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Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old February 28 2010, 12:50 PM   #496
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Yeah, Marc Platt's thanked in the credits as well. I've not heard Spare Parts, but I've heard it's very good and possibly the best BF audio, so I'd have considered getting him to write the two-parter. Same as with Rob Shearman and Jubilee/Dalek. I think wasted opportunity is exactly right.
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Old February 28 2010, 08:25 PM   #497
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Sci wrote: View Post
Who said Star Trek gets the monopoly on mind melds?

Besides, Star Trek never used mind melds in such a romantic way. Usually it was just a mind meld with a sentient alien pizza or a whale or something.

[Homer] ....mmmmm.... whale pizza.... *drools*[/Homer]
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Old March 14 2010, 10:12 AM   #498
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Ouch, I can't believe it's been as long as two and a half weeks. I need to get my act together with this. Though really, I made the notes for this next episode nearly a week ago, but couldn't bring myself to get it together. It's not that the episode is completely awful, but it's certainly not great either. There's just something unappealing about reviewing it. Despite not being the worst the show has had to offer up to this point, it just feels like a low ebb. Perhaps it's the complete bastardisation of the old show to the new show's ends. Or maybe it's just because it's a fairly poor episode after all. Either way, it's a longer review than usual, which I hope makes up for the long wait for you Bones review fans (I like to believe you exist). So, without further ado...



The Age of Steel (**)

So, we open to a recap from last time. Which, considering the space between these reviews recently, can only be helpful. And it ended with the Doctor, Rose, Team Ricky, and Pete all about to be deleted. However will they get out of this one?

I also recall (just about, it has been a while) that I reviewed the titles last time, but I didn't really mention the Doctor Who logo we had for all those years. To be honest, I'm not too fond of it. It's not an easy thing to put my finger on, but something about it doesn't sit right with me. Looks a bit too comic strip to my eye. Why bother mentioning such a minor thing? Well, I forgot to during the review of the titles last time. Yeah, I'll just move on.

So, the Doctor pulls out that Tardis power cell from his inside pocket, and it fires at all the Cybermen surrounding them and makes them disintegrate. Good to see he kept it with him when he switched clothes. Come to think of it, where did he get those clothes? I guess they were provided when he psychic papered his and Rose's way into the kitchen staff. Which perhaps doesn't make a great deal of sense. I mean, they keep tuxes and stuff lying around for the staff when they turn up, and more than they need at that (considering the Doctor and Rose would have been additional)? And where are his proper clothes? It's not really important I suppose. But this Tardis power cell, that's not so easily overlooked. In this case, it's been exactly what the plot needed it to be. As I said last time, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense the way this charging works, but leaving it in the Tardis to charge the whole thing would make it more feasible. Instead, being charged somehow means that it'll fire its energy at several Cybermen when you pull it out of your pocket. Its not a weapon of course, so how it knows to target them or indeed fire at all is a mystery. It's like pulling a AA Duracell out of your pocket and it somehow turning into a taser that recognises anyone nearby who wishes you harm and immediately fires directly at them. You could argue that it targets the Cybermen because they're metal (for all the sense that makes), but then we'll have to assume no one was wearing a belt or anything.

So what's-her-name out of the Preachers (may have to resort to calling her Annie Lennox) pulls up in the van and picks them up. Some more Cybermen are marching towards them, but they're not much of a threat. They'll have to wait for the redesign with the gun in their foreheads before they can deal with anyone who can move away from them quicker than 5 miles per hour. We also see Jackie in the house's basement, hiding from some Cybermen. Having her be the only one who makes it to a place in the house where she can hide from the Cybermen may seem convenient, but we'll see how it plays out.

So, almost everyone important's chatting in the van. Pete's not popular with the Preachers. He's been doing things for Lumic, but after some more talk it turns out he's not a traitor, and the Preachers aren't really all that known to the authorities. The Doctor also uses the sonic screwdriver to disable some earpods in case Lumic's listening through them. So that's going on the list, ruining any hope for a two-parter without the screwdriver.

There's then some dialogue so incredibly poor from a Cyberman when Lumic asks what they think about that it's a good thing they quickly cut to the next bit. Lumic uses the earpods to get everyone to start walking somewhere or other. Including Jackie, so at least we don't have to suffer a plot of her cunningly hiding or anything like that. The Doctor points out how silly human beings are for walking around with things in their ears that can control their brains at any time. And he's right, it is silly. So silly that it wouldn't happen. I mean, pretty much everyone having a very unstylish device that links directly into their brains and can ultimately control them? Someone would have done a study or something. And Nokia would have made a more stylish rival. I know, parallel world, but still.

So there's a brief but welcome reference to the proper Cybermen (and I'd much rather be watching them), and the extended Team Ricky make plans and split up. There's even more weak dialogue as Noel Clarke acts opposite himself with a fawning Mickey happy to be told by Ricky that if he hangs around with the Doctor and Rose (who Ricky's known for even less time, perhaps an hour at most in fact) then he must be alright. As if this wasn't bad enough, when some Cybermen march towards them, Mickey says "Cybermen!". I mean, bloody hell. They split, we see a bit more of these Cybermen marching around, and we see that they have even less claim to being superior to humans when they have to physically stop and turn to do a corner. I mean, bloody hell. So the Doctor, Rose, Pete, Byker Grove Boy, and Annie Lennox are hiding behind some bins and there's a clichéd attempt at tension when some Cybermen stop right near them. This is relieved when the Doctor points his screwdriver at them, we hear a beep, and they march off. What was that (/I mean, bloody hell)? You may criticise the old ones for their gold allergy, but these just got Jedi mind tricked by the screwdriver. And it's here that I'm reminded again that these Cybermen may as well just be robots. There's nothing about them that makes them anything more, apart from the fact we're told they have human brains inside. They all act the same, like witless grey prats waiting for orders and programmed to march in formation.

But anyway, to a better scene as we see some people marching into a factory where, presumably, they'll get Cyberised, and there's an announcement over the tannoy that reject stock will be incinerated. Though if the Cybermen are all of one mind as one of the bloody metal idiots said earlier, then why are they announcing it like that? Well, whatever, it's suitably bleak. Then Ricky gets killed. Some Cybermen catch up to him as he fails to climb a fence in time. That's handy: none of the problems of having to have two Noel Clarkes in shot for the rest of the episode. And here it occurs to me that nothing really feels at stake here. I mean, it's not even taking place in our universe. Even if the Cybermen do take over this planet, never mind. So long as the Doctor gets the Tardis out of there, there's no way the Cybermen are going to get over to our's. Right? So what's the point, really? To introduce an inferior form of Cybermen and tell an origin story for them that's not as good as the one which the old ones used to have? Maybe it'll still be worth it, but at this point it's difficult to care much.

Over at Lumic-central (for want of the effort of making up a better term), Mr Crane (Lumic's henchman) is telling Lumic that he's volunteering for the upgrade. Then he attempts to kill Lumic by pulling out his wheelchair tubes and stuff, until a Cyberman kills him quickly. If he really thought this was a bad idea, he should have tried something a lot sooner. And if he only just came around to the idea that this Cyberman business isn't quite all that, then he could have done with a better plan (like, a gun or something). It's not as if Lumic wouldn't keep himself guarded. And I wouldn't have thought killing Lumic would achieve much at this point anyway. In a way though, Crane's attempt nearly worked, because having some tubes pulled got Lumic a bit wheezy, so he's going to be forced into an upgrade by his well-meaning Cyberpals.

Mickey catches up to everyone else now (why did they split up?) and after finding out Ricky is dead, Jake (him off Byker Grove) calls Mickey a nothing. Poor Mickey. So they all go to the top of a convenient hill and have a look at Battersea Power Station. That's where it's all going down. Then they make plans. Pete and Rose are going to go through the front door wearing fake earpods, the Doctor (yeah, he's still in it) and Annie Lennox are going to go through the convenient underground cooling tunnels, and Jake and Mickey are going to take out the transmitter for the earpod signal, which is on Lumic's zeppelin. The Doctor having determined the transmitter's location by pointing the screwdriver in its general direction. It's like they're trying to make up for the previous episode's screwdriver lack (though lack sounds negative, perhaps "good behaviour" would be more appropriate); that's 3 silly uses in 15 minutes.


Continued below...
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Old March 14 2010, 10:13 AM   #499
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

(The Age of Steel review, part II)


Getting down into the tunnels, the Doctor mentions he'd like a hot dog. Definitely not a vegetarian any more then. There's a jump moment anyone could see coming when he shines the torch ahead and there's a row of Cybermen leading down the tunnel. The Doctor immediately realises they've already been converted and have been put on ice. How does he know that from 1 second of looking at them? Also, why would new Cybermen be "put on ice"? You'd have thought that if you were taking over the country, the more on hand the better. We also see Pete and Rose do their serious faces as they join the queue to get upgraded, and Jake and Mickey go over a wall to get the the zeppelin. So how did they get up there? We saw earlier that it's right at the top of the building on the roof, so I suppose the writer was hoping no one would wonder how they got up there, but it makes no sense. With all the trouble the other two teams are going to to get inside, it's absolutely stupid to just show them at the top of the building with no explanation of how they got up there. They knock out the two guards with a strong equivalent of smelling salts (I'm guessing these guards have earpods that especially didn't make them do the deathwalk then), and go up the ladder to the airship. Though if they've got Cybermen to spare having a nap down in the tunnels, you'd have thought they'd have posted some to guard the transmitter. They're not much good at chasing things or turning corners, but they'd seem to be built for standing guard. I suppose the writer wouldn't have been able to work out a way to get Jake and Mickey past two Cybermen.

So the Doctor and Mrs Moore (Annie Lennox) are wandering along the creepy tunnel of Cybermen and having a nice old chat. She used to work for Cybus Industries until she found something she shouldn't, and Mrs Moore isn't her real name (just as I start calling her it...). As they're walking along, they trip a switch or something, and the Cybermen very slowly come alive. Not all at the same time mind, but rather in the order of the ones they've just gone past. So if the one at the end had come around at the same time as the first one (which would logically happen), the Doctor and Eurythmics would have been doomed. They manage to get to the end and up the ladder just in time, and a quick pointing by the sonic screwdriver seals the otherwise completely loose hatch down. I know I always make a lot of the screwdriver use, but this one looked particularly silly to me. They just manage to get the hatch down, and then one second of screwdriver pointing at it means it's sealed. Considering the strength you'd assume one of these Cybermen has, it'd have to be a really powerful welding to mean they can't get through.

Next we cut back to Pete and Rose who are further along in the line, and they drop the act dangerously close to a Cyberman. There's some interesting CGI of the cutting tools that get the brains out and a wider view of the factory. Again, it's suitably bleak and leaves just enough to the imagination. Then the Cyberman with Jackie's brain in it (can't imagine that's going to make Cyberleader any time soon) recognises Pete and says hello and how it has his wife's brain. This handy coincidence means Pete and Rose drop the act and get captured. Because he's been rather useful to Cybus before now, Pete and Rose get escorted to Cyber Control, rather than just killed. Why Rose is taken along as well is anyone's guess. The writer probably couldn't think of an actual reason for her not to get killed there and then. Up in the blimp, it seems there are no further guards, just an empty Cyberman. Causing Jake to exclaim "Cyberman!". Yeah, good one. Really, who'd say that? Obviously it's a kids' show so he can't give the probable response of "Fuck!" or some other single syllable profanity, but still. And why there'd be an empty, pointless Cyberman suit there of all places is anyone's guess, beyond an excuse for another lame jump moment.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Mrs Moore get apprehended by a Cyberman (handy this is one of the rare times when one walks around alone), and she knocks it out by throwing an "electro-magnetic bomb" at it. Useful. Does every woman have one in her handbag? There's some bad continuity when the way the Cyberman falls down doesn't appear to go with the way it ends up lying on its back, but it needs to be that way up so the Doctor can have a poke around. He does this by screwdriving the logo at the front off, and helpfully the emotional inhibitor is right underneath it (rather than in a logical place like near the head). Somewhere in this caper, the inhibitor got disabled, so after having waited for the Doctor to stop talking, there's an attempt at tragedy when the Cyberman starts talking about how cold it feels. Of course, cold's a sensory stimulus rather than an emotion, but by now it's clear the dialogue was written by a twit. Anyway, this Cyberman doesn't have just any old sob story, it's a woman who was about to get married. Gets you right in your heart of steel. We get the first use of the now well-worn "I'm so sorry" by Tennant, and then the Doctor euthanises her. With the screwdriver, of course. Hang on, isn't that a bit of a murder? So she probably won't be best pleased that she's a metal body now, but still, shouldn't it be up to her whether she wants to die altogether? And does that mean she suddenly has no memory of everything between the emotions going and coming back? Shouldn't she say "Ah! My feelings are back. Bloody hell, what a miserable old life.". Indeed, would this loss of emotion really turn people into mindless robots like this? This is actually stupidity to rival most RTD-penned scripts. Also, I'm still not really sure of Lumic's motives in all this. If it's so people can live forever, then fair enough, but why stop emotions? Maybe it's because he's just a stereotypical, one-dimensional madman villain.

The Doctor then works out the solution to the episode: if they can get the cancellation code to the emotional inhibitors and feed it throughout the system, then all the Cybermen would die of sadness. Well hang on. As convenient as that is, why would the emotional inhibitors have a cancellation code? And even if they did, why would it be the same for each one? And feed it throughout the system? So just hearing the code would make all the Cybermen die of misery? It's not quite a deus ex machina in the way that the Time Vortex in The Parting of the Ways was, but it's still not great. Anyway, Mrs Moore then gets armshocked from behind (as it were) by a surprise Cyberman (one who must have the even more recent upgrade of not clunking loudly when he walks) and killed, and the Cyberman tells the Doctor how they've detected his binary vascular system, which is interesting to them, so they lead him away. Of course, they needn't have told him why they're taking him away instead of just killing him, but that's so the audience knows. How they detected his heart situation I'm not sure (the greyberk in question said "sensors"), but the ones who were about to kill him at the end of the previous episode clearly didn't notice or didn't care.

Over on the blimp, the transmitter controls are sealed. So they attempt the next best plan: crash the blimp. Of course, if the transmitter really is that well-protected, there's no guarantee this would disable it either, but I suppose it's worth a shot. So Mickey uses that amazing computer knowledge he has sometimes to try and set the controls to autopilot the blimp into a crash, and doing this sets off a little blinking light near the empty Cyberman, as was seen when they came alive in the cooling tunnel earlier. Over at Cyber Control, the Doctor's back with Rose and Pete. Again, there is absolutely no reason why the Cybermen would have kept Rose alive. Unless they fancy her too of course. Then we're introduced to the Lumic Cyberman, who has been designated Cybercontroller. They say he's superior, but I'm not sure why. If anything, he's inferior, because he still needs to sit down. Beyond that, he just has lights in his eyes and you can see brain through his head casing. On the blimp, the empty Cyberman comes alive for an unknown reason. Well, the reason is because Mickey tripped the alarm, but from everything else we've heard, it's not really a Cyberman until it has a brain in. And if they're designed with having a human brain in mind (no pun intended), then why would this one be able to come alive? He comes after Mickey, and Mickey tricks him into punching right into the transmitter. Which disables it and electrocutes the Cyberman. Fairly clever (indeed, the cleverest thing in the whole episode I think), but then the only reason for there to be a mindless robot Cyberman up there is because the plot needs it. So all the marching people realise what's going on and they run away. Lumic then tells how he's got Cyberfactories on seven continents, and that they'll just take the world by force. As he's explaining how he'll bring peace and unity to the world, Mickey decides to put the Cybercontrol (may as well alloneword it) CCTV up on the blimp TV. For a laugh, I guess. I mean, he's destroyed the transmitter, so the logical thing to do would be to try and escape before some Cybermen realise they're up on the blimp, but the plot doesn't need him being logical. Then the Doctor prances around in a way that none of the other nine would, while giving a speech about how emotions are alright really. Even the ones that hurt. At least this scene does shed light on Lumic's motives a little better though. In eliminating all emotions, he also gets rid of all the bad ones. But still, after saying the Doctor can't stop him, Lumic lets him carry on bouncing around the room chattering while giving oblique instructions to the conveniently watching Mickey. Even though one of the Cybermen could easily just kill him. So, Mickey gets the code incredibly easily somehow, texts it over to Rose, she chucks her phone to the Doctor who whacks it into a port, and apparently just having this 7 digit number on the screen makes all the Cybermen fall about sadly. Some of their heads even blow up. I'm still not convinced just giving them their feelings back would make them fall around and blow up, but this episode's well past the point of being worth it now. So Lumic shouts delete, and the building starts blowing up (what, he gave the building a bloody autodestruct?) which means the Doctor, Rose, and Pete can't escape, so they head for the roof where the handy blimp is. Cyberlumic hasn't started emoing out like all the other Cybermen though, and he follows to the roof. Mickey throws down a rope ladder, and everyone gets on, including Lumic at the bottom. Pete screwdrivers the rope (which decides to take its time in an attempt to create tension, meaning it's a case of the screwdriver working less well than you'd expect for the sake of the plot), and at the last minute the bottom of the ladder falls away, including Cybertrigger with it. Then blimp flies off happily.

Back at the Tardis, it's all working fine (handy). No further explanation needed, apparently. Rose talks to Pete, and he leaves on a saddish note. On a happier note though, Mickey found the Doctor's suit. It's good to see that resolved in a better way than him just sudddenly wearing it again. The Doctor tells Jake to find Annie Lennox's husband and kids and to tell them about her (to which Jake gives the most jarring line delivery I can recall seeing on television, but then a nod and a smile in the script would have been much better than "Yeah, course I will"). Mickey decides to stay on the parallel world and help sort out the Cyberfactories, which gives a bit of emotion considering he's a character I actually came to like. They can't come back, so we probably won't see him again. Right? We also get our only explanation as to how the Tardis ended up there in the first place - they fell through a "crack in time". Ok, that means absolutely nothing, same as all this nonsense with rifts and vortices, but never mind. Apparently there's no hassle in getting back either. Perhaps because they can't try and milk some emotion out of that and give Murray Gold another chance to Walt Disney around. So the Tardis leaves and materialises in proper Jackie's kitchen, where Rose acts almost surprised that she's alive (what an idiot), and the last thing we see is Mickey and Jake driving off to liberate Paris.

It would be easy to get caught up in all the emotion and forget some of the convenient nonsense we've had to swallow, but not even three plays of Rose's Theme in a row can make me forgive the amount of drivel in this episode. In fact, the ending's not too hopeful when you think about it. Lumic said how he has Cyberfactories on the go all over the world, and it ended with the remains of Team Ricky driving off to sort out the Paris one. So the emo code can't have affected the Cybermen there, or there wouldn't be much of an issue. Meaning this parallel world's still in a lot of danger. But that doesn't matter, because Rose hugs Jackie and Mickey's wearing a grin at the end of it. Much as with the end of The Parting of the Ways: billions are dead, the planet's in ruins, and despite having the power to, Rose apparently didn't reverse it - but perhaps the audience won't notice if her and the Doctor have a snog. But I'm getting away from the point about this episode here. Rise of the Cybermen showed some scope and potential; The Age of Steel was a silly list of let downs. The cons far outweigh the pros for this one, and 2 stars is almost too generous.

7 new absurd screwdriver uses too. Surely a record.


That zany screwdriver:
1. Blows up a spinning Christmas tree. Ho ho ho.
2. Scares off some Robot Santas. It's got itself a reputation now then.
3. Opens a great big secret door. Opens doors, closes plot holes.
4. Is used to threaten Cassandra's consciousness in Rose's body. A densely layered stupid thing is still a stupid thing.
5. Only the Doctor knows how to hold down the on button. Then it opens a smaller, unsecret door.
6. Makes a convenient ring thingy fall down.
7. It locks an old door. An old, Scottish door. Didn't have enough time to put porridge in the lock.
8. Fixes K9. But I won't begrudge it that.
9. Lights a candle. Sadly not a scented one to cover up the smell of bullshit.
10. Helps ascertain the continuing time portally nature of a fireplace.
11. Disables some parallel world earpods. Perhaps they're not as breakable as they look.
12. Jedi mind tricks a Cybusman. These aren't the Cybermen I was looking for.
13. Determines the location of a specific piece of technology (a transmitter), having been pointed in the direction of a factory and airship with lots of technology. I mean, bloody hell.
14. Seals a hatch. Sonic welder?
15. Gets the Cybus logo off a Cyberman. Wish it would do it to all of them.
16. Does some handy euthanasia. Sonic Dignitas?
17. Cuts a rope. In as much time as a cub scout and a knife would take, meaning it's only as magic as the plot needs it to be at a given moment.
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Old March 14 2010, 12:58 PM   #500
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Great review, as always. I've been lurking in this thread for a while, and well, these reviews are some of the best I've read, not many go into every little detail about the episode, including every single use of the sonic screwdriver.

Some of the reviews are a little bit scathing, but I don't mind as you haven't done any bad reviews of my favourites (yet), aside from Tooth and Claw, which I really like for its werewolf factor (still, 2.5 stars is reasonably rewarding from you). Keep it up.

Anyway, as for the whole Cyberman 2-parter, I never particularly liked it, mainly because of Pete's whole plotline with Rose running after him all the time, and I never really liked robots with absolutely no motive in sci-fi. To be honest, Rose is much worse in Series 2 than she is in Series 1, the only time she is bearable is in The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit and bizarrely, in Fear Her. I was almost glad to see her go. Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel had potential, but went nowhere with it.
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Old March 17 2010, 03:59 PM   #501
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

^
Thanks, that's nice of you to say Regarding Tooth and Claw, it was the best RTD up to that point and nearly got 3, but wasn't quite there. The resolution doesn't hold up, nothing that was meant to be funny was funny, and neither the Doctor nor Rose are likeable. The idea of the house being designed with capturing the monster in mind is a good one, and I'd have used that far more, rather than there being one convenient room with mistletoe in the walls to hide in.

Anyway, I've been lying awake at night feeling something's not right. And now I've realised. I said that the Cybereuthanasia was the first use of the Doctor's "I'm sorry" bit, but that was actually in New Earth. Perhaps it's here that it finally became a catchphrase though. It's not quite up there with missing how important the Controller's role was in Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, but I felt I had to correct it. Anyway, the next review should be up before the end of next week, hopefully around Tuesday.
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Old April 21 2010, 07:50 AM   #502
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

I really should just stop promising when reviews will be up.

So, all you Bones-watchers out there (and you must surely number in your hundreds) will have noticed that I've not posted much in this forum recently, aside from a little bit about Victory of the Daleks and the redesigned Daleks. This is largely down to my intense irritation at the accusation that my objecting to gratuitous sexual references in Doctor Who means I must be an ultra-conservative virgin prude, followed by the usual suspects laughing along at it. A bit offensive really, when this extrapolation's taken only from my views on a TV show rather than from actually knowing me (and thus maybe having a clue), and when that's the level of debate, it's easy to get a bit jaded and wonder what the point is of trying to discuss things. Of course, if it they were genuinely funny and not just knowing attempts by writers who think they're clever to slip one past the kids, then I probably wouldn't object as much. But that's one for another topic, and I'll need to mix a stiff old drink before I get back into that again.

Anyway, ever the optimist that I am, rather than giving up and departing for The Leisure Hive to argue the merits of the Cartmel Masterplan and call Russell T Davies "fathead", I thought I'd instead go back to what I (arguably) do best and carry on with these reviews. All the more appropriate that the next one should be the previous Gatiss-penned episode (what with Victory of the Daleks having just aired, in case future generations are reading this and wondering what I meant).



The Idiot's Lantern (**½)

Those of you who follow these reviews will know I rate The Unquiet Dead as the best new Who episode up to this point. Leaving aside the currently fresh in my mind Victory of the Daleks (and at my current rate, it'll be around late 2012 before you'll see that review), this means another Gatiss episode is surely one to look forward to. Isn't it?

Right, here we go then. So, a man's writing, and...oh sod, not Maureen Lipman. I can't stand the woman. And I know she's old, but was she really on TV back then? This writing man is £200 overdrawn apparently. And because we know very quickly that this is the 1950s (it looks all 50s, y'see), that's a lot of money. I'm not definite how much, but any medium-high sum like that today was Worth a Lot of Money Back Then.

Following that, we see a family's sitting around listening to the radio, and because it's quickly established that they don't have a television yet, they're instead watching the sewing machine. The old woman one (I'll call her "Nan") gives a description of television's effects on people that's crazy, because old people don't understand technology. Then, back to Mr Writingman, and Maureen Lipman's come back on the tellybox and is sucking his poor face off. By which I mean through some CGI lightning type things, not by kissing him. He's not that unfortunate.

Post-titles, and Rose and the Doctor are getting out of the Tardis and doing their usual obnoxious clowning around routine that's so far helping to make this series worse than the previous. The Doctor rides out of the Tardis on a 50s looking motorbike, and it's briefly established that he intended to land in New York in 1956 so they could see Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. But by a stunning bit of luck, though he got it wrong (yawn), rather than landing in the middle of the ocean in 1955, they've materialised in London 1953 on the eve of the coronation.

Meanwhile, the family from the start have got their new TV. The atmosphere is, however, somewhat soured by the fact that someone banging upstairs (presumably Nan) is hungry and has something wrong with their face. Scary.

The Doctor and Rose stop in a street to see a man (Mr Writingman from the beginning, or rather Mr Magpie as he's really called) unloading a television out of a van, and Rose notices everyone has a TV aerial. She recognises this as dubious because she says Jackie told her televisions were rare at the time of the coronation, and people crowded into other people's houses to watch it. So was Jackie there then? Because she might be past her best, but to be old enough to remember that first-hand would place her in her late 50s. The alternative is that Rose learnt pretty much everything she knows from Jackie, explaining why she's such a bloody idiot.

Still, moving on, and we see someone getting removed from their house with their head covered and bundled into a black car. Sinister. The car drives off, young boy out of that family comes out to helpfully mention to them that people have been turning into monsters (though I wouldn't be surprised if the episode wanted us to think he means his dad), and so the Doctor and Rose give chase on their motorbike. Then they lose the car because of Operation Market Stall.

Mr Magpie next, and we see he's being talked to sinisterly by Maureen Lipman through the television. Bloody woman. Change the scene, quick.

The young boy out of that family (y'know, that one) goes up to nan's (err, oh, "gran's") room and says he'll come in. But the dad one catches him and gets a bit angry.

Then the Doctor and Rose ring at the door of that family that keeps cropping up (I've not noticed their names mentioned yet), psychic paper their way in as people of authority, and criticise the dad one for suggesting housework is for women. But this is the 1950s, so I think this reflects more badly on Mary and Sue for just blundering into someone's house and trying to impose the values of a future time on them. So the dad one puts the flags up and Rose gives an, as I understand it, incorrect version of what the term "Union Jack" means (surprise surprise, another one she got from Jackie). Then the dad realises this isn't really on in his own house, and him and the Doctor have a bit of a shout.

Eventually, they end up going upstairs (as people often do after arguments) to have a look at Gran and for a reasonable shock moment (more effective than the Cybusmen ones anyway, and the plinky piano chords are a nice touch) where we see her face is gone. The Doctor has a look with his screwdriver, and determines that she's in complete neural shock and there's scarcely an impulse left. Though she clearly had the presence of mind to bang the floor earlier.

Soon after though, some heavies break into the house to take Gran away, and while the Doctor tries to talk to them, they knock him out. Now, I'm no Tenth Doctor hater (with the benefit of hindsight of his entire era), but up to this point of his tenure he really hadn't been much more than frantic and irritating, so seeing him get knocked out like that afforded a certain level of enjoyment for me. He recovers very quickly though, but not quite quickly enough to stop them escaping. He chases after them on his handy bike, but Rose stays behind after noticing the TV being a bit buzzy. She has a quick look, but clearly isn't welcome any more, so is told to leave. Though she still calls Mr Connelly (the dad one) an idiot in the most irritating way before leaving. The hypocrite. Frankly, I'd happily see her get clocked around the face at this point too.

The Doctor's chase leads him to the same dead end as earlier, but after looking around the area some more, he finds a dark cage of locked up faceless people. Creepy. Creepier still, they start crowding around him. Then the men who drove the car shine the headlights at him.

Rose, meanwhile, having found Mr Magpie (from the company logo on the back of the TV, which I guess must have included an address), bothers him. There's a bit that made me smile when Maureen Lipman comes on one of the TVs saying "hungry!" and he tries to dismiss it as "one of these modern programmes". Rose won't take the hint and leave, so instead gets her face sucked off by the Wire (as Lipman's actually called).

The Doctor's being questioned now, and it turns out the two men are police. They don't have a clue what's going on, because if they did it would be less of a Doctor Who episode I guess. Can't have other people being too competent, because the Doctor's the hero. While they discuss it, faceless Rose is brought in having been found on the street. Because the Doctor fancies her, he gets really serious about it now. It's also at this point that we know that everyone will get their face back, whether it makes sense or not.

Next scene and it's daytime, so people are crowding around the Connellys' TV to watch the coronation. But hang on, I thought the thing about this street was that everyone had a TV, and probably so do most of the area. Because they were so cheap from Magpie. So the Wire could eat all the faces when the coronation was on. Still, the "Eddie, you wanna beat that out of him" bit of the dialogue was funny.

Next up, the Doctor and Inspector Whatsisname come to the door, and we discover that Eddie (dad) ratted on Gran's facelessness so she'd be taken away. I'll tell you what, this episode may seem to be stacked so that we hate Eddie, but he's the most sympathetic character in it for me. Clearly locking up faceless gran and getting her taken away was the wrong thing to do, but at the same time what else could he have done? And we're perhaps meant to go "dear me, what a chauvinist" because he thinks housework was only for his wife to do, but that's how things were. He's a man who fought in the war, has traditional views, and when strange things started happening with grandma's face, he had no idea what to do other than to try and keep it secret. The upshot is Rita (the mum one) shuts Eddie out, and Tommy goes off with the Doctor and the Inspector to be useful in the climax.

So, the Doctor realises all these televisions being sold on the cheap could be part of the mystery and goes to Mr Magpie's. He's not there, so he looks around and finds a retro-looking portable television. Which, of course, is an anachronism. The Doctor has a right old look at it with his third eye (hang on now, I mean the wretched screwdriver) and detects some energy. Then, all the stolen faces appear on the TVs, Mr Magpie comes in, and the Wire appears and talks a bit, helpfully giving away its background and plan. It's a standard sci-fi plot really. A bit pedestrian even. It was exiled by its own people and needs the faces and minds to get corporeal form, or some nonsense. Yakkety yak-yawn.

The Wire then starts to suck off the Doctor's, Tommy's, and Inspector Thingy's faces, but notices the Doctor has a sonic screwdriver and stops. Which is a bit odd to me, because he doesn't do anything with it. She just sees he's "armed" and stops. Maybe the robot Santa pilot fish from the future had a word. And for some reason, though the Doctor and Tommy's faces are alright, the Inspector's already been had. Which doesn't make a lot of sense, because as the Wire recognised the Doctor as special and clever, you'd think she'd have put more effort into taking his face and mind first.

So the Wire switches to the retro-looking portable (existing only so we can have this unexciting climax), and the Doctor and Tommy wake up, get some bits of technology together, and chase Magpie and the portable TV to Alexandra Palace, where the Wire plans to take loads of faces. Then it starts to, as the Doctor climbs up the transmitter. And we see a single TV is capable of sucking multiple faces. So why bother with the cheap TV distribution bit? People were going to crowd into living rooms to watch the coronation anyway. Also, the Doctor and Tommy seemingly managed to get all the bits and pieces together and got to Alexandra Palace on foot in not much longer than it took Magpie to get there in his van. Maybe having Maureen Lipman in your lap screaming "feeeeed meeee!" can slow you down, and...oh my, I'm going to be sick.

Anyway, the solution isn't especially clear (Tommy fiddles some devices, err...turned the receiver back into a transmitter?), but whatever it is, absolutely everyone ends up with their face back (for all the sense that makes; should everyone who lost their face and mind really just get them back automatically?), and the Wire's stuck in a Betamax tape. Of course, we know it'll ultimately win when dull people 45 years later start insisting The Wire's the best TV show ever. But then, when this is the competition...

So, a happy ending then. Well, except poor Eddie's chucked out because the house was in gran's (his wife's mother's) name (again, helpfully, because he's the nasty hate figure of the episode, and it wouldn't do for the house to have been his). I get the feeling somehow that we're not meant to sympathise with him.

Yeah, as I say, pedestrian. It had a few bits that work though: the faceless people is briefly interesting, and it evokes the 50s perfectly. But then, that's what new Who does well. Even where the stories are rubbish, it still gets marks for the quality of the production, and this is yet another one of those times. 2.5 stars, like so many others, but very much at the low end of 2.5. And anyway, you'll recall I don't recommend watching anything lower than a 3. Watch The Unquiet Dead again instead, and we can hope the next Gatiss story will be up to scratch.


That zany screwdriver:
1. Blows up a spinning Christmas tree. Ho ho ho.
2. Scares off some Robot Santas. It's got itself a reputation now then.
3. Opens a great big secret door. Opens doors, closes plot holes.
4. Is used to threaten Cassandra's consciousness in Rose's body. A densely layered stupid thing is still a stupid thing.
5. Only the Doctor knows how to hold down the on button. Then it opens a smaller, unsecret door.
6. Makes a convenient ring thingy fall down.
7. It locks an old door. An old, Scottish door. Didn't have enough time to put porridge in the lock.
8. Fixes K9. But I won't begrudge it that.
9. Lights a candle. Sadly not a scented one to cover up the smell of bullshit.
10. Helps ascertain the continuing time portally nature of a fireplace.
11. Disables some parallel world earpods. Perhaps they're not as breakable as they look.
12. Jedi mind tricks a Cybusman. These aren't the Cybermen I was looking for.
13. Determines the location of a specific piece of technology (a transmitter), having been pointed in the direction of a factory and airship with lots of technology. I mean, bloody hell.
14. Seals a hatch. Sonic welder?
15. Gets the Cybus logo off a Cyberman. Wish it would do it to all of them.
16. Does some handy euthanasia. Sonic Dignitas?
17. Cuts a rope. In as much time as a cub scout and a knife would take, meaning it's only as magic as the plot needs it to be at a given moment.
18. Does a brain scan. Shame the writer didn't scan his brain for, err, better ideas.
19. Acts as a torch. Not that silly really, but it goes on the list all the same.
20. Detects some energy coming out of the anachronistic television. This show all over.
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Old April 22 2010, 11:53 PM   #503
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

USS Bones wrote: View Post
So, all you Bones-watchers out there (and you must surely number in your hundreds) will have noticed that I've not posted much in this forum recently, aside from a little bit about Victory of the Daleks and the redesigned Daleks. This is largely down to my intense irritation at the accusation that my objecting to gratuitous sexual references in Doctor Who means I must be an ultra-conservative virgin prude, followed by the usual suspects laughing along at it. A bit offensive really, when this extrapolation's taken only from my views on a TV show rather than from actually knowing me (and thus maybe having a clue), and when that's the level of debate, it's easy to get a bit jaded and wonder what the point is of trying to discuss things. Of course, if it they were genuinely funny and not just knowing attempts by writers who think they're clever to slip one past the kids, then I probably wouldn't object as much. But that's one for another topic, and I'll need to mix a stiff old drink before I get back into that again.
Wow. Bones, since I was the one that asked the question, I would like to apologize if I hurt your feelings. I don't know you. I only know what you say here. I asked a question based on the evidence at hand, and nothing more. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I'm not out to get you or anything. I honestly believe no one here has even the slightest genuine ill thought towards you. Does your constant pessimism and negativity concerning the modern series get tiresome and predictable? Yes, when it seems to be a non-stop event, much like I recently mentioned to Dennis about his constant bashing of the Classic series (which he seems to have slacked-off of, so props to him for his consideration). But, at no time was anything I said to you ever meant to be taken as a personal insult, or some deep, scathing look at you as a person. Just an observation based on posts you make, and your opinions therein. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, I hope you will take the time and consider how meaningless it is to get your feelings hurt over anonymous, faceless conversations on the internet. This medium is not designed to be "personal", and I certainly never intend anything I say to be taken as such.

And The Idiot's Lantern is crap. I guess because I'm American, so I don't get the nationalism of it all. But, like Gatiss' recent Dalek outing, there's a uber-strong British sense to the episode. Therefore, certain emotional contexts are lost on me. Nevertheless, the plot and idea is pretty fucking dumb, either way. And rarely has Tennant annoyed me as much as he did in that episode...
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Old April 23 2010, 12:55 AM   #504
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

As a kid I loved Pertwee who was who I thought of when someone mentioned Doctor Who.

Though Tennant is my favourite Doctor now with Pertwee second.
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Old April 23 2010, 09:28 AM   #505
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

The Idiot's Lantern is ok, but it's decidedly average, and it isn't helped by Fear Her later in the season sharing a lot of elements (The patriotic event: Coronation/olympics. The bad dad, and the people being sucked into other media: tv/drawings. Plus like The says, 10 and Rose are close to their most annoying in this one.
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Old April 28 2010, 12:43 PM   #506
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

I thought I had better give this thread a bump as I agree with a heck of a lot about what is being said about the RTD era. Ever since watching Series 2 for the first time, I always felt that it was the weakest year of the revived series. For me the writing was too cartoonish, overly simplistic plots, uninteresting characters, too much plot convenience and Rose's antics really got to me when in the first series she was quite good. It's almost like she's trying to overtake David Tennant. Speaking of which, I also felt that this was David's weakest year too. Hang in there though because there's some of the best moments in the series yet to come from S3 and onwards.

Keep the thread moving
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Old April 29 2010, 12:49 AM   #507
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Since the 2004 revival, I find there are usually around 3 (maybe 4) stories per season which I actually really like. In series 1 it's The Unquiet Dead, Dalek & the Moffat 2 parter. Series 2 it's School Reunion, Girl in the Fireplace & Impossible Planet/Satan Pit. Smith & Jones Human Nature/Family of Blood & Blink for series 3 & Fires of Pompeii, The Sontaran 2 parter, the Library 2 parter & Midnight for series 4.

Just leave me with those. In fact you could probably lose Smith & Jones as well.

I thought everything else ranged from decidedly average to awful.
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Old April 29 2010, 02:32 AM   #508
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

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[/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, Arial][SIZE=1][COLOR=#3a3f31] posted January 22, 2001 01:45 PM [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, Arial][SIZE=2] Bones, I SEVERELY dislike being played for a fool. [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial][SIZE=2]I am going to address this to everyone on the message board, and particularly those people who have joined us from the Trekbbs message board. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Arial][SIZE=2]In internet-speak, a TROLL is someone who feels the need to join a discussion with the sole purpose of creating an argument or inflicting emotional damage on one or more of the people in the discussion. Occaisionally a TROLL'S motive may be high minded and intended to right a percieved wrong, say for example, to prove to us all how Doctor Who does not deserve to be dumped upon. Every single old hand from the previous incarnation of this message board knows exactly what I'm talking about. The primary reason we reverted to the current message board format was because of excessive arguing which threatened to destroy all sense of community and purpose this message board had. As artists working to improve the lot of other artists in the industry, we can't afford to waste our time with needless personal attacks. So the switch to this new message board was instigated and I was asked to play the part of the moderator. It's not an easy job reading through every last single message here, but it's a job I take seriously. Allow me to share with everyone a bit of information from the message board records:[/SIZE][/FONT]
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Old April 29 2010, 10:32 PM   #509
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Da Wabba Who?
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Old May 9 2010, 03:47 AM   #510
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Joel wrote: View Post
I thought I had better give this thread a bump as I agree with a heck of a lot about what is being said about the RTD era. Ever since watching Series 2 for the first time, I always felt that it was the weakest year of the revived series. For me the writing was too cartoonish, overly simplistic plots, uninteresting characters, too much plot convenience and Rose's antics really got to me when in the first series she was quite good. It's almost like she's trying to overtake David Tennant. Speaking of which, I also felt that this was David's weakest year too. Hang in there though because there's some of the best moments in the series yet to come from S3 and onwards.

Keep the thread moving
Thanks for bumping. It's nice people read it
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Bones, I SEVERELY dislike being played for a fool.
Erm...this was the intelligible bit, and clearly aimed at me. I'd love to know what you meant if you'd be kind enough to reiterate.

Right, so, it's exam period for me and there probably won't be any more reviews for a while. Perhaps for longer than a month. But because my fragile ego can't bear the idea this topic may drift away again, I'm bumping it to give you the dubious new content of the complaint I mentioned elsewhere that I sent to the BBC regarding to Dalek redesign. For those who don't know, I filled out the complaint form on the BBC website, and clearly specified the complaint referred to the episode aired on the date of Victory of the Daleks, and titled the complaint "The Dalek redesign.". However, the response I received was the standard one sent to everyone by the BBC regarding the Graham Norton trailer. Giving me the feeling they may not have actually read my complaint:


The new Daleks are an absurd bastardisation of a classic design. They look like cheap Chinese-manufactured knock-offs that are different enough to evade copyright and based on poor source photos. They have gone from the fantastic modernised design of 2005 to looking like plastic toys that would blow over in a strong gust. They've gone from looking like menacing and deadly small tanks to guest stars on an episode of the Teletubbies.

I've never felt strongly enough about something like this to complain before, but the Daleks are iconic, and while some the episodes they've appeared in over the past few years may not have been great, they themselves have looked perfect. I can only assume this redesign has been done purely to sell more toys to children who will pester their parents to get them each colour. Keeping the 2005 design and changing to more colours than just ostentatious gold would have been far more preferable to the abominations "Victory of the Daleks" has foisted upon us (the episode was poor as well, but that's another issue).

I'm not alone in thinking this either; not a single person I know of credible intellect has anything but criticism for the change. So, my recommendation would be to revert to the previous design (there must surely be quite a few of them knocking about from the past few years) and just do them up in different colours.[...]

The rest of the third paragraph was truncated in the e-mailed response (I didn't bother making a copy of it when I sent it), but I went on a bit more to suggest that if they really wanted to change the Daleks, then they could make a change by writing them a decent episode.

Why bother posting it here? Well, it preserves it for posterity, and it's part of my new Who writings. Anyone who follows my reviews may as well see it too.
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