Sunday 27 December 2015

The Husbands of River Song (time shift)

My [insert relative] gave me an empty box for Christmas and told me it was an Action Man deserter.
- Lots and lots of people take credit for this.  All but one of them are liars.

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

It doesn't much signify whom one marries, for one is sure to find out next morning that it was someone else.
- Samuel Rogers

Me:  You'll notice there wasn't a next time trailer.

Him:  There wasn't anything.

Me:  No. 

Him:  Just cold.

Me:  Okay, I-

Him:  It was better than Sleep No More though.

Me:  It was better than Sleep No More.  It could've been forty-five minutes without a problem.  It didn't need to be an hour.

Him:  What would you have cut?  And don't just say, "All of it".

Me:  A lot of the comedy scenes were unnecessary.1  Although, I know that they're there to be-

Him:  It's not your show.

Me:  It's not my show.

  It's not your show.

Me:  I think we can also tell that, as far as Steven Moffat's concerned, at the end of that one it wasn't going to be his show any more either.  The Husbands of River Song really does wrap everything up.  That's...  Y'know, good luck to him for the next series - which doesn't look like it's going to be next year - because...  There were so many tropes revisited in that, so many things that we've seen before, so many...  Stuff done again-

Him:  'So many stuff done'?

Me:  So many stuff done, yeah.  It was just, kinda, right...  The snow in the titles.  Well, that was money well spent, wasn't it?

(The sea badger makes what'll, almost certainly, be its final appearance in 2015.)

Him:  Murray well spent.

Me:  Oh!  Murray?  Murray?!  Murray Gold!?!  Oh, my God. 

Him:  "I playa da spoons!"

Me:  Every so often-

Him:  Why was he playing the spoons in that one scene?

Me:  I don't know, but-

Him:  He was playing the spoons!

Me:  I'm sure this must just've been an oversight on someone's part...  You'd think they'd spend more time getting this right, but every so often I could actually hear some of the dialogue.

Him:  That was weird.

Me:  Being able to hear the dialogue?

Him:  Oh, hush.  It was only that one scene.  But still, why couldn't you hear the dialogue?

Me:  Because the music was so blinking loud.

Him:  That's not what I mean by 'why' and you know it. I mean as in, "WHY?"

Me:  Ha!  Well, it was nice to see that Robot of Sherwood getting edited really hasn't affected Steven Moffat in any way whatsoever, hence the Zygons-

Him:  You're right, you're right.  Just let it go.

Me:  Diagon Alley?  Nice to be back there?

Him:  Lovely.  Same alleyway, yeah.

Me:  It looked totally different with Christmas decorations on it. 

Him:  No.

Me:  And it was nice to-

Him:  Although the series has just ended.  We saw that alleyway, what, two months ago?

Me:  Less than that, it was November. 

Him:  Face the Raven.

Me:  Face the Raven, yeah.  Say, five weeks?  Right...

(Surprise sea badger!)2

Me:  Murray Gold is never going to be Danny Elfman, so he should stop...  TV isn't the place to be doing that type of music.  Christmas is-

Him:  So many people complain about Murray Gold, and you don't really focus on the things he does right.

Me:  He's done some stuff right, but the problem is he's hung around... about seven years too long, to be honest. 

Him:  And, you know what?  I don't think it's fair to blame him.  He's probably the person who's got the least control-

Me:  Over what they play?

Him:  Yeah!  Basically, he's recorded a tape for them-

Me:  Ha!  He just sends over a cassette?

Him:  Yeah, and then Steven Moffat says, "Okay, play The Sun's Gone Wibbly.  Yeah, that's good.  We'll go with that.  Now make it louder.  Yeeeeah."

Me:  You can always tell when there's a comedy scene coming up because someone starts plucking away at strings.

Him:  That music with the spoons was new though.  "Since itsa Christmas, I playa da spoons."

Me:  There was another nod to Prometheus.  There's been quite a few of those in the last series, but that one was a definite nod to the film rather than the legend or Doctor Who Comic version.  The head in the bag.  That's a story for another day.  Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston looked like they were having a whale of a time and were probably really good together.  It'd have been nice to hear them.  I'm also going to say that the guy playing the Hydroflax body, Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston were the best performers in that.  And pretty much everybody else was...  I dunno.  Performing for their Amazing Moms, who they knew would be watching.  Because it's Christmas.3  It felt really overblown and over the top and...  It was very Russell T. Davies.

Him:  Lots and lots and lots of Russell T. Davies.

Me:  Voyage of the Damned, End of the World...

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Russell T. Davies with better dialogue.  Possibly.  Deep Breath too.  In the scene in the...  where everyone turns out to be...  The irritable bowel bit was funny.  Still, at least it wasn't called 'Sex Storm'.

Him:  Was that its original name?

Me:  Near enough, yeah.  It was nice to see a really subtle tribute to Jon Pertwee as well.  When the TARDIS did its wobble and the stuntman wearing an unconvincing wig and dressed as the Doctor fell over...  Quite good.

Him:  Once again, because I don't go to a puppet show and watch the strings, I didn't notice that.

Me:  Fair enough.  I'm going to ruin some things for people now.

Him:  You do go to the puppet show and watch the strings.

Me:  With CGI...  The artists who do CGI backgrounds or scenery, need to stop putting in birds. 

Him:  Ha!

  This has been going on since The Phantom Menace.  Every bloody CGI shot of a landscape of some description needs to have something flying across it.  I understand that it gives it movement, but-

Him:  I didn't see the birds.  Makes you wonder why they put them in.  How much money will that've cost for something I didn't even notice?

Me:  They could've spent it putting more snowflakes in the titles.

Him:  Oh, it's Christmas.  You've got to let them have that.

Me:  I suppose so.

Him:  There're many other things you can actually complain about that're worth complaining about as opposed to picking out things that aren't worth complaining about.3

Me:  And the shot that was like Titanic.


Me:  The towers're based on a couple of statues - I think, in Egypt - and with the way that one's eroded, when the wind blows through it, it screams.

Him:  Oh, those towers.  Those towers.

Me:  Do you want to do the Matt Smith stuff now?

Him:  Even though you'll say it wasn't canonical, Steven Moffat seems to think those little shorts he releases are canonical.

Me:  They're not.

Him:  In one of them, Matt Smith talks to Matt Smith and tells him that he's just taken River Song to the singing towers.

Me:  They don't count.

Him:  Whether they count or not, Steven Moffat treats them as counting.  And he shouldn't then go back on them.  It doesn't even make sense. 

Me:  It seems a little bit harsh that Matt Smith had actually specifically requested that the story of River Song be over and done with.

Him:  You could pull all the stuff together, provided you took in that bit that you say that isn't canonical.  It still fills in the story.  I don't remember which one it was.

Me:  It was in the Last Night and First Night - and things like that - series of VAM.

Him:  One of those ones.

Me:  Jim the Fish was in one of those too, I think.

Him:  Not personally, Jim the Fish was in the series.

Me:  Right.

Him:  Jim the Fish is a running gag.  Everyone knows Jim the Fish.

Me:  Steven Moffat wanted to wrap everything up with the kind of script that he can do in his sleep and-

Him:  But, he's done it.

Me:  And it's another one about why marriage is great and...  I'm not convinced.  I'm afraid that I'm a little bit with Lawrence Miles on this one.  I think that River Song is an incredibly unpleasant person.  I'm stunned as to why the Doctor even hangs around with her.  She should be a villain.

Him:  She is kind of a villain, that's the thing.  She's the anti-hero.  If anything, she's like the chaotic neutral.  She's not particularly good.

Me:  She's deeply unpleasant.  She's not a nice person at all.  Anyway, never mind.  At least Steven Moffat's got that out of his system so, hopefully, next year we won't have to-

Him:  Next year we'll have Murray Gold as the companion.  He'll be the love interest.

Me:  He near enough was the companion.  He's in the show more than bloody Kamelion was.  Good luck with the next series...  The problem is that we've heard this song so many times - and I don't just mean River - I think Doctor Who needs a year off in order to try and come up with something new.  We're just seeing the same stuff over and over again.  I know it's for Christmas...

Him:  It's a weird Christmas special.  Why can't a Christmas special be as ridiculous as Feast of Steven?

Yeah.  Well.  I don't know.  Next year it'll be Daleks anyway.

Him:  Steven Moffat Christmas specials have always been part of the plot.

Me:  The Husbands of River Song was too.  The plot being that Moffat was leaving, so that's him wrapping everything up and having a laugh. 

Him:  Last year you had the Christmas miracle.

Me:  And this year you had the Christmas miracle too. 

Him:  God.

Me:  I mean...  Yeah, it's great and everything, but...  Nah.  I don't know.  I'm a bit fed up with it now.

Him:  With Doctor Who as a whole?

Me:  I've...  I think they need a break.  In order to come back and...  be... refreshed.  And to have a bit more energy.  Even though it was set in all these different locations, it still felt really cheap.  It's weird.  It's supposed to be expensive and it's supposed to look expensive... 

Him:  Well, they spend all the Murray...

Me:  On Money Gold, yeah.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  And on that bombshell.  Thank you for reading us, Lady and Gentleman, and we'll be back next year.

Him:  Maybe.

Me:  Maybe.

Him:  Well, we probably won't.

Me:  I don't think Doctor Who's going to be on until next Christmas at the earliest.  Unless they do a special or something.

Him:  Do you think they'll do a year of specials again?  'Cause it went so well last time.

Me:  I don't think they will.  Who knows?

Him:  Waters of Mars...  That was...  Hanukkah?  Kwanzaa?

Me:  Ha!  It was Hallowe'en.

Him:  Oh, right.

Me:  And on that bombshell.  Ho ho ho.

1.  As with most of Moffat's work, the actual story is hidden behind the scenery.  Last year folk got flustered about Missy, Seb and the Cyberbrig (now getting his own Classesque spin-off) - whilst totally missing the conversations that the series was actually about.  With The Husbands of River Song, we're not watching a farce of Ortonian beauty, but a(nother) retread of The Curse of Fatal Death, including flirting with the wife and bribing the architect.

This series feels like Moffat's last.  With the exception of the copy-and-pasted 'Minister of War' reference, there's been nothing much obviously seeded for the next series - whenever that's actually going to turn up.  Gallifrey's back - or isn't - because it just is - or isn't.  Steven Moffat obviously doesn't care much for it - unless he feels compelled to bang the Valeyard's trap door shut before finally leaving - and it only serves as the scenery for fan-baiting supporting characters to chew on, whilst the conversation that this series is actually about takes place.

To quote the mighty Therapy?, "The road ahead is shorter than the one behind." 

2.  Some of you might be avoiding spoilers, so, even if you're a professional writer trying to shamelessly self-promote yourself, please just shut the spack up, yeah?  Speaking of which.3

3.  Mugging actors have form in Doctor Who stories directed by Douglas Mackinnon.  I'm guessing he's more of a visual director...

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