The following appeared in my email inbox today, from the REAL Stewart Lee's Mailing List, regarding the impostor @StewLee on Twitter. It made me chuckle heartily:
Monday, 27 June 2011
So Torchwood: Miracle Day is being shown almost a week later in the UK than it is in the USA. And some people are not happy about this. But does it really matter? The answer is: no. This is exactly the same thing British fans tell the American fans on Gallifrey Base when they complain about having to wait for Doctor Who. Torchwood is now, more or less, an American show. Since it's being co-produced by the BBC with US network Starz (no prizes for guessing where the biggest chunk of the budget comes from then, eh?) then the notion of it being a British show - made in Wales - is gone. We might not like it, but it's not the schedulers' fault in this instance! RTD took his show to America and we all have to get over that. It's hardly the end of the world.
Just like the fuss about the scheduling of Doctor Who in 2012 (if you missed that, then well done you) I have very strong views on where I stand. It's only a TV show! It hardly matters. Worried about spoilers? Do what you tell the Americans to do every week when Doctor Who airs: Go offline for a while, if you're that serious about it. I suppose we'll see how many people care enough to stay away from spoilers (my guess: not many). What's that? It started in the UK so it should air here first? That's rubbish. What about most other American shows that we have to wait for? What about the US shows we had to wait almost half a year for in the past, with no complaints because that's how it is?
Some people have ideas of ownership and entitlement far above their station when it comes to these shows. It's disappointing and a little bit scary. Being a Doctor Who/Torchwood fan is the closest I've ever come to being a member of a full-blown cult. And I'm not sure I like it so much anymore. Drink your poison (or splash it all over Twitter) and I'll watch Torchwood on the 14th of July with a nice cup of tea. Thanks for reading.
Friday, 24 June 2011
I know! Once again I'm late to the party (about 3 series too late) but I am catching up with the CGI series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" rapidly. I had a wave of Star Wars love last weekend and found myself obtaining copies of Episodes I - III - which, I don't mind saying, are NOWHERE NEAR as bad as I remembered them. Okay, they're not a patch on the original trilogy but they're great little films! But most of my spare time this week has been spent watching The Clone Wars.
I think what I love best about this series is that it offers a whole new look at the Star Wars universe. With new characters (most notably, disobedient and reckless padwan to Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka "Snips" Tano, clearly the best cartoon character ever - though I may be speaking more enthusiam than fact) and some lovely nods to events we know about from the movies, The Clone Wars is more than just a spin-off cartoon series aimed at kiddies.
True, they are very heavy on morality tales and some episodes leave you feeling like you've just seen Aesop's Fables updated for the future. But there's nothing wrong with slipping some advice into the kids' droid-chopping adventure, right? Especially when that kids' show translates so well to an audience of adult, geeky Star Wars fans... Like me. I began with the 2008 feature length movie, as you should, and I'm currently about half-way through the second series and loving almost every episode. The CGI is perfect for the style, the story lines are often thin, but fleshed out with some excellent movie-worthy action set-pieces and the music is top-class!
The series - overall - is thrilling, funny and heartfelt. It's TOTALLY Star Wars (you can feel Lucas' hand in it, without a doubt) and each episode it short enough, at 22 minutes, to throw on when you have a few minutes to kill before you do your next important thing. Trouble is, if you're anything like me, you'll forget all about that thing and just carry on watching. 37 episodes in 48 hours doesn't sound much, but it is! My eyes are Anakin-shaped right now...
...but it's worth it!
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Okay, it was never going to be more adventures featuring Harry and his friends but I'm sure most of us had higher expectations of J.K. Rowling's latest publicity atrocity "Pottermore.com". We have spent ages waiting, refreshing and wondering what the site could be about. Some wanted more stories - that was never going to happen. Some wanted reference books or an extensive online Potter encyclopaedia - what would have been lovely, especially since it would be 100% official. Others had other ideas; there was speculation among millions of fans online as to what this could all be about.
Then today at 12pm the "announcement" was made on the site - a unique "reading experience" - the same stories but with extra bits, "Namely, YOU". So although details are still sketchy as to what we're actually getting, it seems this is a cross between a fan-forum and a glorified online book group. What a bloody let down. It sounds as though it'll be a bit like a "read along and gather points as you do" type game. Whether the texts will be available online in their complete form or whether new fans will be expected to buy the books (which you should all do) is another question yet to be answered in full. Likewise, whether there'll be a registration cost (unlikely, that'd be a bit too cheeky) is another question. I would also love to know if there's a point to this? I mean, I've read all of the books countless times. I've enjoyed them every time. If I want to read again I'll just pick up the book. The whole thing smells of "flogging a still living, but dying slowly horse" - "what else can we do with the limited material available".
How about this J.K.? Write a NEW book. Write some new stories not about Potter. Let him get on with his lives and stop trying to dilute the magic. The books will be classics forever now, isn't that enough? What you're doing here is a) dragging kids online (never a good thing) b) providing an "official" forum for fans - thus taking away custom from some of the wonderful unofficial forums out there and c) GIVING US THE SAME STORIES, REPACKAGED!! I'm almost as disappointed as the time I bought The Tales Of Beedle The Bard and it was simply a shit cash-in (albeit for charity) as opposed to the Tome you describe in the HP books! I am disappointed Rowling. Very much so.
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Paul McGann plays Mark North in Luther. Long-suffering lover of Luther's late ex-wife Zoe. He's been through a lot and is, basically, the reason Ian Reed was shot by Alice Morgan at the end of series one.
But I think we should be keeping an eye on him. I think he's our baddie! Here's why I think so: In series one, episode one, when Luther is still in the hospital getting a visit from Ian, they play chess. They are clearly good friends. As you know, Ian turns out to be the series' "Big Bad" when he kills Luther's wife and frames him for her murder. In the hospital in S1E1, when they play chess, Luther plays white and Ian plays black. It was right there to see all along, right from the beginning - good vs evil. Nobody seems to have noticed this! Now, everything in this post is speculation. I don't have spoilers for this show at all. I don't know for sure if the following will turn out to be true... But...
In the scene in series two, episode one, when Luther and Mark North play chess in the diner, Luther again plays white and Mark North plays black. It's enough for me to want to keep an eye on him. Watch him. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this our villain.
The recent news that "there will not be a full series shown in 2012" has prompted the most doom-laden reaction from fans online. I'm thinking positively about this news and hey, if I'm wrong, it hardly matters - it's only a tv show.
So on Twitter earlier, in a series of open tweets, I set out what I THINK may be happening. It doesn't matter if you don't agree. I'm writing this primarily for myself, so I have a link to pass out to those who enter into a never-ending debate over this with me - a debate I don't want to take part in anymore. My timeline is full of "Doctor Who Is Finished!!" type negativity and it's now boring. So, in response to ALL who want to discuss it, this is all I have to say:
The following was posted on Twitter by me on 15 June:
@gabundy: The way I see it, #doctorwho series 6 was split, shown in Spring and Autumn. So it would finish around November 2011...
It would make sense, then, for the normal wait of a tv year to happen between the end of S6 and the beginning of S7...
Which would see S7 starting in Nov(ish) 2012. Not long enough to squeeze a whole series in before the end of the year...
So those 14 eps (with a Xmas Special in the MIDDLE of the run) would hang over into 2013. Which is what we've been told...
That doesn't mean we have a shortened run at all! Simply a later series, not even later if think in terms of "time between series"...
Which would then mean, if S7 were to end early 2013, and the 50th Anniversary in in NOV 2013, then there would be a SHORTER wait for any planned "specials" to celebrate that, or even (as I suspect) another full series. I don't see what all the fuss is about. x
If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong. But until we know for sure, that's my position. Now can we talk about something else please? This is getting really dull.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
When we last saw John Luther he had been framed by his partner, Ian Reid, for the murder of his ex-wife Zoe. He had tracked Ian down and cornered him, with the help of Zoe's new lover Mark and John's loyal stalker Alice, to a railway station. He had been stabbed by Ian. Alice had shot Ian - after a 2:1 vote against letting him face the consequences of his actions in court - and the police were closing in.
It seems forever ago that we last saw the perfect pairing of John Luther and Justin Ripley tracking down the bad guys; since we saw Ian Reid weasel his way out of another nasty scrape (no more!); since we watched the only person who seems to have John under control - DSU Rose Teller - snappily talk John out of yet another bad choice. But it hardly matters, because tonight at 9pm on BBC One, Luther returns for a slightly tweaked second series. A shortened run of just four episodes begins tonight and sees Luther investigating a murder case with disturbing details. The murderer wears a Mr Punch mask and is violent as hell! But it's a case of "back to work" for Luther, still mourning Zoe's death and now working on a new team under the leadership of DCI Schenk - the good guy nobody really wants to like.
Also returning - because it wouldn't be Luther without her - is sociopath stalker/murder/saucepot Alice Morgan, who committed the perfect murder back in Series One Episode One, and became something of an unlikely ally throughout the first series. How and why she turns up again is anyone's guess - since this is something of a low-profile BBC series there tends not to be quite so many spoilers available before transmission. And with this series I'm glad. It looks as though we'll be given two big two-part stories, but what those stories are about is anyone's guess. Expect gruesome murders, snappy dialogue, a moody atmosphere and more unconventional policing from everyone's favourite nasty bastard with a heart of gold.
And if you've never seen Luther before, then maybe it's time to start watching? Series One was mostly stand-alone stories - you should be able to pick up the basics as you go along. It's more than worth a look.
Saturday, 11 June 2011
...The Doctor’s first line as we go crashing through the time vortex and into an epic opener for the first part of this sixth series.
We’ve seen epic before with recent Doctor Who. There’s been all those finales, two-parters and specials. But nothing cinematically seemed to capture the essence of ‘epic’ properly, really. Not until last year’s ‘The Eleventh Hour’ series opener and introduction of Matt Smith in the title role and Steven Moffat as showrunner. That, for me, is when Doctor Who, production-wise, stepped up a gear. Well, for a short time at least. Not many episodes of the remainder of the fifth series lived up to that introduction, despite some really good efforts.
So, the sixth series opener had a lot to live up to. How can you raise the bar from such a brilliant story as that initial meeting with the young Amelia Pond and the almost perfect, well... everything. How, indeed? Of course, the answer is easy if you know how. Rake in some extra budget, move some production to the ‘make everything bigger!’ US, write a two-parter worthy of The X-Files at it’s height and throw in the establishment of a superb series arc whilst blending in some ongoing arcs from as far as four years ago.
Admit it, after the first ten minutes of ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ your mouth was firmly wedged into the ‘open and stunned’ position whilst you were rendered completely speechless. The Doctor is dead - really dead - and his gathered companions were left with the emotionally arduous task of providing the protagonist with a, somehow very fitting, norse-like funeral - burning his timelord body upon a boat.
Of course, Who being Who - sci-fi being sci-fi - time travel being, er..., wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-bumpy-wumpy stuff - etc, etc, Matt Smith gets his second big entrance of the series as a younger Doctor than the one that was killed and we’re back in the game. Before long this excellent production has us in the White House’s Oval Office, complete with President Nixon, and Smith gets the chance to shine in the comedy part of his portrayal of everyone’s favourite ‘mad-man with a box’.
The only thing that overshadows that Matt Smith performance here is the introduction of yet another superb Moffat-Monster - The Silence. Menacingly tall and scary-looking monsters with the ability to cause amnesia about their very existence as soon as you look away from them. Stick these guys in a stare-out contest with the Weeping Angels and you’ve got one hell of a battle on your hands! Moffat certainly knows that the best monsters are those with the ability to scare even your own imagination with their abilities and he seriously wins with these guys, who are just so fitting for this particular story and setting.
Without going too far into individual stories the second part of the adventure continues in the basic theme of the first, with our heroes trying everything they can to remember - and to defeat - their newfound foes. It’s an enjoyable romp and eventually The Doctor, of course, wins the day and we can all go on happy and safe in the knowledge that our adventurers can continue adventuring through space and time for the rest of th.... WHHHHAAAA!! Hang on... There’s a very, very unexpected ‘game-changing’ epilogue right at the end of the episode involving a seemingly innocent young girl from within the story starting the timelord regeneration process. All at once, fandom literally exploded. Across the world there were reports of the deafening sound of furious tapping as Whovians started their musings and ponderings about the little girl on internet forums and social networks. Who is she? How is she regenerating? What does this mean? Where do we go from here?
Just where did we go from here? Well, obviously, the little girl wasn’t going to be tied up just yet - we have a whole series to get through. Well, half a series for now, thanks to the American style mid-season break this time around. And yes, the rest of the [first part of the] series shaped up much like others before it. Mostly self-contained stories with little glances towards an overriding arc. One good episode followed by one that is a little more, well, forgettable, followed by another good one, and so on... But this is part of the charm of our Doctor Who and for all the attempts of Americanising, this is why Who will remain staunchly British. God knows that if Doctor Who had originally been made in the states it would have been cancelled before you could utter the words “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow”, like all good sci-fi shows seem to be over the pond.
Episode three, ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ was one of the more forgettable ones of this series, as Doctor Who went all Pirates of the Carribean (which in itself has been terrible since the excellent first film), whilst the first part of ‘The Rebel Flesh’/‘The Almost People’ left me so disappointed it instantly went into my ‘least favourite episodes’ list since the return of the show in 2005. That was made up for in the second part (‘The Almost People’) though as the pace was dramatically upped and we got a well played double-dose of mad Doctorness, complete with a few classic series references thrown in for good measure and a peach of a cliffhanger lead-in to the mid-season finale.
The series highlight, for me, was legendary writer Neil Gaiman’s first (hopefully of many) episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’. A beautifully told story of the sexy TARDIS personified. It’s rare to get an accomplished writer who completely and totally appreciates the kind of story a fan will absolutely love, whilst not going all-out fanboyish. Gaiman’s comic-book roots come spilling out of the screen in abundance and we were treated to the best tragic love-story of Nu-Who since 2006’s ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’. The best part? When ‘sexy’ reveals that she stole The Doctor rather than that belief all along that he stole the TARDIS all on his own all those years ago. Pure fanwankery.
The mid-season finale again upped the tempo and once again we’re reminded that The Doctor is not to be messed with. This time he shows that a lot of the universe owes him as he raises an army from many people he has himself assisted in the past. We have pirates, Sontarans, Silurians and even Danny Boy and his spitfire from last series, plus more. Remember though, you should never, ever underestimate The Doctor. Unfortunately for our time-travelling hero, this time he actually hasn’t been - and he’s fooled twice as the main enemies (including an over-arcing eyepatch lady who has cropped up around the series so far) could be flying off towards Magrathea on the Heart of Gold spaceship for all he knows... They’ve also kidnapped Amy’s baby, who it is revealed is actually the baby River Song (and therefore also the young girl in that second-episode epilogue, who in turn appears to have gained some timelord-type DNA from being conceived within the TARDIS inside the time vortex - confusing much?), in the process to use as a weapon against The Doctor.
All that in mind, there are a lot of things we still don’t know yet, questions still to be asked and answers still to be given - and things aren’t looking too rosy for The Doctor and our friends right now. But, as the Doctor said right at the start - “You know... This isn’t nearly as bad as it looks...”.
(Follow James on Twitter here)
Thursday, 9 June 2011
He's not the most likely charity appeal front-man, but journalist and Hero Of Mine (he'd hate that) Charlie Brooker NEEDS YOU [pointy finger]!
Inspired by the story of "Alice's Bucket List" - which has taken the internet by storm in a heart-warming show of support for the 15 year old cancer sufferer - the misanthropic scribbler has seemingly had a change of heart when it comes to his views on our doomed and pathetic species. The video below was posted by Charlie on his Twitter feed earlier this afternoon and in it he urges young people (particularly young men) to sign up to become bone marrow donors with Anthony Nolan, a donor register that are urgently looking for men aged 18 - 30 in particular.
Charlie makes a bloody good case, too. He makes a far more successful appeal than I ever could. Take a look at this - then register:
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
So that's it folks! If you believe the press then our favourite show is no more. Yes, according to the Daily Bullshit, all the cast and crew of Doctor Who have died in a fire caused by Steven Moffat's inability to control budget and keep his staff happy. The BBC have said, secretly, using unnamed sources who are leaking this info to fan-sites and some other well-known Doctor Who-hating publications, that it now won't touch the series with a shitty stick. And you all believe it. The internet has exploded. Yes, I'm being flippant, yes I'm making this opening paragraph up. But it may as well be what's happening for all the sense anyone seems to be making over this "announcement"!
Here are the pieces that have come together, through the spiteful speculation of many, to create the usual "Doctor Who is in trouble" nonsense. It may all turn out to be true, but let's look at it sensibly for a second.
Firstly, Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan seem to be committed to other projects for the foreseeable future... Clearly this means that they are no longer requires as the show is no more. OR. Maybe it means, since their characters have had a pretty good shot at being companions now (no new-Who companion has lasted more than two series remember) and have done very well in doing so, that Amy and Rory are to leave the TARDIS at the end of series six. Which is more likely? They've been married, had a child, lost a child, died, been revived, lose the Universe, found it again... Honestly, is it not time for them to go now anyway? I mean, I know we like them - but seriously. Let's look at it in a positive light? New companions!!! Maybe!!! Probably!!!
Next up: Matt Smith is going to LA to look for work! OOOOH!!! That must mean that he's been sacked, since the show is no more!!! OR. If you read the interview in The Mirror where he mentions this LA thing you'll see that he says - and I'm paraphrasing - "I'd love to go to LA and do film work, but I've got a Universe to save first!" He's stated many places that he has no intention of hanging up his bow tie just yet. And if he does, then it'll be a regeneration (it happens) and we'll move on! But "the BBC needs to come clean, sort out the questions over Matt Smith’s future and stop keeping us in the dark" says Who fan-mag Kasterborous, and what? Ruin a possible surprise regeneration? That would be the next BIG WHO STORY - 'BBC RUIN REGENERATION AGAIN!' Matt will leave when he either wants to leave or the story calls for him to leave. He seems comfortable enough where he is right now, so he says himself, in lots of places.
So without a cast, we need to shake the crew! I know, let's revive rumours about in-fighting between production staff! Boring. And in the past. Not relevant. Who cares if certain people didn't get on with their workmates? It's hardly newsworthy, is it?
'But what about that split in the series? Why's it a two part series? CLEARLY it's all about bad budget management?' Maybe - but unlikely. I don't think so, personally. Maybe it's because the story is big? Maybe it's because the schedule was tight so it offers more post-production time? It's no crime... It seems that people WANT to popularise the idea that the show is heading for the scrap heap.
How about this? Maybe it's BECAUSE the series has ended, taken its mid-series break, that these rumours are becoming news again? Maybe we're all just very, very bored? Maybe the media is using the BBC's flagship show as another means of creating dissent in the ranks? Or at least making it look that way...
Maybe it's just me, but I'm bored of reading about how the show is never coming back - and if it is it'll be as Doctor Who Lite - every time the series leaves the airwaves. Until this time the show is praised and worshipped in reviews and the AI scores seem to justify this! But as soon as there is no Who then all hell breaks loose and people panic.
The in-fighting in the production team rumour is old. Very old. Remember when Beth Willis was fired? No, nor do I, because it never fucking happened - despite reports all over, from those apparently in the know, about it actually being the case. I just wish people would take all rumours that are unsubstantiated gossip and nothing more - you can't even call it speculation, since it's not being speculated about, simply repeated ad nauseum. It seems these days that people would be happier knowing if the BBC gave us all a letter through the post, listing just what will happen in the next series, who will star in it and exactly who likes who and who doesn't on the production staff. At least that way we have facts, right guys? RIGHT? Piss off. The show has been running forever, for most of us. If it knocks out a couple of specials instead of a full series every few years then so what? At least it's on. And it would seem that a 7th series has been announced anyway, starring Matt Smith. You're all worrying over nothing.
Yes. I know. I'm boring. I'm rambling. To be honest I wish I'd never started writing this. But I'm having a shit day and it seemed just the right way to vent. Thanks for reading my garbled, jumbled mess of a post (if you've managed to get this far). Now I'm going to cry in a corner.
THIS JUST IN FROM MOFFAT ON TWITTER:
"14 eps + Matt DEFINITELY. I've got a plan and I'm NOT TELLING YOU WHAT IT IS. Now hush or River shoots you with her Spoiler Gun. #formaqueue"
Monday, 6 June 2011
A Good Man Goes To War answered one of the biggest questions posed in the history of Doctor Who as a show. Who is River Song? Many guessed that she is the Doctor's wife from the future - others had more outlandish theories. Some guessed, correctly as it turns out, that she's Amy and Rory's daughter, Melody. But what else did it give us in terms of answers? Truthfully, nothing.
We know that Melody was taken - wanted - due to her unique Time Head (I use that phrase as her mother does. It's probably not the technical term). She's to be brought up as a weapon with which to defeat the Doctor. But who wants to defeat him? Who is the mysterious Eye-Patch Lady, Madame Kovarian? What has the Church got to do with any of it? It's an answer we were tricked into forgetting we needed. In all the fuss surrounding Amy's kidnap and the Ganger Melody reveal we forgot all about the real mystery - what the hell is going on?!
It's clear that Kovarian is in control. Her forces are intelligent enough to trap the Doctor using the same trick, twice. She knows what she's doing and now she has Melody (from now on, Melody is the name I shall use. None of this River nonsense) and could be anywhere in the universe. So, Unanswered Questions are the order of the day! And who would expect otherwise from Mr Moffat? So much going on - some we understand, some we don't, some we probably never will - and so many things to wonder about in the time we have between now and Autumn. After all, we're still only half-way through the series! I know, it feels like it's over already, but it's not. And wow, what a half-series it's been.
Since Melody has a Time Head (see? I'm running with it!) and we were treated to some blurred flashbacks to the opening two-parter, it is safe to assume (at least, for now) that the girl in America in the '60s is indeed Melody Pond. So that means ANYONE can now play an earlier incarnation of River Song, right? Does this mean, then, that we could have a younger River aboard the TARDIS as a full time companion soon? I hope so! But that's the future - or the past, if you're River Song... Complicated, isn't it? First of all there's the little problem of "where the fuck the Doctor went" to sort out.
Given that the very next episode is called "Let's Kill Hitler" and there are Nazis in the Series Six teaser - as well as being spotted on set - suggests that there's something big coming. But then, why? Why Hitler? Or is it something along the lines of "we need to mess time up or Melody will become River, as planned, and end up the weapon she was nurtured to be"? Maybe killing Hitler - thus disrupting history and time itself - is the only way to put a stop to the massive, sprawling plot of Kovarian and those she works for. Maybe messing up time will give our heroes a chance to put things right again, from scratch. Maybe. Who knows?
And who cares? In a couple of months we'll have Doctor Who back on our screens and we'll learn these answers. I've never wished I was spoiler-free more than I do now. This is one story I wish I could watch unravel on screen. Maybe I can forget the things I already know about what's to come - though, thinking about it, that's not a lot at all! Oh, BBC Wales. You beauty!
Sunday, 5 June 2011
When there's a cliffhanger as massive as last week's there really is nothing you can do to solve it apart from jump forward a few weeks and carry on the tale. I'm glad that A Good Man Goes To War did this - there was so much happening in this episode (and yet not much at all at the same time - I'll get to that) that a scene where the Doctor and Rory mop up Ganger-Amy's goo from the TARDIS floor while chatting about what the hell is going on would be... a silly waste of time.
Instead, we jump straight in. Amy's kidnapped. She's given birth to her baby daughter, Melody (I guessed here - or would have done if I hadn't already known), saying her goodbyes as she knows that the (still) mysterious Madame Kovarian will be separating mother and child. Then Rory stands up to the Cybermen who are monitoring the area of space where they think Amy is - Invasion-style "Wheels In Space" are destroyed to send a message - the Doctor's first dark act; you should never piss him off, you know.
And so we begin! A breathless, largely-narrative-free-but-in-a-good-way 20 minute introduction before it gets to a too-easy battle between our heroes and the Clerics and the Headless Monks (both returning mentionees from last series' Weeping Angels two-parter) who are seemingly working with Kovarian to take Amy's child and turn her into a weapon for use against the Doctor. Why? Not sure! This lack of answers disappointed me at first, but then I remembered that the series isn't over! Even though it FEELS like the finale this episode marks only the half-way point!
Allied with Sontaran nurses, lesbian Silurians (and their girlfriends), Judoon and wheeler-dealer Dorium (the fat blue fella from The Pandorica Opens) - as well as more-than-worthy-should-be-future-companion Lorna Bucket, a cleric who had an encounter with the Doctor when she was just a young girl (and the key to this whole River Song mystery) Rory and the Doctor launch their attack on the Church and take Demon's Run, saving Amy and Melody. But too easy is right! Kovarian is smarter than we think. She's taken the real Melody off into space - Melody, who, it turns out, has Time Lord DNA within her thanks to being conceived within the time vortex - and has replaced her with a Flesh avatar. Seeing Amy cradling a child that suddenly melts into flesh just like Amy did is not only shocking but very disturbing!
It was an episode in the vein of The Pandorica Opens, but with a more epic, reaching feel. Some of our new allies are outstanding - the shamed Commander Strax, Sontaran Nurse - steals the show with his blunt and violent "compliments" and laugh out loud allusions to being the best space-nanny there is! Wonderful, too, is Dorium - a sort of Good Jabba - who unfortunately meets a rather grisly end at the hands of the Headless Monks. Returning are Captain Avery and his son from The Curse Of The Black Spot and "Danny Boy" from last year's Dalek mess - flying his Spitfire through space and time in assistance to the man he helped save before - a silly "what?" moment, but a no less punch-the-air-able moment. In fact, this is the sort of "everything but the kitchen sink" creation RTD wishes he could have pulled off. I loved it, even if it was slightly lacking in narrative. It looked good, it did its job, but you could write the "story" of this one on the back of a postage stamp.
But the real point of the episode, if we're honest with ourselves, was The Big Reveal. River Song's identity. She refused to help Rory and the Doctor at the start of the episode, claiming that she could only show her face at the very last moment due to this being the Doctor's darkest hour... Finding yet failing to find Melody Pond - tricked into a false victory which gives the enemy the biggest head-start they've ever had! But she shows up...
Finally. I can talk about it. Thanks to spoiler-hound friends I've known "the Song Identity" for some time now. And I've tried my best to be good about keeping it to myself. Now I don't have to! It's out there. Officially! River Song IS Melody Pond. Amy and Rory are her parents. She's their Daughter! Yes. Who saw that coming? Well, most of us, I think, as soon as we realised that the baby's name was Melody Pond. But it works, you know! It really works! We still don't know who she is in relation to the Doctor - (well, we do) - and we still don't know who the "Good Man" was that she apparently killed, resulting in her being locked up in Stormcage. But at least some of the River puzzle is solved. The next piece needed is the answer to the question "what does this mean?". And where do we go from here?
The Doctor has run off, safe in the knowledge that Melody will be okay - River's here, after all. He's got a plan. He's got a smile on his face. He's left everyone who helped save the Ponds stranded on an asteroid with only River to take them home. And the next episode is called "Let's Kill Hitler"??? More questions than answers, if you ask me! But what better way to ensure our return for the second half of this excellent series?!
I've missed out so much information about the story, but if you're reading this then I'm assuming you watched it yourself. It was amazing. It was funny. It was cheeky (cunnilingus and group sex jokes at 7pm on a Saturday night - what's not to love about that?). It was BIG. And, above all, it was emotional. Doctor Who is the best show on television by light-years! Roll on "Autumn".
Friday, 3 June 2011
Oh dear. One of the things I really didn't want to happen happened in The Almost People. I didn't want a big, scary, Lazarus-style monster stalking the corridors of Caerphilly Castle (or wherever that particular scene was shot) but it happened. So I'll complain about that first...
The nice Ganger from The Rebel Flesh, Jenny (Sarah Smart) suddenly became a bit of a monster in part two of the story, then literally became a monster about five minutes before the end. There seemed no need for this - if her Flesh Form was mutating and failing to hold itself together then have it stumble forward like some kind of melting zombie or something... But whatever. It happened. Too late to bitch about it now. And it was only a few minutes, hardly any screen time at all! It's hardly worth me even bringing up - but since it was one of my specific "don't's" then I feel I have to mention it at least.
So, secondly, I shall bleat about how truly spectacular this concluding part of the story was! And it really was spectacular. It took the story to another level, keeping the "base-under-siege" feel of part one, but added more to the series' "arc" than any other episode this series.
Having two identical Doctors running about in the same episode has happened before, in Journey's End, but this time, unlike then, it worked. Matt Smith was born to play opposite himself. Writer Matthew Graham summed it up perfectly in his bit on Doctor Who Confidential when he said "Writing for Matt's Doctor is sort of like writing for two Doctors anyway, since he's always almost finishing his own sentences in a way" - and it's true. Watch him back. He does indeed finish his own sentences, contradicts himself, then picks himself up on those contradictions. This two-Doctors lark worked well here, especially the "Wowza!" moment.
So blah blah blah, the Gangers are bad and then the Doctor(s) convince them that humanity is something they should want to join, not destroy. There's a bigger body count in this episode than the last and every death is dealt with swiftly and without cloying melodrama (except one, which needed it).
But lets talk about that ending eh? So, with a human and a Ganger heading to HO to tell the bosses that 'this sort of thing has to stop, for all our sakes' the Doctor and Rory help an incapacitated Amy into the TARDIS. "Contractions" the Doctor says, Amy's having a baby.
But wait. What? Where's the bump? Where's the cravings? Where's the explosive temper and all-too-sudden-and-over-nothing hysterical tears?! Well, one click of the sonic and poor Amy is revealed to be not all she seems. Or, I should say, all she seems and more. This Amy - our Amy, the one we've been watching this series - has been a Ganger all along. As she holds herself, crippled with pain, she utters a heartbreaking "Doctor, I am frigh'ened!" before disappearing before our eyes in a splash of goo.
And so we forget the entire story of the last two episodes and look only to the future. Those last three minutes of The Almost People are what cliffhangers are all about. And except for the purely-panto "Puuuuuuuuussssssssshhhhhhhh!" from the midwife from hell, Frances Barber's Madame Kovarian looks to be a threatening and slightly "new style" villain.
So where do the Doctor and Rory go from here? Amy's missing, giving birth and "frigh'ened!" and it seems it'll take a lot more than a quick jaunt in the TARDIS to clear this one up!
A Good Man Goes To War hits our screens at 6:40pm on Saturday 4th June (that's tomorrow folks) and promises to deliver a quest which will not only reveal a darker side to the Doctor, a braver side to Rory and a Motherly side to Amy but also promises to reveal something that we've wondered - no, obsessed - about since the character was introduced: just who is River Song? We've been promised an answer. We'll get it. Whether it'll be the one we want is another thing altogether - but an answer is incoming.
New faces and old appear to help the Doctor and Rory track down Amy and Melody, but since this is the opening episode to the most eagerly awaited two-parter since Moffat took the top job - and there is a gap of TWO MONTHS between this opening story and its concluding part - I don't expect us to know too much just yet. It feels like the end of the series, but we're only half way through! Don't you just love that tingly feeling in your belly when you think that?