Jeez, that sounds like a hassle.
And that’s why the region thing still continues; for most people it looks like too much hassle to get around it.
People don’t want that, they just want to watch the movies and the TV shows. Easily.
I should come back with a stock of Asian ones one trip home. All are zero region by default and play everything.
Bear in mind as well that half the major studios voluntarily don’t region code blu rays.
My Aussie copy of the 50th set has been sent. Thought it was going to get cancelled, as it went from “in stock” to “out of stock, expected in 5-10 days” almost as soon as I ordered, making me think it was a zombie listing, but thankfully not.
I finished the first series of New Who in my daily rewatch thing yesterday (12 years on, it is still "new Who" and always will be, I suspect). That Eccleston series is still the most cohesive and high quality series the show has had. I'd argue there's only two weak episodes - the Slitheen two-parter - and even they're not that bad in the grand scheme of things. For every fart joke and slightly heavy-handed War of the Worlds style TV reporting moment, there's a bit of decent grounding humanity in Harriet Jones and anti-war sentiment.
One of the show’s biggest flaws since its revival is its continual attempts to do series arcs, which usually fall flat. Bad Wolf is the only one that’s properly successful, because it flies under the radar. And at the same time, it’s so tightly interweaved. Seemingly stand-alone episodes like Dalek and The Long Game (the most under-rated episode in the season) pull double-duty as set-up for the finale, without feeling like they’re not stories in their own right. The Slitheen story pays off by giving us Boom Town, a wonderful slow-down episode, which ties back into The Unquiet Dead. A large part of this is probably due to the small number of hired writers, but RTD keeps a high level of quality on his own scripts (presumably because he had a bit longer to work on them and wasn’t worn down by the grind of show-running the whole time).
This series also has Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways, which is still perhaps the best series finale the show’s had. Pivoting from sharp and slightly ludicrous satire of gameshows to a big Dalek invasion story with religious overtones, it has some of the best moments of the series, from little things like Jack’s rant at the Weakest Link producer after Rose’s apparent death (which fades away as we beautifully focus on the Doctor’s grief), Rose’s burgeoning jealousy as Lynda with a Y macks on the Doctor to big moments like the Doctor turning back Big Brother’s threatening “I’m coming to get you” into a promise to Rose, to rescue her from the Daleks.
And then the regeneration. Even this many years on, it’s bitter-sweet, as Eccleston leaves far too soon. Imagine if he’d stayed on for three years or so (presumably the final episode had a different name originally, I assume Bad Wolf and something else for episode 12). But he at least gets the best regeneration to go out with. It’s reflective, but not self-indulgent. The new regeneration effect, complete with standing Doctor, is a statement and then Tennant gets the best post-regeneration moment of the lot.
The Children In Need special is pretty good too. Ok, so the Doctor becoming manic enough to crash land the TARDIS is a bit nonsensical, but the opportunity to talk through the process and the impact of it with Rose is one used well. (Shame the DVD copy of it is missing most of the sound effects).
Unfortunately, it leaves The Christmas Invasion floundering a bit. Without that immediate follow up to the regeneration, it doesn’t seem to know what to do, so we get the Doctor unconscious for most of the episode. Seeing how people cope without the Doctor is a good idea, but one that doesn’t necessarily marry well to having to introduce a new iteration. In a way it repeats the sin of the TV Movie by wasting most of its time without having the Doctor (proper) around to do stuff. It’s also not the best of scripts, with every good moment (“wait, hang on, that’s the Lion King”) matched with one completely cringe-worthy (“it’s a fighting hand!”). Torchwood references drop like a brick every time they’re used too.
Great write-up. I’m not a huge fan of that series (or of Eccleston’s Doctor in general) but you make a good case.
Huge Ecclestone fan here, yay, and stuff.
More seriously (wait, I’m drunk) New Who Series 1, just got so much right, even though it was not perfect.
I watched the first episode and it wasn’t for me. I guess it wasn’t for a lot of other people either.
It just kept completely passing me by entirely, on both BBC 3 (which is hard to notice anything on, now it’s online only) and when it got a BBC 1 slot.
I realised that I don’t really care about the Dr Who universe, I care about Dr Who stories.
So I never bothered to watch it.
The Doctor actually turns up in the first episode and stays a little while. It’s still not really a DW story though.
And so; not interested.
I’m sorry that it didn’t work. I’d rather it was wonderful and I had to catch up with it after everyone else enjoyed it and recommended it.
I enjoyed it. It had some nice ideas, though sometimes handled in clunky ways, and the characters were interesting and mostly likeable. It wasn’t so great that I’ll be writing letters to protest its cancellation, but I’d have watched a second season if there was one.
Well…this sounds interesting…and the First Master as well.
I’m at the point in my daily rewatch thing where the Christmas episodes are coming thick and fast. At least one a fortnight from now on. Which is a bit weird in September, but I suppose with the nights drawing in and barrelling through autumn and into winter is a better time for it than in the spring.
The Runaway Bride was today’s episode and it feels a world away from the show’s current output in just how extravagant it is. Oodles of location filming, including stuff on the motorway and gratuitous crowd scenes out on the streets, with a CGI spaceship killing people for no desperately plot-critical reason, until actual tanks appear to shoot it. It works in a big, bombastic kind of way, but it threatens to drag the show away from its comfort zone of tight, claustrophobic stories into big, worldwide things, which is where they tend to flounder a bit.
You can see this in the end of season two as well. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday is a solid two-part story and the Cybermen vs Daleks concept (with humans stuck in-between) works well. But by turning it into a worldwide invasion, you start to get the story fraying at the edges. The Cybermen stand around outside the Taj Mahal and… loiter, essentially. There are lots of texture shots of them invading and menacing ordinary people and I’ve never really noticed how silly some of those are before. You’ve got a Cyberman smashing down the front door to some suburban semi-detached for no particular reason. Another appearing on the landing, as though he’s just come out of the loo. Later, a family are cowering in their living room, watching reports on the news, as a Cyberman stands about next to them, holding them prisoner for no particular reason (waiting for the football scores?) and in the background, another secures the key strategic area of a back garden.
The budget cuts the show’s had over the Moffat years has reduced all that kind of fluff and I think it’s been for the better. Yes, it’s a bit cheap to go “this is happening all over the world too!” in dialogue and never show it, but at the same time, you don’t have to laboriously show that, just get on with the main story.
Season 2 was weaker over-all than I remember. Tennant’s a perfectly good Doctor, but I have less time for the manic stuff than I used to (Donna grounding him more in the Runaway Bride felt perfectly deserved). The series has the first two outright duff episodes of the revived show: Fear Her - which actually wasn’t quite as bad as I remember, but is still shite* - and Love & Monsters - which I know divides people into those who don’t like it and those who are wrong. There’s also Rise of the Cybermen and Age of Steel, which is a pretty terrible two-parter, with some atrocious dialogue. Girl In The Fireplace has aged terribly, given Moffat’s subsequent tenure as show-runner, and feels like a precise of all his worst qualities (though Mickey shines in it).
And then the good stuff isn’t quite as good as the previous year’s highs. Army of Ghosts has some tremendous moments for Jackie especially, but is 90% set-up for next week, rather than a story. School Reunion is fun for all the bits with Sarah-Jane, but it’s core story is only saved by Tony Head’s wonderfully sliminess. The Impossible Planet and the Satan Pit are great, but let down by a script that is either trying too hard to sound like RTD or was doctored by RTD but in a rush.
*Fear Her’s main problems are that it’s too silly for its own good for the most part and the drama it tries to balance that with doesn’t work. The kid playing Chloe Webber isn’t a great actress, but that’s mostly because she’s left floundering to do an “alien” voice without any good effect to back it up. And everything Huw Edwards is required to read is utter tripe. It’s weird now watching an episode from 2006 treating 2012 as the future, too.
I should rewatch it. I keep harping enough about it in my only posts in this thread.
While it was decent enough, I enjoyed McGann as the Doctor.
While I watched Tom Baker as the Doctor when I was younger and liked him, I will always consider Paul McGann to be my Doctor. He was the one I connected with.
My very thoughts.
McGann is my Doctor as well. I saw it first on public television over here (that’s where over seas shows usually get broadcast) and well…it’s definitely American.
Which is funny because they spend so much time during it stressing how British the doctor is.
Oh once you cast Eric Roberts as the Master, you got the blood of the USA in ya.