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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.


  1. T. Hartwell
    April 20, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    Damn. Really wish I had BBC America so I don't have to wait until tomorrow to read this.


  2. Pen Name Pending
    April 20, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

    My thoughts:

    In "A Good Man Goes to War" the Doctor says the Amy/Ganger swap happened "before America", which puts it in between televised episodes.

    I actually find that I totally forget about Clara's mystery and get absorbed with her quick and compassionate character, although that's kind of just me. Perhaps a bit general, but definitely relatable, and I like the way their relationship is not defined (and I'm sick of people acting like there's some romance plot). I also found her a postmodern deconstruction of the companion in "The Bells of Saint John" and the whole thing about her not knowing about what's going on with her is basically the anti-River, where the point was that she knew things the Doctor didn't about herself. At any rate, they've been saying her mystery will be explained at the end of the series, and Coleman says she'll be in the eighth series, so there's certainly time to respond to whatever happened to her.

    As a girl I didn't see anything wrong with the Emma/Clara scene…if I see that someone's having a troubling relationship, I'm going to ask and try to help when we have time alone.

    And you mentioned how Emma seemed to be hiding something from the Doctor at the end…I wonder if that ties back to when she told Clara not to trust him? It definitely ties into the Doctor's arc since series six.

    Also, wasn't this episode a bit of a homage to Pertwee, with the 70s "assistant" and the Metebelis crystal (yeah, it was weird it was pronounced differently)? It's interesting coming of the Troughton-influenced "Cold War", and "Akhaten" had a little whiff of Hartnell about it, with the mention of Susan and exploring a strange world. There was even some homage to McCoy, with the distant relative (Fenric) and the haunted house (Ghost Light).


  3. Ross
    April 20, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

    It certainly seems like they're hitting on a lot of good notes. There's a real sense of the very Hartnell-era-esque "There's this story going on in the genre of the week, then the Doctor shows up and changes everything." But I think the actual storytelling has suffered a lot. These last few stories since the break have felt less like narratives and more like a demo reel sort of thing, not interested so much in telling a story as in demonstrating how awesome this whole "Doctor Who" thing could be if their kickstarter gets funded.

    And this bugs me a lot because my chief complaint about the TV Movie all those years ago was "They did a fine job on the look and the superficial trappings, but in retrospect, it appears that they neglected to actually tell a story." This season hasn't sunk that low — they're doing a lot more than just artifice here — but it grates. And after having read this blog's coverage of the declining period of the classic series, I'm very troubled by possibility that the creative team might be putting squeezing in continuity references and "textbook Doctor-ish stuff" ahead of storytelling.


  4. drwhonovels
    April 20, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    Re: "Hide", I was more interested in the use of the word "psychochronograph" this evening. I suspect someone high up was giving a wink to this site.


  5. Pen Name Pending
    April 20, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

    Except most of the stories aren't what they were promoted as. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" had a whole other story (though that was due to the budget). "A Town Called Mercy" wasn't really a standard Western but a morality play. "The Rings of Akhaten" has a whole lot of great ideas and themes rather than just being a spectacle, and is actually a really intimate story. "Cold War" has a twist on the Ice Warriors and "Hide" wasn't a ghost or monster story at all. They've all got a deeper meaning and have more to them. The story they are all telling is the story of Doctor Who as a medium, rather than the actual "so the aliens invade because of this, and the Doctor solves it because of this" mechanical plot points, which frankly I just don't care about. Part of why I loved "Akhaten" so much is the way that the solution is about the concept of infinite possibilities and sentimental value, rather than something more standard. (Again, this is all just me and I've always found the plots in New Who to just be catalysts for telling other stories.)


  6. Eric Gimlin
    April 20, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

    I'm also in the "wait for the streaming version", so won't see this (or read the entry) until tomorrow morning, but…

    Is it just me, or are they deliberately working their way through each of the classic series Doctors in season 7B? It threw me at first because the Pertwee episode was out of order, presumably to get a contemporary Earth companion. But "Bells" was a contemporary Earth techno-thriller with a UNIT cameo. "Rings" was a Hartnellesque explore a strange new world story- and the first story in just about forever with no humans or humanlike characters other than the Doctor and Clara. "Cold War" was a base under siege with a Troughton-era alien. And "Hide", at least from the previews, looks very much like a Hinchcliff riff.


  7. T. Hartwell
    April 21, 2013 @ 12:00 am

    Someone on a forum I frequent had commented on the fact that we get a reference to Hartnell in "Rings", a Troughton monster in "Cold War", and apparently a Pertwee reference in "Hide", which led me to that same kind of idea.

    Your comment about them being slightly out of order makes more sense, though- I didn't think of "Bells" as emulating anything specific and so assumed "Hide" might be the Pertwee riff (though if this is intentional, wonder why Gatiss wouldn't be doing that one).

    It does make me interested to see what future episodes might have in store in this regard- "Journey To the Center of the TARDIS" seems to indicate something we haven't seen since "Invasion of Time" and (more thoroughly) "Logopolis"/"Castrovalva", and I wonder if the use of Saward's favorite monster in "Nightmare in Silver" indicates anything there.

    Of course, this could all just be silly theories and fanwank, but the evidence so far coupled with the fact that Clara has already been explicitly linked to the classic series via birthdate and age makes me curious.


  8. T. Hartwell
    April 21, 2013 @ 12:12 am

    Also- if this actually is all intentional and true, that would mean Moffat's celebrating the 50th in basically the opposite way of how JNT/Saward celebrated the 20th- instead of bringing back token elements of the past and playing on nostalgic memories rather than actual history, these episodes would be working to emulate the actual past and history, while doing relatively little with bringing back token elements (after all, only 4 past monsters this year and no sign of any classic Doctors so far).


  9. Iain Coleman
    April 21, 2013 @ 2:45 am

    "Hide" seemed like more of a"City of Death" tribute, insofar as it had a massive and easily avoidable howler about the age of the Earth.


  10. Pen Name Pending
    April 21, 2013 @ 5:02 am

    The first half sort of followed that pattern in a different way: "Asylum" had a bunch of Daleks, "Dinosaurs" could be seen as riffing on Invasion of the Dinosaurs, ditto with "Mercy" and The Gunfighters, "Power of Three" was an RTD-esque episode and "Angels" was standard Moffat fare.


  11. Matthew Celestis
    April 21, 2013 @ 6:33 am

    Yeah, I punched the air when I heard that!


  12. Matthew Blanchette
    April 21, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    Phil may have to slightly revise his Stone Tape entry for the book, seeing as Cross has said that that teleplay was a big inspiration for "Hide"… and also, that "Hide" was originally meant as a crossover where the Doctor met Quatermass.


  13. David Anderson
    April 21, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    Since we've been covering the Big Finish Charley Pollard arc, is the motif of the TARDIS not liking a companion who is a temporal anomaly borrowed from that?


  14. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    Probably, but it's also, I should think, a contrast to River's status as the TARDIS's chosen.


  15. Elizabeth Sandifer
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:03 am

    Or write a Stone Tape entry, yes. But Stone Tape itself falls in an odd time period – it's post-Daemons, and so doesn't really fit into the lead-up to that, but where it does land, right before The Three Doctors, it doesn't make sense as a thing to cover. And when next it's terribly relevant – the Tom Baker era – it's years old and better ignored in favor of, say, Children of the Stones. So I'm not sure where that entry would ever go.


  16. Matthew Blanchette
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    In case nobody's seen this yet… here's an absolutely marvelous interview with Patrick Troughton, in two parts, from 1986; put a smile on my face, it did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoCxlbjxx9Y
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGUa8Olc1PA 🙂


  17. Matthew Blanchette
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    My apologies; I thought you HAD written a Stone Tape entry! :-S


  18. T. Hartwell
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    See, in that instance I think only the RTD/Moffat eps. work. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"'s similarities to "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" was in name only, and "Mercy" and "Gunfighters" only have the Western conceit in common (one's a historical comedy and the other's a pseudo-historical drama).

    I think the most that could be said of those episodes were that they made token references to stories in the past, while with this batch we almost seem to be getting a conscious effort at emulating the stories that are emblematic of the eras they represent.


  19. Pen Name Pending
    April 21, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Oh yeah, I know. I just thought they were a bit of a "remake" (for lack of a better word) of two stories with famous concepts that were only attempted once.


  20. encyclops
    April 21, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    Dr. S, I had exactly the same thought about Clara earlier this week. I think I'm a little more concerned about it than you are. "Hide" might be my favorite episode of the new series thus far, easily my favorite of the Moffat era, and the one that's making me feel less conflicted about the fact that Matt Smith is (sorry, Tom) probably my new favorite Doctor, but it's not perfect, and the main reason for that is Jenna-Louise Coleman. This is at least the second episode in a row where she tells us how she feels rather than showing it and her performance just doesn't quite ring true for me.

    Thing is, if she is who I think she is, this almost makes sense, but it's not the sort of thing where most viewers are going to think back and go, "ohhh, THAT'S why she seemed like someone who'd spent her life watching the show and suddenly beamed herself into her favorite fictional world…."

    Props on the Slate thing! Well spoken.


  21. SpaceSquid
    April 21, 2013 @ 11:35 pm

    Interesting that you settled on the idea of humanity being the only mystery worth solving. That would never have occurred to me. I assumed he was talking about sentients in general. Or, given the context of the discussion, non-immortal sentients. I doubt that was who Clara was referring to, but I immediately assumed that was the Doctor's intent.


  22. AdamAttley
    April 22, 2013 @ 5:33 am

    Wibbly wobbly…


  23. David Anderson
    April 22, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    Hide has a Pertwee reference, and clearly takes the line that UNIT stories happened at the date of transmission.


  24. Pen Name Pending
    April 22, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    It's also the second episode written by a guest writer without much to go on, performance-wise, about the character. They could have felt the need to write that stuff in the script to make sure their point got across.

    I thought her little speech about the bodies in "Cold War" was realistic, though, both for dramatic purposes and character, since she hasn't been in such claustrophoc danger before.


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