Doctor Who: Creating TARDIS

Creating the Thirteenth Doctor traveling away from some undefined threat, is joyful about her new body shape, thankful she’s not fat, and gazing out at the stars as she travels slowly through Space.

Crunching the AI, and reading the comments… she’s going to need an EPIC story arc, a great love interest that the fans will relate to, and some good stories, some amazing special effects – she’s going to have to run up ceilings like Trinity, and fart diamonds in order to be taken seriously, but she might bring back the fans that were alienated by Capaldi….

Just one thing… Please… I do not want an anthology format. It’s going to have to poop miracles to be any good as a drama – because beeb dramas are so anodyne and boring — this is not the target audience for Tolstoy, or Wolf Hall — after Game of Thrones, these things are snoozathons.

I really wasn’t mad about the forced two-parters in the series before last – it put me off reviewing and they’re good only when they serve a narrative purpose not when they fulfil a formatting diktat, and the individual stories are good because they can stand alone, or be part of the whole arc. RTD and SM did this and it worked. This is part of the baby, not the bathwater!

Why I like Star Trek is Science Fiction is more than just a Broadchurch, single drama, elongated to fit 6 episodes. Rather it is a canvas for exploring interesting concepts. The first two seasons of Torchwood were awesome, but after everyone died, it became the Gwen and Jack show and spluttered through long-winded repetitive cliffhangers before it curled up inside its own bottom and was subsumed by its own creator.

So yes.

Anyway, back to the point of the post. The response to my TARDIS was pretty much silent, so I wondered if people could see what went into it. So I made a video about it. As an artist, it is a real Torchwood to have to add cameras and think about recording in 10 minute bursts (ta Nikon, Sony)… but I have dug out the old iPhone 5C – wiped everything off it except what I need and hopefully it creates something less intensive in the admin department in the future.

I’m not a great movie maker, but this has been sped up to give you an idea of how Thirteenth Doctor came about.

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

Doctor Who: What Happened to the AI?

Full disclosure here, I am a Doctor Who fan, and I really enjoyed Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of our beloved Time Lord. I love Fantasy, SciFi, CosPlay, Superheroes, and between my husband and I own quite a bit of merchandise. I looked at the AI figures for some of my favourite episodes and I was astounded that they were so low. Clearly they never asked me for my opinion. This tells me that their way of collective data is limited. But working with what we have, we take the AI as a benchmark. In future I will probably take a look at other ratings on fan forums, and do a comparison with the BBC data to determine whether or not AI is a good metric to use as it takes into account a broader interest group to the one accumulated on the Forums.

The Short Answer

Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was the Doctor that the diehard fans wanted… I’ll need to drill down into the detail of the article comments somehow, but my memory is of fans wishing for someone more classic era, classic era plots, classic era monsters, and no love interest at all. Which is exactly what they got. But you know how they say be careful what you wish for?

Having the return to the classic era meant saying “Hello!” to a more serious doctor, and going into deeper science fiction concepts, exploring politics, and conflict, and saying goodbye to all the non-traditional fans that enjoyed the antics of David Tennant and Matt Smith, who incidentally probably contributed more to the collection of positive AI (Appreciation Index) feedback as a result of being connected to the show. In other words, it was a decision that was great for the traditional fans, but not so great for the metrics.

I have used a limited dataset – one available publicly on Wikipedia, and I have used Appreciation Index (AI) as a key metric. I am interested in finding a way to dig deeper into social media, but I haven’t quite got around to that. I said it before, I need a Time Machine. Anyone know of one to hand?

Internal guidance to BBC production staff is that an AI of 85 or over is to be considered excellent,[8] over 90 is exceptional, 60 or less is poor, and less than 55 is very poor. Sometimes a programme will not garner an AI, as the response for that programme may have been too small.[9][page needed] Nor is the AI a conclusive measure; while it is valuable for comparisons within a particular programme category, comparisons between the AIs of different programme types (e.g. dramas with quiz shows) carry no weight.

Many fans have speculated that David Tennant and Matt Smith being popular was because they attracted the interest of teenage girls. I believe it goes a little deeper than that. The show seemed to attract more general people from a wider array of walks of life, and it wasn’t just because the Doctors were young and handsome, it was more likely that the show had a bit of a love interest between the Doctor and his companion that gave it a more emotional feel, drama if you prefer, that more people could draw themselves into entertaining the other things that came with that.

We can’t just compare the actors, because the number of episodes they were in varies. So we also take into account the titles, writers, and the individual AI per title. I then look at the praise and critique of the lowest and highest.

 

DWNum
9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

The End of the World scored the lowest on the AI – 79, it was the 2nd episode after Doctor Who was welcomed back to television. At the time it seemed like everyone loved it, but it was criticised for lack of plot, but praised for wonderful character introduction.

The best episode according to the AI of 89 was The Parting of the Ways. It was the only time the show scored higher than 85. Funnily enough it was criticised for the Bad Wolf wrap up, but that was handled a lot later at the 50th – so it turned out to be wonderful foreshadowing. The episode was highly praised for being exhilarating, inventive and the best regeneration some had ever seen. Considering it was the return of the series, and technology had come a long way in between, the regeneration should definitely have been better than Classic Era Who.

CELIst

10th Doctor (David Tennant)

The worst episode with an AI of 79, was Love and Monsters, it was a Doctor Lite episode, using a monster created by a fan. It seemed a lovely gesture to the marketing and PR department no doubt, but the fans hated it. It was praised for having some hilarious dialogue, and criticised for being childish. A kid’s show being criticised for being childish. Yes.

Journey’s End and The Stolen Earth were the highest rated in terms of AI both reaching the lofty heights of 91, the highest AI since the show’s return and both written by Russell T Davies.

Journey’s End was praised for being absolutely brilliant, excellent characterisation, intriguing and complex, while also criticised in other quarters for being too confusing, chaotic and mumbo-jumboish.

The Stolen Earth

The episode was well received by viewers, in particular, the show’s teenage fanbase. In Doctor Who Magazines 2008 viewer poll, the episode won the awards for as “Best Story”, “Best Guest Actor” for Julian Bleach, “Best Monster” for the Daleks, “Best Music”, and “Best Villain” for Davros; the latter was won with a supermajority of the votes cast.

It was criticised for Daleks. Yes. Classic Era Monster. Criticism.

DTList

11th Doctor (Matt Smith)

Matt Smith’s”Worst” episodes were A Christmas Carol and The Time of the Doctor. Considering the lowest AI was 83, he never “plumbed the depths” of Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s pathetic 79’s (yes I jest, haha)

A Christmas Carol was nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), but lost to the preceding series finale – Pandorica Opens. It was criticised for being silly and incoherent.

The Time of the Doctor was praised for being a perfect send off for Matt Smith, and criticised for trying to do too much.

The episodes with the highest AI of 89 were Asylum of the Daleks and The Big Bang.

Asylum of the Daleks was praised for being reminiscent of Classic era, with zippy dialogue and plot leaps, while there were quibbles about the Pond’s marriage.

The Big Bang was praised for being a brilliant fairytale that unfolded before one’s eyes, and criticised for having an ending that was not quite as spectacular as one might hope for.

MSList

12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

And last, but certainly not least, Peter Capaldi. The doctor the fans wanted. Unfortunately Audience figures and AI did not do his tenure too many favours.

While his stats aren’t too dissimilar to Christopher Eccleston, the expectations he was expected to greet, without the additional audience David Tennant and Matt Smith attracted, couldn’t be met. The perception that the writing was bad, Moffat was bad, Capaldi was bad, Clara was bad have all been touted around, but I haven’t seen any concrete evidence to suggest this is because the stories were bad. Capaldi had a lot of seasoned and new writers writing for him. Taking in his overall AI, it wasn’t too bad anyway.

Sleep No More received an AI of 78, the lowest of all the AI including Love and Monsters. It was praised for being an innovative idea, being the first found footage episode in the Show’s history, and it was widely rebuked for being terrible.

There were four episodes that received an AI of 85, two of them were written by Jamie Mathieson and two written by Steven Moffat. They are FlatlineMummy on the Orient ExpressDark Water and World Enough and Time.

Flatline was praised for having unique monsters, a good performance by Jenna Coleman, for having an interesting plot, while some said the CGI was good, others criticised it for its poor CGI. Considering previous low performers were slated, I believe this metric backs up the hypothesis that the reduced fan base (perhaps likely to provide more favourable reviews) possibly equated to the overall drop in AI.

Mummy on the Orient Express was praised for being a triumph of production design and a really scary monster, while being criticised for being 5 minutes too short.

Dark Water was praised for being really scary and romantic, while criticised for not having enough action for a Cyberman episode. This was the Missy Episode.

World Enough and Time was praised for being absolutely brilliant, received 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and was hailed as the best episode of the season, it was criticised for a spoiler leak in the promotion which would have really been effective had it not been revealed, also it was too slow and full of exposition.

PCList

The accumulated AI for the show since the return with Christopher Eccleston was 84.96.

GT

Having discussed this at length with other Whovians, I think my next step will be to collect data from a fan forum. I wonder if there will be much difference in the list using the same method, but with a different dataset.

What do you think? Anything else jump out here? Love to hear from you.

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

Thirteenth Doctor Who, Who are You?

Doctor who is a lady in a small wooden box that travels through time and space
Doctor Who is a lady in a small wooden box that travels through time and space…

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve written about Doctor Who, and it’s not because of anything other than writing takes up more time than I have with everything else happening. I’ve been watching the new Series from Christopher Eccleston’s regeneration, and I’ve just moved onto David Tennant. Loving it. Working up to writing some more in depth reviews. If only I had a time  machine eh? I’d hover in a gap of 5 minutes and write for hours of earth hours.

So I received the news that the Doctor was going to regenerate into a lady-shaped body in good humour. I felt finally, I could enjoy the show relating to the Doctor in new ways. I know it’s going to provoke outrage, men feel emasculated. It’s not true, they aren’t actually being emasculated, it just seems that way due to perceptions that may need to shift with the force of Thor’s thrustful hammer.

But I do wonder if we’re going to experience more resistance as the tender gender bias is challenged. I sincerely hope that the show doesn’t end up the same way Torchwood did. There are certain things that work, and individual stories are one of them. This is what makes Star Trek so good, and so prolific. I have similar fears over the new Star Trek and whether it is just planning to be an overlong, single note movie bedecked in lens flares.

So, back to the subject of my post, then I started working on several TARDIS canvases using distinctly different techniques, I plan on sharing these as they progress. This one was my favourite concept, I liked the look of monochrome with hints of blue and a cheeky streak or two of pink. What would she look like? I suppose this is important for the costume designer to get right. But in the absence of any source material at all, I started shaping her onto the canvas using a small brush and a few reference pictures of her facial features.

I included a bow tie as a nod to Matt Smith, and a waistcoat and red lined tailored coat to wink at Peter Capaldi – what a doctor. I really need to get reviewing the last season because it was just brilliant. I do not know what the sad people are on about, I do wonder if they watched the same show as me? Science Fiction is by it’s very nature, socially, and politically experimental. It enables writers and thinkers to project ideas into other contexts so that we can learn something new about how we experience the world. Seriously, read some Asimov, it’ll blow your mind!

So the original artwork is bigger than my usual miniature canvases — need to check but I reckon it’s 40″ x 50″…and she’s not for sale. But I am willing to share her, and to that end, she is available at my shop on RedBubble — Please stop by. She also looks good on other things, so please take a few moments to enjoy her in other ways. I’d appreciate that so much. Thank you.

© Nicki Ki
All Rights Reserved

Doctor Who: Series 9: Episodes 3 & 4

Spoilers below, please watch before you read… yes, it was worth it in the end.

For the first time in living memory, I fell asleep during a brand new Doctor Who episode, Under the Lake. Fair enough, just moved house and new homes take a while before they smell “normal” and I was tired etc. But it dragged in places. The Doctor and Clara dialogue was a bit flippant, the monotone revelation “oh my gawd it’s a ghost” was unbelievable…

This is more like what I’d have expected as a reaction: http://growld.com/25-perfectly-timed-photos-of-people-being-terrified/

So I embarked on the second episode Before the Flood with vast measures of trepidation… the Doctor dead, behaving like an idiot really… I’d moaned so much to the Captain about how two-parters all the way through is going to be so torturous that I might wait to watch it every fortnight, that I’m sure his ears are evolving the ability to fold in on themselves.

But it was a really good finish to what I thought was a laborious start. Think I’ll press on.

On the plus side of two-parters there’s the characterisation… more time means more words, feelings and thoughts. By the end the characters feel familiar.

The Doctor is tinkering in time, he’s aware of it but doing it anyway. I get a sense that this is part of the cause and effect of altering too much, creating too many ripples. It reminds me of a Tom Baker(?) season — I’ll need to get back to you on which one once I’ve found it — where it all ended up returning back on itself and everything that had happened, had ceased to exist. that’s how I remember it from the perspective of an old memory (30ish years ago). Maybe this is laying pipe for the series arc. Maybe it’s nothing.

The monster was awesomely hideous and the outcome was not without some of the Magician – an archetype which Capaldi brings life to in his portrayal. Clara and the Doctor’s relationship is still interesting to observe, but this series is unburdened by all the foreshadowing at the beginning of the last. It’s difficult for me to say which one was better because overall I loved series 8 – so much so that I really thought about it a lot. It really piqued my interest and I’m not sure that I feel the same intensity for Series 9.

What can I say? It’s lovely, polished and high quality programming from the BBC (No it should never, ever be sold off! Is everyone stark raving insane? It’s a British Institution, belongs to the people of Britain, there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet… what next? Suggest selling the Crown Jewels?) Inconceivable! The stories are strong (last night’s episode was a real doozy) and everything is good. I don’t know if there are plotholes (like potholes with a plah)… we’ll have to wait and see.

But I have had a couple of wonderings… if the Doctor is changing time in large and small ways could this help lure Gallifrey back into the right dimension? There is no authority higher than the Doctor when it comes to time. He’s inadvertently given Davros something from the Time Lords – Daleks till the end of time? Wouldn’t these timey-wimey tidal waves create signals for the Time Lords locked in whatever bubble they’re locked into so that they can work their way out again from the inside.

Doctor Who: Series 9: Episode 1 and 2: Definitely SPOILERS Beware

There are definite spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens. Watch both first. They were excellent and engrossing.

I haven’t felt all that compelled to write much about series 9. Sure I’ve enjoyed it, there are some interesting moments. Love that Missy is the evil companion, she and Clara juxtapose nicely against the doctor. Clara’s got more eyebrows, or different eyebrows… the current trend right now is thicker eyebrows like the luscious Cara Delevigne, so presumably this is the reason for the slight change in make-up.

Missy is a lovely parody… imagine knowing somebody like that? What a handful, yet quite insightful. What her purpose is is probably ultimately evil, but there’ll be some kind of sting in that revelation. Looking forward to it. Will be disappointed if this is an empty premise.

Davros… the backstory to the backstory is just beautiful time lord poetry. He goes even further back in Davros’s timeline than he did before in Genesis of the Daleks, from the position of being so far in the future of his own timeline — if the timeline is linear of course… for all we know, Time Lords live variably.

The music sounds like it should, like nothing else could have improved it. The camera work and effects were really good. The snakes scary and Davros so wonderfully diabolical.

Davros is the enemy we hate to hate and his control is submission and dominance. The snakes came across as phallic to me, the male to male relationship stood out and it created an interesting dynamic. Davros the master was slave to the snake who was held in place by an unknown source of loyalty.

Clara as the Dalek was thought provoking in light of her debut with the previous Doctor as a Dalek in the Dalek nut house.

By saving Davros, the Doctor salvages some of the damage instilling mercy into the core make-up of the Dalek by installing into Davros in the first place. Such a powerful outcome actually.

So yep, loving the new series, looking forward to later.