Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Category

Love and Monsters – instant reaction, no spoilers

That was a very odd episode. I’m not quite sure it worked but I couldn’t help but love it none the less.

Oh, and I was right. Basically, it was the novel Who Killed Kennedy (notice the name? Hmmm.) being played for laughs.

More later.

…and certainly not The Pit 😉

I said at the end of my review of the last Doctor Who episode: “I do have a bad feeling about part two though.”

I was right and wrong. Or to put it another it, The Satan Pit was better than I feared but not as good as I hoped.

The one thing that new Doctor Who is bad at is resolving cliffhangers and this season is even worse than last year. After all the tension at the end of last week, what happens? Jefferson shoots the Ood, the power comes back on, and nothing comes out of the pit. Oh dear.

Maybe at some point the contrast between the action in the base and the more philosophical conflict in the caves looked good (and is a reversal of the normal pattern) but it really didn’t work. The two halves needed to be tied together a bit better.

It was good to see proactive, thinking on her feet, Rose, she’s been missing for a while. Shooting the windscreen (or whatever you call that part of a rocket) wasn’t the smartest thing in the world but if you know that you’re going to die would you rather (a) die in a little while with the devil in the chair next to you all the time, or (b) die sooner but after having the statisfaction of killing the devil? I’d go for (b) too.

The Doctor’s leap of faith when he dropped off the end of the cable into the darkeness was logical within the confines of the story (what else could he do?) and in character for the tenth Doctor (who does tend to look before he leaps, and is a hypocrite for pointing out the same flaw in the humans) but still seemed like poor writing. “We have cool descending through the darkness whilst talking philosophy with Ida scene, and we have cool confront the devil scene, but how do we get from one to the other?”

So what do we make of the Doctor’s belief in Rose that allowed him to smash the vase? What exactly does he believe? Looked at coldly, it could only be the belief that Rose would want him to sacrifice her to save the universe. But that doesn’t really fit with the emotional tone of the scene. It was a good line but sadly doesn’t make much sense.

Bad science – I can forgive almost everything except the way the rocket swung round towards the black hole when the gravity funnel collapsed. Why? Yes it would be pulled into the black hole but what caused it to rotate so that it goes nose first rather than tail first?

Design work, performances and directing were all excellent, and the number of old series references raised a smile. If only the script had been just a bit tighter and the resolution made a bit more sense then this would have been an all time classic.

I think this was a very good 9/10

Next week looks like another rummage through the Virgin scrapbook. This time taking Who Killed Kennedy and playing it for laughs.

So last night and I went out for dinner with the weasel clan to hip and happening Sanderstead. we went to Modern Time which advertises itself as non-specific ‘Oriental Cuisine’. When I orderd the the ‘zesty orange beef’ from the menu the waitress felt obliged to warn me that it contained orange. Um, yes, I can read, I wasn’t just staring at the menu for fun for theleast five minutes and the word orange was quite clear and that’s why I ordered it. Whatever, as they say.

So once we got home we wanted to play Doctor Who back. Now this being the most important television program ever I had given it a nice generous fifteen minutes after the end, just in case. But, it goes and starts over twenty minutes late. Bastards. If you’re going to insist on showing all of the stupid football then cut some time off Graham Norton’s bloody dancing crap instead. Wankers, as I say.

(With apologies to and everyone else who got the reference out on the web before I did.)

I say this every week – but Here Be Spoilers

Sometime it’s scary to think about how long Doctor Who has been running. Sarah Jane Smith joined the series when it was already eleven years old, and also in the year I was born. Which is a roundabout way of getting to the points that (a) Liz Sladen looks great and (b) I don’t have any original memories of her time as a companion (and very few of the K9 years) though I have seen some of her stories on video/DVD and I have childhood memories of the K9 and Company spin off. So I fell somewhere between those of Russel T Davies’s generation who have a strong attachment to Sarah Jane and those who started last year and who have never heard of her.

So what did I make the grand reunion? Good stuff. Liz Sladen was note perfect as someone who’s been waiting thirty years (or twenty depending on your attitudes to UNIT dating – and if that means nothing to you then for your own sake don’t ask) for her man to walk back into her life. And David Tennant did well with his side of the deal – his joy at seeing her becoming guarded as he saw how he had affected her and was affecting Rose.

In fact this was the best performance from Tennant so far, except for the classroom scene at the start. I like him much better when he’s playing angry or mysterious or surprised. His bouncy puppy motormouth act is rather tiring, but apart from the aforementioned scene it wasn’t much in evidence this week. With the impact of this week’s glimpse at the past and future for the Doctor and Rose, and with Mickey joining the crew, I hope that the shake up will mean fewer “we’re great we are” scenes with Rose and more of this good stuff.

Those of us how have read the novels are used to companions having to deal with life after the Doctor (in fact Sarah Jane has featured in a number of books) but for people who just watch the TV (whether new or old) this was new territory – and exactly the sort of more emotional but still sci-fi tone that the new series is rightly aiming for.

Oh look, they had K9 and giant bat monsters and they blew a school up. How couldn’t anyone love all that?

(Interesting touch – the skin colour of the bat monsters matched the skin colours of their human forms.)

Can Tony Head act or not? It seems that he can, but there’s always a vague (sometimes not so vague) whiff of ham about his performances. From the way the producers were salivating in Confidential you would think that the scene in the swimming pool was the greatest piece of acting ever seen. It was okay, and by the standards of Doctor Who was even very good. And most importantly it was a Doctor – villain set piece of the sort that’s been rather lacking in the new series. More please, but don’t get too up yourselves.

Plot? Not as weak as New Earth, for example, but still rather simplistic and rushed with a few loose ends (the rats?). But really, this was an episode about the Doctor and his companions (all four of them!) and the plot just gave them something to run away from and blow up.

Another 9/10 (in fact I’m almost considering revising last week’s down to an 8).

Spoilers. Yes spoilers. Lots of them. You have been warned.

Right, let’s get the science bit out of the way. No not the moonlight and diamonds stuff, that’s just pure bollocks anyway. Queen Victoria did not, technically speaking, have haemophilia – it’s a recessive trait carried on the X chromosone and hence women only have it if both parents carried the defective gene. She was however a carrier and passed on the gene to her children. For her to have been “infected” in 1879, long after the birth of her children would pose a problem. Unless we want to believe that she went wolf and bit [1] all her children [2]. So it looks like the scratch was just a scratch after all.

The episode opens with probably the best fight sequence in the 43 year history of Doctor Who. Not actually a very hard task. But why were the monks wearing red? Didn’t it occur to the production team that everyone watching would think of those terrible BBC1 channel idents? And a good old fashioned scream at the end of the teaser – that would have been the episode one cliffhanger in old year following a whole load of wandering around on the moors and getting the various characters to bump into each other.

Good stuff – Ian Dury. Maggie Thatcher. Doctor James McCrimmon. Naked Rose (not naked enough for a large part of the audience). Nice Bad Wolf reference. Queen Victoria shooting the monk. Superb work from the supporting cast, especially Pauline Collins. The “books are the best weapons” line (borrowing heavily from the Buffy research scenes?).

So so stuff – The ‘not amused’ running gag. CGI Werewolf worked well in close up but moved a bit odd in long shot. The Torchwood links could have been, oh, about a hundred times, more subtle. Typically dodgy science.

Bad stuff – Not much.

So the Doctor has pissed off Queen Victoria now as well as Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. After destryoing his home planet is RTD now making him unwelcome anywhere and anytime in his adopted home?

The implication that the Doctor and Rose are getting too cocky and actively seeking out danger looks like it will be this year’s theme. Should be interesting to see where this goes. The things that niggle me about Tennant’s performance might be sorted out if he has to portray a Doctor who gets shaken up by a big mistake at some point.

I’m giving this one 9/10.

[1] – Ah, there was a line to this effect but I missed it first time around because I was talking about the haemophilia bit being rubbish.

[2] – Not all her children. Just those that had the haemophilia gene (a carrier like Queen Victoria has a 50% chance of passing it on to each child) – Princess Alice, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Leopold. And despite all the inbreeding amongst her descendents the gene has not reached the current royal family. Unless, as the Doctor implies, the werewolf DNA multiplies within the host body over the generations and stops manifesting itself as haemophilia and starts manifesting itself as lycanthropy, but in that case Victoria wouldn’t have been doing any biting and so we go round and round in circles…

New series, new Doctor, new squee levels from the fan girls, but was New Earth any good? Same old reviews here…

Yes, there are spoilers here. What were you expecting?

Um, no mister director person speaking on Confidential – no amount of special effects can make a windy and overcast Welsh clifftop look like paradise on (New) Earth. The CGI and other effects in this episode were top notch though.

As was the acting. Oh yes, Billie Piper had a chance to ham it wonderfully up and milked it for every drop, and then David Tennant joined in and raised it to camp factor ten. Ignoring the possession storyline, I liked Tennant’s take on the Doctor – playfullness with a dark undercurrent. It was recognisably the same person as before (most noticeably the same person as Ecclestone – as one would expect from the same writer) but with aspects brought to the fore. Which, of course, is just how it’s meant to be.

I said when I reviewed Rose I mentioned that Ecclestone had most in common with Troughton and Davison – actors who treated it as a character part – rather than with Pertwee or Baker who were more personality based. Tennant seems to be trying to walk the line between the two approaches and it will be interesting to see if he steps one way or the other as time goes by.

Now, the plot. Or plots. For 45 minutes there was a lot going on. Too much perhaps. Having two returning characters in two separate sub-plots plus the main threat of the week was perhaps too much for the season opener. Last year’s opener was equally packed but stayed focussed on Rose and her entrance into the Doctor’s world. This year there was no central focus and the whole thing felt rushed and confused.

So all in all, a nice round 7/10 I think

I see already that there was a fair amount of misdirection in the trailer shown at the end of The Christmas Invasion. We were expecting the kiss to be a plot point and here it is dismissed in episode one (double bluff? looks like there are more smoochies to come), but the line “bullets can’t stop it” was in amongst the Cybermen clips in the trailer, but now we see that it’s from next week’s episode instead.

Werewolf. Queen Victoria. And I’ll be totally knackered from a day at Salute. Bring it on.

Discussion last night about the new Doctor Who with someone who is a sci-fi geek but not a long term DW fan. Now we all know that the Cybermen came first but are they better?

Opinions please.

Update November 6th 2012: Thank you everyone for your comments over the last seven years. But it looks like an official answer is here in the form of the Assimilation2 comics. So I’m closing comments on this post.


As tagged by Littlebun here are ten things that make me happy.

  1. Lettice
  2. Being right about stuff
  3. Wales winning the Six Nations
  4. Learning new stuff
  5. Miniatures, especially dinosaurs and spaceships
  6. The Dalek Song
  7. Cats
  8. Drinking beer and talking rubbish with my friends
  9. Good books
  10. The sort of television that makes me jump and down with joy because it’s so funny and exciting and clever – for example Doctor Who, Firefly, Farscape

“Do they think we have nothing better to do until Christmas?” – pink_weasel

So very true.


Just watch it, don’t read bollocks like this on the interweb, just watch it. Doesn’t matter if it’s on BBC3 at 10:50 tonight or 7:00 tomorrow, or if you taped it, or of you borrow a tape off someone else, or even if you need to download it off the web, just watch it.

… if you’re the person who ended up on the SFSFW web site after searching for “centaur bestiality”.

The word ‘bestiality’ appears exactly once on the site, on the same page as the word ‘centaur’ though not at all close together. I’m afraid that the searcher would most likely have been disappointed.

Other search terms that somehow ended up at the SFSFW in the first half of June include:

  • “disadvantages of being vertically challenged”
  • “lap dancers devizes”
  • “why gamers should go to anime conventions”
  • “why does pooh have mr sanders on his door”
  • “inca drawing of dinosaur killing a man”

The worrying thing is that the society has such wide interests that all of these, except possibly the lap dancers (especially as GZG are not based anywhere near Devizes), are topics that we could cover.

But the number six term overall was “emperor dalek”, only just behind “troublesome trucks” and “bob naismith”. Will it be higher by the end of the month?