Tuesday 15 July 2008

blOODy hell, we're famous...

Well, nearly.

The wonderful eccentricities of my computer meant that for some reason I missed a couple of recent episodes of the DWO Who Cast... Which I downloaded last night and listened to this lunchtime.

I listened to Episode 76 and nearly choked on my sushi when they started the "Random Fandom" section by mentioning the name "The Ood Cast"...

Tony and Trevor are both very nice about us and I've probably mentioned this before, but I'll do it all over again - the Who Cast is well worth a listen, definitely one of the best DW-themed podcasts out there, and always an entertaining half an hour or so of listening.

Oh, and they mention my rant about people's, frankly wrong, opinions on The Unicorn and The Wasp. Oops...!

But the word is out... Look it up on iTunes if you don't believe me...

Or download it from here...

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Ood ear...

Now it's my turn to be the contrarian.




I really didn't like it.


I actually nearly switched off after the resolution to the multiple cliffhanger. Sorry, I said resolution, I was aiming at cop out and accidently said resolution. No one was in any danger at all. Come ON! I lost count of the number of characters in there, shoe horned in like Old Mother Wotsit and her shoe. Davros did practically nothing, what a waste! A new Doctor was grown so Rose could have him, blergh. It was all, oooooo we are in danger!!! Oh, no we are not so that's all right then.

Towing a planet through space? No, come ON! What would happen to the gravitational forces and therefore the atmosphere? Someone tell me if that's possible?

You had to have some knowledge of the Christmas Invasion (the hand and Harriet Jones) and Doomsday (Rose, Bad Wolf Bay, Jackie and Mickey). You had to know who Captain Jack and Martha were. If all those companions hadn't been involved then we might have had more plot.

What a build up to Davros' end of series entrance only for him to do almost nothing. The comparision of the Doctor and Davros as the two destroyers of worlds was interesting and I was surprised that it wasn't explored further.

One thing did work for me! (Hooray!). The Doctor Donna. Nice idea; the companion that becomes the Doctor but cannot 'take' being part Time Lord. (Loved the opportunity to show that Doctor could fix the chameleion circuit if he wants to). How sad that this wonderful hero will never know what she did with the Doctor. What a down beat ending too. I hope Donna does make something of her life now. But then, it's only a story.

Oh well.... I love Doctor Who. And I love what Russell T Davies has done with it. It's just this time I didn't.

Monday 7 July 2008

Red Letter Days

Saturday was supposed to be a momentous day for Doctor Who – it was RTD’s big finale, in effect. An episode where he pulled together as many loose strings from the last four years as he could fit into an hour and tried to tie them all together once and for all.

We finally saw the door slammed on the ridiculous Doctor-and-Rose-sitting-in-a-tree… "tension". Mickey finally moved on (to Torchwood?). Martha finally seems to have joined Torchwood permanently. Donna is back with her family – having got better and better as the series rolled on. And we got that answer to the regeneration question.

But did it all come off?

I think so, yes – but to be honest, I'm not all that sure.

It was fantastic to watch - a real visual feast. But it was a disappointing way to close off such a massive story... There was so much to go on, so much promise, and we got a bit of a cop-out and a lot of confusion...

Personally I didn’t mind the cheesy family-stuff with the Doctor and his "children of time" as Davros put it. Actually, the way he said it made it all pretty chilling. I loved the delightfully-mad Dalek Kaan, his false prophecies and ultimate betrayal – and that the Doctor even offered to save Davros’ life at the end.

But I didn't really understand why all the companions were needed - excepting maybe as a distraction for the doctor. A particular highlight for me was Davros. The scenes involving him were magnificent – and particularly when he thought he was in total control. Ahough they could have and should have done a lot more with him than they did.

The two-way meta-crisis: interesting idea, although its back to RTD’s "imaginative" science… I really enjoyed the consequences – the Doctor who talked like Donna, and finally an explanation to the Ood’s mysterious Doctordonna… But for me, it was more Star Trek than Doctor Who, and I have never been a huge fan of Star Trek...

I thought what they did with Donna’s "death" was excellent – and she was finally properly likeable – proper human emotions in trying to deal with a situation so far removed from being "just a temp. From Essex." The extra Doctor was borderline for me. I sort of saw it coming, but hoped that it would be something else. I think it was handled well until the Bad Wolf Bay bit, and then it got nauseating, but at least it got the romance element out of everything (every cloud and all that).

The ending in particular, with Wilf, was lovely. Very sad, and I am particularly sad to see Bernard Cribbins’ place in the series go with Donna. But it was a good ending to a very good year in Doctor Who.

Three things though – C, G and I.

The Daleks, for me, had their appeal in being an endless force – no matter how many were destroyed or disabled, more and more came after it. Part of the secret was that you couldn’t see or know just how many there were. Genesis, Revelation or Planet of the Daleks wouldn't have been as tense or dramatic or good if you could seen thousands of them flitting around on their way to battle stations, coffee breaks etc...

But when the Doctor walks out into a massive space, filled with flying Daleks, I lose interest. It looks like a hoard of fruit flies bustling around a discarded apple core. Its not threatening, or scary. It’s preposterous.

The other bit that bothered me was the whole "towing the earth back home" bit. As a concept and a plot point, its fine – it’s a very Doctor thing to do. But why oh why oh why did they have to show it? It looked cheap and silly. We didn’t need to see it.

I could see it working with say, Tom Baker - but it would certainly not be shown... It would have been one of those little asides... You know, like this:

Sarah: But Doctor, what about the Earth?
Doctor: What about it?
Sarah: For goodness sake, its still stranded miles from where it should be!
Doctor: Oh that. I towed it back into position using the TARDIS. (Teeth fill the screen) Come on, let's go and find a cup of tea...

And that scene where they're all flying the TARDIS... it was the first time in a long, long time that I've wanted to go and make a cup of tea in the middle of Doctor Who (for the record, the last time was while I was watching a video at uni... and my VCR was a fancy model with a pause button and everything...)

All in all, it was brilliant – if self-referential and a bit messy- a real climax to the first four seasons, and despite its flaws, I’m glad it was so big and bold. What a fantastic way of clearing the decks for the Vast Toffee* to step in.

And then there was the trailer (or should I say "spoiler") for the Christmas special. What was it again?

Oh yes:"Coming this Christmas… The return of the Cybermen."

Well. Thanks.

That’s the surprise taken out of that one then. Where are your spoilers now, River Song?!

Still, I suppose that stopped The Sun leaking it later on.

*Vast Toffee MN (Master of Nightmares) - Steven Moffat - brilliant anagram courtesy of Staggering Stories...

Sunday 6 July 2008

Exterminate! Speculate!

The week between The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End produced a huge amount of rumour and speculation. The names I heard being suggested for the next Doctor are as follows…:

Robert Carlyle, James McEvoy, James Nesbitt, Anthony Head, Alan Davies, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Johnny Depp, Ewen McGregor, Jason Statham, Richard Coyle, Alan Rickman, Paul Bettany, Richard E. Grant, John Simm, James Purefoy, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Robson Green (?!), David Morrisey, David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr, Hugh Laurie, James Marsters, Lenny Henry, Patterson Joseph, Ade Edmonson, Richard Armitage, Dylan Moran, Kris Marshall…

Oh this is pointless. It will go on forever. And DT is here for Christmas and the 3 specials next year at least. So why bother talking ourselves into a frenzy now?

I’d like to discount a few though. Some are obvious – like Jason Statham for a starter (this is Doctor Who, not a Guy Ritchie film - you actually need to be able to act). The people who suggest him on forums want him to make the Doctor a gun-wielding action hero. Well, then, he wouldn't be the Doctor... If you want that, watch Ultimate Force - Doctor Who isn't your kind of show...

Johnny Depp, James McEvoy, Ewen McGregor and Alan Rickman (as lovely as they would be, this is small fry).

Robson Green and Jimmy Carr (I won’t even bother with a reason).

Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Ade Edmonson and David Mitchell (all would potentially be great – but I think they’d have difficulty being seen as anyone but themselves in a fancy time machine).

Oh, and someone (you know who you are, pillock) on the Telegraph website suggested Roger Delgado (for a “wicked twist”). I don’t know which element of that is more wicked – the original Master becoming the doctor, or the excavation and reanimation of Roger Delgado’s body…

Thursday 3 July 2008

A Few Thoughts

I made a special effort on Saturday. So as well as doing the bits and pieces I needed to, I actually saw The Stolen Earth on the same night it was broadcast.

Boy I wish I hadn't. I'd caught up with Turn Left just a night or two before, and it felt brilliant to sit down and catch the next part so soon. But then I was left with a whole week to wait before I find out what's going to happen next! ARGH!

Turn Left, I thought, was rather good. Our Wide-Eyed colleague has unpacked the events better than a German tourist in a Spanish resort, so I won't go down that route - I may have more to add at some point, but I'll have to check a few things - and I definitely don't disagree!

I am always nervous at RTD scripts. It always seems like the bits I dislike about the series (as few as they are) have come from RTD episodes... But I'm so pleased that Turn Left has joined Midnight to prove my fears unfounded.

I'd be happy to leave my opinion of Turn Left as this: "It's like a Moffat episode. But without the explanations."

The Stolen Earth, I notice from reading the reviews this week, has been received with a few mixed opinions. Some hated it and it's end-of-term-familiar-sight of endless monsters. Most, I think, loved the plethora of familiar faces, the shock of the ending and the only thing everyone agrees on is the return of Davros. Even if the rest had been awful, that was magnificent. Very suspenseful, despite everyone more-or-less knowing what was coming, it was damn creepy - and personally, I had a little shiver. Brilliant.

I've heard so many rumours and ideas about a solution, including one which sounds rubbish, but feasible and something I can see RTD doing. I won't say it here. But I should just mention that regeneration is probably not what we're going to see - DT has already filmed the Christmas Special and signed for next year's specials. Personally, I'm keeping all things crossed to see the Doctor healed and Peter Davison pulled back to help DT defeat Davros... Possibly too far off the possible scales. But it makes the time go faster!

I will go into it more after this Saturday - and hey, maybe we'll get that podcast thing done and talk all this through in vocally-expressed soundwaves.... But please! Bring on Saturday!