Monday, 28 September 2015

The Witch's Familiar (time shift)

Beware of the people you've been kind to.
- Alan Marshall

Or, if you want to be all obvious about it:

Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.
- Savielly Tartakower

Him:  Why do they have these names?

Me:  Well, The Witch's Familiar was Clara and The Magician's Apprentice was Davros by the looks of it.

Him:  But why do they have these names? 

Me:  Otherwise it'd be 'Genocide of the Daleks' and 'Prisoner of Davros' or something.

Him:  'Davros of the Daleks'.

Me:  'Davros of the Daleks', yes.  'Cyberman of the Daleks', still waiting for that one.

Him:  'Sewer of the Daleks'!

Me:  That reminded me a bit of The Curse of Fatal Death...  I've a suspicion that 'the Hybrid' - we've already seen... 

Him:  Okay.

Me:  'cause, when talking about two warlike races it wasn't very definitely 'Daleks'.  Might be explaining that the Doctor's the Hybrid between the two warlike races of the Time Lords and Humanity. 

Sea badger!

Him:  Okay...

Me:  Yeah?  It was nice to see that the Danger Mouse agenda is back in.1

Him:  Vampire monkeys.

Me:  Vampire monkeys.

Him:  The pit of vampire monkeys.

Me:  And then there was the point-ed stick...  They could always eat a Metaltron...  I thought that Missy and Clara made a good team. 

Him:  Really?

Me:  Yeah. 

Him:  Really?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  Really?

Me:  Yeah.  Did you not?

Him:  I wouldn't have called it a 'good team'.

Me:  I'm rooting more for Missy, which can't be right.

Him:  Well, there's always another Clara.

Me:  Ha!  She's the Impossible Girl Who's Everywhere.  "SEEK!-LO-CATE!!-DE-STROY!!!"


Me:  Yeah, you spotted that one.  And why do they have another plastic chair on Skaro?2

Him:  Why do they have a plastic chair on Skaro?  Why do they have plastic on Skaro?  Why do they have a chair on Skaro?

Me:  I thought Julian Bleach's performance as Davros was excellent.  The story was very much hitting the same notes as Dalek, where you've got a sympathetic... 

Him:  "We need to talk."

Me:  Ha!  Yeah, it wasn't quite to The Walking Dead level of chatting about stuff, but it-

Him:  It was

Me:  There was an awful lot of just chatting about stuff, wasn't there?  It was fine.  Did what it did.  Good performances...

Bonus second appearance by the sea badger...

Me:  I have to admit, I do feel somewhat underwhelmed.

Him:  Only now?

Me:  Yeah.  With the two of them together, it was...  Hurm.  That's not the end of that story.  They were the first two parts of a multi-part Dalek story. 

Him:  We don't need more Daleks.  Do we really need more Daleks?

Me:  I think we need... an annual dose of Daleks just to make sure we keep getting Daleks. 

Him:  I could live without Daleks.

Me:  What would you have instead of the Daleks?

Him:  The Zarbi.

Me:  Ha!  Bring back Zombo!  The first of the Boy Genius companions.

Him:  I don't know what you could have instead of the Daleks.  Maybe, like, sporks would be a suitable replacement?

Me:  We've had Spoonheads...

Him:  Wait!  Why did all of the buildings collapse?

Me:  Because Dalek... buildings... do.

Him:  But why?

Me:  Because they do.  At the end of a story that's what they do.  Although, this isn't the end of a story, it's set another one up.  It's all going to be about Gallifrey and why the Doctor left and...

Him:  And why did the angry zombie Dalek... paste... things...  What?  Why did they only try and kill other Daleks? 

Me:  Because they were angry about not being Daleks any more?

Him:  Very specifically, other Kaleds, 'cause they won't go after you if you're anything else in a Dalek suit.

Me:  That's very true.  I dunno.

Him:  This name trend's not going to continue though?  The next one's not going to be called, 'The Shomaster's Spork' or something?

Me:  It'll be 'Something of the Daleks' next time.

Him:  There's not really much left as far as 'of the Daleks' is concerned. 

Me:  The whole of the 'r' section of the Oxford English Dictionary has definitely been done.

Him:  You just can't remember between 'Remembrance', 'Revelation' and 'Resurrection'.

Me:  Can you?

Him:  'Remembrance of the Daleks' is the Sylvester McCoy one.  'Revelation of the Daleks' is the Tom Baker one-

Me:  Oooo.  No.

Him:  How am I supposed to know?

Me:  'Destiny of the Daleks' you're thinking of.  None of the Tom Baker ones've got rrrrrrrrrrrrs.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  Anyway, on that bombshell-

Him:  That just shows how confusing it is!

Me:  -here comes a clam!

Him:  A clam?

Me:  Where?

Final part of the Sea Badger Trilogy!

Him:  What?

1.  No, not Doctor Augustus P Crumhorn III...

2.  The answer's here - you'll have to scroll down a bit...

3.  I'd usually put a 'review' around about here, but there's not much to be said, it was all there on the screen.  And, at the moment, it still feels like we're in the opening scenes.  If this series was, The Daleks' Master Plan (say), then Katarina'd still be around.  Clara's Doom's obviously delaying gratification for another couple of months.  I can wait.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Magician's Apprentice (time shift)

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
- G. K. Chesterton

Or, if you want to be all obvious about it:

Every man is as Nature made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.
- Miguel de Cervantes

Me:  That was more like it! 

Him:  That title has nothing to do with anything.

Me:  Were you expecting brooms and...?

Him:  No.  The name has nothing to do with anything. 

Me:  Well, it's interesting.  Who is the Magician's Apprentice, then?

Him:  Nobody that that episode was about!

Me:  That's fair enough.  So, what were your initial thoughts on that then?

Him:  I still don't know.

Me:  Did you enjoy it? 

Him:  I don't know.

Me:  Okay.  The introduction.  All looking World War 2 until the lasers come down.  That whole opening pre-credits title sequence is almost the start of Genesis of the Daleks.  I don't know if you remember, but Genesis of the Daleks starts on Skaro-

Him:  Took me a very long time to blank out Genesis of the Daleks.

Me:  The echoes were good.  So, the hand mines.  Did you like those?

Him:  They reminded me of several things.

Me:  What did they remind you of?

The Him explains what the hand mines are reminiscent of.

Me:  When the boy announced that his name was Davros and the music came in...  "Darkplace!  Darkplace! Darkplace!"

Him:  I pointed that out.

Me:  I was just trying to coax it out of you.


Him:  You can't just do that.   

Me:  Do what?

Him:  You can't just keep cutting it until you like it.

Me:  Yeah, you can.  That's what it's about.

Him:  But this is the thirty-seventh time!

Me:  Ha!  I think the titles've been tweaked again-

Him:  Yeah, but you thought that all through last year.

Me:  -and it sounded a little bit like Nick Cave was playing in the Star Wars Cantina scene-

Him:  Oh, what?  That was full of slaves.

Me:  Yeah, 'cause the Ood had-

Him:  They shouldn't have their brains encased because that means that they're slaves.

Me:  You know I did that preview show with J.R.?1  The one I haven't talked to you about?

Him:  No.

Me:  Right.  Well, a fair bit of what J.R. was saying, he got spot-on about that episode.  Impressive stuff.

Him:  You don't think he's going to be a 'professional writer' about this and just pretend he-

Me:  Ha!  No, I don't think  so.  Poor Bors!  No!  That was very sad.

Him:  I know, I know.  I felt like patting you on the shoulder actually.   That was upsetting.

Me:  I almost got a shiver...  From when it started I guessed it was going to be about Davros- that was obviously what it was going to be about.  There'd been hints scattered down through the-

Him:  When?

Me:  You've missed all of it, haven't you?

Him:  There were no hints that it was even on tonight. 

Me:  It looks like it's going to be going back through - because this is the tenth anniversary - the tenth NuWhoniversary to coin a terrible phrase that can be used as a hashtag...

Him:  What would you call it?

Me:  Well...  The NuWhoniversary.  The Whoniversary was the Fiftieth.  The "The Doctor is required" line?

Him:  "Doctor Who is required."

Me:  Yeah. 

Him:  That goes back a bit further.  Just a tad. 

Me:  Davros' special envoy, the Eoin McLove fan -

Him:  Ha!  

Me:  Sorry.  It was effective the way he moved, it was good, but I just couldn't get past...

Him:  No.  I had serious problems with Snake Man.

Me:  I've got serious problems with Jane bloody Austen, I can tell you that for free.  Steven Moffat may not read this blog,2 but I still felt that was particularly aimed at me. 


Him:  You don't just need to cut it if you don't know what it means!

Me:  Clara's teaching/career trajectory?

Him:  She's a terrible teacher.

Me:  She's going to be lucky if she's got a job to go back to.

Him:  Yeah, because she just runs out.

Me:  Missy's music...

Him:  Is that going to be a regular section from now on?

Us:  "Missy's Music." 

Me:  It's walking a very, very fine line, but throughout most of this, I was impressed with the music.  There were a couple of moments where I was getting a bit twitchy, but most of it I thought was really good.  Very effective.  I thought the whole episode was shot very nicely.  Apart from the film crew in the car door, but you can't have everything.

Him:  That's the first time we've seen the film crew in a while though.  The only other time I really remember seeing them...  Was it The Masque of Mandragora

Me:  Might've been. 

Him:  No.  It was Image of the Fendahl.

Me:  I zoned out, sorry.  What?

Him:  The film crew.

Me:  When it zooms up?  No, they're in The Ark.

Him:  No, it's Image of the Fendahl.  When the door opens and it's never explained-

Me:  When the Doctor's trapped in Fetch Priory -

Him:  Yeah.  The film crew open the door.  That's how I explained it.  Is that the one that's not in the Discontinuity Guide?

Me:  It might be, yeah.  With the Confession - or 'Chekhov's Confession', because that's going to open before the end of the series - we're going through the whole, 'Oh, the Doctor is dead' business again by the look of it.

Him:  Yes.

Me:  As we did in series six.

Him:  Well, to be fair, Matt Smith and David Tennant both had the, 'Oh, I'm gonna die. Better go and have a final thing.'  Then David Tennant went around, saw all his friends and saved all their lives and Matt Smith cleaned a guy's house. 

Me:  Ha!  Missy's lie in that confrontation with Clara...  If it turns out that the Doctor was a little girl - if that's the lie - then my Listen theory could still hold up.3  I think there was more going on with that barn.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Why?  Because I do.

Him:  But that would make even less sense, because then that'd mean that Steven Moffat had even more regeneration stuff to explain.

Me:  This feels tighter. 

Him:  Really?

Me:  Yeah, 'cause that episode moved much slower...  Did it feel like an end of series story to you?

Him:  It certainly didn't feel like a typical opening.  I'll give you that.

Me:  It was big.  Lots of Star Wars going on.  Three possible versions of Atlantis?  I thought that was a nice little touch.  And I'm going to let them off the entrance with the guitar, because that was spectacular.  Even if he was playing Tie Your Mother Down.

Him:  We haven't even commented on Missy's returning line though.

Me:  Which was?

Him:  "I'm back.  Not dead.  Big surprise."

Me:  Ha!  Yeah, that one! 

Him:  That got a large laugh out of you.

Me:  Yeah, it did.  I thought it was brilliant.  There's no point messing around.  Missy, Clara and the TARDIS.  Well, they're all destroyed.

Him:  Missy had a different effect from Clara.  You saw Missy's skeleton, you didn't see Clara's.  She just disappeared.  And then the TARDIS had another different one.  But that was probably just to add - I dunno - 'dramatic monologue' or something.  Onomatopoeia.

Me:  It's...  I'm wondering if we'll see Missy later in the series, because she could've been regenerating there.  She's obviously been teleported, in the same way that Clara's-  They're not dead.

Him:  Well, you don't know that about Missy because, like I said, she has the different effect.  You see her skeleton.  You don't see Clara's. 

Me:  Remember when the David Tennant Doctor-

Him:  Yeah, but that can't even be explained.  That's inexplicable. 

Me:  You were quite chuffed to see other mutants that Davros...

Him:  It is good to see some of his other mutants, but I would have liked to've seen an impressive one.

Me:  Well, he could've sent the Clam!

Him:  I thought you said, 'the Clown'.

Me:  Ha!

Him:  That's why I was confused! 

Me:  It's pretty grim.  Under the Kaled city there's just caves full of clowns.

Him:  It's an ancient clown burial ground.

Me:  Ha!  Excellent!  You were talking about Huggles the Caterpillar.

Him:  That's the one I thought he should've sent instead of Mr Slithers.  Not that there was a huge problem with Mr Slithers, it was just that...  Couldn't you have given him legs?  It was very distracting, because it was so funny.  And when he changed into his snakey snake form, when he released all the snakey snakes...  I couldn't take that seriously either.  Where are they?

Me:  It's nice that we've finally managed to see snakes in space.

Him:  Or, as you said in the episode?

Me:  "SNAAAAKES/IN/SPAAAAAAAACE!"  What else was nice?  Old Doctors coming back...

Him:  For some reason I could only see stuff on the far side of the screen.

Me:  We should probably get you to an optician then.  The Architect Dalek's been busy.

Him:  Right, that makes no logical sense either.  Seriously.  Did they steamroller over it all?

Me:  It got blown up at one point.

Him:  The Daleks rebuilt the planet with RED.

Me:  What'll impress me - what'll really impress me - is if Steven Moffat manages to sort out the  Daleks timeline.

Him:  You can't.

Me:  No, you can't.  But, what he's done there, is made the Doctor responsible for the Daleks-

Him:  Unless there're two different Skaros?

Me:  There could be.  "It's lucky they didn't discover... Site B."  That could've been the start for up to twenty-six Jurassic Park sequels.  "It's lucky they didn't discover... Site J." 

Him:  Ha!

Me:  Nice seeing old Daleks again. 

Him:  It's always the same Special Weapons Dalek though.

Me:  The Special Weapons Dalek is the coolest of all the Daleks.

Him:  It's like they can't be bothered building... just one more.  It kind of reminds me of the cardboard Daleks in that it's just... "We can only ever use one Special Weapons Dalek at a time."

Me:  It's supposed to be mad isn't it?  The Special Weapons Dalek. 

Sea badger!

Me:  And all the other Daleks're supposed to hate it.  I dunno if that's canonical or if I've just made that up.

Him:  You've just made that up! 

Me:  Ha!  I don't think it's impossible that Missy's going to regenerate.  Like I was saying earlier, about the Professor Yana thing.4 It hasn't been done yet.  Steven Moffat's done his own twist on a lot of Russell T. Davies things, but what we haven't had - and I have said this before - where we encounter someone who's the Master, but doesn't know that they are.

Him:  Hold on, hold on.  What he's going to do, in order to turn the series on its head, is she's going to regenerate into the little boy...

Me:  So, with Davros having had the Doctor's sonic screwdriver - and this does go a little bit...  So, on the whole, what did you think?

Him:  I have no words.

Me:  For the start of the series, that's a really bold opening.

Him:  It's mental.

Me:  That too.  Okay, right, well...  We need to make some sort of barnyard noise now, don't we?  Like Man Yak.  What noise shall we make?

Him:  Snake noises!

Me:  Go on then.

Him:  sssssssssssss

Me:  And on that bombshell!

1.  CLANG! 

2.  Despite all the evidence, he really doesn't.

3.  I hope I'm wrong though.  For a variety of reasons.4

4.  I'm not going to definitely commit myself at this stage.  Still too early.  Having said that, I'd love it if this series builds on a strong start by opening out, rather than turning its gaze inward.  Time, as usual, will tell.  Just like Mrs Doyle... 

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Doctor's Meditation

I have had my solutions for a long time, but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.
- Karl Friedrich Gauss

Him:  You have no idea how tired I am.1

Me:  Right, we've just watched The Doctor's Meditation.2  I've got some thoughts, but I was wondering whether...  I'm going to run a couple of things by you, okay?

The Him makes a noise like a deflating tractor.  As usual, you'll have to imagine..

Me:  Did you recognise the castle?3

Him:  No.

Me:  It's Caerphilly Castle and it's been in the series a few times, as other things.  So, it's not necessarily... We're still not going to find out why there's that weird POV shot at the start of The Rebel Flesh.4  Did you think it was funny?


Me:  Right.  So it wasn't just a scratch and you did get bitten by that sea-badger then.  Does this mean you've gone full weresea-badger now?

More of the same.

Me:  Okay.  The subtle use of Track 7 ('Comedy Parp Parp Ambience') filled me with hope for the series.  The AAAARGH factor of Mr Gold is, I think, likely to cause me some problems again this time around.  Having said that, the music's usually better in the actual episodes themselves.  Because they don't tend to use stock music in those.  

Him:  That's not true.  You still complain about the music in the episodes.

Me:  Some of last year's was great.

Him:  You still complained.

Me:  Listen was really good.  When the music lays off it's much more effective - but I guess that's not how TV shows're made in Space Year 2015.  Going on my sporadic exposure to them, anyway.  Did you spot the almost-Chancellor Flavia Theme at the end?  I was wondering whether, with this being the tenth anniversary of the show returning, we'll have a series that reflects that.  Like with the Fiftieth.  Did you notice anything about the trousers that Mr Capaldi was wearing?

Him:  I chose not to comment.

Me:  Okay.  I thought there was an allusion to McCoy's Doctor, with the magician business - I don't think that's just down to Steven Moffat having a go at the Photoshoppery that took place with Mr Capaldi's first promo shot.  Making a lady levitate while pulling hats out of rabbits-

Him:  You always say that, but you didn't invent that quote.

Me:  No.  I don't know where I got it from though.  It might've- 

Him:  Duckula.

Me:  Was it?

Him:  That's where it comes from.

Me:  Seriously?  I thought I'd nicked it from Neil Gaiman or something.

Him:  No. 

Me:  Which episode?

Him:  Actually, I believe it's from Danger Mouse.

Me:  It probably is!

Him:  I believe it's from one of the Duckula episodes of Danger Mouse.  I think it's the first appearance of Duckula.

Me:  Right.

Him:  Before he got his groovy spin-off series.

Me:  This was when he was obsessed with acting, wasn't it?

Him:  He was always obsessed with acting.  That was the plot of the Duckula series.  We've watched it!  He's trying to get on television!  That's his goal

Me:  I've not seen the Duckula series.

Him:  We watched a few episodes of it.  Remember?

Me:  Bors.

Him:  Where?

Me:  I'm not going to do the Duran Duran reference.

Him:  What?

Me:  Who's this person the Doctor doesn't want to go and see, d'you think?

Him:  Dunno.

Me:  Could it be...  I don't know.

Him:  Hmmmmmmm... 

Me:  I genuinely don't know.

Him:  No, I can't think of anyone who fits that criteria.

Me:  Well, other than the Master.  But I think that's too obvious-

Him:  No, it's not.  It was very obviously the Master all of last season as well.

Me:  Okay.

Him:  Missy was very obviously the Master.  That's why I pretended there's no-one who fits that criteria.

Me:  Michelle Gomez is very good as Missy. 

Him:  Even if you don't think Missy was very well written or whatever it was.

Me:  No, I thought Missy was written in the same voice as Moriarty from Sherlock.  Talking of writing...  Some of The Doctor's Meditation was really good2 - it played up to Steven Moffat's strengths: dialogue, construction and humour.  Unfortunately, that's why we get the same piece of comedy parp parp music to point out when a scene's supposed to be funny.  Now, Bors...  I was wondering.  That whole thing about him being an idiot.  Now, I genuinely don't know if this is where it's going, but d'you remember last season's kind of Fourth Doctor vibe?  Clara and Danny filling in for Sarah and Harry - looked like it was going to go that way, but then it didn't.  Now, Bors reminded me of Harry-

Him:  "-Sullivan is an imbecile."

Me:  Yeah!  I got that again.  Wouldn't it be...  Because we haven't had a companion from the past for ages - if, maybe, they went a bit Troughton with it?  Bors could be the new Jamie.


Me:  There's been no announcement.  The thing I did find with Bors was that while Daniel Hoffmann-Gill's performance was excellent-

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  - the dialogue he was given was clunky.6  And that's a shock from Steven Moffat.

Him:  What Steven Moffat are you on about?

Stunned pause.

Me:  Whoooooo.  Are you taking a particular dangerous approach for this upcoming run of Doctor Who then?

Him:  I dunno.  I'm going to sleep now.

Me:  And, on that bombshell...

1.  Fair play, the Him had just stated that he'd be having a nap the moment before this latest piece of VAM2 cropped up in the Arctic.

2.  Before you get too excited, Lady and Gent, it's worth remembering that this doesn't (and can't) count.

3.  I did, but only because I saw first saw Star Wars in the cinema that used to face it.

4.  Unless Steven Moffat really does read this blog...5

5.  SPOILER: He doesn't.

6.  I've got a theory, but the Him avoids all spoilers5 so I can't really say it here.

7.  Specifically the lack of contractions.  Both the Moff and RTD're guilty of the same thing, but it only usually happens When the Dialogue Is Supposed To Be Portentous.  Like the dialogue issues that helped scupper Nightmare in Silver, it looks great in type, but it's very hard for actors to deliver convincingly.