Tag Archives: amy pond

5 things I learned from The Bells of Saint John

1. The BELLS of GROOMING

clara kiss

When the Doctor’s not busy licking leaves or running around the TARDIS with his Spirograph and a ballpoint pen, he likes to pick up girls. The prequel to the episode reminded me that it’s not exactly the first time that the Doctor’s met someone as a child who, in their later life, he’ll go on to snog.

amy kiss

Not even the second.

river kiss

I blame The Time Traveler’s Wife for all this.

reinette kiss

They’re not even safe in their prams. Especially now we know from Closing Time that the Doctor “speaks baby”.

rose kiss

It was all the other way round with Captain Jack, but there you go.

captain jack kiss

2. The BELLS of EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES CLARA

Of course, companions these days are generally predestined to meet the Doctor anyway, by dint of sending themselves messages from the future, being the future mother of the TARDIS-child or the TARDIS-child herself, and so on. Even lovely, ordinary Donna – who escaped the gallery of shame above – lived under an anvil of cosmic coincidence. And Clara’s story is the most extreme of the lot. The wireless password forming a reverse-engineered mnemonic of her deathbed catchphrase is the sort of contrivance even Jacob from Lost might have thought a step too far.

3. THE BELLS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Kislet's tablet

Regular readers will know I like to analyse classic Doctor Who villains through a prism of businesss jargon, invoking client/agency relationships at every step. How thoughtful of Steven Moffat to save me all the work on this one, with a classic ruthless PM versus terrifying client set-up. The four key qualities that Miss Kislet controls in her employees are Conscience, Paranoia, Obedience and IQ. It’s not exactly The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but then what is? I like that she has a little weather forecast handy on her tablet of terror too.

4. The BELLS of OBSCURE CONTINUITY REFERENCES

At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that Clara nannies for a family called “Maitland” turns out to be a link-in to The Sensorites.

5. THE BELLS OF WHAT AMY DID NEXT

summer falls

Exciting to learn that Amy became a writer after leaving the Doctor! What sort of a book IS Summer Falls? From the cover it looks to be a Famous Five sort of adventure – and I wish it had been the little white dog that came to life on the stairs rather than the snooty girl – and yet Chapter 11 will have you crying your eyes out, apparently. Of course, in going from model to children’s author, Amy’s career path is closely following Katie Price’s. Did Amy ghostwrite any of Katie’s books? This Mermaids and Pirates series looks a lot like a better-lit The Curse of the Black Spot.

mermaids and pirates

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5 things I learned from The Power of Three

1. The Power of Ninety (miles a second, so it’s reckoned)

The Doctor’s heartfelt speech to Amy offering perspective on ‘one corner of one country in one continent on one planet that’s a corner of the galaxy that’s a corner of the universe that is forever growing… ‘ as they sat looking at the stars reminded me very much of Eric Idle’s lovely song in Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.

2. The Power of Pertwee

I really liked this story and the way it balanced a vibe reaching back through various Torchwood scenarios to the feel of the global invasions in Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who all the way back to the nostalgic glow of the Pertwee era. Mind you I mean the good Pertwee era of my childhood imagination – the one based on the Target novelisations and what we were told by the guidebooks and magazines, where everything was cosy and action-packed at the same time and it felt like a family – before the videos started coming out and it turned out the Third Doctor was really just a horrible thankless old bully.

3. The Power of other mobile networks are available apart from Three

4. The Power of KIRSty

Implacable cubes make great enemies, from Dungeons & Dragons‘ Gelatinous Cubes to the Borg, the world of the film Cube and those remorseless advancing blocks in the old PlayStation game Kurushi. There’s something about geometric perfection that inspires unease, even when they’re not blaring out The Birdie Song. And I wouldn’t go so far as to ask Is Doctor Who’s The Power of Three a Shot-For-Shot Remake of Hellraiser?, but you know –

There’s this girl who can make the cubes work

And the wall in the hospital turns into a dimensional portal

And the cube reconfigures itself on its own

And who the FUCK’s this?

– and this is all very welcome to me.

5. The Power of Poultry

Could they be alien eggs? asks Brian. Oh Brian. If only they were.

5 things I learned from A Town Called Mercy

1. A town called Topical

How extraordinary that the TARDIS crew should be heading off to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, this week of all weeks. Were they on their way to get some ideas for sugar skull tattoo designs?

2. A town called Meh

I don’t know about you, but for me cowboys and the Wild West aren’t interesting enough in themselves that you can just drop the Doctor and a Terminator into the genre and hope for the best. And sure, murky moral quandaries around war criminals can be interesting, but, you know, I’ve already seen all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And don’t even mention the Bechdel test. No, it wasn’t for me this week. Still it was nice to hear The Stolen Earth‘s Hanging On The Tablaphone rescored for banjo.

3. A town called Dolittle

I am excited though to see we really are running with the idea first introduced a couple of years ago that the Doctor can talk to animals. Always  a much underused ability of Wonder Woman’s in her tv series I felt, and it could make Doctor Who a very different show. Talking transgender horses brings us one step closer to Tom Baker’s talking cabbage companion idea. I’m all for it.

4. A town called Narrative Distancing

Does anyone have any grasp on what Amy and Rory’s Doctor/life balance is any more? Do they go about their normal lives with the Doctor dropping in occasionally as the last two weeks have told us, or are they travelling with him so much that ‘Our friends are going to start noticing that we’re ageing faster than them’ as Amy said this week?  It’s so inconsistent that it makes it difficult to care, and caring about it right now would be good.

(More questions: Did they wave a cathartic goodbye to the ordinary world and leave Earth for good on their wedding night, or were they suddenly living at home again at the start of The Impossible Astronaut? Did the Doctor say goodbye to them so finally in The God Complex that he actively avoided bumping into them in a Colchester department store, or did he go on to pop up in their house every other week since then? All of the above adds up to none of the above, emotionally.)

5. A town called EGG!

Yes, this year’s secret recurring element was back again. Oh it’s all very well Den Of Geek coming up with clever and entirely plausible theories about flickering lightbulbs, my money’s still on the eggs. In my mind we’re now building up to a final confrontation on the Fields of Trenzalore between a horde of Tythonian ambassadors and a cluster of Chimeron babies. My mind, ladies and gentlemen. My mind.

5 things I learned from Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

1. Stripes on a companion

No couple should ever wear the same pattern. Even if one’s covered it up slightly and they’re not planning to leave the house. Further stripes for Rory came in the form of a Doctor lip-lock. I’d completely forgotten about the old RTD house rule that all companions had to get a snog at some point. Although I think they might have left Adam Mitchell out. Oops!

2. Entire childhood on a SINGLE Saturday night

The dinosaurs looked great. Doctor Who’s got a long history of trying to put them on screen and results have been… variable. It depends how bothered about the quality of special effects you are of course; personally I’m very fond of the Plasticine 1974 ones.

When I think of everything I was obsessed with as a kid I think of robots, dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, spaceships, spiders… and here they all were in one place! How fitting that Rupert Graves was in it then – the sight of him in a certain scene in 1987’s Maurice was pretty much the point at which my childhood ended.

3. Plot functions on a spreadsheet

But much as the shopping list approach to populating a story set the tone for a decent romp – and I’d happily see Nefertiti back in the show every week – it wore painfully thin towards the end. You see right through the casual ‘Thought we might need a gang!’ shtick when it turns out each new member of the group has a characteristic specifically required as a plot function. It just so happened that to finish the story there needed to be a big game hunter, someone who was related to someone else and a powerful, iconic historical figure. I don’t like it when they show their working.

4. EGGS ON A NEST

EGGS! Did they think we wouldn’t notice? There they were, right out where everyone could see. Nice big ones. Eggs! Say what you like about the ongoing theme of the Doctor’s anonymity or the developing dynamic of his relationship with his companions, clearly eggs are this year’s Bad Wolf/Torchwood/Mr Saxon repeated meme thing. Watch out for the eggs!

5. Passive-aggressive arsehole on the wrong show

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship starts so promisingly – lots of sparkling dialogue and fast-moving fun.  But it all grinds to a crunching halt halfway through as the Doctor enters Solomon’s Chamber of Exposition. I’m reminded of 1983’s Mawdryn Undead, another story in which the Doctor gets stuck on a pre-programmed spaceship with an injured, passive-aggressive bore. And then Solomon goes and makes that comment to Nefertiti about ‘breaking her in’. It’s not every week the Doctor has to stand by and listen to someone announce they’re going to rape one of his friends. I’m not sure it should happen at all. It was a horribly misjudged line, only equalled in tonal dissonance by the Doctor sending Solomon off to be killed at the end while making jokes about it. I’m not sure Chris Chibnall gets the spirit of Doctor Who at all.

I’d like to end this post on a positive note by expressing my love for the Indian Space Agency and the fixtures, fittings, people and uniforms therein

5 things I learned from Asylum of the Daleks

1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT OF THE DALEKS

You know when you get on a bus and everyone’s just stuck with inertia standing around near the front so that you can’t get to the stairs or the seats at the back? Or, worse, when you don’t get on a bus because it doesn’t even stop because of chumps like that blocking the downstairs, even though the upper deck is half empty? It looks like Dalek buses would be a dream. Look how neatly they’ve filed into their little rows, filling them up right to the end so there’s room for everyone. Subtract love and add anger all you like if it makes for smoother bus journeys.

2. NEW DO OF THE DALEKS

Rory’s ‘done a Professor Green’, and very nice too.

3. SKulls of the daleks

What with the Vashta Nerada, last year’s pit of flesh-eating skulls and now these animated skeletons with Dalek eyestalks it looks like Steven Moffat’s got a real boner for bone. It’s a confident series that introduces something so creepy and visually exciting and then has them on screen for less than a minute. Still, toys will be available I’m sure.

4. FETISHwear of the daleks

Seriously, where did the Daleks pick up these strapped-up, dead-eyed fellas from? I think that bus I mentioned earlier was headed to Vauxhall on a Saturday night. In Amy’s lovely Daleks-as-people delirium the collective Dalek consciousness is very vanilla – all dinner suits and little ballerina girls. So it’s interesting to think they dress up their lackeys with a view to vicarious pleasures of a stronger kind.

5. SOUFFLé OF THE DALEKS

I love that the entire dramatic denouement, and presumably Oswin’s year-long compulsive soufflé making, all hinged on a pun on the word ‘eggs’. So if an egg obsession is a sign of potential Dalek invasion from the subconscious, let’s keep a close eye on: the Great British Bake Off contestants, Edith Massey in Pink Flamingos and, er, ahem, anyone writing a blog that seems to feature them just a little too much.

Day of the Loon

There’s nothing quite like an online forum, is there. I tend to avoid them if I can at all help it – it brings me out in hives to see all those abrasive personalities ranting away and missing the point.

But now that Facebook is taking everything over, these sorts of conversations are closer and easier to stumble across than ever before. And a Facebook comments feed is a terrible place for hundreds of people to attempt an involved debate about a complicated piece of TV. Following the discussion threads and working out who’s replying to what is near impossible when everything appears in one lump at breakneck speed.

So to save you all the bother, I had a trawl through the comments on the post that the BBC’s official Doctor Who FB profile put up after Day of the Moon aired last night, which asked “What did you think?”

Controversial. But I suspect Lucy is making some sort of meta-comment about how this series, just like the last full series from both Steven Moffat and RTD, is already drenched with clever, integral emotional themes based around memory and forgetting.

Yes it was confusing, wasn’t it Eli. A very dense and involving bit of telly with lots of unanswered questions. I did look all the way through the rest of the comments, and everyone was debating the big surprising thing that happened in the story and changed our perceptions of what was going on. But I don’t think anyone confirmed whether it was a plot twist or not.

Blimey. To be honest “how the little girl ended up in New York 6 months later” isn’t on my list of burning questions. Considering that earlier on, this episode glossed over 3 months of the main characters’ lives, and covered the paradigm shift in the plot during that time with a few lines of dialogue, I don’t think we’re expected to find it puzzling that a little girl who runs away from a nightmarish children’s home might end up homeless on the streets of New York a few months later.

(Oh and let’s not fall into the trap of assuming it’s the little girl who’s in the spacesuit when it comes out of the lake in 2011, either…)

Chirag has sadly got Doctor Who mixed up with Don’t Scare The Hare. Understandable.

I rather like this comment. The episode did put me in mind of Steven Moffat’s writing on Coupling, and all those intricate structural conceits he enjoys so much.

Facebook. Reaching the parts of the internet that a quick TV listings search, not to mention the iPlayer, can’t.

David, speaking to us from 1982 there. I suppose what he’s objecting to are that things like marriage, pregnancy and romance are taking centre stage in the ongoing story. Not that I don’t love soaps, but I think he’d only really have a point if each of those elements weren’t being subjected to clever, poignant twists which could only happen in a wildly imaginative show about time travel. In fact, in the Moff’s hands, the main focus of the series these days seems to be to consider every possible emotional ramification that a time-travelling lifestyle would have.

Heh. I did try and write something witty taking the piss out of this comment, but to be honest I couldn’t top it.

And I can’t show you the last comment that made me laugh because it had been deleted by the time I went to do the screengrabs last night, so you’ll just have to trust that I saw it with my own eyes. Somebody actually went onto a comments thread set up specifically for people to talk about something they’ve all just watched, to ask people to stop dropping spoilers because he hadn’t watched it yet. Now that’s timey-wimey.

The bucolic world of Steven Moffat

Where does Steven Moffat get his character names? As we gear ourselves up for a new series of Doctor Who, I’m left wondering just how pastoral the names are going to be this year. Because they’ve been pretty damn rustic up until now…

Here’s your cut out and keep guide, click to enlarge.