Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dr Who: rhinos in space


I am currently in a Zen like state of mind as programmes such as House and The Sopranos are back on terrestrial telly (my Zen existence disintegrates when I remind myself that I don’t have cable….). And now to complete things Dr Who is back. The Xmas episode was kinda sub-standard but I am willing to forgive Russell T. Davies as he usually is on top form…..most of the time. Now we have a brand spanking series with a new woman assistant. Well, guess what, I just had to review the first episode. And as Simply Red once crooned, if you don’t know me by now, pop pickers, then you will never never never know me.

We meet Martha Jones, who as a medical student encounters a rather "sick" looking “mister Smith” who inexplicably has two heart beats, during the ward round. She thinks stomach problems while the consultant thinks psychiatric!

There are strange meteorological problems afoot and I am not talking global warming either. There’s a build up of static electricity, raging storm clouds and pouring rain only hitting the hospital and nowhere else.

And before you can say cost cutting exercise, the hospital lands on the moon (honestly, they go to extraordinary lengths to impose PFI schemes nowadays). In defiance of science and the laws of physics (hey, this is fiction) the moon has air and before you know it a cluster of space ships hits the surface and enter the Judoon. A bunch of inter-galactic shock storm troopers who look remarkably like rhinos. These thuggish cops are on a mission to find a plasmavore, who is in the guise of a sweet innocent pensioner, who assimilates blood, rather quaintly, through a straw as opposed to using fangs (look, jokes about the blood transfusion service are tempting). The Judoon probe the “humans” in this hospital and in a British state kinda way indulge in shoot-to-kill tactics and ask questions later.

Anyway, the Doctor and the medical doctor have to find this pesky little plasmavore before the Judoon decide to execute everyone and to save the hospital staff and patients from lack of oxygen all in a matter of 45 minutes…..oh and return to earth. There’s lots of running around and Martha trying to elicit information from this enigmatic character known as the Doctor. And the gorgeous Martha gets to indulge in some 'genetic transfer' with him (Tut! before the watershed as well...).

Martha, in a similar way to Rose, has “emotional baggage” in regards to her family. Rose was brought up by her mum in a council flat while Martha’s parents are divorced yet affluent. Different social class, race and backgrounds yet both are asserting their independence and are strong women but feel there’s more to life. I am sure as the series progresses Martha’s character will be fleshed out and evolve (rather like Rose).

Martha can hold her own against the vile Judoon (critics say these critters are a rip-off from Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). And no bloody screaming either (ah, the golden olden days of the average one-dimensional weak woman assistant in Dr. Who)….Thank-you Russell T. Davies. The one thing I like about Russell T. Davies he does create good strong women characters.

I give it 8 out of 10 (but I am biased). It looks like the BBC spent a couple quid more on special effects than ITV on their piss-poor but hilariously-funny-but-for-the-wrong-reasons, Primeval. Oh well, Torchwood is now a distant memory since Dr Who is back…

Rumour has it that the final episode stars the excellent John Simm playing a Blairesque prime minister who is really the Doctor’s arch-nemesis the Master in disguise. So that’s what is up with Tony Blair then…..

17 comments:

badmat said...

We've already seen Tony Blair regenerate into David Tennant and prmosie to go on forever on Dead Ringers, so the connection is already made.

But really, only 8/10; surely a 9 at least. And Ann Reid with a straw!

Louisefeminista said...

"And Ann Reid with a straw"!

And the way she smacked her lips at the thought of drinking the rich blood of a well fed ("expensive 5 star dinners") consultant, was very funny.

a very public sociologist said...

Aha, The Master! I knew he'd be back!

Seeing as The Doctor seems up for a tongue sarnie this season, I'm left wondering whether he and Cap'n Jack will treat us to some lip-smacking action. Mrs AVPS certainly hopes so!!!

Louisefeminista said...

Phil: Yep, I am with Mrs AVPS on this that there's a bit of action between the utterly utterly fantastic Jack (and whatta body!) and the Doctor.

I mean, what else can you do on those lonely nights when not hurtling around time and space or not chasing aliens and saving the world from disaster... other than finding new things to do with your sonic screwdriver with help from your trusty assistant(s)..!!

On a serious note, I think Martha kinda gets a thing for the Doc and according to Russell T. the series revolves unrequited love....

Oh yeah, it is a story that hasn't been "confirmed" re: The Master coming back BUT it seems a perfect story with the excellent John Simm playing a grinning Blairesque PM....

Alex Nichols said...

"The one thing I like about Russell T. Davies he does create good strong women characters."

And BAD strong women characters. So far, we've had:-
-The Empress of Racnoss, an ancient giant spider, who's laid her egg-brood underground, in order to take over the Earth.
- The Plasmavore, a serial blood-sucking granny.
- An alien disguised as a matronly MI5 agent, who tries to push the Earth into a nuclear war, becomes
Lord Mayor of Cardiff and plans to use a nuclear power station to destroy the planet.

Not that they were women in the strictly zoological sense....

Louisefeminista said...

Yeah, I suppose he does create "women" with a baddie bad attitude but I think that's ok as well.

I kinda liked the sweet granny portrayed as a blood sucking tyrant....

But what my beef is that women Dr Who assistants usually wore skimpy clothes, did buggar all and screamed a lot. And thankfully, things have moved on with Russell T. Davies... Amen to that..

Alex Nichols said...

It's a bit odd though that the Doctor was able to whisk off Rose Tyler from her black boy-friend, who was portrayed as a bit of a wimp.
Then team up with a new black female side-kick, simply by flashing his sonic-screwdriver.
As if.
I'm also a bit worried about the forthcoming "Daleks over New York" episode.
Going transatlantic is the death-knell of any form of British film/entertainment
I notice that your own Swindon lad, Ricky Gervaise is buying a penthouse in New York and hob-nobbing with Robert De Niro.

Stay Quirky and sod the lure of the dollar. Only way to stop the rot at the BBC.

AN said...

I don't think Gervais has any connection with Swindon.

Billie Piper on the other hand ...

And of course "Devil's End" was filmed near here in 1971, probably the best Dr Who story ??? Except for that one with the Yetis in the London Underground.

Does any one except me listen to radio 7, where Paul Mcgann is still the eighth Doctor. I think it is better than the TV, as the stories are not so driven by the special effects

Louisefeminista said...

I knew there was something I had to listen to.....

Yes, I think that's a valid point about stories not driven by special effects and being better. And Paul McGann is good.

Btw: do you know who is writing the stories?

Ah yes, the Yetis in the underground.

I am sure the service would be improved dramatically if run by Yetis. They couldn't do any worse.

AN said...

I have never found anywhere in the developed world as expensive, unreliable and dirty as London's.

I don't know about the Yetis, but i find it hard to believe the service was much worse during the Blitz.

Alex Nichols said...

"I don't think Gervais has any connection with Swindon"

Sorry, you're right,it's Reading.
The ahem..premiership...town.
- all sound the same to me.

Louisefeminista said...

Well, Reading and Swindon are on the same train line.

Ah, but that's why the Yetis along with the Daleks and the Cyberblokes would do a much much better job running the underground.

Though in saying that I dread to think what they would do to fair dodgers....

Alex Nichols said...

"Daleks and the Cyberblokes would do a much much better job running the underground"

I can feel a plot-line coming on.
Ken Livingston is adbducted to an orbiting space station and implanted with an alien mind control chip.
Fares are increased to pay for a system of electronic scanning on the underground, which records the bio-signature of all the passengers.
Meanwhile the rolling stock is secretly being diverted to Mornington Crescent station where the Cybermen are planning to build a Casino.
The inhabitants of London are then given jobs as croupiers and waitresses, while 24/7 Setanta Sports and replays of the "Global Warming Swindle" are played on all TV sets.
Gary Lineker is arrested for sedition and held in the dungeons of the F.A.

Only the intervention of the Doctor, fronting a Socialist organisation is able to remove Ken's chip and free Gary Lineker from the vaults.
Tube and Bus fares are abolished at a stroke. In the mayhem, the Emirates stadium is destroyed. So, a happy ending all round.
Move over Davies, your days are over.

Louisefeminista said...

"where the Cybermen are planning to build a Casino".

I reckon they could do a better job than New Labour.

Anyway, I thought the BBC were getting rid of Gary Linekar? Chucking him in dungeon no doubt.....

Alex Nichols said...

"I thought the BBC were getting rid of Gary Lineker?"

They lost the contract for live FA cup and international broadcasts to Setanta and ITV last week.
Lineker claims publicly it was just about money, but there was a lot of speculation that the FA were pissed off by Lineker and Hansen's criticism of the England Squad under McClaren.

He was extremely sarcky on Match of the Day, going on about England's fantastic victory against Andorra etc...

If it was just money, why did he need to do that?
Besides which, it raises the issue of how the BBC is being undermined and Sport being bought up, ticket prices hiked up astronomically and broadcast sport turned into a pay-per-view or subscription service.

Louisefeminista said...

Well, everything is geared towards the market and making a profit whether it is paying an enormous amount to visit an art gallery to watching a football (pay-per-view or actually turning up to the game). I know someone who has an Arsenal season ticket and it is shocking (and not just that he's an Arsenal fan either...) how much he paid for it.

Oh and on a separate but linked topic thought comrades may be interested that Buffy is back.... only in a comic strip. Mixed reviews so far.

Alex Nichols said...

Looks like reality is catching up with SF and the military are adopting marxist orthodoxy on class polarisation:

"Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx's proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132%, while Europe's drops as fertility falls. "Flashmobs" - groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups.
This is the world in 30 years' time envisaged by a Ministry of Defence team responsible for painting a picture of the "future strategic context" likely to face Britain's armed forces......

http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,2053019,00.html