Sep, 2012

The Crack with the Spiders

DOCTOR WHO: THE WHISPERING GALLERY B

Photo credit: Ben Templesmith

Someone asked me, “So , what’s the crack with the spiders in the last episode?”

I considered this for a moment and then decided I couldn’t see any relevance to the spiders. Nothing pivotal or surprising.

I thought the theme of this half of the series ran along the lines of ‘People live and die; but the Doctor goes on.‘ The Doctor has his own adventures. He accrues companions as and when he needs them. Without specifically referencing the novels, things happen when we, the viewer, don’t watch. And, even when we the reader don’t read.

Much as Sarah Jane established in “School Reunion“, and Rose after her – the Doctor touches people’s lives, but they continue without him. Sometimes, they remain ‘touched’ by his absence and it affects the way they continue to exist. Oswyn has been ‘touched’ before she even got started; as a species, the Daleks have experienced an irrevocable change, and many have been scarred beyond assistance or repair. The Doctor, the Predator, the Oncoming Storm – the Last of the Timelords – he strikes the universe like a smooth, flat stone, and the ripples continue long after his departure.

I’m not sure the spider had any relevance beyond being a clue that the spaceship (with the dinosaurs on) wasn’t just a spaceship. It was an ark, from Earth (and, perhaps, a nod to original episode The Ark in Space, from the classic 12th season). I’m not suggesting the Silurians intentionally included spiders amongst the species carried away from Earth, but like any ship you can’t avoid some vermin and insects. I responded as much to my friends you asked the question, but I suppose I can’t completely cast aside the thought they might mean more than that.

Even as a viewer, the Doctor’s ripples impact me.

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All the Daleks Here Now

The New Paradigm Dalek

The New Dalek Paradigm

I did sort of hope that all the Daleks would have made more of an appearance in the ‘Asylum’, after all the hoo-haa about getting hold of older models. Indeed, I didn’t feel we saw enough older Daleks – of which plenty must exist amongst promotional groups. How many conventions have you visited on the geek circuit to find a Doctor Who look-a-like, TARDIS and one Dalek or another, generally of the old grey or black variety? Why couldn’t they use some of those, especially when the Doctor ventured into Intensive Care. Surely, all those Daleks should have conformed to the pre-golden format.

Personally, I got excited about the presence of the Special Weapons Dalek in the trailer. Admittedly, when it appeared originally – in “Remembrance of the Daleks” – it had very little screen time in action; the ‘Asylum’ seemed to effectively relegate to the status of scenery. I guess that they didn’t have the inclination to sort the innards out or something – refurbishing the tricycle or whatever. Maybe the Health & Safety standards associated with people working inside Daleks have become tougher – and the BBC didn’t want to dish out for the upgrade. In the old days, you could stick a couple of trolley wheels on the edges and tell the guy to get on with it. Now, they probably want remote controls, mini-bar facilities, breaks… the whole Savoy treatment.

I’m shocked that so little investment seems to have been even made in the use of the iDaleks from ‘Victory of the Daleks‘. Didn’t Moffat intend for the new purebreed Daleks to become the standard for his tenure? Using the RTD golden Dalek model just seems a little bit lazy.

“We spent all this money making the golden Dalek model for Season 1 of New Who – and I don’t think we’ve quite got our monies worth yet. Hey, let’s wheel out the gold ones and have a few of the iDaleks in the backdrop. Maybe let the white iDalek speak a bit, for diversity reasons.”

I felt that the CGI wide shots could have done more to include older models – would it have harmed anyone in the least to have added a few classic Daleks in the ‘big picture’ view?

I’m sure they do have a genuine excuse – maybe the Terry Nation Estate agreement doesn’t extend to the older models? Maybe I should have watched whatever Confidential episode might have followed the episode (did they do one? I didn’t check… Have they dropped those, too?).

I do some research and get back to this subject…

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