Bridging the Rift #21: Better Late Than Never: Thoughts on Series 5

Subwave Network album artAfter many delays of all varieties and from all quarters, Bridging the Rift sheepishly returns with an episode recorded in late May in which Nat, Katrina, and Erik discuss Series 5 through “Amy’s Choice.” Unusually for us, it’s all discussion: so prepare yourself for reactions and rampant speculation that will have been proven to be either spot on or wildly inaccurate.

Direct Download

Show Notes

Introduction

@ 1 minute – The usual introductions from the gang.

General Discussion

@ 1 minutes 40 seconds – We begin with the basics: the new titles, the new version of the theme tune, the general look and feel of this series, and the long-forgotten series Fnarg controversy.

@ 14 minutes 45 seconds – Next we turn our attention to the four key characters who have graced our screens during series 5: The Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, and Dr. River Song.

@ 33 minutes 20 seconds – The story arcs that have kept us guessing: the crack, the 2 Doctors, and general tiemy-wimey-ness.

@ 50 minutes – Some key controversies from series 5, focusing on The Weeping Angels first on-screen movements, the redesigned Daleks, the possibly problematic plot of “The Beast Below,” and Katrina’s passionate reaction to “Amy’s Choice.”

Next Time

@ 1 hour 15 minutes – Next time, we look at how fan artists of all sorts given us their impressions of Series 5. If you have any feedback about anything we’ve discussed, you can send messages on Twitter directed @BridgingTheRift, comment on this blog post or send short MP3 feedback to our GoogleMail address.  You can also “like” us on Facebook and leave comments there.

Trocking Out – The Oodcast

@ 1 hour 16 minutes 45 seconds – This time, we use our Trocking Out section to recommend another podcast, namely The Oodcast which brings us weekly installments of sketches, reviews, witty banter, and songs about Doctor Who. Our featured selection is a song from their episode about “Amy’s Choice” in which Laura (the resident chanteuse on the show) gives us her version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Enjoy!

http://theoodcast.com/

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4 Responses to Bridging the Rift #21: Better Late Than Never: Thoughts on Series 5

  1. Todd Rosie says:

    Hello Bridging the Rift!

    Todd here. Yes, the frequent email contributer and all round fan. Recently I went on a bit of a tear on the reply section of Radio Free Skaro. Though I didn’t start strong, with an unfortunate name calling incident on my part, the issues I was raising might be a topic for your show. Or maybe not. I dunno. At any rate the issue came up with your show this week so I thought I’d be annoying and bring it up here.

    I really really enjoy RTD, both in the role of Producer and Writer. In my opinion not only did he oversee the rebirth of Who with an obvious love of Who history, but with style and forward thinking social values (creating bisexual and gay characters and unique complicated relationships). His finales were always nail biting and though they may not be the most logical in hindsight, they were operatic and glorious. And he cared about the fans. Creating some lovely extra content above and beyond other series. Again, in my opinion.

    Now podcasting is all about divergent opinions and criticism. This is a wonderful thing and I really enjoyed the most recent Radio Free Skaro where people’s issues with RTD were discussed with intelligence and respect. What I hate is dismissive and condescending comments. Especially when it comes to someone like RTD who I think saved Who like no-one else could. Criticize his plots, and I have no problems, say his ideas never really gelled and you found his characters too simple or plain and I will respectfully disagree but we can still go for drinks, call him a “hack” or say he’s “the worst thing that happened to Doctor Who”(Katrina!!!) and I get a bit annoyed.

    I am probably just getting too old, but comments like that make me want to drop Who podcasts. People can express what they want and I would never want people to be PC or anything, but I feel recently there needs to be defense of RTD on these forums. People keep making comments about how RTD sucked and now we’re onto some good stuff. Now comparison is fine, I do it myself, but Moffatt is definitely in the same world as RTD (silly plots, reset buttons, things that don’t quite make sense) and has even been making attempts to get him back to write an episode or two. That says something right there. I just think people should be nice to our dear, rich, enthusiastic, RTD.

    So at the end of all this rambling my question to you, is what do you think is valid criticism, and what is just mean. Where is the line between expressing an opinion or critique of someone’s skill and just calling them a wanker?

    Maybe this isn’t what you want to be talking about on your show and I respect that, but Katrina, cheer up and be nice to RTD! He’s been nice to us.

    In my opinion for the last time.

    Todd

    PS I promise, for those reading this again from Radio Free Skaro, that this I won’t bring this up again. I will just go away.

  2. Nat says:

    Hi Todd, thanks for the comment! Time to re-listen to our Russell T Davies special? https://bridgingtherift.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/bridging-the-rift-4-russell-t-davies-and-fandom/

  3. wonderful podcast as always!

  4. DarthSkeptical says:

    As you might imagine, I can’t agree with your theory about “The Beast Below”. You say that its “clearly” set up that “the bottom of the “Starship UK is encased top and bottom [and] when they push the abdicate button the bottom falls away”. Well, that being an interesting notion, I’ve actually just gone back and looked at that. After considered review, I don’t think there’s any actual evidence to support your very-cool-and-I-wish-that-it-had-happened-that-way assertion.

    We don’t, in fact, know exactly what happens by virtue of pushing the abdicate button. All we know from what’s on screen is: a) the little torture pulse device stops pulsing; b) the tiny ship, in the words of Sherwood Schwartz, gets tossed; c) there’s some sound design to indicate metal fatigue; and d) after the whale appears to accept its new fate, the ship goes faster and the whale’s brain is still exposed and quite attached to the ship. There is no visual or scripted evidence that the whale’s position or the ship’s integrity is very much changed by the pressing of the abdicate button. What I infer from Amy’s line and indeed all evidence in the scene is that the torture device merely gets turned off.

    Moreover, there’s no difference in the way the Starship UK appears at the beginning and end of the episode. Really look at the first and last EXTERIOR STARSHIP UK shots. Check the jagged edges of the Starship in shot one, and compare them to the jagged edges at the end. They’re the same edges, cause it’s the same computer model.

    Why is are the edges so jagged? Why is the the bottom of the ship missing? Not because the abdicate button has been pressed, but because the ship has lost its entire engine room. They’ve had to dispense with all the “workings” of the ship in order to put the whale there.

    The only difference between the two shots, and this is a huge part of my dissatisfaction with the episode, is that the camera angle has changed. Now we can see underneath the ship, whereas before we couldn’t. It literally is the film equivalent of a magic trick. If you’re watching a magician from the audience, and then you get up and move to the stage wings, suddenly you can see what he’s hiding up his sleeves.

    The problem is that if you ruin a single magic trick like that, you can just go sit in the audience and you can still hold onto a lil magic. But since this entire episode depends on the Doctor, Amy, Liz 10 and indeed the audience not seeing the whale, the entire plot comes crashing down when you suddenly get a view of the ship’s underbelly at the end.

    Like you, Nste, I’m supportive of most episodes and concepts within Doctor Who, but I just can’t go along with what I think is a very cynical sleight of hand. It’s almost like the production team is saying, “The punters will never notice.”

    And, you know, if that were all, I’d still bitch about it, but I don’t think that would be enough to make me think it worse than “Voyage of the Damned” or “The Big Bang”, other episodes I see as being at the bottom of the Welsh pile. But there’s so much else wrong with the episode (including, but by no means limited to, the vacuous water glass dance — hello, Hartnell just puts his hand down on the plating of the ship in The Ark and figures out instantly there’s power there — and the unforgivable lines Moffat gives Smith to say in the last act) that I feel downright obliged to consider it both an abomination and an aberration. It’s simply atypical for the visual storytelling to be this bad in BBC Wales Doctor Who. It happened a lot in English DW, but the Welsh have generally been more fastidious. That’s why I view this merely as the worst Welsh episode of Doctor Who, not the worst Doctor Who story of all time.

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