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Jul 09, 2006

Nil-Nil, God Stopped Play

Having come to the season two-parter late, being currently in the States and having to rely on torrents, I'm holding off on reading the finale reviews for the moment. Feel free then to have a good snigger then if these belated opinions have already been proven hopelessly wrong...

So this is it, the third showdown with the metal meanies in two seasons, a record not matched since the earliest years in the 60s. We've seen what a tactical genius a single Dalek can be, and how much more dangerous it makes them compared with their Davros-emasculated cousins of old. Then we got to see an entire army in action as an overwhelming, unstoppable force. For the third outing, the Daleks are the comparative underdogs - it's a good angle, and frankly, they really need it if the iconic pepperpots are to stand any chance of remaining fresh and interesting (and even then I hope they're given a good rest for the whole of season three) - but as much as I'm hoping otherwise, I bet Russel will have copped out again and DT won't get any closer than Chris did to actually lighting the blue touchpaper and seeing the buggers off. POTW was almost literally Zeus' papier mache boat being lowered to the stage, for God's sake. I want a decisive victory at the Doctor's hand for a change - enough of the namby-pamby Peter Davision stuff; bring back Sylvester and show us properly how it's done.

Of course, I wouldn't care half as much if Army Of Ghosts hadn't been absolute magic. I had expected to be somewhat Daleked out by the end of it, but no other episode ending in the series revival has left me this excited and eager to see more. AoG is also a first for Russel T Davis, as not only was it a generous helping of exciting, populist telly, it was actually a credible piece of science-fiction in its own right (silly Frankenstein levers and spontaneous Ray Parker Jr. notwithstanding). The setup was properly conceived and executed as informative narrative instead of one long gratuitous infodump (I don't know what the analogy of thirty minutes of foreplay followed by a brief flurry of sex was about, since there's still half the story to go); it was tightly-enough plotted so that the few plotholes there were didn't all leap straight out at you on first viewing (though how come Torchwood were able to accurately detect and pinpoint emissions from the TARDIS all the way over at the Powell Estate, but not from the Cyberman hidden right under their noses?); the effects were decent, but not overwhelming to the detriment of the story; and most importantly, everything else we were told or left to piece together made perfect sense. By the end of the episode, nothing else could have been contained within the sphere except the Daleks.

It's also the little moments that stick in the memory and continue to make me smile; Rose eating chips on the bus, the 3D specs, even Peggy Mitchell worked within the episode context since EastEnders is offically stated to be fiction now. Sadly, so is Alistair Appleton's strangulation, but at least Dimensions In Time never happened.

Who cares, anyway. It was fab. Roll on, er, yesterday then. (Ahem.)

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