dog-days

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  1. If they came back to the rift with a few cans of Irn Bru (sorry, I mean Irrrn Brrrrui), I reckon the creations of utter darkness would put the monsters to flight pretty fast.
  2. Interesting. That kind of calls for a follow up episode where the Romano-British saviours of the world drop into McDonalds for a cheeseburger and a toilet break.
  3. Though it was okay - beautiful setting, costumes, and nice one liners. Williamjm highlights one of the best. The Doctor-Nardole banter was good too. “What are you doing?” “Ingratiating myself.” “Well stop it, it’s revolting!” And I liked “Death by Scotland”. Loved the clear reference to Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth at the start of the episode - a book that has been a big part of many people's childhoods - probably Rona Munro's, certainly mine. I studied Latin at university. The late great Sutcliff must certainly take some of the blame. I doubt Roman soldiers would be so sexually accepting in quite such modern terms, but obviously can't prove it, so will hand-wave it. The plot itself would have been better without the monster. That’s quite a big caveat. I also wasn’t fond of the solution. How are a tiny band of adolescents expecteed to hold off thousands of great big monsters for all time? Or even thirty minutes? Even fairy tale logic doesn’t seem to work there. And I could have done without the “let’s just put aside our differences and work together” speech. The show has done that so many times before that the trope really needs to be given a rest for a while. Since the show decided to do one tribute to a classic of twentieth century children’s literature, they could have worked in another one to Earthfasts by William Mayne. Much of the author’s work has been tainted by the knowledge of his paedophilia, some probably justifiably so, but I don’t think Earthfasts should be lost with the rest. For those not familiar with it: it’s based on a local legend in North Yorkshire that a gang of eighteeth century soldiers discovered a tunnel beneath Richmond castle, and sent down the youngest boy to explore it, telling him to keep drumming so that they could plot the route above ground. They followed him as far as Easby where the drumming stopped. The drummer boy was never seen again, except in Earthfasts, of course, where he emerges from a hill slip into the twentieth century.
  4. At least it's better in AG than David Boreanaz's alarmingly bad effort in Buffy. Let's just pause for a moment and remember how awful that was. (Starts at 1 min 58). Been enjoying the series. I listened to the audio book of American Gods in January 2017 - I don't normally say this kind of thing, but the changes that've been made from book to show feel like a big improvement. Especially the fleshing out of Laura's character.
  5. The diversity that is shown is represented by people on the lowest ranks of the social scale - a man selling pies, a beggar girl. Sutcliffe is a wealthy industrialist. Societies can be diverse, and still be racist.
  6. She's dealt with aliens and evil plans to take over the world. Racism is something different. It's closer to home. What I mean is, why did Thin Ice remember that Victorian Britain was a racist colonialist society, but Empress of Mars didn't? We have a band of redcoats fresh from fighting a colonial war in South Africa, and there was absolutely nothing? (In terms of the characterisation of the soldiers re: Bill and the young black guy who appeared to be heading towards moving from a redcoat to a redshirt when he started talking about how he wanted to get married). Yes, in a sense the episode was about imperial delusions of superiority and inferiority. But it just seemed so facile and trite. I don't know. Maybe I just feel uncomfortable seeing Doctor Who take a real and horrible period of history and then ham-fistedly push it into a sci-fi story, while providing very simplistic characterisations of the soldiers themselves. It jams together the allegorical and the actual in a way that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
  7. Why would she learn and develop away fear/dislike of racist representatives of British establishment power? Sutcliffe wasn't an advert for the fluffy warm liberal side of Victorian life.
  8. Yeah. It seemed to be making light of regeneration, which AFAIK has previously been treated as quite a solemn thing. Hated the most recent episode - really thought it was embarrassingly bad. Dreadful dialogue, characters written by Gatiss while apparently typing with clogs on his hands. I liked the beginning - with God Save the Queen being discovered written on the surface of Mars; that was the last thing I liked. Why is it that in Thin Ice, Bill was shown to be anxious about how she would be treated in Victorian London - but when she runs into a redcoats - on service in South Africa - she's fine? Note: Looking on Black Presence.co.uk - according to it, there are quite substantial records of black soldiers serving in the nineteenth century British army. I note that in the instance I've linked to, black drummers stopped being recruited through the 1820s and 1830s. I wonder if that coincides with an increase in the sense of racial superiority and imperial destiny in Britain as the country enjoyed total dominance in Europe without the French to puncture the hubris. Anyone want to take a punt on what decade the soldiers were supposed to originate from? From the pictures I've seen on the internet, I'd say they're from the eighteen seventies from the period of the Anglo-Zulu war.
  9. Yep. It gave me "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" vibes - just take a couple of unlikely elements, stick 'em in a single episode and see what happens. Would like to be pleasantly surprised - the last Gatiss episode was by no means a classic, but it still had enough interesting ideas that it was worthwhile watching. The last two episodes have been really disappointing, especially following on from In Extremis. The Lie of the Land was partially saved by Missy - Michelle Gomez just has these fantastic cold snake eyes that delight me, and the writing for her was on form. Moffat does seem to be ripping himself off a bit - anyone else reminded of the last Sherlock episode? If you have a frenemy, give her a musical instrument and keep her in a transparent glass prison. Bill and Nardole were great. I like Nardole - he's been one of the best parts of this series, which I certainly didn't see coming in the Christmas special. And I had to suffer the pangs of jumper envy on account of Bill's costume this episode. Damn, that was a nice jumper.
  10. Damn, that was a great episode. Was it a Steven Moffat episode? Yes, indeed it was. Thank you Steve Moffat. Perhaps for the last time on Doctor Who, you've knocked it out of the ballpark.
  11. Yeah. If you're reading this, Mr Mathieson, then go and get some experience of showrunning! (I'm not sure how he could do that, mind, unless he has masses of kids and can write a ten episode show for them, then chivy them into acting it out so he can film it on his phone and send it into the BBC.) Ok, more seriously: Chibnall I think hopped from Doctor Who to being head writer on Torchwood, and that opened up opportunities for him outside of the sci-fi ghetto as showrunner on Law and Order UK and Camelot. But I doubt he'd have been allowed anywhere near the reins of DW if not for the success of Broadchurch. Which I haven't watched - not my kind of show. The Beeb, no doubt looking at DW's falling ratings, are probably hoping he'll be able to reel in a few hundred thousand of the Broadchurch audience. Moffat was made showrunner because he'd written a load of the best recent DW episodes, and had masses of writing experience(really - masses: he's written hundreds and hundreds of episodes). If he didn't have showrunner experience, it's probably because the concept of the showrunner hasn't been around that long in the UK. Just hope that Mathieson gets the development opportunities thrown his way that Moffat and Chibnall have had.
  12. Enjoyed the latest episode quite a lot. Don't think it was as good as the other Mathieson eps - it seemed a bit closer to generic Doctor Who territory - but I did find the conceit of the dead human bodies trapped in the spacesuits genuinely creepy. Like a nightmare vision of Wallace and Gromit ep "The Wrong Trousers". The plot mostly seemed to fit together very nicely. The only thing I wondered about was when the Doctor said that the rescue ships coming were just bringing replacements. Now, that might be so, but wouldn't there be a bit of a fuss in the galactic press - if there is one - when the newbies discover a ship full of walking corpses? One imagines it might draw negative attention to the lead mining company. Of course, there are masses of ways to hand-wave it. e.g. robot replacements, humans given hush money, one human discovering a record of tragic oxygen failure on board ship...etc. The exchange between Bill and Blue Guy seemed a bit off somehow. I wasn't sure what point it was trying to make. It seemed ham-fisted and OOC for Bill. Still, I would be very happy if Mathieson were to be a future showrunner. Much better him than Chris Chibnall.
  13. I saw her live in London in a play called Gross und Klein by Botho Strauss. She was amazing! (A word her character used often in an exaggerated Australian accent). Just as good on stage as on film. All hail Cate Blanchett, indeed.
  14. Right from the off, Lost always felt pretty much like a story about people encountering the numinous, the mystical. I mean, there was an empty coffin, a missing body, and a bloke called Christian. If there had been a neat explanation at the end of everything, I'd have been extremely surprised. It's a long time since I've watched the show, but I can't remember being disappointed by the finale. Not blown away by it, but not disappointed either. Honestly, by that point, I'd have watched Michael Emerson (Ben) and Terry O' Quinn (Locke/Shadow Monster) sit quietly in a room together and been pretty happy with it.
  15. The photo on the Doctor's desk showed Susan (granddaughter) and River (wife) - as well as Bill. Could this mean that she's going to be revealed as another member of his family? (I hope not.)