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Well, that was kind of a load of arse...

Is it just me or was that episode of Doctor Who sort of shit? And really obviously rewritten from a script for Ten and Donna. But badly. Oh, Gatiss, I like you in general, I like your enthusiasm. I loved many bits of The League of Gentlemen, the way you talk about things, and the one novel of yours that I've read. But please stop.

That script totally felt like it was written by someone who was trying to get a script past Russell T Davies without too many changes. It had all of the stuff that I don't like in Ten's reign -- unexplained leaps of plot, ridiculous bombast and human emotions winning the day in a way which defies any possible logical explanation -- without any of the earlier seasons' many virtues.

Three bits I liked:
(a) He held them off with a JAMMIE DODGER. That was perfect and fantastic.
(b) The Scottish agenda (but much of that is the pleasure of thinking about people getting cross about it)
(c) I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE DUCKS. Well, not them specifically but Amy is from some kind of different, possibly wrong timeline. The duckpond will be significant!

Things I thought I would like, but didn't:
(a) SPITFIRES IN SPAAAAACE. It sounds fantastic but it was stupid. So the mad scientist had already built not just one prototype gravity bubble thing but THREE of them? No.
(b) The Doctor angsting a bit. I thought I might welcome a bit more angst but strangely, I much prefer Smiff doing wistful melancholy.
(c) Amy. She was totally generic here, and Karen Gillan couldn't inject much life into that inert, plot-shovelling dialogue.

Things I hated. These are many.
(a) Those new daleks. Seriously, where were they from -- Planet bloody Ikea?

I realise it's nerdishness incarnate to say things like this, but there is absolutely no reason on God's clean, lovely Earth for them to be bright orange and yellow, on the grounds that it makes them sort of VISIBLE, which is the thing you do not want to be if you are a deadly war machine.

They are not sinister -- they are clunky and they look like someone made them out of bits you get in Kinder Eggs.

(b) Bill Paterson playing Pinocchio. "We can neutralise the blargityskwibble bomb if you can just think of the boner you got from Dorabella in 1927! You shall be a real boy!" The trouble is that I don't buy that Amy would naturally have come to the conclusion that that was how to get through to him (though maybe I'm being daft). However, Donna would have leapt there immediately. Both being ginger does not make them interchangeable.

Moreover, I can't believe they blew the casting of someone as wonderful as Bill Paterson on this.

It's like when they had Michael Brandon in Stolen Earth/Journey's End and then they gave him about ten lines and killed him off. WHY would you kill off someone who can actually do an American accent? Save him, for goodness sake, and spare us the ones who sound like New York is somewhere west of Dorking.

(c) The Doctor's actions made no sense. They particularly made no sense for Eleven. I could totally see Ten doing that. I liked the way Smith conveyed his fear and loathing, but I couldn't work out why he did half of what he did.

(d) The Doctor cosying up to Winston Churchill. I recognise that Churchill was a bit of a hero during the war, cometh the hour, cometh the man and all that, but he had some fairly repellent opinions and I don't trust the jingoistic revisionism that makes him a loveable uncle.

(e) Amy didn't get to do anything much -- save for twanging Mad Scientist's electronic heartstrings. Nor did she kick off when he left her in the middle of the London blitz, even though all she has known is how flaky he is about making it back on time. That seemed very uncharacteristic.

(f) Frigging London. Again.

Other places beside London and Coventry were bombed, you know. Also, I might be wrong, but wouldn't there be blackout curtains on almost all those windows in Whitehall -- because civil servants and so on were working all the hours because it was wartime -- so it wouldn't matter a tuppenny damn if someone switched all the bloody lights on.

(g) That stuff at the end, with "go on, you'll sneak away and we'll not notice". How cumbersomely done was that?

Still, next week looks grand. River Song FTW.

I wish I could vid. I've found the perfect song.


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
It's not just you.
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
Thank God. The review in the paper said it was "the first classic episode of the Moffat era". I have no idea how he got that idea from that episode, so I thought maybe I was just unreasonably grumpy on account of daleks or something.
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
obviously I haven't seen it yet, but I shall be looking with great interest/suspicion at any and all ponds and waterfowl when I do.

like New York is somewhere west of Dorking.

well, to be honest, it *is* west (by quite a far bit) of Dorking - and all of the UK if one wants to get pedantic

Apr. 17th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
True, it is. Also Spooks is miles worse when it comes to terrible accents, but still, lots of British actors can do American accents -- half of them are on US telly -- so why is it so impossible to find someone who sounds semi-correct for my favourite genre shows?
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it yet but when I found out Gatiss was one of the people behind the Randall & Hopkirk remake--a.k.a. one of the worst pieces of British telly I've ever seen--I thought, "Ah, THAT explains his Who-scripts, then."
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
You know what, it's dull, disappointing and generic. That's why it's so terrible. It's as though he took the Lego blocks of an RTD script and made something pointless and misshapen with it.

So, if Randall and Hopkirk was one of the worst piece of British telly you've seen, you've not got around to Crime Traveller yet, then.

R&H managed to waste Vic and Bob, which is a crime. You can tell how crap it was by the fact that the video cover features a puff quote from the Daily Star. (I just googled it, out of interest to see if they'd thought it worth putting out on DVD)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
"It's as though he took the Lego blocks of an RTD script and made something pointless and misshapen with it."

Placeholder until River-time, then. At least it's not an overblown two-parter like the actual RTD version would be.

"So, if Randall and Hopkirk was one of the worst piece of British telly you've seen, you've not got around to Crime Traveller yet, then."

I staged a mutiny against the friend who was showing me R&H and kept insisting, "No no, it really does stop sucking so much somewhere around episode nine!"--so if Crime Traveller's worse than that I'm not touching it. Nathan Barley, too, I hated that with a holy passion after seeing it praised to the skies.

"R&H managed to waste Vic and Bob, which is a crime."

They seem like they might have actual chemistry if they weren't trapped reading those lines?
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Vic and Bob are to comedy in the early 90s what The Mighty Boosh were to comedy in the early part of the recent decade. They were bizarre, quotable and very, very funny.

Nathan Barley was a show about appalling Hoxton wankers which was loved by appalling Hoxton wankers -- who unfortunately often work in the media. I love Charlie Brooker, I really do, but he and Chris Morris were a poor combination. They hate humanity too much. Plus Chris Morris appears to have a pass which exempts him from criticism because he was so fantastic with On The Hour, The Day Today and Brass Eye.

We'll see how well Four Lions plays when it comes out. I thought the trailer was funny.
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
In that case I'll definitely look them up. R&H was a very bad introduction.

I think in general I'm too fluffy and American to do well with the darker veins of British comedy (one of the reasons I always avoid things like Nighty Night), so it was probably inevitable anything Chris Morris was involved in I wasn't going to adore. Though I did think large chunks of Brass Eye were incredibly funny. Nathan Barley just felt sadistic and awful.
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
You're not the only one too fluffy to deal with the darker stuff. It's so joyless and everyone is utterly appalling that I can't get interested on more than a surface level. The Thick of It skirts close to that darkness for me, so even though I find it very, very funny, it's hard to love it.

I'd rather watch Gavin and Stacey, The It Crowd and old episodes of Father Ted and Black Books, you know?
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
I keep feeling like I should apologize for "not being able to handle" that stuff but, yes, joyless and appalling and I never see the point. Father Ted and Black Books, though, yes please. :-D It's my not so secret fantasy to someday see a Graham Linehan DW episode.
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:43 am (UTC)
Well, Linehan is Twitter-friends with David Quantick, who is a big Doctor Who fan and wrote a Big Finish featuring Seven, so...

yeah, I'm grasping at straws. But if they can get Simon Nye, who wrote for Dylan Moran, who is a co-writer of Linehan's way back, to do Doctor Who then why not. (and writing all that makes one realise how incestuous the British comedy writing scene is)
Apr. 18th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. I don't even know what an appalling Hoxton wanker is, but I must be one of them because I did like Nathan Barley.

Last night's Who was definitely crap, though.

Apr. 18th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
You don't live in Hoxton, and I am assuming you don't snort your own bodyweight in cocaine every few weeks, so I reckon you're safe from appalling Hoxton wanker status.

It's just one of those things that I watched and bounced right off, so I am being a bit rude about it. I liked Dead Set and Brass Eye and stuff like that.
Apr. 20th, 2010 11:42 am (UTC)
That's a relief -- I never liked cocaine that much, and certainly couldn't afford it in those quantities. I did once live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which sounds like the closest equivalent to Hoxton, but that was some years before it was overrun by appalling hipsters.

I've had the final episode of Dead Set sitting on my hard drive forever; I really need to finish it some day.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
YES! Yes, the moment when the dalek went "it's a fair cop, guv'nor - we're just having a larf. EXTERMINATE!" or whatever was very anticlimactic, because, yes, I'd been boggling at the potential implications of genuinely reprogrammed daleks pootling around with their sink plungers deadly weapons, and reckoning that that Churchill was a shifty bugger who'd be off expanding the Empire for God, Harry and St George like nobody's business, and it was all going to be Evil!Galadriel "LOVE ME AN DESPAIR!!!" kind of thing. And then...oh.
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right. That would have been an incredible story. Churchill believed in the British Empire and the imperial adventure, he advocated eugenics and tried to help break the General Strike. He'd have used them.

I didn't see as much of the arrogant Churchill as you did in Gatiss' version, I thought they just made him wily.

I think the daleks will be back at the end of the season. Alas. Why bother redesigning so many of them at such cost unless they were going to make another appearance.

But you're right about next week too: every glimpse I've had of it makes me optimistic. I am looking forward to the popcorn-chewing fun of watching fandom lose its mind over River Song once again. I like her.
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)

It's the first episode I've seen since the one with the Victorian Cybermen, actually - I've not seen any of the specials yet, or the previous two Matt Smith eps. I was very disappointed, to be honest, but your review gives me hope that the previous episodes were better. I mean, that whole "think happy thoughts!" rubbish to stop the bomb from exploding - that just made me want to punch the writer in the throat for its careless crapitude. (And, sorry, what? There's a robot wandering around WHO CAN BLOW UP THE WORLD, and we're just going to leave it at that? Really? FFS!)

...although it does rather beg for fanfic about Torchwood nobbling him, doesn't it? Hmm...

And you're absolutely right, I can TOTALLY see Donna delivering those lines. As that was my first encounter with Amy, I came away with absolutely no notion of what her personality was at all.

I liked the jammy dodger, and the daleks offering to make tea did crack me up, but that was about it. Oh! Other than some moderate amusement that the Uberdaleks seemed to be a sort of Spice Girls lineup, which made me giggle quite a bit to myself, and think viddish thoughts.
Apr. 17th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Everything you said is absolutely true. That whole 'think happy thoughts' crap made no sense to me. Defuse the bomb or take him with you. Don't leave the poor bombperson wandering about, ready to be reactivated with only sexy thoughts of Dorabella to keep him from going boom.

Go back and watch The Eleventh Hour and The Beast Below. They're clever and offbeat and genuinely funny. Amy is snappy, eccentric and clever and her backstory is intriguing. The first 15 minutes of Eleventh Hour are very sweet. I loved EH and liked Beast Below very much.

I like the idea of the Spice Daleks, though you'd need to give them names: you could have Exterminatey Dalek, Exterminatey Dalek, Exterminatey Dalek, Exterminatey Dalek and Posh Dalek. Posh Dalek would be very thin inside her carapace and marry the Supreme Dalek.
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
Defuse the bomb or take him with you. Don't leave the poor bombperson wandering about, ready to be reactivated with only sexy thoughts of Dorabella to keep him from going boom.
I assumed he was going to take him and drop in the future or something, where he would fit in more.
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I can't leave this be: in which future would a BOMBPERSON fit in more? *g*

Did you get to see Kick-Ass yet?
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Oooh yeah, I saw it this morning and loved it!! It was really good. Unexpectedly emotional and quite intense.
Apr. 17th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE DUCKS. Well, not them specifically but Amy is from some kind of different, possibly wrong timeline. The duckpond will be significant!
What about the ducks? I am quite intrigued by the different, possibly wrong timeline.

SPITFIRES IN SPAAAAACE. It sounds fantastic but it was stupid.
It was kind of awesome, but...there were prop planes...with propellers spinning...in space. Which just made no sense, however Star Wars the rest of it was.

Those new daleks. Seriously, where were they from -- Planet bloody Ikea?
They come in many colors now! Collect the whole set!

That stuff at the end, with "go on, you'll sneak away and we'll not notice". How cumbersomely done was that?
I just thought that was a bad idea. They shouldn't let the robot run all over London!
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
my cracky theory, let me bore you with it.
I'm sort of joking about the ducks -- but I think that the village that Amy is from is a constructed reality/alternate of some kind and that's why it's perfect picture-postcard, the post office is shut and there are no ducks in the duckpond, and this was specifically pointed out. I think that's why Prisoner Zero was hiding there and that's why Eleven took more than ten years to get back to Amy.

My basis for this is:

(1) the overly dramatic music used in the run-up to the duckpond bit, like Murray Gold had been told it was important but not that it was a subtle clue.

(2) that Leadworth is the kind of idyllic village that you see in adverts, that the Confidential revealed that the Who team spent ages dressing the village for the show when if it were strictly contemporary in setting not so much would be required

(3) Rory's badge

(4) Amy's aunt and parents being mysteriously absent

(5) Annette Crosbie being in the first episode but only having a few lines, suggesting that she might be back again later on (rory is in the trailer for the season)

Might be wrong but the spec is fun.

It was kind of awesome, but...there were prop planes...with propellers spinning...in space. Which just made no sense, however Star Wars the rest of it was.

I never even thought of that. I was too caught up in thinking "No, there would only be a prototype and maybe a spare from Professor Bombperson"

Edited at 2010-04-17 11:29 pm (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: my cracky theory, let me bore you with it.
Oh, yeah, the fact that he had all that shit ready in UNDER TEN MINUTES was beyond ridiculous anyway.

Interesting cracky theory!
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Seems like they jammed on the accelerator button for that one and didn't let go. Again, it should have been a four-parter in the Old School vein.

I did like the jammy dodger bit, and the Doctor trying to be action hero man and punching out the robot, ha. Even though the punching made little sense.

Amy was rather wasted in this ep, truly.
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Karen Gillan is marvellous and tried her best but those lines were just a bit too generic.

I think maybe you're right about this being way too rushed. I didn't even enjoy the punching. Disappointment always makes me see nothing but bad in episodes so with luck, I will find more bits to like on second viewing.

Roll on next Saturday and River Song.
Apr. 18th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
That's the problem. I knew there was something off about this episode, and now that I think of it, this does smell of being a ep with Ten by RTD. A heavily cliché ridden one.
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)
*Drive-by icon!love*
Apr. 18th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
It just was disappointing, wasn't it?
Apr. 18th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
Pretty much alllllll of this.

FU Daleks. I am over you. Used to be scary but now not so much. I've taken to calling them the Crayola Daleks. And I would like them to not come back please.

Sorry - can't get excited for River Song. Booooo River Song. But Yay Weeping Angels! For more Weeping Angels I will put up with you River Song and give you the opportunity to impress me.

Apr. 18th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I am with you with the daleks. Unless they can tell a new story with them I wish they would give it a bloody rest. I like 'crayola daleks' though. They were so nakedly done to sell toys.

I hope you're converted to liking River Song by next week's episode. If you're not, at least there are scary monsters.
Apr. 18th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I need to rewatch. I had ruric and ravurian to stay and by the time we watched the episode we were, I mean I was, a wee bit tanked.

Someone referred to them as the iDaleks, specifically the iDalek Nano. :D
Apr. 18th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
I like iDaleks. I don't think being tanked would've improved the episode any, unless you fell asleep every ten minutes and then woke up for the good bits.
Apr. 18th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
unless you fell asleep every ten minutes and then woke up for the good bits

That's pretty much what Ruric did. Although, were there good bits?? Meh.
Apr. 18th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
It's really, really not just you.

The only post-Hartnell Dalek stories that I really like are "Genesis of the Daleks" and "Dalek". In both cases this was because it focussed more on the human(/Kaled/Thal) dilemma than on the domination of the pepperpots. Unfortunately, everybody wants to write a "Genesis of the Daleks", but doesn't seem to have the first clue about what made it tick. Except, possibly, Rob Shearman.

And I heard the same Tennant-echo lines of dialogue in this episode as I did in the first one, without even the excuse of it being transitional, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were a (badly) rewritten episode for Ten.

The problem is, other than the jammie dodger (which I thought was brilliant, and splendidly sold by Matt Smith), there wasn't much going for the episode at all*, so why bother? Stick it straight in the bin and write something new. Preferably without rainbow coloured plastic Daleks in it.

* I'm not counting Amy's Dalek free existence, since that could have come out no matter what the episode had been about.
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
I went into work today and my usual Who viewing chum loved it. Loved the multicoloured daleks, loved spitfires in spaaaaace, loved everything. It was disconcerting.

I think you're right about the there not being much going for it. The pacing didn't work and so much didn't hang together. Rheanna, above, has a superb episode idea that they could've done and -- bonus points! -- it would have infuriated the Daily Mail.
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
I am fortunate in that my Who-watching friends have, so far, mocked the new Daleks.

The colour coding in itself isn't a horrible idea; it's just that it looks so plastic and fake in practice, particularly on a super-sized Dalek. Could the budget not at least have run to metallic paint?
Apr. 19th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Over here, you mentioned the idea that Leadworth was a bit off.


The fact that Amy has apparently forgotten the Daleks lends some kind of weight to it, I think.

We'll see. I'm still not ready to hail Moffat as the Barack Obama of Doctor Who and I'm still worried that he's wasting too much time cleaning out echos of RTD than focusing on story telling.
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
I think the next couple of weeks might be the testing ground for Moff as his arc kicks in good style and he stretches out for a two-parter. His storytelling style is pleasing to me so maybe I am inclined to cut him a bit more slack.
Apr. 19th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
Once again, no need for me to review the ep -- you've got it all here, and better than I would have.

Also funny. (:

I'm very curious about your vid song!
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
It's this: La Breeze by Simian

I think it would make a splendid vid about Ten's balance between playfulness and bastardry. You could explode into the choruses in a way that would be very happy-making.
Apr. 20th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
Oh yes, I can see that, definitely. Though admittedly it would be hard to improve on "Handlebars," in terms of the playfulness/bastardy connection.

Great, viddable song, though. I'd love to see what you'd do with it! ::nudge::
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
Oh you couldn't better Handlebars, because it said it brilliantly and it said it first. But it would be a great learning vid because you have all those loud/soft dynamics to work with, and the lovely false run-up to the chorus where you could play with expectations, and the joke about La Breeze and The Oncoming Storm and can you tell this is my commute daydream?

It's replaced the one about Tim and Dawn from The Office and the Kathryn Williams version of Beautiful Cosmos.
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
An excellent learning vid, yes. So, when are you making it? (: Seriously: I'm glad to help!
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
I would really love to take you up on this. It can't be until after the summer but if you still have time then and I can work it all out, I'd love to have your advice.
Apr. 25th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Autumn would be perfect for me; I don't have much else scheduled at that time. I have a number of collaborations starting in summer but they don't require much heavy lifting on my end.

YAY! Vidding with K!
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

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