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Doctor Who 5.01 Planet of the Dead

It feels like AGES since we've had a Doctor Who. I keep forgetting about the Christmas one - I'm not sure if that says more about me or it.

I suspect I might keep forgetting about this one, too. I enjoyed it, it was fun, but it seemed very lightweight. Which is fine, but I don't have much to say about it. Donna reference, yay. Psychic paper acting as Oyster card was a cute concept but doesn't actually make sense, I don't think - has it ever affected mechanical stuff before? Or I suppose Ten might actually have an Oyster card, he spends enough time in London. Michelle Ryan was better than I expected, but I found myself hoping that post-Rusty we might get a companion who doesn't feel the need to snog the Doctor. And UNIT, hurray! But they can't manage to get places very fast if they have soldiers jogging alongside their trucks all the time! Poor blokes. I liked the UNIT commander, mostly, and wasn't driven insane by Lee Evans, which is a bonus. And all the people on the bus were pretty good, for the relatively little that they got to do! I think they did manage to find something useful for most of them to do, in the end. And Barclay and Nathan get to join UNIT - wonder if we'll ever see them again.

Doctor Who uses mobile phones really well, which is something a lot of programmes can't do. Ohh, the UNIT commander saluting over the phone was great, heh. And being in touch with the people on the bus and with UNIT by phone was fab.

And the promo for the next one makes it look interesting, too, and the hints at the end of the episode managed to both refer back to the Ood episode ("Your song is ending") and be intriguing about the future. So, yay.

Little Shop Of Horrors was good too. Played very, very camp and over-the-top - I think the last time I saw it it was played much straighter, given that it's such a farcical storyline. But pretty much everyone was fantastic - the only person I wasn't wowed by was the Dentist, who Alex Ferns played a bit too panto by way of Michael Jackson - lots of crotch-grabbing and squealing. Generally lots of fun, though, and hurrah for Sylvester McCoy!

Edit: IS this 5.01? Or is it 4B.01, or something? They're going to call next year's series S5, aren't they? Gah.


( 16 comments — Comment )
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:39 am (UTC)
Wasn't too impressed with the tinned Skate, they could have done a bit more with them!
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought they were a bit wasted, cos I liked them!
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)
Sorry, forgot to log in!
Apr. 12th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
Wikipedia says 4.15.
It also says it's the 200th according to RTD, but the WP indexing has it at 204...
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
Oh Lord, there's probably some stupidly complicated argument about some episodes somewhere and whether they're canon!
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Well........ RTD says about whether to count Shada or not, and whether Trial of a Time Lord is one or 4 serials. (He does, and it's 4.) And WP does the same! No idea how they get to different numbers!
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
We just saw the UNIT commander play Paulina in the RSC's new productiuon of The Winter's Tale.
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
Ooh, was she good? I was quite impressed by her in the show.
Apr. 19th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
She was good. Her first appearance- when she clomped on in these really heavy boots- was a highlight of the show.
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC)
I think it was the very fact that the Psychic Oyster card didn't really make sense that made me like it so much. It's like a tongue-in-cheek twist on the established usage of the psychic paper - suddenly, we learn that it is so psychic it can make machines believe anything it likes as well! Cool.

You're dead right about the mobile phones. It's something that the techy nature of the programme means it really has to engage with - and it does that with flair. And I do hope we see Barclay and Nathan again, too. I could do with more regularly-returning characters.
Apr. 12th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
I thought that the London Bus undermined the Tardis, Time Lords come and go but the Tardis is the real central character.
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah, I like that way of looking at it. Someone said that they used the psychic paper on an electronic door entry in Doomsday, which is now ringing a vague bell...

There's very little more painful than a show trying to pretend mobile phones don't exist or constantly coming up with excuses about why they're not working so that the suspense can be kept up (I'm thinking of Buffy, particularly, here!) so I do really appreciate it when someone manages to get it right.
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it, though it is a lightweight story that doesn't stand up to much examination. I really liked the UNIT commander (especailly saluting over the telephone); I felt she was the right balance of military discipline and self-awareness. Army officers in Dr Who (and other shows) tend to be shouty stereotypes.

I also liked that the people on the bus readily grasped the idea of being on another planet/aliens/wormholes etc. They didn't stand around denying the obvious ("We can't possibly be on another planet; what nonsense are you talking ?") I guess they've all grown up watching sci-fi and are prepared for the idea that Earth isn't the only planet in the galaxy and humans aren't the only sentient life-form.

And the red bus in the middle of the desert is a great visual.
Apr. 12th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's nice to see a more balanced view of UNIT, although she was very quick to put a gun to Malcolm's head to get him to follow orders...I never quite figured out if he was part of UNIT or an expert they called in, actually. I would hope he's part of UNIT, but still.

And yes! They seem to have finally decided they can work with people not automatically being freaked out by the aliens and things. And they all remembered the other planets and things from The Stolen Earth, no convoluted "I was scuba diving!" excuses.
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
He was called a "scientific advisor", IIRC, which was a deliberate nod to the Doctor's job discription in the seventies.

The Doctor would say that title didn't mean he was really part of UNIT, but the Brig would say he was...
Apr. 15th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Ahh, heh. I suspect Malcolm would generally quite like to call himself part of UNIT, up until they start pointing guns at him for not following orders.
( 16 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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