Hell Bent Podcast

(16 comments)

For our season finale (until Christmas) I'm joined by the legendary Kate Orman, writer of an appallingly large number of very good Doctor Who books. The first half is interview about her Virgin Books novels and her recent Faction Paradox anthology Liberating Earth, the second (starting at about the hour and twenty minute mark for those with no interest in the Wilderness Years, which is to say, wrong people) on Hell Bent. You can get it here, and I recommend you do, cause it's lovely.

Comments

Nicholas Caluda 1 year, 2 months ago

I should have guessed that Kate was a huge Yes fan, but it's still nice to hear nonetheless.

And while we're here, I'm going to gush about Kate's Bernice Summerfield short stories and novellas, all of which are taught, fun, and incredibly touching. People should read those, because they're really good.

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Nicholas Caluda 1 year, 2 months ago

Of course I meant "taut." This isn't at all embarrassing....

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Riggio 1 year, 2 months ago

The whole episode was wonderful. I listened to it while I made and cooked dinner. One idea of the many in your long and fantastic conversation that hit me was your discussion of transgender and race characters that could be included in the future of the show going forward.

When my gf and I watched Skins earlier this year, I couldn't help but think that many of the actresses from that show would, in the 2020s and 2030s make wonderful Doctors. Hannah Murray (Cassie from the first cast) I thought, by her late 30s, could carry the role as a kind of mentally unstable genius elf, sort of like Matt Smith or Patrick Troughton when they were more unhinged. Her performance in the Skins "reunion" series in 2013 was especially telling for that, because Cassie the character had grown beyond the vulnerability that overcame her on the show proper. She could display a magnetic rage, inspirational optimism, and still had one eye on the ethereal, knowing how to mock the morons who surrounded her without them knowing it.

Jessica Sula, from the third Skins cast, would be a freakily enigmatic Doctor. Also, the story possibilities for exploring marginalized spaces and societies as a short black female Doctor, especially if she's still relatively young when cast, would expand exponentially. When Freya Mavor, who was Mini on that show, is about 40, she'd be a great fit in the tradition of Doctors in that bombastic style that Capaldi, Eccleston, Colin Baker, Angry Tom, and Pissed Off Jon make up. And you already talked about how good an actor Lily Loveless is in her episode of Sarah Jane, so I imagine she'd make a brilliant Doctor when she's about 40 or 45.

I know there's fantasy baseball leagues, but how would a fantasy casting director club work?

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Sean Case 1 year, 2 months ago

I think "fantasy casting director club" is called Tumblr.

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ScarvesandCelery 1 year, 2 months ago

Wonderful interview - I haven't read many of the Novels, just Timewyrm: revelation, but I find it fascinating hearing/ reading about what it was like making Doctor Who during the wilderness years, and I really want to read more of the Virgin Books line.
I personally loved "Hell Bent", but I think you're right when you suggest that being invested in Clara as a character makes the back half stronger, as I love Clara, so was desperately trying to figure out what her fate would be, and was thrilled when it became increasingly clear she was going to get the kind of ending I'd wanted for her all along: namely, one that's on her terms, and lets her go off and have adventures of her own. That said, while I think Kate Orman's right that the back half episode is a lot of standing around talking, I think it avoids the "Name of the Doctor" curse, where the same issue is more of a problem for me. It felt like what the Doctor and Clara were debating - the unhealthy aspects of their friendship, the Doctor's paternalism, and Clara's right to her past, all had stakes. And I felt the subversion and critiques of the Doctor's behaviour during past departures - Me criticises the Doctor for not liking endings, an explicit critique of his behaviour in "The Angels Take Manhattan", alongside the very explicit critique of Donna's ending - added further depth to the episode's conversation. It also worked for me because it was clearly structured as a shift away from the Gallifreyan Epic to a personal, character based story. I've never been a huge fan of Gallifrey, so using that section of the story as an entertaining bait in the episode's bait and switch from epic to personal was the best way to use the Time Lords, in my opinion. And I think the episode reestablished the Doctor's relationship with the Time Lords quite nicely.
That said, I will no longer be able to watch this episode without thinking "and the Borad". That's a wonderful line, and I'll definitely be using it in future fandom discussions

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 2 months ago

I have to agree on the bait-and-switch regarding Gallifrey. Just the fact it's narratively substituted functions as delicious commentary.

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Froborr 1 year, 2 months ago

I overcame my natural antipathy to podcasts to listen to this one--turns out that I CAN listen to a podcast without my attention wandering too badly if the podcast is sufficiently interesting and I can mindlessly blow up spaceships to keep my eyes occupied.

Anyway, two things struck me:

1) Phil and I have bizarrely similar voices.

2) You were both a LOT more negative about the episode than I expected, especially after reading Phil's review. It increasingly seems like I am alone in regarding this as a masterpiece.

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Ozyman.Jones 1 year, 2 months ago

No, you are not alone! Many others of us have superb taste, as well.

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ScarvesandCelery 1 year, 2 months ago

I rather loved the episode as well - it's in the mix with "The Girl Who Died", "The Zygon Invasion/ Inversion", "Face the Raven", and "Heaven Sent" as one of my favourite episodes of the season (I'd consider each of the final three episodes separate stories in a finale trilogy, instead of being a multi part finale). While I understand that "Heaven Sent" will probably be the more popular episode, and can recognise that it's exquisitely crafted, I honestly think "Hell Bent" is a more interesting piece of television - it's Moffat going to places that are slightly out of his wheelhouse. And given that Phil rated this as his favourite episode of the season, I think it's more the case that he was letting Kate Orman say her piece on why the episode didn't work for her.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 2 months ago

I really liked the episode. In large part for meta reasons, though, rather than dramatic ones. I mean, Kate's got a real good point regarding the dramatic structure on its own. But I remember the "ideal" ending of Clara's arc drawn up by the likes of Caitlyn (abossycontrolfreak) and so this one really resonated for me.

There are several other ways I really liked this. First, the metaphor -- Clara traveling with Me to see the stars, well, it's a beautiful metaphor fro the experience of death. Because this comes in Clara's last heartbeat. So it's not the dreary "eternity" of certain religious, but rather a breathless experience of the Universe. So, yeah, I can go with that.

Next, Clara's a waitress. She's properly working class here. And for a Very Good Thing to happen as such please me to no end.

Which ties into the third thing I really liked, which has more to do with Rachel Talalay than anything else: omg i love the imagery of this. There's something about the way she shot this, but it just looks so... I want to say "iconic" but that's not quite the right word. Whether it's the white TARDIS or the blue dress or the red soup, these are images that are just burned into my head, in the best way possible. And that's surely one of Doctor Who's main functions. (I am totally on a grilled cheese and tomato soup kick now.)

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ScarvesandCelery 1 year, 2 months ago

Re. Rachel Talalay: I saw a tweet suggesting she's the new Graham Harper, which I don't quite agree with. Good as Harper was, that flatters him a little too much. Nick Hurran is New Who's Graham Harper: an incredibly talented up and coming director who brought a pioneering new visual style to the show.
Rachel Talalay is flat out the best director Doctor Who has ever had. Fans are excited about the prospect of an episode directed by Peter Jackson, and so am I. But while he would be an incredible coup for the show, I am far more excited by the thought of more episodes directed by Talalay. I really hope they get her back.

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Lee Mansfield 1 year, 2 months ago

Am I alone in thinking that Toby Haynes is flat out the best and most exciting director the new series has had? I rewatched his Silence two parter earlier and it is beautiful to look at. And his Strange & Norrell work was amazing too.

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Dadalama 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't think he really tunneled through that wall for Clara. That's probably part of it but I think he did that because he refused to let these people win over him.

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Dadalama 1 year, 2 months ago

Also if you think about it, most of the work was actually down to determinism. The biggest thing he had to do after setting the clues to get him there was to convince himself to not to give in. It should all have gotten much easier for him about midway through and once he starts making progress "no I am just going to invalidate everything I went through and fess up" is not something I see the doctor doing.

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Sarah 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm a podcast addict and listen regularly to DW podcasts Radio Free Skaro and Verity!, which offer a variety of voices, but usually people who want to appreciate something. (Alas, RFS has a McCoy hater and Verity! has a Pertwee hater, which get me twitchy.) I was tempted to listen to this, but it's two and a half hours long, and I had to fast-forward a lot until actual episode discussion, and then it led off with the "it did nothing for me" comment, and I was right out of there, sorry. At an earlier point in my fandom (1990s), I might have listened, but the ranting and whining I hear in fandom today reminds me exactly of the bad old days, and I got out of that. I'm probably only back in this for Capaldi, so whatever, I don't have time. (Sorry if this is submitted twice. My wi-fi went bonkers.)

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Dan Abel 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm really enjoying it, I'm stupidly impatient. This is by far the longest I've listened to a podcast - I'm 1h 30 mins in and plan to listen to the rest.

I was really worried that one of my favourite NAs - The room with no doors - wasn't going to get a mention, but there it was. Fabby!

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