May, 2006

Age of Steel: Not the Upgrade I’d Expected

Nope… still not working for me. Sorry. I can thoroughly recommend that you get a hold of a copy of Big Finish‘s excellent Spare Parts. The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa find themselves on a world living in fear of a police state, where people scrape a meagre living and a dark traders making worryingly good business in second-hand body parts. Its make for far more harrowing and entertaining viewing that Age of Steel, which somehow seemed robbed of any real substance. The Doctor’s discovery of the Cybermen’s weakness makes me long for the return of a little gold dust and a poorly protected chest vent.

Rise of the Cyberman: Never Too Late

Yes – I have been remiss in my updating of the site, and that’s something I intend to keep on top of in future. I have no excuses other than laziness.

I have to admit, I’m not sure the whole parallel Cyberman thing worked for me. There was something distinctly Genesis of the Daleks about the whole set-up. The crippled genius gives rise to a race of creatures robbed of their emotions in an attempt to bring about a new master race. Hmm…

I did like the cultural reference to earpieces. I hate those things, and have avoided acquiring one. Heck, I don’t even have a mobile phone of my own – and carry one under protest only because it has been forced upon me. It feels too much like a collar or set of electronic handcuffs. I can be reached by anyone whenever they want to… and somehow I lose something in the process. It’s clear from Rise that you can lose a whole lot more if you let it happen – giving up your own control of what you think and what you know in pursuits of getting everything done faster and more efficiently. I’m sure it would work for those people who think that doing 40mph through a 30-zone somehow adds something to their existence – when in truth it does nothing more than threaten the existence of others.

I enjoy the bit where the Cybermen gate-crashed the party – but overall, one of the weakest episodes of the series so far.

The Stranger on a Train

Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor and one time Stranger, is currently on tour, along with Anita Harris, in a production of Strangers on a Train, adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel. The play concerns the chance meeting of a pro tennis player and a high society playboy on a train that leads to murder.

Just seems odd that The Stranger should get involved with other strangers in such perilous circumstances.

Telepathic… Moi?

I’ve noticed a range of comments across the electronic ether (called the Internet) about ‘disliking the sudden telepathy’ The Doctor exhibited in The Girl in the Fireplace. Maybe I’m wrong, but the Time Lords have been telepathic, in a limited fashion, for a long while. I’m sure of it. Heck, they can build telepathy into a machine (i.e. the TARDIS). So – no sudden telepathy here people… move along. Nothing to see here. I’m sure I’ll post again later when I find solid evidence of The Doctor’s telepathy in past incarnations.

I don’t recall reading anyone moaning about him having a wallet with a piece of psychic paper in it…

The Girl in the Fireplace: First Glance

The newest episode has just finished – and Steven Moffat (writer), Russell T and crew have created another great story. What connection could there be between a damaged space station in the 51st century and Madame de Pompadour in 18th century France? Well, this episode covers all the pertinent details, with some fantastic clockwork robots – all glass skin and spinning golden cogs. Fantastic stuff – with a fascinating story, a marvellous twist, The Doctor having a long snog with the leading guest actress – Sophia Myles – and some fine moments relating to companionship, that somehow fits so well with the last episode and the fate of Sarah Jane Smith.

Whatever the arc of this series really is – we certainly seem to have a thread in the meaning of knowing The Doctor and how it impacts those who come in contact with him, or who are left behind. I’m intrigued in what has yet to come… but might get momentarily distracted by the two episode Cybermen story hitting us from next week!

School Reunion: First Glance

Sarah-Janes-and-the-Tenth-DoctorAnother superb episode of Who, with top notch effects and a fine cast. The Krillitanes made for a fine foe, fronted by the sneering Headmaster Lucas Finch (played by Anthony Head). A malevolent alien species that advance and evolve through their voracious hunger – that present all sorts of possibilities. I daresay they would make a great villain, fleshed out and beefed up, in a tabletop campaign of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space.

Seeing Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 again obviously made this a stand-out episode for any fan… but, they didn’t appear simply for the novelty value. Telling the tale of a companion post-TARDIS filled out a little of the Who mythos, giving a very emotive view of how a suddenly very ordinary world can become a prison to one of the Doctor’s ex-associates.

Can The Doctor be entirely ignorant of the impact he has on those he travels with? Considering the continual wonder he seems to chase in his adventures across the universe, could the Last of the Time Lords really be so naive as to imagine his companion might feel a little of the same?

It’s a subject authors have touched upon in the books, notably with respect to the Eighth Doctor and his companion Sam, but never really in the TV series before. We’ve heard many companions begging for the Doctor to take them home, but none lamenting the grey ordinariness of the world upon their return.