Sunday, July 06, 2008

Don't You Think They Look Tired?

This post is about last night's finale to the current series of Doctor Who, so if you've not seen it yet, don't read, as it will contain spoilers, I mean, who would've thought the Doctor would regenerate into Michael Barrymore? Only kidding! Awight?

The positives:

Julian Bleach was excellent as Davros. His scenes with the Doctor were tense, and him making the Doctor realise that he turns his companions into weapons was a brilliant scene. Much better than last year's scenes with John Simm's Master. Bleach's performance from under all that latex (and it was a fantastic design, updating but not completely changing Davros) was fantastic. A proper, shouty, scary villain for once.

Visually, it was fantastic. The SFX were brilliant, and it's great these days that British TV SF can compete with the production values of its American counterparts.

I liked the Daleks shouting in German. It was an unsubtle allusion to them being nazis, but I enjoyed it.

The end of Donna's time on the TARDIS was bleak. I likes me some bleak, sometimes. Very dark for a kids' show. A bit cruel though, seeing her develop and realise her full potential over the last thirteen episodes just to have her 'reset' button pressed and she reverts back to being a shouty caricature again. It was sad seeing the Doctor almost get ignored as he said goodbye.

Bernard Cribbins. He's been brilliant throughout this series, but the scene at the end when he realises how lonely the Doctor is, with the Doctor standing in the rain, was excellent. And I'm glad they didn't spoil the scene with a 'What?!' moment like they have the last couple of times.

The negatives:

I understand it was Russell T. Davies clearing the decks before he buggers off and lets Steven Moffat take over, but why did he feel the need to bring back nearly everyone? (Pete Tyler was a curious omission.) Martha's mum returned just to hug her daughter, cry a bit and then hide under a table. Jackie Tyler with a gun? What did Torchwood add to this episode? K-9 just teleporting in? None of them added much to the plot.
I knew after last week David Tennant wasn't going to change into another Doctor. There was no way Davies would've let him go without a big sentimental speech saying ta-ra first, and we didn't get that, and it would've been a shit way for him to bow out anyway, being winged by a Dalek because he was running to give Rose a bit of a hug. (That Rose is shit, anyway. Who reactivated the last Dalek? She did. Who activated the Genesis Ark? She did. Who got the Doctor shot in last week's episode? She did!) So we didn't get a regeneration. What we did end up with was another Doctor; two lots of smug gurning for the price of one!
A lot of the ideas set up in last week's episode were just wasted or ignored. What was the point of the Shadow Proclamation? After being referred to loads of times in previous episodes, it turns out it's just a posh shop inhabited by the Judoon and albino clones of that sex-change weird curly haired antiques expert kid. We were led to believe that they were going into battle, but they never showed up again. The Haagen-Dazs key, or whatever it was called, was another red herring, and was easily cancelled out by Davros and a transportation device. (I had to smile at that UNIT guy who didn't want his name to be associated with the end of the world. Who's going to know?) And what was the point ofthat necklace thing Sarah Jane had?
So, let me get this right. Dalek Caan went back in time to save the Daleks from annihilation in the Time War so he could kill them all over again? What?!! Why did Davros have a handy control panel in the same room as the prisoners that can control (and destroy) all the Daleks? And why was the same control panel built for use by humans? And what was the point of atomising everything in the universe anyway?
Also, I found the ending, with Rose going off with the Human Doctor, a little bit creepy. Rose settles for a second-best blow-up sex doll version of the Doctor? (Also, this makes it possible in the future, whoever the Doctor is, that Tennant can always come back as a guest star, no matter how old or fat he gets!)
And the Tardis towing the Earth back to it's rightful place just looked stupid. Last week, we were told that relocating planets took 'fearsome technology', and the TARDIS went on fire getting to the same point last week (bit of a design fault, that, a time machine that goes on fire when travelling through time!), but bringing the Earth back was a piece of piss, just tow it like some cosmic AA truck. And this was just after he'd sent all the other planets back by just throwing switches, why did he need to tow the Earth back? It was just so the cast could stand around the TARDIS console winking and smiling and hugging each other and looking smug. They reminded me of the contestants of The Crystal Maze when one of them had just won another crystal.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but I think Davies is bowing out at the right time. Maybe I'm too hard-hearted for the sad stuff to affect me. Maybe I'm too cynical and the wrong age to appreciate this fully, because my youngest daughter (who's twelve) said to me just after it finished: "That was the best episode EVER!"


cherry girl said...

Geek moment - it was mIcky that activated the genesis ark.
Davros wanted the whole universe to be filled with just Daleks ( a bit boring, who would they exterminate!)
I think bringing in all the other companions was just to boost the ratings of there future tv series - I would not be suprised to see Martha and Micky replacing the ones that died in the last series of Torchwood. And the star necklace thingy was probably for the few that watched the Sarah Jane Chronicles.
Just thought I'd clear all that up for you lol
Shadow Proclaimation - yep, that was a bit pointless but I guess it was so we could all laugh at the doctor conversing with the Jadoon, and so they could find out about the missing planets and so that Donna knows a loss is coming.

It was a great episode - not looking forward to the Cybermen at Christmas one though!

Andy Winter said...

It was a weak episode in a very disappointing season. I agree with a lot of what you say - Julian Bleach was fantastic as Davros, Cribbens terrific too. The show has grown very formulaic though and I think RTD has picked exactly the right time to bow out. I'm more than ready to say goodbye to Tennant too - "Humans? Brilliant!" Oh, do fuck off...

DanProject76 said...

You had similar thought to mine then.

"...albino clones of that sex-change weird curly haired antiques expert kid"? Oh yes. Very!

Mick said...

Cherry Girl- It's not often I'm out-geeked, but well done!(That's twice in two days, now. I vaguely remember our conversation about your love of Hollyoaks...) You're absolutely right, It was Micky who activated the Ark. Maybe I was just trying to forget the fact that someone called 'Mick' could be so stupid! You also bring up another flaw in the episode, with the Doctor talking to the Judoon in their own lingo; Doesn't the TARDIS translate alien languages?

Andy: Despite what I've said about him in the post, I do like Tennant as the Doctor, though he does overdo the 'eyes and teeth' style of acting a bit. The strange thing about the 'Humans? Brilliant!' is that RTD had this as a main theme for the series, but with Donna's character in that finale, we were told that if humans do realise their potential their brains will melt. Or something. Kinda goes against all that's been said before, but I sometimes like having my expectations undermined. On the telly, anyway!

Dan: Great minds think alike! But, for the life of me, I can't remember the name of that "sex-change weird curly haired antiques expert kid". You know, he/she was on Wogan as a young boy with an old man's head in a bow tie.

Does anyone out there remember?!

Andy Winter said...

James Harries, now Lauren Harries.

Mick said...

Thanks, Andy. I can sleep at night, now. And dream about the lovely Lauren.

Andy Winter said...

I blame his parents. Poor little sod.