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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

31 Comments

  1. prandeamus
    November 18, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    "wandering as a Lonely God looking for some rain to stand in"
    Sir, you win the Internet today.

    Reply

  2. David Anderson
    November 18, 2013 @ 3:02 am

    Can we be a bit more clear about what a narrative collapse is?
    It can't be merely a diegetic threat that would lead to the end of the series if it were followed through – the only thing that would absolutely stop all Doctor Who stories ever would be the Doctor's death, and that's by definition not a narrative collapse.
    The original narrative collapse in the Chase happens when the characters decide to stop having adventures and just watch them on the viewscreen. That's a more obviously extra-diegetic threat than the world is being invaded by daleks and cybermen. The world being invaded by daleks doesn't seem to me to go beyond needing the Doctor to save the day anymore than, say, Spearhead from Space or the plague in The Silurians. Whether the show can survive Billie Piper's departure is an extra-diegetic question.
    To take one case: take a narrative like Star Trek Voyager or the first series of Farscape, where the ostensible narrative goal is for the lead character to find a way home. The kind of episode where the characters decide to settle down somewhere would be a narrative collapse. (BSG end of series two is an excellent example of that.) Is the kind of episode where they think they've found a way home only for them to have to reject it at the last minute for moral reasons also a narrative collapse?

    Reply

  3. Alexander J Bateman
    November 18, 2013 @ 5:21 am

    Duffy is a single person and well worth a listen.

    Reply

  4. David Thiel
    November 18, 2013 @ 5:55 am

    I've been looking forward to this point, not just because it's the end of "Torchwood" for awhile and perhaps we could talk more about "Doctor Who" during its anniversary week, but because I desperately wanted to say how much I despised the plot point of Jack being buried alive for nearly 1900 years.

    "Angel" did this at the end of its third season, with the eponymous vampire being buried at sea. He spent a total of three months underwater, starving for blood, and was seriously messed by the time he was rescued.

    Jack's's own sentence was approximately 7,500 times as long. And he wasn't just buried alive, but choking on dirt and subsequently resurrecting for what one can safely presume to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of cycles.

    Then he's dug out…and he's fine. A little dirty, perhaps. Even his coat is intact. He picks up exactly where he left off, having a perfectly coherent conversation and even a plan.

    I become apoplectic even thinking about the mind-boggling stupidity of this.

    Reply

  5. prandeamus
    November 18, 2013 @ 6:15 am

    How does it compare to the cased-in-concrete scene in Children of Earth? Given the perceived increased quality of the mini-series, I'd hope it was better, but it's been a long time since I looked. Sometimes it seems that's all the writers wanted to do to Jack – chop him into little bits and watch him re-form. I blame the Master, personally, such a bad example. It's like Fitz in so many EDAs where the writers just wanted to torment him.

    Reply

  6. David Thiel
    November 18, 2013 @ 6:28 am

    Same idea, but Jack's concrete entombment ended the same day.

    After finally watching "Miracle Day," it's clear to me that RTD is firmly in the "immortality is a curse" camp. As bad as endlessly choking-on-dirt would be, I'd argue it pales to the fate of the Sarah Palin-wannabe in "Miracle Day."

    Reply

  7. BerserkRL
    November 18, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    I wandered lonely as a god
    that floats on high o'er hill and plain
    when all at once I gave a nod
    to standing sadly in the rain

    Reply

  8. David Thiel
    November 18, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    I Googled "narrative collapse," and the prevailing definition appeared to have nothing to do with the way it's used here. It was about how we no longer have time to tell a story, because we're living in an ever-present present. Or something.

    Reply

  9. Elizabeth Sandifer
    November 18, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Creepily, I just got home from teaching that poem.

    Reply

  10. BerserkRL
    November 18, 2013 @ 7:33 am

    Though presumably her torment ends within … well, however long the story last, but not years.

    Reply

  11. jane
    November 18, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    I maintain that the narrative collapse threatened in Army of Ghosts/Doomsday was, in fact, Rose's insistence that she'd stay with the Doctor forever. This threatened the show's ability to have new companions, and hence to tell new companion stories, one of the ways in which it regenerates itself.

    Reply

  12. BerserkRL
    November 18, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    Before I wrote it??!? 8^O

    Reply

  13. jonathan inge
    November 18, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  14. David Thiel
    November 18, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    Oh, yes…I just meant that in the moment it was probably far worse.

    Reply

  15. Ross
    November 18, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    But, and this is important, a Davies "cheat" isn't a Deus Ex Machina — it's more akin to the cheats in mystery novels. It's not that he makes something up that he pulls out of his butt at the last minute; rather, he's had this thing all along,but has deliberately misled and withheld key information to prevent the audience from figuring it out.

    Reply

  16. David Thiel
    November 18, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    I thought that the point of the "weapons of massive destruction," to coin a phrase, was to underscore Davros' argument that the Doctor was hypocritical in scoffing at using weapons even as he was crafting his companions into warriors.

    Reply

  17. jonathan inge
    November 18, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  18. jonathan inge
    November 18, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  19. BerserkRL
    November 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Originally, I've read, they'd planned to make Owen more of a typical leading man type (like Rex in Miracle Day) and to cast a generic hunk type in the role. Happily, they cast Burn Gorman instead, thereby making Owen a far more interesting character, even with the same scripts. I was especially sorry to see him go; I'd far rather lose the frankly rather bland Tosh and Ianto. For me his odd orthogonality made him crucial to the show in a way they weren't.

    Reply

  20. Matthew Blanchette
    November 18, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    With Jackson Lake, the Cyber-King,
    Ten thousand dancing in its wake.

    The bus beside them rocked, but they
    Outdid the jaunting deck in glee: –
    A Time Lord could not but be gay
    In such a rag-tag company:
    I gaz'd – and gaz'd – but little thought
    What wealth the pops to me had brought:

    For oft when in my TARDIS I
    Stand solemn, so determinedly,
    He flashes on that inward eye
    Which is the Eye of Harmony,
    And then my hearts the faster beat,
    For there the Master doth entreat!

    Reply

  21. BerserkRL
    November 18, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    Switching English romantic poets:

    Art thou pale for weariness
    of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth
    wandering companionless
    among the stars that have a different birth
    and ever changing like a joyless eye
    that finds no object worth its constancy?

    I didn't even have to alter that one to make it sad-Doctor-in-the-rain relevant!

    Reply

  22. Chris
    November 18, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

    "I’ll still go to bat for Miracle Day’s only real fault being that it should have lost about fifteen minutes out of every episode."

    I feel much the same, though I do recall at the end of one or two episodes I said aloud "well, nothing actually happened in that one to advance the plot" so my argument is more that the series should have had fewer episodes.

    Reply

  23. peeeeeeet
    November 19, 2013 @ 3:15 am

    In Doctor Who did Captain Jack
    (A slutty, camp chap) say hello;
    Where Rose, that sainted shop girl, ran
    From Dalek and from Cyberman.
    And he's the Face of Boe.

    Reply

  24. prandeamus
    November 19, 2013 @ 6:27 am

    There was a young Dalek from Skaro …

    Reply

  25. Jesse
    November 19, 2013 @ 7:33 am

    And "Mercy" is a damn good song.

    Reply

  26. BerserkRL
    November 19, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    A traveller time lord from an antique land,
    Who, said: One vast and trunkless leg of stone
    stand on lost Skaro. Near it, on the sand,
    half sunk, a shattered plunger lies alone,
    whose withered eye-stalk's sneer of cold command,
    tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    the hand that mocked them and the hearts that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    the lone and level sands stretch far away

    Reply

  27. 5tephe
    November 20, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    Lovely. An old favourite of mine.
    But your version does kind of imply that the Dalek… won. After all, nothing remains. Not even the Dalek's statue, or the Dalek itself.

    Reply

  28. John
    January 2, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

    Yeah, the collapse of "Torchwood" as a nice little procedural with 13 episodes a year came out of the fact that a Season 3 with Mickey and Martha instead of Tosh and Owen never materialized, and instead we got Children of Earth.

    Reply

  29. John
    January 2, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

    Which is to say, what was key to destroying the old Torchwood wasn't so much killing Owen & Tosh (although Owen, I think, was much more important than Phil gives him credit to being), but not replacing them.

    Reply

  30. John
    January 2, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

    I'd say that "pedophile serial killer becomes beloved American hero" would also be a pretty solid fault.

    Reply

  31. encyclops
    January 21, 2015 @ 10:42 am

    I don't know whether to be relieved or disappointed that I wasn't missing anything in this episode — that it was pretty much exactly as bad as I thought it was. 🙂 The only redeeming factor you didn't mention (and I'd agree with those you did) is that Lachlan Nieboer is hella sexy. Not, perhaps, the most amazing actor, but then look at that heinous dialogue he got.

    I'd agree that it was probably a good time for Tosh and Owen to go, but I'll miss them; I thought you made a good case in your essay on "Fragments" for them being no more half-sketched than anyone else on the show, and it's hard for me to see them as being as generic as you paint them. Gwen's a fine character, but I do think a lot of that is due to Eve Myles; a lesser actor wouldn't have made her half as memorable, I don't think. I think the same goes for Tosh and Owen, their actors elevating their roles considerably.

    On the flip side, I continue to find John Barrowman's strengths completely ignored and his limitations relentlessly hammered at by what Captain Jack Torchwood has become (and the comment above about him coming out of the grave without missing a beat? yeah. awful). And I'm not sure I blame the actor for this, but Ianto is a talking block of wood. You can see what he's supposed to be, but jesus god is he boring. I have a hard time believing I'm going to miss him at the end of the next season, but who knows.

    Reply

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