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Jun 18, 2006

Not a review... more of an apology

I can’t review Love and Monsters for two reasons:

1) I wouldn’t rewatch that load of bollocks if I was bound, gagged and bribed then threatened with torture by Timelash.

2) It wasn't Doctor Who and this is a DW blog. I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t change the fact that this isn’t the programme I have grown to love; there is no era it fits into, and no category. I expected a miserable 45 minutes of cack and was disappointed. Even my worst fears realised would have been pleasant relief in comparison.

Thus, I can’t write a review, only say that it was the biggest piece of bullshit on display since the Cumbrian cattle farmers' cow-pat museum announced its prize exhibit. Alternately a fan-wank and a ritual fan-beasting by RTD. I’m a soppy girl and I’ve cried many times watching Doctor Who, but never before have I cried – and cried a lot - in shame.

Edited to say: Well that sounds a bit much, doesn't it? Despite my protestations I did in fact watch it again: twice with a commentary (by TTV and the BBC) and then having been swayed by some persuasive bloggers. Thanks to their coaxing and reason I began to see the good among the juvenile and appreciate Love & Monsters for the intelligent, sophisticated and emotional work it is.

Fact is, I should never have written a “review” at midnight after watching the episode once, and then fragmentarily. I often take irrational views without reconsideration and it’s when I foolishly voice these that I end up embarrassed. It was a deeply hypocritical thing to write and I’m surprised more people didn’t justifiably rip me to proverbial shreds. I always take the position that is somebody can justify criticism and argue with moderation and balance it doesn’t matter if they’re wrong, but that irrational and immature lambasting should be derided. Then I write the above. Oh dear.

“There is no era it fits into, and no category...” – Paul, you’re perfectly right: that’s a daft statement if ever there was one and the main strength of the episode is that it’s so unconventional; it toys with expectations and surprises and delights. This is experimental Doctor Who at its best. The characters are real people, the direction is spot-on and it has the best sound-track of any programme bar Life on Mars. The only downside to that is that I can’t hear Queen now without thinking of a young Paul Hayes.

In trying to understand my own initial reaction I’ve come to think that Blue Peter are really at fault. The Absorballof is... well, terrible. Yes, a 13 year old designed it but Elton’s story is such a superb one it comes as an anti-climax when he’s chased by a rubber-suited, stunt-cast comedian with visible pubic hair. That this eventually leads the paving slab adds another blot to a highlight of the season.

In short, I’m sorry for adding my ill-considered rants to the online conflagration but for whatever reason it didn’t speak to me first time. I too would like to know what a “ritual fan-beasting” is but at least it taught me to think before I write, or at least press POST.


Rather funny that this episode has got higher overnights than the Satan Pit.

"Ritual Fan Beasting" I have no idea what this means, but it sounds fairly unpleasant and I laughed out loud anyway.

Seriously, LINDA was a fairly neat (and taking the piss in an affectionate kind of way) portrayal of what happens in any kind of living room group meeting, from Amway to Zoroastrianism, where some members of the group want to take it a lot more seriously than others.

"there is no era it fits into, and no category"

I'm sorry but that's just daft. Why the desperate need for it to fit a certain pattern?

Well I loved it, and so did the people I was watching it with.

My, favourable, review coming soon.

I'm honestly amazed that some people didn't get this episode at all.
The Retro-Cyber-Clunkers deserved all the negative reviews but not this one. Perhaps the L&M script was too good for Dr Who and some of it's rabid followers who seem to be fairly conservative when it comes to it's 'unlimited' format?

Since I seem to be in a tiny minority, and reading what I wrote at 1am, it seems a bit extreme but perhaps in five years I'll be able to look back and chuckle knowingly, but I can't get over my gut reaction.

As much as I love Doctor Who, I couldn't see myself crying with shame at it. I mean, you didn't make this episode, whatever you think of it. I wouldn't cry, unless the Doctor turned to camera and personally called me a twat.

Hey, apparently Q cried while live-podcasting and he says he likes it ;-)

Gosh, talk about splitting fandom down the middle. When I saw The Blair Witch Project on the night it was released I actually saw an audience to this live with one half snorting with derision and chatting and the other genuinely getting scared. I was in the latter side and it seems I am again.

On reflection, I *really* loved this episode for all the reasons Paul & Neil said. I went as far as it could and carefully considered the target audience of the series and was just, well, fun. Thanks RTD.

Look at the episode title! What is Doctor Who about? As easy an answer as any is "Love & Monsters". We all passionaltely love the show. And, the LINDA group really is a loving portrayal of die-hard fandom. In fact, from some people I know, it's going a bit easy. Still, he rounded them (much as one can in 45 minutes), and made them real.

The episode also tracks with one of the season's obvious major themes, the cost of being involved with the Doctor, which it seems will culminate with...well, we'll see.

Upon reading that this episode would feature almost none of the Doctor or his companion, and seeing a pair of glasses in the baddie's tummy (the Doctor's? Thank God, no), I was very, capital "V", worried. However, I liked it. It had a winning lead, some cute stuff, and was a nice break. Seeing as how the POV changed so much for this story, I wondered if it would work, and it did. I wouldn't like to see it very often though, cause it truly isn't what Doctor Who should be. But, as a one-off, in the spirit of this series being about being NEW and a somewhat new take and all that, it really did work fine.

Oh, and he actually made me like Jackie! Oh what a season, first, made to like Mickey (okay, I wanted to), but now Jackie!? For shame. ;)

... Always trust your instincts, Kid.

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