Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Stolen Earth: First Glance

Crikey! Russell T sure knows how to have a good time. Seriously good episode from a fanboy point of view. Can you really fault it? The Doctor, Sarah Jane, Torchwood… even Harriet Jones makes a heroic return as the core of the resistance, the head of the Doctor’s Army.

The episode made sly references to the past and Bernard Cribbins did make a connection – as they make reference to moving planets and the Doctor comments that someone has tried to move the Earth before. In Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD, the Daleks attempt to move the Earth by dropping a bomb into the planet’s core – and The Doctor, his granddaughter, his niece, and a policeman, Tom Campbell (Cribbins), do everything in their power to ultimately defeat the maniac pepperpots.

I knew that Dave Ross was returning long before the start of the series, though I had hoped for one or two other surprises (like a return visit from a previous Doctor). The make-up was absolutely fabulous – incredibly realistic and deliciously creepy. The whole business that he chose to recreate the Dalek from his own body, making them of pure (if mutated) Kaled stock, fits into the whole Nazi slant and eugenics. The Cult of Skaro showed the same self-sacrifice for the survival of the Dalek race, cannibalizing their own armour – and Dave takes it a step further.

So, regenerating, huh? What is that all about? Given the general consensus that David had agreed to do the Christmas Special and the extended one-off episodes next year, what the heck is going to happen there?

Funny that 18 months ago to the day, The Sun reported that David would be leaving the show and started guessing who might replace him…

The Encroaching Darkness

While I won’t yet write-up my overall view of ‘Turn Left’ (because I still have a lot of catching up to do), I enjoyed the nod at continuity when the Doctor referred to the beetle as one of the Trickster’s lot. The Trickster was the excellent villain from the ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’ episode ‘Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?’ – and given the return of the Sonic Lipstick wielding journalist in the next two episodes, this made for a great touch.

In respect of the next two episodes, I can only imagine a hoard of fans will probably be truly spent for the Summer – exhausted with the exertion of almost two hours of copious fan-w**king. The Doctor, Donna, Martha, Rose, Captain Jack, Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, Sarah Jane, Luke, the Daleks and Dave… it beggars belief. On top of that, I could have sworn one of the Daleks in the trailer (the red one) looked like the style faced by the alternate first Doctor in the cinematic movies in which Bernard Cribbins played a part… another superlative fan pleaser if it’s true.

The Fires of Pompeii: First Glance

The historical story had a key role during the adventures of the First Doctor, but over time they started to slip out of favour or became a backdrop to a tale set in the future. The Fifth Doctor, to my recollection, had quite a few, too. Now, we can expect something from the past in every season, or more than one if we’re lucky, and ‘The Fires of Pompeii‘ doesn’t fail to deliver at any level.

Great story, great scenery, superlative special effects – the Pyrovile looked appropriately menacing throughout. The early appearance of the Pyrovile sentry really made an impact, and the whole background of secret cults and visions provided a compelling and believable setting.

Again, Donna provided wit, wailing and a little wisdom, showing her willingness to stand-up to the Doctor when it comes to the crunch. Unlike other companions, who might have allowed the Doctor to leave while swallowing back their objections, Donna shows her backbone and ability to serve as the Doctor’s back-up conscience.

And wouldn’t you love to watch the archaeologist who digs up the frieze of the household gods, with Doctor, Donna and TARDIS? (Yes, I know that frieze isn’t the right word… but, it’ll suffice until I think of the right one).

Partners in Crime: First Glance

So, having taken a holiday from writing anything at all… I’m going to do the lot in one go. Right…

Partners in Crime‘ – I have no trouble with. Thing is, while people rate it down scale from ‘Smith and Jones‘, I didn’t find the Judoon slash vampire granny episode any more compelling than ‘New Earth‘… and none of them (in spite of plastic Mickey) compares to the raw thrills and excitement of ‘Rose‘. Yes, flat blobs from another planet would have worked equally as well (if not better) in the ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’, but they provided a relatively safe basis for some good humour, an over-confident villain, and a meeting of Time Lord and companion.

The silent window conversation worked brilliantly and Catherine Tate proved she could (just about) play a semi-serious role without wailing and gurning every three seconds.

In hindsight, you might agree with the principle of starting the series on such a light hearted note, given the steady descent into darker (shadowier) realms since.

As a Yorkshireman once said: ‘Aye, very passable, that, very passable…’.