Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jared reviews The Stolen Earth!

Ah, a return to my laidback stylings of earlier this year, as I just post this wordpad file of shit I wrote down while watching it. No acerbic rants for a change! Erm, I guess I should make that no lengthy acerbic rants...

The first few miss time bits, btw...



BAD SCIENCE TIME!!!

"Whoever's done this has created an artificial atmospheric shell keeping the HEAT inside..."

...or the atmosphere is doing it's job and has kept the sun's heat in. Okay, this plot point could be relevant but I'm massivley distracted by this because the atmosphere is designed to hold heat in. Because that's how all life on Earth survives! Afterall, temperature varies at nightime, does it not? If the atmosphere contained absolutely no insulative properties as Captain Jack's words suggest the temperature would drop to the levels found in deep space at nighttime - somewhere in the area of absolute zero, which I recall from physics classes as being somewhere around negative 100 degrees Celsius. (Not that this is the temperature of space - but it is the temperature of space that is untouched by the light of the sun)

I think the confusion has come from the horrors of The Greenhouse Effect keeping the planet's heat in, but it's been misread because the problem with Greenhouse isn't that heat is kept in - just that TOO much heat is kept in.

*

Not sure how a space station could sit at the heart of that mess, unless it is of a gigantic mass and serves as the 'sun' of this sector of space using its gravity to keep the other planets in orbit.


"Maria and her dad, they're still in Cornwall!" Oh, thank God for that! I WATCH DOCTOR WHO, YOU PRICKS!!!


Just got distracted hearing Mr Smith speak, as I recalled that his name turned up in the mindnumbingly pointless list I made from endless IMDb cross-referencing to find out which dudes has appeared in both Sharpe and Doctor Who and other similar data (Big surprises included Pissed Off Guy Wearing Eyepatch in Sharpe's Challenge was Maid Marion's dad AND Sir Algernon Ffinch from The Highlanders and that seemingly half of the cast of Sharpe's Justice appeared in Threads - yes I consider this stuff 'big surprise' material..) and I remembered Mr Smith was on their somewhere. Just checked it out and - it's Armstrong from blood Armstrong and Miller! He gets around, don't he?


..why is Geneva calling a Code Red when the U.N is now in New York?


Apparently shifting into another area in space causes people's lungs to void all air endlessly and for them to impulsively eschew motorcars and arrange impromptu fun runs.


Martha thinks JACK will have heard from the Doctor before her? Hahaha, Ahahahaha, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Why is it that Jack is only a fun-loving manwhore on Doctor Who?

Well, it's quite fortunate that those two ne'er-do-wells happened to break into a store that had some Ministery of Defense software installed and currently running on their computers so that Rose could hear that message (why the hell wouldn't she have been able to hear it with some of her OWN equipment... you know, from Torchwood?)
Btw, that 'message' was NEARLY A MINUTE of 'Exterminate' or, more properly, "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!". This is like a parody of the Daleks. They tend to be a bit more communicative than that in, well, pretty much everything apart from Eric Saward scripts.

11:05: You have no idea how much the massive numbers of Daleks pisses me off. I mean, after Dalek went out of it's way to say "HAHAHA, it's impossible to kill ONE of them without a cop-out ending!" I thought that was a clever bit of writing to make future stories work in spite of the presence of just a handful of Daleks. Whilst at the same time hoping that we wouldn't be seeing the Daleks for a few years ala Genesis.

How fucking naive I was, because that very same season we established the now utterly mystifying tradition of having MILLIONS of Daleks at once. If they're indestructible, why do we need MILLIONS? Bit counter-intuitive isn't it? And it really pisses me off as an action fan seeing 'battle scenes' where only one group of people is allowed to die. It's like a fucking Sharpe episode where the French have all gone and made musket-ball proof vests.

Yes, go on, show me the thousands of Dalek ships swooping in on the Earth. I mean, God no, there's no way that ONE could be enough. Nobody at all would be frightened by one completely indomitable leviathan soaring overhead and shooting up everything in its path indiscriminately.

It's just another symptom of Dalek-worship, the effect that serves only to justify the inflated reputation the Daleks have as the Doctor's oldest nemesis with the media. It annoys me mostly because if they're just Daleks there behaving Dalek-y, that should be all anybody NEEDS! And the fact of course that no other classic series monsters get this sort of treatment, which serves to elevate the Daleks up on a pedastal, sending out a big message to the fans "If these aren't your favourite monster then YOU'RE AN IDIOT!" epitomised in Doomsday, where the most boring and incompetent iteration of the Cybermen, presented as the only version of the Cybermen to kids who don't know better (c.f. little kid at last convention) and getting their arses mercilessly destroyed.

The OTHER effect of Dalek worship I have already seen - before ANY of them have actually appeared on screen, mind you, so I predict that this is going to be a bumpy 45 minutes and 40 seconds - is the reactions of the companions to hearing the cries of "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!" Firstly, Martha encountered them in Daleks in Manhattan which, honest to god, is my favourite Dalek story from the New Series for the simple reason that... they are presented as Daleks. No more, no less. They're just there, having a goofy, illogical and very Doctor Who adventure like they had for 26 years before the slavering hordes of fanon worked their black magic. So she really shouldn't be quite as traumatised as she seems to be, unless she's concerned that the Doctor will be bricking himself half to death.

Sarah is far more bizarre. In neither Death to the Daleks nor Genesis of the Daleks did she encounter truly fearsome versions of the Daleks, and I should think that her memories of the latter would be more consumed with the freaky Nazi leather fetishist cripples she encountered than the pepperpots themselves. And then she had other scarier encounters such as the Zygons, the Anti-Men, the Krynoid, Morbius, Sutekh, the Mandragora Helix and Anthony Ainley's over-acting that all spent far more time freaking her out and I would think would stand out more in her memory. I think she should have had some throwaway line like "Oh, at least it isn't giant spiders!"

11:26 - "Ladies and gentlemen.. we are at WAR!" Yeah, and we're all reeeeally impressed, bub.

11:42 - Oh, wow. Daleks shooting up Manhattan. This is really exciting. It will be interesting seeing how the human race can rebuild after this. Because obviously there would never be a reset switch used in this series. Oh, no. Never, sir. Never at all.*

YAWN.

11:50 - "SU-PREME DA-LEK ON THE BRIDGE!" Is that meant to sound quite as much like "Supreme Dalek is intha HOUSE!" as it does?

"Word out ya'all Jablonskis, you may have noticed that we're doing nothing but shooting wildly, creating mayhem for the hell of it for no readily explained reason. It's called DRAMA!"

12:11 - GAH, David Tennant's in this?

12:21 - Yeah, still no explanation for why the police force would be named after what seems to be a legal document. And is referred to such constantly in the past. Jesus Christ, why couldn't they be The Shadow Proclaimers or The Order of the Shadow Proclamation or The Shadow Protectorate or ANYTHING. Worse than that, Tennant reveals that it's just another name for a police force in Universal terms. So instead of saying "Peelers" they say "Shadow Proclamation". MAKES A LOT OF SENSE!

12:40 - It's odd how squads of aliens with guns frequently know where the TARDIS is going to land. Do they have to wait there for a while?

12:41 - "Sko-po-tro-no-flo-cho-ko-fo-to-do!"
"No-bo-ho-so-ko-ro-to-so-BAKUDOSOHAFUJISIJO!"
*Judoon lower guns*
"Moho"
"Right, that's it!"
*Judoon pull out nightsticks and Rodney King-style beating ensues*

That's a free preview of the upcoming "If *I* had Written..."

13:07 - Yeah, Doc, if you didn't want to talk about the fact that you're an alien WHY BRING IT UP?

13:36 - So... the Doctor questions somebody stealing Clom, a planet which he knew nothing about prior to Love & Monsters, but thinks stealing Calufrax, the most boring planet in the Universe, is utterly sensible.
RTD is on autopilot right now, isn't he?

15:20 - .... he's trying to retcon the plot of Dalek Invasion of Earth...

Has John Peel ghost-written this for fuck's sake? He's RETCONNING a story from 44 years ago!

16:05 - This... there are no words to explain this. That Dalek just screamed "AND I HATE U.N.I.T!" WTF??? What was it about Day of the Daleks that rankled it so much? The presence of Scot Fredericks?

16:33 - UNIT USA knows about Torchwood as well... this... I think RTD needs the gap year. Not the show. This is just fucked up.

17:34 - Jack has been getting his knickers into a twist about UNIT using Sontaran teleports? When his entire organization is based on the idea of salvaging and using alien technology? Is there ANYTHING in this script that makes sense?
People seriously think that this plot is going to have any sort of satisfying resolution when RTD doesn't give us any sort of intriguing answer to the question "What is Project Indigo?"

17:42 - I didn't comment but I did notice earlier Ianto standing legs akimbo and hand on his hip as he twisted away from a monitor display, to tell us about Japan being blown up or something similar. Now he gasps, covering his mouth coquettishly with his hand. Good to see Gareth Lloyd-David (see, I know his name now, AHAHAHA!) doing his bit for the gay image...

17:43 - Oh, yeah, why is it a red Dalek anyway? Hasn't the Supreme Dalek traditionally been black? Up to and including Doomsday IIRC? Or is the Supreme Dalek like an admiral in the British navy, presiding over a colour-coded fleet, and instead of having an ensign the Supreme is simply coloured differently - so there are Black Supremes, Red Supremes, Yellow Supremes, Blue Supremes...

That works for me. The camper the better. Daleks suck.

18:15 - Davros... you DIDN'T elevate them beyond emotions. That's the Cybermen. You twat. God, people complain about the Cybermen not being emotionless, imagine the confusion that these Daleks of all of them are meant to be.

Not a fan of the new cyborg hand. Makes him feel a bit Dr Claw from Inspector Gadget.

19:20 - Yes, I have noticed that Donna is wearing a ring I haven't seen her wearing before and that she appears to be hearing strange drums.

What. Ever.

19:43 - Wasn't the Something On Her Back killed in Turn Left? Or is she STILL in the scenario created by the wasp, thus allowing the single worst retcon ever at the end of the next episode?

21:21 - SEE! "According to the strictures of the Shadow Proclamation.." so it's a legal document AND a law enforcement organisation. What a load of bollocks.

21:49 - Hmm, not sure if I agree with Mad Larry that the episode would have been better if the Doctor had gone all Warmonger just then, but it certainly would have been less predictable just then and thus more interesting. It is, after all, an good premise that Terry treated to a spot of friendly rape.

22:46 - Hehe, throwing a house-brick at a Dalek. THAT I like.

Proves that their ballistic shield is weak against housebricks. And that therefore all of Van Statten's trouble back in Utah could have easily been remedied if they ignored the Doctor's bullshit advice and strapped vials of nitroglycerine onto some housebricks and lobbed them at the bugger. Would be a good way of taking out the entire army, actually...

23:25 - "MY VISION IS NOT IMPAIRED!" Ha-fucking-ha. Piss off. I want the Zygons.

Oh, and "I warned you, dad" Bull. Shit. I can't recall Sylvia saying "But dad, clearly they will be able to magically boil any paint of the lens, thus leaving them free to kill anyone they please and rendering the exercise futile.."

26:16 - Most people look sad at the fact that Earth has been enslaved by Daleks. But Luke just looks like the batteries on his Game Boy have gone flat.

27:32 - Sylvia believes that if Wilf had a webcam he'd just film himself masturbating and send the videos to 18 year olds.

And she's RIGHT!

27:59 - Hehe, I love Rose's sulkiness. Wouldn't mind a bit of Gary Russell's Catfight Magic (TM) here to liven up this meaningless twaddle.

28:36 - We need more of this "Yes, I know who you are" joke. If RTD could just have a montage of everybody on Earth saying it for the next 20 minutes that would be great.

Does she have some sort of "Former Prime Minister" card that gets her discounts on petrol or something? Or does she just show random strangers her ID non-stop? Isn't that a bit risky in this modern day and age?

30:23 - Harriet Jones justifies her actions in the past by stating that the Earth was bound to come under attack at a time when the doctor wouldn't be around to prevent it - fair enough there. But then NOW, now that the Earth HAS come under attack and the Doctor isn't present, her response is to call him in as quickly as possible?

30:42 - I like the way that Luke shows up Jack completely by revealing that technology in Sarah-Janes bloody attic is more powerful than anything Torchwood has to offer the world.

Warning: Upcoming outdated reference
Observant viewers will also note further evidence that Sticky Yellow Fluid (Where the hell did that nickname come from, anyway?) is on crack, as he stated that Jack engages in some clear advances towards Luke, paralleling the immensely disturbing scene in whatever-that-shit-was-called. As can be seen, Jack asks the identity of the child standing next to Sarah-Jane throughout this entire top-secret chat about the future of the human race AND THEN offers the winning solution. I would not call that unreasonable.

30:45 - Oh, how long have I yearned to see Ianto's pale visage in full-on widescreen...

Whatever - Just feel the need to add that the thing about the sub-space becoming visible doesn't really make perfect sense - they need the telephone number from Martha, and are dialing that through Mr Smith to the Hub where the signal is being boosted through the Rift (Has RTD given this level of thought into his technobabble into ANY OTHER story????)... so the signal isn't going through subspace at all.

And look back at what I have written. Seriously, did you ever think before seeing this ep that a sentence like that could be used to describe anything that WASN'T online fanfic?

NOTE: Does that make sense? I wrote that months ago and haven't re-watched the ep. It doesn't read like English..

31:46 - Oh, they're using the subwave as well. For some frigging reason. Just to make sure Harriet Jones dies, seemingly..

32:24 - Good that the Doctor just stood, staring into empty space long enough for everybody to call him like that..

32:40 - How do the Daleks even know what a 'sub-wave' is when Harriet Jones apparently developed it herself? Christ. How can they tell it's a different signal, in fact, when it's coming through the phonelines and other normal ways of making a signal? Again, why was the sub-wave necessary when logically a mobile phone won't pick it up what with it being programmed for special frequencies and it is, of course, an everyday phone of Martha's that the Doctor now has.

In short: ARSE.

I'm also so bored with the Daleks I am hereby pretending that they are Zygons.

33:11 - ... why is everything blowing up? Were they all writing checques that their sorry arses couldn't cash? Because they said that their equipment could send the signal! The Zygons aren't sending a signal back to disrupt it or anything...

33:51 - "WE'RE TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME!!!"

Erm... bit of an everyday occurence for the Doctor, isn't it?

34:28 - Oh, thank the sweet lord Jesus! If we didn't get another "Yes, we know who you are" joke in I would have languished in some sort of humour-famine at the untapped comic potential.

At least it came from a Zygon. Something nearly original.

34:56 - ... I do believe Loose Cannon have better effects than that...

35:21 - Wasn't the 'one-second out of synch' trick also used in The Sontaran Stratagem? Or am I thinking of something by Big Finish?

35:50 - ZOMG THE DOCTOR ALSO HITS ON LUKE! PEDOPHILE AGENDA! LBC WAS RIGHT!!!

36:03 - At this point Jack should say "Maybe me and your mouth should get together some time?"

36:08 - Can't Rose go and get a webcam from that shop everyone was looting?

36:13 - WHO SAID THAT? Who said it was an outer-space Facebook? Step forward! Was it you, Dr Jones? Or you, Mr Jones? Or you Mr Smith? Or YOU Ms Smith? Or the young Master Smith? Or Dr Smith? No, that would be ridiculous...

Anyway, I do believe if it was facebook there'd be a photo of Captain Jack, with nothing interesting written underneath and a selection of quizzes underneath to see if you have the same taste in movies. And lots of confusing rules about 'writing on walls'.

And it would be rubbish, basically.

36:48 - Arrogance? Arrogance?! ARROGANCE?!!!

Really, though what's Davros on about? David Tennant says "Hello, is anybody there? Rose?" Oh, the hide of that man! How presumptuous! You should give him what-for for that one, Davros...

Oh, wait, they're Zygons. Replace 'Davros' with 'Brotoc' in that last sentence..

36:54 - Beh. Should have kept him in the shadows, Harper. The eyes look fake. Is there going to be some sort of convoluted explanation for why he know looks like the pre-Resurrection non-defrosted version?

37:28 - Davros in the Time War?... whatever...

38:28 - Yep, this is auto-pilot stuff alright. Gross out the kiddies with a shot of a skeletal Davros (are we meant to mentally compare it to the old tanned, washboard-abs that we saw Davros sporting on the beach in Daleks in Brighton or something?) nevermind the fact that pretty much every Dalek story post-Genesis has made clear the fact that Daleks are in no way biologically Skarosian but are just mutant beings that can be borderline-manufactured from any sapient lifeform.

38:48 - I am meant to be IMPRESSED by the Doctor buggering off when we expect him to say something dramatic?

39:50 - So in the 100+ years Jack has been with Torchwood he hasn't found ONE teleportation device to get the two digits he needed to fix his teleporter?

40:11 - ...where did he get that giant gun from?

40:40 - And now Mr Smith is begging to be left alone with Luke! A.I-rape-pedophilia agenda!

42:02 - Doctor don't do it. Don't hug her. She is carrying the biggest fucking gun to ever appear in the show.

42:07 - Don't you dare run towards her!

42:11 - No, you hypocritical arsehole! Just a few weeks ago you refused to even stand near a bloke who had a very small pistol holstered. You hug her, you will look like a complete dick to all of intelligent fandom with hideous double standards when a hot piece of arse is concerned.

42:17 - I am serious, Doctor! You go along with this and you'll get some special-delivery instant bad karma! Bad shit going to happen..

42:22 - Jesus Christ how long is this street anyway?

42:31 - What did I tell ya, Doctor. A big fucking Zygon.

42:39 - Aaaand it's a glancing blow. As anyone can see only half of his body glows negative. Jesus Christ you're excitable, fandom....

43:19 - Going like Tosh? Shouldn't they be sitting at one of the computers for that?

44:12 - What have the Zygons got against cars?

44:56 - Hey, same stock regeneration effect.

And it still looks shit.

45:09 - And the guys from Double the Fist took over making the credits for this episode only...


Well, that was pretty shit. 1/10



WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS THOUGHT...

F4Phantom: As a (small time) producer and script writer, I was blown away by the incredible tightness of this script. I literally needed to have a cigarrette after this episode.

Look at it, as 12 minutes in, RTD has shown us everything he promised in the trailer. That leaves us with 33 minutes of not having a clue what comes next. That's good storytelling.

Then he does the incredible, he manages to pull off the most unexpected revelation in the show's history. From a producer's standpoint, keeping a secret like this is too incredible for words. Not only does it keep the "what happens now" vibe going for another 7 days, it turns this episode into an "event" that we will be talking about for years.

(He has a point, I need to admit. If you ignore the fact that there is next to no plot at all in the episode, the crowbarring of shithouse cameos, the ten-minute scene of block-solid dialogue from characters alienating the casual viewer entirely, the clumsiness of the bee arc, it is fairly tight. But then, so is the average arsehole)


Joyce response: The Stolen Earth was, for me, a real shock. It is the single, worst episode of the new series so far, featuring a lame, exhausted narrative, poor direction and some dreadful acting all arranged around set pieces featuring old companions and colleagues. And for what for? Another Dalek Masterplan? Is that going to be it?

If you strip out the "fanwank" from this episode you have what? It's really difficult to know at this stage and I pray that the payoff is something worth waiting for, something that ties this together. If not, there will be a lot of disappointed people out there.


A curious response: What unexpected revelation?


Jonathan Blum's Gauntless Toss(TM): In the opening minutes of the story, it's a normal day on Earth and a bloke is delivering milk on a cosy London street. By the end, the Earth has been thoroughly conquered, we've learned that twenty-seven planets have been stolen to make some sort of cosmic engine, the baddies have been spectacularly revealed, there's an impending galactic war, oh and the Doctor's been exterminated. How much more did you want the plot to advance? Can you name any old-Who story which starts from scratch and has the Earth completely overrun before the end of episode two?

(Erm... Dalek Invasion of Earth? AHAHAHAHA! Okay, seriously... bit of an unfair question considering the different style of storytelling in the old days.. oh, wait, I got another one - Day of the Daleks! But, really, Jon the Earth didn't get overrun much pre-2005. Is Earth being conquered some sort of measurement of quality in the U.S? Have you perhaps confused DW with foreign policy?)


Wide-Eyed Innocent Response: One thing I don't understand, where did Sarah Jane's son come from? I thought in School Reunion she told him she'd never found a partner. And what's with her Mr Smith computer? Did the hardware live up to its name and get her up the duff?

(For that comment, you recieve the Man of Fist!)


Keith Topping Response: "The children of time are moving against us."

Cor, that was responably epic.


Paraphrased Lawrence Miles Response: Fuck you, Hansen, I'm going to steal your reviewing style. But with more rants and less sensibility. Oh, yes, I bet you're going to call me gullible in a week's time for claiming that it is entirely plausible for the BBC to mount a massively expensive fake film shoot in full costume for a non-existent episode simply to avoid spoilers for this one story while they smuggle Keely Hawes in front of a blue screen in a carpet bag. But you'll be laughing the other side of your face when Keely flashes the Daleks Lucie Miller-style next week. Oh, yes!


Some two guys' response: I dont get it. the daleks exterminated the racnoss in the future but i thought the doctor destroyed her. I'm confused.

*

The Doctor destroyed her. Then 150-odd years later the Daleks turned up and drilled a hole in the planet, etc. and she wasn't there and it was all fine. It's not that confusing.

*

so why did they just turn up and drill a hole. maybe they are connected to the racnoss ?!?

*

Um, no they're not. You probably ought to watch The Dalek Invasion of the Earth, in which the Daleks invade Earth, decide they'd like to fly it around the universe and begin their rather mad plan to drill out the Earth's core, put a big motor in and fly around. It's completely unconnected to the Racnoss (mainly because it was written 40-odd years earlier).

*

still dont get it

*



(Sigh, if the Racnoss ever gets brought up on this blog again it'll be too soon..)

Paranoid Fantasy Response: Hey, have you noticed that Jared makes his reviews seem much longer just by copying-and-pasting comments off other sites without asking permission? Isn't that kinda like copyright violation?

(Piss off, you!)

Colin Baker Response: I must say I couldn't see why Davros couldn't have been played by my friend, Terry Molloy. If it had been a different interpretation of the flawed genius creator of the Daleks, then I would have understood the re-casting. But in the event, it was the same Davros to all intents and purposes, and Terry would have done it superbly. Our's not to reason why!

Baffling Sparacus Response: OK, I am well aware that he has not featured in the televised series, however he is a well known companion among fandom on here and has travelled with the 10th Doctor in stories on this site. It would have been a nice nod to this site, the main fandom interaction hub, if Ben were included in the 'which companion will die' cliffhanger, so long as he wasn't actually the one being killed off.
(He's BACK!)


*Yes, I appreciate the irony now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NEWBIE REVIEW #11: Imperial Moon

Just realised that, in spite of the flagging update rates of this blog, I still haven't posted all of the Newbie Reviews that I have on file. Tsk, tsk, Jared. So here's the next one:

Imperial Moon by Christopher Bulis

Right, this is the bit where I know people will be sneering. At the very mention of the name. You don't have to read far to find some of the snobbery directed at Bulis by books efficianadoes. More than once I've seen it claimed that he isn't even human, but some piece of software created by Virgin and since traded to the BBC which churns out literary dross like a factory.

Rubbish.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not about to say he's brilliant, I'm just going to say that this was a good book in my opinion. A nice, solid read and it unmistakebly captures the Who mystique - if not the era in which it is set.

The introduction to this book drew me in - it describes, in abstract detail, the Space Empress, watching the launch of her fleet of spaceships, out into the stars, towards the moon. It goes into some sketchy details of the ships and the ceremony involved - and then the Empress' aide starts talking in a Scottish accent. Bloody hell, it's Queen Victoria and Billy Connolly!... er, I mean, James Brown.

Say what you like about the story itself - but that's a hell of an intro. One of the real "WTF?" moments that Doctor Who have a lot of, and it is quickly built on in the following scenes where the Fifth Doctor receives a message in the TARDIS' Time Vault (Which, as Turlough shrewdly puts it, "stores items for prior use.") and finds that it's a journal belonging to Thomas Halliwell, one of the captains of her majesty's Great British space fleet. At this point you should be thinking "What the bloody hell is going on?!" and this feeling lasts for more or less the entire book, as the mystery takes its time to be unravelled.

It didn't take long to see the reason why Bulis cops quite a bit of flak - frankly his prose is not very lively, falling flat in quite a few places, but on the bright side he isn't an author to get bogged down in reeling off too much description and focuses instead on a solid plot with lots of action - and this story does have a lot of action in it. One of my personal highlights was a sequence very remiscent of Aliens - Turlough trapped in a ship with a deadly alien killer machine on board. Great stuff.

I really don't want to give away the plot, because its unfolding is undoubtedly the best thing about this book, but the three spaceships, which contain a myriad of crew, soon land on what is apparently the moon but are surprised to find a vast jungle land that is filled with hellish alien creatures. Naturally, this is where the TARDIS itself manages to land, depositing the Doctor and Turlough into a harsh wilderness.

The characters are quite interesting... well, the main ones at least. Some are just place-fillers, but that's inevitable when you have three ships worth of crew in an adventure story. Captain Haliwell is a real boys-own hero, a natural leader and square-jawed hero but who clashes with Emily Boyes-Dennison, who is daughter of the engineer of the spaceships and a forthright feminist.(Hmm, romantic subplot, maybe?) Then the very dark subplot of Henry Stanton, a working-class man who works as pilot of one of the ships under the incompetent Captain Green, who realises that piloting requires a special knack that he has and this causes him to rebel against the rigid class structure of Victorian society.

The regulars are good, too. The Doctor seems a bit passive at times but is undoubtedly Davison - capable and practical - and we see an altogether different side of Turlough here. He's still sneaky, cowardly and selfish but we really see his softer side - he gets his own romantic subplot in this story! Some people have said that this isn't Turlough in this story but I disagree - Turlough is easily complex enough a character to have plots like this written around him, and I'm glad to see it. Oh, yeah, Kamelion's in this book, too, but it doesn't really matter how you write Kamelion because he's pretty dull anyway. I mean, I like him, but there are far more interesting characters out there.

As I said, the prose lags a bit, but I really did like this book for its faults. One of the things that got me was the climax - very, very brutal, but arguably it works for the story. But afterwards, everything just wraps up so perfectly I felt very good after I put this book down. How do I rate this book...? Hmm, I think 7/10 ought to do it.


Once again, I find my present self being quite boring by agreeing wholeheartedly with my past self. Imperial Moon is a good, solid read, and I want to add to what I wrote there by saying that it isn't one of the few books but one of the few Doctor Who stories full-stop to use Turlough well as a character. From the moment that he appeared I realised that the alien bloodnut had far more potential than any other companion in the Davison era, yet Saward latched onto his cowardly tendencies and made them define his entire identity. Yeah, that only got old after one fucking story...

I think that the sheer number of books coming out at the time was what caused the snobbish attitude to Bulis' works. I am the first to admit that he does not write good prose. However, so much as he is a lovely bloke... I have to say that Chris McKeown's dialogue is significantly worse. And yet Time's Champion is currently being hailed as a masterpiece on OG by people who really ought to know better. It pains me to say it but the book, simply put, is not very good but is recieved like a glass of Cherry Coke by a man stranded in a desert - apologies for the terrible metaphor.

It probably should be pointed out, though, that I am something of a Victorianaphile and enjoy my sci-fi to slant towards the 'pulp'-y area on occassion and these two facts massively contribute to my enjoyment of Moon. It is not by any specific or quantifiable measure a 'good novel'. It's just one that I happen to really enjoy quite a lot, mostly because of its singularly outlandish ideas.

Just thinking about what's great... one of the [many] reasons I disliked Journey's End was for not actually having a reset button when it made it obvious that the plot necessitated one, instead just ignoring the virtual destruction of Earth utterly. (Which seems an odd thing to ignore..) Imperial Moon goes down a very similar path by making it obvious early on that, with aliens gardens on the moon and a Victorian space program, this HAS to be a parallel universe, even to the point of having Turlough moaning about it.

However... it doesn't. Gradually over the course of the story Bulis deals with the loose ends - the professor who designed the rockets dies. Most of the crews die. The complex on the moon is blown up. The aliens leave. And finally Victoria pledges to destroy all evidence of the tests. And then, by the very end of the novel you stop and think and realise that, hey, there's nothing to say that it didn't happen! Apart from common sense but who needs that with a story this fun?

Also, props to CB for braving The Curse of Kamelion.

Man, I should go out on a low-key note to stop myself sounding like a complete Bulis fanboy... ah, well, he does have the Doctor save the day by going Terminator on the aliens. But, hey, you can try anything the once on DW...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jared kinda reviews Turn Left!

But not really.

Sometimes you realise that foreknowledge isn't necessarily a good thing. For example when you've decided to sit and watch the latest episode of DW convivially with your mum whilst getting some programming work done in a notepad (does anyone else do programming with pen and paper? I think it may be just me..) but realise within the moment of seeing a milk bottle shake that you hate the episode that's coming on so much that simply sitting in a chair in the same room is going to be unbearable.

So I've retreated here, to the computer, to finally type up this shit. I have no idea HOW to review Turn Left. It's just... there. A manic depressive but incredible masterpiece of television... that is bafflingly a crutch for a much, much shittier story without which it cannot truly stand on it's own. In no sense of the term is TL even really Doctor Who. It is a deliberate act of tearing the heart out of the Whoniverse for... well, seemingly for the hell of it. But it is great telly.

It is probably one of the best things to come out of the New Series, because the idea wouldn't work anywhere else. Could the novels or BF do a story like this? No, they couldn't. They rely on the Doctor far too much - that is, after all, what we buy them for. Would you get a copyif you just glanced at the reviews on OG and the first one is (as it inevitably would be) a wad of bitching about how Sylvester McCoy's only in it for five pages/minutes? Of course not!* They have skirted towards the idea through the Unbounds and the equally excellent Face of the Enemy, but no cigar. What does that leave? BBC Webcasts? Hey, click this link for a story that DOESN'T have the Doctor!

So all that leaves is Doctor Who - The Move. DAMN IT, I JUST LOVE BASELESS SNIDE REMARKS ABOUT PMG NOT BEING CANON!!!

Anyway, I was thinking today about how odd it is about the copious mass of DW that RTD churns out in his role of grand pooh-bah of the motherfucking world and I couldn't help but recall Music of the Spheres, something I really didn't want to know. It got me thinking that it's strange that the same man could ever have written both, because Spheres, frankly, is everything that's wrong with Western Society(TM) - it features a beloved fictional character patronizing his audience and feeding them bullshit about how each and every one of them has the ability to compose music. Whereas TL is about the DOWNFALL of Western Society.

TL is uncomfortable television camoflauging itself cunningly with the 'children's show' cloak, thus allowing it to show that the veneer of superficiality isn't just a veneer but the key to our survival. To show just how easily the entire world that we think of as our own can come crashing down. There is no throwaway lines about a nuclear reactor on the Titanic, afterall (it's meant to be something much, much bigger, in fact...) and yet we get an exact visual replica of the infamous A-Bomb test footage that we have seen oh so many times. TL says that it's the Titanic, but what the author wants us to see is a nuclear warhead. And that one act sends mankind into the gutter, armed to the teeth and carting innocent people off to death camps.

I couldn't help but reflect on the irony that I complained that we should have been seeing Threads after TSS and... just five weeks later... fucking Threads. Does he read this blog? ... and write scripts indecently late? And, no, I have not yet seen The BBC'S Melting Baby Show Mr Campion-Clarke. And I'm sure I don't want to.

It is quite fortunate that TL has these wonderful ideas and mind-blowingly pitch-perfect performances from EVERYONE as its backbone, because like most of the current series it is also guilty of disappearing up its own arse. I can understand the need to remind people that they're watching DW but the continuity in this story, even by the standards of this season, is insane. There are two justifications I can think of for this:

1) Getting the audience warmed up for the thundering sea of authorial ejaculate that awaits them next week whether they're ready or not.

2) Re-establishing the Doctor's position as a demi-godlike figure that mankind is oblivious to, to try and distract the audience from the fact that the sheer number of story elements in the final two eps necessitates his transformation into a completely useless twat.

By having a DW story that doesn't feature the Doctor but continually references the Doctor, RTD has done something I thought impossible - got his fanfic made on TV.

This novelty gets old by the next week but I digress...

The startling thing about the continuity though, really... is that it's so WRONG! Which is REALLY amazing because RTD wrote half of the stories that he's bloody referencing! Let's see, how many can I think of right now...

1) Okay, in this version of TRB another receptionist at HC Clements got the spiked drinks from Lance and, in a massive co-incidence ALSO married him (That's what triggered the Huons, remember) She is either killed or runs out to leave the Doctor but... the Doctor at no stage decides to stop staring into a gigantic hole and do something about drowning. Also suggests that the Thames would OVERFLOW a hole to the centre of the Earth, which I'm sure isn't true and that the Doctor didn't decide to do anything when Ms Rachnoss STOPPED wailing and transported her red arse out of there. So, for the timeline to work the Doctor needs to ritualistically commit seppuku. With a katana made of Stet radiation..

2) If the Doctor hadn't been at Not Albion For a Change Hospital... everything would have gone well. The Judoon WOULDN'T have been freaked out by another alien being present and, I'm sure, have found ways of catching the bloodsucking creature with a name I can't remember. And, if they didn't, why didn't she use the MRI to kill all life on Earth like she was talking about? THEN we have the issue taht everyone on the hospital died.. even though the Doctor did NOTHING to save them and it was actually the Judoon who let them live. Christ the Doctor's useless in that story when you think about it, huh?

3) Erm, the Titanic would also have wiped out all life on the planet. But, if it detonated in London, ironically, pretty much no-one bar the Nobles and the Windsors, given that Wilf makes a big deal about how nobody is in London.

4) Amazingly the Adipose-in-America does work out logically, but that does cause the big problem with ATMOS. Rattigan's home and adopted country are all-but wiped out by aliens - his home town in London significantly now non-existant. How is ATMOS then meant to get out? Shouldn't the Sontarans be targetting a healthier world for terraforming anyway? And how the hell is Jack meant to give his life? That's a no-brainer, surely. And nevermind the question of how Torchwood are meant to build an atmospheric ignition device when trying to shoot an alien ties them up for all of 40 minutes in Something Borrowed.

5 Oh, yeah, Jack still has the Doctor's hand. UNIT can't do anything with that?

This inexcusable storytelling incompetence, combined with a premise that is possibly stretched slightly too far in the actual episode, Rose apparently doing a Harry H. Corbett impression and an ending nicked off Father's Day which manages to imply that Rose is some sort of demented vehicular serial killer makes me realise how close TL flaunts itself to the side of 'bad' on the knife's edge of quality. But what is good about this episode is so good-

AW, CHRIST, I forgot about the Yellow Peril stuff at the beginning "OMFG ASIANS! OBVIOUSLY THAT'S A NEW PLANET!" Ladies and gentleman, the revelation of why RTD doesn't do alien worlds - because he SUCKS at it! Not for a moment did I assume that Shan Shen bullshit was meant to be alien. It looked like a dozen streets I've been in Sydney for Christ's sake. Ooh, look, they're riding bicycles! How mindnumbingly ALIEN! It's like they anticipated this because there's a really tacky and forced throwaway line from Donna about coming from a different planet. Give me a break.

And, come to think of it, what the fuck is the Fortune Teller's game? Was she assigned to try and kill the Doctor? What does she gain from this? If she erases her patrons from history she can't even rob the corpses! Is this just a fetish of hers?

*Ahem*, anyway as I was saying when this episode is good, it goes well beyond good. This is what TV drama is meant to be. And this is what Doctor Who should be... for once. And hopefully never again.

7/10


WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS THOUGHT

Lawrence Miles Response: We're all gonna die!!!!


Nigel Verkoff Response: Am I alone in noticing the closeness bordering on get-a-room-iness of the Rose/Donna scene in the TARDIS?

If there had have been more time do you think they would have got friendly?

Mescaline response: This story had everything!
1 - Dartboard w. axes meat cleavers
2 - Treasure chest money bags
3 - 'XXX' moonshine
4 - stack of ridiculous helmets
5 - flags
6 - overly ostentatious throne
7 - sack of grain

(I'm messing with you. My connection's slow at the moment so I didn't get that many real comments)


Skagra's Response: A Doctor Lite episode should show a Doctor Who adventure from the point of view of a minor character - almost a bystander - who barely has a brush with The Doctor himself. These give us a different perspective than we usually get in Doctor Who. Turn Left didn't do this - it was a put the companion in the spotlight episode.

It wasn't really about Donna.

(I can hear Andrew Sachs reading that aloud alright. And NEWSFLASH mujumbo - it's the DOCTOR who does too many hours. Not the COMPANION. If anything BBC are saving themselves money by making use of an actress who'd otherwise be sitting on shapely arse doing sweet FA. I'm all for it. Sorry if you wanted to see Donna pop up and shout "I work in a shop!"..)


'Ross_Jenkins' Response: I found it a bit boring to be honest.It's alright but nothing that special.CT's acting is good and it was one of the few times that I liked Donna but even then she was irritating a bit of the time (no fault of CT's - just how the characater was written).I think another reason why I dislike it a little is because it was a bit of a let down.They had the potential to bring back so many great minor characters but instead they just brought back that man from the hospital and Private Harris.

(A prize if you can guess what minor character she wanted brough back...)


*Unless your view towards Sly's acting in BF is similar to my own, in which case this could be a major plus.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I have fifteen minutes to kill...

Can I make a blog post in that time?

Well, looking around Ourimbah Uni I have been wondering why exactly it is that a lot of university students believe that dipping a dead badger in peroxide and strapping it to their head after it has dried is a decent susbtitue for a hairstyle.

I have also, today especially, been amazed at the size of tits on the female students. And this in turn got me thinking about breasts - surely the most controversial and over-analyzed part of the anatomy? Firstly, I think that the entire size issue is quite ridiculous - a commonly cited 'fact' is that Lara Croft, infamous heroine of the Tomb Raider action-adventure video games is anatomically impossible, that she wouldn't even be able to balance etcetera etcetera.

It certainly is arguable whether any woman with the acrobatic omnipotence of Ms Croft would have enough flesh on her body to support such a weighty rack, and then whether a professional lady with such a noticeable chest would further amplify the effect by constantly wearing a shirt that seems to be two sizes too small, but at the same time her breasts were only ever 'large'. And what's 'large'? Significantly above average. And an average is formed by virtue of having thousands upon thousands of samples below and above. Really, how meaning are averages.

I think the controversy over the size of Lara Croft's tits is largely man-made, in the fact that the game is made by programmers, who we all know are sexually unfulfilled losers. Interestingly the world seems to make no comment on basically every male game hero being an adonis who can also bullet-dodge and use martial arts with brutal skill, but then double standards are universal aren't they?

The other thing about breasts that I've noticed, is that it's a bad time in the world to have them. One of my least favourite Seinfeld episodes is the one where Jerry suspects that his girlfriend, played by Teri Hatcher, has fake breasts. Not that I can't appreciate the humour in this scenario, or of Elaine guerilla groping her in a health spa to find out, but that Hatcher was cast purely because she had a pretty face and could play comedy. With everyone in the show ignoring the fact that her breasts are average sized.

Sometimes I just think that people don't have much of a sense of perspective from things like that. Or maybe girls eat more and get more fresh air and exercise here on the Central Coast than in more heavily metropolized areas? Food for thought.

Christ, only four minutes left and I'm coming across like some sort of boob-obsessed buffoon. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Me and the rest of the internet, at any rate.

I've recently discovered that I'm a two-finger typist. Apparently that's unusual, because it was remarked upon in the documentary of The Pirate Planet that Adams was a two-fingerer himself. How many am I meant to use for God's sake? I can type up a hurricane with these mothers!

Anyway, Assassin in the Limelight has amazingly gotten better in the next two episodes. It's decided to fuck off with the historical cliches that made up the entire first episode and replace them with pure, unadulterated, historical batshit-insanity (A character pledging to stick a false moustache on, pretend to be Booth, shoot Lincoln, take the moustache off and pretend to have killed him and present the body - before being knocked out) Quite nice. But then the cliffhanger to Episode 3 goes and fucks it up with the monster that attacked Max Miller showing up and going "AHA, I SHALL KILL ALL HUMANS!" Wow. That's mind-expanding.

And, shcokingly, all the actors involved are actually Canadian and/or American. Do the director's say "Okay, that's good - but can you make it sound more like a character off of The Muppet Show?"???

Anyway - POST!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bob Holmes' Brain Explosion

GRAHAM WILLIAMS: Alright, Bob..

BOB HOLMES: What the fuck do YOU want?

GW: Er, well, commissioning you. That's generally what I come to you about.

BH: Oh, yes. Damn straight it is. When was the last time you bought me a pint?!?

GW: ... yesterday.

BH: You see the problem I have with this?

GW: *Sigh* Alright, Bob, would you like to go to the pub?

BH: Not with that attitude, you miserable bastard. AHAHAAHAHAHA! You know why I can say stuff like that?

GW: Because you're the best writer in the world?

BH: And you are..?

GW: Nothing, Bob.

BH: That's right. You are NOTHING. Ahhh, I live for this...

GW: I've noticed..

BH: So, what were you wasting my time with?

GW: Well, the head of drama wants the new series of Doctor Who to be more light-hearted...

BH: Stop right there. More light hearted?

GW: Yes.

BH: Last time I watched it Tom Baker was dressed up like a barrister holding court over a room of flashing lights that were apparently meant to be robot lawyers who talked like Jeffrey Robertson.

GW: Yes, I remember that one.

BH: Fine. Just checking that we were on the same page. So... what do you want in this new, even more light-hearted series?

GW: Well-

BH: Because *I* was thinking about a story wherein a long-dead xenophobic civilisation has set about a series of Trojan-horse traps to spread the most potent virus ever created, specifically to target those with deep-space travel and thus destroy any rival empire-builders, and the Doctor arrives too late to save anybody, leaving behind a planet that's a gigantic charnel house and tragedy upon blood-stained tragedy.

GW: ...

BH: Fine, what's YOUR idea, then?

GW: Personally, I was thinking of... well a bit of a throw-back story. You know.. bring back some old characters.

BH: I'm sorry? You want me to write... fan-stuff? *spit!*

GW: I think it would go down well. Get them on-side. At least cause the death-threats from Stephen Payne to subside and the only other obvious option for THAT is to make his bald mate with the toothbrush the Doctor and that will only happen over my dead body.

BH: I might have known that some preposterous aspect of cowardice was at the gangrenous heart of the malaise.

GW: My God, you actually talk like that?

BH: Occassionally. When I'm sober. So anyway... you want some old characters?

GW: One or two.

BH: Any one or two? Just anything at all? So, in short, you want me to write ANY OLD RUBBISH???

GW: Now, there's no need to be like-

BH: Oh, no, no you've asked for it Graham and I'm going to bloody do it. So here we go... the Doctor decides to ditch Romana and go around with K9, but he gets so pissed off with him after two seconds that he decides that he needs to bring Captain Hawkins from UNIT and Goudry from the Sunmakers - and they decide to rob a casino. The Doctor can't get into this action quick enough, but once they land there they're stunned to see that the casino is run by the Controller from Day of the Daleks and an EVIL version of K9! Furthermore they're in an evil alliance with Chessene, that bint from that script I pitched to you last Sunday-

GW: I don't remember that..

BH: I may have rung the Chinese take-out by mistake I was off my face like Apollo at the time. So anyway Chessene's in an alliance with the Controller that revolves around hunting down the sole survivor of the massacre on the storm miner in Robots of Death-

GW: Poul?

BH: No, Borg.

GW: Er-

BH: I SHOULD KNOW, I WROTE THE BLOODY THING! So, anyway, the Doctor twigs that Borg is hiding out as a drunken cowboy because he needs to serve a greater purpose for the Universe as he can see given that he's working with the Keeper of Traken in disguise..

GW: Who?

BH: Oh. That's right he's from when I got caught in the elevator with Johnny Byrne... so anyway the Doctor knows that he's screwed when he finds out that the Controller's chief goon is none other than Bill Filer, ace secret agent and seriously bad mother, so he needs to work from the inside to collapse the economy by training Goudry to be a super-genius to take on Mr Sin, the grand chessmaster of the planet.

GW:... how-

BH: Oh, and Amelia Ducat in her underwear!

GW: Doing what?

BH: Haven't thought that far ahead yet. But... yes. Amelia Ducat in her underwear. That works for me, that really does. So, do I get paid now?

GW: Erm... I'll see you around, Bob.

BH: What ... WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

GW: Erm, that I think there are lemons that would work better as scripts than that.

BH: Oh, yeah? Well I'll show you - this episode is going to get made NO MATTER WHAT!


The incredible true story of how Blakes 7: Gambit was written.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jared Reviews Midnight!

Yes, it's already been on the ABC. I have failed. I have sharpened my meat cleaver and am simply waiting for the JP to arrive before I commit seppuku. In the meantime I may as well type up this considerably late review.

*Ahem*

It doesn't take long to realise that Midnight is the greatest Doctor Who story ever made. About two minutes on any given fan site, in fact. Because this is not a statement of opinion. It is a simple fact.

And yet... I can't find anything to like in it. This has alienated me from fandom until doing this review which could, subconsciously, play a part in my delaying of writing this. Because Midnight seems to be radically ascending to the brink of being the New Series' Caves of Androzani and for me it does very little.

I wanted to write a little essay here for reasons of that because my original review went absolutely tits-up... but reading it again I don't think there's any big problem. It mostly gels with my opinions now even though I'm confused about what exactly any of the specific bits are referring to. Just bear in mind I began watching it quite late at night and the key mode of transport in the story may have confused me slightly...

Hmm, where have I seen this opening sequence before? Oh, that's right - in a crowded room in an RSL where people were impatiently packing up things to leave and generally not bothering to watch at all. And I was strangely enough told that this was a 'special treat'.

I can actually hear the dialogue this time. Much better.


Stuff like this makes me wonder, though... does the series really need cold openings? Setting aside the fact that every single American show does it, which seems to be a good enough rationale for most things on British television, I don't think that Doctor Who is really much of a cold open show. Or at least not much of a 50-second cold open show. The viewer needs to be introduced to another world or, more usually, another time. It can't be done in the blink of an eye. So in a lot of cases the drama in the open is crowbarred in (The Fires of Pompeii) or falls completely flat (The Unicorn and the Wasp and The Rise of the Cybermen both spring to mind on pogo-sticks of pure Suck..). In this case there isn't any drama at all, though - it's just a quick "This is what the episode is about, people!" which doesn't do that much for me, I have to say. At least, not annexed off from the episode like this.

*

That dude's wearing a fucking polo shirt. I can take the endless business suits thousands if not billions of years into the future (Just) but... polo shirts? They're NEVER going to go out of fasion, are they? For Christ's sake has the Beeb cut it's entire costume department loose or something? After The End of the World it's become incredibly rare to see a character NOT wearing something you could quite easily buy in a shop...

4:59 - Aaaand the award for most phallic use of the sonic screwdriver since The Curse of Fatal Death...

5:14 - Hehe, I love the way how the stewardess is the ONLY person unhappy about the deranged entertainment system failing.

5:31 - SUBTITLES??? What is this, Frasier???

Not that I'm unhappy just... stunned. Not since The Deadly Assassin, surely.... ah, no, sorry... forgot about the TVM. But still. Wow. Very impressed at that little willingness to break form. Again.

6:05 - Mad Larry just had an orgasm over that abstract pool bit. Just to let you know.

7:02 - OMFG GAY AGENDA! RTD's efforts to recruit the populace continue madly and without abation! SHAMEFUL!

I'm sure somebody's saying that, anyway...

8:22 - Hmm, any fan theories about David Troughton's character here being one of the three alt-9th Doctors or anything like that? Because he's really behaving VERY Doctor-y here, like a sort of a "Look, I could play the part!" way, all bouncy energy, bug eyes and wild gesticulation. Or maybe he just wants to show that he's moved on a lot since the days of King Peladon...

9:17 - Man, that's the most half-hearted use of the psychic paper since World Game.

Incidentally, ANY thought put into that bit of the novel at all?

"Doctor, here's a magic piece of paper that can get you out of ANY tricky situation"
"Ooh, marvellous, I shan't be forgetting THIS in a hurry..."
900 years later...
"Ere, wha's this in me pocket? Ohhhh, I remember THIS!"

And, I don't know, if he's an engine inspector how does that get him the right to barge into the cockpit? Engines on spaceships, after all, are generally on the back. This could be a different design but I can't think of any logical reasons to HAVE the engines directly below the cockpit, and these people are clearly humans so follow our train of evolution.

And surely a level of experience isn't a right to trespass? Isn't it a bit like Casanova telling a girl his identity just as she's gulping down the Spanish Fly?

9:35 - ...micro-petrol engine? Which somehow remains stable at all times?

I think I feel a defeated 'whatever' coming on..

9:44 - No force? Again, poorly chosen words. Very. I wish RTD wouldn't pull ordinary scientific words out at random and treat them like they're highly advanced technobabble. 'Power', I believe, would be the word that he'd have wanted there. Every artefact in the Universe always has forces acting over them. To say that the ship has 'no force' is as ridiculous as it is incomprehensible - the forces of its own propulsion should still be active until such a time that the inverse square law dictates that the ship should come to a standstill after having said propulsion disrupted. The only way that it could stop as suddenly as portrayed is if it came under the influence of an equal or greater force - which is sort of the opposite of [what I think] the Doctor is suggesting.

9:54 - ...a rescue... truck? Man, maybe I should give up trying to make sense of this entire scene..

10:50 - Man, that is a beatiful looking alien landscape. Ah, this is the stuff I was hoping for when Doctor Who came back on the air. It was worth sitting through all the Eccleston stories in darkly-lit warehouses to get here, too...

11:55 - "They're micro-petrol engines aren't they?"

"Nahhh, of course not! That's just made up - I mean, spaceships can't run on REGULAR petrol to begin with, so why would they run on smaller petrol? And a really tiny engine wouldn't be able to push anything this size, especially if it was small by PETROL engine standards, so whichever way you look at it the term makes absolutely no sense! I mentioned it a moment ago but only because I was so busy dropping acid while you were doing the sideshow..."

11:59 - SHUT UP ABOUT MICRO-PETROL STABILISING! THIS IS MEANINGLESS!

12:32 - Such was the authority in the Doctor's voice that people watching this at home could begin to forget about all that micro-petrol shit.

12:42 - NEXT WEEK: Dr. Who lets Black People speak for themselves!!!

12:56 - As the Doctor says that everything is fine, the Telltale Heart of Donna he stashed in the overhead begins to beat...

13:06 - How can an episode with a higher proportion of scientists and experts than ANY other in recent years have such fucking AWFUL technobabble? Metal cooling down? Yes, because clearly the entire ship is made of a perfect conductor of heat so that the engines heat up the entire surface of the ship - it's not like that could boil everybody on board or anything like that.

I'm feeling like Cubert Farnsworth here...

13:45 - ... didn't Hobbs say that there could easily be life on Midnight a few minutes ago? Or was he just drunk at the time?

14:22 - What the hell, Hobbs? You're meant to be a big-time scientist... and you're just ignoring the evidence presented to you in favour of blind denial. Which seems to be quite a character 180 by the way. No fist.

14:43 - Do the hydraulics really mean anything now? With the range of creatures in the Whoniverse surely you can't draw a line in the sand as to what can and cannot be shifted by an alien? Strength is quite a variable across the animal kingdown, afterall...

16:37 - Hello so-called users of Outpost Gallifrey. You will never believe what I have done. It is amazing. I have spotted Rose in the latest episode. Hah, yes, I bet you thought that she wasn't in it at all. But I am a real eegle eyes and see thing that you mere mortals may not. When the Doctor gets up after the shuttle shakes around, you need to look at the television and squint. It sort of looks like her. Yes, I am serious. I am a god of spotting things.
- speculated post

I find it kind of funny the way that the Doctor keeps missing these. Until now I was wondering from the way she appeared that the exercise wasn't to contact the Doctor at all, but rather to desperately try and seduce Donna.

16:42 - "Earthquake?" "That's impossible, the ground is fixed, it's solid"

...and on that spectacularly shithouse bit of an attempt at science I'm leaving the episode there for the night.


*****

It's another day now, and I finally realised that they're on a bus rather than a ship. I guess that clear up a couple of things I was raving madly about (But NOT ALL!) so don't point these all out to me.

Hey, it was late.

17:32 - Aaand right back into it with more blind denial from Hobbs. This character's starting to piss me off.

18:04 - Yeah, I realised that they were dead. There was a a whole bit earlier on about how they would probably die if they looked out the windscreen for more than a minute. And now the entire front of the bus (Haha, BUS not SHIP, I'm on the ball!) has been ripped off.

20:42 - ...I think it's safe to say that it's been established that she repeats absolutely everything that is said to her. This is getting like "Are you mummy?" but even worse..

22:00 - Now that the lights are on she's ever dead or braindead. I can tell this quite easily by the fact that she's stopped repeating everything...

22:17 - Motherfuckers got one over me. By cheating, though - the first few lines of dialogue didn't have her talking simultaeneously like that, and the characters were looking right at her.

24:12 - I am bored shitless right now.

26:05 - How long is that - six minutes that the logical idea of throwing her out of the bus is finally suggested? See, this is why I HATE bottleneck episodes, unlike m'esteemed colleague - everything moves so slowly because the story is stretched out over what's basically one scene. You can see events on the horizon a while before they happen because there's such limited scope for the story in terms of sheer places to go, and if you're like me it gives you the oppurtunity to almost write the episode in your head. It certainly doesn't help that this is also a 'horror of the unknown' tribute story and they don't traditionally contain interesting dialogue. Comedies work best with bottlenecks - which is to say that they work at all. Horror premises like this tend to engender themselves to dialogue like "No, no, NOOOO!" and "That's IMPOSSIBLE!" which, un-coincidentally, is pretty much what we've been getting so far.

I'm also stunned that David Tennant hasn't used any of his psychic powers yet. I guess the Doctor's powers come and go depending on the demands of the plot, eh?

29:40 - "You called us 'humans' like you're not one of us!" Erm, yeah - Great and Bountiful Human Empire? Stow? Cassandra's 'mongrel breeds'? The Auronar? Gawd, get a sense of perspective.

This is actually a very good bit, though, and amazingly dark for an RTD script. I like the flip side because in films and most media the response to the "Could you really kill them?" question is almost always a "No" - but I have always thought that the average person is closer to being a killer than Hollywood thinks. After all, we are at the same time brought up on a lot of stories and ideals to whit the ancient and brutally simple philosophy of "Eye for an eye" rules supreme - to the point where survivors of the Bali Bombings, without any scence of irony, stated flatly that they believed the Al Jaziera agents brought in deserved to be burnt alive and our society actually debates whether torturing prisoners is right or wrong.

Actually, I've been unfair with that quote up there - it's part of the scene. They're seeing patterns that aren't there because the Doctor is their opposition and is saying things they don't want to hear. By discrediting him they eliminate him - so they're looking for reasons to do so. Unfortunately for the old Doc, there are a ton of small things which can be taken either way...

30:42 or something like that - You know, I liked the idea of a story in the far future where the Doctor uses the name "John Smith" for his alias as per use, and the response is "Really? My, how exotic..." without any hint of sarcasm.

It's probably already been done. By Terrance Dicks, knowing my track- record...

31:09 - "She's stopped!" Hey, I was only off by 9 minutes...

And that's good, too - that was getting pretty annoying.

31:41 - Hmm, so she keeps mimicking the Doctor... at the worst possible time. That's creepy, I'll give 'em that.

31:49 - Oh, yes, just what I wanted, more Empty Child discussion.

Put your frigging fingers on her temples and close your frigging eyes - it works on every bloody one else!

33:08 - Ah, so the speaking out of synch thing was deliberate, then. Winning me over gradually... you've only got ten minutes left, though, so this had better be pants-explodingly awesome if you want more than a 7, bucko...

33:19 - "She spoke before he did, definitely!"

... do you want some sort of cookie for that piece of detective work, mate?

33:53 - And this is some fucked up 'possessed' acting...

34:01 - DOES EVERYTHING IN THIS SCRIPT NEED TO BE EXPLAINED THREE TIMES????

35:41 - Oh, yeah, Jethro is the resident expert on weirdarse alien ghostology...

38:24 - The sight of polo-shirt man struggling in vain to lift David Tennant is unintentionally hilarious. He must weigh about the same as our shopping bags...

This is fairly creepy, btw.

40:10 - Who decided all scientists wear cardigans, anyway?

40:14 - An invisible man seems to have kicked polo-shirt guy in the balls. That makes me happy.

40:36 - Ooh, that was a nice dark bit - with the woman lying through her teeth by claiming after the fact that she know which body had the evil alien inside all along - and what makes it great is that the Doctor's look says everything in response... and then she looks ashamed of herself for saying it in the first place.

41:35 - And AGAIN - nobody is able to remember the name of the woman who saved them all. That's just brutal.

To remind everyone, RTD specifically said that this season wouldn't be dark. And the next story (Yeah, I jumped ahead and watched it, so what?) involves death camps.

42:43 - "No - don't do that..." This could well be overtaking "But that's IMPOSSIBLE!" and "I'm so sorry!" as Tennant's unofficial catchphrase...


So there you go. Interesting premise, a couple of good bits with good ideas... but boring. And somewhat predictable through the limitations of its form. And with BAD characterisation in the case of Hobbs. Why the hell isn't he shown to be so block-headedly fixed in his ways from his first second of screen-time if it's to become his one characteristic in the final 20 minutes? That said, RTD knows his stuff because the creepy repeating idea could only really work in a claustrophobic episode like this... but for me there wasn't enough done. The Doctor is testing Skye for most of the story... so why not try some actual tests? Try some of those languages said to be unpronouncable by the human tongue. Try saying something out of her line of sight. Try saying something really, really softly, too soft for anyone to hear. Try singing. Try sign language. Try quoting Glengarry Glen Ross for ten whole minutes. No. The Doctor's experiments run like this: "Okay, I'll say something and see if she says it... OMG she said it! Now I say something else..." and the results are, for me, boring once the creepiness is exhausted.

Far more flawed than it's reputation would have you believe, and sorely lacking in entertainment value. 6/10.

WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS THOUGHT...

Personification of Fandom Response: "That was a great episode - packed full of tension with some excellent acting by Tennant and Lesley Sharp (Sky), who had a really creepy face as something posssessed. Really well done. Loved seeing David Troughton too - gosh, at times he looked and sounded just like his old man, didn't he?

That was far, far more scary than Blink, IMO. I love psychological thrillers, and this is the most gritty episode I've seen in the new series. Excellent themes of paranoia, and how we act in the face of the unknown. Gotta love the Doc - even when being dragged to his death he still put up an unconscious battle (when his foot got caught in the seat I punched the air and yelled "come on!!"). And his look at Val at the end when she said something along the lines that she knew it was Sky all along was just priceless.

Didn't miss Donna, for this was very much a Doctor story. But I adored that way she just went up and hugged him when he got back after his adventure. Spoke volumes about their relationship.

Wow - I'm going to watch this again. 10/10. That's what Doctor Who should be like!"

Syndey Roosters' Supporter Response: "Also the "throw here out the airlock" being though up so early was a tad unbelieveable. I've been in trapped situtaions withg people doing strange things and you will try and calm someone down by reasoning, or worse a slap accross the face, before you start talking murder."

(NOTE: Please refer to South Sydney supporter's response for a more pro-cold blooded murder viewpoint.)

Paraphrased Lawrence Miles Response: "You filthy, scabrous bastards! No, not you, DW writers, I'll get to you slags later, I'm talking to fandom! You pricks! You've made the Tennant Doctor a fucking wuss because you cry every time his girly-friends kark it you WEAK, SPINELESS DOGS!!! NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN STOP MOFFAT NOW! David Tennant needs to go now!

The only possible reason you cunts could have objected to me saying that Gatiss is the new head of the Aryan union is because you would all gladly march into his dungeons and service him for a chance of writing for the show! PHILISTINES! NOBODY ever care about ratings prior to 2005 and THAT IS A FACT! Eight million people watch it, BECAUSE THEY'RE BRAINDEAD MORONS! And by the way, you are a complete arsehole, for various reasons, but mostly because when you talk about ratings you assume that the entire audience is braindead morons! EVERYONE HATES THIS SHOW, IT ISN'T JUST ME!

The sad thing is that this show will have to be completely destroyed. It can only go on if Keeley Hawes is the next Doctor.

And it's ALL YOUR FAULT!

I liked this episode, by the way."


Faction Paradox response: "Let's club together to hire Larry a hooker, shall we? ;-) "


Faction Paradox response to the actual episode: Yep. Can't quite square this with it being from the same pen as some of the real stinkers he's churned out - so what happened between Damaged Goods and this? Bizarre. Genuine surprises and weirdness in there too - the vocal echo thing, which was definitely a little more surprising than the usual "Wait! This Pizza delivery company is actually being run by MECHANOIDS!!!"


Spune's Post-Imagination-Enema Response: Do you think this plot would have been scarier if it was set in present day on an aeroplane? I was just wondering, simply, because I think it would really freak kids out - something they could relate to as being slightly weird anyway (air travel).

(Take a close look at the set. It LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE AN AIRPLANE ANYWAY!!!)


IMDBer Response: I mean quite literally the entire episode was "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! MAKE IT STOP! IT'S COPYING ME! STOP!" sandwiched between very thin moments of plot development. I wouldn't have minded this so much if either A) the plot was going to develop or B) the characters were going to develop but neither did. I sat through the entire thing waiting for the episode to begin as a result of this only to find it finally end without absolutely no resolution at all.

(That do anything for you? Because I had to trawl through thousands upon thousands of turn left squee threads to find it...)



Next Time: Fuck... as I've said I've already watched it, so... ah, well, I'll do it anyway..

A soldier making the necessary call to Torchwood's necrophilia branch... Billie Piper gives Catherine Tate a demonstration on 'proper' companion running... Bernard Cribbins expresses disbelief at some startlingly un-subtle CGI... a soldier with a clothed back fetish forcibly gets his fix from Donna... Rose adopts the Doctor's technique of completely incoherent babbling to paper over obtuse plot points... the Noble family are horrified by Mr Saxon's hard stance against viaducts... Donna gets lit up like a Christmas tree that's dressed like Silent Bob while Rose promises to kill her

Just when you think Big Finish can't surprise you...

They come out with something even crapper than you suspected possible.

Well... I don't know if I'd call Assassin in the Limelight the worst BF story ever made. Not because I expect it to become a glimmering pillar of brilliance in the remaining 3 episodes, but because the competition is seriously stiff. Maybe this should actually be taken as a compliment by BF (But, aha, I doubt it...) because they thus truly do embody the spirit of Doctor Who - that without any apparent recognition of the fact and within concurrent releases they can achieve incredible storytelling and new levels of tedious dross that reach depths Professor Stahlman would consider impossible.

But... Assassin in the Limelight could be the worst BF story ever made. Because it seems to do a fair representation of everything that is bad about them. I should have realised from the fact that it's about Abraham Lincoln's assassination but, naive as I was, I assumed that given their track record BF would actually brush up before doing this story. Now, let's go through the check list:

Staggeringly unconvincing foreign accents across entire guest cast? Check.
Historical story when we reeeally don't need another one? Check.
Time paradox plotline within the historical? Check.
Historical story bizarrely used as an excuse by writer for hideously hammy dialogue and broad brush-stroke characterisation? Check.
Console room scene that seems to have no effort imparted into it by anyone at all and adds nothing to the plot? Check.
Invented companion thoroughly past use-by date? Check.
Writing that is radically inferior to half the fanfics you've read? Check.

The impressive thing is that the story doesn't just settle for being utterly derivant and generic to be bad - oh, no, it is less than the sum of its parts. For it goes to new lengths to add new ways of being terrible. Despite having an unbelievably obvious set-up from, well, THE FIRST SCENE in which we are told that the Civil War has just ended, are introduced to John Wilkes Booth as a character and the Ford Theatre and Ulysses S. Grant are all namechecked, the audience is expected to be amazed by the following two revelations:

"I shall speak to the President about this - oh yes, to ABRAHAM LINCOLN HIMSELF!"*

That statement, apart from being an odd one to make to somebody who also knows the President, really beggared my imagination with regards to whom this was written. Surely somebody who doesn't know that Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War is so ignorant as to not get the relevance of this...erm... well, I guess I'll have to call it a 'revelation' but I am in serious wont of a more appropriate term.

The second revelation, when Evelyn reads the newspaper and sees that they're - get this - in Ford Theatre on the day that Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.

YAWN.

Oh, sorry, was I meant to be amazed? To think for a moment that this was a sympathetic story detailing John Wilkes Booth's theatre career prior to his short-lived career in latin-quoting gunmanship? I mean when the fuck else is the story going to be set? They should have got this over and done with by having The Doctor and Evelyn come out of the TARDIS and the Doctor crying "Oh no, Evelyn - we're in the Ford Theatre... and it's LINCOLN DAY!!!"

And here's a hint - when you can't make a story about a major historical event without having some twat show up who's clearly a time traveller in his first scene in an anachronistic disguise that anyone with half a brain could see through.. you should probably give up writing and move into elephant excrement removal. Hmm, "Oscar Wilde" - portrayed as a fifty year old dude who says nothing funny at all thirty years before anyone even knew who Wilde was. Yeah, I'm buying that.

And then to reveal that Wilde is DR ROBERT KNOX OF GLASGOW... who? Apparently he's an obscure historical figure involved in a controversy over the body-snatching that became a big industry in Glasgow. I've never heard of him before and I consider myself pretty au feit with general history, so I wonder how the people who didn't know who Lincoln was the script was catering for just a moment ago will cope - considering that we aren't even given that tiny piece of info I just wrote about him. I got that from Wiki.

But apparently Knox has appeared in another BF story. Ah, very newbie friendly. Don't bother explaining anything about what happened in that story, mates, I like being completely in the dark and having no reason to dislike a villain apart from the fact that he's crap.

Then just in time for the cliffhanger John Wilkes Booth drops dead. Notable is Evelyn's reaction, straight before the sting -

"But if Booth is dead - who's going to kill Lincoln?!?"

Dear oh dear oh me. Because obviously nobody would ever consider it a good thing that Lincoln could live one more night. No, let's hurry to find someone, ANYONE, who can shoot a gun to blow this slave-loving motherfucker's head off.

Be assured I shall listen to the remaining three parts out of a love of entertainment-related sadomasochism.


*It is a rule that The President is actually never to be capitalised. I know this because I read it in the book American Hoax by Charles Firth. I just wanted to say that I am aware of this sociopolitically exclusive grammatical convention, even though I ignore it all the time. The reasons are two-fold - firstly, it just looks wrong. We have Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers, Generals, Dukes, Lords, Chairmen, Pontiffs, Governors etcetera. They may have been bound up in a pursuit for equality in the 1770s that believed that leaving a capital letter of a job title was more important than, say, freeing slaves, but the world has [mostly] moved on from such misguided derangement. Secondly - it's an American thing. Americans can't even bring themselves to admit that they left an 'i' out of alluminium and will yell at people on forums that "It's spelt PAJAMAS!".

If there are any Americans reading this - what do you want? My oil, is that it? Haven't you got national landmarks to destroy in secret or something?


BELATED EDIT: Oh, it seems that the fellow who wrote this was Robert Ross, who is probably the same as the rather nice fellow who wrote those Goodies and Steptoe books. I feel a bit bad about pointing out how shit it is, now..

Friday, September 5, 2008

No More No More Lies

Now that Ewen has posted his mighty fine parody of No More Lies my own attempts at capturing the worthlessness of this particularly bad and dull naval-gazing BF release are not very relevant at all. But still, looking back I wrote an awful lot of it, so I thought this work might as well get an airing..



Normal Guys

Lucie has humiliated the Doctor for the eighth-straight time in an arm-wrestling competition, and, due to one of the more obscure tenants of Gallifreyan law, THE TARDIS IS NOW HERS! Lucie begins laughing manically and announces that, with the TARDIS only responding to her commands, she is now the Doctor, and the Doctor is but her companion! The Doctor points out that he doesn't actually have a name, so they could only be "The Doctor and The Doctor" or "The Doctor and ___ " if she followed through with that, which would make writing the rest of this synopsis a real bitch. Lucie reluctantly agrees that they'll keep their current nom-de-plumes for convenience sake, but makes it clear that the Doctor will now have no role in proceedings but to hand her marital aids and tell her how fantastic her arse looks.

Now with all of time and space at her command... Lucie has no idea where to go. She asks the Doctor for a suggestion, and he suggests the year 1997. Lucie laughs, and says she wants the exact OPPOSITE year - so they're going to 7991! The Doctor grins, saying that's exactly what he'd like, and Lucie fumes and decides to just land the fucking thing in the nebulous thousand-year gap known as "The UNIT period".

They emerge from the TARDIS into a space-station somehow formed entirely out of sub-grade Hungarian techno music, and Lucie exclaims, horrified, that they've entered the lair of Professor Zarquaard of Zylong-Zoorg! The Doctor is similarly horrified when he realises that their role reversal is so extreme that Lucie now has the entirety of his wealth of knowledge, and his mind is now filled with nothing but supposed remedies for crow's feet and urban legends about cheating the breathaliser. Realising how useful these could be the Doctor jots them down so that he won't forget them if he recovers his old mind, only to realise Lucie has gone running off like a cat on Ecstasy.

"Oh, great, now she's found my stash as well..."

Meanwhile DCI Duggan of the Bristol Motherfucking Police Force and Shaft Appreciation Society (which he is quick to point out refers to the blaxploitation TV series rather than the male sexual organs) parks his car in a glorious 720 degree handbrake turn at the latest crime scene. To his disgust, he finds the smouldering wreckage of a caravan and half a dozen dead junkies, whose corpses he kicks in rage. He tells his fellow coppers to 'shut it' before they've even started to open their mouths and screams his head off about the "NEW POISON IN MY CITY!!!" - specifically the new wave of Hungarian techno music. Abruptly he pulls out three magnums (Not a bad trick if you can do it) and says everybody else is off the case - these mofos are HIS! Soon after he says this he realises that he doesn't actually have any leads, but concedes that it doesn't matter that much considering his general 'investigation' style. He then gets back in his car and flattens an ice-cream stall as he thunders off at his cars minimum speed of 85mph.

"So... does that guy work here or something?" asks one of the several baffled policemen.

Lucie is now face to face with the devilish Professor Zarquaard himself, now resplendent in his trusty Z-suit he bought off the Zeta-Zroodqnorgs a zillion zeptlops ago. As Lucie kindly explains to the audience, if you've played Jedi Knight 2 it's basically exactly the same as the retarded robot suit that Galak wears at the end, except with sub-woofers in place of guns. She then demands that Zarquaard unconditionally surrender and tell her how hot her arse is looking right now in those jeans. Zarquaard is unimpressed with the demand, but does concede that, in all likelihood, he would.

At that moment, however, the Doctor shows up! Lucie calls out for the incompetent fool to stay back, the Doctor runs into the fray in a particularly witless and girlish moment of thoughtlessness, leaving Zarquaard the perfect oppurtunity to unleash his mean beats, which resonate at just the perfect frequency within his body to sprain his ankle. He then loses consciousness when Lucie smacks him as if she were Benny Hill and he a bald guy. By the time her ministrations are over, Zarquaard is trundling away at a fairly unimpressive speed, looking for his escape pod. Lucie slings the Doctor over her shoulder, and starts off after him - but due to her drug addled state is soon ensnared in Zarquaard's deadliest of traps - a 3D-eye poster!

Elsewhere in the station, reality is momentarily torn apart, and from the darkness outisde comes... a Trudmukka! One of the all-too-many alien races patrolling the Time Vortex, and he has to fight off a shitload of Reapers, Chronovores, Pterodactyl-things, and distant abuse yelled by the drunk and bitter Abbadon to get out of there in one piece. Once on the otherside he does his best to staple the tear in the continuum shut, but it soon becomes apparent that somebody is majorly messing around with time.

Elsewhere again in the station the mysteriously inept Leadbeater arrives, and announces that, in case you missed the last episode, THIS is the time she will capture Lucie! All that she has to do to capture her Northern nemesis, is run up 300 flights of stairs in the next five minutes. A couple of seconds thought suggests that maybe she didn't really land in the best spot in the station, but she's committed herself now, and sets off on her mission. She then trips and falls down 20 flights.

Duggan, meanwhile has arrived at a mansion where the swankiest members of Bristol High Society (ie, pimps) are gathered to celebrate the birthday of Anita Zarkesh, a sixty-something Hungarian migrant and wool exporter who triumphed against all the odds, and is now having a highly refined and thoroughly upper-class dinner party where everyone is being terribly nice and British to one another. This sickens Duggan, and in response he drinks all the booze, shoots out the chandelier, and urinates on every second setee in the house, before reversing his car through their gazebo and speeding off into the night, drag-racing his mate Gene Hunt as he does so.

After a moment's unusually clear thought, Duggan realises that he forgot to actually ask whether they knew anything about the spate of Hungarian-music related deaths, but shrugs this off by deciding that a curry house will probably be the logical place to begin his investigation. And then he crashes into a bus station.

Elsewhere in Bristol Zarquaard beams into his tiny bed-sit that he shares with a bespectacled Colchester school teacher and announces that through his advanced manipulation of inferior Eastern European disco beats he has caused a nexal null-point in time, centered around the one creature that is most vital to his own existence - HIMSELF! The Teacher sniffs, drinks some port, and comments that the secret of immortality is vulgar and that he would have used the power to preserve instead his own true love.

Zarquaard points out that this would mean that he would become an old, wrinkly bastard while his true love would remain at the age of fourteen forever, and might be drawn to actually meet and go out with other people over eternity. Especially considering that Zarquaard hasn't even met Dakota Fanning yet. The teacher rolls his eyes and tells Zarquaard that it is completely wrong in every way to believe Dakota is his true love - because he's gay! All the hormones informing him of his supposed heterosexuality are merely a 'vocal minority' a very common phsyiological phenomenon, that he believes affects 95% of males throughout the world, and one he is strongly trying to address. The two then fall into what seems to be a routine argument, over whether it is worse to be a genocidally maniacal kiddy-stalker or a demented Gay-Supremist male-model-stalker, fall out with one another, threaten to move out, before sheepishly admitting that literally no-one else in the entire Universe will put up with either one of them and sitting down to watch Corrie.

Meanwhile, the Trudmukka is tearing Zarquaard's techno station apart angrily, looking for the nexus of the time storm that is going to let all of his arsehole family into this Universe, where no doubt they'll go on about all the money he owes them. During this rampage he stumbles across Lucie and the Doctor, and demands they tell him where the thing he needs to destroy is. Lucie shrugs and says that it's pretty much always on Earth. Which is fairly interesting considering that Earth is supposedly the planet that the Time Lords have banned her from travelling to...

Trudmukka is gone by this stage, leaving Lucie to stare at the 3D-eye poster in mild irritation, storming off to find an escape pod of his own and then... well, he's just ad-libbing here, but he's essentially going to tear some shit up. He gets so psyched that on his way to the pods he shoulder charges some insane, bedraggled woman in a bus-conductor's outfit down a massive flight of stairs, and misses her anguished cry of "Not again!"

The Doctor is fed up with his new role as an undistinguished and disposable piece of totty to shadow Lucie, and has broken away from her in-depth analysis of computer-generated art for stoners into the stations control room. He's now really sick of that techno music, and so uses his technical expertise to safely shut down the systems...

Lucie swears her head off when she realises that the Doctor has pressed the self-destruct!!! She drags him by the ear back to the TARDIS at a very quick run, as the station spectacularly explodes around them, yelling abuse at the bumbling fool. The Doctor moans, realising that his loss of power is now utterly complete. As the TARDIS flies off, the hole of space-time that Zarquaard's station occupied opens even further, allowing the TIME-EATING PTERODACTYLS into the word! An interidmensional being can be heard yelling "For fuck's sake!" in the extreme distance.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS Lucie darkly mutters that she hasn't come across any such destructive form of music since her encounter with Tom Petty. The Doctor corrects her, saying that that was actually him, that Tom Petty was sort of on their side, and it only happened two weeks ago so the whole statement is actually singularly unimpressive. It's like saying "I haven't eaten baked beans on toast since last week" and clearly shows that she's really still an amateur at this kind of thing. Unfortunately, when it comes to a "dead Northern bollocksing" the same cannot be said.



What happened to resolve this narrative confusion? I have no idea, I never finished it. And... no I don't think Sparacus really had any importance to the plot at all..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Month Post

A pop quiz - a strange, unmarked van pulls into your driveway unnerringly silently. You only realise that it's there when your guard dogs go crazy. Looking at it, you see that the driver disturbingly resembles Brendan Nelson with his hair unconvincingly dyed blond, dressed in a flanellette shirt and shorts. He yells at you "Hey, mat`, y'wanna buy ee generator?"


Do you:

a) Tell him to fuck off and throw a brick at his windscreen
b) Barricade yourself indoors and call the police
c) Humour him, waiting for somebody inside to call the police.
d) Leave him to look after your dogs for a minute while you go and get the household manager to inform him of the great deals at hand.


So... who chose 'd'?



Anybody?



Well, I guess we do do things differently in the country.



*


I had a birthday recently - this has, as you would have guessed, increased my Doctor Who collection considerably with my finally receiving the Key to Time boxset (w00t, one of my top ten on DVD!) - as for the rest of the gifts: an electric blanket, a Mythbusters book, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and a new computer... or rather, an old computer, on which I'll be able to run all the awesome games of yesteryear that XP has destroyed in their unemulated splendour.

Slaughterhouse 5 is a celebrated classic of modern literature, so naturally I feel the need to review it...

*Ahem*

What the fuck, man? This could be re-titled Kurt Vonnegut lists shit things that happened to him in WWII with some aliens thrown in for unclear reasons and I would admire it's honesty. There's no attempt at a narrative at all. It's like some guy had a taperecorder and just transcribed weird things Vonnegut said at a dinner party into a book. Every chunk of prose lasts about two-and-a-half paragraphs before there's a heap of white space.

Man, before Douglas Adams was writing really was the best time to be a poor man's Douglas Adams, huh? Now nobody can get away with it. But this guy's fucking American royalty and poet laureate...


*


You know what song I've got stuck in my head? You don't want to know. It kicked I Fell in Love With a Starship Trooper out, that's how strong it is. No. Don't mess around with me. You don't want to know. It's an insanely aggressive techno rap song.

Okay, okay, if you're that morbidly curious... get on YouTube and look for "MC Frontalot it is pitch dark".

But... well, don't say I didn't warn you..


*

Oh, yeah, the funny thing about the blond Brendan Nelson Irishman offering us a generator... no, not the fact that we actually bought one, nor the fact that the entire incident (along with recording it right now) is giving me bucketloads of deja vu (Surely I would have remembered that happening before??) but... this morning the guy's dad pulled up, in another truck.

Selling generators and leather lounges. What a wonderful and convenient combination. With three colours to choose from, apparently. I thought they would just have come in leather colour.


*

Record for sleeping anybody? I slept half an hour shy of 12 hours the other day. Or, I guess, the night directly before the day. I seem to get a bit of sleep deprivation usually because I tend to stay up late and rise early-ish (I'm halfway there, Benji F!) and had had three weekends of staying up very late in a row.

The day before my marathon sleep I yawned a lot in the morning as usual. But I found I still couldn't stop an hour later. Which was a problem because I was going to my work placement for the day. On the day that my TAFE teacher was coming to see my performance.

I managed to get through the morning driven by the zombie-attack style adrenaline of having to deal with the general public when standing behind a counter (equivalent to painting a bulls-eye on your forehead) but this began to wane. I was expecting my teacher sometime in the arvo, so at one I got to work on my 'project' - my old friends, the lists of objects that are meant to be on the shelves but aren't that I am meant to find. The problem with this being that if they're meant to be on the shleves but aren't then there isn't really anything for me to find but we deal with that when I come back with an empty trolley looking like a tit.

Anyway, at 2 I hear the good news - my teacher's "on her way". By now I had worked through 2 reports. Time for a third. I didn't know when that message came through so I had to keep working for when she showed up. By rather an odd coincidence earlier that day I had had a discussion about the major OHS issue of libraries - that nobody should be given repetitive tasks without a break and that shelf-reading and shelving are the worst of such tasks. I remembered this as I delved back in, but shrugged it off.

By 3 I had worked my way through the report of missing 'Romance fiction' books (my absolute favourite area of the library said in a sarcastic tone of voice) and probably recovered an amazing fifteen books of those missing. My manager wasn't too pleased with the results and sent me back a second time, from whence I returned and informed him that having performed the rare and unusual hextuple-check I could confirm that The Greek Tycoon's Virgin Wife Revenge in Paradise was nowhere to be fucking seen.

I was then given another report... the biggest one yet. The science-fiction section. The list of books missing seemed to be twice the number on the shelf. When I began looking I became aware that I had a crippling headache and my eyes seemed to be in the middle of strike talks with my nervous system. I couldn't read anything without hurting . My body was just waving a white flag.

I worked until a quarter-to-four. All I had to show for my efforts was the entire first page of 60+ books had been painstakingly checked... and I had only found one, lousy, book. Oh, and nearly collapsed. But I simply couldn't work anymore.

I don't actually have to mention that, as I walked back to the counter, my teacher then showed up, surely? Surely that is completely obvious at that point?

I managed to talk my way through that whilst barely alive and stumble out the doors, get into my brother's car, and get driven home. I have no idea what exactly filled the intervening three-and-a-half hours aside from dinner. I just remember that, when I went to bed, I was unable to walk without being supported by a load-bearing wall, was practically blind, and only just had the energy to adjust the bed covers.

And then I slept for nearly 12 hours. As a certain bit character in Slaughterhouse 5 would say "You think that's bad? That ain't bad!" and so it goes. And it's true that, in the great scheme of things it's all pretty irrelevant. All I'm saying is - never again. Get plenty of sleep kids! It's like a big yellow taxi - you don't know what you've got till it's gone.