Sunday, November 24, 2013

Doctor Who: Today's The Day...

...and it was awesome.

Fantastic. Brilliant. Cool. Impossible. Non-specific term of endearment.

Seriously.

You know, I have to admit that Moffat has lived up to his promise to make 2013 epic. It's a far cry from his "meh, anniversaries, whatever" attitude that no doubt is part and parcel of being married to a TV professional almost as busy as he is to celebrate needless turnings of the calendar. But we've had two brand new Doctors, the return of Paul McGann and Tom Baker to the screen, the chance to watch Enemy of the World on DVD without any missing bits of any kind whatsoever, a half-decent documentary by Mark Gatiss that reduced Mad Larry Miles to a drooling gibbon insisting that he is the only true fan of Who because he hates it so much, sparacus is a nutter wandering the streets, Monsieur Cookson is not even that and Nala Snevets is weeping uncontrollably as the entire english-speaking world refuses to waste a second on Radio Bastard.

It's amazing to think that a few months ago, the Twelfth Doctor's casting barely merited more than a few inches of column space whereas now you would literally have to be blind-deaf-dumb-stupid... well, basically Chris Lilley not to be drowning in Who stuff. Admittedly, it's not all of a high quality (the SMH's "Eccleston is grate and you alls suxz you gurlz" article was clearly written by someone who wasn't a fan and resented having to sit through The Ultimate Guide last night... and fair enough too. Shut up, John Culshaw! SHUT UP!!!), but like it or loathe it, it's going to feel very weird next week not being drowned in drumbeats and sonic screwdrivers from all media.

Of course, it continues Moffat's sickening anti-Dalek agenda where he continues to downgrade them from whatever status RTD sweated blood trying to achieve. Seriously...

Continuity Errors - in his first and only pre-05 Doctor Who work, Moffat notes that the Daleks are pathetic and only appear evil because the Doctor is bigging himself up. Ka Faraq Gatri does not translate as "Bringer of Darkness" or "the Oncoming Storm" but "Nice Guy If You're A Biped".

The Curse of Fatal Death - the Daleks are stupid because they have no noses, or legs, or can aim straight, and are "a bunch of metal gits" who need saving and even give up being evil because they're crap at it.

The Girl In The Fireplace - a pivotal scene takes the piss out of the Ninth Doctor confronting the Daleks by having Rose try and fail to impress the Clockwork Men to be afraid of someone who scares Daleks. Because, hell, what's impressive about that?

Silence in the Library - the Doctor thinks that Vashta Nerada are way scarier than Daleks. Given Vashta Nerada don't kill anyone and run away when he tells them to, this is damning.

The End of Time - Moffat refuses to allow RTD to use the Daleks, and so reveals that the Daleks weren't the big bad of the Time War, just easy scapegoats that never really threatened anyone.

Victory of the Daleks - the bronze, hardass Daleks are replaced with stupider, immobile and unimpressive Daleks who don't even merit getting blown up at the end.

The Pandorica Opens - the Daleks are part of the alliance because they're not as cool as the Silence, and so stupid they let the universe end by accident.

The Big Bang - again, a Dalek is so stupid it tries to end the universe. Then it wets itself when River Song pops a cap in its ass because River Song is way more impressive than a Dalek.

The God Complex - Daleks are listed as irrational fears. The Weeping Angels are way scarier.

The Wedding of River Song - the Daleks are only good for one thing, telling the Doctor about the Silence, since they are so crap they can get blown up by anyone.

Asylum of the Daleks - the Daleks are so rubbish they go mad if the Doctor doesn't blow them up, hell, they go mad anyway. The Doctor can defeat an entire asylum with one sonic screwdriver. At the end, their minds are wiped and thus lose any possible threat they could have had.

A Town Called Mercy - some desperate 19th century yankees are scarier than a Dalek, apparently.

The Angels Take Manhatten - written because Moffat said the Daleks weren't good enough to be in the Ponds' farewell story

The Name of the Doctor - "Daleks" is reduced from the epitome of hatred and death to what the Doctor calls mildy annoying children.

The Day of the Doctor - not only is an entire Dalek force wiped out by a blunt instrument, they can be destroyed by sonic screwdrivers. Oh, and the Time War ended when all the Daleks were so stupid they shot each other and they're all totally dead now. Zygons are way scarier.

I look forward to the Capaldi epic Grudging Contracual Appearance of the Daleks where some inflatable Dalek punching bags are defeated by a passing mosquito while the Doctor confronts the terrible danger of the Flying Typewriters of the Lovecraftian Tapioca Pudding Cult. Which are, of course, way cooler than Daleks anyway...

But yeah. I'm happy. This is good.

And since the bandwidth is on my side, I thought this might as well be uploaded. It just goes to show that the only place the Goodies didn't make a huge cultural impact was in the BBC itself, as Spiderbait cover one of Bill Oddie's antiestablishment chants. For pictures, TimeBase productions whose take on the Cybermen is still, regretfully, ten times better than any other TV version. Seriously, it's like Phase IV is the one story where they actually behave the way they should...



Happy birthday, Doctor.

15 comments:

Persona Herein said...

That...didn't suck. Surprisingly. Maybe Moffat needed the rest of the year to make sure he got this one right.

(This being said, the Peter Davison comedy sketch would have made up for almost any kind of disaster. One wonders whether they knew that McGann was going to be in it or not. And everyone does think that Tom Baker is that far out, don't they? They just do.
Be hilarious if the "missing scene" of the Teletubby Daleks attacking Gallifrey is going to show up on the DVD release.)

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I actually loved it. Which is something because I rarely say these days, cynical bastard I am. I was prepared for an utterly new series wank fest, and couldn't believe how embracing of the whole series it was. In fact, given what's now happened to Gallifrey and Moffat cheekily retconning the Bad Wolf arc so that it makes some sense it feels like the final dismantling of the RTD era.

Also TOM BAKER. When Clara mentioned the 'old man' I knew it was somebody but... haven't they been crafty? They brought TWO classic Doctors back* and kept it under their hats nicely!

*I guess some people would argue whether or not PMG is strictly a 'classic' Doctor and they would have a point...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Oh, also I forgot to say I hugely approve of Moffat's handling (or castration, if you will) of the Daleks. Making them completely invincible I guess made sense for RTD to sell them to a new generation, but, really, I feel it weakens rather than strengthens drama - you're just waiting for another magic wand at the end of the day.

And why wouldn't being smacked by a TARDIS at a reasonable speed break a Dalek? Davison destroyed a Dalek by pushing it out a window

Youth of Australia said...

I actually loved it. Which is something because I rarely say these days, cynical bastard I am.
I thought you were just being stoic and you wanted your blog to be less than one post a year...


I was prepared for an utterly new series wank fest, and couldn't believe how embracing of the whole series it was.
I know! We even saw Kamelion!

In fact, given what's now happened to Gallifrey and Moffat cheekily retconning the Bad Wolf arc so that it makes some sense it feels like the final dismantling of the RTD era.
Kinda like The War Games dismantled An Unearthly Child?

They brought TWO classic Doctors back* and kept it under their hats nicely!
...you haven't seen The Five (ish Doctors Reboot film, have you?

Suffice it to say, THREE classic Doctors appear in the broadcast DOD but you have to keep an eye for them.

Oh, also I forgot to say I hugely approve of Moffat's handling (or castration, if you will) of the Daleks.
I thought you might - and I agree, RTD left them with nowhere to go post Journey's End.

But what bugs me is bringing them back in stories purely so Moff can big up his own creations. The Worf Affect, I believe tvtropes call it.

I mean, do you really think Madame Kovarian and the Silence were better than the Daleks? Or Vashta Nerada? Or some zombies with eyestalks?

We've already noticed that having Headless Monks > a legion of Cybermen at the height of their power controlling half the galaxy is downright insulting.

Surely Daleks in Manhattan showed how to do a sensible Dalek story? If it was a Moffat tale, the Daleks would be in it for two minutes and the rest have the Doctor going on that the Pig Slaves are the mightiest evil he has ever faced - PERHAPS EVEN GREATER THAN THE KROMON!!

(Which are canon now. Dammit.)

Also, Matt Smith's finale features the Daleks. But they are B-list after Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Silence. Even though by all logic they should be able to defeat all of them - they don't blink, they shoot on sight, and they got form for holding their own against Cybus dudes...

It's gone from necessary de-escalation to damnwell picking on them. And we can't have Davros stories because...?

And why wouldn't being smacked by a TARDIS at a reasonable speed break a Dalek? Davison destroyed a Dalek by pushing it out a window
In fairness, it wasn't the "Barbara Wright Road Rage" method of wiping out a Dalek squad that bugged me, but after establishing that thousands of Daleks were attacking Arcadia they were ALL wiped out with one bit of reckless TARDIS driving? I mean... seriously?

(No doubt there are cut scenes saying otherwise.)

But yeah. I was braced for something bad, for something mediocre. But me and the rest of the family are thoroughly impressed.

Seriously. Triple the fist.

Miles Reid-Lobatto said...


Well, by that, you might as well wonder why the Doctor doesn't go around saying 'Well, these guys? They're no Sutekh... I mean, Sutekh was so awesome he blew up the Earth in 1980!'

I think Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks is an underrated story. It's one of the few 'Dalek' stories in New Who which actually explores the Dalek concept and not just use them because we need a Big Bad for the finale.

Youth of Australia said...

The thing about Sutekh is that Moffat didn't invent him.

The only villain Moffat hasn't tried to make the most epic and undefeatable of all time (who would skull-rape Daleks and Cybermen to death if even noticed such motes of dust even existed) were the Smilers.

Even in The Fivish Doctors, he cut out scenes with the Daleks for his own material...

By the way, I am hugely proud everyone in that could laugh at themselves. As our lord Jesus Christ so often said:

"Fuck em if they can't take a joke."

Miles Reid-Lobatto said...


Probably that's why Jesus hasn't made a comeback anytime soon, his followers can't take a joke.

Youth of Australia said...

"Hey, guys! Totally fooled you with the crucifixion stuff and...

...

what the fuck are you doing to that choir boy?"

Miles Reid-Lobatto said...


Akin to Regenerations, the New Pope is proving a strange and eccentric individual. I'm half surprised the Vatican Message Boards haven't exploded with 'TOO YOUNG!' 'TOO UNDERSTANDING!' or 'BEN CHATHAM FOR NEXT POPE!'

Youth of Australia said...

At least Ben Chatham is too weak and drunk to molest people. He'd vomit in the fireplace and there'd be green smoke from the Vatican...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I thought you were just being stoic and you wanted your blog to be less than one post a year...

I was actually writing a review after it broadcast savaging the Snowmen ep, but then you enthused over how great it was and I decided to keep my feelings to myself.

I started a couple of others as well. Something made me stop writing them. Maybe work - commuting and rare tropical diseases takes it out of you.

Kinda like The War Games dismantled An Unearthly Child?

I guess that's a fair comparison.

...you haven't seen The Five (ish Doctors Reboot film, have you?

I started watching it but it was taking a while to load. The first seven minutes are definitely very funny. I think McCoy dropping The Hobbit into conversation at every opportunity was my favourite gag.

But what bugs me is bringing them back in stories purely so Moff can big up his own creations. The Worf Affect, I believe tvtropes call it.

Is he cribbing off Mad Larry AGAIN?

Although that was Larry doing so to big up The Krotons. And then he undermined his own efforts by having every other character pointing out that the Krotons are complete crap. And then having them defeated easily before the actual climax. And not having them actually involved in the plot.

...what a strange book that was.

I mean, do you really think Madame Kovarian and the Silence were better than the Daleks?

...I don't know. Is that plotline actually over? I still don't know who the Silence ARE so it's hard to tell.

Or Vashta Nerada?

We've gone over my feelings about the VN, haven't we?

Or some zombies with eyestalks?

...I don't even know what story this was..

Surely Daleks in Manhattan showed how to do a sensible Dalek story?

I agree. I think it and Asylum are the best Dalek stories of the new series by a massive margin.

(They still shouldn't fly, though)

If it was a Moffat tale, the Daleks would be in it for two minutes and the rest have the Doctor going on that the Pig Slaves are the mightiest evil he has ever faced - PERHAPS EVEN GREATER THAN THE KROMON!!

(Which are canon now. Dammit.)


Is there anything inherently wrong with the Kromon as monsters? They weren't interesting but there was nothing BAD about them. They just appeared in the most generic, by-the-numbers story ever written.

It's more depressing that The Kro'ka is canon. But then, so are all the times the Doctor pwned him..

But THEN you get to Evil Black Rassilon...

And we can't have Davros stories because...?

Did he say we couldn't? I'd be very keen to see Davros again, if Julian Bleach wants to come back..

In fairness, it wasn't the "Barbara Wright Road Rage" method of wiping out a Dalek squad that bugged me, but after establishing that thousands of Daleks were attacking Arcadia they were ALL wiped out with one bit of reckless TARDIS driving? I mean... seriously?

We must have watched the scene very differently. It looked to me like there was just one small group in the area (about eight) that he knocked out, and Arcadia was still screwed.

Youth of Australia said...

I was actually writing a review after it broadcast savaging the Snowmen ep, but then you enthused over how great it was and I decided to keep my feelings to myself.
Aw, come on. When has THAT ever been fun?

(Surely, though, you must rate Snowmen higher that Doctor/Widow/Wardrobe...?)

commuting and rare tropical diseases takes it out of you.
I can imagine. But the internet can get lonely without you.

I started watching it but it was taking a while to load. The first seven minutes are definitely very funny. I think McCoy dropping The Hobbit into conversation at every opportunity was my favourite gag.
I was impressed by some subtle gags, like Georgia Moffat hanging up on her dad to eat celery (which Davo notoriously can't stand) or the idea Baker forces his entire family to watch Doctor Who episodes starring him...

Is he cribbing off Mad Larry AGAIN?
...erm...

...what a strange book that was.
Yeah - take that, Time Pussy! (actual dialogue)

...I don't know. Is that plotline actually over? I still don't know who the Silence ARE so it's hard to tell.
The "oh shit, abort abort!" attitude of Season 7 does make it hard to tell...

...I don't even know what story this was..
The human Daleks in Asylum.

(They still shouldn't fly, though)
Yeah, but it occurs to me it must easier and cheaper to use CGI than actual props nowadays...

And we can't have Davros stories because...?

Did he say we couldn't?
Apparently, according to Moff, "there aren't any stories left to tell about him".

We must have watched the scene very differently. It looked to me like there was just one small group in the area (about eight) that he knocked out, and Arcadia was still screwed.
Oh. I speak of The Last Day mini-episode which showed the start of the Arcadia assault.

"If one Dalek gets through the sky-trenches, we're fucked."
*cue billions of Daleks filling the sky with solid bronze*
"We're fucked."

Yeah, on its own, DOD makes sense of that.

And the knowledge that Tom Baker has played two Doctors - or at least one Doctor and a passing nutter - makes me happy. I know it makes him happy...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

(Surely, though, you must rate Snowmen higher that Doctor/Widow/Wardrobe...?)

Well, I haven't been game to re-watch either of them...

I can imagine. But the internet can get lonely without you

No promises, but I started writing something this morning...

The "oh shit, abort abort!" attitude of Season 7 does make it hard to tell...

I know, right? Moffat seems to have a weird thing where if something doesn't work out he just pretends it never happened. (Power Ranger Daleks, anyone?)

The human Daleks in Asylum.

Oh. Right. They were weird.

Apparently, according to Moff, "there aren't any stories left to tell about him".

Hmm, I guess I can see where he's coming from, but by the same logic the Daleks and the Master shouldn't be used any more, either.

Oh. I speak of The Last Day mini-episode which showed the start of the Arcadia assault.

..ANOTHER minisode? I can't believe how much stuff has come out. Especially since Moffat initially acted like the 50th was no big deal..

And the knowledge that Tom Baker has played two Doctors - or at least one Doctor and a passing nutter - makes me happy. I know it makes him happy...

That was my absolute favourite bit, in case I didn't make it clear. A beautiful scene.

Youth of Australia said...

I know, right? Moffat seems to have a weird thing where if something doesn't work out he just pretends it never happened. (Power Ranger Daleks, anyone?)
I think worse is the mass of contradictory excuses he gives
- I want to redesign everything, even the Daleks
- well, there were only three Daleks so I had to redesign them to justify the budget
- they're just officer class, always meant to be
- we only had a Dalek story out of tradition
- why meddle with perfection?

Jeez, grow a backbone already.

Hmm, I guess I can see where he's coming from, but by the same logic the Daleks and the Master shouldn't be used any more, either.
Which is why he doesn't use the Master.

I'm fairly certain he only uses the Daleks for contractual obligation (they have to appear once a year, minimum, hence cameos like Waters of Mars).

..ANOTHER minisode? I can't believe how much stuff has come out. Especially since Moffat initially acted like the 50th was no big deal..
Either he was lying or someone smacked some sense into him.

That was my absolute favourite bit, in case I didn't make it clear. A beautiful scene.
Yeah. I think a scene like that is worth more than if he'd joined the chorus line in Five Doctors...

Matthew Blanchette said...

I think... it could've been better. Needed some moreactual classics, rather than archive footage.

BUT... John Hurt was lovely, and Tom packed a whallop. :_) (That's supposed to be sad-crying.)

Not the best story this year, but probably the best story, aside from "The Three Doctors", to come out of a multi-Doctor anniversary special.

...just wish the Zygon bits hadn't been so half-baked. Ah, well.