steer the TARDIS - aside, the fact remains the Doctor is as Rose Tyler puts it in her second episode "the designated driver", which automatically makes them reliant on him to get home (or not), or anywhere. But in his relationship with the TARDIS, it's the other way around. Ultimately, she decides where they go (or not). He can't do anything against her will.

If the Doctor's relationship with his people is highly ambiguos, consisting of running away and being anything from a criminal on trial to the very temporary President to their destruction to their savior and back and forth, I'd say the TARDIS's relationship to the other Time Lords is even more so. For starters, they intended to retire her and never let her go anywhere else before she ever met the Doctor. And when the Second Doctor is captured by the other Time Lords, forced to regenerate and partially mindwiped to ensure he won't be able the TARDIS to time travel for the duration of his exile, the TARDIS herself is similarly treated. For the majority of the Third Doctor's era, she's crippled, though he tries relentlessly to repair her. (Mind you, their symbiotic relationship and shared exile sufferings don't exclude the Doctor cheating on her for the first and last time of his lives. Whatever the TARDIS made of that fling with Bessie, though, we don't know.) I could see the TARDIS minding the non-existence of other Time Lords post Time War mainly for the Doctor's sake, not because she actually cares for the species (and given her awareness of all eras at the same time, it's even possible she knows they're not really extinct). Though the lack of other TARDISes is another matter; when she sees their remains in The Doctor's Wife, she calls them her sisters and is visibly shaken.

(Sidenote: other TARDISes spotted in Old Who - who did have a functioning Chameleon circuit - don't show up enough to display personality or allow a guess as to their relationships with the Time Lords. Though I will say the Rani's TARDIS wins easily for "most elegant looking", which fits the Rani. Also the Master uses his TARDIS for something the show actually calls a "Time Ram" - I kid you not - parking it interlocked with the Doctor's TARDIS in order to mess with the Doctor in "The Time Monster". How "our" TARDIS felt about that one, no one can tell, but if she ever was sentimental about the Master, which I doubt, she certainly wasn't anymore after he put her through being a paradox machine.)

The Doctor and the TARDIS are both (more or less) unique and the last of their kind in New Who, which only heightens their bond. Does it also reduce the TARDIS' options? Not necessarily. True, if she ever grew tired of the Doctor, it's not like she can have her pick among other Time Lords, but then she didn't have that in Old Who, either, because, see above re: disdain. Whereas the existence of River Song in New Who proves that the child of two humans can mutate into a being enough like a Time Lord to both regenerate and to steer the TARDIS, whereas Journey's End demonstrates "normal" humans, several of them, can steer the TARDIS as well if shown how. So it remains the TARDIS' choice to stay with the Doctor, as he stays with her. Bad Wolf at the end of Parting of the Ways is an amalgan of Rose and the TARDIS, and it's as much the TARDIS' desire to save the Ninth Doctor as it is Rose's that drives her. (I'd say the kiss as energy transfer is also driven by both.) Whereas when the TARDIS is almost gone in the middle of the following season, the Tenth Doctor provides her with a part of his own life energy to revitalize her. It's a more blatant and literal visualisation of their bond than in Old Who, but its existence is nothing new.

So if the TARDIS sees the Doctor as hers - which, going by "my Doctor" in Parting of the Ways and "my Thief" in The Doctor's Wife, she does -, what does she make of the Companions? Also hers? Rivals? Friends? Moving furniture? I'd say it depends on a case to case basis, speaking solely from tv canon. She and the Doctor don't necessarily agree on aesthetic preferences (see "Rory is the pretty one?!?" from Eleven in The Doctor's Wife, in a scene which btw also demonstrates the TARDIS doesn't necessarily think of the Companions by name; names generally don't seem to be her thing). The fanon says she has a particular soft spot for River Song, and I can certainly see why; River was conceived in the TARDIS who presumably is co-responsible for her Time Lord resembling biology, and the TARDIS certainly always is there to save her when required, with the exception of little Melody but that's another season 6 plot problem. Otoh there are two examples where the Doctor says the TARDIS reacts hostile to a Companion; Immortal!Jack Harkness in Utopia and Clara in the second half of season 7. The TARDIS-Clara aversion was brought up a couple of times but never went anywhere as a plot point; I strongly suspect it was simply thrown in to make Clara more mysterious since the point where it was dropped entirely was as soon as we got the explanation for why various versions of Clara had shown up before. On a Watsonial level, I can fanwank that the TARDIS was aware of Clara splitting up into various selves at one point in her timeline and that this felt to her as unnatural as Jack's being a fixed point in time does. Of course, I've seen plenty of fans declare Ten is simply projecting when saying "even the TARDIS ran from you" to Jack in Utopia, which is possible, but it's worth noting that the TARDIS takes off before the Doctor even regenerates in Parting of the Ways (but after having made Jack immortal in the first place), and that she certainly didn't make any effort to drop the Doctor back into his timeline before Utopia. Would it be unfair for the TARDIS to react against a condition she herself is responsible for? Absolutely, just like it's unfair from the Doctor to avoid Jack until Utopia and even there until they end up talking in the radiation chamber. But then, would a flawless being without any faults and biases pick the Doctor, who certainly has both in his various incarnations, to travel with and bond herself to? I doubt it.

Generally, I get the impression the TARDIS is fine with the Companions living and travelling with her, but that she's not invested enough to miss them once they're gone. Does she see them as competition for the Doctor? Nah. They have such short life spans (Romana and now Jack aside), and besides, they communicate with him so differently. It's a bit like imagining one partner in a marriage being jealous of their spouses' toys or pets. Which can happen, yes, but it's hardly the norm or even very likely if the marriage is strong.

Which it is. Note that I say "strong", not "healthy". The Doctor and the TARDIS are the picture of co-dependency. The show has given us some alternate time lines where the Doctor is truly dead. Both in Turn Left and The Night of the Doctor, the TARDIS responded to this by slowly dying herself. Not because no one else could travel with her (see above); because she evidently chose not to continue without him, if he was truly irretrievable. He's her Thief, and she won't ever give him back. Or up.

ETA: And of course I have to include the canonical Doctor/TARDIS song:



The December Talking Meme: the other days
selenak: (Best Enemies by Calapine)
( Nov. 29th, 2014 06:16 pm)
I had a terribly busy week, haven't hat the chance to watch the latest Elementary, had the depressing rl experience of reading lots of hate mail for the first time - not directed at me, I hasten to add, directed at an organization I'm part of, but was no less disturbing to read, had the more trivial but none the less bothering experience that when I did manage to go on the internet, some of my fandom pet peeves (in various fandoms) showed up again, so it was really good to go on the internet right now and find an awesome new work:

Doctor Who:

Blank Space: a Doctor/Master vid covering all the Master's regenerations and all of the Doctor's who had on screen interactions with him - and even some who didn't, like the Ninth Doctor. Brings out the parallels and the messed up dynamics beautifully. Err, spoilers for all of DW, just to be on the safe side.
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
( Nov. 25th, 2014 01:34 pm)
The assigned Yuletide story is posted, now to see whether I can manage the treat I want to write. Meanwhile, here are other people being creative:

Torchwood/Doctor Who:


The mind is its own place The on-going adventures of Toshiko Sato, because Missy never spotted the little things.

Tosh in the Nethersphere, poetically written, quietly saving the world. Absolutely canon compatible with both shows, and heartbreaking in the best way. Also the Owen cameo is perfect. (Err, spoilers for the most recent season of DW, of course.)



Breaking Bad/Frozen:

Do you want to build a meth lab? : one of the most hilarious vids ever, which I found via [personal profile] ffutures. I dare you to keep a straight face.
Yesterday was pretty exhausting for me as I was either hiking and admiring bears or following the 25th-anniversary-of-fall-of-wall celebrations, so by the time I was reunited with my tablet, I was too worn out to type a proper review. But en route to the place of bears and hikes, I did have the chance to watch the DW finale. Above cut: this may be my favourite Moffat season. Not without nitpicks, but no season (no matter the show runner) ever is, and I found enough to please me in this one that I'll get it on dvd when it's out in totem, whereas with the previous Moff seasons them being on the internatinal iplayer were enough for me because while I liked individual episodes, I never connected to a complete season. Of course, the downside with finally emotionally connecting that way is that you suddenly dread reading other reviews and their listings of wrongs, whereas previously you just shrugged.

Aaaaanyway. Onwards to the actual review.

Hugging is a way to hide your face )
Described by the mother as: A lovely message from Peter Capaldi to my 9 year old autistic son. This arrived just before Thomas' nanny's funeral and helped him to deal with his grief in a profound way.


Despite the title and the presence of a certain animal, I found this one much more C.S. Lewis in early Narnia mode than William Blake. A charming quiet fantasy interlude before the storm (since the season finale is approaching).

Can I take a picture of the lion? )
In case I haven't mentioned this before, I really like this season. Not without individual complaints, of course, but those always happen. In totem I haven't liked a Moffat season so much since s5. (There is a difference between liking individual episodes and liking an overal season.) I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but the dynamic between Clara and Twelve works for me, the Doctor's re-emphasized alienness works for me, and the way (present day) Clara suddenly came into her own constantly reminds me that in the utopian day when I have more time, I want to write an essay about Doctor-Companion combinations and why some Companions work with different Doctors (though in different aspects, like Sarah Jane), while others click with just one specific regeneration.

Now, on to Flatline, which definitely belongs into the "liked much, want to rewatch!" category of episodes for me.

To misquote Stephen Sondheim, exceptional is different from good )
selenak: (Equations by Such_Heights)
( Oct. 13th, 2014 11:19 am)
Running a fever doesn't stop you from watching tv, thankfully.

Read more... )
Still chewing on this one, but in a good way. The scriptwriter is new, isn't he? I don't recall reading his name before.

Read more... )
selenak: (Three and Jo by Calapine)
( Oct. 1st, 2014 08:13 am)
Fandom can be frustrating sometimes, but it is also excellent for distracting from a depressing rl experience. Therefore, something which worked on me this morning:

When Jo Grant met Twelve, aka, Katy Manning and Peter Capaldi are adorable and I love them. Also someone should create an icon from this picture.

Marvelverse fanfiction:

Tinker Tailor Super-Soldier Spy (13726 words) by littlerhymes
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Nick Fury/Alexander Pierce
Characters: Nick Fury, Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Alexander Pierce, James "Bucky" Barnes, Jim Morita
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Alternate Origin Story, Cold War, Spies & Secret Agents, Action/Adventure
Summary:

Steve survives World War II. In 1972, he and Director Carter team up with a young Nick Fury to investigate a mission gone wrong.



Described by the author as writing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the scriptwriters of which sasid they were going for a 1970s thriller type of story, as an actual 1970s thriller. Therefore, Steve Rogers never ended up frozen. What I love about this retelling/AU, not confined to, but mainly: 1) It's Nick Fury centric (Nick Fury doesn't get enough love in this fandom), 2.) Director Peggy Carter in her 50s is awesome, 2.) While the backstory is that she and Steve split up some time as a couple some time after the war because she didn't want to be Mrs. Captain America and he wasn't comfortable with her Director-of-SHIELD ambiguity, they're still firm friends, which isn't just claimed but shown, and best of all, the split didn't happen just so the story can get Steve together with Bucky (who spends it, as he does the movie, in the not-conductive-to-romance brainwashed Winter Soldier state).
selenak: (Old School by Khalls_stuff)
( Sep. 29th, 2014 01:34 pm)
I just found out Maggie Stables died. . Peaceful and in her sleep, which is a good way to go, of course. But Evelyn Smythe, whom she played on the Big Finish audio adventures, was such a great character. As Colin Baker says, she was the definite Sixth Doctor Companion; she redefined him. And their audible chemistry was just delightful.

Perhaps because she was the first Companion who was introduced as an older person, Evelyn dealing with her mortality - not the chance she could be killed during an adventure, but the normal human fragility of her aging body - was a red thread through many of her adventures. A bit like Laura Roslin on BSG who gets introduced in the scene in which she gets her terminal diagnosis, and whose survival beyond the end of the show would have felt like cheating, Big Finish didn't just tease out this with Evelyn. And because the audio adventures don't have to happen in a linear fashion, we got Evelyn's goodbyes - to her Doctor, the sixth one, in Thicker than Water, and to the seventh one in A Death in the Family - without this meaning the end of Evelyn; there were adventures starring her made after this which simply preceded those goodbyes in chronological fashion. And Maggie Stables never sounded weary or routine-esque. I recently heard two adventures which paired her and the Doctor with Victorian trickster Thomas Brewster, and Evelyn sounded as vibrantly compelling as ever. Even when, in a spacesuit, she faced possible death (again) and still loved the wonder of the moment.

I'm so glad Big Finish cast Maggie Stables as this wonderful character. We could say goodbye to Evelyn, knowing it was au revoir really because of that non-linearity of adventures. Not anymore, and yet, those goodbyes feel a bit comforting now. I think I'll listen to them again.
selenak: (Brig by Kathyh)
( Sep. 29th, 2014 06:05 am)
Operation Catch Up With TV continues with a round of WHAT ABOUT THE BRIG?

Gareth Roberts usually gives good comedy, but this seriously distracted me )
Which was fun. You could tell Moffat and Thompson always wanted to write a heist movie. And the purpose-of-heist-twist made it very Whovian indeed.

Read more... )
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
( Sep. 21st, 2014 09:56 am)
Briefly: am in the gorgeous Southern Tyrolia alps with the APs, must use the finally arrived sunshine, off to hike now, hence will be able to watch the latest Doctor Who not earlier than this late afternoon. However, have two links to posts I loved reading:

Doctor Who:

LISTEN meta on last week's DW episode which puts it excellently in a larger Whovian context.

Scriptwriter and Director of Breaking Bad's OZYMANDIAS look back a year later.

(Which reminds me I was here in the Southern Tyrolian alps, too, when BB ended. Tempus fugit indeed. Also, the article mentions Rian Johnson is set to direct the Star Wars sequel after the next one, if I understand it correctly, which, um, does that mean I have to watch it? I am that oddity, more invested in the prequels than in the classic trilogy anyway and really not interested in what happened next. Then again: Rian Johnson did some fantastic work on Breaking Bad and I'm glad he'll get a cinematic break. Presumably he won't use lense flares, either. Hm.)
That was classic Moffat.

Fear is... )
selenak: (Not from Nottingham by Calapine)
( Sep. 7th, 2014 12:15 pm)
As Mark Gatiss episodes go, this was lightweight fun. I enjoyed myself.

Have you BEEN to Nottingham? )
In which there are good character stuff and gigantic plot holes.

Where is a continuity scriptgirl if the Moff needs one? )
.

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