Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PMG Season 4 Reviewed

Faith Stealer

Okay, okay, when it comes to a season that already had two 'event' stories with three others of the 'normal' variety, one of those event stories so big that it tries to integrate every still-living cast member of the show into one ludicrously long plot, you can understand that the finale won't seem too big. In fact, it will inevitably seem so trifling next to the self-consciously 'big' muck at the start of the season that you might as well make it as trad and trivial as possible to save time. Even though it means that the season unarguably ends with a whimper, I see the logic behind that.

But THEN... to start the next season, a season that only actually has four stories in it, with a story with exactly the same scope and relevance.... I don't even know what that is? Chutzpah? Hubris? Frigging insanity? I can't be arsed to actually go on Google and research how long they had to prepare this season, how many months exactly they had to write a good debut story for a, but that time was probably all spent cyber-stalking Ewen Campion-Clarke, copying everything he wrote into a notepad before sticking it into a manilla envelope and sending it to RTD with "RIP THIS SHIT OFF!" written on the side in big letters. Well, that's what Ewen himself tells me, and this season is terribly thought out, so it all checks out. I realise that Gary Russell was concentrating on The Next Life at this point (And we all know how well that turned out, hey?) but some forethought would have been handy here..

This intro may lead one to believe that Faith Stealer is bad. Well, it depends on context - as a story it's good. As a season opener it's DEAR GOD WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?

One of its roles as season opener is to give the audience a taste of what the oncoming year of stories may bring. It only fulfills this role with regards to one facet of the show - C'rizz, as he goes batshit insane. Yes, all of those of you who desperately want to hear "C'rizz, kill me!" and "I'm sorry my love... but this HAS TO BE!!!" again and again and again until your ears begin to bleed - this is the season for you! Oh, sorry, I suppose that was a bit insensitive of me, considering that you're all in Big Finish's imagination.

Anyway, in a plot twist so left field that its nearly worthy of Nev "Peri is a teenaged mother and functional retard" Fountain, the Kro'ka actually does something helpful and points the Doctor and Charley to a place that could do C'rizz the world of good. The sinister laughing after he does so suggests this is yet another completely frigging deranged 'experiment' of his and we are possibly meant to care. I think that's the last we see of him this story which is a very good thing.

Now, the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz arrive in the Multihaven, and the quality of the story from here on is directly proportional to the obviousness with which it has been written for the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem - very high! The three, being all jolly-good friends again, arrive in The Multihaven, which is basically a stock market trading in religions. A scene that tells you straight up that, unlike any of the last season at all, this story is going to be charming, funny, and understated, is one of the earliest when the three arrive and are interviewed by Assisstant Bordenan about their religion - when they realise that they can't be accepted having no religion, the Doctor and Charley explain that they are The Tourists, who worship the Lord C'rizz and ritually have a pot of tea every morning. Yeah, it loses something in print but there hasn't been anything like this since... well, I guess since the softer moments of Seasons of Fear.

Religion is a topic that DW tends to shy away from, because in spite of the fact that everything about the show makes it clear that there is no God and the Doctor would find any of our Earthly religions a complete joke, there are still people like the DWADs around who freak me out, by being very Christian and Doctor Who fans. And some of these people have, honest to... er, God, complained about Big Finish's atheist bias. Allow me to blaspheme - Jesus Christ! You honestly think that a thousand-year old bloke from another planet with the mastery of time travel, who constantly states that he doesn't believe in magic and that science is the only truth, who has seen an unimaginably vast array of worlds with their own systems of worship, is going to show up in your planet, in your country, by your church, get handed a pamphlet by your sorry arse, read through it, and then say "Well, that sounds about right. When do I start worshipping?" If so, you disgust me.

I have to applaud Graham Duff for having a story about religion with its tongue planted so firmly in cheek that it's impossible for anyone bar George Pell and Shiekh Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali to be offended. (And given the fact that Al-Hilali appeared on The Chaser alongside Anthony Mundine, he gets the benefit of my doubt and I assume he'd be cool with it) There's many inventive and humourous religions at work in the Mutlihaven - the worshippers of Whoops the god of accidents, those who believe that salvation can be found in the Universe's one source of perfection - music, and the Bishop Parash who runs the church of... erm, Calbari? Which is funny because it's just a weed that sells really well, hence 'economic miracle' . I'm writing this like a month after hearing this, you need to realise. But there's some other wacky cults around, you can bet on it.

The font of all villainy in this story is an odious creep named Lan Cadre, who we know is the badguy from the start beyond his mixed camp-and-menacing old guy voice, due to the fact that he's the only character who doesn't have any funny lines. (Well, except C'rizz) He is the grand master of the Church of Lucidity, which worships the crackling ball Hermaculite which, curiously enough, lives in a burnt-out wardrobe bigger on the inside than out.. he also makes crystals fall out of people's skulls. Okey-dokey...

It doesn't take long for Cadre to turn the visiting Bishop Parash into a gibbering loony who acts like a five year-old, and much less time to make C'rizz completely insane. The real problem, however, is that Cadre is, completely predictably, taking over the entire Multihaven!

The Doctor, bizarrely, is still concerned with C'rizz's wellbeing, even after C'rizz attempts to strangle Charley to death. For a second time. Getting to be a bit of a habit, old boy, but strangely enough Charley seems quite unfazed. Anyway, after the Kro'ka's suggestion for helping C'rizz turned out to be not-so-brilliant the Doctor decides that the obvious candidate would be the Bordinan's personal physician.

Who turns out to be a psychopathic mofo named Garfolt who shouts out "I'M GOING TO TORTURE YOU AND HAVE FUN DOING IT!!" the instant he meets C'rizz. I have no idea why Garfolt is in the story, why he has so many torture devices, why he decides to use all of them on C'rizz, or how the hell he got hired as the Bordenan's physician. But I love him. I'm not sure if the C'rizz torture scenes were meant to be side-splittingly entertaining as they ended up or whether it's a side effect of Neil Bett's Tekker-esque performance, but I get the distinct vibe that Duff isn't a fan of the character and decided to incur his wrath in an immature and entirely gratuitous manner. And I like it.

This is the problem with Faith Stealer, though... the plot's a bit of a mess. C'rizz's mental breakdown is ultimately irrelevant to the rest of proceedings save for a reason for him to be shunted around in a rather painful and angsty-subplot. All the talk of the TARDIS is really irrelevent as well. There are a great many scenes that are massively entertaining but don't add anything to proceedings. It's like Duff had a thin plot but felt the need to add padding.

But then there's the curious thing... the story ends in 'blink and you miss it' mode. The explanations for what's going on with the skull-crystals, what Hermaculite is, WHY Cadre is doing any of this shit are over lightning quick. And then the Doctor points out that Cadre doesn't even really exist, causing him to go "Oh shit!" and vanish which is completely baffling I can tell you, and, from memory, the traditional explosion followed by the Doctor appointing a random person he met during the course of the story to become the new ruler of this civilisation. Trad or what? Most bizarrely of all, the idea that the Hermaculite Cabinet could be the TARDIS is barely flagged up at all by the cast. Whuh?

Anyway, Faith Stealer is a mess, but a very funny and entertaining mess which puts it up over the last three releases easily. A nice story to just pop on for a charming little listen. Again, not arc material, but who wants it in this arc?


The Last

So... five stories into the Alternate Universe arc and there has been precisely zero stories that couldn't have been set in the 'regular' Universe. For a moment there I thought Scherzo counted, but then I stopped and thought and realised that even though it utilises the Divergent Universe well as a plot detail, it could actually have been done with the Doctor and Charley being stranded from the TARDIS via some other way in the beginning and landing in the middle of the experiment. So. Bit disappointing that.

The Last, ironically, is the first story that could only be set in the Divergent Universe. Not because the fact that this is a parallel Universe is anyway integral or even particularly important to the plot, but simply because at no other time at all would you get away with this shit.

Despite a fairly healthy running time, it's my estimation that about 50% of the story is actually taken up with nothing but overlong and pompous speeches from a character I dub Queen Bitch for obvious reasons, a stock 'ominous winds' sound effect and the shrieking and twanging of a poorly-tuned sitar that plays on loop, serving as the incidental music for the entire story. This soundtrack serves as, what, the first six minutes of episode one. A gripping start to proceedings.

This is followed by the Kro'ka tediously gloating at the Doctor, something that was quite dull when he first appeared, and I have no idea what he is, or even could be gloating about. He's stopped referring to experiments mercifully, so we're not expected to believe that this has anything to do with anything vaguely important, but he still persists in dumping the Doctor at random locations on Bortrasoye and letting him run amok. To quote Paul McGann himself "Oh, wow - I mean, wow, that's REALLY clever!!!"

Essentially, after the Doctor bags out the Kro'ka enough for the ghost-frog to vanish in a huff, the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz wander around a post-apocalyptic nightmare world complete with inexplicable random earth tremors and relentless acid rain, commenting on the fact that it isn't really very nice. Then a building falls on them. Then they get rescued, except for C'rizz because even people who've never met him and know nothing about him don't like him. He gets to meet this guy who is really obviously a ghost, due to the fact that he talks ultra-creepily, is named after an angel's song and disappears/reappears all the time, but we're seriously not meant to work it out until the end of the next episode. Thank you for that vote of confidence as to your audience's intelligence. And the episode ends when Charley announces she's paraplegic.

If anyone made it this far without being majorly pissed off at this story, this should be the point where they crack, unless they are ridiculously optimistic. Everyone knows India Fisher is in the next two stories. So if you believe that the writers will go to the effort of having Charley in a wheelchair for the remaining two stories before giving her a graceful exit, knock yourself out in "BF-actually-think-before-writing-these" land. For the rest of us, it's all too obvious that a gigantic reset button is going to be smacked on sometime soon. It's just a dreadful countdown to When...

Basically, the rest of this story is a heap of icky and trite moralising about war mixed along with the most half-arsed 'political commentary' that I have EVER heard - failing dismally because the nation is populated entirely by 2D-ciphers. The Minister for War and The Minister of Defense seem to have three bits of dialogue a piece they just word different in every scene. There's a Nurse who does the things nurses do. Requiem does nothing but say ghostly, vaguely ominous nothings in C'rizz's ear. Landskar is quite obviously not what he seems, which we know because in his first scene some guy's all like "Hey, I think he's not what he seems" and he goes for the longest without being killed off. And then there's Queen Bitch, the Queen who is a total Bitch and has nothing vaguely credible to her character, forcing any 'hard-hitting' elements of the portrayal of life in a nightmare nuclear landscape to evaporate entirely - due to the quite simple fact that if any country elects a woman as droolingly-deranged, obviously psychotic, arrogant, deluded, with such boring and meaningless never ending fucking speeches as her they deserve everything they get. Up to and including genocide in the face.

This is amplified when Queen Bitch starts killing people left right and centre in a very obvious and conspicuous manner, and nobody thinks of, say, JUST KILL THE BITCH! There's like a dozen people left aside in the entire world - hmm, should we let this deranged, trigger happy bitch who caused the holocaust in the first place live? A clue - YOU ARE RETARDED! WHO WROTE THIS? GARY HOPKINS? YOU HAVE PROBLEMS! SERIOUS PROBLEMS!!!

To my disappointment the final disc turns out not to consist entirely of humourously inept trailers for upcoming releases, and there actually is a Part Three and Four. FUCK! Let's see... the Doctor calls C'rizz a loony non-stop for seeing ghosts (even though other people see the exact same ghosts), everyone decides to get a rocket ship out of there, and then Queen Bitch kills Charley and C'rizz.

It's after this that the Doctor finally gets some balls, and yells his brain out at Queen Bitch, about how he does not care that she is a Queen, for her Bitch quotient is far greater. He even goes so far as to claim that she is the only person that he's ever met that he has ever truly hated. It seems a big claim to make, but the character is so fucking irritating you find it quite easy to believe. Besides, the Doctor's also quite keen in speaking in absolutes when his temper's going so it's very easy to excuse all round.

The Doctor still doesn't kill her then. Instead a volcano opens up under her feet. Well. That was satisfying said in a sarcasting tone of voice.

Now Landskar pops up out of nowhere as he is wont to do and annoucnes WHY exactly he is not what he seems - he is the spiritual representative of the entire planet and... screw it. He's a god. As in 'deus'. As in a Deus Ex-Machina. He goes on about some shit about how everyone has to die before things can be mended, and Queen Bitch was meant to be the last. The Doctor is sick of this shit and headbutts a 500-megatonne warhead.

When the smoke clears - lo and behold! The city is filled with happy people celebrating a new peace treaty! OH, how joyous! And look, Queen Bitch is even still in charge, except it's magically now a NICE Queen Bitch! Oh, glorious day! This brilliant piece of storytelling moved me to tears and made me wonder as to why more people did not use the brilliant, most satisfying form of resolution.

Jesus Christ did PMG get some duds or what? The poor guy. He could have been doing Sharpe audio dramas instead of this shit... thankfully we're given a quick and easy option to wash our ears out with:


Caerdroia

Oh my. It seems all this time it was a woman's touch that this twisted arc needed. Albeit one with a guy's name. Noted EDA author Lloyd Rose takes a long hard look at the borderline retarded setup for the Divergent Universe given in Kromon and, unlike every single other writer in the interim, nods and says "I can work with that". She then looks at the other stories and sees how this has been built on. She sees that it hasn't. And she probably rolls her eyes, mutters "Men!" and gets to work, weaving spun-gold from her laptop like that chick from Rumplestiltskin.

The entire story is about what should have happened a while ago - a full-on duel between the Doctor and the Kro'ka. Why the hell HAS the Doctor been cow-towing to this pissweak Ghost-frog for the past five releases? I have no idea but NOW HE'S SERIOUS! He's hitting the Kro'ka where it hurts... by falling asleep.

No, I'm serious, this is cool: the Kro'ka is left powerless when the Doctor sleeps, so his teleport-y powers become meaningless and he's left begging Charley and C'rizz to wake him up. And, as you can imagine, they take the piss out of Kro'ka for about five minutes straight.

The Kro'ka gets serious and prepares... THE MIND BLAST! I gather it's like a sand blasting but directed at a Mind. But PMG can't help but snigger at it like me and dares the Kro'ka on. The Kro'ka unleashes his powers... and ends up captive in the Doctor's own mind. Where the Doctor takes the piss out of him, roughly interrogates him, and finds out his secrets. Now, to his delight, the Doctor knows the secrets of Interzone travel and pisses off to find the Kro'ka's employers and tell them about the improper materials on show at thekrokaistotallynotgay.blogspot.com

When the Doctor gets to the zone, though, he has a new enemy to deal with: HIMSELF! Specifically, the Lieutenant Bush side of his personality (Eeyore) and the Withnail & I side (Tigger!) have split themselves into two different people. Leaving the original intact, gaping at them and saying "What... the... fuck?"

The Doctor doesn't want to be stuck with himself though, and so runs off to the Castle on the horizon where he's sure those pesky Divergents are, leaving Happy Doctor with C'rizz and Grumpy Doctor with Charley for maximum shenanigan power.

The story has rather an obvious fault: it is too good. It sticks out of the arc like a sore thumb, and its quality really throws its progenitors into a depressingly sharpe relief.

Symptomatic of this is the fact that the Doctor knows that the Kro'ka has interfered with the environment that they're exploring because elements of Charley and C'rizz's homelands have appeared, along with relics of their own Universe. This would actually have impact if the preceding stories had actually gone to any effort to make this seem like a different Universe at all, but sadly they didn't. There's also the fact that the Doctor gives the Kro'ka such a fierce smackdown here begs the question of why did he wait so long to do it, and so on and so forth.

Because of these things, Caerdroia can only really be enjoyed if you ignore the stories that have preceded it, but then you have the problem of this being the only story at all that takes the arc seriously and actually RELIES on the established subplots and mythos, so it can't be listened to in isolation. So there's quite a bit of mental acrobatics required to enjoy it proper. But they're worth it.

I may even like Caerdroia more than I did Scherzo, incredible as that claim seems, given its adventurish atmosphere and truly novel concept of a multi-Doctor story with just the one Doctor. And an appropriate comparison given that they work much the same way - Paul McGann, India Fisher, Conrad Westmaas and Stephen Perring are the entire cast. As Perring was a regular in every sense for this season, it makes this story once again a regular-cast only affair, and sound design is used fairly sparingly. Impressive, then, that the canny writing manages to create an epic feel to proceedings, but then again that could be due to the miniscule scope of the other stories in this arc..

When the Three Doctors band together and defeat the Kro'ka's plans, revealing with gleeful nonchalance that he didn't have them fooled for a second, and then go on to find the TARDIS that the Divergents stole all that time ago, and C'rizz does the "It's bigger on the inside!" bit for the first time in seven stories (although Charley acknowledges it for the first time as well, thanks to Nick Briggs' Season 1 atrocity) it's a very uplifting ending. Good enough for you to ride that high to a place where the next story doesn't actually exist and write your own arc finale in your mind. Heehee.... Ice Warriors.

Bafflingly, though, this incredible story was released in a CD cover so vomit-inducingly designed that The Doctor Who Reference Guide page actually has a fan made cover to divert your eyes from the original. Merciful and just.


The Next Life

This is so much worse than Creed of the Kromon. I was beginning to doubt my own slating of this as PMG's absolute worst, but on attempting to listen to this a second time I stand by my decision like a giant piece of balsa wood on a sinking ship. See, Kromon is bad due to simple badness - a combination of utter blandness with a smidgeon of ignorance about the show. The Next Life is offensively bad, because everything in the story is shoved right in your face, and the story comes right after Caerdroia which actually aimed to do something with all the retarded ideas in 'the Divergent universe' and effectively uses that story as toiletpaper by smearing it with all of it's fecal-esque ideas.

On a second listen-through and in context, the sheer horrible laziness of the entire story is so hideously clear - Gary Russell doesn't give a shit about this, he really doesn't. Once you know how everything ends and what's happened so far, thousands upon thousands of continuity errors become obviously. I refuse to believe this story had a second draft - Russell has typed this up Sparacus-style I'm sure. Don't believe me? Well, why does Keep, who is actually an entire village of people, bribe an eight-year old girl with magic tricks to help her find the key to our universe? Obviously a hundred people isn't enough, he needs that extra eight-year old girl! And obviously, if she is unable to find the key that he himself, Paul Darrow, and 100 others are unable to find that is INEXCUSABLE and he has to kill her instantly. And even though he has 100 followers under his complete mind control he needs to frame the Doctor for her murder.

The exposition is the clumsiest I've ever seen, er, heard. Listen to C'Rizz and Charley calmly describe what they're seeing in the TARDIS scanner as they hurtle into certain death. Hear L'da mystifyingly describe every element of C'Rizz's own culture to him, when she has no reason to believe he's ever travelled somewhere other than Bortresoye. Oh, and the continuity errors, did I mention that? The Kromon are from an alien planet now, with spaceships! Hah! That must be why they needed the Doctor to build their first-ever rocket ship and why C'rizz knew them all then. Despite even mentioning that 'Time' is an alien concept to him in the same scene C'rizz specifically mentions that the Kromon attack 20 minutes into his wedding ceremony. GAAAAH!

I have to admit I haven't actually made it past the first episode on this attempted re-listen. Nor do I intend to. Briefly I fooled myself into thinking that the later episodes were better. But no, this is a falsehood. I'm sure they are worse because logically the gibberish contradictions and continuity errors would simply get worse and the amount of Stephen Conicard's 'French accent' in evidence increases exponentially with each episode (Dear God ARE THERE NO FRENCH ACTORS IN ENGLAND?!?)

I really can't logically explain the way this is done, aside from Ewen's theory that with Christopher Eccleston annoucned everyone making this shit stopped caring, which is almost certainly true. I mean... Gary Russell seems to have decided that he's got Daphne Ashbrook, Paul Darrow and Don Warrington for this one (*Breaks down in tears at the criminal waste of glorious talent*) so he doesn't need to actually work on the script. Wow. Fucking awesome logic. Maybe you could have put at least one of them in the first episode. Okay, Warrington appears at the cliffhanger or something, but that's just not good enough.

Probably the best thing I can say to condemn this is this: the first episode is pretty much entirely taken up by C'rizz and Charley having lengthy dream/flashback sequences controlled by the Kro'ka. With the Kro'ka typing everything their memories say into a keyboard (?!), and occassionally getting bored and typing in "Haha, I'm evil". Just to make this more intense and gripping, both Charley and C'rizz realise that this is clearly a load of crap about a minute into their flashback scenes. GAAAH!

The absolute worst thing, among so many bad things, is that The Next Life, if really, really, REALLY good could have actually saved the abysmal arc it caps off - at least to a degree. After all, Caerdroia did so much to turn things around. But listening to this load of crap its all too clear that as much thought has gone into this as the average Ben Chatham story.

No fist. Not even a knuckle.



Much has been made of the sheer terribleness of the Divergent Arc. It's easy to see why. The removal of the TARDIS is irrelevant to almost all the stories, for the simple reason that the Kro'ka serves the exact same purpose, the only difference being that he functions in a much more contrived manner. Because of this their is only really one 'gimmick', and it comes in the form of an incredibly irritating and quite pointless character.

Add to this the fact that the first story set in the Divergent Universe proper, as opposed to a freaky lab secluded somewhere around, is in fact the most trad runaround that BF have ever done and you have some very serious problems.

Not many people seem to have speculated on how the arc could be improved. For a starters, I'd say 5 years was ridiculously ambitious, and I'll plump for 3 instead with my estimation. Here we go:

Zagreus: Give the punters what they want - all three Doctors battle against the threat to the Universe. No proving how clever you are. Same result.

Scherzo: Leave well enough alone.

Creed of the Kromon: Here's the big one ... against all their will Charley and the Doctor get separated upon entering the Interzone. Charley is kidnapped by the Kro'ka, so she is stuck with all his gloating, whilst the Doctor lands in his first 'experiment'. He undergoes a sensory bombardment - to see how his temporal sense react to information leaked into the Interzone from Eutermes. To the Doctor's confusion, the lack of time makes events impossible to identify - the events he experiences are those of C'rizz's bombed wedding, thus saving us from tawdry exposition, seen from Guidance, L'da's and the Kromon's viewpoint, although he undergoes the events out of chronological order (naturally).

Charley believes that she has overpowered the Kro'ka mentally and is able to escape, but he has actually tested her mental reserves and is instead releasing her into an experiment to test her survival instincts - this happens at about the same time that the Kro'ka is satisfied that the Doctor will be able to survive prolonged exposure to the timeless environment of Eutermes, reveals himself and gloats before releasing his Doctor into a separate wing of the same 'experiment', telling him that Charley is a prisoner of the Kromon. This is to test the Doctor's 'offensive capabilities', and the Doctor does not disappoint. Both Charley and the Doctor realise that they can't actually understand any of the local language due to the loss of the TARDIS and its translator - Charley is only able to get by once she finds C'rizz and his handy latent telepathy.

Then... stuff happens. The nature of this universe drives the Doctor slightly insane, before he is captured by the Kromon and teams up with L'da. In this version the Kromon are actually vicious, dangerous, and very powerful. Rather than having the dream of travelling to other planets they instead learn of the Doctor and Charley's home and decide to invade their Universe, but their clumsy attempts will tear down the barriers and allow the Divergents to attack!

In the meantime, the Doctor's ruthless streak is meant as a shock to the audience rather than bad writing, L'da takes on a temporary role as a companion so that her eventual death means something and leads the Doctor to believe that C'rizz is a villian, and this is coupled with the Kro'ka gaily messing with Charley's mind: initially he programs he survival instincts to protect her from the shock of the new world by seeing C'rizz as a friendly human, and then destroys this programming suddenly at the worst possible time, leaving her shrieking and in shock at the sight of this horrific monster...

In short, Kro'ka introduced as sadistic and conceited - a scumbag with supposed god-like powers - Kromon an actual threat, and in the end the Doctor is left wondering about what these experiments are about...

The Next Experiment: Either TNHOF made less weird or TWK made more weird.

Season Finale: An expanded version of part one of Caerdroia, with the Doctor put into a morally bankrupt experiment, cracking, and deciding to battle the Kro'ka. He wins and discovers how to travel through the zones.

Season 2: The Doctor, Charley and C'rizz do all the zone-juming stuff, firstly to just escape the Kro'ka, but soon realise that he follows them everywhere. And then try to find out all they can about him to hopefully find a way to defeat him. At the same time, however, they discover that the Kromon are a wide-reaching power in this Universe and by destroying their Bortresoye outpost in Creed the Doctor has become their Public Enemy #1 and, by extension, that of every power-hungry free agent in the Universe. A real B7 vibe. Events get resolved in a story similar to Caerdroia parts 2-4, and the the Doctor discovers Rassilon's presence through actual detective work.

Season 3: ...I dunno, more stuff happens. It couldn't be worse than TNL.


The biggest problem with the Divergent arc in my view, is the fact that it is not in anyway really an arc. Kro'ka is really irrelevant to proceedings bar revealing Rassilon's presence - the rest of the time he serves as an irrelevent framing device, utterly meaningless to everything else in the story, seemingly script-edited in somewhere around the last-minute mark. Yes, Kro'ka is the new Ramsay.

And this irrelevent frog-ghost is the ONLY recurring element in most of the 'arc' stories! That is, save for Caerdroia and The Next Life which are genuine pieces of arc storytelling, but jar so unbelievably horribly with each other that I feel that they should be discounted utterly from that definition. Everything else feels like normal DW (Save TNHOF which doesn't fit in with anything) that has 'Bad Wolf' style buzzwords sprinkled throughout in the form of 'Divergents' and a couple of other things.

Few words can describe the frustration felt at the end of this crap that amazingly, despite non-stop references and serving as the catalyst for the monumentally fucked up events of Zagreus, the Divergents not only never appear, but are said in a throwaway line of dialogue to have been killed off-screen!

There are very few words to describe the ineptitude of what must, for want of a less misleading term, be called 'The Divergent Universe' arc. And most of them have four letters.

The question is now: is what comes next any better?


(SPOILER - Yes)

9 comments:

Cameron Mason said...


Shiekh Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali to be offended. (And given the fact that Al-Hilali appeared on The Chaser alongside Anthony Mundine, he gets the benefit of my doubt and I assume he'd be cool with it)


Rather amusing story about the Shiekh's Chase appearances.

The first time he was on he thought Julian was some sort of smart arse, and it was only when he got back from overseas and one of his advisors showed him the episode that he realised he had been part of a Chaser prank.

His advisor rang The Chaser team to see if he could make up for the way he reacted to Julian, and to do a stunt where he was in on the act. The following week's episdoe was the result.

Anthony Mundine was also in on that gag, and The Chaser team compliment both them in the episode commentary.


Season Finale: An expanded version of part one of Caerdroia, with the Doctor put into a morally bankrupt experiment, cracking, and deciding to battle the Kro'ka. He wins and discovers how to travel through the zones.


That's my idea!


Events get resolved in a story similar to Caerdroia parts 2-4, and the the Doctor discovers Rassilon's presence through actual detective work.


And that!

(sort of)


Season 3: ...I dunno, more stuff happens. It couldn't be worse than TNL.


My idea was that they explore the wider Divergent Universe - the stories Scaredy Cat, Time Works and Something Inside were originally to be part of the Divergent arc, with all the exposition in The Next Life being uncovered over the course of the season, instead of in one episode.

Then it would end with a heavily revised four part version of The Next Life, which would either write out C'rizz (as Gary Russell originally planned), or continue to seed things a bit clearer for his eventual fate in Absolution.

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

that time was probably all spent cyber-stalking Ewen Campion-Clarke, copying everything he wrote into a notepad before sticking it into a manilla envelope and sending it to RTD with "RIP THIS SHIT OFF!" written on the side in big letters. Well, that's what Ewen himself tells me, and this season is terribly thought out, so it all checks out.
Ah, another one fooled...

As a season opener it's DEAR GOD WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?
I remember getting this for Christmas 04, and listening to it on the way home since I was too excited to leave it for a month. The thing is, if it were RIGHT after Kromon, it would work a lot better. A light comedy story to detract from hardcore fanwank (Zaggy), hardcore character (Scherzo) and hardcore shit (Kromon). But they have to go all the way and mention "By the by, remember when C'Rizz went nuts and strangled you yesterday?"

It's like one of the bullet points for the season was "C'Rizz tries to strangle Charley" and everyone thought, "Ooh, I'll put that in my story where our heroes are messed with by psychic forces." So every story has the gang brainwashed by Kromon, Censor, Koth, Miraculite, Landscar, the Kroka or Keep. Jesus.

Oh, sorry, I suppose that was a bit insensitive of me, considering that you're all in Big Finish's imagination.
LMAO. Like I say, if this was after Kromon, it would make sense, but I thought L'da would come back to life or something as part of the arc.

Kro'ka actually does something helpful and points the Doctor and Charley to a place that could do C'rizz the world of good.
What's stupid about that is, well, he just has.

According to the narrative - the Doctor and Charley make up, they go through the zone, the Doctor tells Kro'ka he's looking for Rassilon, then they end up in a "garden" that looks very nice all things considered and with no problems whatsoever. Then C'Rizz has a fit and Kro'ka starts going, "OK, this verdant paradise isn't working for you? I'll send to a big, busy bustling place full of noise, movement and shouting! HAHAHAHAHAHAH..."

the obviousness with which it has been written for the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem - very high!
I have to say I never twigged at that. But only one story really had the three of them normal, and that was in Twilight Kingdom where they were clearly Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough and spent the whole story saying they hated each other...

And another thing! Where the hell do they get their clothes and supplies from? According to the DWM preview comics (which were worked out by the authors and producers, so its canon), the Doctor and Charley, wearing rags at the start of Kromon, are by TWK/FS nattily dressed in combat pants and sweat shirts (including C'Rizz) and the Doctor has managed to find his Fifth self's hat and his waistcoat (which he wears a lot... was Martin Greghaty trying to tell everyone PMG was just being given Davo scripts?), and backpacker backpacks! Where did they get them? Light City? Didn't that descend into anarchy after Charley asked someone the time?

Allow me to blaspheme - Jesus Christ! You honestly think that a thousand-year old bloke from another planet with the mastery of time travel, who constantly states that he doesn't believe in magic and that science is the only truth, who has seen an unimaginably vast array of worlds with their own systems of worship, is going to show up in your planet, in your country, by your church, get handed a pamphlet by your sorry arse, read through it, and then say "Well, that sounds about right. When do I start worshipping?" If so, you disgust me.
I wish I had the guts to post that on the forum. I have to say one of my favorite bit in The Satan Pit is when Rose whimpers, "He said he was Satan!" and the Doctor rolls his eyes and goes, "For fuck's sake, Rose! He's an ancient alien sitting in a pit beside a black hole and you're scared of him because he says he's SATAN?! The fact he has an army of possessed Ood isn't reason to be worried about him? Oh no, he might be a big red bastard with horns! That's much scarier!"

Which is funny because it's just a weed that sells really well, hence 'economic miracle'.
I loved the bit where she goes, "What did you worship before the weed?" "Water. But it's not as good as weed!"

I have no idea why Garfolt is in the story, why he has so many torture devices, why he decides to use all of them on C'rizz, or how the hell he got hired as the Bordenan's physician. But I love him.
Me too. I thought he was going to be revealed to be a practicing Pain Worshipper or something...

Most bizarrely of all, the idea that the Hermaculite Cabinet could be the TARDIS is barely flagged up at all by the cast. Whuh?
I was more baffled by the bit where they go inside... find the TARDIS... and then try to leave without C'Rizz. The Doctor says it's an illusion and that, but I was expecting some kind of "You want to ditch Lizard Boy all of a sudden just because he starts strangling you?" confrontation. Maybe it's down to Duff hating the character as it has the best line in the play: "Ye of too much faith".

a character I dub Queen Bitch for obvious reasons
Oh, I couldn't stand her. Her VOICE! No one would vote for her with that voice! Servalan did not get where she is by sounding like Terry Jones with his balls in a vice in that "talk to the police in a strange voice so they understand you" skit from Monty Python.

I wasn't sure to laugh or cry when they used the same actres... hell, the same character... as Davros' mother. It sure explained why he was so fucked up as a kid and why he likes Daleks talking like that.

This is followed by the Kro'ka tediously gloating at the Doctor,
I'm surprised you didn't mention the whole, "Adric?! Katarina?! What the fuck!?" scene. Which is kind of stupid when you think about it. I mean, he hardly knew Katarina. He got on much better with Sara Kingdom and didn't do the whole "oh well, life goes on" when she karked it.

I thought at first "Maybe he's suggesting that Adric and Katarina are like C'Rizz and Charley, self-destructive loser and gormless Doctorphilic respectively..." which would work for post-Scherzo Charley anyway. But surely Kamelion would have a better claim as the mirror C'Rizz. I mean, the Fifth Doctor counted him worthy of a deathbed flashback. And he has a hangup about Kamelion no other companion has - he killed the bastard with his own hands!

Sigh.

As for the retardedness of the storyline, well, I know Hopkins actually submitted his storyline Meltdown to BF. Meltdown had been in the running for Season 23 before Grade pulled the plug, and was a Threads-style end of civilization thing that ended with Peri being killed and/or written out. The numerous rewrites and alternate universe thing apparently screwed up The Last something chronic (there was a reason they couldn't kill Queen Bitch, and there was no reset button). He says in the notes he stayed up late rewriting it, and felt curiously detached from reality as he did it. This seems to be why Queen Bitch changes from total psycho to someone killing the entire population of the world for its own good and back again...

Also, they cut out a huge scene from episode four after the bomb goes off where the Doctor wakes up in the TARDIS with Charley and C'Rizz, and there's stuff about all three of them returning to the land of the living. In the version you hear, it's like it was all a dream, but all three were supposed to remember the "other history", so it's not a complete retcon. Sigh.

And she probably rolls her eyes, mutters "Men!" and gets to work, weaving spun-gold from her laptop like that chick from Rumplestiltskin.
Classic. Apparently she read my spoof of it, according to DIY sheep.

Why the hell HAS the Doctor been cow-towing to this pissweak Ghost-frog for the past five releases?
No idea, but Russell wanted this to be the end of the FOURTH year of Divergence. That's... more than Patrick Troughton as the Doctor... of this shit.

Scary.

Now, to his delight, the Doctor knows the secrets of Interzone travel and pisses off to find the Kro'ka's employers and tell them about the improper materials on show at thekrokaistotallynotgay.blogspot.com
We should set that one up, we really should.

It sticks out of the arc like a sore thumb, and its quality really throws its progenitors into a depressingly sharpe relief.
Fraudien slip there.

Bafflingly, though, this incredible story was released in a CD cover so vomit-inducingly designed that The Doctor Who Reference Guide page actually has a fan made cover to divert your eyes from the original. Merciful and just.
Actually, Tenth Planet (infamous Who retailer) did that. I like the original for its nostalgic buzz - pretty much every image is stolen from The Doctor Who Technical Manual - but I admit it's hard on the eyes and suggests it's the worst story of the season. Yet, it's the most interesting design (The Last is a bored PMG cross-faded with a Jules Verne rocket... not an army of ghosts, a mushroom cloud... The Next Life is worse with its hideously deformed Rassilon oozed into a skullcap...)

This is so much worse than Creed of the Kromon.
Maybe, but the cast deaden the pain. Mind you, the Oroog should have come back for this story.

...fuck, the Oroog should have been the companion, not C'Rizz.

Gary Russell doesn't give a shit about this, he really doesn't
Yet he clearly told Alan Barnes not to worry about the plot, just type up dialogue...


Ewen's theory that with Christopher Eccleston annoucned everyone making this shit stopped caring, which is almost certainly true.
Well, I have to admit it affected how I saw BF. And a lot of other people say the same thing...

Charley and C'rizz realise that this is clearly a load of crap about a minute into their flashback scenes. GAAAH!
And all Charley's scenes were cut from Zagreus! It was all supposed to be in part one of Zagreus! But there were cut BECAUSE THEY WERE SHIT! So what does Russell do? USE THEM! DESPITE CALLING THEM SHIT!

No fist. Not even a knuckle.

Creed of the Kromon: Here's the big one...
The most depressing thing I've read. Like 27 Up, the tantalizing glimpse at what MIGHT have been. And that rocks. That so works for me. It could justify a three-disc better than Zagreus could.

Incadescent artistry!

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

CAM:

Anthony Mundine was also in on that gag, and The Chaser team compliment both them in the episode commentary.

Yes, when I watched it I somehow got the vibe that the bit had been set up..

That's my idea!

...

And that!

(sort of)


Well, you know that plagiarism is the strongest form of flattery, right?

My idea was that they explore the wider Divergent Universe - the stories Scaredy Cat, Time Works and Something Inside were originally to be part of the Divergent arc, with all the exposition in The Next Life being uncovered over the course of the season, instead of in one episode.

Well... it's a start. But I'd have liked better exposition myself. And actually interconnected storylines. You know, to make it a proper arc.

Then it would end with a heavily revised four part version of The Next Life, which would either write out C'rizz (as Gary Russell originally planned),

Hang on... they WERE going to write out C'rizz?! Bastards.

However, it may well be for the best. Because having finished listening to S5, I have to say that all of C'rizz's best bits are in that one season.

Personally I'd use barely any of TNL. The design, cast, and about 10% of the ideas were the only things that I liked.


EWEN:

The thing is, if it were RIGHT after Kromon, it would work a lot better. A light comedy story to detract from hardcore fanwank (Zaggy), hardcore character (Scherzo) and hardcore shit (Kromon).

.. that WOULD have been great. But then instead they went for Hardcore Confusion...

LMAO. Like I say, if this was after Kromon, it would make sense, but I thought L'da would come back to life or something as part of the arc.

It is very curious how many times L'da makes an appearance. You'd think that they'd have spent quite a lot of money on the actress over the three years that they kept hiring her, especially considering that they never doubled her up..

That's part of the reason I thought that she really should have had a bigger role in Kromon...

the Doctor and Charley, wearing rags at the start of Kromon, are by TWK/FS nattily dressed in combat pants and sweat shirts (including C'Rizz)

Well then surely the idea is that they get combat fatigues from Koth's rebels... somehow?

Alternatively, Kro'ka might give them clothes because he finds their naked forms unpleasant ala Sil.

the Doctor has managed to find his Fifth self's hat and his waistcoat (which he wears a lot... was Martin Greghaty trying to tell everyone PMG was just being given Davo scripts?)

Very probably.

For fuck's sake, Rose! He's an ancient alien sitting in a pit beside a black hole and you're scared of him because he says he's SATAN?! The fact he has an army of possessed Ood isn't reason to be worried about him? Oh no, he might be a big red bastard with horns! That's much scarier!"

Lol. Very, very true.

I was more baffled by the bit where they go inside... find the TARDIS... and then try to leave without C'Rizz. The Doctor says it's an illusion and that, but I was expecting some kind of "You want to ditch Lizard Boy all of a sudden just because he starts strangling you?" confrontation.

Hmm, that's a good point... I did wonder a couple of times if it might have actually been written for two companions originally, as C'rizz's plot keeps branching off entirely from Charley and the Doctor...

Oh, I couldn't stand her. Her VOICE! No one would vote for her with that voice!

It certainly didn't help proceedings...

I wasn't sure to laugh or cry when they used the same actres... hell, the same character... as Davros' mother. It sure explained why he was so fucked up as a kid and why he likes Daleks talking like that.

I might have known it was her behind it all!

Incidentally, heard the trailer for I, Davros (hang on - that's the title isn't it? They seem to have grown fond of leaving the titles out...) and was quite wowed at what a great performance Terry Molloy seemed to be giving of the young, Kaled Davros. I think he somehow sounds scarier without the ring modulator...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the whole, "Adric?! Katarina?! What the fuck!?" scene. Which is kind of stupid when you think about it.

Eh. I forgot about it. That explains why your pisstake had the Doctor threatened with their company if he failed...

He says in the notes he stayed up late rewriting it, and felt curiously detached from reality as he did it. This seems to be why Queen Bitch changes from total psycho to someone killing the entire population of the world for its own good and back again...

Well.. I'm afraid that even if there's method buried somewhere under the madness it doesn't count for much in the finished result. I'm also kind of glad Meltdown didn't get made by the sound of things - Colin's era is nihilistic enough!

Also, they cut out a huge scene from episode four after the bomb goes off where the Doctor wakes up in the TARDIS with Charley and C'Rizz, and there's stuff about all three of them returning to the land of the living

...Christ. Why are some stories allowed to over-run? Yeah, we needed all of those Omega cookbook jokes...

Apparently she read my spoof of it, according to DIY sheep.

ISTR it being one of those spoofs that diverges quite radically from the original plot.

Did she see the humour in the allegation that the only way to convince her to write for BF was a visit from Paul 'Shagger' Cornell?

No idea, but Russell wanted this to be the end of the FOURTH year of Divergence. That's... more than Patrick Troughton as the Doctor... of this shit.

The FOURTH year? You have got to be joking me. So they don't have the TARDIS until the fifth season. And then barely have time to use it...

We should set that one up, we really should.

... what could we possibly put in it?

Fraudien slip there.

...well spotted.

Yet, it's the most interesting design (The Last is a bored PMG cross-faded with a Jules Verne rocket... not an army of ghosts, a mushroom cloud... The Next Life is worse with its hideously deformed Rassilon oozed into a skullcap...)

Actually, you're right, it's probably the BEST cover of the season.

But that really says more about the others.

Maybe, but the cast deaden the pain.

The frustrating thing, I am sure I have mentioned, is that you have Don Warrington, Paul Darrow and Daphne Ashbrook and they're all sidelined for Stephen Conicard. As in Stephen who? Winner of the worst French accent award until the release of Other Lives.

Even the star power of the story is frustratingly smothered. Why? Were they hoping to get somebody really big in to play Keep? Steven Pacey? Christian Bale? HENRY KISSINGER?

Like 27 Up, the tantalizing glimpse at what MIGHT have been. And that rocks. That so works for me. It could justify a three-disc better than Zagreus could.

After the setup of Scherzo that was the kind of thing I was expecting. I mean, what good's a parallel Universe plot without that kind of stuff?

I bite, though - what's 27 Up?

Youth of Australia said...

Well then surely the idea is that they get combat fatigues from Koth's rebels... somehow?
No, it's what they're wearing when they arrive in the jungle - the Doctor even describes their camping gear to the soldiers when they get caught.

Alternatively, Kro'ka might give them clothes because he finds their naked forms unpleasant ala Sil.
Ironic that we're never told what the Kro'ka looks like. It's a deliberate gag apparently, which is why in Caerdroia the Doctor goes, "Oh. I thought you'd be a giant frog."

Very probably.
All that then they took away his chance to regenerate the Eighth Doctor in the comics...

Lol. Very, very true.
It's all down to the way Tennant plays it, very much, "Rose, don't embarass me like this in front of strangers."

Hmm, that's a good point... I did wonder a couple of times if it might have actually been written for two companions originally, as C'rizz's plot keeps branching off entirely from Charley and the Doctor...
It does feel like that, looking back...

I might have known it was her behind it all!
And yes, she is. It's truly impressive that they create Calcula (that's her name, or as I dubbed her Calculating Bitch), a woman more ruthless and inhuman than Davros TRIES to be...

Incidentally, heard the trailer for I, Davros (hang on - that's the title isn't it? They seem to have grown fond of leaving the titles out...) and was quite wowed at what a great performance Terry Molloy seemed to be giving of the young, Kaled Davros. I think he somehow sounds scarier without the ring modulator...
I suppose he does. I notice that he speaks much quicker without it, understandable since he HAS to slow down to be understood. I was very impressed at him well, being NORMAL. Davros and his pal going to a pub and swearing about what a bunch of fuckwits their supervisors were... it's just not a place you go in your head. But it makes it all the more unnerving when 'guy next door' Davros becomes Davros Davros. I was amazed at the sequence where he tries to help an injured soldier to safety - because, like Sherrif Vasey, it's scary because he DOESN'T do what you expect.

Eh. I forgot about it. That explains why your pisstake had the Doctor threatened with their company if he failed...
I think it justified their appearance better than the story than...
KRO'KA: Ooh, look at them.
DOCTOR: It's Adric. And Katarina.
KRO'KA: So it is.
DOCTOR: Fuck off the lot of you.
KRO'KA: Fine! Be that way!

(never mentioned again)

Well.. I'm afraid that even if there's method buried somewhere under the madness it doesn't count for much in the finished result. I'm also kind of glad Meltdown didn't get made by the sound of things - Colin's era is nihilistic enough!
Definitely. Mind you, it would make sense to have Queen Bitch up against the Sixth Doctor... he'd shout her down in two seconds flat. The Eighth isn't like that.

...Christ. Why are some stories allowed to over-run? Yeah, we needed all of those Omega cookbook jokes...
I transcribed and spoofed the whole scene in my guide, so it gives you an idea of what it was like.

ISTR it being one of those spoofs that diverges quite radically from the original plot.
...not REALLY. Tigger and Eeyore are fan fic Eighth Doctors, not Paul McGann, but it's pretty much the same, except set in the afterlife. Which, now I think about it, is a noticeable difference. But I couldn't cope with the retcon of The Last, so I went for killing them all...

Did she see the humour in the allegation that the only way to convince her to write for BF was a visit from Paul 'Shagger' Cornell?
No idea. But that nugget of info was from the interview with her in the CD and DWM about how she agreed to write Caerdroia. So the only difference is the use of the nickname "shagger". It's completely true.

The FOURTH year? You have got to be joking me. So they don't have the TARDIS until the fifth season. And then barely have time to use it...

Year One: Scerzo, Kromon, History, Kingdom

Year Two: dunno X 3, Faith Stealer

Year Three: dunno X 3, The Last

Year Four: dunno X 3, Caerdroia

Year Five: dunno X 3, The Next Life.

(Scaredy Cat, Something Inside, Time Works and Absolution were somewhere in there)

The whole thing was a season of season finales. Can you imagine FS as a season finale? That's what the 'TARDIS?!?' plot was for - to make you think things would change. That's why The Last ends with a bang, a season cliffhanger leaving it open as to whether or not the reset will work, and why there's all those missing adventures mentioned in The Next Life.

... what could we possibly put in it?
Well, more than the guy at sparacus.blogspot.com...

...well spotted.
I agree. Course, if PMG had got to be Sharpe, he'd never have been the Doctor. And the Gabriel Chase's of this world would have lived happier lives.

Actually, you're right, it's probably the BEST cover of the season. But that really says more about the others.
True. FS isn't so bad, except there's no church devoted to the Doctor...

The frustrating thing, I am sure I have mentioned, is that you have Don Warrington, Paul Darrow and Daphne Ashbrook and they're all sidelined for Stephen Conicard. As in Stephen who? Winner of the worst French accent award until the release of Other Lives.
...weren't the accents in OL SUPPOSED to be utterly awful?

I get your point, but I said "deaden", not "completely remove". A few minutes of Paul Darrow (no doubt sharing McGann's pain that they have to have the pop-culture-spewing-git Eighth Doctor rather than the calmer version Michael Keating got) and its like breathing after holding your breath for two minutes. Like his "if I may continue explaining the plot without you two bitches measuring ovaries" asides...

Even the star power of the story is frustratingly smothered. Why? Were they hoping to get somebody really big in to play Keep? Steven Pacey? Christian Bale? HENRY KISSINGER?
Richard E Grant? Oh wait, I'm bigging myself up again. Me bad. How about Terry Molloy?

After the setup of Scherzo that was the kind of thing I was expecting. I mean, what good's a parallel Universe plot without that kind of stuff?
I've got GR's notes about the whole divergent arc (he published his plan for them). That fits in pretty well.

I bite, though - what's 27 Up?
...I'm sure I bored you to death with them. It's the infamous Doctor Who article of 1997 where Sophie Aldred became editor for a month and the mag pretended that they had filmed Seasons 27 and 28, with (faked) reviews, interviews, video covers, book covers...

I used it for my Griffiths Doctor and Kate Tollinger spoofs.

Basically, when you finished the article with all its shots of a redesigned TARDIS (the console hangs from the ceiling!), redesigned Cybermen (they look like they're SCREAMING and their heads are elongated like Ripley's alien), and artists' impression of "The Last of the Daleks part one", Julia Sawalha's photocalls, the novelization of Ace's departure story...

Well, it was "why do I have to go back to the real world without all that?!"

So your idea was REALLY good. Basically. Is what I'm trying to say.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

No, it's what they're wearing when they arrive in the jungle - the Doctor even describes their camping gear to the soldiers when they get caught.

Oh, well. Sorry for bringing this little knife to your gun-fight...

Ironic that we're never told what the Kro'ka looks like.

...I guess that is a bit odd, considering he's running around everywhere with the others in TNL.

You know, even though I think the character's pretty rubbish, Stephen Perring gives a good perfromance.

And yes, she is. It's truly impressive that they create Calcula (that's her name, or as I dubbed her Calculating Bitch), a woman more ruthless and inhuman than Davros TRIES to be...

They don't do any sort of 'Davros is just evil because his parents beat him with a hairbrush' shit like in Hitler: The Rise of Evil or whatever that was?

I suppose he does. I notice that he speaks much quicker without it, understandable since he HAS to slow down to be understood.

Ah, maybe that's it - he sounds like Davros but yet at the same time sounds like a human being

Definitely. Mind you, it would make sense to have Queen Bitch up against the Sixth Doctor... he'd shout her down in two seconds flat. The Eighth isn't like that.

Oh, very good point. It isn't until she's killed all his friends AND destroyed his rocket that the Doctor has the balls to say "You know what, Excelsior? Fuck you!" and it was really frustrated. I mean, she's standing in the corner going "Neer-neer-nah, I killed your best friend!" when the find Charley and the Doctor's telling C'rizz not to jump to conclusions.

But yes. 6th Doctor meets Queen Bitch. With a mallet. That I'd like to see.

But I couldn't cope with the retcon of The Last, so I went for killing them all...

Yeah, I know. I read it quite recently, in fact.

No idea. But that nugget of info was from the interview with her in the CD and DWM about how she agreed to write Caerdroia. So the only difference is the use of the nickname "shagger". It's completely true.

Ah, the power of one word in the right place...

Year One: Scerzo, Kromon, History, Kingdom [etc.]

THAT is the single worst proposal for anything I've ever seen. Gary Russell is fucking insane.

The whole thing was a season of season finales. Can you imagine FS as a season finale? That's what the 'TARDIS?!?' plot was for - to make you think things would change.

But... what sort of crap do you have between the season finales? This... I can't begin to describe how terrible an idea it is. Come on!

And look at that - you still have the "OMG RASSILON'S HERE!!!" bit at the end of year one. How long do we have to wait before he actually shows up?

I think saying people would have been completely fed up with end-of-season cliffhangers by the end is understatement of the year.

...weren't the accents in OL SUPPOSED to be utterly awful?

I understood that Charley and C'rizz were meant to do bad French accents, but were Monsieur and Madame d'Lizeurdface meant to sound like `Allo, `Allo drop-outs?

(I quite liked OL. A deliberate attempt to make the absolutely most implausible comedy historical ever, with not one but THREE dopplegangers - one of them being for a giant lizard...)

...I'm sure I bored you to death with them.

Ah, so you did. You could have just said 'The Richard Griffiths' thing and I'd have understood.

Youth of Australia said...

Oh, well. Sorry for bringing this little knife to your gun-fight...
Unfortunately, all the guns were simply gun-shaped pieces of soap.

You know, even though I think the character's pretty rubbish, Stephen Perring gives a good perfromance.
Yes. He's very good in Caerdroia.

They don't do any sort of 'Davros is just evil because his parents beat him with a hairbrush' shit like in Hitler: The Rise of Evil or whatever that was?
No. It's nothing stupid like that. His mother was never cruel to him - she genuinely loved him - he got on reasonably well his sister and his father. But even by Kaled standards, given a thousand years of war, he could be insensitive.

Ah, maybe that's it - he sounds like Davros but yet at the same time sounds like a human being
Yeah. I, Davros is very good.

Oh, very good point. It isn't until she's killed all his friends AND destroyed his rocket that the Doctor has the balls to say "You know what, Excelsior? Fuck you!" and it was really frustrated. I mean, she's standing in the corner going "Neer-neer-nah, I killed your best friend!" when the find Charley and the Doctor's telling C'rizz not to jump to conclusions.
At first I thought, "Ahah! The Doctor knows about the reset button and is not going to dignify Queen Bitch with getting annoyed!" and then I thought, "Oh, well, um, maybe he's in shock" and then I was left with, "He didn't actually LIKE C'Rizz that much..."

But yes. 6th Doctor meets Queen Bitch. With a mallet. That I'd like to see.
They could compare fashion tips.

Yeah, I know. I read it quite recently, in fact.
You poor thing.

Ah, the power of one word in the right place...
I know.

THAT is the single worst proposal for anything I've ever seen. Gary Russell is fucking insane.
What was INSANE was him telling the whole world that, "On second thoughts, we're gonna do it all in one season because it's JUST struck me that if the new series is a hit, NO ONE will want to listen to this crap!"

Like, you know, none of this occured to them earlier. Despite Rob Shearman's "You gotta be fucking kidding me?!" halfway through Scherzo when he realized his "we're going to die in another universe" stuff was now longer automatically going to be undone.

But... what sort of crap do you have between the season finales? This... I can't begin to describe how terrible an idea it is. Come on!
I know! Insane!

And look at that - you still have the "OMG RASSILON'S HERE!!!" bit at the end of year one. How long do we have to wait before he actually shows up?
Till the end of year four. For one cameo. Where he yells at Kro'ka.

I think saying people would have been completely fed up with end-of-season cliffhangers by the end is understatement of the year.
I sure as hell know I would have stopped buying.

I understood that Charley and C'rizz were meant to do bad French accents, but were Monsieur and Madame d'Lizeurdface meant to sound like `Allo, `Allo drop-outs?
Yes. That was deliberate. They wanted OL to be a comedy. I found it either incredibly annoying (the bits with Charley) incredibly stupid (the bits with the Doctor) and incredibly dark (the bits with C'Rizz). But the accents were deliberately bad - they had a retake or something because they were vaguely convincing the first time. Of course, portraying the French as a bunch of selfish and stupid parasites wasn't insulting enough...

(I quite liked OL. A deliberate attempt to make the absolutely most implausible comedy historical ever, with not one but THREE dopplegangers - one of them being for a giant lizard...)
Mmm. I admit, the idea was gutsy. The Iron Duke was cool, as was Fazackerly (coz I remember his name), and the freak show worked. I'm undecided about the Doctor's bits, because... well... they're so badly done. Apparently he has a wife and two kids, but the two kids never ever appear, and the wife sounds so much like Charley (coz she's played by India Fisher's sister) and that's never used in the doppelganger plot. And the Doctor is scared of muggers?! And of sweettalking strange people? WHAT DOES HE DO EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY?! He should be going to her, "Trust me, I do this sort of stuff with my eyes closed!" as he disarms his opponents. Hopkins seems to think that without the TARDIS, the Doctor's mojo is powerless.

Ah, so you did. You could have just said 'The Richard Griffiths' thing and I'd have understood.
Damn my memory.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Unfortunately, all the guns were simply gun-shaped pieces of soap.

That always happens to me for some reason..

What was INSANE was him telling the whole world that, "On second thoughts, we're gonna do it all in one season because it's JUST struck me that if the new series is a hit, NO ONE will want to listen to this crap!"

...doesn't raise much of a vote of confidence, does it?

Like, you know, none of this occured to them earlier. Despite Rob Shearman's "You gotta be fucking kidding me?!" halfway through Scherzo when he realized his "we're going to die in another universe" stuff was now longer automatically going to be undone.

I thought for a moment that that couldn't be possible, but then I remembered that the New Series was announced in late 2003, wasn't it?

They wanted OL to be a comedy.

Fortunately it didn't go too Invaders From Mars

I found it either incredibly annoying (the bits with Charley) incredibly stupid (the bits with the Doctor) and incredibly dark (the bits with C'Rizz).

Hmmm, well it did stretch credibility a lot that Charley didn't realise that Bloke With Improbably Disgusting Name thought that she was a prostitute and C'rizz's subplot certainly didn't have any laughs.

I'm undecided about the Doctor's bits, because... well... they're so badly done. Apparently he has a wife and two kids, but the two kids never ever appear, and the wife sounds so much like Charley (coz she's played by India Fisher's sister) and that's never used in the doppelganger plot.

That's a very good point - with the absence of an actual family the 'giving him a family' is largely meaningless, especially once it turns out the wife is entirely aware that he ISN'T her husband and is merely exploiting him. I didn't stop to think about the Doctor's bits because they were fairly dull for the most part.

Youth of Australia said...

...doesn't raise much of a vote of confidence, does it?
What really clinched it was the photo of Paul McGann looking very hungover and depressed in front of a poster of Zagreus.

All it needed was "Paul McGann is just one of many actors whose lives are ruined by Gary Russell, but with your donation..."

I thought for a moment that that couldn't be possible, but then I remembered that the New Series was announced in late 2003, wasn't it?
During the recording of Zagreus. They interviewed the Doctors about what they thought of the news (which was a bit blurred at the time, since everyone thought RTD was working with REG...)

Fortunately it didn't go too Invaders From Mars
No, that's definitely true.

Horrible cover though.

Hmmm, well it did stretch credibility a lot that Charley didn't realise that Bloke With Improbably Disgusting Name thought that she was a prostitute and C'rizz's subplot certainly didn't have any laughs.
It was "Dimplesqueeze" wasn't it? "Guy who pinches girls cheeks" being a literal translation. And you'd think Charley might be a bit more open minded after years in another universe.

That's a very good point - with the absence of an actual family the 'giving him a family' is largely meaningless, especially once it turns out the wife is entirely aware that he ISN'T her husband and is merely exploiting him. I didn't stop to think about the Doctor's bits because they were fairly dull for the most part.
Yep.

Cameron Mason said...


Well... it's a start. But I'd have liked better exposition myself. And actually interconnected storylines. You know, to make it a proper arc.


My understanding is that over the planned final season that the info about the history of the Divergent Universe would have unfolded, ending with a race to the location of The Next Life.


Personally I'd use barely any of TNL. The design, cast, and about 10% of the ideas were the only things that I liked.


Which was the initial idea.

But then Cardiff happened and all the exposition was crammed into two episodes of a six part The Next Life.

Cameron