Category Archives: TV Reviews

By Grabthar’s Hat!

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 Ah, all good things (?) must come to an end, and so it is with Tom and Lalla’s visit to the “Leisure Hive.”   Here is part 4’s commentary.  Part 3 is skulking here.
 

When we last visited the Leisure Hive, the Earth businessman had just been unmasked as a reptile to gasps of horror!  (Stella Luna says, “Let me at him!  Migaow!”)

Drats! Foiled again! And I would have gotten away with it, too...

1. Interesting use of pyramid as viewscreen.

2.  I like the march theme playing behind Son-of-Mine’s rant here.

3. Why is he so terrified of the reptile?  I mean, I share the fear, but dude, get some dignity.

4. Ohh– an imposter!  I see.  Where’s Doctor McCoy when you need him? “Jim, this man is a Klingon!”

5. Ah- a nice twist on the enemy/ non-enemy.

6. You tell him, Chief Inspector!

7. And there goes your plot, regenerator boy!

8. “You don’t cross your bridges until they’re hatched.” 🙂

By Grabthar's Hammer, you will be avenged!

By Grabthar's Hammer, the Ambassador shall be avenged!

 

9. Way to threaten an ambassador of peace there, boyo.

10. Tom is looking mischeivious here.  What is he up to?

11.  By Grabthar’s Hammar, he will be avenged!

12. “We are the army.”  Oh dear.

13. Why is the dawn so crucial to the plan?

14. OK- when your self-appointed leader demands unquestioning obedience AND starts referring to himself in the plural, it’s a bad sign.

15. Reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated.

16. How can she so quickly find the Doctor on her scanner?

17.  Oh just reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and get on with it already!

18. Oh!  Poor Formazi!

19. Does he realize that the mask looks like the “Pyramids of Mars” guy?  Do they have the same hatter?

Pyramids of Mars snazzy hat

20.  Oh dear– their marching looks too much like the Rimmer puppets dancing to the Rimmer song to be taken seriously.

21.  Army of clones is a good idea, though.  Has he met the Sontarians?

22. We do have tons of dramatic eye acting in this episode.

23. Oh, cute little trick!  Lucky Son-of-Mine wore that helmet into the machine, wasn’t it.  Isn’t Tom much taller, though?

24. Useful plot device.  It’s what happens when a non-scientist tries to make clones.  They are always unstable.

25. Where did Romana find his clothes?  umm… never mind.

26. Finnegan, begin again.

27.  Now Son-of-Mine is just a hystrical child throwing a temper tantrum.

28.  Is the poor woman going to have a mustache?  I think they did a Star Trek episode like this.

29. Yes, bring him up properly this time!

30.  Ah– I’m glad to know the Ambassador/ Chief Inspector didn’t get blown up. 

31. Black Guardian: “a galactic hobo with ideas above his station”  Ha!  And no more randomizer.  A nice ending.

 

So, the destruction of the randomizer also brings us to the end of this series of random comments.

Did you enjoy them?  Would you like to see more?  Are they all rubbish?  Drop me a comment.

in which we finally meet the aliens.

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 We’re back with episode 3 of “Leisure Hive”– a classic Tom Baker Doctor Who story.  If you missed episode 2, find it here.

As we rejoin Tom & crew, he had just been turned ancient by the video-effects box.

 

This gives a new meaning to "Old Who."

This gives a new meaning to "Old Who."

 

Away we go, then…

1. A  nice review of previous episode, though repetitive music make it hard to build suspense.

2. Hey– he can’t complain.  He could be Gollum-Doctor.

3. No, duh.  He just came out of the box– of course he hasn’t seen himself!

4. Where does Harden get off giving orders?

5. Son-of-Mine seems inordinately please with himself.  Why?  What devious thing is he planning?

6. Yes, yes, yes.  Sand.  We know!  Being spied on.  We get it.

7. How would he know?  Romana’s the brains.

8. How does Son-Of-Mine intend on wearing that helmet?  It looks solid.

9.  Is Pangorn conspiring with the reptiles?

10. “Dignity.  Always Dignity.”  [See “Singing in the Rain”]

11. Um, as Harden has already proven himself useless, and this is your last hope– that’s a dumb decision, La Presidente.

12. No, No… we’re not part of a conspiricy.  Not at all.  Nothing to see here.  Move along

Move it along.  No alien conspiricies here. 

"Move it along. No alien conspiricies here."

.

13.  With the old make-up, Tom’s eyes are even more powerful.

14.  Cool-looking contract plastic/ paper.

15.  Ah, political plot thickens.

16. OOOh– so this is “The Doctor’s Daughter” all over again but done properly! 

17.  Where did the other “disfigured” mutants go?  They sound interesting.

18.  The Formaci sound like R2D2.  Why isn’t the Tardis translation circuit working?

And so another episode ends with the reveal of the alien– I’m glad that they saved it for so late in the game.

Hi,  here we are.  How are we for time?

Hi, here we are. How are we for time?

Next up, the final episode.  Huzzah!

Video effects of Doom!

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Right, well—to begin, I must say that I’m glad that I’ve already taken the notes on this episode because I just spent the better portion of the afternoon reading “Julie & Julia” by Julie Powell (review in a few days), and going back to snarky Doctor Who comments is quite the rugged transition for my brain.

 

So, here we go back to “Leisure Hive” episode two.   For episode one, click here.

 

I dub him Son-of-Mine.

I dub him "Son-of-Mine."

As we view the reprise, ol’ (oh, he really is here, poor fellow) Tom is once again torn asunder by video effects of DOOM.

  1. Wait—reprise made it look like Romana was dragging the scarf!  I thought it was the Doc.
  2. Why does Reptile try to kill Doctor?  What’s his motivation?
  3. Such a cheat—that resolution!
  4. Oh look, ANOTHER Earth shuttle.  This is beginning to feel like Star Cops.
  5. Umm, a strangely directed capture scene.
  6. Just a note—his sonic screwdriver looks almost exactly like the doohickey I used for melting wax when learning pysanka.
  7. Ah, well… yes… have dabbled just a bit in time travel.
  8. Romana is just showing off.
  9. I don’t like Tom’s red coat at all at all.
  10. La Presidente doesn’t seem to mourn her husband all that much.
  11. These reptiles do have a penchant for turning knobs and screwing with machinery.
  12. Ah, now we see how war + hive + death + children all tie together.
  13. Why does anyone trust this scientist?
  14. Also, why does beard-boy (who should be easily identifiable as evil b/c he is wearing a beard in Doctor Who) look so familiar to me?
  15. Oh yeah—of course they ‘ll want to just watch on the viewer.  The Doc will be fine with that.
  16. Aging make-up & acting nicely-done.
  17. WAIT—why did plans for not revealing the deception suddenly change?  Did I miss something?
  18. Claw/ doorway look strangely out of proportion to one another.
  19. Dude!  Green = Death!  Run Away!
  20. Good job showing only bits of the monster.
  21. Poor blind beggar!  Is his prescription really so strong that he can’t even see giant green lizard monsters without his glasses on?
  22. It would be awfully hard to strangle someone with that scarf.
  23. “Arrest the scarf, then.”  Ha!
  24. I like how Romana is a competent teacher here, instead of the silly school-girl she is often dressed as.  Bring back Mary Tamm, I say.
  25. Experiments are boring to watch, especially when done with colored plastic and kool-aid.
  26. Is Son-of-Mine only allowed to speak while standing?  Why does he keep bouncing up and down in his seat?
  27. He is also a bit too gleeful to have found “a test.”  I’m worried.
  28. Oh dear, are we going to melt the Doctor?
  29. Another nice job on the aging make-up; though he does look like a cross between Santa Claus and Rasputin.  An unnerving idea, that.

 

Rasputin + Santa Claus = ol Tom 

Rasputin + Santa Claus = ol' Tom

 

Well, that was a good one.  Lots of plot.  Sufficient corridor running.  Nice aging effects.

Coming soon… part 3… of DOOM!

Leisure Hive pt 1 commentary

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Hi, folks– I’m back with a new commentary for a classic Tom Baker episode.  Tony and Jo! over at the Flashing Blade podcast inspired me to watching it for the first time in order to give them some feedback for their 8th episode.  For the podcast, I condensed my thoughts considerably, but here I offer you my comments unadulterated.  Lucky you. 🙂

So… here we go!

  1. I don’t like Tom’s face in the opening credits.  He looks old, bloated, and bored.
  2. Good grief!  I get it already.  We are on a long, deserted patch of beach.  For goodness sake!
  3. Earphones make snores clearer.
  4. Now that’s just mean!  What’s she done to poor K-9?!
  5. Oh dear– telescope view does not bode well.
  6. Interesting transitions– not sure I like them.
  7. These are very interesting costumes and hair styles.
  8. The meeting does sound like ones that probably happened in BBC boardrooms around this time.
  9. Music does reinforce strange nature of planet.
  10. Interesting how in this season, no one hears the Tardis materialize.
  11. Um.. can one guy sell a whole planet?
  12. There’s an awful lot of exposition happening here along with extraordinarily long landscape pans.
  13. Cool video effects, if quite psychedelic.
  14. Heavy breathing- must be the bad guys.
  15. Interesting idea to cover how another culture dies.
  16. WE GET IT!!! Another ship is landing.  Is this a vital plot point??
  17. Nice to see that the Doctor has forgotten science and is interested in relearning it.
  18. A particularly vicious way to die.
  19. I thought the Doctor said that he doesn’t  do “meeting mothers.”
  20. Doctor does seem delighted to be a “mistake.”
  21. Now is where the psychic paper would have come in handy.
  22. Cute trick with the guard– reminiscent of Sun Maker’s trick.
  23. Very colorful control board– looks like the counter of a candy store.
  24. Red plastic guy = creepy
  25. Nice scarf/ mannequin distraction
  26. Oh no!  Not death by video effects!

 

And that’s that.  Until part two, everyone!

robots gone wild!

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V5, that is not the Doctor

"V4, that is not the Doctor"

We have finally reached the fourth and final part of the classic Tom Baker story Robots of DeathCheers and hurrahs resound.  For those of you lovely readers who have some catching up to do, click here for part 3 of these commentaries.

 

When we left our heroes, the ever-witty Doctor was being strangled by a homicidal robot, as a horrified Commander (sans extravagant hat)  stood by, being as useless as we have come to expect from him.

 

  1. Finally!  The Commander has made a command decision.
  2. I’d be a bit cranky if someone had just stuck a giant syringe in my skull, too.
  3. Good grief!  Toose is just useless.  And Mr. Boucher—rubbish dialogue.
  4. Is the Doc carrying ol’ Commander over the threshold?
  5. Ok, silly way to dispose of two murderous robots, but cute.
  6. I love SV7’s straight tone when he says, “Do not, V4, that is not the Doctor.”
  7. Um.. is she dead?  Because she is breathing quite visibly.
  8. Right, so the Commander could barely walk before, but now he can scuttle?  And way to reduce him to just a hanger-on peppering the Doctor (who is clearly now completely in command) with stupid questions.
  9. Ah—my favorite line from the entire story (which I used as the title of my episode 3 post b/c I couldn’t resist): “Please do not throw hands at me.”—I sooo want to use this in my classroom when everyone’s hands go up at once.
  10. Oh, good, useless girl will recover.  Oh joy.  Oh rapture.
  11. Yes, thank you Captain of Obvious Exposition.
  12. Her pj’s are still pretty snazzy.
  13. The image of the robot with the giant needle in his head is pretty disturbing, particularly given his body language.
  14. Oh—the two of these ladies crouching in corners together is some slash fiction writer’s dream come true.
  15. I notice and appreciate the continuity here—the robot who lost his hand in the door is still missing it.
  16. Clever, clever Leela—having intuition and all.  Good point that SV7 should have recognized her voice.
  17. Must have sucked to be one of the actors who had to play these *frozen* bots.
  18. Now that he’s out of immediate danger and back on his command deck, the Commander has reverted to his vacation home in Denial.  I’m enjoying that the Doc compares him to Marie Antoinette.
  19. Awfully convenient that they had a medical bed set up in the middle of the command deck.
  20. “I don’t understand!” whines Commander—let’s add that to your lengthy list, shall we.
  21. Ah—it was Pool who was controlling D84—clever.
  22. Another point in continuity’s favor are the makeup jobs on the Commander and Toose’s wounds—her neck is still red from being strangled.
  23. Now we get to the bottom of the not-cared about sub-plot.
  24. “And if we do come out, we will be destroyed anyway”—now that’s the first intelligent sentence you’ve uttered all day!
  25. Ummm… is anyone else creeped out by SV7’s resemblance to computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey?
  26. Ah—another bit of dramatic eye acting on Tom’s part
  27. Are they Zed Zed 9 Plural Zed Alpha bombs?
  28. Ha!  “Well, that’s your problem.  I can’t be every where at once.”
  29. Again with the door sound.
  30. Ah—something at which the Commander and Toose can be competent—what a nice change.
  31. Cue hordes of silly tinfoil robot boots.
  32. Once again, this episode’s heroes must have engaged their Somebody Else’s Problem Field as they hide in plain sight.  (yes, I know that was 2 Hitchhiker’s references in the space of 2 scenes, but they were just waiting to be made!)
  33. Commander—must you fall into EVERY sci-fi cliché?  When the Doctor says not to open the door—then don’t open the door.
  34. Ah, while other people were carrying the story, Dask has popped off and had a make-over.  I do think Trinny and Susanna have gotten this one a bit wrong, though.  I think he’s wearing the costume equivalent of a foil-wrap that we used at scout camp to bake chicken and rice over a campfire.
  35. I like the nice long draw back to wide-shot to reveal what we already suspected.
  36. Ummm… Dask, just a point here, but if they could hear you begging for entrance, can’t they also here you giving commands to your robot horde? 
  37. Aww, poor busted robot.
  38. Look, even in whatever century this is, they still use duct tape!
  39. Thanks for the needless definition of “robo-phobia.”  It’s moments like these that remind me that the BBC is under the mistaken impression (though, God only knows why) that Doctor Who is a kid’s show.
  40. “Right now he must be a happy little maniac.”  Ha!
  41. Once again, I am reminded that D84 is an early version of a K-9 character.
  42. Tom just said the key theme of Doctor Who: “I think you’re very important.”
  43. Robot against screen quite creepy.
  44. Every time he says, “My brothers,” I get a flashback to Mr. Mash from “Are You Being Served.”  I want to say, “Mr. Dask, get off the floor!  You know that you and the robots can’t be on the floor after 8 o’clock.”
  45. Meanwhile, back on the uselessly chaotic command deck.
  46. “We may not be so lucky a second time.”—it was awfully considerate of V5 to stand compressed against the door and blow up so nicely.
  47. Dude, you do realize that sooner or later they will realize that you’re human, too.
  48. Ah… a clever, clever trick, using a child’s party game against a maniac.
  49. How awful!  Poor D87!  He is a hero until the end!
  50. Um, when that robot sucker punches the Doctor and then shoves him against a wall, is he going to kill him or kiss him?  I think it could go either way from his body language.
  51. Ah, Dask, as with all meglo-maniacs, your need to torture your enemy will be your undoing.  Have you never watched this show?
  52. Even the music can’t take these two robot-hunting clowns seriously.  They’ve suddenly become Litefoot and Jago, minus the clever dialogue.
  53. Hello, Dask.  Just to let you know, I’ve been tortured by much crazier men than you, and Eddie Izzard wanted me to tell you that silver eye shadow is a death color.
  54. How does no one hear the incredibly loud helium canister?
  55. “Ah, I see.  You’re one of those boring maniacs who’s going to gloat.  Are you going to tell me your plan for running the universe?”  HA!  He is, too.
  56. Well, that at least makes a change.
  57. Finally, the Doctor has told him that he looks ridiculous in that outfit.
  58. I like how the voice change comes upon him so gradually that he doesn’t notice it—though in point of fact, that must be some mightily concentrated helium in order to displace an entire roomful of air.
  59. Ouch—poor Tom does look like his brain is being burned out.
  60. No, not losing his nerve, just overcome with the need to gloat.
  61. Oh—Go D84!!!!!  One final act of bravery!
  62. Those pyrotechnics are quite impressive and a bit gruesome, as we have come to recognize these robots as humanoid creatures.
  63. Ah—nick of time programming still apparently working quite well in this robot.
  64. Dude—there can be only one Master—and you don’t even make the short list.
  65. Gosh, Toose!  You’re racking up a strangle-count to rival young Kirk in the recent movie.  Just be grateful that you haven’t had to hang off any ledges lately.
  66. a useful tool- that giant needle.  I still feel sorry for it’s victims, though.
  67. “What squeak mouse?” 
  68. That control room looks like the throne room at the end of Hamlet.  Where’s Fortinbras when you need him?
  69. Oh—apparently he’s on the rescue ship.  Isn’t it a bit callous to leave the last two crew members trapped on a ship stuffed to the gills with dead people and robots? 
  70. Listen, just because Leela asked the question we were all wondering is no reason to get snippy there, Tom-boy.
  71. Oh, dear—I have discovered that I’ve been spelling Toos’s name wrong this whole time… well, I maintain that my spelling is better.  Otherwise, she’s “twos,” right?
  72. For that matter, they claim that my Pool is actually Poul.  Huh.  Well, this just goes to prove that I’m doing these as I’m watching.  We’ll claim spontaneity and move on, shall we.
  73. Speaking of random credits—they have periods in the names of the robots (I can see some copy-editor now: “Well, since they are, in fact, abbreviations, they should contain periods.”  “But there weren’t any on the costumes.”  “Not my fault.  I’m right, and I’m putting them in the credits properly.  So there.” Yes, indeed, methinks I smell a fellow English Major at work.)

 

And we are done!  Whoo—that was a long one. 

 

What did you think, folks?  Shall we have more of these?

“please do not throw hands at me”

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Where were we? Oh yes, Robots of Death, episode 3.

Just a note—have just seen a season 18 Baker episode. I must say that I like his image here much better than the bloated head shot in that title sequence.

Cue reprise…

1. Ah, they have disabled Strychnine just in time!

2. Dask is rather calm under the circumstances.

3. Did the Doctor just imply that Dask sabotaged the systems?

4. A rather wise saying that, “If you are bleeding, look for a man with scars.” However, I wouldn’t bandage a wound with a itchy silver scarves.

5. Ah, now we get to the middle of the subplot that I don’t care about.

6. “Did you do that?” Leela is quite a useful companion.

7. Oh, hooray! I’m growing quite fond of Strychnine after all.

8. I like that the Doctor trusts Leela enough to have her guard Pool while he goes off to chat with the dumb robot.

9. The visual contrasts between Pool and Leela is quite striking and interesting.

10. Once again, all of the keypads make exactly the same sound.

11. Um… what part of “Don’t let him out of your sight” did you not understand, Leela?

12. Poor ravaged robot!

13. Oh… cue creepy robots… blood on the hand reminiscent of Wang Chiang.

14. Now we can tell who the human is behind this thing.

15. I find it intriguing how they portray the reprogramming of the robot and how he really wants to reject these orders that are countermanding his core laws. Well done and chilling—especially when his eyes return to black, and you can’t tell that anything is wrong.

16. Oh dear—the curtain reveal of the Doctor in the background, along with the chimes, and his grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Disturbing. It quite gives you the feeling that if he wasn’t on the side of right, he could do considerable wrong with glee.

17. I like how the Doctor treats D84 as an equal, unlike everyone else in the story.

18. The side-view close up on D84 does rather spoil the mask’s still effect because you can see the actor’s chin moving up and down.

19. “Priority Red”—poor guy. Having his hands move in a desperate fashion reinforces his helplessness. His other muscle circuits must be disabled, as those straps don’t look adequate to holding him down.

20. What’s up with the KKK cloak there, Dask-boy? We already know it’s you from your video message earlier.

21. Umm… having a close up on those hands was a bad idea—it makes it obvious that they are simply yellow kitchen gloves sprayed silver (palm bumps and all).

22. Poor robot—although they made an oops with the red overlay (look carefully, and you’ll see that some of it shows on the detached mask.)

23. “Typical robot, no imagination.”

24. “Correct”—what a strange cadence on that word.

25. “I have failed.”—now, if he were a Dalek, he would have to repeat that about 500 times with increasing hysteria, then blow himself to smithereens.

26. Poor dejected D84. He wants to help. He’s really just an early version of K-9.

27. Me thinks that robot takes a suspiciously masculine stance in her doorway.

28. She sleeps in a seashell? What is she, a Disney princess?

29. I think it would be annoying to have to look at the world through robot vision and echoy robot hearing.

30. Does SV7 have orders to only kill her if she is sleeping?

31. Whiny girl… and did anyone else catch that subtext about bringing Leela to her bedroom? [are we entering Radio Free Skaro territory here?]

32. Meanwhile, back where Leela is stuck…

33. Oh dear… I didn’t realize how loud I had the volume on the TV until Leela screamed “Help! Can Anyone Hear Me?!” It’s after 1 am here. I do hope none of my neighbors heard it and thought I really needed help. Oops.

34. For all that D84 is used to staying quiet, he won’t shut up about “I heard a cry.”

35. Very creepy—the robot giving orders to kill everyone.

36. Way to get the door opened just to be threatened with death by robot.

37. Oh dear, the red-eye is a bit wonky as the robot walks through light and shadow.

38. For all of the robot’s “You cannot escape,” Leela could have run right out the door just then.

39. I like that Leela’s not afraid to defend herself with her knife (even though it proves useless). “Oh, that’s just showing off.”

40. Um.. robot-dude, who are you trying to convince by repeating “You cannot escape”? ‘Cuz she just did.

41. Again—all door pads make same noise no matter how you press them.

42. “Because modifying brains is not something you do standing around in corridors, you know.”

43. A useful gadget, indeed.

44. Oh, gold-girl’s pajamas look very comfortable and cute. I want a pair.

45. Why is she taking her hat with her?

46. Arm caught in door is creepy. Toose is useless—a solid contrast to what we just saw with Leela.

47. Well, ask a stupid question, get the obvious answer.

48. It is frightening to be told “The door is not a barrier,” though.

49. Oh—well played, Leela!

50. Poor broken Pool. He’s all the more pathetic for how sarcastic and competent he was before.

51. Are these robots programmed by the Stone Angels from “Blink”? They can’t seem to attack when someone is watching them.

52. I like the Doctor’s black humor here.

53. Finally, a cliff-hanger I can get behind!

54. Did you see how many robot actors were in the credits? Beats the hell out of the 3 Daleks they can usually manage.

And so ends another episode… next time, the final part of Robots of Death. Join me, won’t you?  For Part Four, click Here.

Robots of Death pt 2 commentary

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At last, the long-awaited commentary for Robots of Death part 2, the classic Tom Baker story.   (If you want to read my comments on the first part, click here.)  Just a note here—I generally cannot be bothered to remember the character’s names, so mostly they will be identified by their distinctive hats

No, Curious George, this is not the Man in the Yellow Hat.

No, Curious George, this is not the Man in the Yellow Hat.

We will pick up with the Doctor trapped in the collector and being buried in sand…

  1. Reprise—where did the Doc get his little Boy Scout flashlight from?
  2. This sand must be coming in at a spectacular rate, in that the Doc doesn’t try to escape, just stands there staring at it.
  3. Ah, back to the BBC storeroom, in which Leela is hiding unconvincingly behind open shelving.
  4. Um, what is the Doc breathing through?  Where did he get his bit of pipe?  We never see it again.
  5. Commander really is useless at commanding.  Is he an example of the Peter principle?
  6. Is anyone going to bother to tell gold-dressed woman that [how to be delicate here…] that her shirt’s fabric is clinging embarrassingly.  Do they not wear bras in this culture?  I wonder if the poor actress noticed only after the show was on tv? 
  7. Tom does look very happy to be out from under what look like coffee beans.
  8. Do all of the machines and buttons on this spaceship make exactly the same noise, ‘cuz that could really be a nuisance.
  9. “What were you doing in the hopper?”  “Oh, don’t ask me such silly questions!”  ha!
  10. Wait, wait, wait—Doc got rescued when continuing flow of ore was turned off, but was chamber completely drained?  Otherwise, how could robot, with only one quick glance, see & id body (especially when Doc himself had to enter the chamber & get up close to see that it wasn’t Leela?)
  11. The vibrant greens and silvers of the masks are inspired.
  12. Classic horror film bit here w/ body behind curtain—bringing up point that murderer is increasingly trying to hid bodies, whereas killed the first one in plain sight & left him in the storeroom.
  13. Oh, D84, your dark silver face is so meanacing.
  14. “If I had killed him, would I not have killed you, too.”  Well, who can argue with that logic?
  15. Go Strycnine, with your same exact model shot as before, only in close-up.  Way to be boring!
  16. This conversation between Leela and the robot is a bit odd—she seems oddly relaxed for someone who thought she was going to die just 30 seconds ago.  D84 is being all Sherlock Holmes, too.
  17. “Is there anyone alive to tell?”  Ah, so you’ve seen the end of Hamlet too, huh.
  18. Ha!  Serves him right for slapping a girl! Take that, Commander!  He does look mighty shocked, but maybe it’s just the eyebrows.
  19. “You try that again and I’ll cripple you!”  I believe her and serves him right.  This here is why I like Leela so much.
  20. Leaf-hat boy seems to take particular pleasure in labeling the robot “D for Dumb.”
  21. Did you notice the little squeeze that the robot gives Leela as she asks if anyone has told him that he can’t speak?  Nice touch (literally).
  22. Wow!  Leela really has a ton of strong, insult/ one-liners in this scene.  She’s quite the spunky one, and pulls no punches when she recognizes stupidity.
  23. Um… Commander, are you aware that your argument makes no logical sense? Ok, just checking.
  24. Pool, there’s no point talking sense to a man wearing a leaf-hat.
  25. “Bring THAT.”  Dude, are you trying to earn yourself another knee to the groin?
  26. Methinks Pool has an idea about who did.
  27. I think that the Doctor uses the jelly babies as a system to distinguish good guys from bad guys—have you noticed that bad guys always overreact to them, whereas good guys eat them, usually cautiously…
  28. Poor Tom’s feelings are hurt b/c they refused his jelly babies.
  29. Tom assumes he is in charge because he has the tallest hat.
  30. I like the lilting, danger-under-the-surface tones of voice between the Doctor and the Commander here.
  31. Ah, boys and girls, a little lesson on the differences between facts and inferences.
  32. I like how they all turn on each other (rather like Midnight, that).  It’s quite realistic for the circumstances.
  33. Ah, Tom’s little mischievous grin as he suggests an alternative murderer.
  34. Dark-haired boy doesn’t even deign to turn around to snipe at the Doctor.
  35. Oh Oh!  I want to use that one: “You know, you are a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.”
  36. Ok, so everyone is upset as the two stow-aways are being hauled off, and fish-girl has chosen this moment to begin a chess game with herself???
  37. Oh, good.  You can use all of that extra money to buy some mouthwash because, dude, really!
  38. What was that last look on the Commander’s face all about? 
  39. Um, the rest of the design is fab, but those boots—is that really the best you could do?
  40. Shhhhhh!  Don’t be exclaiming your murderous mission to all and sundry!
  41. Clearly they ran out of money making all of the cool sets and costumes, leaving zero cash left for the metallic restraints (though the script does have a go at explaining away their cheap looks).
  42. “I have an uncomfortable feeling…” could be that bubble wrap around your neck.
  43. Leela looks suitably skeptical about the Doc’s ability to save them.
  44. Yet another close-up of Strychnine with unwarranted dramatic sting and dodgy CSO.
  45. It is nice to see people actually working on this ship for a change.
  46. Commander is terribly whiny—maybe his hat is heavy.
  47. Excessively long shot of Strychnine’s wheels?  Why ?
  48. Poor Leela just looks miserable and bored.
  49. I like that Leela is perceptive and can judge people by their body movements, then warn the Doctor.
  50. Pool has two things going for him here: 1—he has no hat; 2—he reminds me of one of those sarcastic and smartly-sardonic Shakespearean characters.
  51. And now, for those of you who were not paying attention in episode one, we will review Asimov’s robot laws.
  52. It always comes back to the bees, doesn’t it.
  53. You have befuddled Pool, Doctor.
  54. Are we going to leave poor Leela locked up?  “Thank you.”
  55. And where are we sneaking off to in such a hurry, fish-girl.
  56. Meanwhile, in the BBC closet… was the guy’s name really Chav?
  57. Another point to the strange scream.
  58. Tom’s Doctor does make a good investigator.
  59. I’d call for a robot—with goofy shoes, apparently.
  60. Methinks that the robots would be sneakier murderers if they had pockets in which to keep their corpse markers hidden.
  61. Cue sub-plot point and very fake crying from Zilda.
  62. Yes, thank you Captain Obvious.
  63. Oh, gold-girl, you really do need a bra.  Why did no one tell the poor woman?
  64. Perhaps the humans turn to this robots after the Ood freed themselves.
  65. I like the little bit of jargon that she slips into her radio message to Pool.
  66. “Oh, I should think it’s the end of this civilization”—rather casual there, eh Tom.  It’s the end of the world as we know it, it’s the end.
  67. That’s quite the snazzy watch the Commander has there.
  68. Ahh, he had a crush on fish-girl the whole time.  He apparently never grew out of the stage where pulling on a girl’s pigtails (fish tails?) and teasing her showed his lurve.
  69. Go, Pool!  You tell that Commander what’s what.
  70. I like the contrasts between Pool’s light and the Commander’s dark.
  71. He goes down rather easily—has Pool been practicing his Venusian jujitsu?
  72. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”  Such a creepy bit of poetry—and used by the great Agatha as well.
  73. Oh dear, a greenly lit Strychnine fell off of a cliff—good Star Trek acting, all.
  74. Leela has to be very careful about how she stands up in that dress.
  75. “Oh thanks, I’d never have thought of that.”  Everyone gets good sarcastic lines.
  76. Oh dear, have they broken poor Strychnine?
  77. “It’s a gift!”  and a curse.
  78. Well, that settles that, then.
  79. Apparently Strychnine is a girl ship?  “She’s going!”

 

And… we’re out!

Well, that was quite a long one, especially as I began it last Thursday and finished it a midnight on Tuesday night, with a long weekend of family time in between.

Hopefully, part 3 tomorrow evening. 

Until then… [doo doo doo da dooo…]

For Part 3, click here.

“nine times out of ten”– Robots of Death, episode 1

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robots of deathThis will be my first commentary for a classic Doctor Who story.  Up this time, one of my particular favorites… Robots of Death.

I’ll post this in 4 parts, matching the episodes.

 

Pause, pause pause!  I first need a Coke refill (who knew this DVD had an auto-start feature?)

 

And, away we go… Episode One

 

  1. I really like the Tom Baker opening sequences, especially the tunnel.
  2. I’ve always wondered: is Chris Boucher related to Anthony Boucher who wrote episodes for the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce) on the radio?
  3. Not so creepy rock pit set/ model shot, but well-lit
  4. *giant* machine looks like a love child of the Sphinx and K-9.  I shall dub it Strychnine.
  5. Oh, dudes.  Good try with the CSO, but no dice, my dears.   Bless your hearts, as we say down here.
  6. Design of robots and inside sets, though—awesome!  Totally art deco.
  7. Make-up cool, and makes everyone look like they could be the bad guy.  Bet the local store ran out of eyeliner on this day.
  8. Blah, blah, blah—this bit is for those who haven’t read Asimov.
  9. Um, as to the chess conversation… isn’t word for word, but it’s darn close to the conversation b/w Doctor and K-9 at the beginning of The Sun Makers (which came AFTER this story). 
  10. Is the ship kept very cold?  They are all wearing tons of heavy gowns as they head out to check if the haul will be any good.
  11. Love the wooden control room *desktop theme*.  Let’s bring it back, shall we?
  12. Leela is one of my favorite companions because she is so alien and new to everything and FIERCE.  She brings a fresh perspective, though they do get a few laughs with her, like the yoyo here.
  13. I dig the explanation of trans-dimensional engineering here.  Prob. the only one we’ve gotten that’s ever made a lick of sense.
  14. This is Leela’s first trip in the Tardis, so she doesn’t know anything.  How nice.
  15. Tom’s looking quite Victorian today.
  16. “If people see you mean them no harm, they never hurt you.” – don’t you wish that were true!
  17. Wide-shot of Leela leaping up stairs in Tardis—can we say padding?
  18. Intense music on goofy ship close up
  19. Techno-babble does make them sound competent, but those hats!?  Oh, dear.  Can you imagine being the sales clerk who convinced them those monstrosities were the height (ha!) of fashion?
  20. With picture paused as he & robot stand at controls, can really see how design of costumes mirrors set.
  21. All this about Zelda and the founding families—points for background detail, minus points for not convincing me to care.
  22. Dude—RED EYES—never good.  Why does no one every notice them until it’s too late?  Makes you want to do the bit from Galaxy Quest: “Have any of you ever SEEN the show?”
  23. Umm… it’s a bit hard to do blood-curdling screams when one is being strangled, minor point there.
  24. I like the slightly sing-song voice of these robots; reminiscent of the early cyber-men voices.
  25. Just had a thought—what if these chaps are mining the same desert planet as the bugs in Planet of the Dead?
  26. My—that commander is snippy, isn’t he.  Did we not have our coffee this morning, hum?
  27. Way to be compassionate there, commander.
  28. You know, I like when they have to be clever with the camera tricks.
  29. Sand storm unconvincing.
  30. If Who can’t go to the quarry, let the quarry come to them.
  31. For all the fanciness elsewhere, their storeroom still looks like some closet at the BBC.
  32. Ah—my point (the scream vs. being strangled)
  33. Red buttons look goofy, but are also creepy
  34. “Fool!”—such distain.
  35. Don’t worry, that robot doesn’t have red eyes.  He’s cool.
  36. I like the sarcasm from white-suited guy: “You did say, one of you.”
  37. Enter Poirot scene of confronting suspects.
  38. “Please, Pool!” 
  39. Where does the commander get off being so condescending to Zelda?
  40. This guy who knows about corpse markers looks vaguely familiar.
  41. Hey—points for having more than one woman AND an Indian man in the same episode—none of which is a bad guy or a stereotype! 
  42. Go Strychnine!  You hunt that dust!
  43. The bridge is a much nicer place when its just robots.
  44. The actors playing the robots walk so distinctly and with such strong posture.
  45. I want a lounge that looks like that!
  46. Point of order—robot is eavesdropping; he’s a ROBOT, wouldn’t he have superior hearing to humans and thus not have to put his ear up to the door?
  47. Featureless faces so void.
  48. “Sometimes you talk like a tech.” “Thank you.” “It was not well meant.”—ha!  Who else besides Leela would insult the Doctor by calling him a scientist!?
  49. “Robots have no feelings.”—Umm, I’m pretty sure that the Daleks and the Cybermen have feelings.
  50. Cute that Leela makes the joke of feelings and feelings.
  51. Ah, naïve Leela has yet to learn that when someone says, “Wait here,” that means that the Doctor must wander off and get into trouble.
  52. I’m really enjoying the squabble between all of the characters.  I can’t be bothered to remember their names, but they all have distinct accents and advanced degrees in snarkiness.
  53. Ha!  That’s the right answer for “That’s an O-R-D-E-R.”
  54. How many spare robots are there, exactly?
  55. Good grief… MORE corridors.  At least in this story they have the courtesy to paint stripes on the walls.
  56. Why, hullo ol’ gal.
  57. CSO of sand filling up is a good effort, but it wobbles.  Did no one notice this?
  58. They must have done the scene of him calling for Leela at the last minute or after many rehearsals b/c Tom looks utterly bored and disconnected, except for the tiny uneasy glance that he shoots toward the dodgy CSO.
  59. This looks like a particularly uncomfortable way to die.  Also, more points for not having this ending become a cop-out in the next episode.  He does actually have to be rescued.

 

And that’s episode one, folks.  Episode two is now up– click here.

Let me know what you thought.

a bit about Journey’s End

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Last night, since I don’t get BBC America yet (my brother did tape the episode for me, though), I watched “Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”—the last two episodes of season 4.  What follows are my notes as I watched the episodes.  I’ll post them separately.  (for “Stolen Earth” commentary, click here) They work best if you kind of read them along with the episode because that’s how I wrote them.  A sort of written commentary, if you will.  Here we go again!

 

The Doctor Donna

The Doctor Donna

Notes on “Journey’s End”

 

  • Strong summary of previous episode.
  • Again with everyone in the world in the credits
  • Ok, that was just a cheat on us with the anti-regeneration!  I am kind of happy to finally see them do something with the ever-present hand, though.
  • Cool frozen bullets/ force-field/ time-lock; however, it does render Ianto and Gwen useless for the rest of the episode.  They were suffering from “too many companions” syndrome.
  • I really like the reunion b/w Doc & Rose.  “I’m still me.”
  • What the hell is up with the temporal prison? Where did Daleks get this bit of useful technology?
  • Hooray for Mickey the Idiot! (yeah, ok, and Jackie, too)
  • I like that he kisses his gun.
  • Daleks sound perfect in German as they stroll through the Black Forest
  • I like Rose, but the team of Rose and her teeth is a bit distracting here.
  • Oh, shut up Dalek! 
  • Everyone was Brilliant.  Blimey!
  • Cool-looking horde of Daleks.
  • Well, actually, she IS safer in there, Doctor.
  • They DO love their bottomless pits on this show.
  • Again with the fire in the Tardis.
  • Ah, “last child of Gallifrey”—nice phrase.
  • Enough with the exploding roundels already!
  • Lovely music.
  • I love the Doctor feeling the Tardis die.
  • Cool special effects with the new Doctor—naked!  Stupid plot, but don’t care!
  • My, the Dalek is awfully nosey about everyone’s feelings.  He deserves to be shot!
  • Poor Jack.
  • How did Blue Doc repair things so quickly?  Is his silent running mode like the Cyberman’s silent leg setting?
  • Oi!  I love his imitation of Donna!  It really should have had a bit of the creepy overtones from Midnight (although, now that I’ve said that, neither of these characters know about that adventure, just the audience, so I guess not.)
  • I like the strands pulling together idea… but I’m not sure they quite pulled it off.
  • Who is the crazy German woman?  Why is she cluttering up my screen?
  • Oh so cleverly hidden door there.  No one will EVER find that door.
  • Poor woman making the most of her cameo.
  • Ok, throwing the Tardis in the furnace worked SO well the first time, so we’ll try again with Jack.
  • You tell him, Rose. 
  • Again with the loony tunes Dalek Caan.  Caanned Fruitcake, if you ask me.
  • “Children of Time”—nice phrase, nice idea.
  • I really like the by-play of the Doctor and Davros here.  We see the rage that we so rarely see from Tennant, that we saw in Eccleston.
  • Why do no Daleks notice that they are all fleeing out of the line? 
  • Bravo on use of “apotheosis” there, Davros.
  • Cool cold-flaming planet sequence.
  • Oh, I like Mickey the Idiot, but his recharging thing is awfully convenient.
  • Poor dusty people—again cool effect.
  • Umm, what’s up the lone Dalek in 70’s style set?
  • Let the taunting commence…
  • Davros does enjoy his ranting, doesn’t he.
  • There go the same 3 Daleks, again.
  • Cool, yet goofy, Dalek ships
  • Huzzah for “Captain Cheesecake”—let’s see Mickey on Torchwood, please.
  • Ok, I wouldn’t wander around with warp star in my pocket, would you?  Sounds a bit dangerous to me.
  • Techno-babble…
  • Again—it’s United Nations, and you know it, young Martha.
  • How in the name of all that is sci-fi is Davros supposed to know what the Osterwatzits key is??
  • I like Rose’s admiration for Martha.
  • “Where did YOU get a warp star?!” [emphasis mine.]
  • You tell him, Sarah!  I like the recognition b/w her and Davros.
  • Poor, discouraged Doctor who then has to be taunted—a la Christ-figure.
  • I like that Doctor doesn’t find out about Harriet’s redemption until here, along with all of the others who have suffered on his behalf.  It would have been nice, though, to see some from classic series [would take far too long, but would have been nice].
  • Way to keep circumvent all of the nice character acting happening there, red Dalek.
  • Why do they need a ridiculously long countdown EVERY time?
  • Nice job on the maniacal laughter there, Davros.
  • Huzzah and Hoorah!  Cool lights on interior of Tardis.
  • Doctor really shouldn’t be carrying a gun, though.  There we go, Donna w/ gun, much better.
  • Lightening cool.  More techno-babble, not so much.
  • Again with the count-down. 
  • Arruauh??? – [Scooby-Doo-style sound of disbelief and confusion]
  • Love the lovely Donna here!  Get ‘em!
  • She does look beautiful as Doctor Donna, although why Ood would know this???
  • Dance Dalek—call back to when old Who Doc made them playful.
  • Go butch boys w/ guns!
  • I love the shouts of triumph and the 200-miles-a-minute dialogue. 
  • Poor Donna, though. 
  • Jack is jealous—and he doesn’t think that the Doctor’s mind is his best part.
  • Ah, the wacky hijinks of Dalek Caan.
  • Kablooey.  Dalek au flambé!
  • Ummm… if YOU were a Dalek, would you make just one, small switch that would blow up every member of your race?
  • Run, Run, everyone in the world, Run!
  • He’s got to give him the choice. 
  • Davros, um.. you don’t have any business calling foul on him—though the flames are neat!
  • Nice touch with the Gwen/ Gwenneth bit.
  • I like Sarah’s joyous laugh there when she finds out Luke is ok.
  • Yea!  Huzzah for K-9!
  • I do like the idea that the Tardis is supposed to have 9 navigators (doesn’t make a lick of sense) but nice.  Whole family together in Tardis.
  • Wonderful music!  Goofy idea… just don’t think about it much, and you’ll want to cheer!  Never mind about silly gravity.
  • Donna just supervises.  Jack gets a bit of a flirt in.
  • I like the group celebration.  We don’t get much of this in our new show.
  • Love Cribbins and his mini soccer ball!
  • Church bells are a nice touch.
  • “You’ve got the biggest family on Earth!”  I like that Sarah got to say this line.  I bet he dropped her off in Scotland again.
  • Jack is just taking the piss with his salute—Martha, I’ll believe.
  • Ah, Mickey the Idiot… hope we see more of you.
  • I’m not altogether certain that I like this ending with Rose.  It does mess up the other Bad Wolf ending.  The idea that Blue Doc was born in blood and fire, and therefore has to be gotten rid of I’ll buy—that Rose would settle for him, questionable.
  • Ah, lovely Tardis. 
  • He really is second-best; I’m not sure that is flattering on Rose or on Blue Doc.
  • “Does it need saying?” Yes, yes, it does.
  • She has wanted to kiss him forever.  Probably doesn’t remember the last time, as she was dying and all.
  • Notice, again, by running after the original, she shows that Blue Doc is by far a second choice.
  • So lovely and so painful—the breaking apart of Donna’s mind.
  • Just heart-rending.  She’s sooo good. ”Don’t make me go back.”  We don’t want her to go back, either!
  • His wiping away everything that she has become is crushing!
  • The Doctor has never before sat down and explained to her parents how he had to hurt a companion.
  • You tell her, Doc!  Stupid, rotten mum!
  • Who wouldn’t want him delivering an obituary about you like this?
  • It’s so tragic to see her back to the Runaway Bride girl again!
  • Ok—saddest scene EVER b/w Wilfred and Doctor.  They both look about 200 years old.  Such a delicate, noble little gesture.  Best salute in the episode.  Perhaps this is why Doc doesn’t want others saluting him– it reminds him of Wilf?
  • I like the taking off of the jacket—baring himself—and going on alone again.  Ah. The Lonely Doctor.

 

Overall—lovely work on the part of all of the actors, especially Doctor, Donna, and Davros.  Plot… meh… but I don’t care much.  Most of it was so glorious and fun and lovely that I’m willing to overlook all of the foolishness.  Heart-breaking ending.  Yes, indeedy, good stuff.

notes on Stolen Earth

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Last night, since I don’t get BBC America yet (my brother did tape the episode for me, though), I watched “Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”—the last two episodes of season 4.  What follows are my notes as I watched the episodes.  I’ll post them separately.  They work best if you kind of read them along with the episode because that’s how I wrote them.  A sort of written-commentary, if you will.  Here we go!

 

Notes on Stolen Earth

 

  • Are there really still milkmen in England?
  • Opening the doors to space is cool and epic.
  • Ok, is the over-blown music on Mr. Smith really necessary every single time?  Good on her telling him to shut up!
  • Oh, Rose and her bad self looking fierce! Along with amazing planets!
  • Ah, credits with everyone and their brother in them running incredibly rapidly.
  • Donna needs a comforting “Don’t Panic” and her towel.
  • Bravo on Dawkins for showing up.  Now we need Romana back!
  • Well, La De Da for Geneva.
  • Poor Bernard Cribbins.
  • Good on Jack and Sarah for their terrifying looks when they know what’s coming & no one else does.  Great idea to intro Daleks through sound only.
  • Ok, did the Daleks get their blueprints for their flying saucers from comic books?
  • What the hell is the difference between “Ultimate Code Red” and regular, every day code red?
  • Cool looking “Shadow Proclamation” shot and Jadoon w/ Doc speaking their language.  The lady looks like a Vampire.  Is she an escapee from State of Decay?
  • You tell her, Donna!
  • Cool hologram of the planets.
  • Ok, stupid UNIT, have guns EVER worked on Daleks, since you know enough about them to go to Ultimate Code Red, shouldn’t you remember that?!
  • Come on, UN… We all know what UNIT stands for, don’t be daft.
  • Creepy claw-handed Davros—now we know who was really behind the schemes on Inspector Gadget!  Where’s his cat?
  • Wacky, creepy Dalek Caan.  Wrong on sooo many levels!
  • Poor Donna reverts to her self-deprecating self when she feels overwhelmed.
  • How does vampire girl know??
  • The bees… the dolphins… same difference.
  • Really, has she never watched this show?  He’s pulled this trick how many times?
  • Go Granddad!  Is it just me or does his little hat look a bit like a UNIT beret? 
  • Go Rose!  Blow it up!
  • Cool looking Medusa Cascade.
  • Oi!  Who said that you could surrender!
  • I’ve always liked Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister, and her id card.  Yes, we know who you are. 
  • Ha!  “She wouldn’t let me have one.  She said they’re naughty.”
  • I really like the whole bit with everyone on the phones, though it does remind me a bit of the teens-on-the-phone scene in “Bye Bye Birdie.”
  • Telling Jack not to flirt, introducing everyone, Sarah Jane being a proper companion again.  All v. nice.
  • Ah, the jealous Rose again.  Not the most attractive side to her personality.
  • Hi, Ianto.  Way to get some screen-time in.
  • Good salute, Jack!
  • Well played computer acting, everyone!
  • Ok, giant signal not at ALL noticeable.
  • I like the stethoscope on the phone.  Cute.
  • Ah, blow up Mr. Smith.  Whatever.
  • More computer acting.
  • What’s up with the flames?
  • You tell them Harriet!
  • “If only there had been someone there to shoot her every minute of her life.”—Flannery O’Conner’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
  • Poor Harriet…
  • Goofy looking Tardis prop in space.
  • Hi, everybody!  I like the quips.
  • Great Davros being intro’d through his voice.  He’s just sooo creepy-looking and terrifyingly believable.
  • What is “the Nightmare Child”?
  • EWWWW!  Are “pure Daleks” really worth all that mess?
  • Great interactions b/w Doc and Davros
  • What? No goodbye kiss for Ianto?
  • Silly Daleks, Torchwood is for grown-ups.
  • Way to leave your child alone during a crisis, Sarah!
  • This seeing-Rose scene is played so well!
  • Bad Dalek!  No!
  • And thus begins the scenes of the giant guns.
  • Why are you stopping, Sarah?  Run them over!
  • I like that Jack & Rose know and are scared, Donna doesn’t know and is scared.
  • I was terrified when I saw him changing!
  • I HATE the way “to be continued” appeared on the screen.  Just dumb.

 

Overall—great episode!  I know others have criticized it for having all of the companions in it and being so self-glorifying, but I disagree.  Sometimes, you just have to play to the fans and have a wonderful time doing it.  Sure, the plot gets very very shaky in part 2 (Journey’s End).  Certainly, they should not do this every season.  But this was lots of fun and left me saying, “What? What? What!” for a week.