Tag Archives: matt smith

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.

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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 Secret Diary of Rose Tyler’s Adventures In The Sex Industry

This week it’s the final episode of Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. At its best it’s been fresh, funny, and happily non-judgmental about the hardest-working profession in the world. The scripts have been uneven but Billie Piper’s carried it all along with her natural charms. And when I say her natural charms, I’m not even talking about her norks. I like Billie a lot, and I think her relaxed charisma’s saved what might otherwise have been a tacky, forgettable series.

But as a nerd that’s not my main concern. Billie came to this show from Doctor Who, and, as things turned out, so did a lot of her co-stars. So if you have a tendency to get your fictional worlds mixed up (hello!) that’s a sort of geek catnip.

When Rose Tyler eventually returned to Who, she’d been crossing parallel worlds in a lovelorn quest to find the Doctor again. So it’s easy* to imagine that Hannah/Belle from Call Girl is Rose, living through alternate lives with the people she had, might and would have met in the Whoniverse.

I give you then, in rough ascending order of the characters’ importance in the worlds of Doctor Who, those crossover shags in full:

8. D.I. McMillan from Planet of the Dead (Adam James) – Episode 2.3

How’s the sex? Guilty. His visits to Belle are responsible for the break-up of his marriage. While noshing on his cock, Belle starts hallucinating that his wife’s in the room – awkward.

How does it fit in with Who? He’s the policeman responsible for chasing down the Doctor’s cat burglar chum Lady Christina, who’s always one step ahead of him. So it’s only natural he’d gravitate to original companion Rose. And be too dim to realise who she is.

7. Captain Reynolds from Tooth and Claw (Jamie Sives) – Episode 1.2

How’s the sex? It’s an exhibitionist hook-up at a sex party, which develops into a threesome.

How does it fit in with Who? The first time he met Rose, he famously asked the Doctor to “explain the nakedness of this girl!” Then, after getting told off by Queen Victoria for trying too hard socially, he got torn to shreds by a werewolf. No surprise that in this version of existence he’s a bit more free and easy.

6. Plantagenet from Frontios/Mr. Harding from The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa’s Revenge (Jeff Rawle) – Episode 2.4

How’s the sex? Abortive. Already a bit put off by his 70s pimp gear, Belle runs off when she starts thinking about her new boyfriend instead. “You’re a prostitute for God’s sake!” he shouts, memorably.

How does it fit in with Who? It depends whether you see Belle’s client as the sickly head of a human colony in the distant future, or the distant admirer of a human head in the Louvre. Either way, this encounter doesn’t do anyone any favours so it’s best brushed over.

5.  Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood: Captain Jack Harkness (Matt Rippy) – Episode 3.1

How’s the sex? She looks like she’s really getting into it. Playful, passionate and intimate. She grabs his bum a lot.

How does it fit in with Who? *FANWANK ALERT* This is the original 1940s Captain Jack whose identity John Barrowman’s Captain Jack stole after his death, and later time-travelled to visit in 1941 for a dancehall snog. (Yes, I know. Pay attention.)

Now when Barrowman’s Captain Jack and Rose travelled together in the TARDIS they were supposedly on the brink of falling in love, but when re-united in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End they barely had two words for one another. It’s odd, considering Rose was responsible for making Jack immortal, and he apparently mooned around the Powell Estate watching her grow up in the 00s after their separation. We just have to assume they’d both got it out of their systems before the reunion: Barrowman with Ianto and Rose with this, the next best thing. NICE BOTTOM.

4. Doctor Moon from Silence In The Library/Forest of the Dead (Colin Salmon) – Episode 1.8

How’s the sex? Powerful. He’s the multi-millionaire who’s so impressed with Belle’s ‘class’ that he tries to take her to ‘the next level’ as a ‘courtesan’.

How does it fit in with Who? Appropriate that the man who’ll become, quite literally, Best Friends Forever with another important woman in the Doctor’s life after her death should have a pop at Rose too. And that it should all turn out to be a bit of a pipe dream.

3. PC Andy from Torchwood (Tom Price) – Episode 3.3

How does it fit in with Who? We’re onto recurring characters now, and cult hero PC Andy has had one of the best character progressions in Torchwood, going from occasional comedy relief to full-on people’s hero.

How’s the sex? On the other hand this is one of the most unwholesome scenes in TV history, in which a dopey Welshman is shown to be incapable of sex unless he and the girl both baa like a sheep throughout. Lamentable.

2. Mr. Chandra from The Sarah Jane Adventures (Ace Bhatti) – Episodes 1.3, 1.5 & 2.8

How’s the sex? We see a fair bit of Haresh Chandra, as he’s Belle’s favourite client. And when I say we see a fair bit, I’m talking about a blowjob, a session up against a full-length window, a threesome, and one of the most vigorous and vivid handjobs I’ve ever seen on TV.

How does it fit in with Who? This is the closest Rose has got to the Doctor yet – he’s Clyde’s headmaster, Rani’s dad, and her friend Sarah Jane’s neighbour. And of all the characters in this list, it’s genuinely easy to believe that he’s the same guy, slipping away from Gita and his responsibilities for regular stress-relief sessions and calling himself Ashok. Sexy.

1. The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) – Episode 1.6

How’s the sex? Fortunately for the delicate sensibilities of fanboys and fangirls everywhere, it’s off-screen sex. Matt’s character’s not a client, just a nice guy who meets Belle in the shop where he works and never finds out what she does for a living. We just get to see his “morning nuzzle”.

How does it fit in with Who? It’s the Doctor. Job done. I just suggest we hold this thought in the eventuality that the line “I work in a shop now” comes up in the next season of Who.

*OK, this stuff is only easy to imagine if you’re an addled old fool like me. But consider this: in the final series, Billie visits New York, and how does she advertise her services there? ‘Call Now For A Classic English Rose’

Joe McElderry vs Doctor Who: The Dance-Off

Did nobody else notice? Matt Smith’s Doctor dances at Amy Pond’s wedding and the moves are the same ones Joe McElderry treats us to in the video for Ambitions. There’s only one way to celebrate, and that’s with a VIDEO TRIBUTE to both…