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Episode Discussion Threads (Updated Hourly)

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# Name Live Thread Post Thread Spoilers Deadline
01 The Star Beast Here Here Allowed!
02 Wild Blue Yonder Here Here Allowed!
03 The Giggle Here Here Allowed!
04 The Church on Ruby Road Here Here Allowed!

List of /r/Gallifrey Episode Discussion Threads

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129,999 Subscribers


Weird Recurrence about Classic Companions

I’m currently binging Classic Who, and a strange thing I’ve noticed is a lot of the female companions seem to get hypnotised or possessed. This usually doesn’t last too long, and is only to create tension, but it’s such a strange things that keeps reoccurring. I can’t remember it happening much with Modern companions? Feels like a trend of the time.

20:50 UTC


What is the most confidently incorrect statement you've heard someone say about Doctor Who?

19:16 UTC


The Doctor is not an anti-hero

I hear him described like this a lot, but he's probably as close to a hero archtype as you can get. He flies around the universe, getting into trouble, helping out and being kind for no other reason than because its the right thing to do.

An anti-hero is someone like the Punisher. The Doctor has more in common with Superman than him.

But because he has some flaws and because one time every hundred episodes he might do something questionable, he's deemed an anti-hero.

The only Doctor I could feasibly apply the anti-hero label to is McCoy.

Morally speaking, there's only five times in Series 1-10 of New Who, where I would call the Doctor's actions inexcusably immoral, and that's:

End of the World, the Family of Blood, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Kill the Moon and Hell Bent.

Three of which at least have sympathetic motives behind them, leaving only Family of Blood and Kill the Moon as the only times I can truly see the Doctor as a monster.

There may be some argument for Girl Who Died as well, making Ashildr immortal, possibly for abandoning Captain Jack in Series 1 as well. Any other time I disagree with him its because he's being TOO MERCIFUL.

He's had some more questionable moments yes, but straight up immoral, only four in just under 150 episodes and over 1300 years is really good considering what he does.

The rest of the time, the Doctor's darker actions are done in defence of the innocent, or out of an impossible moral dilemma.

The show tries to act like there's this darker edge to the Doctor's character, and while it exists, its no way near as prominent as the show pretends it is. It has the Doctor posturing a lot, and people talking about how blood soaked he is, when the only blood on the Doctor's hands is the blood of killers.

Even his infamous Time War genocide has been undone. The only innocent blood I can really see is Pompeii and maybe the Racnoss children debatably. Both of which were done to save all of humanity.

The only thing I feel when the Doctor talks about how far gone his soul is, is how hard on himself he is. He is absolutely a good man, and the fact that he still considers himself a monster despite that only proves how good he actually is.

There's a few more questionable morals in Series 1-13 but for the most part the writers intent was for us to see her as in the right for those stories so... idk.

18:14 UTC


What Kids and the Not-We Thought of "Wild Blue Yonder"

Gallifrey Base has threads for each episode where fans can share reactions from children and casual viewers.

They're often surprising and interesting, so with four weeks until the new series, I thought I'd repost some general reactions to RTD's returning four specials here, and get a sense of what this new era means to the general audience.

Brother had to leave the room a few times but generally liked it.

Mum quite liked it too but she was swooning over Ncuti in the giggle teaser

Well, my 6 year old daughter worked out who was who quicker than I did :D

Two adult Not-We quite enjoyed it, although not as much as last week. Thought it wasn't for kids, because they'd find it boring with much more dialogue and less action.

Asked some questions like why Catherine Tate only had one long arm and why 'mavity' reverted to 'gravity'' (how am I to know?), but nothing about the Flux or half the universe being destroyed.

My partner really enjoyed it! He even volunteered it towards the end: "oh I really liked that!" I asked him for more details and he said it was a very typical Doctor Who episode but in a good way. He also pointed out how clever it was that the Tennant-Tate duo, which is what the specials are all about and which are supposed to be celebrated, become monstrous

Wife loved it…”best since before Capaldi”.

My wife only liked it on the basis of “Catherine Tate was in it.”

This has a nothing to do with the quality of the episode, she simply loathes ‘base under siege’ stories with a vitriol & passion that I save for mayonnaise & people who come to ’witness’ to me at my house.

Much more optimistic for next week!

The 14 year old really enjoyed it, the 9 year old hid under a blanket and was terrified of the fake-Doctor/Donna, and the 6-year-old was scared but engaged. The 11 year old is watching it tomorrow as he had to play the new Fortnite season finale...

I watched this episode with my cousins (adults) who have never watched doctor who and they adored it. One was absolutely enthralled and said she wanted to watch more who!

My sort-of-we wife said to me upon finishing this episode that the only disappointment in our marriage is that I don't think David Tennant is the best Doctor! Well, they are really splendid chaps and ladies, all of them. :)

15 YO daughter thought it was seriously creepy, bonkers... and loved it.

Missus mostly remained engaged, but seemed to get a little bored towards the end.

My seventeen year old daughter, who gave up early in the 13th Doctors era, has come back to the show with a vengeance. She is having a blast watching these episodes.

Fam was not a fan of this. When dad said the SFX was good you know it didn't set well and he just said it was different then asked about Christmas.

So unfortunately not as well received and I think the AI will be down. But good on RTD for trying something a bit out of the ordinary.

My 12-year-old daughter liked it—and, despite having seen very little of the show before this, was not put out by the continuity references. (She asked me for a quick explanation of the Doctor's relationship with Donna, but she didn't get distracted by that stuff about half the universe & so forth.)

Mum thought it 'was a bit weird' but seemed to enjoy it. My dad found it really confusing and didn't understand the plot until I explained it to him, he thought it was 'marginally better than last week's episode' but said he wouldn't rewatch it again.

My 15 year old son didn't bother watching this week - was put off by the Star Beast. He's said he'll watch the regeneration and check out the new Doctor at Christmas, but Matt Smith is still HIS Doctor and he doesn't have much time for DT in the role (which is funny because he adores Good Omens).

This was the first ever episode I saw live with my partner. She's not that into Doctor Who, but has been interested in starting watching it since Ncuti Gatwa was announced. She's been kind of lukewarm on the episodes she's seen before (Vincent and the Doctor, A Christmas Carol, Gridlock), and she hasn't seen The Star Beast. Still, she actually seemed to enjoy this one, although she was worried David Tennant's arms and the extended jaw would give her nightmares (fair enough). Then she pretty much confirmed she liked it when she said it was sad that we couldn't watch the next one together as she'll be away.

Watched it again with the 11-year-old who was eager to, and the others all decided to re-watch it again. For an episode built on mystery it really does hold up when watched again, the atmosphere is just gorgeous.

Anyway, 11-year-old suitably freaked out by long arms but declared running on all fours as "goofy". Overall, very scared. I have been told I have to stop saying "my arms are too long" randomly at them, with quite some sincerity.

My wife definitely seems more into these specials than any Dr Who before. Fair amount of laughing during the episodes and has real emotional engagement with the characters.

My 12 year old son walked in to the front room just as the Doctor and Donna entered the long road in the middle of the ship at the start. He was about to leave and then turned around saying "I'm going to watch this, it looks good". He then sat and watched the whole thing without picking his phone up once. Declaring at the end, I really enjoyed that. This was the first new series episode he's ever watched.

The wife thought it was better than lasts weeks.

(Tweet someone screenshotted) Viewing figures can be debated, but as playtime today a handful of Y5 kids (9/10 yr olds) were chasing each other shouting, "My arms are too long!" Not seen Doctor Who being played at break times since "Are you my mummy?" and weeping angels 12+ years ago.

Received a message from a "not we" who has only started watching with the 60th anniversary specials and she really enjoyed it. She's also started on iPlayer going back to Hartnell.

I chatted to my 72 year old Not We friend last night. He said, unprompted by me, he thought WBY was 'very good' and he loved the slower more mysterious pace. Thought the rusty robot was cute and a nice design but was disappointed that it didn't do a lot. He was also oddly fascinated by the dead horse-like alien captain. I think he was hoping some of the horse-headed crew might pop up (well we've had cats, pigs, rhinos and dogs). One thing he pointed out was how the little buggy thing was so easily operated by the humanoid Doctor and Donna if it had been made to be used by 'horsey people' ("like Princess Anne?" I quipped) which is a fair point and not one that had occurred to me. He also was full of praise for Tennant & Tate, saying it was the first time he really had warmed to Donna. He is looking forward to next week (probably not as much as I am though!).

Not kids, but the Mum said:

“Good thing we are Doctor Who fans or we wouldn’t be watching this.”

And Dad gave it a “3/10”, and said it was his least favourite episode ever. Mind you, he’s skipped a lot of Matt, Peter and Jodie so it’s only the worst he has seen. He’s stopped liking David Tennant even, finding his acting and his fake voice annoying. And all he wants is the Daleks and Cybermen to battle each other again. He said he was actually quite excited for these specials but “they have been about nothing.” He’s been watching since Jon Pertwee.

Havent seen any kids at work playing at being Doctor/Donna copies but there were a few "meep meeps" on the bus last week. It's certainly been a few years since kids were regularly playing at being daleks or cybermen.

One friend was quite intrigued. The other was on his phone the whole time.

Phone friend doesn’t think the specials “count” and is just ready for Season 1.

My Mum didn't like it nearly as much as The Star Beast, but then she's not really into science-fiction and particularly doesn't like the 'weird' stuff. She was delighted to see Bernard Cribbins back though :')

I didn't realise my 86-year-old dad and my stepmum had watched the specials. He kind of gave up during Flux because he found it too confusing. Anyway, this was his favourite of the three, I think because the plot was more self-contained.

We (parents, 70s, and me) mostly enjoyed it.

I didn't know what the fanwanky stuff was about or get the point of including it. Mum declared it 'stupid', after I explained that for some reason the Doctor isn't supposed to be a Time Lord any more (right??? Don't tell me, I don't wanna know), which is a really strong statement from her. She's not normally one to get upset by messing with lore stuff like I was back when I followed the show, but she has memories of Classic from childhood. But dad proudly declared he followed most of the main plot, which is unusual enough! (Not least because it's hard for him to hear, I missed lines again too)

Mum had progressed to the weaving in the ends stage of her winter jumper knitting, but at least paid enough attention to the dialogue to amuse herself repeating 'my arms are too long'. She must have glanced up enough to observe that it reminded her of the old days of TV 'when they used to run from side to side to make it look like it was shaking'. All those corridors I expect. She questioned whether most of the budget went on paying Tennant and Tate, but this isn't really a complaint. Dad remembered Wilf and liked seeing him.

They seemed more into it than The Star Beast, I think because it was such a straightforward story, and seem interested in seeing the next one.

I think we all knew this one would gown down well. After a strong start, out of the 8.36 million who watched The Star Beast, 8.3 million returned for this week's episode.

Although it seems fans loved it slightly more than the general audience. It scored an AI of 83, one point lower than The Star Beast, and seems to have rubbed a few viewers in the thread the wrong way, being a bit too weird or slow or different for them.

A couple of parents reported that they didn't let their kids watch for fear they'd wet the bed.

The Timeless Child and Flux references didn't seem to confuse anyone. This is a very different RTD from 2005 who would break out in hives at the thought of fannish back-referencing. Though I think from School Reunion to the end of Series 4, he'd slowly mastered the art of giving references meaning to the drama and characters. That certainly paid off in these specials, where he's committed himself to giving weight and meaning to Chibnall's labyrinthine retcons and vague destruction of the cosmos. He was never going to ignore them. Moffat has said before that he's too much of a fan to be capable of contradicting anything that has happened in Doctor Who canon, and I suspect RTD is the same way.

09:57 UTC


Doctor Who Timeline Review: Part 199 - The Blame Game

In my ever-growing Doctor Who video and audio collection, I've gathered over fifteen hundred individual stories, and I'm attempting to (briefly) review them all in the order in which they might have happened according to the Doctor's own personal timeline. We'll see how far I get.

Today's Story: The Blame Game, written by Ian Atkins and directed by Lisa Bowerman

What is it?: This is the seventh story in the sixth series of Big Finish’s Short Trips.

Who's Who?: The story is narrated by Rufus Hound.

Doctor(s) and Companion(s): The Third Doctor, Liz Shaw

Recurring Characters: The Meddling Monk

Running Time: 00:40:20

One Minute Review: The Doctor is working in the UNIT lab when the sound of a materializing TARDIS suddenly fills the room. A moment later, the Meddling Monk is standing in front of him, claiming he has come to give the Doctor his freedom. The Doctor knows better than to take him at his word, but he cannot resist the temptation to escape his exile. Meanwhile, Liz, overcome with curiosity about seeing the inside of a TARDIS that is actually in working order, secretly stows away for the trip.

This story is mostly an excuse to get the Third Doctor and this incarnation of the Monk together, something that would happen in a much bigger way a couple of years later in "The Rise of the New Humans," and even if the conflict between the two of them is resolved a little too easily, it's still a lot of fun. The only real issue I have with the story is its attempt to explain why Earth sees so many alien invasions, an aspect of the franchise that doesn't really benefit from having attention drawn to it.

This is Rufus Hound's second performance as the Meddling Monk, following his debut several months earlier in "The Black Hole," and it's easy to understand why Big Finish wanted him back so soon. Whether or not you like this (even more) impish take on the character, Hound undeniably plays it well. He also proves to be a talented narrator, able to inject life into the story with the assistance of a solid production. His Third Doctor isn't particularly distinctive, but it doesn't really detract from the audio.

Score: 4/5

03:06 UTC


Big Finish pure historicals

Love the televised pure historicals (Reign of Terror being a personal favourite).

Would love to get into some more Big Finish ones. (I loved The Peterloo Massacre - the story, not the event...)

So, please let me know what your personal favourites are!

22:36 UTC


Rumoured plot reveal of Season 1 episode 5 episode '"Dot and Bubble" from Gallifrey Base

!Taken from a well established user St. Francis!<

!Narrative Spoiler and Speculation Thread Part 118, Page 10.!<

!''Apologies if this has already been posted/ spoiled... a friend of a friend (sorta thing - no reason to believe me but sounds legit from what I know of them) has said that the Bubble & Dot episode is more dr-lite and involves a society of social media influencers in their own online bubbles and they're being eaten by giant slugs - the Doctor et al save them and there's a sorta twist at the end where they eventually see the Dr on their social media and realise he's not white and are appalled as they're all a load of racists.!<

!Sounds tricky to pull off but might chime with the black-mirror, ethical dillema slant that some of the cast have spoken about.''!<

!Also this description from Cultbox a few days after.!<

!''Gatwa and Gibson filmed their first Doctor Who scenes together on a pontoon inside entrance locks in Cardiff Bay Barrage for Dot and Bubble**. The setting for** Dot and Bubble is a colony with an out-of-control dangerous situation on an alien planet. Callie Cooke plays an influential person in the colony. The episode is described as very Black Mirror and touches on a real-world problem which will likely cause a good deal of discussion after the episode airs.''!<


21:34 UTC


Can Tardis loose volume?

In the episode "Castrovalva," the Doctor jettisoned parts of his TARDIS to escape the Big Bang. Later, he mentioned the possibility of creating a new "zero room," a sensory deprivation room, from "what's left." Did the TARDIS lose some of its volume that day, or can it indefinitely create and then jettison rooms into outer space? Assuming of course it shows some rules and its not just plot convience

20:40 UTC


Hot Take: The Doctor loves adventuring and fighting bad guys and I think the show's forgotten that

Fundamentally, my view on what The Doctor's character should be is incompatible with RTD's.

He wants a humanized Doctor who reacts to things like a human would, because that connects with a wider audience and RTD desperately needs the show to be the most popular thing ever, which automatically means scrubbing it of every potentially alienating (in various senses of the word) element and adding in populist elements. It's why The Doctor has to brood (he's still doing it with 15, but now it's that Timeless Child thing) because that makes them seem more complex and it's why Davina McCall was in the Christmas Special.

This element is very prevalent in the 60th anniversary specials, which concluded with saying that The Doctor's big problem was that they've been running all this time and never stopped, and had a mental health break. Now, I will grant you, that is a very human thing... but The Doctor isn't human, so doing it with them is boring because, as Diamanda Hagan has said, making The Doctor human just brings them down to our level.

I really love the idea that The Doctor's version of a mental health break is going off to fight monsters and getting into crazy scrapes. That's not a side effect of exploring the universe, that's a perk. I've always called the Fourth Doctor era what would happen if The Doctor went on vacation, because most of what he does in that era is go to weirdo alien planet or isolated place on Earth and fight horrible monsters that will fuck you up.

Terror of the Zygons is really clear on this, because The Brig calls The Doctor back to investigate the destruction of some oil rigs, and The Doctor's like "Pff, whatever, that's so mundane, get someone else to do it". However, when The Brig mentions that the destruction of the rigs is a total mystery, The Doctor does that big broad smile and goes "When do we start?". That, right there, in my view, is pure Doctor.

Moffat also had a lot of these same tendencies as RTD (Side note: I don't know why Moffat in particular gets shit for the "Lonely God" thing, when RTD started that trend and was equally as egregious with it), but, to his credit, he 100% got it with this line from Heaven Sent: "It's a killer puzzle box designed to scare me to death, and I'm trapped inside it. (laughs) Must be Christmas."

Yup, that's it, that's The Doctor, you got it.

I can't remember what episode did this specifically, but I remember a NewWho episode having a side character who thought The Doctor was a bad person for enjoying the thrill of fighting a monster and the show tried to portray it as though maybe they were right. And, again, if The Doctor was a human person, yeah, you can go there. But they're not, so why spoil the fun of exploring a character with whom you CAN do that?

My perfect Doctor would be someone who loves adventuring, loves the danger, loves the investigating and then coming up with some kind of clever solution or trick to beat the villain. My approach could be summarized in this quote from the book The Supernatural Enhancements (which is an ok but not great book): "Let's not despair. There are puzzles to think through."

Maybe I'm alone in this, but, y'know, there we are.

14:27 UTC


How to Start Watching Doctor Who in 2024

(This is a piece I wrote for a writing portfolio. I'd love writing critiques but content critiques are also welcome! I'm sure there are other good starting points but I didn't want to end up with a list of doctors 1-15.)

It’s no secret that BBC funding for ‘Doctor Who’ had somewhat dried up recently in comparison to other massive franchises backed by multi-million dollar companies. The rights to the ‘Harry Potter’ series lie with Warner Bros, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ world is seeing new stories written for Amazon Prime, and of course Disney acquired both ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Marvel’ to their ever expanding roster on Disney+. The Mouse isn’t stopping there however, with the new series of Doctor Who being partially funded by and shown on Disney+ this May. Many new fans have come along with the boom of advertisement that the show has been getting in the past few months. But it can be daunting for these potential Whovians to start watching. Given 60 years of history, 875 episodes, and 15 titular Doctors (depending on who you ask!), the big question is: where do I start? Here’s the guide for you!

1st Doctor - Hardcore Approach

While intimidating, it is always an option to start right from the beginning as you would with any other show. The huge ‘Doctor Who’ universe was built episode by episode starting with ‘An Unearthly Child’, so you’ll never feel like you’re having to catch up on lore in one big go. It will however be a very challenging approach to watching the series. Many of the old episodes are lost today due to the BBC recording over them for newer programming. Some episodes only live on in the form of scripts or the audio from the episode with storyboarding, and they can be very difficult to get your hands on. That’s without mentioning having to commit to almost 30 days worth of non-stop content. It’s certainly an option, but one I’d only recommend to the bravest of souls. 

4th Doctor - Old School Favourite

Of all the ‘Classic Who’ Doctors (Doctors who played the role before the 2005 revival of the show), Tom Baker’s incarnation always comes out on top in terms of popularity. Considering that he has the longest active run of any actor to take on the role (7 years), many of his stories have some form of overlap. This can make it difficult to find a somewhat clear-cut jumping on point. Season 16’s ‘The Rebos Operation’ stands out to me as the best solution to this. This season has something of a break from tradition with an overarching story across all its episodes. Pair this long-form storytelling with a brand new companion, Romana, and you’d struggle to find an easier starting point for new viewers. If you want to know why every superfan is offering you a jelly baby, you’ll find your answers here.

8th Doctor - American Audience

Following the cancellation of the show by the BBC in 1989, ‘Doctor Who: The Movie’ was the first large attempt at rebooting the series, this time angled towards an American audience and produced by FOX. Set in San Francisco, this movie covers all the core concepts of the show including regeneration, the TARDIS and the Master. While the movie bombed at the time, partially due to poor scheduling, it can still serve as a very functional start for a new fan, especially if you’re a fan of the more dramatic American style.

9th Doctor - New Who

Christopher Ecclestone’s one and only series of ‘Doctor Who’ is probably the most recommended starting point for new viewers - and for good reason. It marks the return of televised ‘Doctor Who’, in what fans dubbed ‘New Who’. This resurrection of the show catches the viewer up to speed on 42 years of the programme over the course of the series. Since the show spreads out this information over 13 episodes, it gives the show room to breathe and tell some of the best stories the show has had to-date. Fans of ‘classic who’ can expect big twists and turns.

11th Doctor - Changing of the Guard

The British public were all very aware of David Tennant leaving the show in 2010, having been the most popular incarnation of the Doctor since Tom Baker. Unbeknownst to many casual viewers, showrunner Russell T. Davies was also walking away from the show along with many important behind the scenes crew. Entrusted with the reigns of the British treasure was Steven Moffat as the new showrunner, and a young Matt Smith as the Doctor. Together they crafted a fresh, fairytale-esque telling of ‘Doctor Who’. The heavy-lifting for lore is mainly handled in the series 5 episode ‘The Eleventh Hour’, regarded by many as the best first episode for a new Doctor. While initially doubted by the public, Matt Smith goes on to produce one of the most loved Doctor’s to have reached our screens.

12th Doctor - The Pilot

The first two seasons of Peter Capaldi’s tenure have definite and inextricable overlap with the end of Matt Smith’s era, but his 3rd and final season was written as a ‘soft reboot’ of the show. New setting, new companions, same continuity. The beauty of the formula for ‘Doctor Who’ is that the rotating cast of companions act as the audience surrogate, just as new to this magical world as a new viewer. Bill, the first openly gay companion of the show, does a fantastic job of asking all the questions you may have if you start watching from the series 10 episode ‘The Pilot’. This episode is followed by a notably strong season, ending with a two-parter finale that is thought of as one of the best finales the show’s ever had.

15th Doctor - Fresh Start

Perhaps the simplest place to start would be right now! Ncuti Gatwa’s era of the show has started off by tying up all of the loose ends of the past 60 years. After sending David Tennant’s third incarnation of the Doctor to settle down and heal from his past trauma (long story…), the show is free from the heavy events that have hovered over the doctor and that have made catching up on lore a bit complicated. Additionally, Russell T. Davies returns as showrunner. With the man who brought the show back on air at the helm, the show is surely in safe hands. Backed with a big Disney+ budget the show will have the funding to bring Davies ideas to life in a breathtaking, vibrant manner. 

Pick and Choose

All of the above are valid introductions to the show - starting from certain points will help you take in the lore and continuity somewhat seamlessly. But if you’re willing to work a bit harder to learn and pick things up on the go, pick anywhere you like! If you’ve heard people rave about Tennant’s tenure, hop into ‘Midnight’. A fan of the classic style? Maybe you’ll enjoy Pertwee’s UNIT based stories. Maybe you’re a fan of lighter stories, in which case Jodie Whittaker’s series may be right up your alley. The nature of ‘Doctor Who’ means that things change, and the audience (or the audience surrogate) needs to be caught up on these things. Eventually, whatever route you take, you’ll find yourself up to date on all things ‘Who’. 

12:44 UTC


Weekly Happening: Analyse Topical Stories Which you've Happily Or Wrathfully Infosorbed. Think you Have Your Own Understanding? Share it here in r/Gallifrey's WHAT'S WHO WITH YOU - 2024-04-19

In this regular thread, talk about anything Doctor-Who-related you've recently infosorbed. Have you just read the latest Twelfth Doctor comic? Did you listen to the newest Fifth Doctor audio last week? Did you finish a Faction Paradox book a few days ago? Did you finish a book that people actually care about a few days ago? Want to talk about it without making a whole thread? This is the place to do it!

Please remember that future spoilers must be tagged.

Regular Posts Schedule

12:01 UTC


Can we get back the character of Professor Chronotis?

I really want the Doctor to interact with another timelord that doesn't hate him or doesn't have some sort of ginormous agenda for him like the Master, Rassilon and multiple characters seem to have for him.

Chronotis is technically the Doctor's elder.

He could just be someone the Doctor can talk to from time to time for advice or a bit of learning and knowledge, he is also one of the few who could help the Doctor as he has mind control abilities which could be useful for what is going on.

04:05 UTC


The episode of Doctor Who that Russel said appeared in a Season 3 episode of Picard was 'Space Babies'

20:39 UTC


The Virgin New Adventures: chapter 1, Target novelisations


I’ve started a YouTube series about the VNAs and probably other Who prose too, partially because I feel the range is underrated these days - the later books are probably my favourite Who material in any medium - and could do with someone in its corner. The first video covers the development of Target books into Virgin Publishing, and three novelisations that fed into the direction the VNAs would take.

17:30 UTC


Are Deleted Scenes Cannon?

I'm curious- just now I was watching S10 outtakes/deleted scenes and I was wondering.... is the stuff that was cut out from the show still cannon? It's still written, filmed, etc., but just didn't make the cut. Does this mean because they didn't include these deleted scenes in the show they're therefore meant to not be regarded as cannon??? Help! What do you guys think?

16:25 UTC


Doctor Who: Worlds In Time

Does anyone remember the worlds in time game? when i first got into doctor who at 11, this was my favorite game ever. i’m still heartbroken that the game is no more. i’m still trying to find a doctor who game similar to that but to no avail. What do you all think of the game?

1 Comment
02:39 UTC


A Prickly Customer – Meglos Review

This post is part of a series of reviews. To see them all, click here.

Historical information found on Shannon O'Sullivan's Doctor Who website (relevant page here and the TARDIS Wiki (relevant page here). Primary/secondary source material can be found in the source sections of O'Sullivan's website, and rarely as inline citations on the TARDIS Wiki.

Serial Information

  • Episodes: Season 18, Episodes 5-8
  • Airdates: 27th September - 18th October 1980
  • Doctor: 4th
  • Companions: K-9, Romana II
  • Writers: John Flanagan and Andrew McCollough
  • Director: Terence Dudley
  • Producer: John Nathan-Turner
  • Script Editor: Christopher H. Bidmead


He sees the threads that join the universe together, and mends them when they break. – Zastor, on the Doctor

When John Nathan-Turner and Christopher H. Bidmead took over Doctor Who they decided they wanted to make it more serious than it had become under the Graham Williams era. Which is fine. Good even, as, while I think the biggest issue with the Williams era was that Graham Williams never really got to do the version of the show that he wanted, a change of tone could serve the show well. But often times people, and I think you do see this attitude with Nathan-Turner and Bidmead, tend to conflate a show getting more serious with it becoming more sophisticated or even better. And that's nonsense.

Meglos is definitely taking itself more seriously than most of the prior two seasons' worth of material, and that's half the problem. Because it isn't particularly sophisticated. Or good. This story isn't good.

I'm actually reminded a bit of The Creature from the Pit here, a story which was mostly memorable for the titular creature's penis-like appendage. Similarly, Meglos is mostly memorable for the fact that the villainous title character Meglos is a cactus. Except Creature did actually have some interesting ideas going for it. Meglos' only potential memorable idea is its religion versus science theme. Thing is, it's 1980, and religion versus science theming in Doctor Who goes all the way back to its first serial. Since then it's been done plenty of times, and so we're at a point now where you need to put a new spin on it to make a story interesting. Meglos just doesn't have that in it. It's the most bog standard version of this theme you can imagine, even moreso than some of the earliest examples, like The Aztecs.

That science versus religion theme is present on the main location for the story, Tigella. On Tigella, the planet's surface has become uninhabitable so they have all gone to live in a vast bunker. The power for the bunker is provided by The Dodecahedron, a mysterious 12-sided object that fell from the sky. The religious sect of the planet, the Deons, worship the Dodecahedron as a god. Meanwhile the scientists of the planet, called Savants, want to study it and understand the technology behind it. There's an inherent tension there, obviously but there's not much of interest beyond the obvious.

The leader of Deons is Lexa. And before I go any further, I need to mention that Lexa is played by Jacqueline Hill, who of course played Barbara Wright for the first two seasons of the show. Bringing back Hill was in part down to JNT doing an intentional nod to long-time fans, the first of many times JNT will try to reward those who've been with the show since the beginning. Jacqueline Hill puts in a strong performance, as you might expect, but her material just doesn't do her any favors. It's not bad dialogue necessarily, it's just kind of bland zealous religious leader dialogue. The character, in principle at least, reminds me a bit of Hepesh from The Curse of Peladon, right down to the tragic sacrifice at the end. But while Hepesh was given layers and his death had a lot of symbolic value as the death of not only himself but of the way of life he represents, Lexa is a largely one-note character whose death feels almost arbitrary (it wasn't in the original script, she had originally just vanished from the story after she was done doing things).

Meanwhile for the Savants we have Deedrix and Caris. Deedrix is the leader of the Savants who would very much like to be able to study the Dodecahedron without the Deons getting in the way with their religious objections. Caris would like to move the population of Tigella up to the surface, once they can deal with the carnivorous plants. And…that's all there is to either character. No really, if Lexa gets a bare minimum of depth, Deedrix and Caris are entirely one note characters, even though we're clearly supposed to take their side.

Or are we? See, the leader of the Tigellans, Zastor, very much takes a middle road approach being the man of compromise and I can't help but feel like we're supposed to agree with his methods. But, considering the Tigallans worship of the Dodecahedron is built on a falsehood, and the Savants are…just right about everything. The Tigallans even eventually end up having to move to the surface when the Dodecahedron is taken away, even though we were told that Caris' plan to make the surface inhabitable was a plan that would take years to put into place. Maybe the idea of Zastor's compromising position is supposed to be that he's well-meaning but also a cunning statesman who knows to keep the religious parts of his society happy? But you know what would help with that? If the people of Tigella were…anything beyond a collection of warm bodies. We never hear them expressing any opinions, we barely hear them reacting to things said by their leaders in a couple of scenes. But the population of Tigella is completely anonymous outside of the characters we've already talked about.

But maybe things get better when we look at the villains.

They don't.

I'll start with the comedy bandits, called Gataks. There's just one problem with their status as comedy characters: they're not funny. Grugger is their leader and is stupid, but not nearly as stupid as the dimwitted Brotodac. The only thing about these guys that I ever thought was charming or funny was a bit in the final episode where Brotodac decided he really wanted the Doctor's jacket. That's it. Everything else they're in is completely unremarkable.

So okay, it's probably time to talk about the cactus. Meglos, our main villain and title character is…surprisingly bland. His people, the Zolfa-Thurans, fought a war over the Dodecahedron, which eventually wiped out the entire population and rendered the entire planet sterile. Meglos, the last of the Zolfa-Thurans, wants the Dodecahedron back for…reasons…and use its power to destroy Tigella because…I guess he's annoyed they took the Dodecahedron? Meglos is also a shapeshifter…kind of? He first needs to absorb a human (credited as "Earthling") but later can just take the Doctor's form. During the story Meglos is mostly disguised as the Doctor, where he uses that to get access to the Dodecahedron – the Doctor previously visited Tigella so he's more likely to be trusted there.

As you can probably tell, Meglos is a flat, completely underwritten villain. It's fine for the bad guys to be uncomplicatedly evil. But it should be possible to deduce their motivations. Meglos is just doing evil things because he's evil. His status as the last of his species feels almost ancillary to his actions. The fact that he's mostly played by Tom Baker sounds like it would lead to some fun, at bare minimum let Baker let loose like he did in Invasion of Time, but the truth is he never really gets the chance. It's not that Baker puts in a bad performance, it's just that there's nothing for him to really latch onto for his performance.

Now Meglos does do one thing of note, which is really the only part of the story that I liked. I have no idea how, but Meglos traps the TARDIS in a time loop. This is called a chronic hysteresis, and like tachyonics in last story is actually built on real scientific terminology, in this case a term from electromagnetism. Again, no idea how Meglos is powerful enough to put the Doctor in this loop (this is before he has access to the Dodecahedron), but the time loop kind of works as a plot point. Sure, it's quite obviously a tactic used by writers John Flanagan and Andrew McCollough to prevent the Doctor from getting involved in the plot too early, but it draws you in. It also quite cleverly starts with Romana, in the middle of trying to repair K-9, saying "Oh blast, not again". Again, quite obviously a stalling tactic, but it works…although how they resolve it feels…silly. Essentially the Doctor and Romana badly recreate the events of the time loop (there's a short period after each loop where they can remember they've been looping) causing the time loop to, essentially, get confused and spit them out. Look, it's the only thing in this wretched story I actually liked, I'm not going to question it too much.

Which naturally brings us onto our main cast. Honestly the most worthwhile thing to note here is with K-9, believe it or not. K-9 is still suffering the aftereffects of exploding due to slight contact with water in The Leisure Hive. While Romana does manage to repair him, he ends up having very limited battery power. As mentioned in my Leisure Hive review, JNT and Script Editor Christopher Bidmead were trying to limit the use of K-9 this season, so this is an obvious way of accomplishing that. As for Romana and the Doctor…not much to say this time. It was fun watching them try to work out how to escape the time loop, but otherwise they don't really do anything worth noting. That's fine, not every story is going to give something new for the main cast to do, but in a story so lacking of anything else of interest, Meglos could really have used with some fun Doctor and/or Romana moments.

Believe it or not, I'm actually going to end on a positive note. Yes, I think Meglos is one of the worst Doctor Who stories of all time, but I think I've made that clear, so I want to end by pointing out something else. Jacqueline Hill's very first story on Doctor Who, back when she was Barbara, was An Unearthly Chid, a story with a science versus tradition theming. And it's kind of neat that, in her return to the show, Hill ends up in a similar story, where she's essentially playing the character of the Old Woman from that first story.

I mean it would have been a lot more satisfying if the story were actually good, but you know, it's still neat.

Score: 1/10

Stray Observations

  • This was the first time the BBC ever used Scene Sync, a motion tracking system for CSO (Colour Separation Overlay, the BBC's version of chromakey). The technology tied the movement of the camera on the model shot to the camera filming the actors in front of the green/blue screen. This would end up being the only time Doctor Who used the technology, though the BBC would continue using it as long as they used CSO effects. The effect is used for scenes set on Zolfa-Thura as the bandits and other people walk past their spaceship that has been CSO'd in. It's good for its time, though not entirely convincing.
  • The appearance of the villain of the story was inspired by co-writer Andrew McCollough's potted cactus. Seriously.
  • The "Dodecahedron" was originally a five-sided object. The early titles for the serial, The Golden Pentangle and The Golden Pentagram reflected this.
  • Director Terence Dudley was a former colleague of John Nathan-Turner's during their time together on All Creatures Great and Small.
  • Hill had put her acting career on hold to focus on raising her two children, but was eager to return to acting work around this time. Dudley, a friend of her husband's, suggested that she play Lexa, which Nathan-Turner was glad to do, as Nathan-Turner wanted to appeal to long term fans of the show. In spite of this, Hill would end up regretting appearing on Meglos. She felt that appearing as two separate characters on the show was inappropriate (which, considering Maxil…) and felt the show only really had its name in common with the one she had originally appeared in.
  • Something I notice musically during this era is that we start hearing the main Doctor Who melody (specifically the "oo-wee-ooh" bit) getting used as part of the incidental music. As far as I can remember it never got used prior to the JNT era, but during the JNT era it effectively becomes the Doctor's theme, the first time he's had one.
  • When they initially land on Tigella in episode 2, the Doctor tells Romana that he had difficulty navigating its jungle because the planet rotates in an anti-clockwise direction, obvious nonsense. Later on, in episode 3, Romana uses this excuse as a ruse to play for time while pretending to try to lead the Gaztaks to the TARDIS.
  • For some unknown reason the ending theme in episode 4 plays a step lower than usual. Oddly enough, this means it plays in E minor, which was the key of the original theme

Next Time: It's time for the Doctor to return Romana to Gallifrey. So naturally he ends up in what amounts to an alternate dimension. Don't even pretend to be surprised.

01:05 UTC


My issue with the Star Beast

I kept expecting at the 60th went on that it would be explained exactly why within the first few hours of 14's existence, he would run directly into the sole Doctor Donna would recognize. And..... It just never happened. It was never explained how this cosmically astounding coincidence just happened. I really wish we were given an explanation for it, would have strengthened an already great story.

22:44 UTC


[SPOILERS] Interesting Season 2 Finale scenes being shot today.

You can find lots of photos and videos under #dwsr on Twitter but it looks like there's some timey wimey shenanigans going on.

The UK seems to have become a facistic state with everyone wearing 1950s style clothes and acting a bit strange. Or almost everyone.

Ruby is there wearing the same outfit as in Episode 4 and it appears she's the only person with her real memories. She confronts the Doctor, or "Mr Smith" as he's being called and Mel they don't seem to know who she is.

16:54 UTC


Big Finish Hot Take

I've just finished the 50 episodes of the main range available on Spotify and loved them! Not every one is a banger, but much like the television show, when it's good it's REALLY GOOD and when it's bad it's pretty cringe.

Hot Take: the one that the Toymaker "saw and ran" from that was mentioned in "The Giggle" will be Zagreus. Hot Take 2: Big Finish is sometimes better than anything the show ever produced.

I've downloaded the rest of the audio dramas available on Spotify that someone was kind enough to list out on Reddit (linked in this post but I'm on mobile so forgive me if it's wonky). I'm wondering if anyone knows where to find more available for free? I know of the Into the TARDIS podcast and will be following that. And if I had the money I would purchase the entire collection because it's worth it. But really I'd love to hear the rest of the monthly main range and the expansions to Doctors 4, 9 and 10. I'm itching for the Diaries of River Song and the meeting of 4 and 10. There's just so much I doubt I'll ever catch up on all of it. Just wanted to gush a bit with other fans though.

11:32 UTC


What other sci-fi villain do you think would work well in the Who-niverse?

I think a lot of the sci-fi villains are quite interchangeable. I've been rewatching Stargate, and I think the Goa'uld would work really well - a snake-like symbiote that takes over a host body.

I struggled to think of anything from Star Wars that I think would work.

10:56 UTC


"moffat made the doctor into a god" - bad faith interpretations of the moffat era

I really don't understand this criticism, which is often levelled at 11's era (and to a lesser extent 12's.)

To me, it's very clear that S5 and S6 are a gradual deconstruction of the idea of the Doctor being a god. We have characters venerating him, despite his own assertions that he is "just a madman with a box", but he is also guilty of playing into his reputation and manipulating people with his power as he knows it works for him - and this has consequences. We see 11 lose multiple times by being tricked into believing he won, overestimating his own power in TPO and AGMGTW. We see Rory and River both directly call him out for how dangerous he is, and the devastating effects his grip over the universe has on the lives of his companions - eventually resulting in his planned assassination in S6, when the Kovarian Chapter intentionally go out of their way to kidnap Melody and brainwash her to kill the Doctor in a complex scheme because they deeply fear him.

Towards the end of S6 and S7A, with episodes like The God Complex, The Power of Three and A Town Called Mercy, we see the unhealthy codependent friendship between Amy and the Doctor start to shift - Amy begins to heal, becoming disillusioned in her faith and finally seeing 11 as fallible, and gradually overcoming her childhood trauma, caused by her parents' and then 11's abandonment when she was 7.

11, in turn, starts to go off the rails - now, he can't cope with seeing Amy grow up. His infantalisation of Amy was always an issue, but it's dialled up to 11 - pun intended - when his fears start to come true. He becomes more callous and cruel as she slips away from him. It reaches a satisfying conclusion with Amy and Rory's departure in TATM, when Amy and the Doctor mirror each other: in S5, Amy idealised the Doctor, saw him as infallible, and feared his abandonment; in S7, the Doctor idealised Amy, saw her as infallible, and feared her abandonment.

And she let her faith go. She left.

The genesis of this idea - of taking apart the idea of the Doctor as a vengeful god - can be traced back to Davies' era with the Time Lord Victorious arc. So it's quite strange to me that Moffat is criticised for writing a natural progression from that arc.

In all honesty, I think a lot of criticism for the Moffat era comes from people who have not rewatched that period of the show in a long time, and while there is something to be said about how an era is remembered, I do believe some of these erroneous interpretations of Moffat's stories can be linked to this sort of 2010 Tumblr discourse which often relied on decontextualising Moffat's quotes and framing all of his work in the worst faith possible without inviting any nuance into the discussion.

I can't speak for S7B as I'm not terribly fond of that series and haven't seen it in a while (and yes - I recognise the irony here), but in terms of the Pond Era specifically, the idea of the Doctor being an all-powerful, infallible god is played with and taken apart very directly. The seed is planted in S5, but it's pretty much the entire focus of S6, and it reaches what I believe to be a satisfying conclusion in S7A.

Media is, of course, subjective. Moffat has a distinct writing style; I can easily understand why it isn't for everybody. And it would be disingenuous to claim that his writing is flawless! I have many criticisms of his work myself, but some of the more common complaints about Moffat's Who ("he only cares about constructing a clever plot and his characters have no depth", "his work is riddled with plot holes") fall apart when you actually revisit his era and make an effort to engage with the text.

Flaws are not exclusive to one particular period of the show; every showrunner has strengths and weaknesses, every era has positives and negatives. Like many fandoms, a large number of Doctor Who fans allow popular misconceptions to colour their interpretation of the stories they are presented with. Which makes sense, I suppose: people who have already made up their minds about any body of work - and have that bias continually affirmed by other fans - are not likely to revisit the material to check if the actual text supports their bias.

09:51 UTC


Why not multiple showrunners?

We've read about how it's always a nightmare to hire a showrunner because they need not only multiple Doctor Who writing credits but experience running their own successful shows and a strong business knowledge of the UK television scene.

I've always wondered why they don't just distribute the massive workload, have someone tend to the business and managerial side while a writer simply handles the creative direction of the show.

This is similar to the Producer/Script Editor dynamic of the classic era and would allow a lot more creative voices to flourish their take on the show.

10:05 UTC


Interesting video about Doctor's clothes

06:38 UTC


Doctors who would help you hide a body

1- Certainly not. One doesn't want to condone such tomfoolery. Unless the body in question were Dalek.

  1. Yes, but hates that you've made this his problem.

  2. Yes and knows a quaint little planet left of Orion's Belt, where the corrosive atmosphere can dissolve human flesh in under three minutes.

  3. He would, but no one's ever had the guts to ask.

  4. No and would probably cry

  5. No and would probably grass

  6. Too sweet to say no, but wouldn't be much help.

  7. Yes, but I feel like he'd give you a hard time.

War. I mean...

  1. Has two shovels and the rest of eternity. Would want to get chips after.

  2. Only if you're Donna Noble.

  3. He'd go back in time and stop your victim's parents from meeting. There never was a body.

  4. Yes and happily drop it in the supernova of your choosing.

  5. Never answers her phone

  6. He's an uncle now, leave him be

  7. He'd do anything for his bestie, but wants you to reconsider your life choices.

22:28 UTC


Best eps from each series

I made a list of my fave episodes from every NuWho series and each era's specials.

Bad Wolf

Tooth & Claw

The Shakespeare Code

The Unicorn and the Wasp

The Beast Below

Lets Kill Hitler

The Crimson Horror

Dark Water/Death in Heaven

Heaven Sent/Hell Bent

Knock Knock

The Witchfinders

The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Village of the Angels


RTD: Voyage of the Damned

Moffat: The Time of the Doctor

Chibnall: Eve of the Daleks

RTD2: The Giggle

Tell me yours!

21:36 UTC


Of the three New Who showrunner transitions, which was handled the best?

*(NOTE: This is strictly a commentary on how well the transitions were handled, not how good or how much I liked the episodes themselves)

Doctor Who is unique among many franchises in that it can change its entire cast and crew while still being recognisably the same programme. The changes in showrunner tend to come with more drastic changes. In the three times it's happened in NuWho, the entire aesthetic and tone of the show have changed.

Davies - Moffat

Going from arguably the most popular Doctor ever to a virtually unknown actor was a risk. But it was one that seemed to pay off. Matt Smith - while very different to David Tennant's portrayal - was instantly charismatic in the role.

Beyond that, I think even a person who wasn't aware of behind the scenes would figure out there had been a change in the writing. Both Davies and Moffat are absolute masters of dialogue, but whereas Davies makes his dialogue dramatic and hyper-realistic, Moffat swings all the way in the other direction, with witty, almost poetic dialogue given to every character, but also a huge amount of heart and emotion. The Eleventh Hour uses some tropes from RTD's openers, being a low-stakes adventure set largely in the present day.

One thing Series 5 does very well is keeping just the right balance of new and familiar. RTD established a series structure across his era. Thirteen episodes aired across the spring-summer, with two midseason two-parters and a two part finale, and the remainder being single-parters. Moffat stuck to this structure throughout Series 5 despite the aesthetic and story style of the show changing. I think that helped the show hit a "similar, but different" vibe.

Despite a new Doctor and companion, and a new showrunner who understandably wants to pursue his own storylines, the Doctor's continuing angst over the Time War is alluded to in The Beast Below. Then an episode later, the Daleks return, initially in their RTD era design then handing over to the redesign. Regardless of how well-received the New Paradigm was, I think having Smith's Doctor face off against the same Daleks of the last five years and then transitioning to the new models was a good decision. And then River Song shows up an episode later alongside the Weeping Angels. Although River is very much a Moffat character, introducing her alongside Tennant a season earlier helped create a sense of continuity between storylines of the two eras. The Weeping Angels, although similarly a Moffat creation, were introduced in RTD's era and had already become very popular antagonists for the Tenth Doctor.

Murray Gold also stayed on under Moffat. However, due to the cast changes, themes for a new Doctor and Companion needed to be introduced, with much of Gold's previous material being retired. The overall musical feel of the show also changed from Gold's more bombastic RTD era work, to suit the fairytale aesthetic of Series 5. However, themes like the Dalek and Cyberman themes were retained, helping hold some of the worldbuilding from RTD's era.

Overall, I'd say the entire feel of the show changed, but there was still enough to remind audiences they were still watching the same show. 10/10

Moffat - Chibnall

It's fair to say the transition between the Moffat and Chibnall eras was much more thorough. Moffat's era never really had a cohesive series structure, so the ten single-part episodes never felt like a significant structural departure from what came before. Like Moffat, Chibnall changed the entire feel of the show, going from the introspective feel of the Moffat era, and its deconstruction of the show's core concepts, to simple, adventurous, back-to-basics Doctor Who. Going from RTD to Moffat dialogue is somewhat jarring. Going from Moffat to Chibnall dialogue is on another level entirely. Twice Upon a Time was very much an intimate character piece, the kind that Moffat did best, while The Woman Who Fell To Earth has an urban, industrial aesthetic that immediately feels completely different to either Moffat or RTD's era.

Unlike Moffat, Chibnall doesn't try to lean on any level of familiarity. As well as a new cast, there are no returning guest stars, and no returning monsters in the main series (until the new years special anyway). Personally, while I was perfectly happy getting a season without Daleks, Cybermen or the Master, I wonder if Series 11 might've benefited from making use of some of the less used iconic enemies, such as Sontarans or Weeping Angels, just to keep a sense of familiarity with what came before. It really felt like S11 was trying to be Doctor Who at its most basic, with fun, adventure, and relatively low-stakes enemies.

This time, Gold chose to leave with Moffat and Capaldi. Chibnall recruited Segun Akinola, whose musical style was a complete 180 from Gold's work, utilising a more atmospheric and understated style, which worked well with the more "functional" aesthetic of Series 11. However, a completely fresh cast and crew also meant Akinola could build his soundscape completely from the ground up, not retaining any musical continuity from Gold, which made Series 11 feel even more like a completely new show.

Overall, I'd say it was an admirable attempt to strip the show down, and make it more functional to new audiences. But also that attempting to launch a new main cast without any familiar elements made it harder to convince those who weren't immediately won over. 5/10

Chibnall - Davies

Going back to a previous showrunner was a much more unique experience. There was well over a year between The Power of the Doctor and The Star Beast. Granted, Power is more of a Classic Who tribute than an archetypal episode of his era, but the aesthetic, story style and dialogue gave it enough in common with its era. But watching the episodes back to back, it's actually pretty disconcerting going from a Chibnall episode, with its typically functional feel and more simplistic dialogue, to the campness and bombast (combined with realistic family drama) of RTD's era. The Star Beast also had the advantage of not needing to introduce a new cast, but that almost made it more jarring. You go from Whittaker, Yaz, Graham, Dan (and all the returning Classic companions) and within the blink of an eye David Tennant is the Doctor again, Donna Noble is companion, her supporting cast are back too, and almost every trope from RTD's first era is repeated in quick succession. All of them (as well as Davies and Gold) settle back into their roles immediately, without the need to gradually establish themselves as the cast and crew for Series 5 and 11 did. This made for good television, but also meant that it felt less like a continuation of the show that used to be the Chibnall era, but rather a direct continuation of Series 4.

Overall, I'd say it did what it set out to do, in terms of reminding lapsed audiences of a very popular era of the show, and giving them a fun, fast paced, energetic story to get into. In terms of retaining a sense of continuity with what came immediately before, I'd say it was less successful. 4/10


18:29 UTC

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