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Best New Who writers

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1 Best New Who writers on Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:50 pm

Which writers for New Who do you think actually did a decent job for the series?

I'm going to say.

Toby Whitehouse: His stories could be entertaining. I never saw a truly terrible story from him. He tended to repeat the same idea though, of aliens being responsible for myths.

Helen Raynor I don't get why she is so hated? I mean WTF. Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks is an interesting, fun story, that has a good atmosphere. The only things that let it down IMO are a poor design for Sec and typical New Who shit of making the Doctor mope about Rose, Martha mope about the Doctor not fancying her (IS HE FUCKING INSANE!) and the Doctor being too shout "KILL ME IF IT WILL STOP YOU ATTACKING THESE PEOPLE!"

None of that was her fault however. I also really liked her Sontaran two parter. Again the only bad things in it were typical of New Who crap, like the Doctors anti gun remarks etc, which isn't Helen's fault.

Phil Ford: Okay two of his stories were co-written, but still I'm inclined to believe the good parts were down to him as he did a better job showrunning the Sarah Jane Adventures than either of them did with Dogturd Poo.

Jamie Matheison: His season 8 story was the best story of season 8, (though that;s VERY slim pickings indeed.) Still that one story shits on most of New Who's attempts. Again there are some faults with it, but only in general New Who terms, like Clara and Danny.

Mark Gattis: Controversial opinion I know, but I actually don't mind a lot of his stories.

Cold War was one of the better stories to feature an old enemy in New Who, The Crimson Horror was a fun run around, Victory of the Daleks is nowhere near as bad as people make out IMO, and his second Ice Warrior one was enjoyable, as was The Unquiet Dead. His only real dud is the Idiots Lantern (which is AWFUL) and the season 9 story Sleep No More. Again though it baffles me that Sleep No More is quite so hated considering its no where near the worst story in season 9.

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2 Re: Best New Who writers on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:08 pm

Moffat was great up until around series 6. I agree about Mathieson, one of the few who actually seemed to get what show he was writing for and appeared interested solely in telling Who stories rather than grinding some axe or agenda.
Raynor was generally fine, unremarkable but solid.

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3 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:39 am

I did not like Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks at all. It was a tall order for anyone to turn that into something worth watching without a radical rewrite, though IMO.

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4 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:49 am

@shan164 wrote:I did not like Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks at all. It was a tall order for anyone to turn that into something worth watching without a radical rewrite, though IMO.

I just don't get this hatred for this story.

Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks is a perfectly solid story, a few cheesy moments yes, but its not like it ruins the Daleks, or contains moments of jaw dropping stupidity. The Daleks plan makes sense, its quite interesting seeing how they destroy their one chance of redemption and reinforces how evil they are, (it also serves as quite a nice metaphor IMO for how people who are reformers to backwards ideologies like Dalek Sec was are often killed for their troubles.)

Also the setting is great and they make use of it too, the supporting cast are reasonably fleshed out and interesting.

Its not Genesis, but its hardly the worst offender.

Contrast it with another story from that year Human Nature/ Family of Blood which is beloved and honestly I just don't get it? Human Nature/ Family of Blood IMO must send out hypnotic messages to make people love it, and redirect the anger they should have towards that abomination of a story towards Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks. That's the only explanation I can think of.

PS Daleks in Manhattan isn't even the worst New Who Dalek story. Compare it with Parting of the Ways which has fucking Anne Robinson robots, and Trinny and Suzannah bots (does anyone even remember them) and so many boring scenes of Rose Tylah and her annoying mother eating chips in some dingey little cafe.

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5 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:16 am

Well, as you might have guessed (well, because I told you), I'm much more pro Next Generation Who than a lot here but here's what I didn't like.

Probably not a problem for most as they probably haven't even heard of the half-century old (and mostly destroyed) Evil of the Daleks and the human factor Daleks questioning things but I have and it bugged me. Especially since this was the cut price version of it (they're not even actual Daleks!).

They turned down a chance to ally with the Cybermen who were clearly streets ahead than a bunch of people literally picked up off the streets. They also gave them ray guns that could blow them up and for some reason their shields don't work unlike with hordes of Cybermen.

Now I can work up a rationalisation that with the Cybermen they were all smug and now they've been quite humbled after that debacle and I guess their shielding was damaged after the time travel ... but I'm not keen on having to fill in quite so much to make it work for myself TBH.

Dalek Sec - that end result was a bit too ridiculous for me, even taking into account it's Doctor Who.

The two Daleks conspiring and even looking around to make sure no-one was eavesdropping? I'm still not quite sure if that was really stupid or circled around to being absolutely brilliant as a result?

Pig men - if it's not Bebop from TMNT, well ... nah.

Overall, I just found the whole thing daft with a lot of elements I really disliked immensely.

I did look up what else Helen Raynor did and I do remember being a bit alarmed at seeing Sontarans both gunning down fleeing UNIT troops after disabling their weapons and even more alarmingly, later on running away when being shot at. Seemed very out of clone species character.

I keep in mind that the writers may have limits to their leeway when assigned a story overall (ditto with Chibnall though he has had some absolute howlers).

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6 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:40 pm

Daleks In Manhattan / Evolution Of The Daleks does seem to be a divisive story. Personally I'm on the side of burronjor on this, I thought it had a touch of fun with its setting and had some good performances (Hugh 'Huge Squashie' Quarshie) and an intriguing finale. Robert Shearman's Dalek also seemed strong at the time.

I thought Paul Cornell's Father's Day was a rare highlight. Toby Whithouse's School Reunion was also pretty good in a Buffy-style way, not least due to Anthony Head's appearance, but his later stuff under Moffat was pretty ropey (Under The Lake/Before The Flood). Tom McRae's stuff is a bit weepy but I actually quite liked the Cybermen two-parter and The Girl Who Waited was excellent. The writer I feel depressed about is Jamie Mathieson, who after putting out an episode as fine as Mummy On The Orient Express had Moffat 'help' him with The Girl Who Died - with disastrous results.

Gatiss has put out some coiled, steaming efforts in more recent times (Robots Of Sherwood, The Doctor, The Widow & The Wardrobe, Night Terrors and The Snowmen, the latter of which even Nu Who fans despise), but then he did create Sleep No More, an original & experimental masterpiece in a truly awful season.


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7 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:08 pm

@Mott1 wrote:Daleks In Manhattan / Evolution Of The Daleks does seem to be a divisive story. Personally I'm on the side of burronjor on this, I thought it had a touch of fun with its setting and had some good performances (Hugh 'Huge Squashie' Quarshie) and an intriguing finale. Robert Shearman's Dalek also seemed strong at the time.

I thought Paul Cornell's Father's Day was a rare highlight. Toby Whithouse's School Reunion was also pretty good in a Buffy-style way, not least due to Anthony Head's appearance, but his later stuff under Moffat was pretty ropey (Under The Lake/Before The Flood). Tom McRae's stuff is a bit weepy but I actually quite liked the Cybermen two-parter and The Girl Who Waited was excellent. The writer I feel depressed about is Jamie Mathieson, who after putting out an episode as fine as Mummy On The Orient Express had Moffat 'help' him with The Girl Who Died - with disastrous results.

Gatiss has put out some coiled, steaming efforts in more recent times (Robots Of Sherwood, The Doctor, The Widow & The Wardrobe, Night Terrors and The Snowmen, the latter of which even Nu Who fans despise), but then he did create Sleep No More, an original & experimental masterpiece in a truly awful season.

Gatiss didn't write The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, and The Snowmen. Those are both Moffat.

I quite liked Robots of Sherwood personally. Quite a fun episode. Ben Miller was an awesome sheriff, and the guy playing Robin Hood was great too. TBH they both could have been in a proper version of Robin Hood with the same characterisation and I would have watched it.

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8 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:20 pm

I agree with Shan. Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks was absolute crap.

The fake American accents are abysmal, the Pigmen are incredibly lame and goofy looking, the merging of Dalek Sec and Mr. Diagoras looked ridiculous, the Dalek Hybrid itself had a rather questionable design and the Doctor surviving getting zapped by a massive bolt of gamma radiation lightning was absurd.

Also, why on earth does the Doctor agree to help Dalek Sec produce more Hybrids and then take them onboard his TARDIS to find them a new home? Just because Dalek Sec promises him that the new Dalek Hybrids are a race of peace and not war? Is the Doctor REALLY so gullible and naive to assume that the Dalek Hybrids wouldn't go down the same path of the Daleks? Just because Dalek Sec said so? Give me a fucking break.

Absolute fucking shite.

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9 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:50 pm

IMO obviously

Dalek, Father's Day - two of the stand outs of Christopher Eccleston's time.

School Reunion - it was great to see Lis Sladen but (!) definitely aggrieved by some of it - side note: got to spend a couple of days with Anthony Stewart Head once, he's a very nice man.

Under The Lake/Before The Flood - atmospheric, I'll give it that. Not bad if I recall.

The Girl Who Waited - a lot I liked about this but I really wanted to punch Rory by the end of it.

Mummy On The Orient Express - set/costume design very good - loved Peter Capaldi running down the clock - typical Doctor, sure he had the solution but determined to milk it for maximum dramatic effect. PC is very good at impersonating other Doctors in short bursts, isn't he?

(Robots Of Sherwood - liked the sword/spoon fight at least

The Doctor, The Widow & The Wardrobe - inoffensive at least

Night Terrors - nah

The Snowmen - I think it's a very popular belief that the Doctor travelling with Victorian Clara should have been the way to go instead of yet another contemporary companion.

Sleep No More - I get what they were going for here but found it a bit of a car crash. Might have looked better in hindsight if a mooted follow up was ever to have been made (looks unlikely now).

What does everyone think of An Adventure in Time and Space. I thought that (and the whole 50th anniversary line up - Night/Day/Five(ish) ) was superb and I couldn't have realistically asked for more, for myself at least.

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10 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:01 pm

I'll tell you what I've found (and I'd like to know what everyone else thinks). Doctor Who is really good for Youtube.

Even the episodes I don't like, there's usually a segment I do and they're often on the official channel. It's also handy when you don't have time to sit down and watch a whole episode.

Given how well I thought Night of the Doctor worked, I think it would really be worth looking into a few of those shorter 5-10 minute self-contained stories too.

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11 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:07 pm

@shan164 wrote:School Reunion - it was great to see Lis Sladen but (!) definitely aggrieved by some of it - side note: got to spend a couple of days with Anthony Stewart Head once, he's a very nice man.

School Reunion was crap, dude. I absolutely HATED what they did to Sarah Jane Smith in that episode.

Retconning her character by implying she was actually in love with the Doctor all this time, when in Classic Who their relationship was strictly platonic. Not to mention making her act like a fucking dumb teenager by having her bicker with Rose over the Doctor.

Shite. Shite. Shite.

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12 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:49 pm

@DeadManRising wrote:I agree with Shan. Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks was absolute crap.

The fake American accents are abysmal, the Pigmen are incredibly lame and goofy looking, the merging of Dalek Sec and Mr. Diagoras looked ridiculous, the Dalek Hybrid itself had a rather questionable design and the Doctor surviving getting zapped by a massive bolt of gamma radiation lightning was absurd.

Also, why on earth does the Doctor agree to help Dalek Sec produce more Hybrids and then take them onboard his TARDIS to find them a new home? Just because Dalek Sec promises him that the new Dalek Hybrids are a race of peace and not war? Is the Doctor REALLY so gullible and naive to assume that the Dalek Hybrids wouldn't go down the same path of the Daleks? Just because Dalek Sec said so? Give me a fucking break.

Absolute fucking shite.


I also agree - this two-parter is pretty poor.  I remember cringing at some of the truly awful, clunky dialogue and scenes, in particular, the Doctor begging the Daleks to kill him (Tennant's crappy overacting).  Apparently, Helen Raynor got terribly upset by some comments made about her episode (and more personal stuff), by fans on Outpost Gallifrey - and was comforted by Davies.  Nobody comforted me after watching this overwrought nonsense.



Last edited by Queen Angvia on Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:44 am; edited 1 time in total

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13 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:13 pm

What does everyone think of An Adventure in Time and Space. I thought that (and the whole 50th anniversary line up - Night/Day/Five(ish) ) was superb and I couldn't have realistically asked for more, for myself at least.

And Adventure in Space and Time was brilliant and heartwarming.

It was a very sensitive, but not gushing portrayal of Hartnell. It showed his negative qualities up front, along with the positive ones, portraying him as the complicated and interesting man he really was.

We saw him berating the extras "that's Mr Hartnell to you sonny", being a dick to the waiters "come on chippy choppy", but we also saw what a devoted actor he was to his craft, how he was plagued by insecurities, how he cared deeply for the people around him, how affectionate and generous he was to his fans and how despite his grumpiness didn't really have a mean bone in his body, like when he leaves the message of apology to Carole Ann Ford.

His dismissal from the role was also heartbreaking. When he says I don't want to go, its hard not to cry. However the ending where we see Matt Smith is really powerful, as it shows us how ultimately Hartnell didn't need to worry, as his character would endure for so long.

I only hope that Hartnell himself came to realise what he created. He sadly passed away before his time in Tom Bakers first season, and he spent his last 6 months in hospital so he wouldn't have seen any of Tom.

However Hartnell did watch almost all of Troughton according to his widow, and a lot of Pertwee, and in the last ever interview conducted with the man for the 10th anniversary. He said

"The moment this brilliant young producer Miss Verity Lambert started telling me about Doctor Who, I was hooked. I remember telling her, This is going to run for five years. And look what's happened!"

It seems he was at peace with being made to leave the role in the last few years of his life, and the Matt Smith scene captured that perfectly.



Sadly this scene whilst moving at the time is let down by the fact that in the 5 years since, the new who team have done everything they can to completely deconstruct Hartnell's character to the point where there is nothing left of him in it anymore. Sad  Nevertheless he still has one of the biggest legacies of any television actor.

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14 Re: Best New Who writers on Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:25 pm

@DeadManRising wrote:
@shan164 wrote:School Reunion - it was great to see Lis Sladen but (!) definitely aggrieved by some of it - side note: got to spend a couple of days with Anthony Stewart Head once, he's a very nice man.

School Reunion was crap, dude. I absolutely HATED what they did to Sarah Jane Smith in that episode.

Retconning her character by implying she was actually in love with the Doctor all this time, when in Classic Who their relationship was strictly platonic. Not to mention making her act like a fucking dumb teenager by having her bicker with Rose over the Doctor.

Shite. Shite. Shite.

Couldn't agree more. Absolute fucking garbage.

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15 Re: Best New Who writers on Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:07 am

The human Turdlek is one of the worst things on the show, ever.

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16 Re: Best New Who writers on Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:02 pm

I'll say it. I liked a lot of Steven Moffat's stuff. Usually the standalone stuff most of all.

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