Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 67 (About Time)

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I went back and forth over whether to run this as an Eruditorum post or as a side post. Ultimately, I wanted to put it in before we started talking about The Runaway Bride, so it got an Eruditorum slot. Nevertheless, this is a book review of About Time Volume Seven, out on September 10th from Mad Norwegian Press, who were kind enough to give me a preview copy, which I spent two days doing nothing but reading. The short form is that it’s brilliant and you should buy it. The long form actually makes sense to describe in context of the series’ history, because About Time occupies a particular and important place in that history.

About Time is a fascinating example of a book series swallowed by history. It started and premiered before the announcement of the new series, and continued over the course of the series’ development. You can watch, reading it, as the new series exerts its gravity and changes the project out from under Miles and Wood, so that what the books are changes over the course of the series. Given that the series was released out of order, starting with Volumes Three through Five, doubling back for One and Two, and then finally concluding with the Wood-only Volume Six and Wood’s solo rewrite of Volume Three, this gives an interesting sense of things. What started as an attempt to do the most thorough episode guide ever took on an oddly elegiac feel, becoming something more like an attempt to make the definitive statement of what Doctor Who was prior to the new series, before the cultural gravity of the new series erased the ability to see it. In doing so, it went from being a very long guidebook to being the definitive account of it.

Let’s be clear: if you like TARDIS Eruditorum and have never read any of About Time, get thee to Amazon. About Time is indispensable. It’s not that TARDIS Eruditorum wouldn’t exist without it - in fact, if I’d known it existed when I decided to start the blog I’d probably have been intimidated out of starting it, because you’d have to be mad to look at About Time and say “yeah, I just think there’s more to say.” But discovering it a few entries into the Hartnell era was perfect, even if I do have a nagging sense that my Season One coverage is forever compromised by the fact that all the essays started absent the context of About Time. Because About Time got to what I was doing first. It’s an attempt to explain all of Doctor Who - everything about it. Which meant I got the wonderfully easy job of just sitting back and responding to it.

This is, of course, ridiculous as a goal. Doctor Who is far too big to be pinned down into a single explanation. Which is, of course, part of the conceit of About Time, which immerses itself so deeply in the minute particulars of Doctor Who as to willfully lose all sense of Doctor Who as a singular object. Split over six books and the veneer of a sectioned guidebook, the whole bubbles under the surface magically. This is not, let me be clear, a defect in the least - it’s the only way you’re ever going to make this approach work. About Time is, ultimately, the same approach Alan Moore famously took with From Hell, whereby you take the joke of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency seriously and actually try to explain the totality of a thing.

This was, however, something truly new in Doctor Who fandom. About Time was staggering in the way that something from the creator of the War in Heaven and the writer of Spectrox had to be. Eventually the center could not hold and it became a Tat Wood solo project, but this was a blessing as much as a curse. The latter part of Volume Four and all of Volume Five tear themselves apart accommodating Miles and Woods’s dramatically different visions of Doctor Who, and while this leads to occasional sparkle, the most compelling part of About Time - the sense of Doctor Who as something that’s part and parcel of the time it’s being made in - gets lost. (In practice it would have been much better if Miles had written Volume Five alone, and Wood had gotten Volume Four to himself. Of course, it could also just be that the sections in question are where Doctor Who itself lost the plot of its times.)

And so virtually everything in TARDIS Eruditorum up to Survival is massively indebted to About Time. Because ultimately I was only going over the ground Miles and Wood had already worked. I just had a take on what Doctor Who was that was different enough from theirs to get away with it, and used a different narrative structure. And, you know. Doctor Who isn’t only big enough to encompass Miles and Wood’s differing accounts of it. There’s room for more sprawling takes on it yet. What’s interesting, and a development that only came in that weird period as Doctor Who was transitioning from being just the classic series (which was just Doctor Who then, not the classic series) to being an altogether more complex and convoluted cultural object, was the idea of trying to look at the whole of it in a massive, messy way instead of a compact way.

Which brings us to About Time Volume Seven, covering the Rose Tyler years, and out from Mad Norwegian in a few weeks. This marks the series’ long-awaited plunge into the new series, and also the for me very weird point where instead of using About Time as my anchor in the series I’m out ahead of it. So in the spirit of that, before I move on to material past the scope of Volume Seven, some comments and responses. One last chance for my work to sync up with About Time, if you will.

The first thing that jumps out is that the new series renders the idiosyncrasies of Wood’s views more manifest. For the most part Wood’s views on the classic series, while at times odd, follow reasonable arcs. It is possible, however, that Tat Wood is the only person alive who considers The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit to be the absolute nadir of the first two years of the new series. More broadly, the sense that Wood feels like the new series is a desecration of everything that Doctor Who once stood for is at times more palpable than is helpful for the book. This is not to say that the book is some sort of hit job screed - Wood is good at presenting a balanced case for episodes. But after a certain point the need to articulate the case against every single episode wears. This book makes the “Critique” section feel almost extraneous - in amidst the rich tapestry of cultural history being painted, Tat Wood’s episode reviews seem like small details given too much space in the work.

The problem with the Critique sections is that they feel, in many ways, small and finite. Where the book sings is in its treatment of the messiness of episodes - the way in which episodes of the new series are a collision of differing viewpoints, goals, and inspirations. This has always been one of the major appeals of About Time - the way in which it meticulously lays out differing visions of what Doctor Who is. And Volume Seven is no exception in that regard.

For me, at least, its high point is the side essay for The End of the World, “RT Phone Home?” That essay makes the case that the advent of mobile phones fundamentally changes the way the series works by removing the concept of falling entirely out of the world. Without the concept of complete alienation, which drove the classic series, the new series becomes a very different beast. It’s probably the single best piece of writing on the new series that I’ve seen, though where Wood seems to see this as evidence of the fundamental desecration of all that Doctor Who is, I tend to find it a terribly exciting new possibility.

Other essays go further in painting a cultural context for the new series - the opening essay “Why Now? Why Wales?” manages to be a properly definitive take on the well-trod ground of how a series revival happened, and “Was 2006 the Annus Mirabilis?”, a grudging sequel to Volume Three’s “Was 1973 the Annus Mirabilis?”, is a compelling account of what the series’ ascension into the popular culture felt like at the time (even if it does inexplicably think that the tail end of Series Four, when the show managed a #1 chart placing with a 91 AI, represents some sort of falling off from the heights of Series Two).

Of particular interest are the essays on points of continuity. In the first six volumes, these served as pleasant alternate histories - views of directions Doctor Who continuity could have taken if different people had been in charge of making decisions at different times. (Volume Four’s “Did Rassilon Know Omega?” is a particular highlight, providing an entertaining timeline of how three generations of creators and fans each slightly misunderstood the previous generation’s intentions) But in the face of the new series, with its relative consistency of worldview, these essays take on a new and altogether more invigorating purpose. Now they’re defiant challenges, denying the new series its own authority and creating strange parodies of it. “He Remembers This How?,” attached to World War Three, wrings five pages of theories about how alternate timelines work from the work-in-progress nature of how the Doctor figures things out in that two-parter, and it’s brilliant every step of the way. And “Why’s the Doctor So Freaked Out by a Big Orange Bloke?” comes close to explaining why Wood hates The Satan Pit so very much in its stinging attempt to make any sense out of its cosmology.

This is not to say that the actual guide material is flawed. Even the “for beginners” section at the start of every entry has gems, like the observation that Love and Monsters contains the “arc clue words” for all four Davies seasons. The usual About Time pleasure of reading the work of someone who has watched every single episode with more terrifying attentiveness than you could ever dream of mustering is well in place, in other words. The Continuity section remains a dense game of fanwank that is perhaps best described as a sipping drink, but remains the gold standard for it. But the real joy is, as ever, The Analysis, particularly “The Big Picture,” formerly titled “Where Does This Come From?”

It seems strange to suggest that anything in About Time is insufficiently developed, but if there was a section that could comfortably double in length, this would be it. The usual noting of the real social concerns being reflected in Doctor Who is there and invaluable - the political subtexts of New Earth and School Reunion are gloriously elaborated on, as are a host of other points. But several are, and really it shocks me to say this of a 464 page book on two seasons of television, frustratingly underdeveloped. School Reunion finds no time to talk about the change in the series’ relationship to its own past, and Rise of the Cybermen is curiously uninterested in talking about the Cybermen. Perhaps most jarring is Father’s Day, where the section doesn’t even make it to a page, and manages not to touch on the fact that the story was a deliberate attempt to capture the style of the New Adventures, or on what the significance of Paul Cornell as a writer is, even though it spends three paragraphs giving his career history. (Perhaps Wood is holding the New Adventures back for Human Nature, but this is, as none of the stories adapted from Wilderness Years material have much focus on the source material of their source material - Dalek is just as jarring, describing Jubilee in detail without ever getting around to asking where it came from.)

Finally the Production section, which adds usefully to the already voluminous amount of production information. Some of this is down to Wood’s willingness to make narratives out of scant information - a tendency that drifts into excess in spots such as the speculation over why Eccleston departed. But in the Production sections the tendency is restrained to where its a virtue. With so much of the existing documentation of the production existing in BBC-sanctioned celebrations like Doctor Who Confidential, a take that reworks the material into what we know in practice the first two seasons were - a bunch of people scrambling to make a television series that was like nothing else that had ever been attempted - is valuable.

The result is odd. Unlike the first six volumes, there is no sense that Volume Seven can possibly serve as the definitive take on this era of Doctor Who. The history itself is too recent, and the fact that Wood, at the end of the day, seems to want to rescue proper Doctor Who from this meddlesome interloper means that he’s never going to nail down an account of two seasons that are, in practice, so massively popular that they’ve obliterated his preferred version of Doctor Who from most of the cultural memory. This is a dissenting view in a way that the previous volumes never were. But that’s not a problem. This is a different sort of book to the first six volumes, but different doesn’t mean inferior.

Yes, I’ve spent an awful lot of this essay quibbling. But that’s the fun, and what a book like this invites. It’s not a criticism on my part, it’s me eagerly getting to play the game with my favorite interlocutor. So yes, Tat Wood thinks the new series is a desecration of everything that Doctor Who once was, and I think it’s a terribly fun and interesting game of genre play, and that there’s nothing actually wrong with the transition from being about worlds to being about genres and iconography that Doctor Who has made since 1963. And he, in turn, presumably doesn’t actually care at all what I think, which is as it should be.

None of this changes the basic fact: About Time is the best Doctor Who criticism I have ever read. Volume Seven is the best work on the new series I have ever read. This series remains the gold standard, and every other guide to Doctor Who starts from the position of having to justify why you’d ever need it when you already have About Time.

Thankfully, given how long Volume Seven took, I have a good long while before anybody asks that of the rest of TARDIS Eruditorum. Volume Seven is essential reading. It’s that simple. On a new post day this blog gets around 5,000 readers. By this time tomorrow, this book should have around 5,000 preorders.

About Time Volume Seven is available from Mad Norwegian Press on September 10th.  (UK link)

Comments

Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm going to keep this brief:

TARDIS Eruditorum is great.
About Time is great.

Why haven't you been invited to co-write with Wood?

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John Toon 3 years, 10 months ago

Hooray! I'm not the only person who thinks The Satan Pit was Patent Sh*t!

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Jenda 3 years, 10 months ago

I also hated The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit to be honest, far more than I did Fear Her / Love & Monsters (although all four one after the other is a particularly bad run of episodes in my opinion considering how strong the beginning of the season is).

I've never read any of the About Times but I LOVE Tardis Eruditorum so I know it's on my "eventually" list.

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Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 10 months ago

None of what you said makes me particularly inclined to read this...

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Seeing_I 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't wait to read this, though your post has confirmed some of my fears about this book. Chief among them that whereas the prior volumes were written with years of hindsight and rewatchings, giving Wood & Miles decades for their opinions to mature and perspectives to change, this one is written when it's all still new. Second, the lack of a co-author means that the push and pull of differing viewpoints is lost - something which damaged volumes 6 and 3.2 in my opinion. (Though Miles hates the new series even more than Wood, so maybe that's for the best.)

However I do really respect Wood's writing and look forward to furiously disagreeing with him on many points while seeing other things in a light I'd never considered. :)

A personal note - I first found these books mere weeks before the new series was announced in 2003. I had just met a fan in my town and he let me borrow V3. "What use could I possibly have for yet another episode guide?" I asked, all jaded. Then I read the entry on The Time Warrior and was amused, entertained, challenged, and informed all on one page. The book series, and my new friend, have been with me all through the wild journey of the past 10 years, as our beloved curio became a global phenomenon. I look forward to looking back!

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C. 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for this preview, Phil. Sounds pretty much what I expected.

The post-Miles About Times were frustrating reads for me, not merely for the lack of dueling perspectives. I think Miles as a co-writer simply made Wood a sharper, less indulgent writer, made him defend his positions better, and perhaps trimmed down W's worst impulses. Wood unchecked can be garrulous and his attempts at humor leaden (example no. 1: "Critique" of TV Movie) and his tone can veer into, for lack of a better phrase "nerdy dickishness" at times.

I'm sure AT7 is still magnificent, but I wish he'd agreed to another full collaborator with a more generous view of "BBC Wales," in W's words..

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Jenda 3 years, 10 months ago

Seconded.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 10 months ago

There's another thing your review mentions which I'd like to bring up. You say a couple of times that Wood obviously views the new series as a betrayal of everything the original series was. This is something I hear again and again. However, I'd just like to point out (as I did vigorously at TimeGate this year) that the original series cannot truly be thought of as a single thing - it was entirely contingent on who was making it at the time, what they remembered of prior episodes and whether or not they gave a fig for any kind of internal consistency (which, usually they didn't). It's only in hindsight that we tend to view the original series as its own, holistic entity, and its only the continuity of production that makes "The Reign of Terror" and "The Happiness Patrol" seem like part of the same show, and it's only with decades of familiarity are we are able to view with equanimity the massive changes and reversals that took place over the course of its life. Now, with the luxury of nostalgia, we can pick and choose the bits of Doctor Who that work for us and ignore the bits we hate.

The original show "betrayed" its own premises from story to story and era to era. The revisions made to Time Lord society in "The Deadly Assassin" were famously decried as heresy, but now we thrill to see the Seal of Rassilon included in "The Sound of Drums." I spoke with a hard-core Hartnell/Troughton fan (who's only 20, bless!) who'd never considered that if he'd been watching in real time, he'd have viewed the Pertwee years as an utter travesty instead of the cozy detour it now looks like. Or that he'd likely have stopped watching after "The Twin Dilemma," which only with hindsight can be swept under the rug, because we know "Remembrance of the Daleks" is coming.

Like the weather, if you don't like the conditions now, you may rest assured that tomorrow will be different. This is something many older fans, myself included, need to remember any time we are ready to condemn the new show for giving the Doctor a love life or sticking close to Earth for far too long or any of its other crimes. In 20 years' time, it will all just look like another tile in the mosaic that makes up what we think of as "Doctor Who."

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Dr. Happypants 3 years, 10 months ago

I had a group of friends whom I introduced to Doctor Who with Rose when it first aired, who watched the first two new series with me. It was cute; I'm an American, so I'd never really had people to watch Who with before. They loved series 1, but lost interest after series 2, and The Satan Pit got one of the most negative reactions from them all season (and they reacted negatively to a lot of things in series 2). So yes, I'm bitter. Stupid Satan.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

This, sir, is a wonderful and brilliant comment. A Facebook-esque *like* from me.

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Alan 3 years, 10 months ago

You say a couple of times that Wood obviously views the new series as a betrayal of everything the original series was. This is something I hear again and again.

This attitude always baffles me. I adore the old show and still acknowledge that it was a children's show with no budget that consistently punched above its weight class. At nearly any point in its history, it would probably have become very similar to NuWho if (a) the BBC had committed resources to it with the expectation that it would become a tent pole of the whole network, (b) the show had access to state of the art FX, and (c) the production staff consciously thought of it as a program for adults first and kids second instead of a mildly subversive kiddy show. The hatred some fans of ClassicWho have for NuWho reminds me a lot of people who spoke in perfect seriousness about how George Lucas and Phantom Menace "raped my childhood." Or who were furious that the Battlestar Galactica reboot had a female Starbuck.

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The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca 3 years, 10 months ago

Those two are somewhat false equivilencies - the first is a blinkered view of old media with a heavy overlay of nostalgic perfectionism. The later, on the other hand, is buffoonish sexism blurted out by unloved man-children from the comfort of their MRA pillow forts.

They're both stupid, mind, but they're stupid for entirely different reasons.

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The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca 3 years, 10 months ago

I never loathed the episodes, but I've never much liked them, since they rely on Davies' most tiresome narrative love, the triumph of humanism over specious belief. Also, this episode introduced the Ood, that most hated of aliens, because it gave the production staff the opertunity to bleat about Dawkins and the Selfish Gene and take what was an actual, interesting concept and throw it out the window by making them one more oppressed species the British White Male has to save from slavery. Ugh.

I think I had a similar problem with the last season. It wasn't enough that there was this strange asteroid planet where they have a temple in which they sing forever to their god. No, the god has to be evil and actually a terrible monster because of course it does. Ugh. New Humanism as a form of cultural imperialism, if that makes any sense.

By-the-by, I'm not condoning slavery. It's just that the Ood, as originally introduced, were a 'slave-race,' i.e. a species that on a genetic level had no free will. That's a really interesting concept, one that ought to be explored better that just saying 'wait, no, they do, they just have it suppressed by stuff.' it's a cop-out.

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Unknown 3 years, 10 months ago

"That essay makes the case that the advent of mobile phones fundamentally changes the way the series works by removing the concept of falling entirely out of the world."

I could see how it could be used to reinforce it, if it lead to a moment where the connection to home breaks unexpectedly....

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

Phil,

Can you confirm or deny whether the book tackles the series' episodes only, or whether it touches upon the likes of TARDISodes etc. too?

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

The TARDISodes are dealt with.

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Triturus 3 years, 10 months ago

the sense that Wood feels like the new series is a desecration of everything that Doctor Who once stood for is at times more palpable than is helpful for the book.

This has put me right off buying it, I'm afraid. I don't particularly want to read a book written by someone who really hates something I like, as I'll just end up getting annoyed.

The "new series is a betrayal of the old" classic fans baffle me no end. If you hate the revival that much, why force yourself to watch it over and over again and then write lengthy books on it? I just don't get it.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

Ah, thanks! Have the book on pre-order anyway, was just curious. Looking forward to reading!

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 10 months ago

I'll put the books on my to get list, but I'll want to start with one of the earlier ones.

Side note: If About Time gets a Pop Between Realities, Tardis Eruditorum needs one as well when the time comes.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

I want to stress that Wood is capable of putting aside his biases enough to thoroughly understand the series, and even understand the people who like it. The book is in no way a 500 page hit job on the new series. That said, it also doesn't particularly embrace it, except in isolated moments. Why write the book? For the same reason I didn't skip the Pertwee or Colin Baker eras - it's part of a larger topic.

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Triturus 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks, I appreciate the clarification.

I do get the impression that some people just flat out detest the entirety of the new series, and yet can't stop watching it and telling everyone how awful it is, which just strikes me as, well, not good for one's general well-being!

Maybe it's the inevitable result of being a really hardcore fan for so long, that they can't bear to 'let go' even though they hate what it's become. I don't know what I'd feel like if I hated the new series, but then it was only enjoying the new series that got me back into classic Who, after having pretty much given up being a fan in the late 80s.

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Triturus 3 years, 10 months ago

Won't that create some sort of terrible paradox?

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matt bracher 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd recommend starting with seven, but only because there's a *frightful* lot of material to work through to get there. And starting with Hartnell would be interesting / odd because, since they were written out of order, volumes six and three (second edition) include essays addressing the new series. "Where Were Torchwood?" being a remembered title.

Incidentally, it's amazing how much volume three GREW when it went from being the first book in the series to the (until now) last.

But I wasn't paying enough attention to note the change in tone when it went from a coauthored series to solo.

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matt bracher 3 years, 10 months ago

"The Rose Tyler years" is a wonderful way of describing this volume. Thank you, Phil.

I inquired about volume seven quite a long time ago on the MNP Facebook page, and when it was *finally* announced I was actually dismayed to learn that it was only going to cover the first two seasons. I'd assumed that it would cover all of RTD's time on the series, a la focusing on the production eras of the classic series.

Then I stopped to consider just how many *stories* there were in the new series (as opposed to comparing only the number of *episodes* to the classic series) and felt somewhat better.

The perspective on Rose's presence on the show makes me feel better still. That certainly counts as an era and a logical break-point.

I've had it on order with Amazon since early April, and I'm only slightly bitter that you got to devote two days in August to devour it. It'll arrive just into the new school year, so my enjoyment will be mercilessly prolonged by having to make most of my time available to teaching.

But thank you for a clear review and comparison to the other volumes. This may not be all it could be, but to get *that* I'd have to wait for a decade or more. And apparently wish for a cowriter. Most of all, thanks for the assurance that despite its shortcomings it's going to be a fantastic read!

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encyclops 3 years, 10 months ago

Wood unchecked also has a tendency to throw out references which he then doesn't bother to explain ("look it up if you want to know," "if you didn't grow up in the UK you'll never get it," etc. -- cute once or twice, frustrating after that). And I really really wanted to know what Miles thought of the Sixth and Seventh Doctor eras.

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encyclops 3 years, 10 months ago

I can't wait to get my hands on this. I'm glad of the warning that he hasn't embraced the new series as enthusiastically as you have, and am actually looking forward even more now to his perspective. "Desecration" might be an overstatement as far as I'm concerned, but I felt more or less the same way for a long time -- I really liked the innovations of the new series, but didn't find the stories as satisfying as I felt they should be. I've generally made my peace with it now, so it'll be interesting to see whether I find myself cheering Wood on or booing him.

I wasn't a big fan of "Impossible Satan Pit Planet" the first time round either, as I've mentioned. Your observation about Wood being invested in a particular idea of what the show's principles are makes a lot of sense and helps explain a lot of the (to me) strange calls he makes in other books. For instance, like "ISPP," "The Seeds of Doom" is a very well-made and entertaining piece of television that appeals as much or more to people who aren't hardcore fans, but there are key ways in which it feels out of sync with what the show is supposed to be about and to stand for. If you're the kind of critic for whom that is a bigger betrayal than being poorly made, acted, scripted, or just plain dull, then I can see how you might take the position that it's the worst of the era. It also is a lot more controversial than just bashing "Underworld" or "Fear Her" like everyone else, and makes one seem like a more interesting critical voice with something new to say.

There are definitely times when reading your past entries that I could tell you'd read About Time, but you always bring enough fresh perspective (sometimes a little, usually a ton) to make TARDIS Eruditorum equally indispensable. When I rewatch a story I haven't seen in a while ("Time and the Rani," this weekend...I know!), I turn to both ongoing works to remind myself what you said about it.

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encyclops 3 years, 10 months ago

Just checking: it's stupid to hate the Star Wars prequels, or it's stupid to say things like "raped my childhood" when all you're talking about are three charmless and forgettable kiddie science-fantasy movies?

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matt bracher 3 years, 10 months ago

Phil...

Just so I don't have to wait a few weeks, who is Dorothy Ail and what is her contribution to the book?

I've been confused for months that Amazon lists her first, Wood second, and Pearson third.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

According to Pearson:

"[S]he had an essay in Inside Out, and she's being listed as "With Additional Material By" this time around, just as I was for About Time 6.

She's a great asset to the project; we've been lucky to have her aboard."

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Daibhid C 3 years, 10 months ago

the observation that Love and Monsters contains the “arc clue words” for all four Davies seasons.

"Bad Wolf virus", check.
"Torchwood files", check.
"Saxon leads polls", check.
And the fourth season arc was the missing planets, right? So does just the mention of Clom count?

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jsd 3 years, 10 months ago

@Dr. Happypants: I had a similar experience. I got my friends hooked on the new series with Rose, and we all got together to watch it every week it was on. I was in fan heaven! The last straw for the "not-we" was... Donna. Three weeks in they said "we can't stand her" and bailed. I, of course, stuck it out, but I didn't really enjoy much of that season and Donna is still easily my least favorite new series companion. I'm bitter too. Stupid Donna. :)

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ferret 3 years, 10 months ago

A sipping drink of fanwank? That's a mental picture I could have done without!

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David Thiel 3 years, 10 months ago

Seconded. And I own volumes 2-6 of "About Time." I have no desire to read several hundred pages of someone complaining about how the new series destroys a platonic ideal of "Doctor Who" that, if it ever existed, disappeared sometime around 1965.

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Doctor Memory 3 years, 10 months ago

"...a desecration of everything that Doctor Who once stood for..."

...which was what, precisely?

No seriously. I'm probably being ungenerous here -- I've never read any of Wood's essays and should take you at your word that he has interesting things to say -- but this is madness. Doctor Who, largely despite itself, has significance. It has value...

But values? An ethos?! Dude, this series patently abjures continuity itself. It's barely possible to make the case that classic Doctor Who, in sum, represents the output of an ever-rotating bunch of salaried BBC employees of varying talent trying their best to make somewhat entertaining television on a shoestring budget and an unforgiving production schedule. Barely -- not a few episodes call "trying their best" into sharp question.

How on earth could you betray something that doesn't exist?

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John 3 years, 5 months ago

It hardly seems fair to blame Impossible Planet/Satan Pit for something you don't like about Planet of the Ood.

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