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  1. #1
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    Default Rose vs The TV Movie

    The TV Movie was not really a huge success at bringing back Doctor Who. Rose was.

    What do you think Rose got right that the TV Movie didn't and vice versa? What was the TV Movie's legacy to the new series (if there was one) and which do you prefer and why?

    Si xx

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  2. #2
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    Good questions.

    The main difference is that the TV Movie threw a load of information at you in the first 10 minutes and also made some assumptions that you knew a bit about the setup of the programme, the TARDIS etc.
    Rose on the other hand opened on the the companion and assumed we knew nothing about the setup. We found things at as Rose found them out. That made it more accessible of the two.

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    I don't know if the TV Movie got as much wrong as everyone thinks. It's certainly slow to introduce McGann, but once it does it kicks into gear. It's entertaining enough and is resolutely American without losing it's English identity; as a Pilot for a TV Series, it sets out it's stall in terms of style and tone very well.

    Although it could have done with a proper monster to be honest. The true form of the Master wasn't strong enough as a scary alien. Although it's true that 'Slimey CGI Snake That Pretends To Be Human' did turn up to much greater success in The Eleventh Hour...
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  4. #4
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    I think "Rose" encapsulated more of what people wanted in its runtime than the TV Movie did - and the latter was twice the length.

    Namely, "Rose" had a fairly pacy and simple story, lots of monsters, an identifiable companion character and a good promise of exciting future adventures.

    The TV Movie has no monsters, an older and quite likeable if very different companion character to most viewers and lots of annoying technobabble in place of the plot. It's a shame the story seems to be set in very unexciting, uninspiring San Fransisco, where-as Rose has the feeling that its visit to London is a breif stopover to something more exciting. The TV Movie ends as if it just stops! Grace is left behind and the Doctor is just pottering round in the TARDIS again. It's as if they didn't WANT to head off to new adventures, let alone promise them to us.

    Si.

  5. #5
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    The TV mvie tried too hard to be both a continuation and a new start, and emphasised the continuation too much. It started off by assuming that the viewer understood that the huge gothic control room and the police box whizzing through space were related, gave horrible exposition diaogue to the Doctor ('he demanded that I, the Doctor, a rival Time Lord'; 'A Time Lord has thriteen lives, and the Master had used all of his'; and 'The TARDIS is my ship that carries me through time and space. T-A-R-D-I-S, it stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space' to name a few of the more obvious examples), introduced us to the Seventh Doctor with a voiceover by someone who says he is the Doctor but clearly is not the person we're seeing on screen, then twenty minutes in turns him into someone else.

    It also commits a cardial sin in making the Doctor the point of focus and identification. We meet him and hear from him before anyone else arrives on the scene. Other characters don't get a look in until he gets shot and is rendered unconscious, and then we have to accept he is turning into someone else. He's an alien. How can we identify with him? All the post-regeneration stuff is hung on Grace as our point of identification, so we should have met her first.

    It has a lot of good stuff in it (Paul McGann is outstanding, for one), but for something that is supposed to be re-launching something that had not been seen for seven years, and which had to secure a whole new audience in the US (where the annoucement that 'Doctor Who is back is never going to generate quite the same excitement as it does here in the UK) to guarantee success and a future series, it catered too much to the people who had been eagerly awaiting its return rather than to new viewers who might enjoy it and follow a new series.

    Rose, on the other hand, gets the focus right. Rose is our point of identification. We get to know her, and we meet the Doctor as she does. We hear nothing about him before she does (whether direct from him or from Clive). We don't see the TARDIS interior before she does. We don't find out that the TARDIS moves before she does. We don't know there's an alien invasion going on before she does. He doesn't turn into soeone else haflway through. We also don't get chunks of exposition, even when she walks with him from her flat and tries to wheedle information from him he still answers in cryptic and tantalising lines rather than dumping the whole backstory on her (and us).

    The TV Movie is a reasonable continuation and a terrible way to make a new start (though infinitely better than some of the suggestions that were floating around in the early 90s!). Rose is a much better way to restart the series, with just enough in it to make it clear that this is still the same show we used to love, but nothing that would aienate anyone coming to the show for the first time. You don't watch Rose and feel you need to have watched any 'classic' Who beforehand, whereas the TV Movie definitely makes you think you're missing something if it's your first time watching the show.

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    The key point about "Rose" is that there is no regeneration.

    Regeneration was invented entirely to explain why there was a sudden change of lead actor. The TV Movie was a brand new product, yet they had a regeneration to explain away a casting change from seven years before! In fact, the whole story is based around it! So it completely misses the point of what regeneration is for.

    Si.

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    Maybe the idea of the regeneration was to have the Doctor discover who he was at the same time we discover who he is. An approach that may well have been more successful in America at a time when there weren't shades of grey (and Eccleston is all shades of grey unless you KNOW he's the Doctor and KNOW he's a good guy) in lead roles on television. They liked their heroes to be obvious and clean cut with no secrets. The 8th Doctor is seemingly desperate to tell absolutely everyone everything about himself (including the audience).

    Except none of that is true - there was a regeneration because the producer wanted one to please the fans. Dramatic themes and devices were irrelevant.
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    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

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  8. #8
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    Exactly, Si!

    The TV Movie might have worked as it was if shown on BBC 1 in 1990, or 1991, but not by 1996 when it relied on a whole new audience.

    More broadly, notice that the new series did not even show or mention past Doctors until well after the concept of regeneration was established, again by the requirement to recast the leading man.

  9. #9

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    I think the main reason for the success of Rose was that it already had 12 episodes made to follow it. I think if it had been a one off like the TVM, and that no subsequent series had been made, it would probably have been regarded as a bit of pointless fluff in just the same light.

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    I think the Seven Year Hitch documentary on the new Revisitations set puts forward the idea that the TVM was to have a new Doctor discovering who he is at the same time as the audience, only this got botched by doing it in the most crass, info-dumpy way.

    And as Lissa said, just putting in a regeneration to keep the fans happy. Bad idea- never do anything to keep the fans happy.

    The problem with the TVM is that there's never any sense of discovery- it's all presented for us, we never find anything out, it's just told, not shown. The first glimpse of the TARDIS should have been when Chang Lee stumbles inside. In fact that scene is quite like the one in Rose, only the viewer has already seen inside the Police Box, so it's only a shock for the character, not the viewer. Likewise the regenration is so foreshadowed, it doesn't come as any surprise. It should have been a momentuous moment, but it was bungled.

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    And you'd think that the Daleks would be a weapon a new Doctor Who production would savour unveiling... the TV Movie throws them away in a voiceover at the beginning then doesn't mention them again!

    Si.

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    It could have been so much worse if Doctor Who and his uncle Borusa went on a quest to find the Doctor's Dad, Ulyssess.
    Power up the crystals, Cardinal!

    Si xx

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    I'd gree with ZH in that I don't think a direct comparison is very fair - Rose exists with RTD knowing he has another 12 episodes to get across all the other bits of DW Lore he wants to include; the TVM is supposed to drum up enough enthusiasm just to get the possibility of further epsiodes to be considered.

    I agree there are some awful plotting and story decisions made, but then many US pilots look poor compared the the subsequent series (ST - TNG, and B5 to name but 2). Worse, the TVM is trying to launch a new series where we know nothing, it's trying to relaunch a series where its fans know a lot (and look at how over 4 and a bit series RTD went from dropping vague hints and not giving much concern to continuity to explaining everything down to the last dot).

    The TVM needs a good monster to hold up a story for its full length - without it that's why there's so much infodumping. Rose, OTOH, wastes a great monster by having it as wallpaper to introducing Rose and her introduction to the Doctor. And looking back I can see plenty of the seeds of the things I don't like about the New Series which niggle just as much as some of the flaws in the TVM.

    BTW, I'm going to be VERY interested to see how the new Torchwood pans out, since it'll be in very much the same position as the TVM - re-launching a series which already has a mythology.
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  14. #14
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    I'd gree with ZH in that I don't think a direct comparison is very fair - Rose exists with RTD knowing he has another 12 episodes to get across all the other bits of DW Lore he wants to include;
    All the more reason why in the single episode they had they should have included a monster and a decent plot!

    Even if taken as a slice of '90's US Television the TV Movie has some awfully crass moments. The dreadful "Om!" bit, the weird emphasis given to a Berrillium Clock which is never really explained or makes sense, the extremely odd atmopshere generated by having Madam Butterfly as the music to the dramatic death of the lead character (some people will say it's beautiful or something, but that music wasn't designed to score the scene, as it effectively does, and just sounds weird), the frankly embarassing McCoy death screams, the goofing around in the Morgue...

    Si.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    All the more reason why in the single episode they had they should have included a monster and a decent plot!

    Si.
    Which I agree.

    But the original statement raised was:

    The TV Movie was not really a huge success at bringing back Doctor Who. Rose was.
    I would disagree that Rose on its own did - in fact I'd give far more credit to the Series one Trailer for generating new love for DW than Rose as a single episode.
    Bazinga !

  16. #16
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    I agree with much of the above - in hindsight, the first big mistake in the TVM is the regeneration. I say "in hindsight" because at the time as a bit of a fanboy I would have considered it unthinkable NOT to have the regeneration from the seventh to eighth Doctor.

    The only thing I can think to add is that Rose has a lot more pace, and perhaps more importantly humour - there are some good LOL moments in Rose which, IMHO, engage a casual audience in such a way that they come away from the episode having been both excited, but also entertained. The TV Movie doesn't have any really good 'funny bits' in it, it's at times a little bit po-faced.

    That said, for all its many faults I absolutely adore the TV Movie. If it had gone to series, we wouldn't be having this discussion because history would have judged it a success.

    One other thing is that the TVM does sort of 'bleed into' the series in 2005 - there's the obvious visual of the time column now being connected to the ceiling, which is a lovely nod; but there's also the notion of a Doctor who can at least conceive of romance.

    So, as Harry Hill might say, I like Rose, but then I like the TV Movie. But which is better...?

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    One of the surprising things about the new series is how much it's influenced by the TV Movie. You'd think, given what a dissapointment the TV Movie was, that it would have gone to pains to avoid being anything like it, but the non-futuristic/dimly lit control room, the time rota going up through the ceiling, the Doctor kissing his companion... it all came from the TVM.

    Si.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    the Doctor kissing his companion... it all came from the TVM.
    Or 'The Curse of Fatal Death'...

    Along with the fart gags, maybe that influenced RTD's Who?
    Last edited by Perry Vale; 8th Mar 2011 at 5:00 PM.
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    Just thinking about the TV Movie then got me wondering whether it would work better if the order of events was altered and it was edited differently. So Rose style we actually follow the story Grace and are introduced to the Doctor that way. You could still have the regeneration but instead of being told about it in the opening credits it would be a strange and surprising event to non fan viewers. Then all the other details could be revealed in flashback.

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    After doing everything else on the Revisitations set, I couldn't put it off any further and finally rewatched 'Doctor Who/The Movie/The TV Movie/The Television Movie/The 1996 Film/The Enemy Within/The Backdoor Pilot' last night (& also did the commentary with Sylv & McGann).

    It's a story that of course has been over-analysed to death over the years, and I do start to feel the regeneration aspect has been overplayed by too many, who are perhaps not dissecting it from a genuine viewer's standpoint. I feel that part of the TVM works fine, and is easy to follow for a new viewer, it's well directed in this respect. I think that where it starts to fall down is as soon as the Eye Of Harmony comes in to play, and then it becomes a procession of techno-babble.

    Having said that, it's always an enoyable 90 minutes, although the half-human aspect still to me seems like it's biggest misjudgement, especially seeing the documentary and hearing about the BBC's efforts to "protect" the brand.

    Seagal's biggest mistake in my view, is probably vanity, and insisting that it was shown first in America (or allowing it to be). If he had the desire to sell a successful show to American networks, he should have done that by having a successful show to begin with, not an untested one. If it had aired in the UK first, gotten 9m or more, he would have been in a much better bargaining position with any nervous tv execs where a show can be shelved overnight. Although I guess to be fair, the BBC weren't bending over backwards to help in that respect.
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    Thats the thing isn't it? Its always considered a flop but actually did amazingly well in the UK. Wasn't there midnight video signings and things?

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    Also I have my new test for whether an episode is good or not. Its called the 5 year test and woks like this. I watch the epsiode with William, who is 5 years old. There's always some aspects of an episode that he doesn't follow or get. If I can explain whats happening to him then it passes. If I struggle to explain whats happening to him then it fails.
    This failed the William Test at precisely the point Perry says earlier.

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    The winding time back so none of it ever happened is still absolutely rubbish. Anti-plastic is very clever compared to that plot device!

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    The winding time back so none of it ever happened is still absolutely rubbish. Anti-plastic is very clever compared to that plot device!

    Si xx
    Last of the Timelords wound back an entire year.

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    At least that made some kind of sense. Everyone in the world was wound back apart from the people on the Valiant, so the Master never let the Toclafaine through the crack.

    In the TV Movie, they wind back time but don't seem to change anything. It was all OK for no apparent reason.
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