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Dec 26, 2006

They said Gallifrey!

OK, the mention of Gallifrey may have elicited a cheer from some of us (even me *hangs head in shame*) but it's a very poorly scripted moment. It was a "We want to mention Gallifrey now, we don't care how.". Ditto for "Rose" at the end. Just as last year ended with "Fantastic", this was RTD's way of making us remember the character gone by, but it was just done a little too tackily to be of any point.

Oh, by the way, I thought the episode was alright. And for RTD, that's quite something. He's certainly done better than last year in that respect.

It still had all the major flaws of last year's, the flaws that scream "It's a Christmas Day kid's programme, so why not?" (IACDKPSWN for short, pending TM), but the managed to be toned down. The completely gratuitous "spaceship over London... AGAIN" scene wasn't as long, but somehow was all the more pointless. Oh, dear, a little girl almost got killed. But she didn't. Huh.

I cringed at the start when we had the zoom down onto Earth a la "Rose" and TCI. It seems like RTD doing a tribute to his own work.

The TARDIS doing its gratuitous IACDKPSWN movements: hovering in space, materialising particle at a time, open doors in space, THAT chase scene, and the final zoom into space. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?!?!? Absolutely ridiculous, but I'm sure the kids loved it. And, *sigh*, that's the main feel of the episode.

AND NOW FOR THE MAIN FEATURE

Donna reeeeeeeeeeeeeally irritated me. Okay, that was pretty much a given that she would be irritating, but I found myself wanting to turn off. A good portion of the episode relied on insults, mostly Donna-Doctor and Doctor-Donna, but even the Lance-Donna insults seemed a bit overegged. However, I'll stick myself out on a limb here and say she was okay. Got that? OKAY. That's all she's getting from me. Her final scenes just about redeemed her for the rest of the episode, but I was still very grateful that she wouldn't be a regular.

Don Gilet did alright. His acting style is very much of the Hugh Grant nature, and he either comes off as being talented but not trying, or trying really hard for no good. Still, I have a soft spot for him, from 55 Degrees North, and he makes for very enjoyable watching.

And Sarah Parish, the other guest. Ich. She was hamming it up a bit in the voice, wasn't she? Still, her performance was sound, and her costume was great. What a good character.

I presume a good portion of you have scene the Mark Gatiss/David Walliams sketch where they kidnap Peter Davison? Well, I might just kidnap David Tennant. I'll bring him out at parties, and impress my friends. He's just fabulous. There is so much depth in his face, in his eyes, that he just becomes unmissable. That scene where the fire is swirling around him, magnificent!

Speaking of, what a scene! Euros Lyn does what he does best. I probably didn't mention it, but earlier in the year, after The Girl in the Fireplace, I felt compelled to write to him congratulating him, with my focus being on Tooth And Claw, as I felt it to be excellent (my review's in the archives). A few weeks later, I got a postcard back! Fair enough, it was mostly generic stuff, but it was handwritten and signed, so I felt quite chuffed. The point of this anecdote? No reason really, just to say that he seems a lovely guy off duty, and so to be an excellent director as well must just be the icing on the cake.

The whole plot of having a web at the centre of the earth had, as others have commented, a City pf Death feel. So, checklist?
Beginning of the Universe
Beginning of the Earth
Beginning of life on Earth
Great Fire of Rome
Great Fire of London
Mary Celeste
The End of the World
I'm waiting for a 9/11 episode. Stuff Torchwood, THAT would be bold television.

I'm not entirely sure what else to comment on. The writing was gratuitous, the acting was marginally above par, the direction was excellent. That's about it, I think.

Ah, the teaser. Series 3 looks very good, doesn't it? Well, I think so. Slightly disappointed to see only a Dalek, and I already knew about that. I was hoping for some other big reveal in the teaser, like the Sontarans, or the Autons. Hell, even the Gelth.

I am writing this while I should be tucked up in bed. I've been at work and I'm up again working at 8, but I felt I had to do this. Oh, and I watched the entire episode wearing my scarf. My 12 foot Madame Nostradamus Scarf. Lovely.

RTD, you get 8.5/10 for this. Merry Christmas.

The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about The Runaway Bride: Russell T Davies is now so proud of his own work he's designed his car to look like the TARDIS so he can cause havoc on the motorway, has bought 800 pet spiders, and dresses up as Santa and shoots people, so that he can relive his favourite moments. So far 5 lawsuits have been filed, all by Freema Agyeman. David Tennant has spoken out in his defence, saying "She's just not used to him yet. I almost sued him last year when he came after me with a sword trying to cut off my hand, but then I realised that he was just playing make believe. What a scamp!"

The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about The 2007 Trailer: Fans across the country were shocked by the surprise appearance in the trailer of the hitherto almost unexpected returning villains, the Spirodons and the Refusians. What do you know, David, it turns out they're in every episode next year!

Comments

Slightly disappointed to see only a Dalek, and I already knew about that. I was hoping for some other big reveal in the teaser, like the Sontarans, or the Autons. Hell, even the Gelth.

I didn't know about the Dalek, and was disappointed to see him - I know Doctor Who and the Daleks are almost the same thing in most peoples eyes, but it would be nice (after seeing them for 5 of the previous 28 episodes) to go a year without them - killing every last Dalek EVERY SINGLE BLOODY YEAR (*twice in ninths time) is ridiculous - and how we're expected to believe that the daleks are all over the bloody place, while timelords are none-to-be found is beyond me.

As others have commented, going by the suits, the rhino things may well have been Sontarans.

I thought they were at first, but then when I saw the rhino head...it might just be a spacesuit that looks a bit Sontaran-ish instead. I didn't mind seeing the Dalek again but it didn't have a big OMG impact or anything. Which is fair enough, it couldn't really, and I'll be hoping it's a good episode.

I think this review is probably closest to how I felt, it's a little more negative than the others so far. But still, I really enjoyed Runaway Bride even with all the faults (the Empress was Ham 101 I though...) Strong performance from Tennant and, since he was the centre of the piece, that made it work for me. I suspect the plot will fall to bits if you pick at it but all I said beforehand was I was expecting a knockabout runaround and I got that...

...with a few nice little extra bits on top. So really, job well done. And then I watched Impossible/Satan on the DVD again :D

Oh, and I was RIGHT there with Lance when he layed into Donna. He was the hero of the piece to me, it was a tragedy when he died ;)

"The episode was alright - and for RTD that's saying something."

You know, it's reading stuff like this that makes me think, why the hell do I bother reading this blog anymore?

And, given that I don't really know the answer, I think I'll get me coat. And me scarf.

Have fun.

Actually I think they probably thought very hard about the mention of Gallifrey and Rose. The former because it is such an iconic word in Who lore -- and it wasn't just dropped in gratuitously -- it was almost previewed through the rest of the episode with the 'I'm not from Mars' dialogue.

RTD has been very careful not to simply drop of the mythology and its appearance here when the show has its widest possibly audience paves the way for the exploration of what it means next year, I'm sure. I also love that it essentially heralded the finale which again suggests that there was a conscious decision to make this story very aware of the show's past.

The inclusion of Rose too pays off the end of Doomsday and underlines that throughout these highjinks she was still at the forefront of his mind. I thought they were both beautiful moments in a great adventure.

maths teacher: Note I said "I thought". I was very precise about that. For RTD to do a Doctor Who episode that I don't dislike is certainly something special. Although they have been more frequent this year than last year.

The inclusion of Rose and of Gallifrey were both good ideas, but they both seemed very forced, as though he was determined to have those two words said by the Doctor at that moment, and the reason why didn't matter. Donna asking the question at the end just so that the episode could finish on the word "Rose" was implausible, as she wouldn't care, or at least she wouldn't make it her most poignant question. I could understand her asking it if she were to follow up with another question. Also, the Doctor leaving saying "Rose" seemed unreasonable, as he is saying goodbye to someone he has bonded with, and the last thing he talks about is someone else.

She'd asked the same question several times throughout (or at least once) and it seemed to me like she just wanted an answer and that was the last time she could hear it. That and the Doctor's "friend" was clearly important and she thought he would like to say.

Re Daleks: It's odd that someone's claimed all t'pepperpots were killed when one (Sec) quite visibly escaped near the end of last season's finale. That said, there's a much mentioned rumour that the deal done with the Nation estate currently covers only three series; if there's anything in that, it'd make sense to squeeze out at least one more appearance.

Re the rhino blokes: They are the Judoon, a new bunch of beasties for the new series. While there's a certain similarity between their uniforms and those of the Sontarans when looked at from a certain angle, there are noticable differences:

1. Sontarans have tended not to wear skirts and glam rock-style high heels in the past.

http://www.2gn.net/images/hZq39226.jpg

At least, not while anyone's looking.

2. Sodding great horns on the Judoon's faces, requiring a somewhat differently shaped helmet.

http://www.2gn.net/images/I4B39320.jpg

I've yet to see a Sontaran's horn. In fact, it's an experience I'm quite willing to forgo.

'I'm waiting for a 9/11 episode. Stuff Torchwood, THAT would be bold television.'

We already had that one, it was called Aliens Of London.

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