Dr. Who and the golden arrow

Tonight I am between the two days of intense work. Longer hours, fewer days. It’s woirking so far. Tonight I also caught up on the last two episodes of Dr. Who on the BBC iPlayer.

Peter Capaldi is an excellent Doctor in my book. Curmudgeonly and capricious, rather like the original William Hartnell version. The story writers, however, need a damn good kick up the arse.

The Robin Hood episode was fun and obviously ties in with an overall theme (robots looking for Silicon Heaven) that is running through the series. But getting a spaceship into orbit by firing a gold arrow at it, which magically gives it a power boost just by getting stuck in the superstructure… that is incredibly silly. Especially since the alien robots had spent many years casting engine parts from gold. If all they had to do was throw it at the ship, why didn’t they?

I’d be embarrassed if I had published a story like that.

The second one (actually number 4 in this series) was called ‘Listen’. In this one we really saw William Hartnell in Peter Capaldi, where he insists that the Tardis ‘has to recharge’ so he can spend more time on the planet at the end of the universe. Hartnell used a similar trick in the very first Dalek episodes. He claimed the ‘fluid link’ was broken and he needed to get more mercury, so they just had to investigate the Dalek city. Nearly got them all killed and would have if it wasn’t for the fact that most of the Daleks were just painted on the walls.

Yep, this new Doctor is a lot like the first one. The best one. He just does not care

‘Listen’ could have, and should have, been a hell of a lot more horrific. The potential was there for something terrifying. Personally I would have taken it much, much further… but then again, it goes on TV at 7 pm so I suppose the mollifying ending was justified. They just get Outraged of Tunbridge Wells phoning in again if they do it properly.

The story made sense, which is something stories really have to do. The Roibin Hood one could have but the arrow bit was just too daft.

‘Listen’ also gave me ideas, dark and nasty ideas, the best kind. I used the idea of ‘The Hiding’ in ‘Jessica’s Trap’ but had not extended it to a species. It was just a fallen angel spell.

When you look in the closet or under your bed, you see nothing. But if a creature had developed to the point where it was perfectly hidden at all times then ‘nothing’ is just what you would expect to see.

Haloween is coming…

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22 thoughts on “Dr. Who and the golden arrow

  1. Stephen Moffat is a it of a master of creepy new Who. If you have not seen them you might want to check out ‘The Empty Child’ or ‘Silence in the Library’ from previous series.

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    • ‘The Empty Child’ was very good, but his scariest was ‘Blink’. At the end of that episode, I turned to my husband to see this face …

      Ratbag! He still uses it on me and it still shits me up, lol

      According to wiki, ‘Blink’ was originally a short story. Maybe that’s why it worked so well as an episode.

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    • The Empty Child was supremely creepy. Anything with the Weeping Angels, but especially ‘Blink’ was excellent.

      The new idea, things that are perfectly hidden, is one I can run with. I plan to steal it.

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  2. I go along with what you say. Capaldi has surprised me in the role as I expected to be disappointed but they really do need to get some new scriptwriters in. What’s all this ‘Promised Land’ crap all about?

    Good casting, but Moffat needs to step aside. He’s no Russell T. Davies. More like Windsor Davies. Come back Terry Nation…

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    • The ‘Promised Land’ thing is a theme throughout the series that will come back at the end. The woman collecting the dead into some kind of ‘heaven’ is going to be the baddie. Predictable? Well, a bit, because it’s like the theme of the ‘crack in spacetime’ they ran before.

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  3. “The Roibin Hood one could have but the arrow bit was just too daft.”

    Agreed, that was the heroically weak plot twist at the end to enable them to resolve the story, but I think that this applies to most episodes. So the last five or ten minutes are usually pointless.

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    • Given that the episode was written by Mark Gatiss, not Moffatt, I did wonder if the golden arrow crap was a very last-minute addition made due to a technical problem with the production. Perhaps the episode came in too short, or there was a technical problem with the original ending that couldn’t be resolved in time, or on budget.

      There have been a lot of rumours about Moffatt’s (lack of) show-running skills, so I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if the above were the case. (Conversely, I think Russell T. Davies was a much better show-runner, a good comedy writer, but a terrible genre writer. The man never really understood the “science” part of “science fiction”.)

      One thing this new Who lacks is a dedicated “Script Editor” role. The classic run had one, and it meant that, whatever else went wrong, at least the _story_ was good, even if the effects didn’t quite work. They need to go back to this model, I think. I wouldn’t even mind if Moffatt took on the Script Editor role and just handed the day-to-day production reins to someone else.

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  4. Dear Mr Leg-iron

    “The potential was there for something terrifying. Personally I would have taken it much, much further… but then again, it goes on TV at 7 pm so I suppose the mollifying ending was justified.”

    Oh no it wasn’t*.

    The only place to watch the Daleks was from behind the sofa. I am sure they still have sofas.

    DP

    * Haven’t actually seen this episode, nor indeed many others since Peter Davison.

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    • Actually I’ve always wanted to biuld a Dalek.

      The ones that creeped me out were the Autons. All the other monsters were fantasy but there were Autons in every clothes shop window.

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      • The basic Dalek design is actually a thing of evil genius. Take a biological organism (doesn’t much matter what sort, as long as the brain structure is understood) and hook it up to a life support system which keeps it supplied with oxygen, sugar and micronutrients (presumably there is either a hyper-efficient recycler in there or there’s a Dalek service station to replace packs periodically).

        Next, hook the brain up to the internal battle computer. This uses the biological nervous system to tie into the Dalek sensors, and also hooks into the brain’s emotional systems, to keep the Dalek on message. Other, similar Daleks cause it to hit the oxytocin “we’re friends” button. Allies are neutral, enemies switch on the fight/flight response and testosterone response, but only whilst the dalek is advancing. If it retreats without orders, the computer punishes the brain.

        You would also have a lot of very heavily encrypted, very hardened comms kit, but the key to it is being able to manipulate the biological organism’s emotions.

        The beauty of this is that pretty much anything with a brain can be turned into a Dalek, thus allowing the Dalek species to do a Borg-like number on any sentient species it happens across, and provide its self with easily-made cannon-fodder.

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        • The Daleks have done that in a few recent episodes. Cybermen are less flexible – they need a brain that can operate a human shaped body. With Daleks, it doesn’t matter what body shape you had before. They don’t topple over quite so easily as bipeds.

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  5. Capaldi is much better as The Doctor. The Tardis is better too. It is more like the early days now. I’m not too excited about the series long or more plots tho. The woman who is in heaven can be pretty creepy though. That might be interesting.

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