Monday, March 12, 2007

My Incredibly Inaccurate Predictions: Father's Day to Boomtown!

107: D-Day
by Paul Cornell

Roots: The Stranglers' Golden Brown, Blackadder: Bells ("It's short for... Bob"), Back to the Future I, The X-Files (in particular Mulder's sister episodes), Buffy: Restless ("I know you... I knew you"), Red Dwarf's Tikka to Ride (the alternate history is recited almost verbatim).

Fluffs: Christopher Eccleston seemed a little preoccupied in this story.

"Don't you see, Rose? It is bad! Very bad! Really, really, really bad. It's really, really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY bad. It's really, really, really..."

"Regret is part of being alive. So, er... suicide's an option, I suppose."

Goofs: One of the church-goers bumps into a gravestone and visibly bites down a cry of pain.

The shadows caused by the Vanishers' ship change between shots.

Surely, Rose's own father would have noted her resemblance to his wife, at least!

The early scenes suggest Jackie is pregnant with Rose, but its made quite clear that Rose herself is three years old by this time! [The loan sharks don't keep up with Simon's family affairs and he can't be bothered to correct them].

Fashion Victims: As it's set in 1986, its presumably ironic.

Double Entendres: After Season 26, the Doctor's memory of events is very blurred - just the sort of thing Big Finish, Doctor Who Magazine and BBC Books want.

"Golden Brown
finer temptress
through the ages
she's heading west
goes far away
stays for a day
never a frown
with golden brown..." seems to suit this old TV show suspiciously well.

Dialogue Disasters:

"I'm the Doctor! I just don't DO that sort of thing!" The self-referentialism strikes again.

"That's why I came here! We can change it all for the better!" And so does the tedious moralizing.

"Does my bum look big in this?" And the awful pop culture references.

Dialogue Triumphs:
"Who is she?" "My mum." "Oh, that explains it." "What?" "Well, beauty does skip a generation, doesn't it?" "Are you saying my mum's ugly?" "No."

"The Vanishers vanish- er, disappeared."

"This is getting far too complicated." Not so much a triumph, more the fact that Paul McGann appears as the Eighth Doctor to say it!!

Links: Some time has passed since The Long Game, as returning Jack to his own time have run aground. Rose, Aliens of London, Museum Piece and the TV Movie are referenced. The Doctor admits the last thing he can clearly remember doing before meeting Rose was wandering around Perivale on a boring Sunday afternoon.

Untelevised Adventures: The Eighth Doctor encountered Adam at some point in 2005, not long before his regeneration - an encounter triggered by the events in this story. The Doctor once encountered the Vanishers during a 1000-year war, where they "vanished" a man who had developed a weapon that would win the war a decade early. He has seen an alternative Earth ruined by nuclear war as an end result of JFK surviving that trip to Dallas.

Intertextuality: "I tried being human once. I didn't like it" presumably refers to the author's own Human Nature, as do references to the Singapore Hilton (Seasons of Fear), the Scourge (Shadow of the Scourge) and the Shalka [though how that is supposed to fit in, I have no idea.] The opening scene has the Doctor relating the Mary Shelly/Lord Byron story the Eighth Doctor can't seem to shut up about (Shada/Storm Warning/Neverland/Zagreus).

Roselyn Tyler was born to Jacqueline and Simon Tyler on June 13, 1980. It is implied there was something of a shotgun wedding. She was christened in Saint Christopher's church on Pepys Avenue. Her third birthday fell on Friday 13, the day her father disappeared and later presumed dead. Instead, Simon was kidnapped by Adam using Dalek technology. Jackie pretended he died in a car crash, and his unsavory loan shark acquaintence acted as a witness.

The Ninth Doctor erroneously believes the Vanishers (a race of temporal assassins who remove 'abberants' from the established timeline) were after Simon, but were in fact drawn here in order to kill the Eighth Doctor.

The regeneration between Eighth and Ninth was physically smooth but triggered a surprising amount of amnesia, with the Ninth Doctor barely remembering anything post-Survival.

Simon's favorite song was the Stranglers' Golden Brown, and Rose feels very depressed whenever she hears it. Oddly enough, despite clearly not coming from the 20th century, Jack knows the words and has no trouble singing the song.

Location: Thornhill, near Southhampton, June 1986.

The Bottom Line: "We can't see the final pattern. But then again, who said we were supposed to?"
Like The Long Game, the subplot of missing adventures and unanswered questions drawns the fans in more than the casual audience. However, the main plot with Rose meeting her father is enough to tug at the heartstrings, and there is a nice spiky relationship developing with Captain Jack. A certain Stranglers' song is now indelibly etched into Who mythos. Replacing the ending theme with it may have been a step too far, but PAUL BLOODY McGANN IS IN IT!

108: The Empty Child
1: The Empty Child2: The Doctor Dances
by Stephen Moffat

Roots: Zombie flicks, including Shaun of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Foyles War, Goodnight Sweetheard ("Doctor Sparrow. Garry Sparrow").

Fluffs: Christopher Eccleston seemed a bit wartorn in this story.

"You can wait for inspiration till the cows come home. Just what is it about procrastination that attracts beef, anyway?"

Not sure if the head zombie is supposed to sound like that or is just a crap actor.

"Oh, dear god that is DISGUSTING!" screams Jack. I guess they left it in for the passion.

Goofs: One of the zombie can be seen smoking a cigarette during the mass exodus of the hospital.

If the TARDIS is full of nanites that can repair body tissue perfectly... how come the Doctor ever regenerates? How come people die inside it?? [The Doctor finally got round to fixing that TARDIS circuit. It'll break down any episode, mark my words]

We're supposed to believe that the 1000-year old Time Lord has never learnt how to dance? [Another side-effect of the Doctor's regeneration, but he's simplifying things]

Technobabble: Polarities reversed, zectronic beams controlled, and the Empty Virus is ultimately defined as a self-replicating inert program of genetic re-engineering.

Fashion Victims: "Oh, Rose? Like the shirt." Good, because I doubt anyone else does.

Double Entendres: "Doctor - Who... am I to argue with history?" Yes, yes, very clever.

Dialogue Disasters:
"Twenty years to pop music - you're gonna love it!!!" He means "rock", surely?

Dialogue Triumphs: Most of the story, really.
"Right you lot, lots to do - beat the Germans, save the world and dont forget the welfare state!"
"You sold us out to the Nazis??" "I can explain this - yes I did."

Jack on Rose: "She has a brighter side. Unfortunately, this is it."

"We shall have to act quickly to save the universe!" "Of course we will. It's Tuesday lunchtime."

"He's completely ruthless!" "Impossible, he must have SOME ruth left in him!"

"Geocomtex Ltd. Extremely Ltd."

"There's never a policeman when you need one." "A policeman can't help us!" "No, but I'm sure he could sacrifice himself nobly while we run for our miserable lives."

Oh, sod it. Just watch the damn thing.

Links: Jack and Adam's actions link up this story to The Long Game and D-Day quite a bit.

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor once got caught on the front lines of WW1 and discovered an alien force was feeding on the death and destruction - and was mightily depressed when he found out that the alien had nothing to do with the kamikaze tactics of the Big Push.

He also encountered a primitive teleport that 'destroyed the souls' of those who used it, and the homicidal maniacs thus created were dubbed "Empty Men" by the locals.

"Don't tell me, my certain death is now certain?" is a cunning reference to The Curse of Fatal Death. If only we could make it canon. The Doctor mentions Nazi fetishes for Cyber-technology, linking up with the unmade story/BBC book Illegal Alien. There are also a few nods to time-traveling comedy Goodnight Sweetheart. Timewyrm: Exodus seems to be mentioned.

The last survivor of the Dalek duplicate program, Adam used a time machine and fled back to the start of the 20th century to begin the xeno-tech business German Elite Order Technologies (or Geotech, later adding "com" during the creation of the internet). His plan was to have an organization strong enough to locate the suriving Dalek unit and reactivate the asteroid belt Dalek factory. One of his workers, Jack Hackness, stole Adam's time machine, only to be captured by the Moxx of Balhoon. Adam managed to follow him [perhaps hiding inside the capsule??] and, realizing that the Doctor would probably screw things up, went to 2005 and met up with the Eighth Doctor and presumably killed him.

During WW2, Geotech was bought out by the Third Riech and used an alien nano-virus to convert the infected dead into possible storm troopers. Adam managed to keep the alien side of things quiet by holding mock satanic rituals to summon the forces of darkness. It is not clear if the Adam in this story is the version we met in 1986 or a 'younger' model, but he recognizes the TARDIS for what it is right away. He knows how to break in, but the TARDIS not only has a force-field to repel unwanted visitors, it can reduce itself to an ordinary police box apparently at will.

The Doctor doesn't like dancing, as mainly it seems to involve his human companions trading him for someone who KNOWS how to dance, then falling in love with them and staying behind (although he jokes about this, he is clearly anxious that Rose might follow the same course). His "leather" jacket is in fact a synthesized "dragon cloak" he picked up somewhere [stay tuned].

Location: In and around Albion Hospital, England, 1930.

The Bottom Line: "Everybody lives Rose, everybody lives - just this once."
A fantastic and very scary story, the mulitple story-strands of The Empty Child dovetail together beautifully. The ongoing Geocomtex arc is explained, and Captain Jack departs temporarily, leaving the option open for a fully-fledged Dalek war... in 2006. A set text of the Ninth Doctor and 21st century Doctor Who in general.

109: Boomtown
by Russell T Davies

Roots: Jonathon Creek (The Gorgon's Wood), various serial killer stories, in particular Jack the Ripper, the works of Tanith Lee, Sapphire & Steel (the Railway Station), the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Nightmares, the TV series Boomtown (in which several views of the same incident are related), the fable of the Dog with Two Bones, the Doctor mentions crossing the Rubicon.

Fluffs: Christopher Eccleston seemed to think he was in Roshamon for this story.

"Yes, I knew Silver Chair before they were big. They were known as Magician's Nephew originally. Something of a C.S. Lewis fetish, apparently."

Goofs: The Doctor's blind insistence that Adam's time capsule was heading for 2006 is a bit suspect, especially when the alternative reasons (the half-desire to return Rose home and Rose's own desire to see her family) would have done.

A Dalek can be spotted in the replication generator BEFORE Adam activates it.

A certain fan (naming no names) can be spotted taking a photo via a mobile phone in the background.

Surely the Daleks wouldn't have been able to recreate an entire battle fleet complete with flagships in the day the story takes place? [There is more than one factory in the asteroid belt, but Adam is concerned with the one that controls all the others]

Technobabble: The destruction of Geocomtex triggers a pre-programmed subspace disturbance on both Earth and the Dalek factory, creating a hyperspatial vortex in real time. Or, for Mickey, it opens a door to hell and lets the worst thing imaginable out again.

Fashion Victims: Adam's choice of demonic-cloak covered in Dalek pictagrams. WHAT?!?

Double Entendres:
"We're running out of time to make a good impression, Rose."
"I'm saving the Daleks for a big finale."
Mickey's innuendo-laden inquisition about just what the Doctor and Rose do in between saving the world. How vulgar. He'll be asking what Holmes and Watson did on their days off next.

Dialogue Disasters:
Mickey ain't so fine: "It's him again, isn't it? It's the Doctor. It's always about the Doctor, isn't it? It's never about me!" Jesus, I thought Adric whining was bad enough...

"Autons, Daleks, Cybermen, the Master... I'm running out of old foes to annoy."

Dialogue Triumphs:
Rose and Mickey discuss the threat they face - "What are Daleks?" "What's the worst thing you can imagine?" "Autons? Slythereen? Your mum hungover..." "No, Mickey. The Daleks ARE the worst thing you can imagine..."

"What have I got to worry about, Doctor? You'll look after me." "Others have made that mistake, Rose. No need for you to join their ranks."

"Mickey, your distrust of my intentions bites me like an old cynic." "Is that bad?" "No. Old cynics rarely have any teeth."

Links: Pretty much every story of the season gets referenced.

Untelevised References: The Doctor and Rose were diverted to a nameless planet run by vampires en route to London. Rose's prejudice towards vampires got them into a lot of trouble - and the Doctor is curiously anxious to avoid discussing their adventure.

Intertextuality: Doctor Who Versus Scratchman is obliquely referenced, and the Doctor's "We haven't met before, have we?" might refer to the Time Lord/Scarecrows that executed the Second Doctor in the TV Comic "The Night Walkers".

When Adam returned to the Dalek factory in the asteroid belt, he immediately sent the time capsule back to Earth, leading the Doctor a false trail. While he began building the Dalek army, he activated a battalian of Cybermen drones Geocomtex had converted into scarecrows [presumably to sell to rich farmers?]. These versions are immune to gold, but are vulnerable to ultra-random frequencies because of their Geocomtex adaptations. These Cybermen are very ghoulish and can increase their strength by draining blood and nueral matter from their victims.

The England Geocomtex offices are destroyed in this story when the Doctor sabotages a Cyber-drone and uses its self-destruct capability. However, its destruction caused a pre-programmed wormhole to link the remains of the building with the Dalek factory.

The re-designed Daleks are emerald green, without eye-stalks or manipulator arms but instead hidden hatches contain a multitude of electrified cables. They float around and are lead by a larger golden Dalek. Their bodies glow when they talk. The Daleks are prepared for combat and swarm through London in approximately five minutes.

At the end of the story, a field of energy consumes the Doctor, Rose, Jackie, Mickey and Adam before the Daleks can execute them.

Location: London, 2006.

The Bottom Line: "Prepare for extermination!"
A stunning cliffhanger into the finale of the season, and the briefest glimpse of the long awaited Dalek/Cyberman conflict not to mention the unvieling of the Ultimate Generation of Daleks make this compulsary viewing. For those who know of The Dalek Invasion Earth, it makes the apparent devastation of humanity all the more chilling. Coupled with the multiple viewpoints of the invasion and starting in media res, this is the most explosive and experimental story since Ghost Light. Essential viewing.

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