So in the tradition of documenting my end of series response to the BBC worldwide consumer/fan panel, here’s the one for s10.
Where I try not to cry too much about
Missy’s everyone’s death or departure, even when the standard questions they ask start to hit too close to my bundled up feelings. (And if you also want to cry into surveys on a regular basis, you can sign up on their main page, or send me a message with your email if you want an extra chance at a voucher thing)
And I should’ve put this into the final question response, since it does relate to Doctor Who and the surveys, but I really do enjoy participating in the panel because I can see how my responses have shaped the series. I think I was putting a lot of ‘meh’ responses for series 7 and 8, but for the last one and this one, it’s been creeping up. There hasn’t been an absolute clunker of an episode (except for specials) since The Caretaker, which I literally was falling asleep during (and said so), and it makes me really happy and proud that the panel’s comments and criticisms have been listened to.
I’m kind of proud that Moffat grew a writer and obviously began to take criticism on board. I now longer have a use for my Statler & Waldorf gif grilling him about not liking it!
Some of that might be PCap basically being the second showrunner/director at times (in which case he fucking deserves the break, though like... can he stay on as script consultant? assistant director? assistant producer?) but I do think Moffat went ‘maybe I should pay attention to what half the internet and my kids are roasting me for’ and read up on some social justice theory. It might have taken him a godawful amount of time to learn, but he started doing so and also learned to collaborate more and to allow other people demonstrate their skill and expertise.
It’s a shame it took so long and it’s a shame his previous attitude colours Doctor Who and Sherlock so much, and this still shaky change isn’t going to make me any more likely to watch the Dracula adaptation (I prefer my vampires to be women, please and thank you), but it is satisfying to see that it happened and that in some small way I might’ve contributed.
So what follows is literally a cut and paste from all the text fields in the survey they allow you fill out, plus some notes on how I filled the ‘describe in 2-5 words’ questions
(Describe your reaction to the episode in your own words)
It started out a little fun and silly, but it was clearly heading into tragedy. And while I can understand the narrative and logistical reasons for the loss of several characters, I'll still miss them and wonder at where they would have continued going if they'd had more time. In particular I'll miss Bill and Missy the most. Bill because I loved her optimism, and while I acknowledge that at least it hadn't been dulled by her time spent with the Doctor, her leaving just feels too soon. Missy because - that was such a great arc for the character of the Master, and while I do want to see what'll happen next with that character now that Missy has been part of them, I also wish that we could've seen what Missy would've done with more time.
(How did it meet/fail/exceed your expectations)
I wasn't expecting the pastoral setting, and it was a little jarring because of that, but I went in fully expecting at least two of the iterations of Timelords present to die/regenerate. And it's a season/showrunner finale. The Master/Missy/the Doctor interactions were in fact far better than what I had anticipated.
Describe in two words
the episode: Tragic, epitaph
the Doctor: Tragic, tired.
Bill: Self-determined, strong. (I was stupidly happy this season that I got to use words like strong and courageous and brave for the companion, as well as words like curious and optimistic)
Nardole: Courageous, loyal. (This is the most positive I’ve been about Nardole.)
Missy: Tragic, good.
Master: Self-destructive, cruel. (I'm too proud of this pun.)
(What did you discuss with others about the episode?)
What Missy's death ~means~ in relation to her character arc in the series/previous season and how Simm!Master's circumstances influenced that path. Also a lot of fix-it fic theorising. Also general delight that Bill got to kiss the girl!
I filled in the other field for ‘how did you discuss the episode’ with ‘committed fanfic’
(Can you tell us in your own words what you thought overall of series 10?)
Astoundingly high quality across the board in terms of acting, direction, script quality and FX, with only two episodes that I felt were let downs. It had a good variety of stand alone episodes and multi-parters, as well as mini-arcs that linked episodes together thematically or emotionally, but didn't interfere with the individual stories.
(How did the series met/fail/exceed your expectations)
Series 9 was an improvement on series 8, which I felt was linked to not having to live up to being a good anniversary series/year. So I was expecting something along similar lines, perhaps a little better. But instead I got something a lot more thematically whole with outstanding performances and products from everyone involved, and a whole lot of emotionally mature stories and characterisations that I greatly enjoyed.
(Most compelling moment in one or two sentences) I cheated a bit on this one, making it the three most compelling moments, but did stick to the 1-2 sentences bit
The moment when Bill and the Doctor re-enter the TARDIS after the main adventure of The Empress of Mars and there's a slow reveal of who is standing at the TARDIS console. (Though also up there is the moment Bill takes to read the sign on the TARDIS door in Smile, and the Doctor's confession to the Vault (and Missy within) that he doesn't know what to do at the end of Extremis.)
Five words as to what qualities are essential to the Doctor: playful, friendly, intense, radical, vulnerable.
(They almost always ask this question, and asked it every episode last season? s8? but I think this time it’s a bit more about what to look for in the next Doctor/their characterisation. And I almost always abstain from ‘British’ because I feel the Doctor should be someone people relate to universally. But I especially avoided it because that can be taken as a ‘only white people please’ statement.)
(Anything else about the series, Doctor Who in general or anything else) aka the section where I went hard in for the “I loved Twissy and the Doctor/Master dynamic, please don’t forget it” and managed to fit everything in kind of (I’ve previously went well over and had to link to an outside document)
I kept up with the Doctor Who fan show this season and I greatly enjoyed the interviews and segments on it. They were great fun to watch and I really enjoyed seeing some of the creative team behind the series be jubilantly enthusiastic. I also liked the fact that someone had mentioned to the writers about how LGBTQ people have to continuously come out to the people they meet, and it was such a lovely and real detail to Bill's character that it was included. And, while I've really enjoyed the complex relationship between the Master and the Doctor since first experiencing that fractious friendship with Tennant and Simm, it's been utterly amazing to experience what Gomez and Capaldi have brought to their characters' relationship. It took me a while to warm up to Missy -I needed the Magician's Apprentice/Witch's Familiar to really appreciate her character and portrayal- but I loved that series 10 took the time to explore the Doctor and the Master's complicated love and relationship with each other.
I'm kind of sad I didn't save more s9 responses, because that s8 feedback was 'some were shit - some weren't' and 'fucking allow actors and writers more room to develop characters', 'also PS I love Michelle Gomez'.
Though it should be noted that I was a bit ehhh 'I'm not too sure about this make the Master a woman to stir up romance', since I'm pretty sure that as soon as I realised the Doctor said 'run' to her in s9 and the whole 'timelord relationships are complex' was brought up again I loved it and shipped it whole heartedly. Even more so when the Doctor brought Missy takeout and ultimately culminating in my Twissy meltdown in the past few weeks. (I've been reblogging a lot of gifsets and fic.