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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Doctor Who Season Two

I haven't, recently, reached any milestones, completed any shows or experienced any WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED moments that might, with a bit of fiddlery-faffery, justify a post.

The truth is that my 'main' project at the moment; the complete Dangermouse boxset; is taking much longer to get through than it's run time would ordinarily justify. Not because I'm finding it a slog, but because I'm rationing it, because if I ever allow myself to reach the familiarity has bred contempt stage with Dangermouse then I'll have to hire someone to stamp on my balls for a week as punishment.

So it's going to have to be another season round-up of my thoughts on Doctor Who then. I know, it's not long since I did season one, and I had hoped to wait a while but fuck it, right? That would mean planning ahead and shit with this thing and we all no that isn't going to happen. Don't worry, it'll be well into February before I finish watching season 3, so...

So without further ado, I present


Yes, my boy, it's still me. Yes, me, indeed, mmm?

Planet of Giants

The first serial of the season is a fairly short one, at 3 episodes, and they're 3 episodes that never outstay their welcome. All of the regulars seem to be having a good time, and in three of their cases that translates to great little performances. (We all know a 'great little performance' is a physical impossibility for Carole Ann Ford)

Can't act to save her life. Looks cute in this ep though.

Basically The Doctor, Ian 'should have been Bond' Chesterton, Barbara 'worship me, for I am your Goddess' Wright, and Susan, all land on a planet of giants. Except really it's Earth and they're just really small because, and you won't believe this, something went wrong with the TARDIS. Shocker, I know.

They all wander around for a bit being scared by bugs and almost drowning in sinks and being menaced by cats before taking five minutes out of their busy schedules to help catch the worlds most incompetent murderer and then figure out a technobabble way to get large again. Just in time to save one of their number from death by insecticide. Spiffing outcome all round, apart from Susan not being eaten by a cat or drowned in the sink.

I liked it. Nothing special, but doesn't make you weep for humanity.

The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

This is a good 'un, and not half.

Barbaras greatest chance to shine since The Aztecs, with everyones favourite MILFy Goddess getting to kill at least one Dalek and bamboozle a bunch of others with her history knowledge; Ian goes full on Bond, even going so far as to essentially defuse a nuclear bomb on it's way to blow up the Earths core at one point; The Doctor is only mildly inept, disappears for a bit, then comes back and is actually fairly endearing for a bit; and Susan is inoffensive. Then leaves! Hahahaha, fuck yes, finally! Job done.

There are flaws of course. That mobile compost heap thing that contributes precisely nothing to the story is an embarrassment, for one thing. And the magic mineshaft lift bucket thing that is nowhere to be seen at the end of one episode but right there for the characters to jump into at the start of the next is a bit of a 'Flash Gordon in the 30's' contrivance but what the hell.

The Rescue

You'll see the twist coming a mile away but who cares? Because look! Over there! It's Vicki, here to be cute and endearing and funny and charming and have great chemistry with The Doctor and not grate on your last nerve ending every time she does anything or says anything or appears in the programme. Or, you know, be Not Susan. Yay Vicki!

The Romans

Gloriously funny, best ever use of the Ian/Barbara 'are they shagging like rabbits but we just aren't allowed to see because it's a kids show?' dynamic and Hartnell seems like a new man playing off Vicki, in her first proper adventure. She really is a breath of fresh air for the show; and she wears a sheet very fetchingly too.

Come along my dear. You know, you're much better than that other girl!

Only downside is that Nero is played a little broad for my tastes, but it's a farce, really, so I'm probably being a nob and picking fault for the sake of picking fault.

The Web Planet

From the sublime to the... utter fucking bilge. Far too long at 6 episodes, with some of the most incredibly annoying aliens that make it nigh on unwatchable with their ridiculous prancing around and ear searing screeching.

Go! Away! You! Prick!
I applaud the attempt at something a little bit different, but they botched it; they botched it baaaaaaad!

The Crusade

Richard the Lionheart is a bit of a prick and Ian gets knighted. Lots of running around and getting captured, and the story isn't all that much to write home about, but credit where it's due; the Saracens are never played as 'villains' and both sides of the war are equally sympathetic. Or unsympathetic, at times.

Not dross by any means, but also not the rousing success it needed to be to drag the show out of the doldrums caused by The Web Planet.

The Space Museum

Interesting twist to part one, that doesn't seem to have any real bearing on anything else that happens; they talk about it a lot, and they pretend it does, but it's just a futile attempt to glam up what is, when you get right down to it, a basic 'run away from the bad guys for three episodes, take ten minutes to start a revolution, then piss off' type of story.

The villains are a bit meh as well; nothing wrong with them as such, but nothing to really make them stand out. 

I'd like to point out at this point that I do actually like this show. Because I've just realised how fucking negative, or at least neutral so much of this post seems so far. 

The Chase

The Daleks don't work as figures of fun, which; when you consider the ridiculous design, and I'm sorry but it just fucking is; is odd. You'd think something that looks that silly should be perfectly suited to comedy but for some

Farewell, old friends.
Thankfully, on the whole, this is not a comedy story. A couple of episodes out of the six are played for laughs, but they're mainly filler and could almost be excised completely if not for one plot point; Vicky getting separated from the TARDIS crew; which itself could have easily slotted in elsewhere.

The rest of the serial is fairly straight, and I'd have been annoyed if it wasn't because it sees the departure of my beloved Barbara and Ian 'the 60's John McClane' Chesterton. If they'd gone as part of some daft farce I'd have been getting a petition up at the very least.

The Time Meddler

Now you're talking!

I loved this story. The Meddling Monk was fantastic, and his plan ingenious; The Doctor played off against him brilliantly and Hartnell seemed to be having the time of his life; and new companion Steven develops fantastic chemistry with Vicki almost from minute one. Genuinely, those two are a joy to watch together.

How to end a season on a high
The subplot about the viking fellas wandering around was a bit weird and ill defined, but apart from that this is Doctor Who firing on all cylinders in what I'm pretty sure is the first time we've gotten a story that is both a historical and a sci-fi story. The pseudo-historical as they would become known are of course a staple of Doctor Who now, so it never really occurred to me to question it while watching, but if you think about it this must have been quite the revelation to those viewing at the time.

So there you have my slapdash thoughts on another season of Doctor Who.

The overall story strength wasn't as high as season one, in my opinion, but the character interaction was a massive improvement, thanks to Vicki replacing Susan and instantly being more fun and having more chemistry with everyone, and then Steven coming in late and immediately sparking with Vicki too. Post Dalek Invasion of Earth, this cast was nigh perfect.

No idea what I'll be talking about next week. You'll find out when I do. Have some blooming patience! Sheesh.

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