Another interesting episode, with lots of great ideas, but not necessarily adding up to the sum of their parts...
Surprising we haven’t had more of this type of 'Amy and Rory' perspective on a story, and being their penultimate episode, something we won't see again. However the story nicely made space for lots of spin off stories (Zygons included). I loved the idea of mankind needing culling to prevent it reaching plague proportions, with the cubes like slug pellets - although think more could have been made of this - when is Doctor Who going to get serious with environmental issues and mankind destroying this planet, rather than the Doctor blindly defending humanity, as he does a lot in this new series.
But we like Rory's dad. He's good. I almost felt at the end I wanted Amy and Rory to stay behind and dad to come along instead. Certainly Smith's childish Doctor needs a father figure... too much silly messing about going on for my liking, although he is very good at it.
And why is it that UNIT stories are always a bit of a let down? I'm glad we didn't have to get introduced to a role call of sergeants and captains, and yes, nice nod with having the Brig's daughter as the new special advisor, but I'm not sure I'm looking forward to more UNIT stories being developed - in their day they were great, but these days it's too familiar.
And those cubes... think they missed a trick but not showing us the Doctor trying to break into one, would have been better than showing him painting a fence and doing the hoovering, and more relevant to the story.
For me this wasn't the big impact episode I was looking for. Yes, it mixed up a load of ideas, mentioned zygons and had UNIT, but it felt like a script pulled from the RTD recipe book for new series earth-bound Who, utilising too many of the tricks of the Tennant years, including a wave of cameos, which I must admit did make me chuckle, especially Alan Sugar, who is such a plonker - to the point were the original elements of the story got lost in the mix. The Shakri are a nice idea, but looked too much like Darth Vader without his mask from the orginal Star Wars flims. Good job they give up easily hey.
And what a coincidence that Rory's hospital was one of the focal points for the cubes, but I'm not sure about doctors in masks with big needles. Come on, it's too easy, and it's all been used before, mostly by Moffat himself.
And the resolution at the end, with a bit of sonic and some frankly unbelievable cardiac therapy bringing everybody back to life, was just too much. And why was the ship colleting humans from the hospital, and the two doctors who had unwisely stuffed their cubes in their mouths? And the 'power of three'? I didn't really get that. Sort of excluded Rory's dad, and after he'd spent so much time watching his cube.
Damn, it's even making last week's episode look better, which is no good sign. Let hope next week gives us a much needed boost - but will it be enough to stop the slide in the ratings?
Well, as with last week, I wasn't expecting much from this episode, but was pleasantly surprised. Well produced and acted, it was entertaining, without hitting the cringe or slapstick buttons, and actually dealt with some serious themes.
My one big dislike, and it they used twice in the plot... I mean, would this supposedly high-tech terminator cyborg really not be able to tell its alien quarry from the humans he was hiding among, and be fooled by someone dressing up in his hat, or later by everyone with bits of face paint? It was just a bit too weak - couldn't they have come up with something clever like a good old fashioned 'reverse the polarity of the neutron flow' home made device, using the (other) alien Doc's primative electricity rig (I mean, what was the point of that is it's not used in the story?), or ship, or something, to disrupt the cyborg's computer recognition... or perhaps they shoud have tricked him into getting drunk - I'd have thought that would be a good way to deal with a cyborg. In fact the whole thing could have revolved around the bar - we could have have had Amy doing the can-can, and Rory could have done, um, something. Anything.
If I had to re-write this story (a useful mental exercise in terms of playing with ideas and generally faffing around, so good Sunday fodder), I'd be tempted to have made the barrier surrounding the town a force-field set up by the alien Doc to protect himself, but with everyone thinking the cyborg controls it. Then our Doctor and accompanying Ponds, trapped inside with everyone else, could have uncovered the truth, and the alien Doc. The town would want to lynch him, and our Doctor could save him from that and then deliver him to the cyborg, or whatever. Not sure I liked the 'noble death' in suicide, think he should have tried to escape and got blown up by a booby-trap set by the cyborg, but anyway. And I wouldn't have kiled Issac, I mean he was like a good man. And after the cyborg accidentally shot Issac, why didn't he just try again whilst the Doc was just standing there hey?
But other than all that, it was fun, and better than last week although I doubt the ratings will reflect that. I think the season needs to really pick up from here until the half-season break.
I'm an old fashioned kind of guy. I'm only just beginning to pick up the odd Classic Who stories on DVD - I collected them all on video (well, nearly all, at some cost!), before I realised that video really was dead. Rather than buy all the DVDs new, I've decided to give a home to orphaned copies from charity and other second hand shops. All good fun as you never know what you will find and when. Well I was in good old WHSmith the other day, and found The Beginning box set for a tenner. Well I couldn't resist. I've had my eye on this for a while (always a sucker for a box set) and the main reason being the Marco Polo recon. So I'm happily watching all these old episodes and extras, which I probably haven't seen for about ten years, before my video machine broke.
And aren't DVD's great. All the extras and bits and bobs, love 'em. But what am I going to do with the huge box of bloody VHS tapes I have! They are worthless in value these days, and I have contemplated throwing them away and just keeping the paper cover slips, in order to save a bit of space, but just can't bear to part with them all. I mean, what if everyone threw away their videos? Then the ones that are left will be worth more! So come on guys, time to throw out those old videos!
But back to the box set, as this is really just an excuse to post the graphic artwork of the boxset cover, and whilst we are at it, we may was well show you the individual covers as well! I know it's old (released in 2006) but it's new to me. That's the beauty of time travel!
And I'm enjoying the Marco Polo recon. Love that story, I just get so sad that we've lost these old Who episodes! Although I think they've cut too much out of this recon and lost a lot of the magic... shame they couldn't have made it two 30 min, or even 45 min episodes.
Damn, I'm gonna have to go and buy Keys of Marinus now...
Radio Times has some 'exclusive' photos from when Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor bumped into dinosaurs in 1970s (or 80s, depending where you place the UNIT timeline). View them here.
Shame they've published them in black and white - I'm sure I've seen colour versions of some of these.
And whilst we are at it, wasnt that story also a huge missed opportunity to have a group of Silurians bringing the dinosaurs back to the future? I guess maybe it was originally planned as such and for some reason or other they moved away from the idea. You know, sometimes I think I should be making Doctor Who.
And here's a short YouTube clip rom the UK DVD release:
Only just catching up with things from last week still - here's some comments by Matt Smith from an interview in Empire magazine (Oct 2012) on how the rigours of filming Doctor Who have aged him. I did think that during last nights episode actually! All three main actors looked tired, and it's only the second episode of the new season! His comments sparked rumours that he was quitting sooner rather than later, denied by all involved.
Here's some choice bits taken from the Daily Telegraph (I havent found the full interview online yet):
In an interview with Empire Magazine ahead of the launch Smith said he could not sustain the role for as long as Tom Baker - who played the Doctor for seven years.
He said the schedule - which sees him work 12 hour days for 10 months of the year - had aged him "savagely".
"There are no days off unless your leg has fallen off. Me, Karen (Gillan who plays Amy Pond) and Arthur (Darvill, Amy's husband Rory) would see our skin deteriorate through the shoot.
"You see yourself looking slowly more bedraggled. I have aged savagely.
"But all for a good cause. I wouldn't change it for the world. There are burdens, but these are small crosses to bear for getting on set."
Smith was chosen as the Doctor following the departure of David Tennant, who left after three full series of the show and at the height of his popularity.
In the interview, Smith added: "Tom Baker did it for seven years but he did it in different circumstances.
"I couldn’t do this for seven years. I’d be run into the ground.
"And your life outside of it is ... I don’t know. I hope I don’t sound pessimistic.
"It’s just I don’t think my body or my life or the people around me could sustain it."
After the excitement of last week I wasn't expecting much from this episode (I think the second and third stories of recent seasons have been poor), and whilst it rolled along quite happily, this ultimately won't be remembered for much other than a silly romp with dinosaurs, on a spaceship. It sort of stinks of Moffat throwing the poor writer the ingredients (dinosaurs, on a spaceship, oh, and Rory's Dad), and the guy has to come up with his best plan of bringing it together. The backstory, a Silurian 'ark', was a great idea. Except it wasn't as good as it should have been, wasted without the Silurians. If the ship had fake beaches why not other fake environments where the dinosaurs would have been much more at home. And without their Silurian masters the barriers could be breaking down... And why not give us a handfull of Silurian survivors into the mix as well, hiding out in different environs? So many missed opportunities. Could have been an epic two parter.
And how long had those dinosaurs been on that ship? Are we talking of the numbers necessary to maintain genetically viable breeding populations? Surely the Silurians, as experts in hibernation, would have put the big reptiles to sleep for the journey... much easier... and talking of reptiles, how exactly did those dinosaurs thermo regulate and maintain body temperature? Silly little things I know, but a good script could have covered these. And if the Doctor drops the dinosaurs off at the end on some planet 'Siluria' somewhere, what a missed opportunity to give the Silurians, if we'd had a couple, a new home planet and story concept for their furture development and use. One the biggest problems with them is the lack of potential for storylines...
I fear the Silurians are being slowly turned into a 'Star Trek' style supporting alien race and will pop up more and more. Shame, I was hoping we would have a break from green reptilian monsters before bringing back the Ice Warriors... but we certainly needed to get the Silurians into space to fit with them turning up with the Pandorica, don't we? I wonder if will we've got a Moffat after story before the pre story here, if you know what I mean, surely they won't waste the idea of Silurians, on a spaceship, with dinosaurs. Plus it would be a nice echo of the original Hartnell 'Arc' story, which also visited an ark, or be it with a different cargo, in two different time periods.
But the episode did have that 'big production' feel which they are obviously aiming for this series - so much so it almost felt like a silly christmas episode. In fact it should have been a Christmas episode, it was that light-weight. And so many elements of the story appeared overly familiar, from within the show itself, to influences from outside it. I'm all for recycling, but weren't some elements just overly Jurassic Park? I think the 'raptors should have been dumped in favour of some other threat, from the young T-rex perhaps, which would have surely woken and smelt them down.
As predicted we had the now typical jumping all over history to introduce the characters and bring Amy and Roy along. And the update on Amy's life, right at the climax of the episode, just took away all the dramatic effect that the episode had managed to built up. I like the idea of them leaving and carrying on their lives, but we don't need it every week - what was the point of dropping them off last week to pick them up again this? And did we really need the random historical characters? I'm all for historical stories, and characters, but not used like this. I really think the Doctor needs to loose control of the TARDIS again and go back to not knowing where she's taking him. What's the betting these two don;t turn up again before the end of the season, or for the end of the season!
In summary, for me, an inconsequential episode. And I didn't like the use of innuendo, it just made me cringe, epsecially in an episode aimed so obviously at the kids. But credit where credit is due - the dinosaurs were good, and so was the spaceship (although why, if it was Silurian, wasn't it very, err, Silurian on the inside?).
Shame, I'm going to put this one down as a misinterpretation of Who events, and pretend that in my version of Who it all happened the same same but slightly differently! One of the advantages of being dillusional.
What a cool surprise. I wonder if we will see more of Jenna-Louise before she officially steps on board the TARDIS?? I mean, it can't just be a River Song type meeting in reverse scenario again can it? I think something else is afoot here! She is a bit of an angel tho isn't she?!
Pics from the official BBC Doctor Who website, here, and elsewhere.
The second part of becoming a new Who companion, after they thrust you into a photo call, wearing whatever you turned up in, against a horrible urban landscape, are the crappy official shots taken with a dummy TARDIS (it's not even the real one!), where again, they photograph you wearing whatever you turned up in...
Yep, this girl is just too damn cute, and I know how she's gone and done it. Dimples. Simples. One day they'll isolate the genes for dimples and all the girls will have them. Until then, well, until then we have Jenna-Louise. Hoarah!
There's a whole load of these, so you'll still have to pop over to the Radio Times site here to check them all (although admitedly many of them look the same!).
Then in June we got the following 'on location' snaps, which got the fans talking. Now I haven't been following the location shooting, as I think it gives away too many spoilers, but I reckon she just popped in to say hello and isn't even in costume. But what do I know.
I sort of kept quiet on all the new series stuff, including the announcement of the new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. Less is more, if you know what I mean.
Well here's a little catch-up for you all.
Together with the announcedment on 21 March, we got to see this lovely pic:
It was announced that Coleman, 25, and who played Jasmine Thomas in the TV soap Emmerdale, was due to make her first appearance in the 2012 xmas special...
Here's a few more images which have subsequently appeared from the same photo call (which follow a long standing Who tradition of sticking your wonderful new companion against the ugliest urban setting you possibly can, thus making the girl look more stunning and beautiful. Well it works in this case no?). Apologies to the photographers/agencies involved, it's for a good cause...
Doesn't she look just made up:
And here she is with some dodgy geezer who looks vaguely familiar:
A few days later the first official photo came out:
Well, was it worth the wait? You bet. Assuming you've seen it (and what are you doing reading stuff like this is you haven't? Go away!! Now!), you'll be wondering about the significance of events. Some random and rambling thoughts... (well it would have been rude not to post something - I know, I've neglected you, but you know I will always be back! - and rambling is all I can manage at the moment!)
Yes, following on from last season, we have a Doctor that the known universe thinks dead, but not the Daleks, they're too clever for that. And Skaro is back. I never really liked the fact that Skaro was destroyed in the original series - and in such an arbitrary way. It just never sat well for me. So Moff doing a bit of re-writing here is not only welcome, but gives us something to look forward to - odds on a Skaro Dalek story coming soon?
And we have a new method of Dalek control over humans. Dead or alive. Cool. Typical Moff! And, biggest shock of all, a Parliament of the Daleks. Nice, if not odd, idea. Reminded me of the old TV21 comic series where we got the full impression of a Dalek society and empire, something never really achieved in the original series. And a prime minister, all naked and proud of his natural Dalek form. Good for him. My only criticism here was the 'rubberiness' of the mutant skin and the lack of moisture or slimy gunk to sort of bring him to life. But as we all know, that sort of stuff perishes rubber, and I guess they will be wanting to use this again before too long!
The our new toy Daleks luring around in the background - there's a whole chunck of Dalek sociology we need to get our heads round here - weren't the new toy Daleks supposed to be in charge?
OK, and what else do we have? Oh, I nearly forgot, lots of different Daleks, perhaps not all used to their best effect, although I thought they were magnificent just standing around. Love it. Eggs-cellent in fact.
Oh, and nearly forgot. Jenna-Louise Coleman. Wow. How on earth did they manage to keep that under wraps! What a magnetic performance! She is going to be absolutely knockout! Moff has given us a Victoria style background (kidnapped by the Daleks), turned it on its head, added a bit of Zoe, and made the perfect companion for his 'second' Doctor. Shame we have to deal with the Rory and Amy (eish, I nearly forgot her name there) soap opera for another few episodes!
And what a great twist at the end. I must admit I was expecting the poor lass to be wired up into the Dalek network or something, but what an evil twist of script-writing genius.
Now Jenna-Louise just shone with charisma, and dare we say it, oused with sex appeal. I remember a certain Karen Gillan claiming to be the sexiest Who companion ever, a claim I was unsure to myself (I like a feisty redhead, don't get me wrong, but...) Well someone's just been out done on the sexy score for sure. I bet it takes more than a couple of pints and a kebab on the way home to gain the attention of our young Jenna-Louise! (Saying that, I've never seen Emmerdale, so for all I know that's exactly what she's been doing all this time).
And how is she going to get written back into the series? We seemingly have an independent storyline for her - she arrives on the crashed ship and dies at the end (again typical Moff). So she's not been brought into contact with the Daleks by the Doctor himself (which would have been cool). But we know something has to happen, so can only guess the Doctor picks her up at an earlier stage in her life, and drops her off, knowing full well what has to happen (or, perhaps even more interestingly maybe he doesn't!). She must therefore know him... We're gonna end up watching Asylum in a whole new light soon!
Looks like she's going to be another strong, independent and intelligent female character. Yippee. I really think the world would be a better place if women ran everything. Would they let us destroy our home to satisfy greed? Nah. But anyway, I digress. (Although I am thinking of starting a Jenna-Louise Coleman for President of the world campaign. She's got my vote already.)
And what else happened? Well, the Daleks have forgotten who the Doctor is. Not sure I liked this but, but anyway. Bit by bit Moff is setting the stage and correcting all the elements of the shows story he doesn't like, getting ready for something epic. This man's got plans - big plans - I can only guess he's thinking at least a season or two ahead here... and I can only hope he stays around to make them happen - on the strength of this episode he's back on top form, and I must admit I was worried after the last series and xmas special.
But before we get carried away, let's steady our expectations, for we still have the traditionally (very) weak second and third stories of the season to deal with first... lets hope they are better than they sound...
Ah, yes, and Amy and Rory get dropped off back home again. Nice touch, but does mean they have to come up with another excuse to pull them all back together next week... another 5 mins of Pond life padding. Get ready for another rollercoaster beginning next week, where in the first five minutes the poor writer has to pull the all back together... Oh just hurry up and kill 'em off!
More to the point, what's it all about? Me? Well no, not really. (OK, just a bit) But Who. Who? Doctor Who. What? No, not Doctor What, although he's here somewhere as well (or will be). Doctor Who, the typically British and uniquely odd BBC TV time-travelling series, which started way back in 1963 and is still going strong today. Blending the old and the new, aiming to bring you all the stuff you didn't know and even the stuff you didn't know you needed to know... and more! And me? A mad manic megalomaniac... with a dash of delusional paranoia, the ups and downs of a flip-flop, oh, and a constant headache...
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