Back to regular business now... given that I wrote the following a week ago, before I even started my Ood review.
0:10 - Okay, kids in orange hoodies dragging a woman out of a building at night. If that isn't a Spara-tastic beginning to a story I don't know what is...
0:17 - "Get your hand off me!" ...there's only one hand? So the other guy's an amputee with a hook or something?
0:38 - "I'm telling you, Atmos is dangerous!" ... yes, these students who have bodily thrown you out and trashed your work are clearly in a receptive, reasonable mood to listen to an argument.
Or, to put that in Gary Russell speak "Oh, by all means let's have a debate!" (aka Dialogue #4566 - For three years this line of dialogue was one of half a dozen that needed to be present in every single Big Finish script, along with "Doctor, what is it?", "We can't talk now, it's coming right for us!", "Just shut up!", "You think you're so clever, Doctor...", and "As you can see, I'm pointing a gun at your head right now" and variations thereof)
0:53 - Aaaand she has a model of the incredibly dangerous SatNav device she is investigating (presumably for killing people) installed in her own car. Is there any redshirt redder than this bitch, I mean come on. She is criminally stupid. Am I meant to see her as a character? She's like the scientists from the start of Rise of the Cybermen and Boom Town! (Yes, that's the correct spelling and punctuation of that title. Everyone likes to ignore it, but that's how it's written..) whom you INSTANTLY recognise as a piece of narrative cattle about to be slaughtered. It's cliche like this that Doctor Who really should move away from. I keep hearing it's the best written show on TV. I'd like to see a little more evidence.
What, am I getting too negative? Sorry...
1:05 - I am always amazed by the New Series capacity to directly recreate what was derided about the original series. In this case... "UNIT Headquarters" being a recognised destination for a SatNav program. Hmm. Did they just give up with the whole 'secret organisation' thing sometime in the 80s?
1:11 - "Clever by the sound of it..." The sound of WHAT? She hasn't said or done ANYTHING clever. Quite the opposite as I was pointing out. Jesus Christ it's going to take me all night to watch this episode at this rate. Give me a little less to nitpick!
2:18 - Ooookay I'm going to pre-empt this... any minute now it'll be revealed that the evil SatNav program can control the central locking, so she can't get out of the car. That's fair enough. Implausible but not impossible. While she's panicking that she's unable to get out, the car starts accelerating itself into the water. Which, of course, would be a massive load of crap because the workings of the engine are, and always have been, entirely mechanical. You'd need to install some electric power device to exert pressure onto the accelerator to achieve that. And I think people making SatNav devices would be quite curious about why it should be hooked up to the car's engine in so creepy a way.
2:41 - OMG! HER CAR DROVE ITSELF INTO THE WATER!
I have to question the wisdom of this entire plotline. It's obviously meant to feel relevant because of the whole 'people driving themselves into lakes because their SatNav tells them to' meme in the news recently but... come on. It's a bit of a stretch isn't it? To take that particular avenue of gross human stupidity and somehow make aliens responsible for it. Not only aliens but The Sontarans for Christ's sake, almost certainly the series' least subtle aliens ever.
I also need to agree with Lawrence Miles' assessment of the danger posed by aliens hi-jacking SatNav being too 'middle class'. Indeed it is. I don't know anybody with a SatNav at all. How many people DO have them? Would I give a toss if aliens did hi-jack them? Not really. I'd find it remotely interesting to read in a paper as if, say, the world's bees had vanished, but no more than that.
2:45 - Hmm, Donna admiring the somewhat phallic pneumatic exertions of the central column. That's more like it.
2:48 - Ooh, first companion to fly the TARDIS since Tegan! Neat... also one of probably a few too many parallels with Tegan.
3:01 - "Bit too close to the 1980s!" "What am I gonna do, put a dent in 'em?" "Well, someone did..."
Good line aside, the somebody you've been trying to hunt down is Alex Drake.
Wait... hold up... is it just me or is that a veiled jibe at Michael Grade/cancellation? Ha, I feel proud of my reference spotting skills now.
3:26 - Not sure if I made this clear enough, but shots done specifically for the trailer and no other reason really are pissing me off. And this is probably the worst offender. Who strikes a dramatic pose and stares into the skyline majestically when making a phonecall, for fuck's sake? And the melodrama - "Doctor, this is Martha... and I'm bringing you back to Earth!" Don't make me sick.
Why's she so sure that he'll come? And why does she sound so confident? After the horrific awkwardness of their parting you think there'd be some degree of reticence and embarassedness on the part of both parties. I mean, how does she know that the Doctor will pick up the phone in the first place? And then there's the matter of knowing that he won't have forgotten here. Yeah, sure, it's all relative time - we know that because we're fans. But she isn't! How does she know she won't be reaching the 11th Doctor (played by Jared Hansen) who has a distracted nature and terrible memory?
3:48 - A'ight, I see now why some of my homies in tha crib were dissin' the "AND FREEMA AGYEMAN" title card... it looks terrible. They've somehow made it even bigger than it needed to be. It takes up the whole fucking screen.
Come to think of it, where the hell were the "AND NOEL CLARKE" and "AND BRUNO LANGLEY" title cards? Surely they're at least as 'big' a name as international superstar Freema Agyeman? Well, okay, not literally...
4:35 - "HAHA! I can tell from the way you said my name that you haven't changed a bit from the horrendous war crimes you endured directly before we said goodbye!"
4:43 - Oh. Fuck. Hostile glance between Martha and Donna. Please let this episode have not been under Gary Russell's shift...
4:48 - "Now, don't start fighting!" Phew. The Doctor clearly has equally fond memories of The Next Life. All we need is Paul Darrow standing between them with his eyes gouged out and I'll be having `Nam style flashbacks..
4:52 - HOLY SHIT THEY'RE SPECIFICALLY NOT FIGHTING! Oh... you have no idea how relieved I am. That's at least ten minutes more we can spend on Sontarans now that that bullshit is out of the way.
5:08 - "She's engaged, you prawn!" Lolz to the max, and pleased to note that once again the Doctor's blindspot for small, everyday details is established
5:18 - Wow. Even Martha can see that she's actively projecting to create the safety-cushion illusion that she's going to marry The Doctor. That's nearly as disturbing as the amount of stalking that doubtless went into her sustaining a relationship with Tom Milligan. And the fact that she'd have had to do it whilst juggling a job in UNIT. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at work? Or something much, much worse? Let's wait and see..
5:30 - I swear it sounded like that radio said "Doctor Who, report to base". WOTAN in charge of UNIT?
5:44 - Erm... yeah. Weirdest music for UNIT since the paino-flute jamming session overdubbing the ruthless, blood-spattery warehouse gun/fist-fight in Ambassadors of Death. Murray Gold seems to be remixing Martha and Donna's themes together, with more rhythm guitar. And it's rubbish.
.. I should probably put in some effort to point out when Murray does a really good job. But the truth is I seldom notice him unless it's guff like this.
6:03 - "LAY DOWN YOUR TOOLS AND SURRENDER!" ... you can't really 'surrender' unless you're a combatant in the first place...
Besides, you're leaving yourself wide-open for an action film comeback there - "There's only one tool I'm going to be laying down here!" That's what you say directly before pulling out the Uzi.
6:07 - OMG! Martha said "Greyhound to Trap One!" Squee!
6:29 - Oh, for FUCK'S sake! The Doctor doesn't even have a comeback to that whole "Is that what you do - turn them into soldiers?" bollocks? I would have accepted "No" for crying out loud - it's to the point and honest, after all. And how does Donna know that Martha wasn't a soldier in the first place. God, everyone's so presumtpious in this one. I'm compelled to BEAT THEM TO DEATH!
6:36 - They've moved to their 'penultimate stage'? Jesus Christ that's terrible English fullstop. And those fingers look so fake. *Sigh* This story is such a rollercoaster of elation and disappointment...
7:06 - OOOOH! Office in a lorry how AWESOME is that! And nice Invasion throwback (Yes, even though I hate Invasion)
See, this is what I meant by that 'rollercoaster' line just then.
7:20 - "I read all the files on you, technically you're still on staff..." So somebody FINALLY got their act together and put the Doctor on the books after that Battlefield debacle, eh? Good to know. I mean, somebody would have to have pointed out that needing one doddering old retired officer to show up to vouch for him was a pretty impractical system. And, say, put on record that he changes appearance so he doesn't need a pass and whatnot....
And as I said last week he's the cook from Hornblower and The Examination For Lieutenant. I find that kinda neat.
7:27 - "Yeah long time ago, back in the 70s" EIGHTIES YOU PRICK! Oh, wait he does the same joke I did in Attack..
7:49 - "It's like Guantanamo Bay out there!" ...erm, no you're thinking of that one really good episode of Torchwood. So far some people have been arrested peaceably in a similar manner as would have been done by the police. No waterboard torture, solitary confinement, electrode torture, salivating dogs, or unusual geo-political context to allow blatant Geneva violations via loopholes. In fact, it's say it's compeletely UNlike Guantanamo Bay. And I'm pretty left wing.
8:00 - He actually saluted her... the question is, is Mace a pussy, or just diplomatic? Let's find out!
8:19 - Okay, I'm guessing that the Sontarans are deliberately trying to lure UNIT into a trap, because the plan already seems poorly thought out - simultaneous strikes can only possibly draw attention.
8:30 - ...was there a script re-write? Poison now. Poison would actually make far more sense than driving the car into a lake, I have to say, so it's a welcome change, but still a little jarring. Incidentally, isn't it a massive coincidence that all of the 52 people were in their cars at the time? Especially the people hit at 5 and 6 am... do Atmos cater especially for nocturnals?
8:41 - ... okay, firstly "ATMOS" doesn't stand for "Atmospher Emission system" because even though it is written as an acronym it contains no initials directly connected to unconcatenated words. It's short for whateveritwascalled.
Second... it reduces carbon emissions to zero AND gives you SatNav? I am hoping this plot will begin to make sense sometime soon..
9:56 - "If you could control them you'd have 800 million weapons" ...except SatNav can't control a car it's... fuck it, I'm going to bed. I'll write the rest of this up when I've got a clearer head.
ONE CLEAR HEAD LATER...
10:06 - "We should go back... there's nothing much down here" I smell a redshirt!
Seriously, though, how shit was that line about cars being weapons? Give me a fucking break...
10:33 - Yeah, I'd like to think that after 30+ years of this shit UNIT would train their troops to recognise unbelievably obvious hypnosis.
And cars as weapons? What, are we talking The Cars That Ate Paris done globally?
10:44 - "And like a good warrior I will enter the fray myself"... I don't know, something about this dialogue isn't entirely ringing true to me...
10:59 - ..even assuming that two people could be retarded enough not to realise that the unblinking dudes in matching jumpsuits are hypnotised, to then unquestioningly enter a dark, mysterious door that they have unlocked and strangely NOT take them prisoner as has been done to every single other worker in the factory...
And cars as weapons?
11:23 - I don't think the pod really deserved such a big "What the hell?" reaction. Yeah, it's kinda out of place but let's not go overboard.
Hmm, should I use my highly advanced laser weaponry that can dissolve metal in seconds or should I go with a fucking car. Yeah, I think I'll go CAR.
11:39 - "It's like something BOILING inside!" ... or cryogenics. Jesus Christ when did all UNIT become so stupid? And I've seen Robot!
You know what I love? Weaponry that needs highly expensive fossil fuels, optimum mechanic maintenance at all times, a smooth surface on which to function, and constant re-fuelling. Whoo-yeah. Best idea ever.
11:47 - UNIT promote whoever opens a box the fastest? Don't believe the hype. Standards have slipped.
If only I had a car. Then I could be as powerful as A LARGE OCEAN!
13:05 - ...acid-bathing mermen? This plan is getting waaay too complicated for Sontarans. This is reaching Troughton-era Cybermen territory...
13:20 - "Oi fink it's ARMLESS!" Yeah, well, you've proven to be an excellent pillar of judgement so far, haven't you?
13:44 - "Excellent skills of deduction!" In actual fact, 'deduction' s where a conclusion is drawn from available evidence. This guy is just guessing. And happens to be correct.
14:08 - Yeah, I wouldn't have thought that Sontarans would know enough about 'women-folk' to even have slurs against them...
14:16 - Another skill absent from modern UNIT that I hoped they would have - the ability to recognise an alien weapon. They must be expecting them to use the deadliest weapon of all - the automobile.
14:37 - HOLY SHIT! That thing about expanding the copper bullets actually makes sense! I shall now savour the moment...
15:18 - Oh, yeah, they also piss themselves at the first sight of an alien. After assuming that it's a kid in a halloween costume, something that I decided to ignore for the short-term. Are these guys meant to be fresh recruits? As in "got their weapons five minutes ago?" Because that's the only way I can make sense of their horrific stupidity.
15:35 - "YOU'RE CARRYING A GUN!"... didn't bother you with the Brig. Or Benton. Or Yates. Or Bambera. Or Mercer. Or Scott. (Scott from Earthshock - I'm not trying to promote my own scripts here...) In short, get the fuck over yourself. Didn't want to bring up anything when UNIT decided to go SWAT-team on some factory workers for no readily apparent reason, did you? Oh, no, take the moral high ground with a complete doormat who's being nice to you. Fuck you, Doctor. Fuck. You.
15:39 - Looks like Martha's reaction was the same as mine, going by that apologetic little smile she just gave Mace...
15:46 - "People with guns are usually the enemy in my books.." Didn't mind Captain Jack hauling two machineguns at once to save your arse on Satellite 5, did you, though? If you're going to read UNIT the riot act, DO IT. Don't give me this crybaby shit.
15:51 - "Oh, right so it's my fault" Gack, now Tennant's impersonating Gary Russell's vocal tics! And yes, it is. Why is the Doctor suddenly such a dick? I usually want the Sontarans to win when I watch their stories but I think the feeling's being trebled now..
15:59 - "Am I carryin' a gun?" "S'pose not.." She IS or she isn't! 'Suppose'? What are you, Ron Mallet? From Russell to Mallet in eight seconds time! He'll be Sparacus in no time! And then, after that... I dunno, Jeff Fenech?
16:11 - Aw, yeah, make them better. Because UNIT has always been a corrupt bunch of arseholes. You've tried to win me over with some neat little references to the past but this is a gang-rape of my lovely U.N lads!
16:35 - Yeah, those years of experience were needed to spot an empty file. THIS SCRIPT IS KILLING MEEEE!
17:23 - ...they didn't have search engines that would make you a millionaire at that time, I'm sure.
18:46 - Oh, wow, those guys have been hypnotised? I never would have been able to tell! Come to think of it, the Sontaran 'stratagem' seems to need these two soldiers. So... their entire plan hinged on two complete morons going into a room that was obviously a trap and swapping Sawardian dialogue for ten minutes until Staal turned up? I guess I shouldn't knock it, I mean it WORKED clearly but isn't that a bit... narrow minded?
19:16 - Shut the fuck up, Doctor! Has Mace pointed a gun at ANYONE? NO! WHY DO YOU HATE THIS ONE GUY WHO CARRIES A GUN SO MUCH? Is it just the terrible writing? Hmm? Is that it?
19:30 - Yeah, that's right Mace, throw it back at him.
19:49 - Yeah, plural is 'genii' you fucking moron. God, I have never disliked the Doctor so much. Well, when I say never I meant 'since Eccleston' but you get my drift I'm sure.
20:48 - ..was about to complain about an overwrought 'companion leaving' scene when she isn't actually leaving... but then it turns out to be a piss-take of all the overwrought companion scenes. Thank you! Something competent
21:28 - "My word! Until I felt this unusual heart-beat there was no evidence at all that there was anything untoward with any of these workers!"
22:14 - Yeah, thanks for that dramatic reveal moment. I never would have guessed that it was those two soldiers again. GAAAAWD this episode is lame.
22:50 - Is it just me or do we see this exact same street at least once a year? That's not a slur against the quality of writing of this episode at all. Just thought I'd point out the novelty value of that.
23:45 -Dance, Cribbins! DANCE FOR ME! BWAHAHAHA!
24:37 - Shutting off those lights may seem kinda dramatic, but wouldn't that just draw more attention?
27:24 - How can you terra-form in what appears to be a small mid-school laboratory? Planets the size of marbles?
27:38 - Oh, give me a fucking break. Suddenly the Doctor's picking holes in people's grammar when a few minutes ago he didn't even know the correct plural from? This is sloppy, sloppy writing.
27:48 - ...does the Doctor look like a "UNIT grunt"? God, give me strength. 13 minutes and a bit, you can do it, Jared...
29:11 - Oh, yeah, that's smart, Doc. Just activate the teleportation pod when you're in it. You can't just explain what it is... and... *Sigh*
29:38 - "SONTARAN! That's your name, isn't it? You're a son-tar-an!" Yes, lets point even more stuff out to the audience in as condescending a way as possible. Staal's already said that he's a Sontaran. It's the fucking episode title. I think people have gotten the idea. Why is the Doctor so amused at meeting a Sontaran, anyway? I mean, he's going right off the deep end at ONE middle-aged bloke who happens to wear a gun on his belt as part of his official uniform but an entire race literally bred for the sole purpose of war and it's "`Ello boys! Missed you I have!"
This is like seeing Mindwarp but with the scenes where the Doctor's mind is scrambled cut out for timing purposes.
30:13 - Oh, he looks like a Sontaran. Well, they got one fucking thing right. Guess we'd better give you a BAFTA.
30:23 - Oh, no. He's got Chris Eccleston's ears for some reason. I'll be having that trophy back, thank you.
No timecap, can't be arsed - I'll add the Doctor hitting the probic vent with the squash ball into my rather thin 'not retarded' list. Nice work. Of course, it's meant to be a weak point where something can go into the armour rather than some sort of pain-inducing errogenous zone that can't be struck at all but it still works.
32:35 - Oh, hey they actually explained a bit of the plot. That's nice.
33:30 - "But with you, we want something more complex... we want you to have sex with this embryo in the acid pool. Oh, yeah. This will make us a lot of money..."
I've probably seen a few too many episodes of Drawn Together...
35:26 - Hmm, so they launch the spheres from a mothership. I guess I can cope with that.
35:56 - For those counting, the clone marks Freema Agyeman's third role in DW in the space of three years. A long way off Westmaas territory but it's pretty impressive.
36:32 - Wow, really bizarre how after Season One EVERYONE knows how to 'deadlock' something... *sigh*...
37:04 - ....wow.
Just when I think this script has reached the peak of non-sense-making... ATMOS is suddenly vulnerable to reverse psychology, and braking stops it from locking the doors.... Dear god this is unholy...
37:20 - Yeah, it would have been funny if there had been ANY REASON AT ALL for us to think that the jeep would blow up.
37:41 - Oooh, yeah. Naughtiest evil clone ever!
40:05 - "When you were banged up with Spanish flu!" Nothing like a slice of Smoothe Exposition..
43:27 - That was actually a good cliffhanger. A promise of quality to come? No. Certainly not. But it was good anyway.
You probably worked out... I wasn't very impressed with this one. To give it its dues, the character moments were very well done, the design (bar the Eccleston ears) was excellent... but even beyond the total lameness of the plot, or rather the towering inferno of cliche upon contrivance that acts as a plot, there's something slightly cynical about this effort. It feels like lazy work going off of a blueprint that Raynor has on how to do an invasion of Earth story, with the Sontarans the latest old enemy to be capitalised on. This same cynical side of me has to wonder how many of the references and nods that partially redeemed this story were actually the work of Gary Russell, king of the continuity in-joke, trying to give this some old-school appeal. Of course it could pick up (hah!) and I'm going to take the high ground and not give the story a score until I've seen the second part. So there.
WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS THOUGHT...
IMDber Response: that could be elemental to the story for all we know?
why they are taking over Earth, for more DNA. they are copies of copies of copies, the coding deteriorates over time.....that story element has been used in star trek loads over the years...
(Jared says: So, where did foreigners learn English before the internet was invented?)
OGer Response: 2/5, Sontarans are funny and cute. (That's not a good thing)
I-don't-believe-this Response: Luke Rattigan - Davros possibility?
(Jared says: No. At best, he's an Adam Mitchell possibility.)
Another IMDBer Response: Earth, London, the present day. The Doctor lands in Wembley stadium during a Queen + Paul Rodgers concert. The audience just think its a special effect of the show and the band play on. After the show the doctor informs them that the aliens known as the 'Popostastic' from the Planet Pop are on earth and they're trying to rid the world of rock music starting with...yep...London. Cue corridor chases round the Wembley stadium as Brian May and Roger Taylor help the Doctor put an end to their non so threatening plot as camp fun is to be had with some great music.
(Jared says: I'm not sure if he actually watched the episode but what the hell...)
Paraphrased Lawrence Miles Response: You know what really pissed me off! The Runaway Bride! Yes, I've waited over a year-and-a-half to bring it up but I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! Dinosaurs underground is stupid? FUCK YOU! Didn't you see that episode of The Goodies? Of course you didn't, you pop-culture slut! ... I didn't actually watch it this week...
Lighthope Response: If Sontarans are supposed to be clones, how come they have different voices?
(Jared says: Because they didn't get David Segal to play the entire army)
Sparacus' Baffling Response: You say "of course this design is better" as if it obviously is or something. It isn't. The black leather look was superb and that has been abandoned in favour of this blue muscular look thats like a blue teenage ninja turtle with a Sontaran head.
(Jared says: Somehow, I doubt he actually SEEN teenage[d mutant ]ninja turtles..)
Humanitarian Response: I felt sorry for Bernard Cribbens having to deliver such terrible lines while locked in the car blathering on about aliens and Donna not having the common sense just to stick a brick through the damn window at the end.
Next Time - State of Emergency, they're a dime a dozen these days... Sontarans shoot at stuff... the Doctor is still in Mace's face... Staal is amazed at the existence of Nuclear power... Donna bounces around a lot down corridors... a hot chick says the word 'six'... some aliens actually die in a battle scene! OMG! ...someone finally decides it's time to call that Code Red... the Doctor gets in Mace's face even more... somebody decides making the entire trailer a homage to the cliffhanger ending of Inferno episode 4 will make me forgive them for their sins. They're wrong.