Whilst dwelling on the hype (and I don't mean that in the pejorative sense)
, I feel it worth mentioning that the blurb
was all about The Doctor
being deprived of his greatest
asset. Now you can either take that to mean his 'voice' or his 'companion' (assistant/sidekick/whatever you describe his bit of stuff that he travels with
). If one were to look deeper into the process (which I am about to)
one could almost describe this as meta~television
: in a mirroring of the story, RTD
has taken away his
strongest asset - the companion.
Curse Of The Fatal PowerPoint!
Since its return the companion has been such
a strong feature that it would be quite easy to argue that without Rose Tyler
the show wouldn't have got passed its first year. People, and by people
I mean the public,
connect with the show through the humanity of the companion. They are such a big feature now
that story titles even include their names. I can't imagine a story in 'Classic' WHO (and remember, 'classic' does not always mean better)
; or one called Tegan
; or even Adric (shudders)
. So here RTD
has disavowed himself, and thereby The Doctor
, of his ability to connect with the audience. And this is where he comes a cropper - The Doc
, that is, not
the writer. His lack of humanity belies
his arrogance. Or, as he puts it, "I'm clever"
lnsert Shiatsu back~massage gag here.
And so to the story itself [Thank the effin' Lord - Ed.] (Hold on, that's me)
. First up, gold stars to the computer~geeks who have delivered again on the 'ole CG
front. Although we're told this was the 'cheap' episode, we still got some lurvely
realisations of the planet. Worth remarking at that this point that us WHO
fans (and those who don't like it that continue to watch it - there are some)
have been treated to lots of new worlds in SERIES 4
and this story marks the fifth continuous episode not
set on contemporary 'Earth'. Yup
, I've been counting.
Another new planet!
While I'm in the mood for handing out gold stars, I'll delve in and give a special one to ALICE "No Relation, Bizzarely" TROUGHTON
for not only her claustrophobic direction but also her montages that were slightly more jaunty. The sound guys gave me the shivers with the banging and the voices whilst composer MURRAY GOLD
continues a good run of episodes with a tempered score ranging from upbeat to downright eerie. But what of RTD
himself? How does his writing hold up here? Without a companion.
So The Doc ain't a vegetarian then...Brilliantly
is the answer. We get all the usual humorous flourishes from him: a very knowing pre~title
sequence - and perhaps a nod to DOUGLAS "The Guv'nor" ADAMS
who always wanted to do a story where the Doctor
took a break from saving the universe and went on holiday - with the Time Lord
reassuring Donna,"What could possibly go wrong?"
Cue 'sting'; pop music placement; 'quirky' characters like the Professor displaying his slides whilst
on holiday and not
afterwards; and the usual hoot~worthy
lines like, "Ladies and Gentlemen and variations thereupon", "Oh Doctor you're so handsome. Yes I am thank you"
and the juxtaposition of "roast beef" with "bananas" (a nod to The Moff perhaps?)
But I thought it was the alien that got sucked out?
Aside from that we get an all new RTD
. He places his focus on the greatest
monster of them all - that thing on the planet! Sorry, I mean 'man'. The concept isn't new but it's presented so acutely that it hardly matter. One could argue that it is a rehashing of THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET
and I did wonder if the budget~friendly
alien would turn out to be the Beast
from that tale. The denouement
is almost identical - the entity, which has possessed a human, is dispatched through expulsion caused by air pressure. But that's not
a criticism (well it is but let's move on)
Either he's pissed [UK] or those are his come to bed eyes
I also wondered if the money~saving
monster was The Master
. Or even Rose Tyler
. We did get a glimpse of her again on a screen. RTD
is clever enough not
to define it however and as in THE SATAN PIT
when asked what it was, he doesn't know. Nice to have some
infallibility there. This notion of the The Doc not
being a superhero came into play when the his fellow travelers turned on him. And that
was a moment of genuine terror. The idea that this simple and flawed group could quite have easily ended his life was a very real
threat and I did actually
think he was gonna get hoofed
out the capsule.
One of these kids is doing their own thing, one of these kids is not the same
Of course, they didn't but there was five minutes or so when the 'ole
heart was pumping and this was largely thanks to the incredible cast. Full marks, gold stars and
a 'See Me Later' the production crew for the casting in Midnight
. With great
believability these guys and gals actored
their way from being 'on~side', as it were
, to displaying all the traits that make us so disgustingly
human. The characters' desire to throw Sky
, and latterly The Doc,
out of the capsule was terrifying and LINDSEY COULSON'S
hissing "It'll be you next"
and "like an immigrant"
were chilling. A wise man once said that desperate people do desperate things (I think it may have been Columbo)
and we see this here explicitly. Without belittling the terrific cast, I will highlight, with a gold~plated
pen, two of them.
Why couldn't she just settle down with the 'Crime Traveller'?
Stand up LESLEY SHARP
and DAVEY T
. I'll get to Mr Wonky Eye
later but first I'll mention the character of Sky Silvestry
. Her movement (coupled with fantastic camera angles, lighting and editing)
was unnerving in the extreme. Her body remained static yet her head and eyes (not to mention her gob)
did all the work creating, in this humble
blogger's opinion, the very best
in Doctor Who
villianary (another new word?)
. Her phrasing was perfection and imbued the very essence of horror - that which is only hinted at and never
seen. When Sky did
get to move, it was fascinating to watch her revel in the newly found physical sensations. Simply stunning and, as much as I wanted
to, I could not take my eyes off her performance (and, thankfully, neither could the camera)
It was I who let the rebels know the location of the Endor generator!
When my eyes were averted it was only because of the other outstanding performance here. And, of course, that came from Davey T
. He did his usual schtick (likeable, talkative, etc...)
for the first thirty minutes or so
but when he turned, man
. My goosebumps had shivers. The transfer of the alien was literally gob~smacking
. His repetition was unpleasant as it was soulless (and I am being complimentary here)
and the actor's eyes and facial expressions were a sight to behold. From laughing with the tourists to scared in a corner to possessed, we got a great portfolio from the Scotsman. I cannot imagine any other actor, who has played The Doctor
, delivering as perfectly
as David Tennant
Give us a cuddle!
So, for those of you who skip a review and head to the final paragraph, here's what you missed: I effin' lurved
this episode. For me, the best this year - no
doubt. Compelling in the truest sense of the word and utterly
essential. This is another
example of what DOCTOR WHO
can do and why I adore the show so
much. The TV landscape will be a hollow shell in a month when it finishes. And yet another
mention of THE MEDUSA CASCADE
. What could that possibly
Wonky eye alert!'Til the next time,C.
PS. Apologies for mentioning CRIME TRAVELLER.