New Who Review

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5x06-The Vampires of Venice-5 TARDISes

 Story:  Vampires are in Venice-or are they?  The Doctor, Amy, and Rory find out.

This is your typical Dr Who story, like many before it.  Some aliens are itchin' to own some real estate on our planet, and to hell with the hairless apes who live there.  In walks the Doctor, he meddles, he finds stuff out, figures out what is going on, and then defeats the aliens. But this one is different, and I give it 5 TARDISes

For one thing,  it's funny and fun.  The Doctor's and Amy's acting in this one was superb and the dialogue was just fun.  The Doctor and Amy jumping up and down in glee as they speak at the same time about seeing vampires, Rory fighting one with a broom, and the Doctor's reaction to the Brides "This is Christmas!" while not laugh out loud moments, got a few laughs from me.  "Stop talking, brain thinking, hush!"

Along with this, the sub-plot really gives the episode 5 TARDISes.  The interaction between Rory and the Doctor were excellent, and really developed Rory's character from the doofus in the first episode to a brave, insightful man who might actually be good enough for "our Amy."  Rory's dialogue on why the Doctor was dangerous was a great moment.  It was two stories in one-Rory's acceptance of what the Doctor does, and his understanding of why he and Amy do it, and the Save the World from the Aliens story.  Bravo.

There were some subtle moments too.  When the flower girl was attacked and screamed, Rory hesitated while Amy just started running, with Rory starting to understand what is happening to Amy. Near the end the Doctor orders Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS.  On the way they meet a Vampire (alien) that Rory fends off while Amy finds a way to destroy it.  After the destruction and a really good kiss, Amy realizes that the Doctor thought something like that would happen and that Rory had changed, which is probably why he sent them to the TARDIS in the first place.  Amy gets this and they go back to the doctor.

I did notice a bit of time-saving on this episode.  I had to google to find Isabella's father's name.  There was no "Hello, I'm the Doctor" moment.  And there was no reaction from the crowd when the TARDIS materialized and two strangely dressed men and a scandalously dressed woman appeared.  In the older episodes, before its revival, Dr Who had 2 hours per story to do all that kind of stuff.   The audience knows that stuff by heart, and the newer viewers should be inured to that too.  In any case, I like this change and very much hope this level of intelligent storytelling is carried on.

One and really only one peeve:  the perception filter.  I guess I am going to have to accept as the new technobabble.  But blah.

Next Time:  Amy's Choice

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5x05-Flesh and Stone-3 out of 5


Story:  In the second part of this two-part episode, the Doctor must defeat the Weeping Angels and find out why Amy Pond is so important to the history of the universe.

I wanted to give this episode 4 out of 5 but while it was a good episode, it did not have the real impact of "The Beast Below" but the excellent acting of all the cast, especially Iain Glen (a Shakespearean actor) made up for it. 

The story itself though...when you bring back a monster to a series, changing the main narrative of said monster changes things.  I watched this episode, and every time the monsters did something they didn't do before I said "but..."  The Daleks in "Victory of the Daleks" acting like servants was very out of character, but in the end they were just acting.  This story took all the original attributes of the angels and changed them so that they became a different creature.  Lesson:  don't change the tangible, change the intangible.  Don't change the angel's attributes: change their motivations, show their personality.  But if you can't do the story with that monster because of its main attributes, use a different monster. Make up a different monster.  The Doctor should have the cred to make the new monster scary just on his word.

I have read a few reviews that really panned Amy trying to seduce the Doctor, feeling that it was too early for this to be happening.  I disagree and feel that these reviewers had forgotten a few things. First,  Amy is not the most emotionally stable person.  She had gone to see four psychologists. She definitely has abandonment issues.  When the Doctor left her all alone in the ship, she had been abandoned again.  She was in a situation where she could have died.  That gives a boost to the libido.  After all of that, she probably didn't want to be abandoned again.  She worked for Kiss-O-Gram.  Then there is her insistence that the Doctor was just like everyone else.  Putting all these together, it seems reasonable to assume she would use sex to keep someone as special as "The Raggedy Doctor" from leaving again.

So the story arc unfolds and we find the original event that spawns all the cracks happens on June 26, 2010, which happens to be Amy's wedding day. River Song mentions the Pandorica since she has lived through it and hints that the man she killed was the doctor.  This was hinted at so hard by her and the Bishop that I think it really isn't the Doctor she kills.

By the way, this will make the third story where a wedding is very involved in the story, after "Father's Day" and "Runaway Bride."

Next Time:  "Vampires of Venice"

Monday, May 10, 2010

2 Things

1.  I have changed the way I review.  No more lists!
2.  I do not watch the "Confidentials" before I write these reviews.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

5x04-Time of the Angels

Story:  The Doctor rescues River Song, who is working with the Church to retrieve one of the Weeping Angels.

This is part one of a two part series.  Crafting a message to the Doctor, River Song (who is not yet a Dr.) manages to get herself rescued after jumping out of an airlock on the starship Byzantium.  In the TARDIS she takes control and flies it after the Byzantium, which crashes on the planet Alpha Metraxis (spelling).  When they land, River Song tells the Doctor that what the ship was carrying was a Weeping Angel, one of the most dangerous life forms in the universe.  Along with some members of the Church who are dressed in combat gear (the Church has moved on) they attempt to find and capture the Angel.  Amy sees a video of an Angel, and nearly becomes one herself. The ship has crashed into a temple, and the group must walk through a "Maze O' Death" to get to it.  On the way up, the statues which inhabit the maze turn out to be starving angels themselves, and the radiation from the starship's engines is bringing them back to life.  They surround the group, the doctor has an idea, aaaand cliffhanger...

Things I liked:

  • River Song, of course.  She has style.
  • The Weeping Angel.  Scary scary...
  • "Are you all Mr. Grumpy Face today?" "It's not supposed to make that leave the brakes on"
  • The Church has moved on.  It felt Warhammer 40k ish.  I'm sure that there are some WH40k players on the crew.  "For the Emperor!"
  • The Doctor getting his comeuppance from the Bishop. 
  • The crack didn't show up.
Things I didn't like:
  • I thought the gear the Church had was too 21st century, not enough 55th.  Budgets, budgets...
  • "Perception filter"  
  • Not buying Matt Smith as the Doctor yet.  I will give it some time.
  • The crack shows up in the next episode.
Other thoughts:
  • Not much. I liked this episode, and look forward to the conclusion. 

            Thursday, April 29, 2010


            Congratulations to Stephen Moffat for engaging all us Whovians with your crack.  The "Crack" crack.  Surfed a bit and found a lot of speculation on what Crack means, that Prisoner Zero prophecy, etc.  Davies' foreshadowing was too subtle, or else his ideas for season closers hadn't gelled yet.  But Moffat shoves it at you and gets you thinking, and before you know it, you are running frame by frame, watching episodes a couple of times to see anything you missed, and arguing with fellow geeks in the forums. 
  's addictive. 

            Wednesday, April 28, 2010

            5x03-Victory of the Daleks

            Story: The Doctor and Amy find that Winston Churchill has a new ally in his war against the Germans-the Daleks.

            When I saw the trailer for this episode, I couldn't wait to see it.  It had Winston Churchill, Daleks, RAF fighters attacking a Dalek saucer, and new Daleks.  What more do you need?  Evidently, a good consistent story.  The Daleks "robotize" a scientist and give him access to new technology to help with the war effort.  He takes his ideas and a few Daleks with him and Churchill decides to use him.  It turns out that this is all a Dalek trick to bait the Doctor into coming and identifying the Daleks present as Daleks.  This gives the Daleks the ability to activate the Progenitor, a device to create "Pure Daleks."   Of course, once the Pure Daleks arrive, they destroy the impure ones.  The new Daleks decide to leave, but not before they program a device hidden in the scientist to explode, destroying the earth.  The Doctor and Amy convince the scientist that he is human, thus stopping the bomb from exploding.

            Things I liked:
            • The aforementioned Winston Churchill, Daleks old and new, and the RAF fighters attacking the saucer, and of course the Doctor and Amy.
            Things I didn't like:
            • Winston Churchill-on a scale of 1-10, 1 being total stereotypical two-dimension characterization, and 10-living breathing Churchill, I give this one a 1.5.  Not the actor's fault, I blame the writers, the director and the producers.
            • The Pure Daleks-they look like old-timey toys, smooth with no detailing, like a cheap resin model of a real Dalek.  It looks like Health and Safety got in there and told them the original was too small for an occupant and made them make more room.  And the friend said they looked like skittles.
            • The story really stunk.  It looked as though the old Daleks were on their last etheric beam emitters, and their ship was in really bad shape.  But they had this really powerful "oblivion continuum" energy device they could use as a bomb.  But if they had this in the first place, wouldn't they have just used the device as a bomb and baited the Doctor with it?  Get him there, blackmail him into identifying them, make new Daleks, then destroy the earth anyway (they are Daleks after all).  All this episode intended to do was to let the audience know that the Daleks were back.
            • The first season episode "Dalek" which was brilliant featured the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) meeting his old enemy again.  The range of emotions that Chris went through, and the care of the writers and director to make the audience question the Doctor's goodness was intense.  This time, it looked cartoonish, with no depth at all.  I think this one really needed more work.
            • Not much action from Amy.  She did find the right things to say to the scientist to keep the bomb from exploding, but all in all, she was just kinda there.
            • The almighty crack foreshadow...again.
            • The way to deactivate the bomb was to convince the scientist that although he was a robot with the consciousness of a human, he was more human than robot.  This would deactivate the bomb? Really?
            Other thoughts:
            • Again with the crack appearing after Amy shows up.  Captain Obvious is still in the building running the show.
            Next Time:  5x04-The Time of Angels.

            Tuesday, April 27, 2010

            Just some thoughts

            In the first episode, Amelia Pond had a crack in her wall.  This was a crack in reality, allowing Prisoner Zero to escape.  The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to open the crack wide, which would allow it to be closed again.  The crack opened and closed...supposedly  End of story.

            So when the Doctor came back for Amy years later inviting her to join him, we see something that appears to be the crack showing up on the TARDIS' scanner.  This is at a point in the dialogue where the Doctor is saying that the only reason that he wants Amy along is because he is lonely.  Then he shuts the scanner off.  He didn't want Amy to see it. Was he lying about his reason?

            So perhaps Amy seems to have something to do with the crack(s).

            From the first season on, we get to see a little of the companion's life, family members, and jobs.  Not so with Amy Pond.  We get a missing aunt, her house which seems to have been neglected over the years, and a man she was going to marry who may or may not be that orderly from the hospital.  We do get to see what her job is though:  she works for Kiss-O-Gram.  Perhaps Moffat is going against the usual narrative.

            I don't think so.  I think that the TARDIS was drawn to the crack and the Doctor knows more than he is telling.

            And Amy Pond is smack dab in the middle of it.

            "The Beast Below" aired on BBCA Saturday.  Note that in the first beauty shot of Starship UK, there was no crack.  In the last beauty shot at the end of the episode it's there.

            "The universe is cracked.  The Pandorical will open.  Silence will fall."


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