10 May 2011

We've moved!

Just a quick heads up that all future Doctor Who reviews will be posted here: http://ovinicus.blogspot.com/

Ta for reading!

19 Mar 2011

Time

"I'd give you your driving license"
"Hmm I bet you would."
- Amy and ...Amy.

This time we only have 3:00 and still a lot is going on. Now that everyone is doomed from the TARDIS materialising within itself (which does make for a pretty cool effect in the last episode), we now have Amy flirting with herself. As if things weren't complicated enough, the prospect of two Amy's certainly get's Rory red in the face. See what I did there? Oh never mind.

Not quite as many chuckles as the first part but still overall a funny little nugget of Who goodness. Considering Moffat has created a neutered Doctor he does like writing sex into his scripts. Okay it's hardly pornography but many less than subtle lines creep in. Of course we don't care because it's a clever little script.

The script quickly  gets confused with itself in terms of timing. Whereas before transition between the box and the interior doors was instantaneous (even being able to wave in real time) the timing quickly gets diluted so that one box is running ahead of the other, with not much in the way of an explanation. It really does feel as if the Moffman got stuck at this point and just started making it up. It's a shame because it's still an interesting concept just a bit... mishandled.

Luckily the main reason to show anything off on Comic Relief is humour and this mini serial delivers, ending on a brilliant line. Roll on The Impossible Astronaut.

Space

"How can it be her fault?" 
"Because it was my skirt and my husband and your glass floor."
 - The Doctor and Amy

Stephen Moffat has a bit of a habit of writing good Comic Relief episodes, and he's pulled it off again. Space is packed full of witty one liners and is up there with The City of Death as a chuckle-fest.

Moffat is always one for self reference and yet again he's slipped one in -  a cute banana reference harks back to his first Doctor Who script 'The Empty Child' which pops up again in 'The Girl in the Fireplace'.

This micro episode packs a lot of punch for 4 minutes without feeling overcrowded, unlike other episodes we could mention. As it is we get a sweet bit of banter to help ram home Amy and Rory are now a married couple. We get the very funny little scene in which Amy and Rory argue over the former's driving abilities, leading to the great one liner "Where according to Amy there was an unexpected house".

This mini serial also brought up something slightly unexpected; character development. Rory now seems much more at home as a companion than he did last series, and his stammering has almost disappeared. It's nice to see that Moffat treats even the seemingly unimportant episodes as a chance to flesh out his characters.

Whilst past Comic Relief specials have been a bit humorous, in this episode and the one that follows we get a proper trope of laughs. Using the TARDIS set as an opportunity for Rory to look up Amy's skirt is sheer brilliance. Oh and we end on another back reference.

23 Feb 2011

Nicholas Courtney Dies

A few moments ago it became public that veteran Doctor Who actor Nicholas Courtney has died at the age of  81. Courtney first appeared alongside William Hartnell in the now incomplete serial 'The Dalek's Master Plan' where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon. It was this performance that landed him his most famous role as Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart starting in the Web of Fear, making his last on screen appearance in Battlefield opposite Sylvester McCoy. He appeared with the most principle actors to play the Doctor to date, making appearances alongside Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, Baker, Davison and McCoy.

UPDATE: This morning amongst other news reporters the BBC confirmed Nicholas Courtney's death. Their obituary focused on his career in Doctor Who and people's memories of him.

31 Oct 2010

The Pyramids of Mars

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“I always did. Victoria wore it. She travelled with me for a time.”
”Well so long as Albert didn’t wear it”

- The Doctor and Sarah Jane.

Phillip Hinchcliffe did love his horror, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one of his greatest stories makes it into my Top Five horror stories.The Pyramids of Mars initially started out as something totally different. Space grain and crocodile headed Egyptian Gods were the original plot, but were heavily edited (well, changed entirely really) before they were put into production.

As it is the episode pitches the perfect air of mystery that is so captivating about the ancient Egyptian mythology of Gods and mummies, so turning mummies into insulated robots is a stoke of genius on this part. The main plot of the story is the Doctor, being oddly moody is summoned to Earth by the Brig when pulled off course by a face. Yup, a face. But never mind that there are more important issues as the Doctor soon tries to get his hands dirty in an adventure involving a moody Egyptian.

 

Namin adds a very threatening level to the whole story, that of a stark raving mad worshipper who is oddly proficient in organ playing. I don’t know why he’s playing the organ either – don’t panic, but it adds such a spooky atmosphere that you can’t help but enjoy the recital.

 

Despite the consistently excellent reviews of the episode, watching through it can be a somewhat slow experience. The plot itself is excellently hung together, with the excellently conceived Sutekh, brilliantly voiced by  Gabriel Woolf is a menacing and threatening creation and makes for a great foil to the Doctor’s character, who under his normal stride spends his time being suave and energetic is here reduced to the supplicant of an overwhelming power.

 

Sutekh is not the only menace to the Doctor and Sarah however, as the reanimated corpse Marcus Scarman. The mere idea of the walking dead is a terrible thought in it’s self, however the character also offers a chilling perspective into the power Sutekh hold over the whole situation and to how much the protagonists are near powerless in the drama.

 

I’m rambling, and that’s mainly because it’s difficult to put into words why this is such a good episode, it’s mainly just how the whole thing hangs together.that makes it so enjoyable, which sounds like a real cop out way of describing it. Which I guess it is….

19 Sep 2010

Uni Hiatus.

Right, quick post just to let you know I'm now at Uni and with Freshers and the rest of it it's unlikely I'll be making any updates for a while.

14 Sep 2010

Delta and the Bannermen

It’s his bees who are telling us to come! – Deltaaa63

I apologies for not making my usual update on Saturday but I neglected to check Presthaven Sands had internet before I left, so upon my return, what could be more fitting than the Doctor’s own holiday to a Welsh holiday camp?

 

I do sometimes wonder what the hell the Doctor Who production team were on when they were making some of their stories, and this one is no exception. It’s badly made, it’s badly written and badly acted. The Doctor and Mel are going on holiday to 50’s earth and decide to go by travel agent for some reason. The episode makes a good start of effortlessly capturing the awkward hell that are touring Brits in the intergalactic coach journey from hell. Mel is thrown into needless peril immediately whilst the Doctor must somewhat expectantly come to the rescue.

 

It would seem the bus came acropper of an overgrown kinder egg spray painted silver. As it is the bus is out of commission for a day, so meanwhile the congregation are stalled at the Shangrila Holiday camp where they can have a dance, have green babies and visit a beekeeper.

 

I think I’ll have to spend the majority of this review slagging off the green baby. As a plot device this bundle of joy sprang out of nowhere quite literally and continued to be a strange and ill conceived plotline from the word go. For the start the make-up is shockingly bad, with the only exception being the initial hatchling, from baby to maturity the whole effect is one of a seasick girl who’s fallen headfirst into the seaweed tray at a Chinese buffet.

 

The universal reaction to her is equally unconvincing. For example 50’s leather dude is so calm and at peace with the idea he quite happily goes along with the entire thing without so much as querying what we were all shouting at our screens: “WHAT THE FUCK?!”. The Beekeeper later in episode 3 is just as bad:

“Oh, here’s a green child, I’ll give her some sweets”.

I mean Jesus Christ, who actually checked this and went “yup, that’s just dandy”?

 

The only positive aspect in this episode Is McCoy’s evolving performance, rebuking the chief Bannerman gives glints of future performances such as Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield.

 

And this rather sparse edition is just about it. Finding talking points in this one is a bit like finding a fart in a Jacuzzi. Difficult and pointless.

5 Sep 2010

Season 18 Delay and Horror marathon night.

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It is with regret and some disappointment I have to report the season 18 marathon won’t be going ahead for a little while. My original plan was to introduce some new writers into the fold and have a grander scale of things. Unfortunately the writers I approached (and indeed approached me) never got back to me one way or another, and with University on the horizon for me, I’m going to need a little time to complete it on my own. If anyone reading this would be interested in helping out though, most of the episodes are still up for grabs.

 

 

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However I will be running a horror marathon on Halloween night. This one will follow a slightly different format as it will be one review per hour for the duration of the evening. This one however requires a bit of audience participation as I want requests for the scariest episodes of Doctor Who to tackle, so without further ado, get typing!

4 Sep 2010

The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit

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He is awake” – The Computer

Once again congratulation to Ray Tweedie who won the catpin contest, unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a copy of An Unearthly Child in time, so this was his back up request. Now then 2005 saw a decidedly earthbound collection of episodes, as then producer Russel T. Davies made the decision that alien world wouldn’t be believable. Given his later story lines he clearly flipped this belief into people will believe anything you put in front of them.

 

The TARDIS reluctantly materialises on an Ikea bought sanctuary base.and the Doctor and Rose soon come across some disturbing graffiti that even the TARDIS can’t translate. This is followed shortly after the first appearance of the very edible Ood. that would pop up a couple more times during Tennant’s tenure. For now though they make for some pre-titles aggression by implicating they are going to eat our two travellers. However once the titles role the Ood are downgraded to their typical servile state.I am NOT cleaning that up!

 

The look and feel of the sanctuary base is pretty well summarised by Rose as “tough”, as the crew of the base are put through everyday hardships such as huge planet quakes that damage part of the base. Yup, you guessed it, the part with the Doctor’s ship in it. This leads to a classic ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ moment as the Doctor pleads with acting Captain Flane that the TARDIS is all he has left of his people. Later on as the Doctor and Rose come to terms with being stuck in “hell”. Aside from being disgusted with the idea of a mortgage the scene adds to the awkward romantic undertones the two have with the idea of sharing a home. This is echoed later in the Doctor’s reluctance to tell Ida the message he wants her to give Rose before he plummets into the pit.

 

The main theme of the episode isn’t romance and despair however. Following in the footsteps of The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances, these episodes are supposed to be the ‘scare the little buggers to death’ episodes. With this in mind there are certainly some unsettling moments, many of them being the possession of resident virgin Toby and later the army of evil Ood. The things which hole more impact for me however is the little moments, such as the brief flash of the Beast on the control room scanner, and the computer issuing the phrase “he is awake”. The chase scenes through the ‘vents’ add moments of tension as the Ood are madly clambering after the protagonists whilst Zack has to aerate every section, the moments of panic best portrayed by Danny losing his temper with Flane.

 

Another key theme in the episode is that of isolation, the sanctuary base crew being isolated from earth and any support it may offer, the Doctor being isolated from his ship, Rose later being isolated from the Doctor, the Beast being isolated from the rest of the universe and the planet being an isolated example of a planet in orbit of a black hole. In the case of Rose’s isolation it’sHello handsome a perfect example of seeing her cope under pressure, and makes a huge contrast to the bumbling Rose who tried unsuccessfully to buff her way out of the Sycorax attack in The Christmas Invasion.

 

On a closing note the scenario with the Beast is really quite ingenious. The idea of the perfect trap: a planet in orbit of a black hole, whereby in the event you escape and accidentally break a couple of vases the planet falls into the singularity killing him. Of course it’s not that simple, as the Beast’s mind has already escaped in the form of Toby, who subsequently gives himself away with ranting and fire breathing and is subsequently sucked out into space with the help of Rose. Bet he didn’t see that one coming. 

 

Naturally the Doctor finds the blue box of loveliness and all is tickety boo again. The episode has a lot to give to the audience, including the question about the Ood which for now must remain undisclosed.

 

30 Aug 2010

Catpin contest answers.

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Congratulations to Ray Tweedie who’s won the catpin contest and has requested a review of ‘An Unearthly Child’. You needed 4 of the correct 5 answers to be entered:

1. Curly hair same as the sixth Doctor

2. Multicoloured collar represents the sixth Doctor’s patchwork coat

3. The number ‘6’ on the cats collar

4. The colour orange standing for carrot juice

5.the catpin itself, an item worn on the sixth Doctor’s lapel.

 

Well done to all who entered, there will be more!