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  1. #381
    Lieutenant Colonel rushy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going Through Doctor Who (Spoilers all Eps aired on BBC/BBCA)

    More of Thomson's Second Doctor audio saga...

    Her House is a spooky mystery that never quite blooms the way it could due to its limited runtime.

    WRITTEN BY

    Benji Clifford and Christopher Thomson, who need to be hired by Big Finish like right now.

    PLOT

    The Doctor finds himself the lonely "guest" of a mysterious spirit with nothing, but a Ouija board and an earnest butler to keep him company.

    ANALYSIS

    Her House starts off exceptionally. Haunted houses are perhaps the most common of horror tropes and for a good reason: they conjure a chilling atmosphere so easily that it does half of the writers' work. Now all that's left is to come up with a compelling backstory behind the mysterious, foreboding events that occur.

    And to the writers' credit, they do come up with a perfectly reasonable answer for what's going on. But with only roughly 25 minutes to tell the story, it's like skipping from appetiser to dessert. We get a touch of foreboding, and the rest of the runtime is spent on the Doctor deducing the situation and resolving it with simple logic. As a result, it becomes more of a puzzle than a story. Which is a shame, because there's some very intriguing ideas in here.

    CHARACTERS

    We've had a season 5-esque story in Red Snow and we've had something sinister that could've been aired in season 4 with Freedom Of The Daleks. Now, Chris Thomson gets to delve into the more surreal and comical side of the Second Doctor a la season 6 with this story. As a prisoner, he's both flippant and indignant, prone to temper tantrums even. It's a refreshingly human response to the situation that I really enjoyed(I'd probably do the same).

    All I could really think of whilst listening to Joel Hunter's Clarence is just how young and earnest he sounded. It's especially strange when one considers what his identity turned out to be(won't spoil here), but I think it helped to give the character's desperate defense of his reality some extra poignancy, almost like a child defending a make-believe world.

    Their website doesn't specifiy who portrayed the House itself, but whoever it was, she was very well chosen. I'm not sure why anyone would (spoilers spoilers spoilers) program their ship with a child's voice, but it did suit both the emotionless computer and the controlling, ethereal spirit sides of the character.

    NOTES

    *In the last two stories, the theme tune was noticeably altered(presumably due to copyright issues), but here, it seems to be the exact original.

    *The sound effects for the house were awesome. Creaky wood and all that.

    *One thing I have to point out is that Joel Hunter's American accent, in true Doctor Who tradition, was terrible.

    *I love the use of Ouija boards in fiction, and it worked brilliantly as part of the plot here as well. There's just something magical about having the power to commune with the dead right at your fingertips.

    *Whose ship is this supposed to be anyway? If it's a time-space machine, it should be an advanced TARDIS, right?

    *Why does the ship (apparently) fall apart after the computer shuts down?

    *In the last story, the Doctor mentioned that it was the house that was preventing him from returning to Jamie and Victoria. But that doesn't make any sense considering that he only ended up there because his TARDIS was the closest time-space ship. Why would the house send him on random detours to Earth and the Thal spaceship?

    CONTINUITY ADVISOR

    The Doctor tells Clarence of an old hermit he met in the mountains of his home. The home is on Gallifrey and the hermit is of course Kan'po Rinpoche, whom we meet in Planet Of The Spiders.

    BEST QUOTE

    "Not all things can last forever. If they did, they wouldn't be special. They wouldn't be magical. Treasure it."

    CONCLUSION

    I guess it's not a bad thing to say that I desperately wanted more.


    "Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon." - The Sixth Doctor.

  2. #382
    Lieutenant Colonel rushy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going Through Doctor Who (Spoilers all Eps aired on BBC/BBCA)

    The Eaters Of Light is a tiresome runaround with many interesting ideas that deserved more care.

    WRITTEN BY

    Rona Munro, scribe of Doctor Who's final classic serial, Survival. One that I'm also very fond of.

    PLOT

    Bill drags the Doctor and Nardole to medieval Scotland to prove her conspiracy theory about the Roman Ninth Legion having disappeared due to other circumstances than death. There, they discover that the conflict between the Romans and the Scots has caused a portal to another dimension to open, releasing an utterly alien creature set to suck out all the light in the world.

    ANALYSIS

    How was this not good? You have Rona Munro, an historical mystery, a portal to an unknown dimension, Scotland, and some fantastic music! All things that I love and yet, all that this episode amounted to was people sitting in caves and waiting for the Doctor to figure out what's going on(which takes him longer than usual as he appears to not really give a crap).

    And when he does, then once again we have to see a bunch of thickos not listen to a word he says. Getting really tired of that trend in the Capaldi era. Basically, the plot was a mess, the eponymous creatures weren't very well defined(if they want light, why do they kill humans? Where do they even come from? What are they? Should they be killed?) and the ending made very little sense.

    Even the filler dialogue was mostly groanworthy, comprising of the Doctor making fun of the terrified children to their faces and the usual 21st century puns. Sigh.

    CHARACTERS

    Whilst the script does him no favours, Capaldi gives off a mysterious and caring vibe when he doesn't have to speak, particularly in the final scene with Missy. Doesn't he just have the most expressive face ever?

    Speaking of Missy, whilst her redemption arc has been VERY hackneyed and unexplained, Gomez herself has been incredibly good this year without the forced flippancy. I daresay she might actually be on the road towards being a decent Master. Shame she still has no iconic TV story of her own, though(I don't know about books or comics).

    Pearl Mackie's Bill sadly developed some Clara tendencies this episode, like a never-mentioned-before love for a specific part of history(okay, there was Amy and the Romans too, but that technically carried through in later episodes with Rory wearing the outfit), a need to prove the Doctor wrong and her complete inability to keep her mouth shut about certain things in the past(as if anyone would admit they're gay to a legionnaire or blab about lip-sync and telepathic fields).
    It doesn't hurt her likability, but... I've got my eye on you, writers.

    Nardole is... Nardole. He kind of reminds me of Turlough in the sense that you don't really get how or why he's there, and he appears to have no purpose in the series other than to react to every other line the Doctor says with an out of place comment.

    The acting of the guest stars was quite good, conveying a sense of not really knowing what to do, but being willing to face their destiny, particularly Rebecca Benson's Kar(who reminded me of Amy a lot).

    NOTES

    *How come the survivors on both sides are all children?

    *What happens when you go through the portal? From what I gather, one human can hold back the Eaters for about 60-70 years, but doesn't that just mean that eventually, they'll break through again?

    *Why do the legionnaires refer to themselves as centurions? That would be like privates calling themselves generals.

    *Whether the Doctor is hopeful or not, letting Missy do TARDIS maintenance is just... stupid.

    *The Doctor seemed to be surprisingly cheerful about the idea of spending eternity guarding the gate.

    *This is my mum's favourite Twelfth Doctor episode. Because Scotland(to be fair, the location filming is the best part).

    *What was the stuff with the talking crows about?

    CONTINUITY ADVISOR

    1) The Doctor excuses Missy's presence in the TARDIS by reminding his companions that she helped them escape Mars in Empress Of Mars? Oh yeah, why was the TARDIS malfunctioning and why did Missy think the Doctor was sick? That final scene appears to have been completely dropped. Come on, guys.

    2) Bill correctly guesses that the TARDIS telepathic field helps her understand the local languages. This was first revealed in The End of The World. Kind of late to bring that up, no?

    3) And as with pretty much every other episode this season, the Vault gets a mention. Because apparently fans have short term memories.

    BEST QUOTE

    "Does everybody hear that? Do you know what that sound was? That was the sound of my patience shattering into a billion little pieces!"

    CONCLUSION

    Whatever, John Simm is next.


    "Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon." - The Sixth Doctor.

  3. #383
    Lieutenant Colonel rushy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going Through Doctor Who (Spoilers all Eps aired on BBC/BBCA)

    World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls is baffling... did Steven Moffat really write a satisfying climax that pays off years of confused story arcs in a neat bow-tie, wrapped inside a heartwrenching, creepy and even educational tale?

    WRITTEN BY

    Steven bloody Moffat.

    PLOT

    To test Missy's resolve, the Doctor has her fill his role in a usual adventure that quickly turns out to be not so usual when Bill is shot and taken by the Cybermen to the depths of a trapped Mondasian colony ship, where her only friend is a grinning loon with a special interest in Missy...

    ANALYSIS

    Okay, so the episodes aren't perfect. But it must be pointed out just how damn good they are. You have the concept of a gigantic spaceship that's gradually time-dilated by increasing gravity from the black hole(how sci-fi is that?), you have the Mondasian Cybermen at their best, we get Missy's backstory(even the flying Cybermen and their ability to convert Time Lords gets filled in!), and we actually see all of our leads go through hell, not just wander around Gallifrey's basement like last season.

    It's a gripping pay-off to years of misguided plotting and lackluster characterisation. And dear lord, the fan service! Too much fan service, but so incredibly well done fan service that I can barely complain.

    Not only did it exceed my expectations a hundred times over, I'd actually call it one of the best Doctor Who stories since the show's return.

    CHARACTERS

    I felt a little let down by the Twelfth Doctor in this episode(not Peter Capaldi, he acted his socks off). He's still too passive for my liking: letting Bill get shot, fighting against regeneration for no clearly defined reason(there's a throwaway line about not wanting to be somebody different all the time) and worst of all, getting pretty much ignored by the Masters(comparing it to the fiery conflict between Tennant's Doctor and Simm's Master was hard).
    His speech about kindness, battle against the Cybermen and relationships with Nardole and Bill kept me going, but I just wish he was that much more proactive and one step ahead like the Doctor is in the best stories. Or if he's not, it should be more of a big deal a la Caves Of Androzani.

    Pearl Mackie was incredible as Bill Potts. She's of course naturally funny and charming, but there's none of that one tear "aww" face you got with Clara. When she bawls, she really goes at it. It tore my heart out when she thought the Doctor was dead.
    As for her departure with Heather, I can't really complain because I like Bill, and it's a neat callback to the first episode anyway. Clara was a much darker and untouchable character, therefore she should've had a depressing ending, but this fitted Bill's optimistic persona well, I think.

    I have always adored John Simm's incarnation of the Master. I don't think it's quite his best showing just because he wears Delgado-style clothes now as some seem to, but then again, the story isn't really about him this time around. His role is to validate Missy's redemption, which he does brilliantly.
    We get a big time reminder that the Master wasn't always flowers and sunshine like he/she has been throughout the Capaldi era, and the arc ends ever so appropriately with the character essentially euthanising himself to remove any chance of him turning good.

    Michelle Gomez has had a truly bizarre run as Missy, hasn't she? From the dreadful(Series 8) to flippant(Series 9) to... meh(Series 10). Apart from the s8 finale, she's hardly been a villain and that story was a steaming pile of dung anyway, so... I guess not counting the multi-Master story, her best appereance was in the s9 premiere? Now that's weird.
    Retroactively, it makes sense considering she represents the Master's desire to resume her original friendship with the Doctor, but
    A) Why her incarnation is obsessed with it is never explained.
    B) Simm's Master also displayed this desire in The End Of Time, more appropriately mixed in with his usual pride and insanity.
    It just about works thanks to the actors, but there's no ignoring the gaping hole in character progression.

    We must also discuss Matt Lucas as the future hacker/martial artist/cyborg/black marketeer/valet/Emperor of Constantinople Nardole, this presumably being his final story. It's pretty obvious that nobody had a clue what to do with him, and anyone hardly did. I liked him, but he always was a spare part.

    I am still unsure on how I feel about David Bradley.

    NOTES

    *The opening "Doctor who?" gag is one is one of the most gratuitous and drawn-out things you will ever see.

    *So we got 60s Cybermen, the 2006 Cybermen and the current ones. But where was David Banks?

    *Considering that Bill spent a decade in the hospital with mr. Razor, it's kind of odd that she didn't have a bigger reaction to finding out it was the Master all along.

    *Speaking of mr. Razor, I loved it. I didn't even notice it was Simm until my mum pointed it out when they were together(damn her perception). The performance reminded me a lot of Bela Lugosi's Igor in the Universal Frankenstein sequels.

    *So if the Cybermen are created from parallel evolution(explaining how they got to Telos after dying out in the early Troughton era), what was the point of having the colony ship come from Mondas? The ship's crew seem to have invented the Cybermen over the course of hundreds of years completely on their own.

    *Laser screwdriver!! Ah, it's the little things in life that keep you going.

    *Peter Davison and John Simm go through the exact same hair colors in the exact same order during their run on Doctor Who. At the end of Logopolis, Davison has brown hair, then for the rest of his era, he's blond. And finally in Time Crash, grey.

    *I guess I should mention that Bill's imagining he is not a Cyberman has already been done in Asylum Of The Daleks by Moffat. But it's a good, creepy idea that works equally well here, and also comes through Bill's strength rather than her terror as it did with Clara.

    *Simm putting on eyeliner and his hard-on for Missy were a bit much.

    *Rather endearingly, Simm's Master ties the Doctor onto a wheelchair again. What's that about?

    *I think I've seen Capaldi begin to regenerate more times than I've seen him use the sonic at this point.

    *The plot of the second episode was similar to Matt Smith's final story... except much better.

    *Maybe the secret to Doctor Who's success is hiring John Simm as much as possible, because all three of his stories have hit the nail on the head in my opinion.

    *I will accept Heather being able to travel anywhere she wants. At a stretch, she can pilot the TARDIS. But the offer to make Bill human again if she wanted seemed a step too far.

    *If the Cybermen are on a mercy mission, why do they send in all the versions intermixed instead of the Mondasians followed by the tougher ones once their plans change?

    *I kinda miss seeing the human eyes on the Mondasian Cybermen.

    *Also, they look too clean for my liking. The 1966 Cybermen had a dirty, unsanitary, uncaring look.

    *I was slightly miffed that we didn't get to see Simm's Master regenerate, but his departure scene was superb.

    CONTINUITY ADVISOR

    *breathes in*

    1) John Simm's Master returns, and we get a follow-up to what happened to him after The End Of Time, which does raise the question of what exactly happened on Gallifrey to get him booted and Rassilon regenerated?

    2) The original type of Cybermen return along with the 2006 versions, last seen in The Tenth Planet and Closing Time respectively. Lovely(and my mum did cheer for the Tennant versions, so I guess something for everyone).

    3) Whilst fighting the Cybermen, the Doctor recounts many of his previous victories over them, including Mondas, Telos, "Planet 14"(mentioned in The Invasion), Canary Wharf and Voga. It's not 100% percent necessary, but it does feel catharctic, so I'll give it a pass.

    4) What does not feel catharctic is the Doctor inexplicably quoting his other selves nonstop in the last episode. That got old fast, particularly in the last TARDIS scene("Sontarans perverting the course of human history!!... I don't want to go... when the Doctor was me...").

    5) The TARDIS returns to 1966 Antarctica(presumably) to allow the Twelfth Doctor to meet his distant predecessor.

    6) It's quite likely that the events of this story lead to Nightmare In Silver and Death In Heaven, where the Cybermen have developed the ability to fly, convert Time Lords and are led by Missy. Very clever, I think, and retroactively gives those stories more of a purpose.

    7) The Doctor offers Alit a jelly baby. Point-less.

    8) The spare dematerialisation circuit that Missy had looked exactly as it did in the Pertwee era(except smaller). I like it.

    9) The Doctor performs Venusian aikido on the blue guy at the start. Pffft.

    10) The flashback where all the companions are saying the Doctor's name is obviously inspired by Logopolis(whereas the camera shot of the Doctor lying down is based on The Tenth Planet), although why the 12th Doctor sees the RTD-era companions, I have no clue. And where was Rory? You can't tell me Madame Vastra was more of a companion than Rory or even Mickey. Or Wilf, for goodness' sake!

    BEST QUOTE

    "Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall." - The Doctor explaining his morality to the Masters.

    CONCLUSION

    Without hope, without witness and with the occasional reward, I am Moffat's fan.


    "Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon." - The Sixth Doctor.

  4. #384
    Lieutenant Colonel rushy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going Through Doctor Who (Spoilers all Eps aired on BBC/BBCA)

    Hey, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm not dead and I've decided to continue these reviews on my blog only.
    goingthroughdoctorwho.blogspot.com

    Thanks


    "Change, my dear. And it seems, not a moment too soon." - The Sixth Doctor.

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