Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pixie Pocket Review

So you thought you'd escaped my take on things, did you? Just because I forgot to set my alarm for Volcano Day...

For the record, I was not "riding with the Mounties", whatever that might mean (although I wouldn't say no to this particular one, ahem)

I was, in fact, introducing Who-ey goodness to the Colonials, who took it very well, with the appropriate level of giggly squeeing.

So thanks to the shennagins in Iceland, I missed two episodes which I have diligently caught up with. Jet-lagged is definitely not the best way to watch Dr Who, even RTD penned episodes, so I went back and watched "The Beast Below" again for good measure. It was pretty good, though not as dynamic as "The Eleventh Hour". Still, how can you hate an episode with the line "This isn't going to be big on dignity" in it?

The Smilers were creepy, but not there enough to be truly menacing in the same way as the Weeping Angels. And there were holes in the plot, which I don't expect from Moffat. Still, better than most of the RTD era. Sadly, that isn't saying much and I think that although I liked the episode, for once I'd have to agree with Sputters' battle cry of it not being written for me. Matt Smith did a lovely job with what he had and Amy is shaping up to be a good companion. So, mostly disposable but inoffensive.

Now, the Daleks. It wasn't that bad, guys. Seriously. Yes, the back of the new Dalek does look like a French car, but I'm sure there are logistical reasons for that (making them, CGI-ing them, getting people in and out, etc.) Nice to see some colour again, though, eh? And yes, not the best Winston Churchill-a-like ever, but you're going to have to go some way to beat Siegfried Farnon, aren't you? (Dr Who tie in there, folks. Robert Hardy played both Winnie and the chief vet from All Creatures Great and Small, where he was Peter Davison's big brother).

Still, Bill Patterson was great, loved the WWII Daleks and their cute-as-a-death-ray black-out covers on their lickle-widdle lights. In terms of story, Mark Gatiss can be a great writer (Unquiet Dead was superb) but has his wobbles (Idiot's Lantern not so hot), so maybe Moffat was just too nice to say what had to be said in the story department. Personally, I'd have preferred to see something along the lines of the Batman Animated Series story about Harley Quinn atempting to go straight, but Batman's constant suspicion and hounding driving her back to her old ways. That would have been far more interesting: Dalek's who had forgotten their programming and turned over a new leaf only to be forced back into their old ways by the Doctor's inability to change (not theirs).

Mostly, there were too many interesting ideas in there for any of them to receive the necessary attention. Daleks helping Churchill to win WWII? That would have done nicely, thank you. Creation of a new race of Daleks? That needed an entire episode to itself. I was pleased with the whole getting away thing, though; at least this time no-one attempted to pretend that they'd all been destroyed. That particular duck in the machine was beginning to lose its quack.

The Prof made a very interesting point as we watched the denouement: this incarnation of the Doctor seems very good at spotting a solution, but its a very negative one. Its efficient, but cold. Amy, on the other hand, sees the positive, more human note and runs with that instead. With the Star Whale, the Doctor was going for a lobotomy, having not understood what he'd seen or heard. With the cyborg (and just how cyborg was he?), he tried to make him angry and full of hate. Amy understands what she's seen and uses it, with compassion. All I could hear the Doctor saying, over and over again, was the line from School Reunion: "I used to have so much mercy".

Has he really lost his empathy? Has all that travelling alone caused him to become as emotionally stunted as some of his greatest enemies? Only time will tell...


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WebMaster: Terry Lightfoot
WebDoctor: Oolon Sputnik
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