Sunday, February 21, 2010

Doctor Who - WTF?!


I see the pictures, I hear the stories now
All the good times in the days of old
You look around you, you see the legacies
Of the empires that just went wrong

So take your time and open your eyes
You know you might just get a few surprises
All the cheap and nasty sympathizers
Fall in love like it's out of style!

Are these the golden years?

Until I saw this trailer, I was, all in all, looking forward to the new season of Doctor Who. Certainly more than I was than the 2008 season which has since become one of my favorites. My (ultimately entirely inaccurate) critique on the previous season trailer was entirely that, critiquing the trailer rather than the episodes it was advertising. The first trailer hinted at a lazy, direct manner to get people interested. This trailer, quite frankly, put me off watching the show altogether!

And the worst thing is, I ain't alone in this...

"Each time I see this trailer, I find myself utterly disappointed in the new direction of Doctor Who."
"Bit naff."
"Hm...mixed emotions, liked the start and end, not so much the middle. He really is aiming squarely for the 8-year-olds isnt he, ol' Moff?"
"I look at this Dr and see 'David Cameron in space'. I hope to be proved incorrect."
"The music inside the vortex was... incredibly wrong. I can't quite place it. The show is supposed to be about adventure, mystery, and danger... yet that whole sequence had a 'young adult romance' vibe... ugh. I've been optimistic so far, but this doesn't bode well..."
"This specially made teaser in itself was a bit duff."
"Fie! Fie on this. Is that the right use of the word? I don't like it. Don't like his look--the voice is good though and the attitude seems right. But the look--Sylvester McCoy all over again!"

Are just some of the comments already out on the bloggosphere.

Me: That trailer was awful!
CJ Mason: Ah...
Me: In what ways was it good?!
CJ Mason: It was short.
Me: ...this is true.

Now, I'm not an anti-Moffat-bashing type person. I was his staunchest of supporters pre-2005. But then The Empty Child managed to be an illogical, uninteresting, non-frightening piece of badly-characterized trash which bored me rigid. And then there was The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink which I really rather liked, which restored much of my faith in the man, before it was all systematically annihilated by Silence in the Library, leaving me with the impression that Moff the Genius is lobotomized every time he tries to write for Doctor Who.

I dread to think what Mad Larry the Pirate King has made of this new trailer, because it doesn't do anything but support his "quality Doctor Who is now doomed" apocalyptic prophecies. And Mad Larry being proved right is, I think I've made it clear, second-only to Sparacus being proved right as Most Depressing Outcome Ever. Actually what has he said?

Wait... Stargate gets Robert Carlysle and we get that?

...which is quite a fair analysis.

OK, for a start, this does reveal that the new regime have retained RTD's desire for trailers to consist of new, memorable material designed to keep the leading characters in the mind's eye of the public and they've clearly splashed out a decent amount of cash on it. Indeed, it makes previous efforts look cheap (the 2007 effort after all just had the Doctor and Martha standing outside the TARDIS - wow, epic).

It doesn't mean this new one is any good.

I've had to watch it a couple of times now, since it evoked that Doctor Who Annual ability to make me doubt the workings of my own brain. That and the new anti-depression medication I'm taking made me wonder if I wasn't quite awake, because this thing is trippy and no mistake.

OK. This very... filmic, professional-looking bit of work begins with the Doctor and Amy lying on a grassy hill late at night, looking up at the stars. Far be it from me to seem ageist, but I do get reminded of a couple of high school students passing the time on a weeknight in between shagging alfresco-style.

Hey, it's that 70s show they insist on making in the 21st Century...

"How bout that one?" asks Amy, pointing up at the stars.

"Bit green up close," the Doctor muses.

"You got any more weed, Amy?"

Amy, troubled, notes a particularly bright star. "That one's flickering," she whispers.

"Yeah," the Doctor frowns, "sorry. I thought I'd fixed that."

Amy turns to look at the Doctor. "Who are you?" she asks.

The Doctor turns to look at her. "I'm the Doctor," he says carefully.

"So... you still got that stars-and-stripes bikini from The Kevin Bishop Show? Cause, seriously, you looked freaking amazing in that. Especially with the shotgun..."

"Doctor who?" asks Amy casually.

Just then there is this hideous squeaking cracking noise and the ground beneath them shakes. The Doctor sits up as bright beams of light start to break through the ground in a rough ring around him and Amy.

And this is why, when you see a sign saying "KEEP OFF THE GRASS" you damn well do what it says, OK?!

Suddenly the hill explodes, flinging the pair in slow-motion towards us as a rather lame and camp musical track begins - imagine Clocks by Coldplay fused with tubular bells to sound vaguely Doctor Whoish. It suits the following events like a laughter track in Earthshock.

Yes! The long-awaited Doctor Who/Double the Fist Crossover is finally here!!! Yet another one of my ideas is ripped off by the official series! THIS MAKES ME SICK! GAAAAH!

The explosion behind the Doctor and Amy clears to show a kind of liquid blue vortex, into which they are promptly sucked backwards and forced to shout over the music.

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy guest-star in the sex education film "Where Babies Come From: The Fallopian Tubes of DEATH!!!"

In freefall, the Doctor grabs Amy and shouts, "Hold on tight!" before everything goes slow-mo again and he and Amy turn to look across the vortex at a floating Dalek interrogating a floating blue bubble (kind of like the one the TARDIS is in in the Seventh Doctor opening credits) containing a severed mannequin head.

"STATE YOUR IDENTITY!" demands the Dalek and the head goes from "casual" to "evil thing" which I screen-capped from the last trailer.


Slow-mo ends and the Doctor whirls to see some Weeping Angels floating/falling behind them, and turns to shout at Amy: "Trust me!"

Okay, now it's just starting to look stupid, isn't it?

"What?!" asks Amy, understandably lost. "WHY?!"

A Weeping Angel (now in fang/claw mode) floats down towards them and so the Doctor shoves hard on Amy's boobs with enough force to send her tumbling end over end...

Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure Of Copping A Feel

Doctor Who Discovers... Upskirting

Meanwhile the Doctor... um... wrestles... with the Weeping Angel.

This is as embarrassing as it sounds.

"Get your damn paws off me, you damn dirty lonely assassin!"

As Amy shouts for the Doctor, the vortex explodes or something and turns the Weeping Angel to crumbs of rock and, in slow-mo, the Doctor and Amy drift together.

...and this is your production team on drugs. Any questions?

And high-five.

"Yeah, totally! We're, like, there, dude! Gimme some skin!"

"All of time and space," a distorted Doctor narrates as the duo grab each other once more, "everywhere and anywhere, every star that ever was..."

[Dawn French] OH JUST KISS YOU MORONS! [/Dawn French]

There's a white flash and the Doctor and Amy are back on the hillside like nothing happened, and the last 30 seconds were a drug induced CGI nightmare. "Where do you want to start?" the Doctor drawls with a disturbingly lusty expression.

The new Doctor's gimmick is him getting completely stoned at least once an adventure.

The Doctor turns to look at Amy again and then the hill explodes, flinging them in opposite directions to show a Silurian head emerging from the vortex as the cliffhanger music starts, and then we cut to the "OW" logo.

Um... I think they could have got a better photo of Matt for the opening title sequence. Does he wink and smile at least?

There's not really much left to say. Matt Smith isn't particularly good in this trailer, but I still have some faint hope as a) he's not actually got much to work with and b) lying on your back on an uneven surface can affect your breathing and thus diction, so he sounds lot more breathless and nasal than he does usually.

Um... Karen Gillan's very pretty.

I'm trying to be positive, God knows I am, but... come on! This is the most retarded ad I've ever seen! It's like Moff wandered into work one day and said, "I took some bad Es last night, wrote down what happened, no make it the season trailer ye sassenach bastards ye!"

I dread to "analyze" what the trailer (or "trailer") means. The fact that some rather lame characterization (the Doctor is a rubbish god-like being who is personally responsible for replacing stars in the night sky while Amy just looks at him adoringly and feeds him straight lines) turns to a non-sensical CGI fest of monsters and action scenes (the Doctor fighting an immobile statue is only slightly less pathetic that when the statue explodes for no apparent reason, making you wonder why it was a threat in the first place) and the presence of the Dalek seems there either to keep Nick Briggs/the Nation Estate happy or to convince viewers this has something to do with the David Tennant series we all liked. And then it turns out to be a dream. Or does it? The end. That's ignoring the less-than-impressive run-of-the-mill "the universe is a big place" speech that never actually leaves a Welsh hillside - all the interesting stuff is below the ground, not above the sky.

I wanted to love this, but now I'm tempted to wait until the ABC screens the eps - if they're of this poor quality, maybe I won't even watch them. This is bad, people. This trailer is without doubt the first real evidence that the Moffat era could actually turn out to be shit. And I say that as a TV viewer, not a Who fan. As a Who fan, I doubled my medication to block out the pain.

No man dare say that RTD wasn't better at pre-publicity and we should all cling to the hopes that this "running most successful British TV show" PR stuff is simply not what Moff's good at (Jekyll, Press Gang and Coupling never needed trailers, did they?) and the stuff in the actual episodes THEMSELVES is what will be a real success. Cause... otherwise... this is the end, my beautiful friends.


Also, methinks Moff has been reading a bit of Trenchcoat lately. Compare and contrast...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Verkoff: A Terrible Ego (deleted scene)

The following sequence was one of the first bits of this epic I wrote. The idea was it would be the very last scene, segueing into the first Nigel scene of the first YOA episode, the appropriately-entitled The Definition of Insanity, where Nigel wakes up after a night of getting drunk celebrating his HSC results and teams up with Andrew and Dave. But ultimately I dunno if it works, as the central premise that Nigel is a Jekyll-and-Hyde-style split personality doesn't really fit with what I ultimately wrote, and ultimately portrays him as far less sympathetic than the finished product. Plus, it's very similar to a Dollhouse finale I saw last week. So, without further ado, reprinted here is the original finale...


[Nigel turns a corner, showing mild surprise – he isn’t where he thought he was going. He lowers his specs lightly and looks around, seeing he is in what looks like a waiting room. There are two chairs, and a table with some boring-looking magazines. Nigel reaches down and picks one up, flipping through it. The pages are all blank. Frowning, he looks at the cover. That’s blank too.]

Nigel: Oh well at least they only use ink for stuff worth reading, nowadays.

[Behind him, another Nigel turns the corner. This is the Old Nigel, before he saw the porn video, looking very different from his older self. Nigel looks at the back cover, which says quite clearly: BEHIND YOU! Nigel mmms, trying to divine the meaning of it. Old Nigel’s expression turns furious.]

Old Nigel: Son – of – a – BITCH!

[Nigel turns round, surprised, only to tackled by Old Nigel and knocked to the ground. Old Nigel starts to pummel his future self’s face, but isn’t doing much damage. Nigel looks more annoyed that hurt.]

Nigel: Do I know you?

[Old Nigel grabs Nigel’s head and slams it against the floor repeatedly.]

Nigel: A simple “yes/no” would do me!

[Nigel manages to curl back a leg and kick Old Nigel off him. Old Nigel crashes into the seats, but is unhurt. Nigel sits up, none the worse for wear.]

Nigel: God, I hate children. Unless you’re a midget.

[Old Nigel looks dejected.]

Old Nigel: I’m not a midget. I’m...

Nigel: Ah, so I do know you! [thoughtful] Mind you, I’m not likely to forget someone who seems to think “Hello” means “Try to beat the living shit out of someone”, am I? Now, where have I seen you before? [Old Nigel is about to speak] No, don’t tell me. Your countenance is familiar, boy.

Old Nigel: ‘Countenance’? Who says ‘countenance’ is real life?!

Nigel: I do, you miserable little troglodyte! The Big N has the entire English language at his beck and call – huh, see what I did there? I bet you’re in remedial classes. You do remind me of someone... Oh. Of course.

Old Nigel: You recognize me then?

Nigel: Of course. It’s Nathan!

Old Nigel: “Nathan”?

Nigel: Blame your parents, little guy, I do not get involved.

Old Nigel: I’m not Nathan.

Nigel: [not sorry at all] Oh well, oops. My bad.

Old Nigel: Take a good look, you jerk. You think you’d recognize it, given how much you lust after mirrors, you egocentric loser.

Nigel: Mirrors?

Old Nigel: Yeah. Don’t I remind you of your own reflection?

Nigel: [shrugs] Kind of.

Old Nigel: Isn’t that a clue?

Nigel: Ah, of course. [smiles] Nope, nothing springs to mind.

Old Nigel: I’m YOU, you stupid bastard!

Nigel: No, you’re not, but it’s good to aspire to my greatness...

Old Nigel: I’m you! Nigel! Aged nine and ten sixteenths!

Nigel: My god. Fractions! I used to be really good at them!


Nigel: [snorts] Get real. [slightly uncertain] Get... real. [losing it] WHY AREN’T YOU GETTING REAL!!!

Old Nigel: [heavy sigh] My god, you’re such a spastic.

Nigel: I thought I was you? You saying you’re a spastic as well?

Old Nigel: No, and you’re not me. I’m you, but you’re not me.

Nigel: Oh, very philosophical. I warn you, buster, if the lyrics to “I am the Walrus” are used in this conversation, it will immediately end. With infanticide. Capice?

Old Nigel: I’m who you should be. Before you sold out.

Nigel: Me? You! Rubbish. How could any part of my life be as diseased as you? An acne-ridden little squirt, whose loins have yet to feel the force of gravity, who attacks people on first sight. If you were really me, not only would you be less disgusting physically, you’d be pleasant company. Why would me, myself and I not get on?

Old Nigel: Because you’re a self-absorbed dickhead.

Nigel: Opinion is divided on the subject. And your opinion, kid, ain’t worth squat.

Old Nigel: “Squat”? Do you actually think about what you say, or just belch up stuff from American TV?

Nigel: At least I can make sense instead of this Zen bullshit about you being me and me not being you.

[Nigel strides off, but quickly realizes there’s nowhere to go.]

Nigel: How did I get here anyway?

Old Nigel: You were born.

Nigel: Oh, very helpful, little boy. Would you like to find out what “compound fracture” means?

Old Nigel: You don’t remember being me then? The stabbing?

Nigel: Stabbing? I didn’t stab anyone. [smirks] Not with a knife, anyway. Hang on. [blinks] A penknife. Jason. That intellectual vacuum... he stabbed me! Thank God that father could afford the surgery to get rid of the scar, oh, how I’d hate being imperfect. Not that I’m often threatened with it, you understand.

Old Nigel: All come rushing back, has it?

Nigel: Kind of.

Old Nigel: And what did the Big N do when you got a knife in your gut?

Nigel: I...

Old Nigel: How did it make you feel?

Nigel: Well, it was painful, obviously.

Old Nigel: Was it?

Nigel: I assume it was.

Old Nigel: You... assume.

Nigel: Even I would be hard-pressed to find a rusty blade chipping my ribs a happy-fun-time feeling.

Old Nigel: You don’t remember, do you?

Nigel: Well, it was traumatic. I blocked it out. Of course, it was the talk of the school. So of course you’d know about it, Nathan. You were probably just out in Kindie, watching the important people accidentally get skewered by their peers.

Old Nigel: And what did you do in Kindie, Nigel?

Nigel: I... well... I don’t remember. It wasn’t memorable.

Old Nigel: You don’t remember, dumbo, because you never went to Kindie!

Nigel: Ah, of course! Yes. I was too good for those losers, I skipped a year...

Old Nigel: And what was Year One like?

[Nigel opens his mouth to speak, but stops.]

Nigel: Not much different.

Old Nigel: And what about Year Five?

Nigel: Oh, I remember Year Five all right. Easily. Like it was yesterday.

Old Nigel: Year Four?

Nigel: wasn’t up to much. Not as much as Year Five.

Old Nigel: Are you in denial or just plain stupid?

Nigel: I don’t have to put up with this, you know. I’ve studied Ninjitsu, you know – and not just watching Ninja Turtle episodes. I might not be able to break into a gangland cocaine lab, but I can break half the bones in your body and leave no trace of violence!

Old Nigel: Go on then.

Nigel: Oh no, little boy. You don’t get quick and easy. You get the nasty.

[Nigel holds up his thumbs.]

Nigel: You see these? These can do UNTOLD carnage.

Old Nigel: Only if you jab your thumbnail into my earlobe and twist.

Nigel: Exactly, which is... how in the name of Slartibartfast did you know that?

Old Nigel: Benny taught me.

Nigel: Why would a divine goddess like Bernice Yang have anything to do with a squirt like you?

Old Nigel: Do I need to write this down? I’m YOU.

Nigel: So you keep saying. You haven’t come up with any kind of proof, though, huh?

Old Nigel: Can you prove who YOU are?

Nigel: I need no proof. The adoration of the masses is all the evidence I need.

Old Nigel: Since you can’t remember anything before 1996?

Nigel: My dear Nathan, anything that occurred before... um... what happened in 96?

Old Nigel: I dunno, the Spice Girls?

Nigel: Yes. And the Macarena. Anything prior is prehistoric, not worth knowing.

Old Nigel: You don’t remember anything before then because you didn’t exist then.

Nigel: Yes I did. There are photos.

Old Nigel: No there aren’t.

Nigel: School photos.

Old Nigel: Of the Big N? Of you, with your rayband sunglasses and poofy dreadlocks?

Nigel: ...maybe not. It’s a bit cloudy for some reason, but...

Old Nigel: But nothing, you asshole! You didn’t exist before 1996! I did!

Nigel: Who cares about you? Oh, just forget it. I’m not interested in this conversation and I’m definitely not interested in you.

Old Nigel: It’s been seven long bloody years, Nigel Verkoff. And you never thought to think once – not once – that you couldn’t remember anything before 1996? That, at the end of the day, you’re only seven years old? No wonder you act like a spoiled brat.

Nigel: No. Please. Do go on. You might even get to a point.

Old Nigel: The point is in 1996, I was Nigel Yang. And then you were.

Nigel: What? I took over from you?

Old Nigel: Yeah.

Nigel: But I don’t remember.

Old Nigel: You replaced me when you were born.

Nigel: Bullshit.

Old Nigel: It’s true!

Nigel: What, I’m somehow you... what? Regenerated? What happened? Did you get stabbed, die and suddenly transform into a far more agreeable, clever, well-adjusted and sexy person?

Old Nigel: No. I watched the video.

Nigel: Oh. The video.

Old Nigel: Yeah, you remember that well enough, don’t you?

Nigel: Dude. You don’t forget stuff like that.

Old Nigel: And that was what you remember. The first thing you remember. That’s when you were born, and you took over from me.

Nigel: Take over? What, was it a palace coup? You resigned! You gave up!

[Old Nigel doesn’t reply.]

Nigel: Yeah, think about that for a while! If you’re so bloody brilliant, how the hell did you allow me to get into the driving seat, huh? Not that I believe any of this prime-grade Australian bull you’ve been feeding me. Where exactly did I come from, huh? Am I some kind of, I dunno, Valeyard? Made out of all the cool badass horny evil inside your puny frame? Did the government brainwash you and give you a sleeper personality? Come on then, Arthur McCarthur! Explain that!

Old Nigel: He’s the little fat kid from Hey Dad.

Nigel: No, explain how I suddenly took over your wasted excuse for a brain! You can’t, can you?

Old Nigel: Not in words small enough for you to understand.

Nigel: Why are we having this conversation then?

Old Nigel: Because I have had to suffer watching YOU screw up MY life ever since that day!

Nigel: Screw up? Screw up? What, exactly, did I do to screw up your life?

Old Nigel: You’re a sell-out! A phony! You lie and cheat and steal, nothing matters to you except sex and chocolate! You never had a friend you didn’t use, and you’ve jammed your head so far up your own arse you haven’t even noticed that they’ve all run away and left you?

Nigel: Hey, I am not self-absorbed.

Old Nigel: You’re talking to your nine-year-old self.

Nigel: Not of my own free will. You dragged me here.

Old Nigel: I only managed that because YOU hit critical mass! You’re so in love with yourself you’ve lost any kind of grip on reality. Your ego is demanding its own dressing room for Christ’s sake! It’s been months since school ended and what you done? Got drunk, tried and failed to screw YOUR OWN SISTER...

Nigel: Stepsister.

Old Nigel: Details! She’s my sister, man!

Nigel: Believe me, I intend to take VERY good care of her.

Old Nigel: She. Has. A. Boyfriend!

Nigel: Who is nothing compared to me!

Old Nigel: You’re insane! You’ve finally lost the plot, you madman.

Nigel: I didn’t hear you complaining while I became famous and popular. I achieved more in a month than YOU managed in five whole years at that school. What great works did I prevent you from achieving? Walking up and down in the green, feeling sorry for yourself and being lonely? If anyone has a grudge, buster, it’s me – nine whole years of my life... your life... whatever... I’ve been robbed from. If you just lost your soul or whatever the hell it was earlier, I could have achieved...

Old Nigel: Achieved... what? What exactly have you achieved?

Nigel: Your infantile mind wouldn’t understand.

Old Nigel: You’re squatting in your sister’s flat, rent free, trying to have sex with her. You’ve got no friends, your family have all but abandoned you, your qualifications are laughable, you’ve got a deadend job at Happy Flappy Burgers and not a single one of your Happiness Patrol have given you a second thought! You’re homeless, forsaken, betrayed and alone!

Nigel: I’m happy.

Old Nigel: No you’re not. You’re just a moron. That’s why you’ve burrowed into your own ego, so you don’t realize how truly pathetic and boring your life has really become. You took the fast ride to nowhere, Nigel Verkoff. End of the line.

Nigel: Maybe, Nathan, maybe...

Old Nigel: And stop pretending to forget my name! No one buys it!

Nigel: The point is, you spineless little tadpole, that I’ve enjoyed my life so far. More than you ever did. And if this IS the end of the line, if the good times HAVE come to an end, at least I was out there when they were on instead of hiding in the shadows being an emo tosser!

Old Nigel: That’s not an answer...

Nigel: Why are we arguing about ME taking control of things instead of YOU giving up? Is that it, huh? Oh, poor little Nigel Yang has no friends, poor little Nigel Yang is so depressed, he’ll go into the corner and cry and wish everyone had remained emotionally stunted like him since day freaking one. And when you saw that video, saw those things... which, admittedly, do justify a degree of childhood trauma... you took it to the next level. Why hang around in the playground letting all the other kids have fun when you can vanish from reality altogether? You ran away and hid, then you’ve got the front to bitch at ME for living the life YOU were too afraid to work with?

Old Nigel: You’re not sorry at all, are you?

Nigel: Hell no! I may have lived for the moment, taken my pleasure where I can, but it’s a damn sight better than some people manage. I’m not apologizing, I’m proud of my debauchery. I don’t care if this waiting room is heaven, hell or Area 51. I’m not backing down to ANYONE, unlike YOU, ya gonad! And if life turns to crap or I spend all eternity in the Underworld, I’ll laugh in their faces every time I can draw breath. I regret NOTHING, and if I had a chance to do it all again, I’d do it! No, I’d do it LONGER! With MORE laughing gas! And if that means I’m damned for the rest of my life, well, bring it on, bitch. Bring. It. On.

Old Nigel: It can’t go on, Nigel. It won’t.

Nigel: There are ups and there are downs but while my heart keeps beating I’m never giving up. Hedonistic thrill-seeker ignoring the consequences? That’s me and at least I’m honest about it. Let the rest of mankind worry about their legacies and reputations and repercussions. When the Grim Reaper comes to tango, all of them to a man will wish they’d had more fun. Well that is something I vow will never happen to me. When life leaves my perfect body, I’ll know I lived every second! Can YOU say that, Nathan?

Old Nigel: No.

Nigel: No. And that’s why... actually, you ARE me aren’t you?

Old Nigel: Yes.

Nigel: Not just some weird parallel psyche. You’re me. You’re why I do this. You’re who I am. It’s not a different personality, just... a concentration of it. You’re my regret. My shame. My humiliation... no wonder you’re so small and easy to ignore. And this is a test, my mind proving itself, showing I was right.

Old Nigel: Um, no, actually, you really ARE getting lost in your own ego...

Nigel: Keeping in character, Nigel, I like that. But we can drop the act and take down the “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT” sign off my frontal lobes. The Big N is here to stay!

Old Nigel: Nigel...

[Nigel strides towards the exit.]

Nigel: You can wait and watch my genius, little guy. I promise to make sure it’s never less than the most thrilling experience in all of human history!

Old Nigel: Come back here, you megalomaniac...


[Nigel strides into the light....]

The inappropriately-named "Psycho" from A Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star - the visual template for the Big N before we made him an Indigenous Australian.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Doctor Who - The Same Generation. Nearly.


Shapes of things before my eyes

Just teach me to despise
Will time make man more wise...?

Seriously, that song synchs up perfectly with the footage, with one verse apiece. I particularly like the line about "disgracing my kind" over the Doctor popping a cap in the ass of a cameraman.

Why am I critiquing a bleeding trailer, you ask? Well, it's my blog, I can do what I damn well please. Get your own blog, gibrony, if you want to whine about it. With my ability and inclination to review the actual episodes when they come out uncertain, might as well do it now.

Anyone - and I mean anyone - could tell from this trailer that there is a new production team in charge of the show. Compare with the previous season trailers - Christopher Eccleston homaging Peter Cushing in Dr. Who & The Daleks; Rose Tyler's talking head monologue; a hallucinogenic headfuck with the Doctor transforming into a sex zombie Rose Tyler and then running out of the TARDIS in full flight; the Doctor and Martha speed-dating; and Donna Noble telling campfire stories about Daleks, Ood and Sontarans; and the Doctor piss-farting about with some reindeer on Christmas morning.

And now this.

Notice the obvious differences? There's no new material filmed just for the trailer, which says a lot by itself. RTD and friends put great effort into making mini-action-films the proper actors and everything. Moffat has yet to give a damn to publicity, making it quite clear he's keeping as strong as an embargo on the season until it screens. Is this a good thing? Your call. Ultimately RTD is dancing on tables trying to get attention while Moffat loiters in a corner smoking a cigarette and looking cool. You can only judge the different memthods if one works and one doesn't. And maybe we'll get more special trailers as the year rolls on.

Nevertheless, there is an air "why fucking bother interesting you, you KNOW you're going to watch" to it. Look at the trailer objectively, imagine you'd never seen Doctor Who before. Now try and guess what this trailer is for. Miss the beginning with the TARDIS and suddenly it's hard work, with even the Daleks being here and gone with a flash. The logo or brand isn't exactly handy. If you liked the trailer, you wouldn't know even the name of the show - unless you'd assume it was some kind of anthology series entitled The End is Just the Beginning.

We're just assumed to understand who Matt Smith is and what he's doing running around like a power ranger on bad acid, and make sense of a blur of gargoyles, redheads and explosions.

OK, we DO, but that's not the point.

The trailer itself is composed of countless action scene clips, with the only dialogue coming from the one character we kind of know - the Eleventh Doctor - and he gets three phrases (one of which is a repeat of the last thing we saw him say, and also a cliche that Eccleston and Tennant were banned from saying). There's no offer of wit, danger or exposition, or monologues from Amy. Hell, we don't hear her say a word. I have no idea what she sounds like. That is something of a problem in trying to visualize the character, unlike with the last three ladies who got their own monologues to have us understand who the hell she was. Now, either Moffat couldn't be arsed to add one to the trailer or else the character of Amy has very little to say. I hope it's the former and Moff was too damn busy, but what about the Doctor? We see him punch a guy unconscious, attack a seemingly helpless Dalek with a giant spanner (on both occasions Amy stands around in the background not doing a damn thing to halt the Doctor's homocidal urges), snogging his companion and... firing a gun. The latter is really very disturbing considering the previous regime considered the Doctor holding a gun AT ALL to be a Very Epic And Morally Repugnant Thing.

None of this suggests that the new Doctor is going to be a reasonable, friendly or likable person.

Of course, it would be easy to come up with a trailer to - say - Season 14 and also have the Doctor shown as a deranged sword-fighting, man-drowning, cross-bow-firing, giant-rat shooting psychopath accompanied by a useless girl who just looks confused. But why would you want to? Surely you'd want something a bit kinder to the source material?

Instead we get a blur of dialogue-free explosions, monsters and violence lacking only the Nerf Herder theme and Sarah Michelle Gellar to qualify as the opening credits to a new series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Deeply ironic considering how often RTD's work was mindlessly compared to Buffy on the grounds it featured a teenage girl with long blonde hair rather than its content, which managed to avoid Joss Whedon almost entirely. I say almost because I've seen Boomtown and preferred seeing the Slayer and her useless low-self-esteem pals deal with moral quandries with an evil reptillian mayor running a nowhere town built over a dimensional gateway.

One problem with this format of trailer is that Buffy had twenty-two self-contained episodes to pick and choose clips from per year. This trailer had access to six. And it's not exactly difficult to lump the given clips together - the First Episode where the Doctor's dressed as Ten and Amy's dressed as a WPC; the One With the Daleks; the One with River Song and the Weeping Angels; the One with the Vampires; and Everything Else. Without dialogue to bridge the gaps (for example, the Doctor in Tooth and Claw shouting "Bullets won't stop it!" played over a Cyberman activating gives you a completely unique impression of the oncoming show), the end result is a lot less than it could be. Look at the trailer for The End of Time part two, and its a more secretive, evocative and spoiler-free glob of info than the "SHIT! ALIEN MONSTERS!" epileptic disco we're given.

I mean, Murray Gold doesn't even do the music for the trailer. Even though he's doing the music for the show itself. Instead we get some stock opera music entitled "Destiny of Mankind" as the captions rather lamely ask us to watch this show on the grounds it's not remotely similar to the show we've been watching for five years. This is the beginning of what exactly?

Don't get me wrong. I like this trailer. I just think it's rubbish as anything other than fodder to keep the fans going for another few months. Technically, adding Matt Smith to the end of David Tennant's Thanks for the Memories montage did the exact same thing as this trailer, far cheaper and less worrying...










(The Doctor and Amy heavy-petting against the TARDIS.)
AMY: Oh Doctor...
DOCTOR: Oh, Donna...
AMY: (breaking kiss) What the hell did you say? Who's this Donna then?
DOCTOR: Ahm... er...
















Doctor Who - Swansong for Ten


"I think it's the tidiest end for a Doctor ever," my dad mused when the ABC showed their beautifully-prepared trailers with Jim Morrison crooning 'The End' over shots of Tennant brooding. "I mean in Castrovalva (sic), he knew what was going to happen but there was nothing he could do about it and the other fellah (Davison) knew he'd taken on too much, but the others just get a 'Sorry, you're dead'. Whatever that means for a Time Lord. Reincarnation? Don't worry, the nose never turns out right..."

That's the sort of conversations we have at our house. Sometimes we even get a word in edgeways.

But my dad has a point. The Doctor rarely if ever has a chance to contemplate his own demise, preferring the tried and tested mind-that-bus-what-bus-splat method - the First Doctor didn't so much suspect anything was up until the beginning of his last episode, the Second and Ninth we saw their reactions in real time to the prospect of regenerating, the Third Doctor assumed he was flat-out doomed, and the Seventh was too off his face to know what was happening leaving (as my dad notes) just Four and Five... and Five manifestly stopped giving a shit if he'd regenerate or not as long as the new girl with the big boobs survived the story. And this is relevent because it's manifestly clear that the idea of regenerating scares the Doctor more than dying, and dying freaks him out a lot more than he'd like to admit as well. In Journye's End, for example, he refuses to regenerate on the grounds he's perfect, yet offers himself as Dalek target practice in the VERY slim hope they might grant a last wish and save Donna from certain death.

As I somehow managed to predict the existential angle to regeneration in my award-missing review of The Waters of Mars, I shall ramble on in the belief my own theories are completely canonical. So... I myself am not REALLY that afraid of death. As Phillip Adams noted, as far as anyone can tell, death is just the reverse of being born, and I don't know anyone else sweating with horror at the limbo hell they endured before their central nervous systems finally kicked in eight months into utero. Quite reasonably, I doubt there's either anything to be afraid of or we will have to the capacity to worry about it anyway.


Fuck yeah, I'd be terrified of that. Knowing the seconds were ticking away, all the angst, not to mention possible agony, blood and invasive medical proceedures. So it makes sense the Doctor will recklessly threaten to explode his own brain in Silence of the Library (pause for joke along the lines of "well, who wouldn't, the story's complete shite") yet dread the idea of biting the bullet big time as he does in part one. Because for the first time, the Doctor is really given time to ponder his fate. Without a companion. And he's gone bad.

Yes, whatever RTD might claim offhand, the Doctor wasn't magically cured of the Time Lord Victorious at the end of Waters of Mars. Oh no. It just became less obvious how bad he was. When the Master regenerated into John Simm, he was clearly written as an evil version of the Tenth Doctor. And there are plenty of moments where the line between the two is almost gone. Look at that first scene where the "supposedly cured" Doctor waffles about car alarms... and then look at the Master explaining to the Cabinet why they have to die. "Smile? Not even a little bit?" they both ask. The Doctor's rudeness and arrogance are ramped up, and am I the only one to notice his scream of "IT ISN'T FAIR!!!" mirrors the Master when he too was defeated. The fact the Doctor is rushing to save the universe from the Master might fool the casual viewer into thinking it's business and usual, but I can't help remembering his gloat to Adelaide: "There's no one left to stop me, not any more." And what is the Doctor doing in this story? Preventing Time Lords from returning, be it the solo Master or the hoardes of Rassilon.

The only ones who can stop him.

Wilf returns, taking up the torch from prior RTD companions (with notable exceptions like Captain Jack, Christina and Adam) to Keep the Doctor Honest. It's not hard to see how uncomfortable Wilf is in the cafe scene with Time Lord Victorious, as he awkwardly chats with the man that Rose was terrified the Doctor might become if left on his own. And, at least partially because Wilfred Mott is Made of Awesome, it works. The Doctor finally cracks, admits he did the wrong thing for the wrong reason, the unspoken admission that he finally crossed the line that all the other Time Lords did and got too big for their boots.

Even though the damage is done (see the Doctor's mild bullying of Wilf to the point of "Take the gun, you emo-tosser!" on the Hesperus), the Doctor is left struggling with what he should be and what he has ultimately become. The fact he even contemplated walking away from Wilf is the proof the Time Lord Victorious needs putting down. Like Pertwee before him, the Doctor must make amends and accept a truth - that, as he noted to the Master in Sympathy for the Devil, we are ALL little people - and saving Wilf will ultimately do the universe as much good as the Doctor surviving. Mind you, Wilf has never killed anyone, manipulated people into sacrificing themselves, and is generally effortlessly brave and loving. So it's not hard to see the subtext under the sadly edited final exchange in the radiation booth -

"Doctor, you're better than I am!"
"...don't you dare say that."

One thing, which I think is a kind of outside factor and thus RTD and DT are blameless for (this time anyway), is that... well, the Tenth Doctor comes across as far more selfish and miserable than he should. And why? Because we think he's whinging and bitching about regenerating when he's actually going on about death. The Doctor's rant about "being capable of so much more" instinctively makes us assume its a double entendre for "Tennant Under Moffat" (which in itself is another double entendre, but I'll stop before I fall into that Nob Gag Bermuda Triangle Rik and Ade warned me about).

See, the Doctor thinks he's going to die. Not regenerate. Die. If Private Dexter or whoever had popped up and explained the Doctor would survive the radiation chamber (albeit Matt Smith shaped), the Doctor would have skipped into it with one last toothy grin. The trouble is, we're all waiting for Smithy to appear, and with regeneration already described as death, we're assuming the Doctor's being a whiny bitch, prioritizing his bouffaint, manly hairy hands and that mole between his shoulder blades over Wilf's life. Which isn't the case. And isn't helped by Wilf instantly expecting the Doctor to regenerate either.

With that in mind, the last twenty minutes becomes slightly less unbearable - though, if you're in the right mood, you want even MORE companion cameos with Jackson Lake, Jenny and Mr. Copper... - as the Doctor, realizing his 'death' is now limited to his current incarnation, sucks it up, puts on a new suit, and accepts his reward: for the first time, a Doctor has a chance to say goodbye. I bet the First Doctor would have liked such a whistle-stop tour to see Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven and, hell, maybe loiter at Susan's wedding. The Second Doctor even had his goodbyes erased. The Fourth and Fifth Doctors got death bed visions... It makes sense that he would consider this "his reward", as he sets the TARDIS to home in on her former crew with usual ironic timing (two minutes later and Mickey and Martha would be smoking corpses, Luke in a morgue, and Rose unconscious after a hard night's boozing).

Thus, the Doctor only REALLY starts whining about his regeneration just as it's about to happen. When he's on his own and - unlike the last few times - doesn't have Rose around to reassure or bluff. As he lied to others about how bitching awesome the Time Lords are, he's been bulshitting us all along that this regeneration stuff is no more hassle than a drinking competition with Oliver Reed and Dylan Moran.

They still chose the wrong take though, as there is a slightly less wimpy version with DT saying his final words sounding so, so tired. But maybe they did it so he would be utterly humiliated at the inevitable NTA awards and Philip Glennister could take solace in the fact that, while he YET AGAIN not only lost but had to act surprised when DT got a HUGE scene to himself while everyone else barely got a three-second clip, at least a huge audience didn't see him piss himself with fear before his head exploded.

And then we meet the Eleventh Doctor and no wonder people bitch about the special effects as this intruder to the RTD era feels like a dodgy CSO experiment himself, belonging in the coral TARDIS as much as that tricerotops did in the London Underground. I really haven't felt the New Doctor culture shock to this degree, seeing New Face in Old Clothes and Old Set, so used am I to getting about three seconds of his regenerated face before the episode ends and we tune in next year.

The only real clue that Moffat wrote the opening sequence is the change of mood - we've gone from a funeral to a birth, kind of like Lister in Future Echoes. Hmm. Now I have a mental image of Nicholas Briggs biting Matt Smith's leg screaming "DOG ATTACK!" which would have ended the story on the non-sequitor manner of Doomsday, Time Crash and the original Journey's End at least. But, all in all, even as I struggle to ignore descending into a Nyderesque "Recyclingwatch" mode, it starts to get a BIT familiar...

I mean, am I alone in thinking "didn't Owen Harper ALSO die by rescuing a complete stranger from fatal radiation only to be trapped in the epicentre and then have a furious tirade as a loved one stood by, helpless, and wept as he suddenly got over himself and finally died?" Or the "well, the new Doctor's bricking it he's pulled a Verne the Beautiful and, oh wait, DT's apparently trying to destroy the TARDIS for a laugh?" That said, I wonder if the first word the new Doctor says is a joke or not (as 'Legs' is Bingo code for '11', as in 'Legs Eleven').

As for the New Doctor, well, Matt Smith's acting is impeccable compared to what I'd heard (though he was quite brilliant in Party Animals, I never had any complaints there). But I can't judge him. He convincingly portrays someone with a completely new consciousness struggling to synch itself up with a completely new nervous system. Who is also stoned out of his head. But apart from a typical Doctorish "We're all going to die! Fucking AWESOME!", he's got nothing to impress us with from the script point of view. In terms of winning us over in a first scene, I'm pretty sure Barbara Benedetti is the winner.

The real problem... if there is one - did I mention this story is hard to review - that the new Doctor seems barely any different from the old. Yet we've been unambiguously told this is a new spirit to replace the one that just died. So basically we might as well have ended the story with DT drooling blood and wandering around the place trying to feast on human flesh for all the respect it gives his character. Like the inexplicable destruction of the entire TARDIS, it feels more like "who cares?" rather than "farewell". Mind you, the old girl seems completely knackered in this story, and the Doctor did have a backlog of lindos energy, plus he was visibly fighting it every second...

This is a hard story to review. I know that because someone way better than me at this spectacularly failed to achieve it. And so did the official Doctor Who Magazine. So...

...some random thoughts.

- if you're in the right mood, the intro with the Doctor and the reindeer is hilarious and heartwarming. But with DT's icy narration, it just seems... sick. I mean, he's chanting, "This is the Doctor and now the end of time is nigh, the Master is in control, the Time Lords are returning and it's time to face the final battle," and the SanTARDIS is making BBC logos in the sunset. Tonal dissonance much?

- at the end of 2008, RTD seemed to have burnt out creatively. He seems to have done the same in 2009, though in a different way. He was writing quite good scripts based on fanwank fundamentals (everyone teams up to fight Davros, Cybermen in Victorian London) but now he seems to have fantastic ideas, but is writing them in a half-arsed, near-sparacassian manner (see Lucy's "Ahahah! YOU may have a potion to bring back the Master but I luckily ALSO have a potion that will STOP him coming back! Ahaahaha!")

- Sylvia Noble is clearly making a real effort to stop being a complete bitch. She fails. A lot. But she is clearly trying. Even her angry scream that Wilf stay with her rather than go off with the Doctor is seemingly motivated by a desire to protect her aging father than a psychotic desperation to make him miserable. The bit where she is happy to have Donna think she's acting like a total spastic rather than argue about it says a lot too. So that's good.

- on paper, the Master's resurrection is freaking brilliant on every level. I can't fault it. Considering the insane lengths he went just to punk Martha Jones and blow up her flat, I totally buy him creating the Cult of Saxon and then idly telling the Doctor and Lucy while he toasts marshmallows on the Islands of Japan. And then the Cult takes TWO WHOLE YEARS to get together everything they need, because nothing in real life is ever easy. And the cult seemingly consists entire of women the Master probably shagged. Who are suicidal. And the woman who picks up the ring is a non-speaking extra without even an original name. And Lucy, who knew all about the resurrection spell, deliberately went to jail so she could lure the cult out and then take them out with a suicide bomb potion. And the Master's line about "the widow's kiss restores me to life". I mean, this is just high quality stuff. And then it gets compressed into a scene that lasts less time than it took me to write it.

- the Silver Cloak. OMFG. Now, I understand the "it's Christmas so we need some famous cameo celebrities doing comedy" vibe, and the idea of the Doctor getting a OAP fan club isn't necessarily a bad one. You ever seen Waiting for God? It DESERVES a cameo appearance by the Doctor, damn it. But those were wonderful people determined to make the last of their lives. These people are so sinister and sex-crazed I don't think they should be let out of the house. I mean, yes, on paper, the idea of an old man fancying DT is reasonable. But then they get the creepiest, most child-molestery of actors to lick his lips, Hannibal Lector style as June Whitfield completely-unscripted sexually assaults our hero. This is simply not good. Especially as they could have done it so much better, perhaps with the Doctor unable to upset these kind old people who are desperate to help him, even though they are completely useless and delaying him saving the universe. But no, a bunch of geriatric gang rapists corner him in such a way you assume this is all a trap the Master's lured him into.

- Riarf Kcut and his just as disturbing relationship with daughter are a bit better. Yes, the Naismith's don't get half the screentime they deserve, but I can follow the logic. For once it isn't an evil corporation or government, but some rich guy in a house bored shitless who can afford his own private army and alien goods. It makes a change, even if this is perilously close to the long awaited TV debut of Alistair Miles. But they are a plot function, two walking excuses for TV tropes to use the word "subverted" - they aren't evil cultists or world-conquering destroyers, they don't bully or slave drive the staff, they aren't completely stupid, and the staff when they pop out together AREN'T horny Torchwood-style sex maniacs, but aliens. Who are not evil, helpful or memorable. They're idiots who, as my dad notes, make everything ten times worse every time they use their ridiculously spiky heads. Who rather oddly escape with Eric Saward style casualness. I expected a scene where the dying Doctor left a Zarbi's head in their beds or something as recompense... but they are designed to piss me off and they damn well do. "He's gonna die anyway!" Fuckwits.

- is the Master turning everyone into clones of him a ridiculously stupid idea? Me? I say no. He's a megalomaniac, people. He wants to reshape the universe in his image. The only surprise is he hasn't pulled this stunt earlier, and frankly the scenes of everyone we know turned into his clones are genuinely unnerving. Nightmareish, one might say, like the world of Peris in Mission of the Viyrans. Is it funny? Dude, it is fucking hilarious! Pay attention to the last bit with the Powell Estate full of Masters and one throws his hat in the air, another Master picks that hat up, puts it on, and STARTS DANCING!!! Do the scenes of Donna being stalked by grinning Master clones not freak you out? Then you are quite franky creepy yourself.

- this leads to the lame "Oh, wait, Donna WON'T die, she'll just have a nap for the episode". This seemed to be unforgivably sucky, but I try to think of it this way. Donna notes that she often has little "moments" of awareness, but instinctively backs away from them, and only tries to actually remember when her mum and husband turn into grinning Sam Tylers in front of her, at which point she tries to not remember until she's actually cornered. So the Doctor's "defense mechanism" isn't some auto-reboot as I assumed, but a literal way to save her from the rampaging bug eyed monsters she will encounter, rightly assuming she'd be only really likely to remember if her life was endangered. True, this means that Donna might as well have been turned into the Master along with everyone else for all the difference it makes to the plot, but on the other hand, we now understand why she didn't say die when giant stingrays were on the news. On a basic level Donna understands her mind has been wiped and best left that way, and the more Catherine Tate in DW, the better. It also proves the hints in JE that her amnesia is more than strong enough for her to meet the Doctor, hear/see the TARDIS and generally the Doctor could have been a much bigger part of her post-travels life and the reason he hides is not because Donna is going to breakdown, it's because he is. Donna is the first "best friend" of the Doctor since Ace. Or maybe Charley. Which is perhaps why she's so more popular than all the other RTD era companions, even Mr. Copper (who, I am sad to discover, apparently died of old age shortly after Voyage - guess his "I won't survive 10 years in jail" wasn't hyperbole).

- it's an interesting take on the Master this time round, as he stops being a supervillain and becomes, to all intents and purposes, a monster who just happens to look like John Simm. He's summoned by magic, he can suck the flesh off your bones, he is a non-functional psychopath with super powers, and he's so badass, the peoples of the universe have nightmares about him giggling and only the tri-brained Ood remember him in the morning. The Master EATS PEOPLE. And yet he gets more pathos and sympathy than ever before, with the Doctor and Time Lords treating him basically as an innocent with a disease, a mental condition. Is that how the Doctor has always seen the Master: Ralph Wiggum in a crash helmet? No wonder he's always trying to spare his friend's life and stopping him getting hurt by his own schemes. Was that how they met? The Doctor, so uncool, his only friend was from the "special ed" area of Prydon Academy? And of course the embarrassing backward cousin no one talks about is the one who takes down Rassilon. With four knocks.

- of course the Master (tries to?) kill Rassilon in Oedopal Rage. It's not some cheapass "oh, the drums made me do the bad things which I know realize were evil" crap. Rassilon didn't make the Master kill Chantho or anything else. The Master did that of his own free will. But if he HADN'T had the drums in his head, he might have done different. And that's all there needs to be, because the Master (if the name wasn't a clue) wants control. And he finds HIS ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE has been masterminded by a git who didn't give a toss whether he lived or died, and takes great pleasure in gloating on this. Whatever it was that made the Doctor and the Master hate each other, it was never like this. So I for one totally buy the Master would save the Doctor and charge into hell JUST TO SCREW RASSILON OVER.

- similarly, the Doctor can only really be fussed about the four knocks business for the simple reason he HATES predeterminism. As Dave Lister would say, "I wanna be in charge of me own smegging destiny." Imagine if Carmen kept her big fat mouth shut (and who the hell doesn't?), and the Doctor was unaware of any doom over his head. Would he really throw such a hissy fit over Wilf, TLV permitting? No, I don't think so. And I think it's balanced when the Eleventh Doctor is seemingly doomed to be smashed to pieces in the crashing TARDIS - he doesn't care, because there's no prophecy, and the future is nothing but hope. Will he get out alive? No idea. But that's the point. Anything is better than certainty, which takes all the fun out of things.

- the Time War retcon is official freaking genius. Steve Moffat weeps. It makes EVERY SINGLE Time War reference a brilliant double entendre, from "I couldn't save any of them" right through to "where emperors and Time Lords failed". The Daleks weren't the threat that would destroy the entire freaking universe. The Time Lords were. We all assumed that the Daleks were so freaking unstoppable that the Doctor committed Mutally Assured Dematerialization for the Greater Good. It turns out the Daleks weren't even THAT big a faction in the Time War! The Doctor's been bullshitting since day one, even to the Master, pretending the Daleks were the Big Bad and the Time Lords nobly took one for the team. The Beasts' "the killer of his own kind" makes a horrible new sense. The Doctor isn't so much horribly traumatized that he's the Last Time Lord, he's deeply ashamed he was the Last Time Lord long before Gallifrey was nuked. And with this final confirmation that the Time Lords were absolute fucking assholes who childishly decide to destroy all creation in a fit of pique, one can strongly hope the Eleventh Doctor will be much angst free in comparison. All of it topped off by the Doctor finally losing it and screaming "DON'T YOU EVER LISTEN?!" to the Master, who tries to roll with the punches: "My kind of universe!" he deems temporal hell.

- so... the woman in white. My parents (spoiler free) came to the conclusion that she was the Doctor's mother (though admit she could be damn well anyone). I assumed it was Romana. Why? Well, thought I, would the Doctor's mother REALLY be such a cool woman? Does anyone think of the Doctor's family (be it loom or not) and think they actually GOT ALONG with their angst rebellious anarchist son? Even the Master deems childhood on Gallifrey sucked, while the Third Doctor revealed he only dared skip class and talk to his next door neighbor after having a complete emotional breakdown. The Master's happiest childhood memory was running through some freaking grass (a memory the Doctor doesn't seem to share). This does not suggest a world of loving parents who encouraged their offspring to morality and self-sacrifice, does it? Susan is the only member of the Doctor's family he seems to actually like, and he found her more annoying than some of his other companions. IF his mother appeared and gave him a Do What Must Be Done look... I'd expect the Doctor to do the exact opposite. In fact, I was half-expecting him to shoot HER. Besides, why would a woman (old even by Time Lord standards) become an incredibly powerful Time Lord senator with the ability to somehow retrospectively contact Wilf and get him to save the Doctor? Plus, her "I once was lost" screamed a Gallifrey 90210 reference to me, along with the complete asshole Lord President and the reliance on Sisters from Karn rather than the Matrix.

- of course, I was since reminded that the Time Lords can resurrect damn well anyone they like, so bringing back Susan's great-grandmother is a piece of piss. And the fact all the Time Lords had mastered huge mental powers enough to ascend to become Lovecraftian super beings means it is quite possible that, for the few moments the woman is out of the time lock, she manages to pull this Life on Mars manipulation. And there's the fact she only contacts the person that the Doctor and the Master think of as the Doctor's dad (though that just reinforces the fact that he didn't get on with Theta Sigma Senior...)

- Everyone else has done it, so I might as well too. The What Did RTD Rip Off Previous Regen Stories? list!
The Tenth Planet: the TARDIS arrives in a snowy wasteland, a planet nearly collides with Earth, a dangerous radiation chamber that can deflect the enemy, the Doctor inexplicably collapsing half-way through the story then acting like nothing happened, trying to sweettalk the unstoppable army into playing nice, missiles being fired at alien spaceships, aliens infiltrating a human base disguised as staff, the companion having a crisis of confidence over using lethal force, the dying Doctor alone returning to the TARDIS through the snow, alone in the console room noticing his hand glowing, his dying words ('I shan't go through with it! I won't!') before the TARDIS console room seems to explode and then completely changes appearance in the very next story, and of course the story being set at Christmas in the near future.
The War Games: the Master finding a way to conquer the whole of humanity and turning it into an army, a wierd bit of objets d'art summoning the Time Lords, the Doctor and the Master alternately trying to prevent it, the Time Lords wiping out individuals with amazing powers, the Doctor shitting himself with terror that the Time Lords are around, the Doctor carrying a flintlock gun, a wealth of guest villains, the Doctor getting to see what happens to his companions after they leave him, a companion with amnesia, the Doctor critiquing his new form, the Doctor's dying words ('You can't do this to me!'), the last shot of the Doctor spinning round and round
Planet of the Spiders: the Doctor gets contacted by old friends on Earth, the Doctor initially refuses to get involved in the plot leading to deaths, the Doctor meeting a respected Time Lord from his childhood, the Doctor's ego causes the whole mess, the Doctor checks up on a companion who has left him and now married, a ridiculous airchase hunting down a bloke who replaced Roger Delgado, a black magic ceremony in a basement that summons a monster, comedy tramps, a casual character who we discover is a major Time Lord, a character's mind expanding and being left to face possessed humans, the Doctor getting embarrassingly tied up by the enemy, the Doctor being suspicious of his companion's motives, the Doctor abandoning his allies for a fatal head-on-collision with an enemy with delusion of godhood, one crystal being needed to solve the whole mess, the human characters wait patiently for the Doctor to return fearing he might have died, the Doctor getting a fatal dose of radiation that interferes with the regenerative process
Logopolis: the Doctor is a brooding miserable old sod, the TARDIS is almost completely broken down, the Doctor being stalked by a strange figure in white that he refuses to discuss and who makes companions secretive when they talk to them, the Doctor trying to hunt down a resurrected Master on a killing spree, the Doctor having an old male friend who is charged with protecting his former companions, the Master unwittingly unleashes a force that will destroy all of time and space and tries to take charge of it only to fail utterly, the Doctor and the Master teaming up to defeat it, the Master taking over a complex full of armed guards the Doctor and the companions have to hide from, the Doctor deliberately endangers his life trying to end a signal that could destroy the universe, the Doctor struggling to get alien machinery to work, the Doctor finally accepting his life is over and voluntarily dying, the story ends on a cliffhanger
The Caves of Androzani: the Doctor gets the shit kicked out of him repeatedly, crashes a spaceship, delays his explosive regeneration, gets his usually impeccable outfit ruined and soiled, and deliberately sacrifices himself for his companion even though he isn't sure he will regenerate, a skull-faced villain with an insaitable appetite, a sarcastic son of a bitch who is rich and powerful with his own private army, duplicates of characters appear, the Doctor is abandoned by a former ally in the middle of a crisis, twin planets whose proximity cause a violent earth tremor, the Master mocking the Doctor when he's down, the Doctor getting bound and gagged, the Doctor gets farewells from his companions even ones you never thought of
Time and the Rani: the TARDIS goes out of control, innocents reduced to skeletons by an evil Time Lord, a plot to fundamentally rewrite the history of the universe, a quarry filled with laser explosions, a society struggling to rescue itself from economic collapse, a ravenous monster that can be distracted from the Doctor by sheer hunger alone, the Doctor coming up with shithouse misquotes, the Doctor repeatedly changing his outfit, the companion bemoaning the Doctor is wasting time, gags about the companions' sex life when faced with a hunky alien, a family drawn together by fear of the daughter being killed, a father that cooperates with an evil Time Lord to save his people, the Doctor's plan goes horribly wrong and ending with a sacrifice, the Doctor spends a lot of time TARDIS travelling at the end of the adventure to see various cameo characters safe.
The TV Movie: the TARDIS breaks down and goes haywire when the solo Doctor is trying to capture the Master, the Master (briefly) returns from certain death in a supernatural way and then kills lots of women (one of which he has recently slept with), the Doctor is shot but effortlessly survives, the Master opens a gateway to hell, the Doctor gets on famously with a companion AFTER THEY KILL HIM, the Doctor travels back in time to New Year's Day to say goodbye to a woman he's snogged several times and gives future tips to another companion, Daleks get mentioned a lot but are never seen, the Doctor's companion is apparently killed but comes back to life with some swirly orange light, Rassilon boneheads in the climax
Rose: the Doctor and companion continually bump into each other as he dips and out of the adventure via TARDIS, the Doctor angsts about the Time War and tries to kill his enemies in cold blood, the companion snaps the Doctor out of his arrogant death wish funk, Rose and Jackie loiter around the Powell Estate while the Doctor is just passing through, the Doctor describes his new face "could be worse", a companion sees the inside of the coral TARDIS for the first time after seeing it from the outside on several occasions, a black boyfriend suggests everyone party and obsesses over the Doctor's companion while she's lying on a couch, people with better things to do spend their time trying to track down the Doctor, a companions' loved one is turned into a grinning bug-eyed evil alien briefly but gets better, the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS after a heart-to-heart-to-heart with Rose but she doesn't come with him, it segues directly into the next story.
The Parting of the Ways: the Doctor begins the story bragging about his unseen historical adventures, the Doctor gets an awesome new companion but eventually abandons them to regenerate, the Doctor dies after absorbing a deadly energy to save his companion's life, Rose says goodbye to the dying Doctor not actually understanding what's going to happen, the Doctor fears his regeneration won't work out, a psycho Time War survivor intends to turn the human race into copies of itself, the companion is forced to join civilians in fighting overwhelming odds, celebrity cameos appear as themselves, some selfish amoral bastards ostensibly on the Doctor's side don't help as much as they can, a cunning black asshole is sidelined in the second episode and is last seen brain-bleached as he faces death from the Time War, the Doctor picks up a gun and decides to trigger genocide for the greatest good but can't kill when the moment calls for it, the Doctor sends the TARDIS out of harm's way and mucks about with teleports, the evil villain screams they are immortal before it turns out they're not and are zapped by someone protecting the Doctor, the Doctor and his companions are left alone once the battle is over, the Doctor regenerates by bursting into flames.

- on a similar note, back in 2005 the biggest thing David Tennant had been in was, apparently, The Adventures of Luther Arkright where he played the titular time-travelling pretty boy dark psycho with a disturbing obsession for a girl called Rose (his previous BF roles as a Time Lord or a Dalek-fighting alien doctor with a Cockney accent were rightfully forgotten). Now, after confronting Paul Darrow's Oliver Cromwell, DT was immediately tortured to death but then magically was able to regenerate his body but in doing so altered his personality. Sound familiar? According to the comic version, DT then healed his nasty wounds like so:
Looks familiar, no?

- I was so pleased Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke were able to appear AT ALL, and then they proceed to pretty much stand around saying "Man, this Sarah Jane type shinanegans with reused monsters in deserted factories is way better than any shit Torchwood can offer" in one last smackdown from its creator. Of course, Martha has now seduced BOTH of Rose's exes (so Jimmy Stone better watch out) but she was always going to prefer Mickey to a man who she kind of liked when he was a traumatized post-apocalyptic survivor who died for her rather than the genuine article. Frankly, Jared's suggestion that the Unseen Fiancee was just Martha's imaginery friend to make the Tenth Doctor jealous was rather credible. Me? I assumed he got gassed by Sontarans, hence Martha being a terrocidal maniac wearing black and wanting to end it all.

- a token gesture from RTD was to give Sarah Jane Smith no dialogue whatsoever in deference to Jared

- John Barrowman explained the whole point of the Time Lord Pimp scene was that the Tenth Doctor (famous for shouting "Oh, stop it Jack!" whenever he tried to flirt with man, woman or Malmooth) on his deathbed suggests Jack chat someone up. RTD hints that it is the Doctor's way of forgiving Jack for the events of Children of Earth. Absolutely NONE of this comes across in the finished scene

- um, what happens if Donna reads A Journal of Impossible Things? How many people will she knock out this time? Won't Paul Cornell sue?

- Donna shoves the winning lottery ticket down her noble cleavage, cause she doesn't have pockets in her wedding dress. But why didn't she force Nerys' girlfriend to wear the same dress? Or, is this a Daria-style "I AM wearing the same dress". And did Obama save the world economy or did Sylvia and Wilf pay for the massive church wedding they couldn't afford in 2010? For the record, it took me ages to twig who "Jeffery Noble" was, since Donna's dad hadn't been referred to by name since The Runaway Bride. Where he was simply "Geoff". And yes, the idea of a man's loose change becoming the life-changing gift at the wedding of his daughter he will not live to see, is heartbreakingly sweet. But then, that was obvious.

- I rarely cry at Doctor Who. The only times have been: Susan's farewell in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, when the Third Doctor died in Planet of Spiders, when Adric died in Earthshock, when the Doctor told Fenric to kill Ace in Curse of Fenric, when Rose was left on the beach in Doomsday, and Donna's "death scene". I also got a bit teary when I killed off Dodo in C-Day, but I dunno if that counts. But I totally sobbed like a baby man when Bernard Cribbens started to cry saying, "I don't want you to die!" or when he broke down and PLEADED for the Doctor to stay out of the glass box. And blew the kiss at the wedding. I also got set off by Rose's scene, but mainly because even though the Doctor was in indescribable agony, he was pulling his "I'm ALWAYS all right!" cheeky act one last time at the girl totally unaware the love of her life was dying in front of her.

- I was completely traumatized when I saw the last episode of Blake's 7, and I remember rewatching it noticing all sorts of little details that suggested things could have been different and their fate wasn't inevitable (such as the scene where Vila is dismayed that Plan A is no longer "run away"). I was reminded of it in Logopolis with those random side-steps as the Doctor visits Brighton Pier or hangs round a coffee machine, like he's trying to choose the path of action that WON'T lead to his death and yet keeps getting hemmed in. So the padding of the Silver Cloak, the cafe scene, the worst. rescue. ever., and the final scenes with the companions. So... I can't really complain over these scenes, because on some gut level they are what they want. Ergo, I can't truly give a credit.

- the ABC trailer for this story proves, simply PROVES, how much the people working there love Doctor Who. They really don't need to go to that much trouble, getting clearance to use The Doors and special edits... they could simply repeat the BBC trailers if they wanted (which is how they tackled the previous specials). This is the end my beautiful friend... pity about the "Catch Up on iView" logo that pops up half-way-through. Totally kills the mood.

And so I conclude with the musical tribute that should have been in the story rather than a repeat of The Angel and the Devil over a space jukebox.

This is for the fans that’re loving the arc,
The gritty gravitas coz it’s gone all dark!
Battered police box, stuck in Cardiff
The Tenth Doctor makes all a squee-bitch
And I, the best Doctor, unlike Tom I rocked ya
Like Colin I shocked ya, like Peter I mocked ya
Lasted five years, longer than your fears,
Now my departure’s gonna leave you in tears!

Why not?
By now I shoulda kept my hand,
Not lost my companion band,
And suffered adventures quite so bland!
Now I got nothing, no travelling in the dust
No decent companions, just that bitch with a bus!
I keep looking for a proper friend to me
But time has run out and I face mortality!

I got chic-geek outfits
I’m on the good side of the critics
Even though I prefer thrillers to the chick flicks
So I’m gonna quit before you’re sick of my tricks, yeah!
Badass vengeful god, slightly emo
Never shut up, no problemo
Might go back to Big Finish, for a cameo
Or do missing adventures, if we get the get-go?

This is the finale, gnarly and incredibly barmy
It’s so mad RTD cries “It’s even got the Rani!”
Canon, continuity, fanwankorama
Celebrity Guest Appearance by Barrack Obama
Taking on the Master who’s gone bananas
In another so-called “award-winning dramas!”
Polarity? Neutron flow?
You reversing? I should hope so!
The end’s half-way-through! Ro ho no fo blo ho!

People will complain if Rose doesn’t come back
And if she didn’t, RTD’d give Billie P the sack
And the execute producer says it’ll “be the biggest story yet”
After five years no one’s even prepared to bet
It’ll live up to hype or even live at all
But rest assured, all the cast and crew had a ball

It’s as epic as Star Wars, Darkness Falls, Sliding Doors
It’s got a more convincing monster than the one in Jaws
So fangirls come squee, and make your goodbyes
We know who’s Eleven, so it ain’t a surprise
Even if you avoid spoiler lies, Moffat’s reign is nigh
So lie back, relax and watch as Mad Larry cries,
Weeping with despair that he’s not in charge
And that his assumed talents were just a mirage

I’m off to Hamlet, Shakespeare to Chicago
Who fan on the stage, spot me from the front row!
And then I looked around at the guest cast in this show,
I’ve slept with almost all of them, you know?

You put me here and I’m all yours
Though I do like money and I do love the applause,
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, jings!

People make some noise! Fangirls and fanboys!