Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Today, for the first time in 17 years, I watched a whole episode of Doctor Who on its first transmission.

(I’m not counting VHS recordings, first-run showings in New Zealand or even the ten minutes I saw live in Canada in 1996 without realising what I was watching.)

Nope, this Christmas Day evening, all opening of cards, presents etc. ceased as we sat round to watch the very latest instalment.

The question on my positive/cynical mind however was this – would it be worth it?

This author has repeatedly turned in little-thought-through stories, and then flummoxed me by finishing the last season with a no-holds-barred two-part classic.

Had he come of age? Would scripts on this new series now finally get proof-read and rewritten up to at least an average standard? I was postive, and wrong.

Her ship's called the Webstar
Giant insectoid alien the Rachnoss needs Huon particles, and can only prepare them in a human’s bloodstream, so they capture this poor guy and… can you guess what they do to him? That’s right – the Rachnoss asks him to go out with this girl he hates called Donna and poison her coffee with Huon particles over a period of six entire months. And marry her. There is no explanation for the wedding around which this whole episode revolves.

The Rachnoss also takes-over the disastrous robots-dressed-as-Santa-who-still-won't say-why from the last Christmas special.

These sinister St Nicks plant bombs disguised as Christmas baubles at Donna's wedding reception to kill her, because they need her alive. No wait because they want her to carry on as normal without suspecting that she’s being manipulated by aliens. No wait because they know she will unexpectedly disappear from the wedding and they need her to kill her. No wait, they plant them after she’s gone missing, because they think she now won’t be at the wedding reception.

No, wait…


Oh I’ll explain later. She disappears fom the wedding, so needing her alive, the robot Santas are trying to kill her. In their Santa disguises which they rather blow every time they shoot at someone. Anyway one of them corners her in a taxi, and… erm… drives her a long distance up a motorway. Yes, drives. Using the pedals and everything, observing the highway code, totally ignoring the flying Police Box coming after it, oh Christmas.

Eventually the Doctor and Donna get captured by the Rachnoss, who, ha ha, had a teleport all along.

The Doctor and Donna escape, and as the Rachnoss doesn’t need them any more, the robot Santas are pointlessly dispatched to capture them all over again.

That’s right – the Rachnoss doesn’t need them, because they’re so evil that they’re instead injecting Huon particles into the earlier-mentioned guy who’s been poisoning Donna for them for the past 6 months instead. The same guy they didn’t use 6 months ago. And by using him it will only take a few minutes to achieve their plans. There is a throwaway line here, but I use the term “throwaway” rather unkindly, because I'm afraid it doesn't cover it for me.

There’s another big public alien invasion to which everyone reacts like it hasn’t happened again and again and again in the last couple of years, but this time it has a new spin. The guy in the army tank, who has no name, gets a message over his radio from someone else who also has no name, who goes out of his way to refer to a third person who never appears and is only referrred to in this sentence, yet has a name. “Orders from Mr Saxon – fire at will.” I have not seen spin-off series Torchwood, and at time of writing I have never ever heard or read of the name “Mr Saxon”, but that just goes to show how unsubtlely shoved-in this line was.

I’d better start finding some positive things to say so that I can get to sleep tonight…

Things I liked then:

Presenting the recap from the other perspective.

The TARDIS appears to be able to both fly and make it snow now – I like this new-found freedom. It’s an alien spacecraft and it can do tons of unexpected things we don’t know about - it’s all a bit magical.

While at the party, the Doctor has two brief mute flashbacks of Rose, which were very nicely done. Far more subtle than his closing line, which sounds like she’s dead or something.

The Doctor's line about an alien base underneath a famous London landmark being unheard of.

Tread on her.  No wait - throw her outside in a glass jar
The Rachnoss looked impressive.

The Doctor’s line about mankind sorting the chaotic universe into order by marking it out with weddings and other events.

Of course once more no-one remembers any of Earth’s multiple recent invasions, but at least the Doctor gets a line or two acknowledging this, even if only to express along with us how unacceptable this claim is. He also got a line explaining why he couldn’t use his time-machine to get Donna to her wedding on time. While his reason was unquestionably pants (where’s the appeal of a time-machine you can't use?), at least again he protested what a poor explanation this was by adding the word “apparently.”

I notice that the show has a new script-editor – I have to wonder if he’s just doing what he can to save this tangle of stand-alone sequences.

This bank doesn't exist - please don't go all Crime Traveller on us as well

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2 comment(s):

At 2:06 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

Ho ho?



At 2:48 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...




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