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Jul 12, 2006

Darlig oversettelse latskap

I was talking to a Norwegian friend last night and happened to mention that I'd learnt some of her language on Saturday. 'Darlig', I said. 'Dorlig', she corrected me (it has a little circle over the 'a', apparently.

When I told her the context she laughed. 'It sounds like someone just looked in a Norwegian dictionary,' she said. 'It doesn't mean "Bad Wolf Bay", it means "not very good Wolf Bay", anyway, "Bad Wolf Bay" doesn't make sense at all'.

Apparently, the name isn't one that would be thought of in Norwegian (if I understood her correctly) but if it were, it would be something like 'Ondulvbukta', 'ond' meaning 'evil', 'ulv' being 'wolf' and 'bukta' being 'bay'.

Dorlig means 'bad' as in 'poor quality' which, ironically, is maybe an adjective that could be used to describe a great deal of season 2 - flashes of brilliance (Fireplace, Lantern, Impossible Planet, Ghosts), some 'almost there' moments (Tooth, Reunion, Rise, Satan Pit) and some lemons (New Earth, Love & Monsters, Fear Her). Even the good episodes had let-down moments, mainly due to the hamminess of the lead actors, the illogicality of some of the scenarios (the 'ghosts' in Army of Ghosts, for example, the crying Cyberman in Doomsday).

Last year I hated Eccleston, loved Piper. This year I found myself hating both the Doctor and Rose but I think it's important to separate actors from scripts here: the mood swings were scripted, not improvised, and I got the distinct sense that someone somewhere was ladling on the 'so what' attitude to create a bigger fall at season's end. It wasn't needed (Doomsday would have been as dramatic without it, probably more so in fact, given that when Rose 'died' part of me was rather glad - how much worse would it have been if she hadn't been so irritating (see 'Impossible Planet' and 'Love & Monsters') that I would have gladly pushed her into the void with my own hands.)

Doomsday, emotional ending aside, was a bit of a let down when you subject it to analysis. The showdown between the Daleks and Cybermen was inconsequential, the Cybermen were quickly sidelined as anything other than figures at the end of corridors to run away from and shoot in the back.
As someone else pointed out, Daleks and Cybermen actually work better in small numbers. Revenge of the Cybermen was a far more effective story for having a small contingent with a single purpose, and Genesis of the Daleks scared me witless as a kid with just a few of the damn things. Somehow having millions just makes the threat less, well, threatening.

Here the Cybermen painted themselves as liberators and seemingly just stood around or visited people in their homes. (More evidence of RTD's numeracy problems here: he quite happily sets a story five billion years in the future, a staggeringly huge number, and then only gives us five million cybermen to take over a population of six billion - given those numbers, the occupation of the Docklands housing estate was a poor use of 'manpower', as was the way in which several hundred spent several hours simply standing in front of the Taj Mahal.

There were, as with all RTD scripts (and, indeed, most of this year's episodes) appalling inconsistencies that any decent script editor with equally decent autonomy should have sorted. Just working out how much time it would take for several million Daleks to fly through the eye of a needle would have made anyone realise that it would have been a couple of days before the job would be complete. For me, the fact that according to the Doctor the contents of the sphere exist nowhere meant that none of the Daleks should have had 'void stuff' on them at all as, technically, they were never in it. I could go on (the levers, for crying out loud - why have great big F.O. levers?!? Why not just a simple button, or a switch or something?) but I won't. I actually enjoyed the last two episodes.

Here comes the big question. On OG's bloopers and gaffes forum on Sunday night someone mentioned a physical impossibility as a gaffe when someone else, obviously failing to spot the title of the thread, said that it was odd that someone couldn't accept such a thing but could accept the premise of a guy who travels through time and changes his appearance every so often.

For me, there are things about Doctor Who that are acceptably 'absurd', and these are the central concepts of the show. But science fiction needs to be scientifically accurate or potentially accurate, and drama itself needs to be well plotted, well-written and not reliant on happy conveniences like sonic screwdrivers, 3D specs and giant levers.

You can enjoy Doctor Who if you ignore the faults, (so I wonder why people who do so bother to come to sites like this one) but as I and many others have said, the really annoying thing about Doctor Who is that the faults are so easy to sort out.

Like the translation of 'bad' as 'darlig', for example.

Let's hope that season three is the one where scripts start being edited. Imagine if the analysis that goes on here went on in Cardiff instead, before the cameras rolled. We'd have nothing to whinge about.

Oh hang on... Where's the fun in that?

Comments

Alternative Earth - alternative Norwegian. Obviously.

Actually...

If I remember correctly, in Doctor Dances, the bomb Jack's riding on said "Schlecter" and the german word for Wolf. And, if directly translated, that also meant "poor quality" etc. The idea being more important than the actual word.

Also, I think, in retrospect, Rose's leaving was handled brilliantly. Sure, she was irritating the last year, but the new fans, those who haven't been through a companion leaving before, were going to riot if she was still the sweet and loveable Rose of this time last year. Here, she got annoying, people wanted her gone, but by god when she did they'd cry over it.

3 things:

The levers are presumably of alien design, and aliens in Doctor Who have always gone in for strange/impractical designs. They're no more or less stupid than Davros having a big red button labelled "Total Destruct" in "Genesis of the Daleks"

Although the Genesis Ark contained millions of Daleks, it hadn't finished spewing them out, and it was itself sucked in before it could. There was time for the void to suck in all the Daleks already released.

From the Cybermen's logical point of view, 5 million Cybermen probably seems plenty. You only need to grab the important military installations. From the Cyber Leader's dialogue we know they weren't expecting resistance. And perhaps that housing estate had more significance on the alternate Earth; it was clear that the Cybermen didn't know much about the differences of our world. ("Oh, do some research.")

The levers are presumably of alien design, and aliens in Doctor Who have always gone in for strange/impractical designs. They're no more or less stupid than Davros having a big red button labelled "Total Destruct"

Presumably, eh? Well first they were just switches - they did nothing that couldn't have been done on the computer screens, judging from what happened in Army.
I agree Davros's big red button was stupid. That's an excuse for these levers in what way exactly?

Although the Genesis Ark contained millions of Daleks, it hadn't finished spewing them out, and it was itself sucked in before it could. There was time for the void to suck in all the Daleks already released.
Clearly you saw the version with the excised two and a bit minutes ;-)

From the Cybermen's logical point of view, 5 million Cybermen probably seems plenty.
Yeah, that logic seems pretty flawed, especially when you remember, as I pointed out, that they seemed happy to send several hundred on a sight-seeing tour of the Taj Mahal.

I said I was disappointed with this finale but on reflection I might have been a bit harsh. I think what happened was that I was all set up for "greatest of the season" wheras what I ended up with was 'merely' something good instead. After the good work done in making the Cybermen look threatening in RotS/AoS I was also let down by their inability to take out even a single Dalek, but again I'm consoled by the fact that, for this bunch of them, it's the first time they have encountered Daleks. Perhaps a handy upgrade of a Dalek shield-buster weapon could be an idea? ;)

"Imagine if the analysis that goes on here went on in Cardiff instead, before the cameras rolled."

Ahhhh! My eyes. These googles, they do nothing....

Actually, it should be easy enough. Just write a script and ask Russell to let our resident tyro director make it.

Even better would be if you get in touch with the BBC first and have them film the whole process. You can have those talking head moments where you explained how you avoided all use of the sonic screwdriver and anything remotely like a deus ex machina and the director can explain how his use of dutch angles and zoom lenses harks back to earlier Doctors. Or somesuch.

I would love to see it.

Right, can't believe I did this.

The ark spews at Daleks at a rate of 8 per second. It does this for 380 seconds, which is 3040 Daleks. The void sucks them in at a rate of 42 Daleks a second. It does this for 80 seconds. That's 3360 Daleks. Allowing for slight error in my DVD slow mo counting and the fact that it slows down a bit while Rose fiddles with the lever, I'd say the timing is about spot on.

Davros' silly button was just an example of the fact that the alien design ethos that has run through Doctor Who since it started has often been less than obviously practical. Which I think excuses silly levers in this story, given that they sevre a story purpose. Just my opinion, though. And although the Doctor could have hacked into the computer system and controlled the system as the Cybermen did, it would have taken time, and every second that passed the Daleks were killing people outside.

I agree that the Cybermen standing around the Taj Mahal are silly. Unless they'd been off doing something else but had gone back there in order to transfer back to the alternate Earth, in the same way that the Torchwood Cybermen tried to return to their point of entry.

I definitely have too much time on my hands at the moment.

Making the button a MacGuffin that RTD doesn't use.

Or silly lever, I mean.

Or silly lever, I mean.

Can't believe I was sad enough to do all the Dalek Math and then made two typos in that post. Bah.

You're assuming episode 2 was shown in 'real time' a la '24', of course, but then where did the cybermen go?
We saw the Taj Mahal ones rise up in the air as though about to be sucked off (if you'll excuse the term) but where did 5 million of them go?

And no, I can't believe you did that either... ;-)

Did the Taj Mahal Cybermen have time to reach Torchwood Tower before the gate closed?

We must investigate. Or rather, force Offscauta to do it.

The Cybermen in India don't *need* to go back via Torchwood Tower because they never arrived here via there. They should disappear in the fault lines they appeared from, surely? The trouble is they zip up into the air which makes it seems like they should be heading back to England. They should have just faded.

That's what I was thinking - if they came through cracks they should return through the cracks, though presumably note quite so gently as fading, seeing as the poor Daleks were so buffetted.
But then, you see, we return to my original point. The Daleks didn't come from the void - they were completely protected from it by the sphere. The doctor says as much in his 'big bang, whole universes' speech. The Daleks in the sphere, certainly in the Genesis Ark, shouldn't have any void matter stuff on them.
And why didn't the sphere shoot up through the floors and disappear eh? EH? ;-)

Incidentally, BBC4 repeated the ELO at Wembley concert last night and played the video for 'Don't Let Me Down' before it. The presenter introduced it as 'Elton's favourite'... Quite bizarre.

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