Monday 28 April 2008

Monsters & Love and The A Team

With effects being what they are these days the results are as if the Who team have spent the last four years in negotiation with Sontar to get their finest, least camera-shy inhabitants to star in this story. I imagine their dedication, as they wangle the budget on that. This being the famous Doctor Who budget they probably did it via a low cost option, probably Skype, and paid expenses Earthside but not the interstellar travel on account of them each getting a copy of the DVD box set and personalised action figures of themselves and of anyone that they didn’t like and wanted to shoot.

I’m trying to think of things to say about the plot, but this being part one of two there wasn't a great deal revealed. It was all quite traditional, which was nice. A companion gets tied up and cloned. There’s things going on in the basement. There’s aliens taking over humans. There’s mystery and there’s UNIT!! Hoorah! All very recognisable and classic Who – what’s not to like?

Loved the Doctor’s anti gun thing, which takes me right back to the playground when me and my mates were taunted by kids who watched the A Team rather than Who. Our superiority was always palpable. (Quite frankly any series where the heroes face a hail, nay, a maelstrom of bullets each week and never ever get hit - not even a bit scratched by shrapnel - is just lame. Mary Whitehouse should have sued its ass because it portrayed a shockingly unrealistic effect of gun use.) All we had to say was ‘Adric’s death’ and they fell silent. They probably didn’t know what we meant, and our superior attitude just confirmed our geekiness. But we knew we were right and we still are. You Whovians of yesteryear; where are you now? I’m sure I’d know where to find you at 6.20 every Saturday if I knew your addresses. Actually we are still in touch, but I’m rubbish at keeping an address book.

Annnnnyway. What to say about the Sontaran Stratagem... Like the idea of the carbon neutral devices; how very now. How very UNIT story too, the planet friendly thing was big during the Pertwee Doctor’s time so that fits. And yes SatNav is evil no matter what you say. I love outwitting their smug, demanding prompts and getting to a turning before they can announce it. They get all tutt-y and say with a very calculated sniff, ‘Recalculating’. This is a device that once got me to a field of cows in Cornwall instead of the Eden Project. Didn’t get the cliff hanger though. What was happening actually? Were all the cars gassing the world? (nice idea) Or what? Dunno. And I giggled (sorry but I did) at the Sontaran dance thing. I suppose funnier things happen before sporting fixtures but I couldn’t help it.

Martha and Donna didn’t fight. Well thank goodness. About time too. I find the ‘I’m in love with the Doctor’ thing distracting from the genius of the prog and I’m glad it’s over now. Don’t you dare do that nonsense with Rose’s return!! Actually I liked it that the only one who was put out was the Doctor, who thought that meeting the ‘ex’ (even though she so wasn’t) was going to be really difficult. Never been sure about this whole Doctor in love thing. Going back a couple of years, I think what made the Madame de Pompadour thing work so well was the Doctor’s yearning. He knows it would never have worked out, and that’s as tragic as not being able to see her again before she died. Here was someone he could relate to, someone he could spark off. She was someone who had walked among his memories and therefore, in a way, knew him intimately. I think he asks her to come with him as a spur of the moment thing and when time catches up with them it’s the realisation that he will never be able to meet anyone to share his whole life with that makes the scene at the end so powerful.

Hmmmm, I feel like digressing further....

Rose… hmmm, I don’t know. I mean, why would he love her any more than Romana, Sarah, Jo, Zoe (all of the above would be on my list of most dateable). Rose was, well, rather stroppy, rather pouty (and that’s no disrespect to Billie Piper who played her perfectly). I wonder if the reason behind him being ‘in love’ with her was that she was the one who saved him from himself after the Time War. I have always been puzzled by the end of Doomsday, and wonder if anyone else was. The Doctor sends Rose and her family over to the alternative Earth. He does it to save them and, although he seems a bit sad to do so, he does it phlegmatically and that’s that. No tears, anxieties, regrets, et al and there you go, she’s gone. She comes back, and he’s pleased but he's not dancing around like a teenager who thought he’d never see his one and only ever ever again. Then she goes again and it’s like two kids who have to say goodbye to each other at the end of summer camp. No wonder they had to film it on location, cos if they’d done it in the studio they’d have had to wear rubber shoes for fear of electrocution. Never made sense to me. Anyone else?

Oh, and that brat Rattigan. I predict the word ‘comeuppance’ will be employed in this blog by at least one of us next week.


Chris said...

The romance thing: I've been bugged by this too. The one thing I genuinely disliked about Rose was the romance thing. Sure its another angle on the Doctor and his relationship to others, and sure, its an unexplored take (if you discount the mis-firing McGann TV Movie - which I thought was great in most aspects, but the infamous kiss and resulting will-they-won't they was not one of those...). But really, what's the point? The Doctor is a tortured soul. Capable of love, but a love for all life rather than for one person/creature. Plus, why would he fall for a teenager from a London council estate? Of all the galaxies in all of the universe, he had to land in hers...

You're right though - it all detracts from the genius of the character and the stories. That's what I like about the Donna element - the complete lack of interest. As Catherine Tate put it on the Jonathan Ross chat show... "You've got two hearts - I don't wanna know what else you've doubled up on..." But Rose is coming back.

Last year, I was happy - I really like Martha, I thought she was excellent - and an improvement on Rose. But now they've swapped Martha for Donna and are also bringing Rose back. It was good news that Martha wasn't going away completely, but then I found out that she's only back for 2 episodes and my heart sank. I have an awful feeling I'm going to get bored of a romantic reunion... and I don't want to - this is Who!

Andrew said...

I like that: 'A love for all life, not just one'. Yeh, I agree that was how it used to be.

You know what, we may find out about Time Lord lurve on Saturday. This is going to be an INTERESTING episode and I'm even going to preview it later this week in the blog. There's loads that it might cover and call me a geek but I want to share my thoughts before and after the episode!

Chris said...

Go for it! I've just caught up on The Poison Sky, and my thoughts on it will go up tonight hopefully.

It will be interesting - I got a text from a friend on Saturday night asking how the Doctor could possibly have a daughter... and my reply was - I have no idea, I'll find out by watching it just like everyone else!

What do you think - genetic experiment to improve the Time Lord race? (didn't work, if that's the case!)

I can't see that sharing your thoughts on this would make you any more of a geek than an article on the theme tune (by the way - I really enjoyed that: I'd just read something about it on the BBC site, and there's some video clips of Dick Mills and Mark Ayres demonstrating some of the old equipment on there - I'll see if I can find it and I'll send you the link)!

Andrew said...

Ta, yep I saw that Radiophonic Workshop thing. Would love to have worked somewhere like that. Boys and toys...
You go first on Posion Sky. I am still writing mine!

Andrew said...

Hmm, I wonder, a genetic experiment. I wonder if the Master 'created' her while he had the Doctor's hand... or is she Susan's mum?