spock: logic is sexy

Dr Who and an unrelated search for an artist who's taking commissions

(1) If I started with Torchwood, is liking Dr. Who just a lost cause? I am starting to feel that it is like trying to jump from the darkness and seriousness of Angel into the comparatively bright and cheerful world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is the problem just that I tried to start Dr. Who from the beginning of the new series and that plastic monsters are just too campy? Would I be happier if I picked a more recent season? I was feeling optimistic about that possibility, so I selected a random episode from the middle of the series, but it turned out to be about a woman who gave birth to a giant bee and abandoned it, but it came back posing as a priest and stung some of her friends.

(2) I am thinking of commissioning a custom journal header for myself as an early Christmas present. I'd really like a sort of mural with pictures of my favorite sci-fi ladies photoshopped in, kind of like what we have for where_no_woman except multi-fannish. I feel committed to actually paying for this because I want to use it for awhile, so I'd like to be sure I get something I really love. Any recommendations?

1. Gaila (ST XI)
2. Number One (ST TOS)
3. Kara Thrace (BSG)
4. Princess Leia (Star Wars)
5. Chinese live-action Mulan
6. Sharon Agathon (BSG)
7. Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)
8. Toshiko Sato (Torchwood)
9. Anya (BtVS)
10. Lilah (Angel)

Hm. That might be a bit crowded. *will contemplate more*
Doctor Who is definitely a lot lighter (on the surface, anyway) than Torchwood- it's supposed to be an all-ages show, while TW is intended for adults. Personally, I prefer the fifth season of Who, when Steven Moffat took over as showrunner- I feel like he has more respect for his audience's intelligence, and he's much better at subtlety. I'd suggest trying "The Beast Below" (5.02) and seeing if you like it- it's never failed to reduce me to tears at the ending.
I totally second starting with the Eleventh Doctor, also because Amy is made of win and love and shiny and gets to be heroic and kickass and insecure and wibbly and also smart and capable and day-saving and she also gets to make mistakes and not be crucified for them.

(I love Amy a lot, can you tell?)
You are probably a good person to ask about this. The idea of capable-of-regenerating-but-perpetually male doctor and his perpetually female "companion" is really skeeving me out. Should it? Like, does this companion lady perform a function other than keeping the doctor company? Why must he always have her? Is he like James Bond, cycling through "Who girls" every time the series needs some spicing up?
Nope. This Time Lord happens to be male; there are other Gallifreyans who are female, and the Companions are definitely characters in their own rights. (There are also several male Companions throughout the 40-year-course of the series. [Eleven is accompanied by Amy and Amy's male Fiance Rory.])
Good to know. Perhaps I have my gender equality radar set to be a bit too sensitive. Lord knows I'd be a sad fangirl if I'd refused to watch ST XI, and it is not exactly un-problematic. I don't know if any of the Dr. Eleven eps have hit Netflix yet. Perhaps I'll just wait until they show up. (Also, had seen Rory's name floating about fandom and assumed it was female)
Rory is both a dude and adorable, if not conventionally attractive. And he is a nurse! ♥

Since series 5 wrapped up, it should be available to netflix sometime soonish.

(I also love Martha Jones and Donna Noble as companions, because they're awesome and badass, even if it is increasingly difficult to take the aliens of the week with any degree of seriousness at all.)
Yeah, I kind of resent Martha for wandering into my Torchwood and taking for granted that everyone who watched the series knew who she was and why we should love her...but that is probably a grudge I should hold against the writers rather than the character.
I think ... try to give Martha a chance when she's in her own element? Because she kicks much butt, without the narrative overcrowding you'd get in a Torchwood cameo.

(I, um, feel kindof the exact same way about Torchwood characters getting in my Doctor Who. "WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE AND WHY ARE YOU HEEEEERE????" is the sum of the reaction, so I do understand it it a bit.)
AMY IS MADE OF LOVE AND CUPCAKES. True story. Amy and Rory and Eleven and River- oh my god, I LOVE THEM AAAAAAALL.
I think so! I grabbed it from someone who hadn't credited it, so I figure it's up for sharing.
taraljc is a professional graphic artist. You could ask if she's taking commissions at the moment?
I had the same reaction when I first started watching. But the end of Season One blew me away. The whole five-show arc -- The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Boomtown, Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways -- is some of the best TV I've ever seen. It's funny and tragic and sexy all at the same time. Start with The Empty Child... fuck, I'm so obsessed with the end of S1 it's not even funny.
Also, I don't think it's really possible to understand some parts of Torchwood without having at least seen the end of S1, the end of S2, the end of S3 and the end of S4. If you want I can give you a list of key eps!
Yeah, I feel like I understood the series, but at the same time, I know there's stuff I'm missing. Are there any other episodes you'd recommend?
S1 five-episode arc I mentioned above: The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Boomtown, Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways

Jack is not in S2 but here are the most important episodes:

S2.2 "Tooth and Claw" is not as good as the ones that follow, but it explains the historical origin of Torchwood.

S2.5 and 2.6 "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel". Pete's World episodes. No Jack, but it's pretty important for Rose, Mickey (I love Mickey's development and transformation) and introduces the modern Cybermen.

S2.12 and 2.13 "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday". The Fall of Torchwood One.

S3.3 "Gridlock". Brilliant. Also has the Face of Boe, which is very important for Jack.

S3.8 and 3.9 "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood". Great, terrifying, also nice Martha development.

S3.10 "Blink" 3.10 Perhaps the most widely recommended Doctor Who episode, but I think it might be a bit overrated. Still awfully good.

S3.11 "Utopia" S 3.12 "The Sound of Drums" S3.13 "Last of the Time Lords" AW HELL YEAH JACK IS BACK! This has awesome relationship development between Jack and the Doctor, a fantastic role for Martha, fucking terrifying mass atrocities perpetrated on the globe... this is a pretty controversial episode arc in a lot of ways, but I loved it, and the role of the Jones family just broke my heart. CRUCIAL from a Torchwood perspective. And this is where Jack disappeared to at the end of S1. He runs to the Doctor... the man he's been waiting 140 years for... JUMPS ON THE TARDIS... and the Doctor just pulls the switch and vanishes into the Vortex, leaving Jack clinging to the outside of the Tardis. WHAT A DICK! And Jack just instantly forgives him as soon as he revives, because he loves the Doctor so much.

S4.9 "Silence in the Library" and S4.10 "Forest of the Dead"
These are some of the best S4 episodes, show Donna in a fascinating light and introduce River Song.

S4.11 "Turn Left" This is another most-recommended DW episode and I can't disagree in any way. It's brilliant. I think it showcases one of RTD's huge strengths... the way he can weave together class, politics, and family to create really rich, moving stories. It's also got a small but beautiful Torchwood note.

S4.12 "The Stolen Earth" and S4.13 "Journey's End" These are not as good as the S3 episode ending arc. There's too much stuff crammed into the episodes, and some of it goes way over the top, even for Doctor Who. Nevertheless, it's still pretty damn good. It also has Jack, Gwen and Ianto (Gwen and Ianto appear for a small bit in the beginning).

Wow! Thank you so much for going to the trouble to type all of this out. My Netflix will get a work out this weekend!
i love the first of the new seasons, it really doesn't stay cheesy. 9 is a great Doctor, he's very tortured and trying so very hard to see the joy in life.

Doctor Who is one of those shows where there is a lot of joy and fun, but a lot of heartbreak as well.

Torchwood is sexy and wonderful, but emotionally devastating at times.

i would really say to watch Doctor Who and Torchwood in the order that they appeared. it creates a deeper understanding of characters and events.
I've not yet watched either Dr. Who or Torchwood, but my sister has been on my case for two years about watching Dr. Who and our discussions have used the BtVS/AtS comparison quite a lot. I finally got intrigued enough to purchase the first season of Torchwood but haven't gotten it in the mail yet. Now I'm nervous that it will ruin me for Dr. Who. I think I would've had a hard time if I'd watched Angel before Buffy. *ponders* My sister, whom I adore and respect FULLY on all matters of fandomy greatness, is a hardcore Dr. Who fan. If that helps at all... probably not.

And can I just say that your list of awesome female characters is AMAZING. I love the variety and (other than the Torchwood ladies, as I've not yet watched that show) I approve SUPER HEARTILY of everyone on this list. If I had artistic skills of note, I'd offer to help you myself. As is, I've nothing. Wow, this really is a rather pointless comment. *facepalm* I'm sorry. /rambling
It is not a pointless comment because I like it when people write me long rambly comments. In fact, the whole reason I post entries is that I get lonely for things in my inbox :)
I would start with the Christopher Eccleston episodes (he was the 9th Doctor) because those are the ones where Jack is introduced. A number of them are pretty silly, what with the plastic aliens and the comparatively light themes. But there are a couple of gems, like "The Empty Child" (where Jack makes his first appearance) and its sequel "The Doctor Dances" (which I love passionately). Eccleston is my favorite of the three most recent Doctors. Oh, and Tosh has a tiny cameo in one ep. Can't remember which one, unfortunately.

I fell out of love with DW toward the end of David Tennant's run, and never watched the most recent season in its entirety. I just stopped liking the Doctor as a character.
I can't really say much about Torchwood, but I'm a Doctor Who fan. I started with season 1 and plodding through (multitasking while watching), and I would say that the first episode which really grabbed me and made me take notice was s01e08 Father's Day. Then the show had my complete attention. This was followed immediately by two good creepy episodes (ep 9/10, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, which also introduces Jack), and by the end of season one, I absolutely loved the show.

But I'm not sure if the Father's Day ep would have as much an emotional impact without building a little bit of rapport with the characters.

Also, it really depends on what you're watching it for. Imo, the episodes kinda fall into three buckets, ones that focus on characters and more emotional arcs, ones that focus the story concepts and are genuinely cool spooky, and ones that are kinda meh in general (like the Agatha Christie Bee one). Oh, and I guess, the finale arcs are generally good. If you want specific episode recs, I would be happy to point you to some.
Personally, the companions are what make it for me rather than the Doctor. So I'd suggest starting with David Tennant's second season, with Freema Agyeman, because Martha Jones is amazing, cool and competent (and an actual doctor!), and even though she does fall in love with the Doctor, which at first I was meh about, she emphatically does not let that run her life and idk, SHE IS AWESOME AND I LOVE HER TO BITS. (And you already met her in Torchwood, anyway, right? Been a while since I watched it. She is much better in the show, believe me.) Other than that, I'd second azn_jack_fiend's episode recs, since those are the best episodes in the series. And if you're looking for awesome women in the show, season 5 with Amy and River Song is pretty great, although I don't care much for the Eleventh Doctor. (Insert Kanye shrug.)
I'd also note that the Christmas specials that were made while they were still making the series with Tennant are definitely plot relevant/within the continuity timeline. Tennant's first "episode" is a Special, another one introduces Donna.
Then there are a few which were made to follow the series. The one where the Time Lords come back definitely needs to be watched in continuity.
But there are also a few (one easter one I think also) that stand alone. Of those I'd recommend "Waters on Mars", which I think is as dark and scary as they'd allow Who to get (for certain values of dark). It's the doctor without a (steady) companion (there's a women who kind of becomes his companion for the movie and she is awesome! and brave!) and knowing he's going to die soon (regenerate) and kind of pissed off about it and kind of broken.
My two penn'orth: DW series one (with Christopher Eccleston) - gets better towards the end. Series two (with David Tennant) - personally, I can take it or leave it. I can't remember any stand-out eps, and Ten and Rose didn't work for me. Series three (Martha Jones) - fucking hell yeah! I WILL LOVE MARTHA JONES TILL THE END OF TIME! *cough* So, yeah, that was good. Series four (Donna Noble) - kinda a missed a lot; not that keen on Catherine Tate, though she was good; still wept over the season finale. Series five (Eleven and Amy and Rory, oh my!) - so, so much love. I'd almost just start from there, tbh. My flatmate and I watched it as it was on, then dled it and watched the whole series in one go and loved it just as much. Awesome x 58,000.

(Also, yes, watch Blink, it's brill, though note it's a DW-lite ep.)