Straight Outta Gallifrey: The Timeless Children

Diane, Siskoid, and Ashford sink their teeth into Doctor Who Series 12's finale, The Timeless Children, where there's lots to discuss - the truth about Gallifrey, about the Doctor herself, the Master's motivations, and the future of the program itself! Check it out.

That's all at Straight Outta Gallifrey, under Episode 134: The Timeless Children

Thanks for listening!

3 comments:

daft said...

REPOST: *Spoiler Removed* Apologies, that'll teach me for attempting to rush through a late night posting. :P

Nice dissection of the storytelling issues in the finale, Siskoid :) I get the feeling Chibnall approached the story arc of S12 in a quite similar fashion to his work upon Broadchurch. You set a series of plates spinning at the start and then decide later on what is plot critical to the resolution. I'd felt clever discerning the killer in Broadchurch S1 early doors, only to later discover that the killer wasn't actually decided upon until the last minute, the actor in question being completely obvious to his/her status until they needed to film the ending.

That's the standard storytelling convention in typical whodunnit tales, where one accepts the necessity for a series red herrings (blind alleys) to be presented about mostly static characters, but in regular character drama, those developments can be intuited as plot critical/character moments only to be later dismissed as irrelevant, which can feel frustrating, jarring or even unfair. I think the blurring of those genre lines often lie at the heart of Chibnall's storytelling issues this season. One expects a certain degree of redundancy when servicing/developing a mystery plot, but looking back and seeing so much run time was devoted to servicing these blind alleys doesn't feel satisfying.

It has been mooted that Chibnall has a five-year plan, I think the revelations as played out in the finale probably have a number of twists and turns to go before anyone should consider them anything close to cannon. I get the feeling Chibnall knew he could easily pivot away from said revelations next season, if they were universally decried, but given that they seem to have elicited a generally positive reaction amongst the notoriously conservative fan base, I imagine he will likely push on with that vision again next season.

Siskoid said...

It's really flying by the seat of your pants if you're the writing team - sometimes it works (Battlestar Galactica was very improvisational), sometimes it doesn't (I didn't care for the Broadchurch solution) - but now that you say it, it may be how Chibnall was writing this, I dunno.

daft said...

Curiously, I just rewatched J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter And Me documentary where preparing to write the first novel she wrote meticulous notes upon the world, even down to listing each of Harry's fellow class mates names, magical ability level and house. Although as a GM/creative I really like to have a solid idea of what I'm presenting, I'd imagine very few creatives meticulously plan in advance, rather than just run through the basic dynamics of what they intend to present to see whether it structurally sound or not, and then simply enjoy the self discovery of writing it. Despite the invocation of another Doctor Who 'masterplan', I imagine Chibnall isn't too welded to it, it's merely just the basic direction he intends to head in. It always makes me laugh when people marvel at a creatives 'long term planning', when it's often a case of 'picking up sticks', latterly understanding the significance of minor detail, expanding it to become a later crucial plot point. There's a certain kind of genius in it, but not quite what people usually think.

I know as a GM I've been amused/amazed by a player's novel interpretation of a presented plot and quickly assessed whether it contravenes any of the preexisting plots points established and then simply ran with their interpretation. When you are dealing with the 'reality' sci-fi/fantasy tales there are so potential outs for the creative that it often feels disingenuous to afford them such plaudits. I personally stopped wasting my time trying too hard to discern the story arc this season when both alternative universes, dream states and the matrix were invoked, the rug can be pulled away at any time Chibnall deigns.

 

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