R.O.S.E meets every Wednesday 8.00-10.00pm. New members welcome... but bring biscuits.
Moffat has a tendency to structure his episodes in an unconventional, almost literary style (he was an English teacher after all!) It doesn't always work for me, as is the case of The Big Bang or The Angels Take Manhattan, but when it works, as in Listen, it works brilliantly. This story isn't unlike a David Mitchell novel (no, not the comedian who played one of the robots in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, the author) with four thematically linked chapters, spanning time and space and of various genres, with the consequences of one chapter becoming clear in another.
Capaldi gives a more paranoid, conniving and on-edge take on his Doctor. His refusal to leave Orson's spaceship until the night is out echoes how he broke the TARDIS's mercury fluid link way back when he visited Skaro for the first time. This parallel is fitting given that words spoken to the Doctor's first incarnation in the final scene are the direct cause of the entire episode.
As for the final scene. Some may find it sacrilegious to show the Doctor as a child, but I find the scene vital in its role as both an introduction and a climax to the story. Without this scene, Listen would be a perfectly fine as a 'spooky Moffat episode' with another high-concept monster, but it's that detour to Gallifrey which really elevates Listen beyond that. Admittedly, it irks me slightly that Clara becomes so massively influential in the Doctor's life. In fact, it irks me in a similar way to how the half human thing from the TV Movie irks me, although to a much lesser extent. The Doctor decided to flee his home planet and help those in need across the universe because he is different from other Time lords, and different from any human, so it doesn't ring true to me that the intervention of some Pudding Brain has made him become the man he is today.
My main problem with Listen however, are the aforementioned "high-concept monsters"- so high-concept that they might not even exist! When the Doctor delivers his ominous opening monologue about a creature evolved for the specific purpose of hiding, all I could think about were the Silence- a race he had encountered only four episodes earlier. Has the Doctor forgotten the Silence?...Actually, forget I said that... At the end of the day, the nature of the creatures is irrelevant- they're only here (or not there) to illustrate a point- and a very good point it is too- but Moffat's recycling of ideas leaves a bad taste in the mouth for me.
I've gotten very negative now, which doesn't express my true feelings for the episode (now I'm starting to sound romantic!). My criticisms are just petty quibbles with what is a wonderful, funny, frightening, poignant love letter to the show itself.
Plus, I love the music that plays in the final scene. In subsequent episodes it was used to as a theme for Clara and Danny, but I'll always associate it with that lonely child, crying in his bed such a very long time ago, what he could represent and what he should represent, and what
he... never won't represent... sort of thing.
2 days, 21 hours ago on Rank the Revival: 2014 Part 2
Something that can be said for both of Moffat's Doctor Debuts is that they are very visually distinctive. The Eleventh Hour effectively established the fairytale theme of series five and was imbued with a real sense of freshness- everything was bright and sparkling and picturesque.
Deep Breath on the other hand, had the TARDIS crashing down onto the grimy banks of the Thames in Victorian London, where the wind bites and the world is grey. The restaurant cum spaceship is particularly well realised- as are the wonderful intricacies of the Half-Faced Man's head (no wonder Wheatley used all those close-ups of the whirring clockwork- that animatronic model was brilliant).
Unusually and interestingly for a Doctor's opening episode, Twelve remains a closed-book throughout. He's a slippery character, evading questions and slipping off to further adventures at any given opportunity. The Doctor leaving Clara alone with the droids was the first time I've been genuinely shocked by his actions in a very long time. He's in no rush to save the day either- making time for a change of clothes (and face!) before he returns for Clara and having a drink with his adversary while his friends battle for their lives below him. We do get a glimpse of his more vulnerable side when he gently accuses Clara, "you look at me, and you don't see me," and his initial reticence makes this admission all the more satisfying. Also, I love his highly Doctorish disgruntlement that there's no sausages on offer at Mancini's- "do you have a children's menu?"
It's here that Clara began to seem like a real, multifaceted character for the first time. I found her perfectly likeable in series seven (I've never actively disliked a companion), but it's refreshing to see her in a situation that she can't shrug off with a glib quip and a flirtatious smile.
We get a surprising yet fitting new take on the Clockwork Droids, and they provide a nice parallel to regeneration, similarly, but to a greater extent, to Prisoner Zero in The Eleventh Hour. There's some heavily macabre imagery- the prime examples of which I hardly need to point out. Suffice to say the fairytale is over, welcome to a new era of Hinchliffe-esque gothic Who!
3 days, 23 hours ago on Rank the Revival: 2014 Part 1
@MrRazza, Craig Revel Horwood No More @SirTrey Can I be most enigmatic voter please? Not including my rankings makes me feel left out!
4 days, 1 hour ago on Rank the Revival: 2014 Part 1
@supermoff, defender of Deep Breath Its a good monologue, but I always find it uncomfortable when she describes herself as "pretty". Who would actually call themselves pretty?
4 days, 2 hours ago on Rank the Revival: 2014 Part 1
I never got round to posting my reviews for 'Day' and 'Time' yesterday:
Steven Moffat was The Writer on the day that it was impossible to get it right... and he only went and got it right! Sure there are flaws with Day of the Doctor, the biggest ones for me being the portrayal of the Time War (although the special effects were excellent, it felt too much like a generic zappy space war for my liking) and the way in which the Daleks were defeated. So too, Tennant's Doctor wasn't quite as multifaceted as he had been during his own era, but realistically this wasn't his story, and he does gets some meaty dialogue in the Tower scene. Despite these quibbles, the special manages to encapsulate all that is great about Doctor Who: humour, emotion, action, twists, and a heady dose of timey-wimeyness.
Hurt does a great job portraying the War Doctor's journey from 'NotTheDoctor' to 'MostTheDoctorOfAllTheDoctors'. Eccelston in the role would have been preferable- effectively completing the New Who package, but Hurt is a very satisfying alternative as what is basically the voice of the Classic Series. Bringing back the Timelords was a potentially risky move. Showing the Doctor committing genocide on screen would have been far too dark, and it's nice for him to finally be allowed to redeem himself, but whether the risk has fully paid off depends on how it's dealt with in future episodes. I sort of want the Doctor's closest friends and family to remain dead (that didn't sound as brutal in my head!) because it makes him a more tragic, rootless character.
I actually enjoy the Zygon subplot, particularly the parallels it provides to the story's main gist (there's loads of parallelism here, which makes for far more engaging viewing). It was a good idea to bring back what are generally considered as Doctor Who's greatest one hit wonders for the Fiftieth.
The casting of Billie Piper as The Moment works brilliantly for me. It's very poetic that the woman who helped the Doctor to overcome his guilt and anger (to some extent) goes on to help him undo the very source of that guilt and anger (sort of). Once again, there are plenty of parallels to be drawn between this and Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways. I think it would be very distracting to have The Moment played by a whole host of classic companions, and could pull casual viewrs out of her scenes somewhat:
WAR DOCTOR: Ace? What are you doing here?
THE MOMENT: No Professor, I'm The Moment!
WAR DOCTOR: Oh... you again...
Hopefully I'll have time for a Time of the Doctor review later!
5 days, 2 hours ago on Rank the Revival: 2012-2013 Recap
I have one particularly potent nit to pick when it comes to Time of the Doctor (don't worry, I'll say some nice things about it later)
In how much detail did the Doctor describe the pre-Trenzalore adventures of his current incarnation to the children of Christmas? 'Cause those drawings that adorn the inside walls of the clock tower are shockingly, unbelievably accurate when compared to the actual characters and situations that they derive from. To give a few examples:
-The drawing of Kahler Jex looks uncannily similar to Adrian Scarborough and the drawings of Prisoner Zero has a striking resemblance of Olivia Coleman.
-Amy is seen wearing her checkered shirt from Day of the Moon and the Doctor is seen wearing his tweed jacket. I can't imagine Eleven going into the specifics of clothing when recounting his adventures!
-Certain locations such as the staircase of Craig's flat or Doctor Simeon's study are also surprisingly well depicted.
I apologise, I am an incredibly petty and mean-spirited human being.
6 days, 1 hour ago on Rank the Revival: 2013 Part 3
@Typo42 "Magic Carrots" @PaddyB I just find the plot overly simplistic when I'm not distracted by the two big twists.
1 week, 3 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2012 Part 1
Asylum of the Daleks- I was hoping for a planet run amok with mad, cackling Daleks who'd give Crazy Cann a run for his money. Just imagine tribal Dalek cults practicing their prolonged extermination rituals on unfortunate humans; imagine paranoia-stricken Daleks attacking one another, both sides seeing their opponents as 'impure'; imagine deranged Dalek mutants strewn across the asylum floor, waiting in the dark, ready to wind themselves around the leg of any unsuspecting victim who might pass through...
Anyway, enough of my bid to be show runner and on with the story we did get. Instead of the aforementioned insane Daleks, we got a planet full of comatose Daleks- basically the same as ordinary Daleks, but slower and with a less accurate aim, so the episode hardly bolstered the reputation of the Metal Meanies (sorry, slipping into TV listings magazine terminology!) I did find the nano-cloud transformation to be quite disturbing, although it hardly seemed like a uniquely Dalek invention.
Amy and Rory's divorce felt like a botched attempt to add some character drama to the story- their relationship had been put to the test countless times already so I found it hard to believe that such a small misunderstanding would split them up. Infertility was a mature subject matter for the show to deal with, as was the previous series' child abduction plot, yet both were mishandled and contributed little in the way of character development.
As for Oswin... am I the only one to find Oswin extremely irritating. For the record, I have nothing against Clara- particularly given her development in series 8, but Oswin is an insufferable know it all who acts as a cheap vessel for 'cheeky' one-liners and is as vacuous as she is flirty. She's probably as close as Moffat's writing gets to the sexist stereotyping he's accused of. Nonetheless, Jenna (Louise) Coleman's premature appearance was a great surprise, as was the reveal that she was actually a Dalek! The thing about surprises though, is that when they come to define an episode, as this one does for me, the episode always seems more hollow and unsatisfying on repeat viewings.
Series Seven was unfortunately my least favourite series of the revival (not that I've watched a complete classic series yet!). I felt that Moffat's demands to pitch a 'movie title' rather than an idea stunted originality somewhat and left us with boringly digestible concepts that were overly genre-based.
Still, Doctor Who is Doctor Who and I can always gain enjoyment from it to some extent!
I'm looking forward to reading this article- I haven't git the time just now, but ohh- look! A Delta Wave gif.
I like a DeltaWave gif me...
1 week, 3 days ago on Doctor Who’s Impossible Choices and the Trolley Problem
On second viewing, after my initial disappointment with the River Song reveal, I enjoyed this episode much more than I originally had. If it can be counted as a finale, it would be my favourite Matt Smith finale.
Anticipation is effectively built up at the start of the episode, with the Doctor lurking in the shadows and building up an army for his imminent offensive on the Silence. It really feels as though something big is coming- as it turns out he's only got some spitfires in space and Hugh Bonneville with his son- but let's forget that for now! I also love Amy's opening monologue, where any 'who's the daddy?' concerns are dispelled when it's revealed that she isn't talking about the Doctor, but 'The Last Centurion'.
After all his scaremongering- blowing up the Twelfth Cyber-Legion and such, it's nice to see a more mischievous Doctor popping up from under the robes of a Headless Monk. It's not long before the Doctor's true feelings come to light however, and the "Colonel Runaway" scene is undoubtedly the most memorable glimpse at Eleven's darker side during his era.
I find the Headless Monks quite funny, with their chanting sounding like the 'Church Choir' setting on a Yamaha keyboard! "Oh dear God- that's the attack prayer!" has to be one of the silliest lines in anything ever- and I love it for that reaon. The monks aren't wholly ineffective however, the scene where Dorium gets decapitated is particularly sinister. The ensuing battle is excellently directed- with River's poetry recital making it all the more epic. Amy's reaction when Melody turns to custard in her arms is deeply distressing, and the child abduction storyline was a very mature route for the show to take- if only the emotional impact on the Ponds had been better explored in the following episodes.
Returning to the River revelation. I'm sure that most viewers had worked it out five minutes in to the episode and as such, the final scene comes across as a bit of a damp squib. Still, Lorna's scroll is an clever plot device.
Nitpicker's Corner: What does the Doctor actually do between the end of A Good Man Goes to War and the start of Let's Kill Hitler?
1 week, 6 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2011 Part 2
Moffat's series tend to include a relatively straightforward moral dilemma story (The Hungry Earth, The Rebel flesh, A Town Called Mercy, Kill the Moon), all of which, bar Kill the Moon, I tend to find unremarkable, but perfectly enjoyable nonetheless.
The set-up of The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is very familliar with clones rising up against their 'originals', although the concept of the Flesh, as well as the gothic setting is slightly more imaginative. There is some tonal inconsistency due to the second episode's attempt at surrealism, with the wall of eyes and that weird Lazarus Mark II creature that Jennifer turns into jarring somewhat with the main ethical gist of the story.
There's also the problem that I've had at several points during series six, of Eleven doing some very questionable things, which seemingly aren't meant to come across as questionable at all. In Day of The Moon he turns the human race into unwitting pawns in his act of genocide, in The Doctor's Wife he boasts to House about a prior act of genocide he committed and here the 'real' Doctor shoves Amy up against a wall and shouts in her face- for no apparent reason! So too, at the end of the story, after we've been repeatedly informed that the lives of non-independent gangers should be respected, the Doctor 'murders' Amy's ganger in a shockingly cold manner.
On to the things I do like. The rapport between the two Doctor's is very enjoyable, the scene when ganger Jimmy talks to his son is touching and of course, that cliffhanger is amazing- and far more revelatory than the one we'd be getting the following week, but more on that later.
Oh, and one last thing- does anyone else find it incredibly annoying when Jennifer keeps pronouncing "ganger" as "gang-gur"?
@MrRazza is going all Craig Revel Horwood Half of the scene was filmed in Wales rather than at St.Paul's, so maybe they just used it as a bit of set-dressing to make Wales look more like London?
1 week, 6 days ago on Master Plan? The Mysteries of Missy
@SirTrey @PaddyB At least there was a dark and foreboding tone during the 'Fury of a Timelord' scene in The Family of Blood. In Day of the Moon the tone was basically "The Doctor saves the day! Woo!" which felt slightly inappropriate to me.
1 week, 6 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2011 Part 1
@SirTrey @PaddyB He wouldn't have needed to be brought down a peg in The Waters of Mars if she hadn't brought him there in the first place!
@TheNightmareChild is... Peeves @PaddyB l don't think I've encountered anyone other than you and Mr. Razza who doesn't like A Christmas Carol, but in case there are others, I didn't want them to feel left out!
@MrRazza is going all Craig Revel Horwood I can't agree with you on that one. I generally try to avoid saying nasty things about episodes I don't like, but I think I'll plow on ahead with my litany of woes when Nightmare in Silver comes around!
There's a line I love in The Doctor's Wife:
"You didn't always take me where I wanted to go."
"No, but I always took you where you needed to go."
One thing it does call into question though, was the TARDIS just being a vindictive b**** in Midnight? or The Waters of Mars? or The Girl Who Waited?
2 weeks ago on Rank the Revival: 2011 Part 1
@supermoff Wait a second... I thought you said that Listen was your favourite episode?
Some commenters complained that the Doctor's actions in A Christmas Carol are just a tad morally dubious, which is a very valid criticism, yet I've always found it odd that his actions in the series six opener, which I find wholly immoral, don't tend to be brought up.
Way back in The End of Time, the Doctor candidly told Wilf, "I've taken lives. I got worse. I got clever. Manipulated
people into taking their own." In Day of the Moon, he not only manipulates the Silence into bringing about their own extinction, he makes the entire human race, men, women and children alike, all unwitting perpetrators of his act of genocide. Now, it is a very clever resolution, I'll give Moffat that, but at very least Amy or Rory could have brought the Doctor to book for his actions.
Apart from that qualm (nice word, 'qualm') this is probably my favourite series opener. These two episodes turn on its head the preconception that the first story in a series should be a light-hearted and self-contained affair. Instead it pummels the viewer with a barrage of twists and shocks, most notably when the man who's been our hero for the previous 47 years gets bumped off ten minutes in! The American setting is well utilised and contributes to the tone of the story, rather than acting as a publicity ploy to get more viewers in the US like The Angels Take Manhattan. I also really like how the viewers are omniscient in terms of remembering the Silence in The Impossible Astronaut, whereas in Day of the Moon we are as susceptible to their powers as the characters.
As for my customary nitpick, it always annoys me when old Canton says, "That is most certainly the Doctor. And he is most certainly dead." How the hell would you know Canton?! You only knew him for two months 40-something years ago!
Great article! You've very effectively threaded together the schemes of Simm and Gomez's respective Masters and explored their underlying motivations.
I think it's wishful thinking on the Doctor's part that the Master could be redeemed. Even if she suddenly decided to change her ways and travel with the Doctor, would it really be fair for someone who has committed so many atrocities across so many lives to be allowed to start anew?
Actually, that could be interesting as a Boom Town-esque story! Missy would have to go bad again at the end of course!
2 weeks ago on The Doctor and the Master: Enemies Or Friends?
@TakeTheType40 @PaddyB It's not the Pandorica restoring the universe that annoys me, it's that cause and effect is blatantly ignored so that the Doctor can free himself from the Pandorica- which could be opened remarkably easily as it was. The fact that the Pandorica can resurrect Amy also irks me- why does a prison need to keep its inhabitant alive?
2 weeks ago on Rank the Revival: 2010 Part 3
@MrRazza is going all Craig Revel Horwood The Doctor's goodbye to young Amelia is actually one of my favourite parts of the episode, but I find it irritating when he 'dies' after being shot by the stone Dalek, since it has no dramatic purpose other than to ratchet up the tension a bit, even though he's obviously not dead!
There's a big pile of good things that I can say about Vincent and the Doctor:
The sensitive subject matter of depression is tackled masterfully. Tony Curran is an excellent choice to play the painter- both in terms of appearance and his portrayal of the character. Amy is at her compassionate and irreverent best. The museum scene is superb. lastly, the Doctor's 'good things-bad things' speech is a lovely sentiment.
Which brings me on to the bad things, or rather, thing...
The Krafayis adds nothing to the story and just seems like a half-hearted attempt to pad out the run-time with a generic monster that looks like a turkey (fittingly for a Richard Curtis script). Surely an antagonist which better reflected the themes of the episode could have been created- perhaps some kind of entity which feeds off anguish like the Mara. The story might even have worked as a pure historical.
Due to these qualms, I'm slightly conflicted in my rating of the episode.
I'm also conflicted when it comes to The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang. I've outlined my grievances with the story recently- namely that the second episode provides a cop-out resolution to the first. By that logic, I should give 'Pandorica' a high rating and 'Bang' a low one, yet I feel that the poorness of 'Bang' impacts on the quality of 'Pandorica', so it isn't right to give them separate rankings. Sigh Maybe I'll just give 'em both 1/10...
Don't worry- I won't give them 1/10. I could never give an episode of Doctor Who 1/10- my hearts would break!
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Rank the Revival: 2010 Part 3
The Doctor gets increasingly lazy over the course of this series when dealing with alien threats. Firstly he saves the day by telling the aliens to look up all those other times that he saved the day, later he leaves a giant carnivorous fish swimming around in the canals of Venice, then he leaves a giant invisible alien turkey lying dead in a French church and lastly he uses his reputation to scare off the bad guys once again. It isn't quite as effective this time however, and he ends up getting locked up in an impenetrable box for...five minutes?
Michelle Gomez is quite...odd. Which is good for the role she is playing!
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Missy Back in Two-Part Series 9 Opener
You want proof that the creatures from Listen exist? Look at the bottom-left hand corner of the photo at the top of the page...
Anyway, Fantastic article, you really encapsulated the reasons that Eccelston left us wanting more...much more... SO MUCH MORE!!!
Nine probably has the neatest character arc of all the Doctors, and Eccelston really helps to sell his journey from battle-scarred killer to a hopeful c̶o̶w̶a̶r̶d̶ hero. There are so many memorable moments and monologues in series 1- his conversation with Margaret in Boom Town is also my favourite, it's essentially the entirety of A town Called Mercy concentrated into one, super-intense scene!
2 weeks, 3 days ago on Why I Love The Ninth Doctor
Top Ten RTD Era Stories (off the top of my head) in Chronological Order:
1. Father's Day(I never read you
those bedtime stories. I never took you on those picnics. I was never
there for you. But I can do this for you- I can put you on my top 10 list.)
2. Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways (SPOILER ALERT! The Emperor Dalek is secretly a rotisserie chicken!)
3. The Girl in the Fireplace ("You're
Mister Thick Thick Thickity Thick Face from Thicktown, Thickania. And
so's your dad." - see YaelMoise, I got the quote right tonight!)
4. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (There's nothing I like more than watching this story with a big bowl of protein nine on my lap and a spoon. It's The Beast!... Sorry- It's the best!)
5. Love and Monsters (nat e'en jokin')
6. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (Quite right too, that it should be on my list. And if it's my last chance to say it- Army of Ghosts/Doomsday...[fades away])
7. Human Nature/The Family of Blood (It's like Fire, and ice, and rage, and...well, you get the idea...It's very very good anyway!)
8. Blink (Because life is short... and Blink is hot.)
9. Midnight (A disturbing look at what us humans are capable of. A disturbing look at what us humans are capable of.)
10. Turn Left (What are you? What will you be?! You're an excellent episode, and you will continue to be an excellent episode.)
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Rank the Revival: RTD Era Recap
@TheNightmareChild: Most Generous Voter @russell t dalek Grotesquely altering human nature seems to be the Master's favourite hobby in the revived series!
I read an article in The Times recently about vociferous Doctor Who fans claiming that the show was tanking on forums such as Gallifrey Base (I've never visited Gallifrey Base, but I get the idea that conversation there is somewhat less amicable than it is here). The way the article was written implied that there was universal outrage among fans when realistically it's a case of only the loudest being heard. We tend to get a bad rep in the media- we're all lovely really!
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Say Something Nice: Internet Fandom
Here's a revelation and a half: I have never seen the pre-titles sequence of The Waters of Mars.In fact, I've never properly rewatched The Waters of Mars. Way back in 2010, the DVD was £18 in Tesco, which is quite a lot, so I thought I'd wait for a few months to get it cheaper- which I somehow never got around to doing.
I was hoping to buy it recently so I could watch it when it was hazy in my memory and enjoy it all the more, but I couldn't resist watching that mesmerising final scene on YouTube- several times- so now I have to wait another year or so before the final scene has faded in my memory and I can watch the episode in its entirety. This is the burden of being a Doctor Who fan...
Anyway... from what I can remember the Waters of Mars is Doctor Who at its most mature, most disturbing, and most dramatic. The design and Realisation of the Flood is highly unsettling. Tennant's acting is excellent as ever, with the Doctor's inner conflict brought to boiling point. Adelaide Brooke is a refreshingly different kind of companion as an intelligent and principled older woman.
As for that final scene. There's a deep sense of wrongness as the Doctor goes against his number one rule and rewrites a fixed point in the most audacious way possible. It's the climax of every tragedy and lost life that Ten has had to endure over the previous four years. He snaps, and it seems from the madness behind his eyes, that there's no going back. "Is there nothing you can't do?" "Not any more." In a grotesque turn of events, Adelaide's heroic death becomes a random suicide- but the universe is indebted to her for that harrowing self-sacrifice.
Yes, I know what you're thinking: "The Waters of Mars was released in a box set alongside The End of Time. Has he not rewatched Ten's swangsong either?!" As it happens, I possess a DVD of The End of Time that came free with The Sun. To misquote Madame De Pompadour, "The Doctor is worth buying The Sun newspaper."
Well, almost worth it!
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2009-10 Specials
Lines from the RTD era that have become influential in my life:
When things are getting a bit Macho: "Blimey! You can smell the testosterone." (from Dalek)
Touche Comeback: "You would make a good Dalek!" (also from Dalek)
When I don't Want to go Somewhere: "we're not going there. At no point
are we going anywhere near there. You aren't even aware that there
exists. I don't even want to think about there, and believe me, neither
do you. There for you is like, like the Bermuda Triangle"(from Father's Day)
When I am Using a Dimmer Switch: [Scottish accent] "Make it brighter. Let me go." (from Tooth and Claw)
When Someone is Thick: "You're Mr. Thickity thick thick from thick street. And so's your Dad!" (from The Girl in the Fireplace)
When I Want to seem Sinister and Ominous: " But how will you do that? FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!" (from Rise of the Cybermen)
When I Don't Want Someone to Look Around: "Don't look around Toby. Look around and you will die. Don't Look at me Toby. I'm right behind you. I can feel you Toby. Don't look around. Don't look at me Toby. (from The Impossible Planet)
When I Have a Profound Epiphany: "Steven King wrote 'salvation and damnation are the same thing. I never knew what he meant. Until now..." (from Love and Monsters)
When Someone is Ungrateful: "I get her bazoolium, she doesn't even say thanks." (from Army of Ghosts)
Sassy Retort: "You are only better at one thing. Dying." (from Doomsday)
When I'm Trying to tell Someone how Good Doctor Who is: "It's like fire and ice and rage. It's
like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. It's ancient and forever. It burns at the centre of time and it can see the turn of the universe. And it is wonderful.
To Justify my Actions in any Circumstances: "Because life is short...and you are hot." (from Blink)
When I'm Feeling Meglomaniacal: "And so it came to pass that the human race fell, and the Earth
was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion as Master of all,
and I thought it good" (from The Sound of Drums and the Book of Genesis)
When Someone Confuses me: "What are you? What will you be?!" (from Turn Left)
When I'm slightly Cross at Someone: "YOU! ARE! THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS!!!" (from Journey's End)
When I heartily disagree with someone: "I don't care who you are. The Timelord Victorious is wrong!"
When I don't Want to go Somewhere (Part 2): "I don't want to go." (you know what it's from!)
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2009-10 Specials
@TheNightmareChild: Most Generous Voter The article was called 'The Portrayal of the Cybermen in New Who'. The quote originally came from a Fact of Fiction feature in DWM.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2008 Part 3
I don't mean to be THAT fan, but I really think that Rose and Ten should have been included. Like 'em or loathe 'em, it's impossible to deny their significance in the show as the Doctor's first romantic relationship.
Honestly, I'm not a fan of Jenny and Vastra. I'm happy to take them as comic relief characters, but I just can't believe in their relationship. The fact that Jenny has to dress as a maid in the privacy of their own home is jarring.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Top 10 Whoniverse Couples
Turn Left is the bleakest ever episode of Doctor Who. That's not to say it's the darkest ever episode, just that it's so unremittingly bleak that even the ever-feisty Donna Noble ends up losing all hope and throwing herself in front of a lorry. I don't mean to say this as a criticism- Turn Left is among my favourite ever episodes.
It's shocking to see apparently whimsical threats from previous episodes (such as the Titanic or the Adipose) having such destructive consequences and it is more so shocking to see the Doctor's arm fall limply from a stretcher. Sure, the Doctor's 'grave' in The Name of the Doctor was all moody and conceptually imaginative- but this is an image that really hits home. With London obliterated, the Noble family are forced to live out a frugal lifestyle as refugees in Leeds (is Leeds really all that bad?)
Rocco, the larger than life Italian house owner, provides some comic relief, but it's really all a show put on for his tenants. The facade finally drops when he is being deported to the 'Labour Camps', carrying the disturbing implication that Britain's government has resorted to a fascism. Still, there's a lovely scene when Donna storms in to one of Rocco's late-night singalongs, all "Oi! Mussolini!"before seeing Wilf sitting in a chair who shrugs up at her. Then we cut to Donna, Wilf and Sylvia all joining in for Bohemian Rhapsody!
Rose plays an interesting role here as the elusive woman who helps out UNIT, yet never reveals her name to them (perhaps she took lessons from the Face of Boe to be "textbook enigmatic"). Her disappointment and denial when she discovers the Doctor's fate is heartbreaking- "this is wrong... this is so wrong", and it makes her reunion with him in The Stolen Earth all the more joyous (that is, before the Doctor gets shot by a Dalek). One thing though, why did Billie Piper have a lisp here, but not in the following two episodes?
I've written about the excellent use of music to denote a tonal shift in Love and Monsters and Human Nature, and Turn Left also achieves this. Just before Donna is sent back in time, the soundtrack is upbeat and rousing reflecting Donna's own renewed hope: "You said I was going to die, but you
mean this whole world is
going to blink out of existence. But that's not dying, because a better
world takes its place. The Doctor's world. And I'm still alive!" The music suddenly cuts out on Rose's brutal reply, "I''m sorry".
The episode's cliffhanger, with "BAD WOLF" emblasoned everywhere- even on the TARDIS, is as bizarre as it is brilliant.
So all in all, a superb story... well, apart from that plastic beetle!
"Taking a big space truck with a bunch of
strangers across a diamond planet called Midnight? What could possibly
Right from the off it seems like the Doctor is actually hoping for something to go wrong.Sure, the Sapphire Waterfall is all well and good, but a minor catastrophe along the way does make things a little more interesting- he'll save the day with ease and everyone will regard him as a hero, simple! I bet he was regretting those words by the end of the episode, when a lighthearted mention of his his ordeal by Donna is promptly silenced- "No...just...no."
It all starts out quite happily however. Ten, like a grumpy old man (which he sort of is beneath it all) disables the in-your-face in-flight entertainment in favour of good, old-fashioned talking.Val, Biff and Merlin- sorry, Jethro, are your average middle-class family and they come across as perfectly nice people, up for a bit of craic. "The pool is abstract!" has to be my favourite out of context punchline. Sky on the other hand, is shyer, but she still has an honest one-to-one conversation with the Doctor. Professor Hobbes, meanwhile, is willing to 'entertain' the group with a lecture on the planet, aided by his wife Dee Dee.
Then the knocking on the wall begins, and everything changes...
It's funny how something so simple as repeating (and then repeating simultaneously) can ellicit such paranoia and cruelty in the group. Does the entity exert an influence over them, or is that simply their true selves? I prefer the latter option personally. The Professor reveals himself to be a pompous misogynist, while Val and Biff are quite simply appalling people. Jethro and Dee Dee make some effort to speak out, but are shouted down by the extremists (kind of like a particularly acrid debate on this site, but I don't want to go there!). The hostess, who was responsible for bringing up the option of murder in the first place, redeems herself by sacrificing her own life. I love the Entity's "oh s***" facial expression just as the Hostess catches on to her plan.
Now, let me take you back to one of the first sentences spoken by the tenth Doctor:
"Am I funny? Am I sarcastic? Sexy? Right old misery? Life
and soul? Right handed? Left handed? A gambler? A fighter? A coward? A
traitor? A liar? A nervous wreck? I mean, judging by the evidence, I've
certainly got a gob."
In this situation Ten is robbed of his ability to talk his way out of trouble. He is unable to establish his authority early on, and his frustrated arrogance- "because I'm clever!" doesn't go down well with the passengers at all. Later on he has his very voice stolen from him, leaving the Doctor the most vulnerable we have ever seen him in any incarnation. David Tennant deserves an award of some description for the sheer anguish in his eyes as he is reduced to repeating the words of a monster!
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2008 Part 3
@Mr. Eyebrows "I found it very repetitive"
I think that was the point (:
In the run up to Dark Water, it was implied that Clara's lies to Danny would have consequences. As it turns out, the consequences of her lies were much more...literal...and... er...physical than I had expected. Basically, because she lies to him, she has to phone him up and confess her wrongdoing ,and then because she distracts him, he gets hit by a car!
2 weeks, 6 days ago on What was Clara going to say to Danny?
My first impression of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead was "that... was a bit weird". For a couple of years after that I held it at a cautious distance- not bad by any means, just slightly dificult to digest.
On more recent viewings I've come to appreciate it much much more. In fact, I think what put me off it in the first place was the sheer amount of ideas in the story, these two stories are bursting at the seams with enough concepts to fuel entire series: a planet-sized library, monsters that live in shadows, skeletons in spacesuits reanimated by an intelligent swarm, a little girl's mind wired up to a vast computer, human souls being downloaded to a virtual reality and of course, the debut of River- in which she dies! So too, the episode is visually rich, from Henry Moore sculptures with a disturbing organic twist, to skeletons in spacesuits reanimated by an intelligent swarm, and not forgetting the warped face of Miss Evangelista.
Talking of Miss Evangelista... I love Miss Evangelista! We meet her as a kind but ditzy young woman, seeking the approval of her team (she's quite pretty too). It is truly poignant that her dying thoughts are "don't tell the others. They'll only laugh" Well, technically her dying thoughts are actually "ice cream"... Anyway, when she's saved to the Library he IQ gets shifted up a notch- granting her the intelligence to see through the falsity of her world, but at the cost of her prettiness. Everything's happy in the end though, with Evangelista maintaining her intelligence and regaining her prettiness. I'm not sure what the moral of that story is supposed to be, but good for her!
Donna's married life with Lee, played out in an episodic style like a TV programme is another engaging subplot. After her considerably botched wedding to Lance back in The Runaway Bride, it's heartening for Donna to meet a man who genuinely cares for her- and more importantly, a man who doesn't speak much. It's tragic seeing her increasing doubt of Lee's existence before giving up hope when she had only just missed him. At least the Doctor has all those future meetings with River to look forward to, the same cannot be said for poor Donna.
Talking of River... I've barely mentioned River! Many have written about Prof. Song much more eloquently than I could, but I'll leave you with one of my favourite lines from the episode:
"You know when you see a photograph of someone you know, but it's from
years before you knew them. It's like they're not quite finished;
they're not done yet. Well, yes, the Doctor's here. He came when I
called just like he always does, but not "my" Doctor. Now, my Doctor,
I've seen whole armies turn and run away, and he'd just swagger off back
to his TARDIS and open the doors with a snap of his fingers. The Doctor
in the TARDIS. Next stop: everywhere."
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2008 Part 2
@TheNightmareChild: Most Generous Voter "I'm the Doctor, b*tch."
I read that in the voice of Jesse Pinkman! I agree that the Doctor flaunting his reputation to save the day is very unsatisfying although at least Moffat acknowledges that in A Good Man Goes to War when it comes back to haunt him.
3 weeks ago on Rank the Revival: 2008 Part 2
The Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords: It's all very dark, isn't it. The last vestiges of humanity are driven insane by the end of everything so they turn themselves into decapitated heads in armoured spheres and slaughter millions of their ancestors, because "it's such fun!" 'The Year of Hell' may be unwritten, but still the Toclafane remain, lingering in the darkness, our final act.
I can see why Simm's Master rubs some people up the wrong way- but I think that's almost the point. He completely subverts Tennant's charisma and boyish charm, ramping it up to absurd levels- jiving to the Siser Sisters and offering the president a jelly baby. Beneath the facade however, there's a cold, hard evil, both in his engineering of the aforementioned mass slaughter as well as, on a crueler and more personal note, his treatment of Lucy. Lucy is a weak-willed character and the Master takes advantage of that. In the first episode she is merely his sexual plaything, but when we see her a year later in Last of the Timelords she is dead behind the eyes. The Doctor shows his companions the wonders of the universe to broaden their horizons, The Master takes Lucy to the end of the universe to crush what was left of her soul. Like I said, dark- no wonder she shot him!
There are some moments of wonder among the bleakness. The Doctor telling Jack and Martha about Gallifrey, as they eat chips and warms their hands by a bonfire, is a marvelous scene. Juxtaposing the fantastical against the mundane is just so RTD!
3 weeks, 1 day ago on Rank the Revival: 2007 Part 3
@SirTrey I've got nothing against differing opinions, but it's short and nasty comments like "I don't see why everyone loves Ten, easily the worst Doctor" that irk me since they add nothing to the discussion and come across as disrespectful to those who have elaborated their views in more detail.
@TheNightmareChild: Most Generous Voter I've been waiting for this comment since your preview on Saturday, and it was well worth the wait!
One thing though, "The Jones family wins because they come out of this stronger and closer than they were before". I've always felt sorry for Leo Jones (aka Reggie Yates, Top 40 Charts presenter on Radio 1) since he misses out on this profound family bonding experience 'cause he's away on holiday! Then again, perhaps he's lucky for not having to live with memories of "the year of hell".
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2007 Part 3
Blink: It may be a cliche to say how good it is, but Blink really is very very good, perfectly structured with everything one could possibly want from an episode of Doctor Who (spookiness and some downright terrifying moments, deftly drawn one-off characters, tragedy, romance, timey-wimeyness and a highly satisfying conclusion).
I'll deal with the actual plot first. While I don't object to the weeping Angels becoming a recurring monster, they're definitely most effective here. The funny thing is, being zapped by an Angel is far from the worst fate a Doctor Who character could face- Cathy ends up having a happy life in Hull. However, it's a much more imaginative means of death than a more traditional monster would dish out- and the jump scare when we see an Angel screaming for the first time easily dispels any worries that they aren't scary enough.
The Doctor's conversation across time is a highly inventive narrative device- especially given the way it's teased throughout the episode. It is slightly odd though, that the Doctor isn't actually talking freely, but he's reading from a script of things he has already said.
As for the emotional side, Moffat masterfully manages to elicit sympathy for characters we've just met and the death scenes of Cathy and Billy are both highly bittersweet in their own way. I find the exchange "It was raining when we first met" "it's the same rain" to be incredibly emotive in the most subtle of ways.
I'm also a fan of Billy's personal mantra "because life is short... and you are hot".
Utopia: Some regard this as little more than a precursor to
the finale, which I feel does it a great disservice. The episode begins
with a brilliantly rousing chase scene in a Welsh quarry as our
heroes are pursued by jeering, razor-toothed cannibals. It's almost like
a Doctor Who parody and it revels in its ridiculousness, but the
Futurekind are actually quite threatening.
From then on in, the
story becomes a quieter, character-driven piece as professor Yana
attempts to bring about the salvation of with his rocket made of food.
The scenes in the silo are bleak, but permeated with hope. Yana is quite
simply, a lovely old man- and a brilliant one too. The viewer's hearts
are warmed by the prospect of the Doctor dropping him off in a time
where his genius will finally be recognised. And then he takes a fob
watch out of his pocket...
The last ten minutes of the episode
form one extended, adrenaline-pumping cliffhanger- perhaps my favourite
ever, most of which we spend waiting for Jacobi to say those vital words
"I. Am. The Master." because he just is, isn't he.
The Doctor and Jack get some great dialogue too.
"What are you taking your clothes off for?"
"I'm going in. "
"Well, by the looks of it, I'd say the stet radiation doesn't
affect clothing, only flesh."
"Well, I look good though."
Chan I also like Chantho Tho.
Human Nature/The Family of Blood is my official favourite story ever- which funnily enough, comes right after my official least favourite episode ever. Of course, I'm not the spreadsheet type, and I find it impossible to set anything down in stone, but these episodes seem like a pretty respectable choice!
The concept of the Doctor becoming human is a highly imaginative set-up for an episode. What some people fail to acknowledge is that John Smith is not just a human version of the Doctor, but an entirely different man, a man who the the Doctor creates with the intention of killing a few months later- but more on that later. The scene where Martha cycles to the dormant TARDIS is highly effective in showing the horror of the Chameleon Arch, with the track which I have discovered to be called "Only Martha Knows" gradually segueing from relaxed and slightly melancholic pastoral music, to an urgent, frenetic tune as the Doctor screams in pain.
The time and place is excellently realised in its two-sidedness. On the one hand John Smith lives in a twee little English town of endearingly posh schoolboys and summer dances in the church hall. On the other hand, Martha faces incessant racism, both casual and aggressive and the the school is a harsh environment where bullying is promoted,and young boys are made to believe that war is glorious.
On that note, the pre-WWI subplot adds an interesting extra layer to the story, and allows for a happy ending in the case of Timothy Latimer to prevent things from becoming too depressing at the end. The mass loss of life in the war are well summed up by Marta and Jenny's exchange;
"To think, in ten years time boys like these will be running the country!"
"1913. Maybe they won't..."
The story doesn't only excel on the emotional front. The Family of Blood are all individually brilliantly unnerving and sadistic antagonists. Baines exaggerates the otherwordly nature of a public schoolboy to grotesque levels. Jenny's cruel possessor draws a sharp contrast to her simple but kind former self. Lucy is the most tragic member of the family, being only a child, and the fact that the Doctor takes sympathy on her at the end implies that some echo of that child remains. As for Father of Mine (can't remember his human name), I love the way he says "TAAR-DIS" in a Yorkshire accent!
As for John Smith, he is an uncomplicated man, and fundamentally a good man, but he is a product of his age and is party to the aforementioned racism and promotion of bullying. It speaks volumes about the Doctor's character that he would conduct such an elaborate scheme out of sympathy for the Family, yet he does not even consider that his alter-ego will not want to sacrifice his life for him. John and Joan's vision of their potential life together is very poignant, since we as the viewers have known from the start that it's never going to happen. The restored Doctor's final exchange with Joan is unflinchingly brutal. He offers her an invitation to travel with him (which he probably knew she would never accept), but it's a poor consolation for his cold refusal to bring back Smith.
And of course, I have to mention the "Fury of a Timelord" scene, as others have below. It's a complete emotional roller coaster, shunting from disappointment to fear to confusion to delight to excitement to apprehension to shock to disgust.
One thing though, just to flaunt my nitpicker credentials. How do unbreakable chains give Father of Mine eternal life? And why does the heart of a Dwarf Star look like a car park?!
3 weeks, 2 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2007 Part 2
@Notsosmartguy @Switcharoo Not everything has to be explicitly pointed out to the viewers. I feel that Ten was more subtly flawed character- and he certainly paid the price for it in The Waters of Mars.
@SirTrey I would disagree that Human Nature is "casually racist". This element helps to make the plot more complex and nuanced. John Smith is essentially a good man, but he is a product of his age, and he is definitely not the Doctor. His attitude to Martha is at times intentionally jarring to emphasise that he is not the champion of freedom and equality that we know and love.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2007 Part 2
The Lazarus Experiment: Not particularly memorable, but the Marvel-esque concept was an interesting new direction for Doctor Who. The cathedral setting for the episode's climax was very atmospheric, and I love a good dangling from a high ledge scene. Am I the only one who thought that the Gattis-Scorpion hybrid was actually quite cool looking?
42: For a long time I considered this to be my least favourite episode of Doctor Who, which may be a slightly unfair judgement, but it's been such a long time since I last saw it that it's hard to tell. I remember it as an infinitely poorer version of The Satan Pit with dourness masquerading as grittiness, and visually unappealing to boot.
You may notice that I'm being unusually succinct, but there will be a return to form for my next comment. Yay!
@SirTrey "Ah, Series 3...it starts so well and then gets so terrible."
Human Nature? The Family of Blood? Blink? Utopia? Series 3 may not be my absolute favourite, but it has a hat-trick of sublime episodes in the latter part.
3 weeks, 3 days ago on Rank the Revival: 2007 Part 1