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.

2 comments:

Youth of Australia said...

Good review. I'd go into more detail but it would turn into a litany of "Dumbo, weren't you paying attention? That BFG Jack has with him is the defabricator gun from Parting of the Ways. The one which only worked once. And even if it's charged up again after 180 years or whatever, would still be completely useless after shooting that Dalek. Which is why Jack uses his mighty flintlock in the next episode. Oh God this depresses me."

So, yeah. You ruined my blind love for this episode, you asshole! I was just sitting there in mindless "wow... Daleks..." and thought the harshest criticism I could do was mock it by having the Trods nuke Earth in thirteen seconds flat and now...

ahh...

...everything seems pointless. Why couldn't you have torn up S5 of PMG instead?

*sobs into keyboard until minor electrocution occurs*

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

So, yeah. You ruined my blind love for this episode, you asshole! I was just sitting there in mindless "wow... Daleks..."

I guess that would be the advantage of actually liking the Daleks.

...everything seems pointless. Why couldn't you have torn up S5 of PMG instead?

*sobs into keyboard until minor electrocution occurs*


Yeah, I'll have to get back into the PMG stuff. The trouble is that Season 5, which apparently isn't actually a season, kicks off with an awesome Joe Lidster script. Which I found it quite hard to write a review of due to it's sheer goodness. By the time I'd finished I could barely remember listening to any of the others. So I'll have to listen to a few of them again before I feel able to review them...

I'll get onto it, though. I wasn't planning on putting much effort into my JE review..