Tuesday 3 February 2015

The Great Doctor Who Poll 2014 - Musing & Moaning - Part Three

And so, here we are, once again. The third, and final part of my musings on the 2014 poll. "Thank fuck for that" I hear you cry!

This post covers the largest category of all "Best Overall Episode (Classic and New Series combined). Theoretically, this should be a mercifully short post. Having already looked at the "Classic" and "New" rankings individually, there is little commentary to make on their respective rankings, only how the stories fare when ranked in one, large collective.

Riding high on the coat tails of the 50th Anniversary, it comes as no great surprise that 'Day of the Doctor' takes top spot. That it ranks above 'Genesis of the Daleks', 'Pyramids of Mars' or 'Seeds of Doom' (plus quite a few others!), is, to me, perfectly laughable! I enjoyed 'DOTD' for the most part. It was a fun story, though in the context of Who 'canon' (a term I've never particularly cared for), I found it rather irritating. It's complete retconning of The Time War, a topic which had great potential for future exploration, was deplorable. Since Gallifrey is now safe, tucked away up a squirrels arse, or wherever Moffat decides to rematerialise it (assuming he doesn't simply forget it exists), it is all the more puzzling that the 12th Doctor seems to be carrying a burden bigger than his predecessors. Nevertheless, top placed it is, and I will have to learn to live with that. I'm sure I'll struggle with this for many seconds to come...

Second place goes to another bloody overrated story, 'Blink'. On first transmission, I loved 'Blink'. I still enjoy it. I don't, however, hold it in quite the same esteem as many do. I don't believe it stands up to repeated viewings terribly well, unlike 'Genesis of the Daleks', a story which I can watch over and over again, without tiring of it.

The next appearance in the poll by a New Series episode, is at position 7, where 'The Empty Child' resides neatly above 'Pyramids of Mars' at 8. I don't have a huge issue with this, although would switch their positions. 'Empty Child' is a superb story, and deserves a high ranking, even against some of the best classic era episodes. It demonstrates Moffat's capability as a writer, leaving one to wonder where the hell it all went wrong..

Human Nature ranking at 9, is, I suspect, due to the fan base Tennant has accrued. It is a solid story, arguably one of the finest since the series returned in 2005. Whether it deserves to be ranked above 'Rememberance', 'Terror of the Zygons' or 'Inferno' is questionable. As someone with such a strong passion for the classic era, perhaps I am not best placed to judge, as my thought processes will always be skewed toward the halcyon days of Who..

Moving down the poll, there are numerous New Series stories outranking those from the classic era. This is, of course, to be expected. That 'Rose" should find itself ahead of 'The Time Meddler', or 'The Lodger' above 'Ambassadors of Death' is, at best, a shame. At worst, a fucking joke (my blog, my opinion!).. Disagree? Comment below!

The middle of the poll is something of a hotchpotch of stories. Most of the placings I would take issue with, certainly when comparing classic era stories against the new series. It would be interesting to see a demographic of the voters. I wonder how many have seen the classic era given some of the placings..And so, to the bottom of the poll.. Placed at 229 'The Doctor, The Witch and The Wardrobe' fares particularly badly, ranking marginally above 'Paradise Towers'. Hardly a shock, since it is an utterly terrible story! Faring even less well is 'The Rings of Akhaten'. I have to admit, this surprises me, as does the general disdain which surrounds the story. Personally, I rather like it, which serves to prove the old adage to be true: there's no accounting for taste..!

'TimeFlight', 'Timelash' and 'Time and the Rani' take positions 237, 238 and 239 respectively. Perhaps the voters dislike stories with 'Time' as their first word! The first two are, I believe, somewhat unfairly maligned, and against stories such as the aforementioned 'Doctor, Witch, Wardrobe', or equally weak stories such as 'Love and Monsters', which I personally cannot abide, or the interminably dreadful 'Nightmare in Silver', I would have ranked them substantially higher.

And so, to the very dregs of the barrel. I make no apology for my desire to see 'Paradise Towers' placed there. There, however, it is not. In last place, ranking one place above 'Fear Her' lies 'The Twin Dilemma'. Speaking, as always, personally, I would place 'Twin Dilemma' above 'Fear Her' and quite a few other stories. Yes, the twins are more irritating than inflamed haemorrhoid, but Colin makes his mark in a bold, brash and very loud performance. Azmael's death scene is beautifully played, and at the end of the episode, we are left in doubt that Colin is indeed, The Doctor. Whether you like it or not..!

That 'Fear Her' places so badly comes as no shock. Of the New Series (excluding Season 8 stories) it is, arguably the worst, with the possible exception of 'Nightmare in Silver'. I would be hard pressed to choose between them, however I would rank both above 'Paradise Towers'. Just.

Whilst stroking my Pertwee-esque beard during last nights musings, I hit upon the idea of "putting my money where my (exceptionally large) mouth is". In the next post, I am going to attempt to replicate the poll as I would have voted, placing each season, each Doctor, each story as I would rank them. It's a rather daunting prospect, something I've never attempted before. It should be... interesting..!

And so, that concludes my analysis of the Great Doctor Who Poll 2014. As always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome. I hope you enjoyed reading the posts; that they weren't too tedious or long, and I hope you found plenty to disagree with! Doctor Who is a divisive topic, but one which, ultimately, we all share a common love of, regardless of our personal preferences. We can, and should, disagree on what ranks where, and which Doctor is the best. It makes for lively debate. Provided the debate doesn't turn into vitriolic unpleasantness, with accusations of "hater" being bandied around, we should be free to share our opinions and to disagree, passionately, but respectfully with each other. Wouldn't it be nice if that were always the case...


See you on the Twittersphere..!




DASP said...

As I said, I'm not one for rankings, but I did want to discuss this quote:

"Since Gallifrey is now safe, tucked away up a squirrels arse, or wherever Moffat decides to rematerialise it (assuming he doesn't simply forget it exists), it is all the more puzzling that the 12th Doctor seems to be carrying a burden bigger than his predecessors."

I think the Ninth Doctor dealt a lot with anger and guilt. I think the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors spent a lot of time distracting themselves from facing the trauma, including choosing to ignore the War Doctor.

I think now that Gallifrey has been revealed as having (possibly) survived, the Twelfth Doctor has finally decided to confront his past actions and his personal pain. With the possibility of Gallifrey surviving and it's uncertain fate comes the need once again for resolution. Yet, this could also have the potential to trigger repressed memories and feelings.

Some can't cope with the trauma as it unfolds. Others have difficulty adjusting back to "normal life". Perhaps, those realizations are the burdens the Doctor is now carrying.

MetalOllie said...

Interesting, and optimistic thought. I fear Moffat will, as with many things, completely forget about Gallifrey, but you never know..

The potential for exploring the character of the 12th Doctor, what drives him, what angers him, why he seems detected, is rich. Whether it is exploited to its full potential remains to be seen!