The Minimum Effort Ep.13: Mini-sode!

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Ben and Lewis revive the podcast with this special (aka short) episode about this week’s movie news, Thor: Ragnarok, and a discussion about the shocking news of a new Star Wars trilogy and TV show!

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A New, New Doctor Who

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So… how wrong was I, buying into all that Kris Marshall stuff?

I guess I should really stop trying to predict things…

Anyway, Jodie Whittaker is going to be the next Doctor. Yeah, it isn’t going to be David Harewood or Maxine Peak, but I am going to explain why Whittaker’s casting is a good thing for Doctor Who.

Long term readers (and potentially podcast listeners?) know how I feel about the last few seasons of the show; it has been repetitive, boring, poorly written and, despite one or two highlights, has been pretty shite to be honest. I liked bits and pieces of Capaldi’s last season in the TARDIS but on the whole it and the other Moffat-run seasons have really started to tarnish the good name that Russel T. Davies battled to rebuild. The show has really needed freshening up for a while, which we should be getting through the teaming up of the critically acclaimed Chris Chibnall (new head writer) with the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.  If I am being totally honest, I didn’t think the new show runners would have the balls to rock the boat during their first season in charge, but considering the declining ratings and increasing fan resentment to the show (fucking sonic sunglasses), I am really not surprised to see them roll the dice.

Whittaker has a solid film back catalogue including the very enjoyable Attack the Block (which you should go and watch if you haven’t), as well the critically acclaimed Black Mirror. Most importantly though, she worked with Chibnall on Broadchurch (which I haven’t watched, I was probably too busy being disappointed by Supergirl, but I have heard very good things about it).

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We really shouldn’t be surprised by the choice, I think I was too distracted by Olivia Coleman picking up the sonic screwdriver to consider Whittaker, but this choice means that both the actor and the writer knows what each other are about, hopefully avoiding any clashes like those between Moffat and Capaldi.

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I would like to see Chibnall write Whittaker a Peter Davison-style incarnation of the Doctor, and by that I mean I want the character to be relatable and enjoyable to be around, but stand-offish enough to avoid any romantic relationship like those seen with David Tennant. The traditionalist will be pissed enough already to see a female Doctor, let alone one that want to bone a human (Tactfully put, Ben- Lewis). If Supergirl has shown me one thing, putting a romantic interest in the show from episode one can undermine the strength of a female lead, leaving her a fawning mess rather than the badass we know she is.

To sum up, this is only a good thing for the show, taking a gamble on a Female doctor will give it the vital breath of fresh air it really needs. Besides, Whittaker has proven herself to be a strong and versatile actor, and her good working relationship with the new head writer promises to produce good things.

I am definitely looking forward to the next season.

-Ben

 

Doctor Who – Insert Clickbait Here…

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So it was announced last week, although from what I remember rumours have been circulating for a while, that Peter Capaldi will be hanging up his TARDIS key at the end of the year, meaning the search for his replacement is on. But, before we jump into that, I want to take a look back at his time in the TARDIS…

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On the 4th of August Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor and I, for one, was pretty pleased with that. We were promised a more old school Doctor, not as unlikable as Colin Baker’s 6th, rather, more like the Grandfatherly figure of William Hartnell’s 1st doctor with a fashion choice to match. This is what I wanted. I wasn’t a fan of Matt Smith at the time (I’m still not, but I watch his last season more fondly now) and I saw Capaldi as a step in the right direction, getting away from the touchy-feely 10th and 11th Doctors (Hey, you leave David Tenant out of this- Lewis).

However, on the whole, I was pretty disappointed by Capaldi; in his first episode we saw some glimpses of the Doctor he wanted to be, but that was lost in the following campy -episodes and mopey characters. His character traits were often spoken about; an incredible over use of – “I don’t do hugs” – (which was often ignored) for example. It was clear that the writers were trying to tell us that this Doctor was an older, more distant man rather than try to show us, but that simply robbed this new trait of its impact. You see, you wouldn’t dream of hugging the older Doctors, which was exactly what I wanted to see in Capaldi’s episodes, and I honestly think that he wanted this characterisation too, but the writers were just too attached to the previous incarnations of the Doctor.  I can count the number of standout episodes from the Capaldi years on one hand- The Time Heist and the two-parter episode Under the lake/Before the Flood. Beyond that, the cast weren’t given much room at all to grow as Steven Moffat pleasured himself with the idea of sonic-fucking-sunglasses (Jesus, thank God he is leaving).

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Anticippointment (Anticipation followed by disappointment) summarises how I feel about Peter Capaldi’s time in the Tardis. I had high hopes for a different Doctor, but I think the show was let down by some really poor writing- what is new there? I would have really liked Capaldi to stick around for a few more seasons to see what he could do with a new writing team, but it just wasn’t to be. An issue may have been that I wanted to see a Malcolm Tucker- esque Doctor, which is obviously not ok for a broadcast shown at 7 O’clock on BBC one… so yeah, that has led to my anticippointment.

It’s strange though, because, looking at the numbers, the two Capaldi series have been the most successful yet in terms of viewing figures and critical reviews, which baffles me because most people I know have stopped watching the show rather than started it.

Anyway, it’s speculation time.

The precedent has been set with the Master so I honestly wouldn’t rule out a female iteration of the Doctor. Provided it isn’t as irritating as ‘Missy’ (another concept I’m sure Moffat tugs off to) I am open to a female Time Lord in the TARDIS, but who would I want behind the wheel? Well, looking through the current favourites, here are some options:

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Ben Whishaw 5/1 – An interesting choice, he was up there last time round. He would probably be a Doctor more akin to Matt Smith’s iteration. Whishaw made a very good Q in the last two Bond films, and he could make a very good Doctor.

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Richard Ayoade 6/1 – This would be bloody hysterical for two or three episodes, but after that I’m not too sure.

 

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Rory Kinnear 7/1 – Another Bond man, I like this choice- he’s more of a dad than a grandad, and not the type to be another ‘boyfriend’ Doctor. This is one of my preferred choices on this list.

 

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Miranda Hart 8/1 – No. Just No.

 

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Jason Flemyng 9/1 – Much like Kinnear, a Flemyng Doctor would be an intermediate between Capaldi and Smith, and to my knowledge he isn’t up to much which makes him free for long filming sessions.

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David Harewood 10/1 – I am game for this one as well, however he is involved in Supergirl which could interfere with filming commitments.

 

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Helena Bonham Carter 10/1 – So we would basically have two ‘Missys’ in the universe- I would find it pretty unwatchable.

 

 

Olivia Coleman’s name has also been mentioned, and she definitely has the comic ability/acting chops that would make her a very good Doctor, and considering the new show-runner wrote Broadchurch I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coleman at least get offered the role. Idris Elba is also on the list but with the upcoming Dark Tower film it looks like his Hollywood career is really starting to get going (Unless it’s, regrettably, a flop- Lewis), besides, I would much rather he be the next Bond than the next Doctor. Another element to consider when picking the next Doctor is the show’s new popularity in the US, which means the show runners are more likely to give the role to a bigger name rather than taking a punt on an unknown.

So that about wraps it up, a few of my opinions about the Capaldi years and a brief run through of some of the favourites to replace him. But what do you think? Who do you want to be the next Time Lord?

Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Dr Who Review: Before the Flood

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Ben: What did you think?

Lewis: Well, I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed it. However, there were some bits that I wish they’d focussed on more.

Ben: Yeah I thought it was pretty good; a well-rounded episode.

Lewis: The one thing I wasn’t happy with was the lack of screen time they gave The Fisher King… he was one of the best villains they’ve had for a long time.

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Ben: I think the suspense of not seeing him worked better than just throwing him on the screen repeatedly.

Lewis: Yeah I liked the suspense, it’s just that once they revealed him he could’ve had a bit more of a chance to show off, you know? He was a genuinely interesting character.

Ben: But then you didn’t really see him until later in the episode. I agree, he was a solid Villain and could have done with a bit background, but I thought it was written pretty well.

Lewis: I loved the interaction between him and the Doctor, it was very tense.
Peter Serafowizzzeesticss… has an awesome voice, and the fact that they had the singer from Slipnot doing it too made it sound very creepy.

Ben: I would agree with that.
I also like the scene with the deaf character and the ghost with the axe, but I thought she was as good as dead.

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Lewis: That was an awesome scene, but I knew she’d get out of it, they really couldn’t kill off many more of the crew; there wouldn’t be any left.

Ben: I do appreciate how people died and stay dead though; can’t save everyone…

Lewis: Well, sort of. I was interested in the point they brought up about how the Dr is willing to change the future for himself or Clara, but not for anyone else. He really is kind of a piece of shit, which is a nice reminder of the fact that he isn’t as compassionate as people think he is.

Ben: That is true, he’s a bit of an arse.
I think it’s one of the best thought out and well executed episodes we have seen for a while.

Lewis: For sure. I liked the little piece at the beginning about the “Bootstrap paradox”, it was a nice quirk, and it helped explain some of the odder time travel stuff in the episode.

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Ben: It was a bit unusual for them to do it just out of the blue right at the start.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I liked it. I also really loved the rock version of the theme (which I assume the lead singer of Slipnot was involved in?), we need that every week.

Ben: Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind it, it was just a bit odd. I did like the new music though, maybe they will stick with that; there’s only been four episodes but we’ve already had two “Doctor and his Guitar” moments. I still don’t like the sonic sunglasses though…

Lewis: I really hope so, it was awesome.
Oh god, I sincerely hope he loses those. Moffat’s already admitted that he only wrote them in because he could, which really isn’t a good enough reason to write anything. One other thing I’d like to mention is the collective performance by the cast. They were all spot on, every one of them was great in their role.

Ben: They are just so stupid, but I bet they will be there for the rest of the series, they can’t change anything now. Yeah, I agree, good performance from the whole cast. Good job, guys.

Lewis: Maybe he could drop them and Maisie Williams could step on them next episode?
Oh boy, that wasn’t patronising at all, I’m sure they appreciate it though, Ben.
I almost wish that they’ll bring back the Fisher King at some point, but I’d be satisfied if they just put that kind of effort into the creature design in the future.

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Ben: I would rather they leave him there, or only bring him back of the story is right. Urgh, it does look pretty crap next week. I am fearing a Robots of Sherwood type thing.

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Lewis: I wouldn’t want them to bring him back in a stupid way
Hmmmm, I’m not sure about it either, but then again, look what we said about this double-parter?
We’ll have to see.

Dr Who Review: The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar

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Lewis: So, Dr Who?

Ben: Yeah, I suppose we’d better do it.

Lewis: As much as we’ve been avoiding it…

Ben: So what did you think?

Lewis: Well, I don’t want to be this pessimistic about the season’s opening episodes, but they were just subpar on almost every level.

Ben: I agree. Everything just seemed so stupid; don’t even get me started on the “sonic sunglasses”. They had better not a permanent thing.

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Lewis: If they are I might just have to swear off the whole thing. To be fair though, at least the second one had some redeeming features, the first one really was just a mish-mash of poor dialogue and stupid attempts at being witty. It feels like Moffat’s trying to be Douglas Adams and not doing a very good imitation.

Ben: I feel a similar way. Yeah I would agree, the second was better than the first, but even the one section that had some emotional gravity was just thrown away as just a plot point.

Lewis: I assume you’re talking about the Davros-Doctor discussion?

Ben: Yeah, that was one of the best bits of Doctor Who we’ve seen in ages, right until the climax which completely ruined it.

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Lewis: I didn’t really like that though, because Davros just isn’t that kind of character. All that emotion and shared respect for each other just felt really forced… I really liked it up to a point, but when Davros cracked that joke and started talking about the sunrise, I was sincerely hoping it would be a trap, and it turned out it was, even if it was a pretty shitty one.

Ben: I didn’t think it was forced at all. I can kind of get why it was done, but I just feel that if they did actually kill Davros off that discussion would have been the way to do it. In the moments before his death he considers his work and wonders was it all worthwhile. I felt it was one of the better scripted and better acted part of the series that we’ve seen for a while.

Lewis: No I get that, and the whole time I was really impressed with the Davros actor’s performance. I didn’t really have a problem with any of the writing for that discussion, but I just feel like some parts of it didn’t really suit the character of Davros. But yeah, that discussion was definitely the highlight of the two episodes.

Ben: Moving away from the discussion, I think the way in which the Doctor beat the Daleks was a bit stupid.

Lewis: Yeah it was pretty naff, a very big dose of convenient plot point there… funny how those deceased Daleks were never mentioned before, huh?

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Ben: But then we have never been to Skaro before, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the planet as well.

Lewis: What do you mean? We’ve been to Skaro at least twice before. Once in the first Dr Who episode ever, and I’m pretty sure Tom Baker went once.

Ben: I meant that we haven’t been there in the new series.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I’d expect them to consider the fact that we’ve been there before in previous series’.

Ben: Well now it is back (did they explain how they brought it back? I can’t remember) I expect we will be going back fairly regularly.

Lewis: I don’t think they actually explained it… which is incredibly lazy if that’s the case (I could be, and probably am, wrong). I did quite like the censorship thing that the Daleks now have, it’s quite interesting, even if it does make them a little too emotional for my liking.

Ben: #stopmoffat
Where exterminate means reload? That bit? I wasn’t a big fan. That just seemed shoe-horned in for the last scene. Another thing I appreciated were the old Daleks and the lack of the Teletubbie ones.

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Lewis: Not specifically that bit, because that bit’s just stupid. The part where if she says anything non-Dalek like it just changes it to something more suitable; that seemed like something that the Daleks could feasibly have. And yeah, the old Daleks were a very nice touch, but in the end it feels like they were just shoved in there in order to get people to appreciate these episodes more. They really played up the nostalgia…

Ben: That is true. I presume they took inspiration for the sets from the first Skaro episode.

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Lewis: Oh yeah, and I admit, it was really cool to see the old sets/models/Daleks, but it felt like they were just saying “oooh look at all this shiny stuff that you remember, isn’t it cool?? Don’t worry about the poor writing, just look over here”.

Ben: Essentially they were just trying to distract us for 45 minutes.

Lewis: Yeah, and while there were some very good moments (which may or may not have been immediately ruined), it was just a very poor opener to the season.

Ben: Well hopefully things can only get better, but those ghosts don’t look promising…

Lewis: Well… no… no it doesn’t. Looks like a shitty live-action episode of Scooby Doo. It’ll end up being some old guy who was wronged by the scientific team and is using a projector to simulate ghosts and then when they catch him he’ll say “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling dicks”.
Or something along those lines anyway.

Ben: #stopmoffat
But I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

Lewis: Yeah, fingers crossed the other writers will have something more impressive to offer later on in this season.