Monday, May 20, 2013

It's not me, it's Who

[Note: I'm aware the finale has now aired, but I can't see it yet due to insufferably stupid bullshit so here's a vaguely whiny rant about the new series, most or all of which may now be totally null and void due to whatever happens in the last episode of Series 7. Meanwhile, let's also wonder exactly how many people waiting to see the finale on iTunes will either sit around until they've eaten fifty gallons of spoilers or just go see it someplace else. Protip for the BBC and iTunes: not many. Also, I won't be giving you any more money for your staggeringly late "season pass" episodes. Well done.]

I think I've had this post bubbling for a while; the Rings of Akhaten and one or two episodes from Series 7 all watched in the space of a few days pushed it over the edge.

I'm done with Moffat / 11 Who, I think. It's finally shuffled beyond the point where I just throw my hands up and do that Seinfeld leaving the theatre routine. In fact, I doubt I'll see any tie-up to any massively dangling plot threads anytime soon.

(Exploding TARDIS, the voice saying "Silence will Fall", the entirely convoluted and not-much-sense-making "plan" of the Silence, Rory and Amy waving to themselves, what the Doctor saw in his room during The God Complex etc etc so on and so forth).

I'm particularly sick of the Doctor's increasing tendency - or should I say, the people in the charge of the show - to have him save the all important companion at the expense of everybody else (aka collateral damage). Those people on the ship in Power of 3? Yeah, leave them up there as the ship blows up. The people who were trapped in the computer network in Bells of Saint John? Doesn't matter, a whole bunch of them will be returned to severely brain damaged / non functional bodies, or freshly rotting corpses in the ground or something. No biggie. While it's (reasonably) clear that the big Parasite from Rings was not a Sun, but in fact a large planet so everybody hasn't just been condemned to death by freezing, it's entirely possible they've all just been condemned to death by a large object hurtling through space with no large parasite planet to absorb the blow.

Let's not dwell on the fact that the Doctor claims to have been there before yet somehow wasn't aware they send a child over to die once every thousand years, either.

Probably best to avoid thinking too much of how the Doctor "dies" and River sacrifices herself to a long stint in the slammer to keep it a secret, yet almost immediately he's signing threatening notes to the Great Intelligence as "The Doctor", and getting Clara to join in on the incredibly tiresome Doc-Tor-WHOOOO chant we keep being meta beaten to death with (all those Daleks at the end of Asylum repeating Doctor Who is only funny until you realise he just ran off and left a large contingent of Daleks to go wandering off and slaughtering their way across the galaxy. Ho ho ho).

When Matt Smith started his run, I just wanted a season where we weren't obsessing over some "special" companion. Oh, sorry - here comes Amy Pond. Nope, now we're going to obsess over the "mystery" of River Song except it wasn't very mysterious after all. Well, they're all gone now so we can sit back and look forward t - whoops, Clara can't stop dying and we're going to spend the rest of the season being drip fed teases of a resolution that likely threatens to go nowhere fast. We're going to get River back at the end of the current run, aren't we?

/ Seinfeld

I know it's entirely possible to pin too much blame on the sonic screwdriver as a convenient plot device, but really - if it had a horseshit setting it'd be dialed up to 11 after Akhaten. You can argue that it's supposed to get the plot moving, but isn't that only a good thing if there's something worthwhile in the place of whatever problem solving was skipped to dazzle us with more empty action and Feels of the Year (aka your new favourite Tumblr gifset) emoting in the first place?

 I don't know about you, but being told that opening a large heavy door with advanced technology is "impossible", only to find that - surprise - he opens it within about 30 seconds is just one hand wave too many. Wouldn't things be MORE interesting if they'd spent 5 or 10 tension filled minutes trying to work out a way to open the door? Instead, we got a Harry Potter style wand battle, a chorister that....killed himself? Teleported away? No idea....and a confusing sequence where Clara got stuck to the glass keeping the vampire inside. Apparently the kid did that. I thought Vamps did it. Who knows, gotta keep selling those sonics to cosplayers and kids so you'll never get rid of the damn thing now.

As for the singing: it's someone deciding that Rimmer singing Kumbaya is an actual tactic. The dramatic call to arms of everybody singing along to the Doctor having Those Feels (TM) would probably have been greater if the accompanying music didn't begin with what sounded like a tinny Bontempi keyboard loop from the 80s. I get the feeling that if this had been Tennant and RTD doing this episode, they'd have allowed the Doctor to win the battle himself. But we have to be constantly reminded how special the companions are even when total absurdity is the end result, so of course Clara can now magically pilot space sleds and kills the parasite with a leaf, complete with the most dreadful pseudo-emotive "logic" I can remember in a long, long time.

Waving a leaf at a giant planet sized parasite and claiming the leaf contains an infinite amount of potential for a lost life so you have to die now Mr Parasite Planet does not make this any different to two kids playing wargames in a playground and one deciding he's a tank so he wins, bang bang.

It's just.....nonsensical bullshit. I was also hoping Clara would splat head first into a passing chunk of rock, which would have been hilarious. This will always be remembered as the episode where the Doctor disintegrated a giant space pumpkin by shouting at it.

To be fair, things picked up in later episodes - even if they usually almost, ALMOST make it to the finish line without screwing up then decide to go full Thelma & Louise with hideously contrived "twist" endings.

Cold War: Would have been much better without all the entirely predictable padding filler of "Red Shirts hunt for monster, die horribly" scenes.

Hide: Not mind-blowing but probably the most solid episode of the series. Nice set, nice atmosphere, vaguely creepy ghost, interesting resolution and I'm willing to accept the last five minutes or so as they actually tie into the rest of the episode for a change.

Journey: Seriously, did we need all of the backstory for the brothers? What did it add? Who cares? Also padding: clock watching "Is it over yet" sequences where someone runs offscreen to the left and reappears on the right. PLEASE STOP. Ultimately, we saw very little of the Tardis except for bland metal walls and boring monster of the week chases - with Clara inexplicably pausing to giggle to herself every few seconds.

Shouldn't you be running away? (Hat tip to J. for pointing that one out).

Also congrats to the Doctor whose name is such a super big secret that he leaves it scrawled in huge and prominently displayed books in his library (given how easily Clara spotted his name, I guess it says WITH LOVE FROM STEVE on the inside front cover).

Crimson Horror: I actually thought this was pretty solid (if unremarkable), but the ending - oh boy. The scene with the kids was A) Amazingly stupid, B) Horribly contrived if this is seriously the best thing they could think of to show Clara her "old" Victorian incarnation and C) filmed like something from the Sarah Jane Adventures. Did Gaiman want these kids in his story? I couldn't help but notice they were shelved fairly early on in Nightmare in Silver. Speaking of which...

Nightmare in Silver: The only parts of this which were interesting involved the chess game. Everything else was more Red Shirts running around, kids doing their "We're kids" acting and (for reasons I still don't quite follow) Clara being in charge of a bunch of space marines. It seems Gaiman wanted to do much more with the Cybermen, but the production team nixed a fair bit of it. Silent Cybermen would be awesome - we're stuck with the clank clank clank.

Anyway, that's my whiny rant ramble.

PROVE ME WRONG, FINALE.

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