Monday, April 28, 2008

Doctor Who - Playing Soldiers


Hey, babe, take a chance with me,
I'll take you down the river tonight!
A full moon with a big wolf too?
The end won't be a pretty sight!

If I were to live forever
I'd hope you'd apply the coup de grace!
And then we seeking something
We need the coup de grace!

Oh lord, I'm on my knees!
Saaaaaaaay-haaaaaaaaa-veeee ouuuuuuur soooo-uuuls!
Or it's the coup de grace!
Saaaaaaaay-haaaaaaaaa-veeee ouuuuuuur soooo-uuuls!
I really mean it now!
Saaaaaaaay-haaaaaaaaa-veeee ouuuuuuur soooo-uuuls!
And it's the coup de grace!
Saaaaaaaay-haaaaaaaaa-veeee ouuuuuuur soooo-uuuls!

It's easy pigeonhole writers as odd as the characters and stories they write. When the name "Eric Saward" is said, it's almost instinctive to visualize an overweight miserable bastard sitting at the type writer not doing work but throwing darts at a poster of JNT. "Nicholas Briggs" conjurs up a wild-eyed bald guy shrieking into a voice modulator as he writes and edits scripts, maybe with more than one pair of hands like some strange Indian god. "Chris Chibnall" is either a sweaty adolescent who won't take his hands out of his pockets or some strange sunglasses-leather-clad Matrix extra who does his work without saying a word. "Steve Moffat" is, well, Jeff Murdoch with a sinister gleam in his eyes. I'm not sure about Robert Holmes, though, as I see him splitting like an amoeba into Avon and Vila as they write scripts.

"So the Doctor picks up the rifle and but, you see old chum, he's actually shooting at the assassin."
"You're a fool, Vila. Better he shoots the President,
claims he was shooting at the assassin and has to prove it."
"How's he going to do that? He's on trial for his life."
"He'll get off on a technicality."
"That's brilliant, Avon! Absolutely brilliant! It'll never work, though."
"It doesn't have to, there are still two episodes to go."

As for Helen Raynor, well, the impression there is of a Jo Grant type klutz, judging by her going ALL the way to America to study 1930s architecture, politics, history and then boiling it down to a couple of characters saying jobs are too scarce for anyone to cause trouble. It's like she put so much effort into the script, then... handed in the wrong one. If you get the Season 3 box set, check out the deleted scenes from her Dalek story. It's like they removed the most important parts of it; the admittedly length scene in the TARDIS where the Doctor and Martha confront the fact he intends to take her home and travel on alone, but handles the character arc so much better than what is effectively Martha bitching that the Doctor is still hung up on Rose. Similarly, Tallulah's "meh" reaction to losing Lazlo in that same sequence is rubbish compared to the cut sequence where they return to Hooverville and Tallulah bitches about EVERY damn thing from getting mud in her shoes to leaves in her hair before breaking down under this displacement anxiety. This scene also has Solomon greeting Frank, you know, the boy he left for dead...

Basically, the uncut version of Daleks in Manhatten is far superior to the 'cut to the chase' dumbed down version televised. But there are STILL incredibly dodgy plot devices. Even ASIDE the retarded idea that solar flares turn into lightning that absorbs and transmits DNA, and DNA contains "freedom", we have the nonsense idea of the Pig Slaves and Lazlo. Just THINK about it. How the hell did Lazlo escape? Why did he not get turned into a full pig? WHY THE HELL ARE THEY TURNING PEOPLE INTO PIGS ANYWAY? RTD wanted a story where Daleks were capturing pigs and turning them into people, not the other way round.

Ghost Machine and To The Last Man suffer from similar issues. In both, the first three quarters are - at worst - acceptible, with a Torchwood member getting too attached to a historical figure to the point it clouds their judgement. But the plot won't stretch the extra ten minutes. In the former, we suddenly have a completely pointless "fight the future" idea - which could have worked just as well as Jack trying to stop Owen without any foresight saga - and the latter we have a stupid problem (no one explains how the time thing works) and an even STUPIDER solution: Tosh uses DNA to become a ghost and travel through time. Raynor clearly has the talent to act as a script editor, polishing dialogue, coming up with some nice set pieces, but full episodes?! No, no good there. Give her a shopping list, she messes it up, leave her alone, she panics.

Now, I would love for nothing more than my ass to be handed to me with The Sontaran Stratagem - to get two episodes of ass-kicking Sontaran action worthy of the clone bastards, and proof she's just had a bad break. Chibnall managed it, so why not her? Hell, she puts more effort into it than PJ Hammond, surely!

But somehow that 'simplified' feeling oozes from every frame, even in the opening sequence where a Journalist Who Knows Too Much is thrown out of a college by the owner who phones a Sontaran and suggests they kill said Journalist Who Knows Too Much. And the Sontarans (unseen of course, since we're supposed to have Spoiler Amnesia, that odd phenomenon that means we're surprised at the monsters despite them being in the title, the trailers, the magazine, the news, etc.) carry this out with their usual subtlety by...

...making her car drive itself into the river.


Why is this sequence feel so... childish? Is the way the characters don't have conversations, but exposit in a manner with enough characterization in it so it doesn't appear they exist only to convey information to the audience? Having seen everything with the Journalist Who Knows Too Much... I still know nothing about her. She's a journalist, she's angry, and she has a connection to UNIT. And she is part oriental, judging by her eyes, giving her a kind of 'identikit' like face. But that's it. Even Rattigan, the American clever teenage bastard, is only given another dimension through his possessions in his room and 'Cold blooded murder? Neat!' acting. On paper, these characters are wallpaper. So maybe it's the blunt, relaxed direction that seems designed to remove any kind of passion or tension from the scene?

Or is it the incredibly retarded idea of the Ultimate Warriors of the Universe building GPS systems for cars... that are EVIL?!? All three episodes before hand were, in comparison, gritty and hardhitting - or at least washed over us. This, like ALL of Raynor's work, feels like there's a layer of plastic stopping all the stuff reaching the audience. It's too obviously a TV show. {Damn, I wish I was Lawrence Miles for that paragraph. He'd at least be able to explain what was wrong with it before going off on a tangent.} However, it seems that it's someone BEHIND the camera, not in front of it, that causes this bland, uninvolving vibe. Maybe when they're coupled with Raynor's less-than-nuanced script, they combine into truly tasteless television. And not in a "eew, gross" sort of tasteless. Bland, tasteless tasteless.

Suffice it to say, this K factor (not the X factor, which is inherently good, but the K factor - spot the D-Gen reference), is going to be one hell of a downer when it comes to my final score.

An aside: does anyone else like it when the title sequence actually fits into the narrative? For example, in The Unquiet Dead, Father's Day, the Children in Need specials, New Earth, Tooth and Claw, Girl in The Fireplace, Rise of the Cybermen, Idiot's Lantern, Fear Her, Army of Ghosts, The Shakespeare Code, Gridlock, Daleks in Manhatten, Utopia (kinda) and Planet of Ood, the sight of the TARDIS lurching through the vortex is pretty much a lengthy establishing shot, as we then cut to the console room or else the police box appearing somewhere. This week does the same thing as the pre-credits end with the Doctor changing course and the title sequence ends with it arrive at its destination.

Which destination is this? Why, Earth of course in the heady year of 2009. Martha Jones as - as promised in Last of the Time Lords - phoned the Doctor and the Doctor - as promised in Last of the Time Lords - has come running. However, it's fair to say he's not been looking forward to meeting Martha again, as he's downright anxious as he creeps from the TARDIS as it arrives at their rendezvous. Is he worried she might not still be friends with him after he completely ruined her life? Is he worried her mother, Bullcrusher Jones, may also be present? Is it just that this goes against his 'closure' rule?

Well, Martha is the same Grown Up Lady we saw in Torchwood 2 (wow, it might actually be canonical this year), and it has a very different effect. In Torchwood, she was the professional showing up the regulars for the useless-if-well-meaning twats they were, but here is very much a case of 'you used to be a lot more fun'. Having steeled himself against some kind of outcome, the Doctor is shocked when what he fully expects to be School Reunion 2: Spartha Jones and Donna Kebab Fight To The Death actually... is a dull, polite affair. The audience, braced for the biggest bitch fight since Charley used the immortal words, "WHO... IS SHE?!?!" relax. Donna wouldn't waste her breath on being jealous of the Doctor, and Martha has got over him. Like "Martha, why are you wearing that ring? Is it a human thing?" got over him. He is then humiliated as Donna explains purpose of said ring. It's quite like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in the respects the hero returns to find no one really missed him and the heroine is engaged, except in Torchwood there was a subtext of "Dear God, how sad and pathetic ARE you, Gwen?". Here it is, "Hah! The Doctor never thought Martha would use her incredible strength of will to get over her crush, and now feels lower than when she walked out!" Finding out that niether of his fiesty companions consider him worth fighting for is a bit of a kick in the bollocks for the Doctor too, and he'd starting to think Donna is getting tired of travelling with him as well. It seems the Doctor's crisis of confidence arc - while still being played mostly for laughs - is a big thing this year.

(Oh, and Martha's engaged to Tom Milligan, the bloke she fancied in The Last of the Time Lords. Exactly how they got together since she only really knew a emotionally-scarred suicidal version of him who died then ceased to have ever existed is kind of glossed over. But even Martha notes she might be transferring a bit engaging a doctor who restlessly travels the world helping people...)

Yet, while part of me welcomes this surprisingly mature and not so freaking obvious approach to multiple companion get togethers, it has to be said a bitch fight betwixt Donna and Martha would give a bit of a spark to proceedings. Instead Freema Agyeman gets to do her Esme act - her cancelled-at-the-last minute role of hardcore military preacher in Rise of the Cyberman. Basically, Martha turns into cold-eyed soldier shouting orders into her walkie talkie. However, this isn't so much bad characterization as rather good, especially as she appears more comfortable in her "Go go go!" persona than the one who embraces the Doctor in the first scene. Once again, if you haven't seen her eps in Torchwood, this little volte face might give you whiplash but judging by the reactions of the Doctor and Donna, it's supposed to.

For dear Martha Jones is in UNIT - aka Unified Intelligence Taskforce, as they bizarrely shout at each other when giving orders - cementing her role as the New Brigadier, but there's a caucasian twit in uniform to cover anything they've missed. Martha has brought the Doctor to the ATMOS factory as her red-beret troops storm the area and raid it for illegal aliens. And UNIT aiming sub machine guns at unarmed factory hands is certainly harsher than expected, giving another inch to Torchwood canonicity - Jack's gang may be heartbreakingly pathetic, but they're a lot friender than these blokes who are a uniform change away from being Servalan's shock troopers. The Ninth Doctor was only too happy to check out his old personal army, the Tenth is wishing he'd hung up on Martha and stayed on giving Donna driving lessons; as shown by him not realizing that UNIT actually wanted his expertise - he doesn't think of himself as one of the gang any more. Donna, for her part, shows what Ace COULD have done in Battlefield, instead of just having a stroppy tantrum that the Brigadier calls her "miss". UNIT are the ones getting all the funding and support Torchwood Three wishes it had, but their defense of "Home World Security" is getting uncomfortably fascisitic. Martha, like Jack, is smart enough to see this and her immersion in the military is about changing it from the inside. But we all know how good intentions pave the road to hell...

All in all, this is a great idea, knackered slightly by the poor "it was in the 70s... or was it 80s?" gag. Yeah, Lawrence Miles can bitch, just this once, coz he did that joke first. And funnier.

Just what is ATMOS? Well, first off, I'd like to mark my appreciation at the fact that the taxi in Partners in Crime has an ATMOS sticker, even though it's not really a plot point or foreshadowing. Not like Rose. It's that ATMOS is so widespread in 2009, it would be ridiculous there is no sign of it when the Doctor visits that particular year. ATMOS is a special system fitted to cars dead cheap - a combined GPS system that somehow stops the cars making any kind of pollution or carbon footprint. So, just off the top of my head, the fact that numerous people have died of some unspecified poison when using such ATMOS-fitted cars MIGHT JUST be down to the system pumping car fumes or somesuch into the car.

However, why the Sontarans used this "invisible poison" routine to such a scale UNIT notices, but the relatively cleverer 'force them to crash' method on the Journalist Who Knew Too Much escapes me. Did they think car crashes would be less explicable than invisible poisons? If, as it appears, they're laying a trap for UNIT, why not be more freaking obvious and use both? This might be explained in due course, so I'll let this go for now. Oh wait, that IS explained. My bad. I'm also conflicted about the yobbo UNIT troops who, when investigating a possible alien base, don't really notice the strange hypnotized demeanor of the zombie workers guarding an area of the base not on the official maps - either UNIT has lowered its extrance qualifications now everyone knows about aliens or else someone assumed UNIT troops would be pig ignorant bully boys. I'm honestly not sure if either explanation is inherently problematic. Hell, the yobbo is downright compassionate to the first blobby alien he meets...

The ATMOS factory IS, believe it or not, a base for aliens. Sontarans, in fact, if that's not too spoilery. Why there is a Cyber conversion unit in their (floridly lit in neon pink, green and blue) main lab I don't know. If I thought Torchwood 1 was canonical, I might joke the potato heads bought it off Ianto when he had a garage sale. And why the creature in their ominous tank of green slime looks just like an Auton from Terror escapes me as well. Cybermen, Sontarans, Autons... this is my spoof of The Doomsday Signal! DAMN YOU, RTD! DAMN YOU ALL THE WAY TO SWANSEA!

As for Chris Ryan as Staal. Well. The good news is... he looks like a Sontaran. A proper Sontaran. I dunno how it happens, but those redesigned costumes seem to work on camera. Especially the face, much better than the carnival mask shown elsewhere on this blog, though there is a touch of Vogon when seen in profile. It seems that the production team are reading the novelizations - which always have Sontarans taking off their helmets to reveal "a face from a nightmare". Pretty much everyone seems to freak out at the head beneath the helmet (except the Doctor, natch), as if in atavistic terror. Getting actual SHORT people to play Sontarans is novel too. They always seemed so freaking huge. And Staal's dialogue is appropriately Sontaran as well. You can imagine Lynx saying similar things in his thoughtful mood - except maybe the casual sexism about "womenfolk". But Ryan's voice is absolutely the same as Lord Kiv's, and the fact he's a very chatty Sontaran makes it look like the Mentor's in fancy dress. So, despite all odds, it just manages to work. The other Sontaran who talks is pitch perfect though, though he DOES have the carnival mask shown elsewhere in this blog. Oh well. And I have to mention this, my favorite bit:

"There is an enemy of the Sontarans known as the Doctor, a face-changer. Legend says he lead the battle in the Last Great Time War. The finest war in history. And we weren't allowed to be part of it... Oh, but this is excellent! The Last of the Time Lords will die at the hands of the Sontaran Empire in the ruins of his precious Earth!"

The Maori-style haka of "Sontar-hah!" is not so good.

As for the other main baddy, Rattigan, the lost fourth member of the Troika from Buffy... I like him. There's a touch of Nigel Verkoff about him (or maybe that's just the way the story contrives to have Martha naked and covered in slime at one point?), and the Doctor's "irritating childish babble" is perfect for when he tries to fight back with his own "irritiating childish babble", and ends up trumped. Hell, if he wasn't obviously evil, Rattigan could be a decent companion, moreso than Adam ever was since he actually convinces as in any way a genius. Benton replacement Ross also works well with the Doctor, so well in fact he has DEAD MEAT tatooed on his forehead.

Meanwhile, it's Aliens of London time as Donna checks up on her family after her whistlestop tour of time and space. Wilf rocks. Nothing more need be said, as his total acceptance of Donna travelling with the Doctor as long as she's sure she knows what he's doing. Sylvia is not the utter scum of Partners in Crime, but she's still not particularly nice to her own daughter and her bigging up her own observation skills while completely missing the fact her daughter has vanished off the face of the Earth for a week... well, she deserves to be kept in the dark. The companion having her granddad as a confidant is like something you'd expect from a much younger companion, but instead they've given it to the eldest - well, I ASSUME Tait is the oldest woman companion on the show, at least since the relaunch. And the scene where the Doctor meets Sylvia and Wilf - for them both to recognize him, much to their mutual embarassment, ALMOST balances out the frankly dull plot point where the Doctor finds out the hidden alien booby trap by activating it before the mass-activation by nasty aliens. Wow, that hasn't happened since... Partners in Crime? Reset? Invasion of the Bane? Sleeper? The Lost Boy? Forget worldwide distribution of death machines, THIS is a cliche!

All in all, I have to say The Sontaran Stratagem impressed me. While Raynor still has that irritating habit of boiling everything down to people expositing at each other, she is at least coming up with interesting things to exposit about. A classic sign is Martha telling Donna about how the Doctor unwittingly destroyed her family - big, important... and word by word ripped off RTD in various interviews and outlines. The Doctor's attitude to General Mace is well played, especially when he starts giving attitude back, but it repeatedly decays to "you wear a gun, you are therefore nasty until proved otherwise". Didn't Jack teach him anything? Or, if it is just culture shock to big bad UNIT (which is fair enough), a touch more subtlety would be nicer. For example, Donna walking down her home street thinking about what she's experienced so far could easily be done WITHOUT the flashbacks. Say what you like about Doomsday, it credited us with enough braincells to remember who Mickey and Pete were without their youtube character summaries flashed up on screen. And if she's in such a contemplative mood, why doesn't she remember The Runaway Bride?!

So, given the nightmare I anticipated, it worked. A mark off for the 'kids only' direction, though. The Sarah Jane Adventures are harsher and grittier than this. And cliffhanger goes way, way, WAY too long. Followed by the side-swipe of the logo, before cutting to the closing credits. Someone forgot to reedit the trailer properly. It looks SHIT! And, seriously, why doesn't the Doctor use the sonic screwdriver to break the windows of evil possessed cars? Sweet Jesus.

Oh, and the new title sequence doesn't work. "AND FREEMA AGYEMAN" just looks stupid.


(7/10 if directed by someone halfway competent)


A week has passed; passions have cooled and all in all I find myself like The Sontaran Strategem a lot more than I did. Only three things really strike against it (bar the writer, obviously) - Martha's story of joining UNIT doesn't square which what she said in Torchwood; the gormless tit playing General Mace; and how the hell does the ATMOS thing fill Wilf's car full of poison gas after the Doctor has physically removed it from the car and THEN knackered it?

And a brief digression onto Deadlock Seals. This really has gotten silly. They were first introduced in The Parting of the Ways to foreshadow the fact Satellite Five was built by Daleks who knew someone with a sonic screwdriver might tamper with it. In School Reunion, the Krillitanes added them to their computers for exactly the same reason. But then in Season 3 it seems everyone has the bloody things, from cruise ships to run down cargo freighters to soft drink factories... what was once the preserve of Higher Evolutionaries like the Time Lords, the Daleks and the Krillitanes to deliberately stop sonic screwdrivers is now anything you can get from Mitre 10. OK, the Sontarans are probably tech-savvy to use them, but why? They're not expecting anyone on Earth to get the better of them, and aren't even expecting the Doctor to have survived the war...

The big problem is it's made clear that while Deadlock Seals are immune to the sonic screwdriver, they aren't immune to many other things. Like brute force. Or Jack's wrist manipulator gadget. Why the Doctor hasn't built a second screwdriver that works ONLY on Deadlock Seals, I just don't know. Is it THAT difficult to mug a Time Agent? What's more, the script has a much more interesting plot device to stop the Doctor easily saving the day - the evil cloned UNIT traitor!

I only hope that the Doctor's "stand in the middle of the road freaking out" act, perfected at the end of Utopia, is down to his continuing confidence issues thankfully played down by the last two episodes, rather than a lack of ideas. When even Sylvia "Die Already!" Noble can work out a logical solution to a locked car filling with exhaust fumes - break the windows - it is a buzz kill that your childhood hero didn't even THINK of it. This, coupled with the extended-beyond-credibility cliffhanger, is a big failing of the overall story. Hell, even Bernard and Manny at their drunkest would have been more competent and pro-active! Mind you, he instantly twigs about the evil clone given half a chance, in a lovely moment which at first seems to be a direct uncanonizing of the Pertwee era, but is actually a bluff! And to make sure we get that, the Doctor wishes the Brigadier ('Sir Alistair') was around to help. Of course, it strikes me now that a situation involving UNIT and Sontarans would definitely freak out the Doctor, since the last time he was in a war zone he made his own species extinct, a rather big difference between the Classic Doctor and the New one. The 'I don't like guns' could really be done a lot more subtle though.

Of course, the main thrust of the cliffhanger with the Earth's atmosphere turning to car exhaust, still kind of works - especially as it's absolutely, abdundantly, no hesitatingly stated that everyone knows about aliens. Therefore, devastating most of humanity is the next logical step in separating Doctor Who Earth from out own. While I was slightly taken aback at seeing Circular Quay lost in smog, how did anyone tell the difference in Manhatten? And do they get good old Mal Loup to show the international face of disaster like the last three times? Well, yes, but they also get Kirsty Wauk to do it. And good god she's ugly. Dead Ringers once again leaves us with a parody far more interesting and aesthetically pleasing than the genuine article. Damnit. Still, UNIT deciding to lead the fight against the latest alien menace feels appropriate too - after three series of Slitheen, Daleks, Cybermen and the Master pushing humanity around, they were bound to snap sooner or later. How appropriate that official contact is not "We come in peace" but "BRING IT ON!!"

Of course, with all brand new cars pumping out lethal fumes, the Doctor and Donna must use something antiquated, sans ATMOS, and visually ridiculous... a cab. Not Bessie. OK, maybe a bit fanwanky but makes more sense than a cab. What kind of logic decides that when we first see the ATMOS logo, it's on a cab, then a cab is the one car that WON'T have it?! And why, in a scene nicked from Planet of Evil when the TARDIS is teleported elsewhere, does its light flash? Come to think of it, why nick sound effects from Blake's 7 to use a teleport, but NOT the sound effects for the Blake's 7 teleport? If Big Finish can manage it, even without the "budabadudababump", surely the BBC can? Or has Sky's revival got in the way?

While Sylvia and Wilf are forced to seal themselves inside the house (surprisingly effective that, especially as I'd be stuffed in such a situation - with all my cats and dogs, hermetically sealing the house is impssible), Rattigan goes postal and rants his Space Nazi dreams and scheduling breeding program to his doubting followers (one of which I swear is Arj Barker), in a sequence reminiscent but more heartbreakingly pathetic than one with Dennis Lawson in Jekyll. Yep, Adric was never this bad, even when Saward was bored shitless. Oh, it's sad as everyone calls him a nutter and leaves him alone, stamping his foot - and his speech started so well with him chanelling Kieth Allan's Black Knight speeches.

And... oh my. I didn't notice that before... he really should check the answer machine more often...

Smacked back into reality by Sylvia's bitch of the week: with humanity left only hours to live, Sylvia responds to Donna's promise to help sort it out with, "Oh, what would YOU know?!" For fuck's sake! Is there ANY redeeming feature to this woman? She doesn't even care what her only daughter is up to during the apocalypse! Even Chrissy Thickaspigshit-Jackson managed THAT! Far more sympathetic but no less frustrating is UNIT, who decide their emotionally-vulnerable scientific advisor is no longer worth his weight in gold and decide to go nuclear on the Sontarans' collective cloned tinfoil-coated arses with the entire planet's arsenel while simulteanously attacking their planetary base with the Valiant.

As you can imagine, for our Toad Face guest stars, all their Christmases just came at once...

There are plenty of brilliant moments in this ep, this story even, and the sight of the entire Earth burning is but one of them. The scenes with Donna alone surrounded by Sontarans are a corker - suddenly it actually feels dangerous and important rather than the plastic runaround. Does Raynor need time to reach critical mass? The "Are You My Mummy" gag wasn't bad either, followed by the impressive sequence where UNIT show they're not the amateurs of the Pertwee era and have been capable of defending Earth while he is away (mind you, they seem to be starting to fall under the Torchwood self-shaggability spell...). And the slightly flirty convo between Donna and Martha raises a smile too, while their reactions to the Doctor's amazing survival made me laugh out aloud. The cliffhanger ending was good too, if a bit familiar of a certain Fifth Doctor story.

The real pity - bar the awful cliffhanger trouble - is how dull and uninspired the Sontaran's ultimate aim is. In fact, I'm trying to think of an alien race who HASN'T tried it (just in this series alone), doubly tragic considering how well set up the resolution is. The music is also rather poor, now I think about it. Murray Gold doesn't manage to make a single note stay in the memory, and he's business as usual around the Sontarans. Surely their freaky grating march from Invasion of Time pt 4 deserves to come back, if all the SFX from Destiny of the Daleks does... and seriously, the "I'll do it!" sequence really WAS adequately explored with Eccleston's Doctor.

And why the hell did they get Chris Ryan to be a Sontaran rather than Alexei Sayle?!

While I do kind of wish the first Sontaran TV story was a bit braver - like the Tenth Doctor's comic debut The Betrothal of Sontar - this two parter does manage to live up to the hieghts of the first three stories. With UNIT, Martha, Sontarans, Doctor angst and Donna development, this story would have been hard pressed to be better... but I dare say it could have managed it anyway. As a light mid-season tale, this kicks the arses of The Daleks in Manhatten, Rise of the Cybermen and quite probably Aliens of London. And I LIKE Aliens of London.

At this rate, I'll actually look forward to Raynor's next script.

Next Time: The Doctor, Donna and Martha watch in awe at a hot blonde teenage girl doing Buffy-style stunts and fighting monsters. The Doctor recognizes her.
"Where did she come from?" asks Martha.
"From me," the Doctor whispers.
"From you? How?!" Donna asks.
The Doctor looks awkward. "Well... She's my daughter..."
The blonde expertly arms a submachine gun. "Hello, dad!"





Cameron Mason said...

Just seen the trailer for The Poison Sky on You Tube - KIRSTY WARK!!!

Given that all we've experienced of her is the Deadringers version, seeing the real person is going to be an interesting experience...


Youth of Australia said...

My god. I had no idea...

WHY they didn't get the DR version escapes me. The genuine article didn't impress.

Like Tony Blair.

Cameron Mason said...

"I'm thinking about your sugar lips
got a feeling for you now that's so strong
I'm dreaming of the candy in your finger tips
Baby don't stay away from me for too long

More on that story later.

But first, the Sontaran fleet has launched a covert operation on Earth, and to discuss this we have General Staal live on the satellite link."


Youth of Australia said...

Spookily convincing.