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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Doctor Who

Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old May 14 2010, 11:57 AM   #526
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Interesting stuff on both Gold and RTD. That said, I'd have thought it tremendously flattering to RTD to think he's got some kind of system or technique beyond first-draft hackery and leaving The Mill to fill in his plot holes with enough spectacle that we won't notice. There's that quote out of his book about how he sees how it would be irritating to try and impose a classical structure on his stories, which I took as his attempt to say "I know I write rubbish, but I'm claiming it's revolutionary and leaving the Jon Blums of this world to defend it for me while I insult anyone who criticises". Or something.

Anyway, regarding that classic Who watching topic I was going to start: I'm going to have to put it off until later than Sunday. I've got an exam on Monday and then another two during the week, so after making this post I plan to lock myself in my room and do nothing but solidly revise and guzzle tea like a right leaf-fiend. After that though, I've got a free week until the next exams, so I'll start that classic Who topic on the 23rd, and may even fit in the Impossible Planet review here.
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Old May 14 2010, 06:57 PM   #527
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Gatchaman wrote: View Post
Psion wrote: View Post
Gatchaman, is there another word for "vertical plotting"? Because I can't find any references for it in any of my exhaustively cursory searches, nor does Google return any hits on it in association with Russell T Davies -- which strikes me as curious if he's really such a fan of the technique, however misapplied.
I had to hunt for it too, to be honest, and found a rough definition on a film review site a couple of years ago when he first started banging on about it in reference to his plotting on Voyage of the Damned and Partners in Crime. Annoyingly - and isn't it always the way with these things ? - I can't find it now and like you if I put it into google I get invited to hire scaffolding poles.

He did big it up in the Confidential broadcast after PiC in the same interview where he was suggesting that the scene mentioned before where Donna and the Doctor dangle from the building would make a suitable example for a tv writing course as an example of vertical plotting. Maybe shortly after that someone gave him the correct definition so he dropped it from the repetoire ?
Well, at least it's not just me. I hate when I look for something, declare it nonexistent, then get shown up by someone who did a slightly different search what a complete imbecile I've been. My wife does this with the remote a lot, for example.

ANYWAY ... let me throw another possible explanation at you: Perhaps RTD simply liked stacking his characters having dialog and coined a phrase to describe it that -- incidentally -- was already used in the industry to mean something else. I'd still expect Davies to know "vertical plotting" meant something else, but that's not quite as embarrassing as so severely misunderstanding the concept the way you've speculated.

Honestly, there are elements of Russell T Davies' contributions to the franchise that rub me the wrong way, and I'm by no means an apologist for the man, but I bet we can bend this mistake to look like any number of things.
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Old May 15 2010, 05:19 AM   #528
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

OH NOES. Russell Davies misused a term that... actually doesn't turn up on the entire Internet. Whatever will we do?

Regardless of the term, I think it simply boils down to the fact that he thinks stories where the characters run up and down a lot are more exciting than ones where they run back and forth. They feel bigger because you "know" it's not a set. I remember he talks about this in the "New Earth" commentary, too.

I think he's right.

(I also suspect he has other things to contribute to drama, as "Midnight" features not a single staircase, elevator, cleaning cradle, or lift shaft.)
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Old May 15 2010, 04:09 PM   #529
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Gatchaman wrote: View Post
I'm new to these boards, but a friend recommended your reviewers as being well written, thought provoking and entertaining. In this, he was spot on.

Good luck with the exams and remained assured that you do have an appreciative audience.
USS Bones wrote: View Post
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Old May 15 2010, 04:17 PM   #530
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

It was immensely flattering. I was recommended to someone. By their friend. Well written, thought provoking and entertaining. .

On a similar note, this topic's just passed 20,000 views. Watch out Doctor Who Primer, you won't be on that top spot forever
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Old July 15 2010, 02:36 PM   #531
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

'Ello me ducks. I can't believe it's been this long. I hope it's readable enough to have been worth the wait. It was watchable at least, which is a welcome change from most of the rest of Series 2.



The Impossible Planet (***½)

That's a good title that. The Impossible Planet. I like that. Right then. There's the Tardis. It's queasy apparently. Perhaps it also has to watch the Doctor and Rose being utterly hatable. The situation's quickly established: Sanctuary Base (nice to have Moonbases and Seabases referenced), drilling, old writing. And there's the Ood. Except, we don't know they're the cheery lovables we cheerily love now at this point, so when they close in saying "we must feed", we get a reasonable cliffhanger just from the teaser. On the subject of the Ood, they may be the only memorable race new Who's produced besides the Weeping Angels (I think it's the mix of not actually being nasty while still looking disgusting), but why exactly they'd evolve to look like they've sneezed a squid is beyond me.

Titles out of the way, and they were just offering the Doctor and Rose a bite to eat. As you do when two unknown intruders show up in the middle of your Sanctuary Base. Maybe everyone likes the Ood because they're polite in a very Edwardian British sort of way. Next, some humans show up (we may mercifully not be set on Earth for once, but you can't expect to land on a spacebase that isn't run by humans in new Who) and seem quite surprised. It's impossible for people to show up like that, for a reason that will no doubt be important. They meet the rest of the crew (who nearly manage an entire personality between them), things shake around a bit, and they then open up the roof to show what's going on.

The Acting Captain (it's early days yet, I'm not going to start on names before I can be sure the characters will live beyond the first half hour) warns them to brace themselves, as what they're about to see sends some people mad. I wonder what people he could mean; whatever the situation they're in is, it means people can't come along and visit, and none of the crew are mad. Boring yes, but not mad. Anyway, it's a CGI black hole, and you'll be pleased to know I accurately predicted the Doctor's first line upon seeing it: "But that's impossible". There's some predictable and possibly factually inaccurate chat (I'm not sure, but as a black hole is a collapsing star, then surely it doesn't draw in entire other solar systems does it? And if it does, not that quickly; stars are very long distances from each other), but it looks pretty. You can see where the money goes on this show.

Meanwhile, Toby (some guy who got sent to do something earlier) is walking along a corridor and calling "who's that?" at buzzing noises and flickering lights. The rest of the crew continue to explain the planet's situation: it generates a gravity field that stays in constant balance against the black hole. And here's another issue, science fans: gravity's not only a constant force throughout the universe as we know it whose strength is based on the mass of the body in question (meaning it really is going for its own rules, this planet), but it's also quite weak compared to the other 3 fundamental forces (strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, and electromagnetism). As gravity is based on mass, the bigger something is, the more it'll attract stuff. You can tell I'm not especially literate scientifically, but you catch my drift. So if this black hole is sucking things in, how's a powerful gravity funnel from the planet going to keep it out? Surely it would have to be a repellent force to keep it away from the event horizon. Just calling it an inverse gravity funnel would have made more sense. I think. As I said, I'm no expert. But I don't think the writer is either. And they also flew down this funnel to get there. "By rights the ship should have been torn apart". Depends really. If it's ultra-high gravity, then they should have crashed into the planet very quickly and been destroyed very soon after they entered the funnel. On the other hand, if the Acting Captain just doesn't know a quark from a boson and it really is a repellent non-gravitational force (or some magic inverse gravity), then they shouldn't have been able to use this funnel to fly down to the planet. In fact, this funnel doesn't make much sense. If it's originating 10 miles down from where the power source is, and it's genuine gravity that's being messed about, then perhaps the planet ought to break apart. A field around the planet might makes more sense (I think). Also, if entire star systems are being pulled into this black hole that they're orbiting, then they're damn lucky not to have some of that matter slamming into the planet on its way, which would probably destroy it. Whereas with a bubble or shell-like field, that could be explained away because it would create a sort of shield. Star Trek had it right. Anyway, impossible's the word.

Back at the story, one of the Ood gives Rose a drink, and she finds out they're slaves. But seemingly happy ones. The Doctor works out some 666 nonsense equation about the power source, and we find out these people are drilling to get to it. I'm sure that's not as reckless as it sounds. Also, some old race lived on this planet and supposedly locked something away. Though it's really a very small planet. The hologram of how deep 10 miles is shows that the radius of the planet is no more than 15 miles. I'd guess that race didn't evolve on this planet then. In fact, it's not really a planet at all. That's tiny. Much smaller than our moon even.

Then the Doctor insists on hugging the Acting Captain, which is embarrassingly awful to watch. Happily, the Doctor soon gets the smile wiped off his mugging mug when he finds out that the Tardis had been chucked down a hole during that quaking business earlier. He goes for a look then nips back and asks the Acting Captain to divert the drilling to let him get the Tardis. The AC won't oblige. Bet he wishes he hadn't hugged him now. And Rose manages to unendear herself to me even more with "yeah, changed my mind, start worrying about me".

Ravel's Bolero plays over the basewide speakers while we see the crew doing their jobs, which seem to be wandering around outside in a spacesuit with a spanner, counting Ood (also helps if you can't sleep), and looking at some of the ancient text under a magnifying glass. Nice work if you can get it. Toby (he of the magnifier) keeps getting chatted at by Sutekh's disembodied voice. He goes out to the corridor and the lights blink some more. In fact, things are devilling up all over the place. Toby's getting the worst of it though. However, he must have got his Archaeology Degree from an ex-poly (or maybe the same place the Acting Captain got his Astrophysics BSc), because he's taken a damn long time to work out that the blinking lights and disembodied voice aren't Dan. He then goes all red-eyed and tattooey. Spooky.

Rose and the Doctor talk about their situation as if the Tardis being lost means they're completely stuck forever and he'll have to live a life in a house with carpets (the skinny irritating twit), and he also reveals Tardises are grown (bah). So he didn't think of maybe using his knowledge to earn lots of money, renting a space drill, then coming back and digging the Tardis up? It might take a while, but he can live a long time. Better still if Rose grows old and dies before then. We almost descend into complete mawkish romance between the Doctor and Rose, but then she gets a phonecall from Sutekh. Spooky. They go and see Danny and have a look at the Ood who communicate telepathically, and said Ood start having a right old shout in their heads and start talking devil.

The prettier one of the women looks for Toby and sees he's outside without a spacesuit, grinning madly. He uses his superpowers to break the window, things shake up a bit, and another bit of the station gets chucked away. Toby's alright, but that woman's dead and floating outside. Even though she's dead and outside the base, the Doctor tells her he's sorry, so sorry (it's like he's got an OCD reaction to say it every time someone dies). Whether she should be floating like that or be making a quick dash for the black hole is another sciency issue I'll avoid. It depends whether she's in the area of the funnel, and what this magic funnel is doing at the moment.

Still, to take their minds off it, as soon as they shut the skylight the drilling reaches...well, the place it's drilling to. Timing! The Doctor puts on one of the jazzy orange spacesuits and goes down for a look with the others that are going. Rose spouts some inane nonsense to him before he leaves about what people where she lives think space travel will be like, and during this she says "anti-gravity" (well, alright, "an'i-gravi'y" then). Forget RTD's gay agenda, it's all about the anti-gravity agenda this week. And would people where she comes from really think about space travel? Maybe they do; people do tend to waffle on about space travel once they've had half a bottle of cheap cider and a spliff. Err, so I hear.

Anyway, the Doctor and one of the crew (it doesn't really matter which one, but it's the woman who's not dead) take a lift down the shaft that looks like it's travelling really slowly but must be travelling much more quickly if it's covering as much distance as it's meant to be. It can't possibly be how it actually looks, because otherwise they could have drilled to the where they're going using a Black and Decker. They arrive at the bottom and they get some light from a, well, gravity globe. It's all big and nice and there are some statues and rocks and that. The Doctor even finds time for an Eastenders joke. They find a big trapdoor, Toby gets Satanned again then unSatanned, the Ood get possessed and one of them kills some guy in a silly-looking way with its communication sphere (how a sphere meant for talking does that I don't know), the trapdoor opens, the planet starts heading for the black hole despite the CGI skylight not showing them moving any nearer to it, and we hear Satan's voice again. All in all, a pretty effective ending.

So yeah, this was actually fairly good. Science may have taken a hit, the characters may have been bland, and the Doctor and Rose may have been a bit irritating (par for the course this series), but it was still a decent watch. As ever with two-parters, it's only half the story, but if the second part holds up then this could be a real winner in a series that badly needs one.

Better still, I didn't notice the silly screwdriver once. Saves me adding to the list; it's starting to get longer than the actual reviews.
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Old July 15 2010, 03:41 PM   #532
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

^ That two parter is bloody brilliant, easily some of the best Doctor Who has to offer. I would love to learn more about the creature especially since the family of the beast appeared in Torchwood Season 1.
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Old July 15 2010, 03:44 PM   #533
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

It's a really good two parter. To be honest the only think letting down the first part (for me) was the doctor and Rose discussing mortgages

This really did feel quite classic, the sort of story you could drop Peter or Tom or Troughton or anyone into and it's work just as well.
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Old July 15 2010, 06:46 PM   #534
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Alas, I don't think, in this thread at least, I've seen Bones like two episodes in a row. So fingers crossed!

The Satan Pit will have be good to redeem the season. Then again, if Bones hates it it's a damn good excuse to not have to trudge through the next two episodes!
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Old July 15 2010, 09:41 PM   #535
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

TIP/TSP might be my favourite pair of episodes not written by Moffat in NuWho.
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Old July 15 2010, 10:13 PM   #536
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

'The Beast' should have been Sutekh. I think it was a real missed opportunity - to have brought back Gabriel Woolfe and not have him play Sutekh is hard to fathom imo.
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Old July 15 2010, 11:42 PM   #537
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

That would have been a completely different story, though. Sutekh is absolutely nothing like the Beast.
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Old July 16 2010, 06:49 AM   #538
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

The only problem with the 2 parter is right after are the worst back to back episodes from nu Who...Love & Monsters and Fear Her (Below Average grades from me).

At least season 2 ends on a high
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Old July 16 2010, 11:06 AM   #539
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

Jax wrote: View Post
The only problem with the 2 parter is right after are the worst back to back episodes from nu Who...Love & Monsters and Fear Her (Below Average grades from me).

At least season 2 ends on a high
I personally liked Love and Monsters, the only good thing about Fear Her is that Jenny from Teachers is in it.
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Old July 18 2010, 05:39 PM   #540
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Re: A Hater Revisits nuWho

USS Bones wrote: View Post
Better still, I didn't notice the silly screwdriver once. Saves me adding to the list; it's starting to get longer than the actual reviews.
He brandishes it like a weapon at the start, to ward of the Ood, I think. I hated that bit, though I generally liked the episode and this review, might have to read some more
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