I Said, "I Hope You Enjoy Your Meal." (Minuet in Hell)

(25 comments)


It’s April of 2001. Hear’Say are at number one with “Pure and Simple.” Emma Bunton unseats them a week later with “What Took You So Long,” which lasts two weeks before Destiny’s Child take it with “Survivor.” Lil Bow Wow, Janet Jackson, Gorrillaz, Robbie Williams, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Madonna, and O-Town also chart. In news, a Chinese fighter jet crashes into an American one, resulting in an international incident, which leads to George W. Bush’s first major foreign policy crisis. He manages not to completely whiff this one. Give him time. Also, Slobodon Miloševi? surrenders to the police, and the Netherlands become the first country to legalize same sex marriage. All of this happens on the same day, April 1, at which point the month gets tired and overworked and decides not do anything else.

Oh, yes, and Big Finish releases Minuet in Hell. Let’s start with the bit that if I ignore I’ll be rightly scolded in comments, and that if I pay attention to everyone will say that I’m being tiresome and imposing my personal issues and values on the story. The story is frightening in its internalizing of misogyny. Charley is kidnapped off the streets and turned into a “pretty little satin bottom,” where she’ll cater to the whims of the customers of a “gentleman’s club” and submit to their physical punishments whenever they want to administer them. This is treated as little more than another obstacle for a plucky adventurer to overcome. As is usually the case with things like this, the problem comes when the fantasy horror is far too close to a real one. Human trafficking and sexual slavery happen to real people. Treating a thinly sanitized forced prostitution as generic adventure filler is grotesque. And it sets a nasty tone for the whole piece.

That admitted, let’s move to the other thing that jumps out about this: its portrayal of the United States is ludicrous. I’m actually not quite as bothered by this as the consensus is. Yes, the accents are awful, but I avoided skewering Nicola Bryant or the entirety of The Gunfighters on those grounds, so starting now seems silly. The premise rather painfully strains credulity - I’m at a loss for why the subplot of forming a fifty-first state called Malebolgia is included, as it is at once ludicrous and pointless. But under the surface is an idea with some teeth, particularly coming four months after the inauguration of George W. Bush. This was surely on Gary Russell’s mind as he revised Alan Lear’s Audio-Visuals script during the 2000 campaign.

The Bush administration, barely four years in the ground, is a difficult thing to historicize, not least because it was, in fact, so disastrously bad. Its failures were in many ways worse than even the most pessimistic predictions in 2000. And thus in many ways the horror of what was has erased the sense of horror at Bush’s election in the first place. On top of that, the election itself was overshadowed by the fact that its results fell within the margin of error of voting itself. And, for around half my audience at least, and, for that matter, myself, there’s a difficulty in seeing outside the country. But from an external perspective, the very prospect of electing Bush was an existential nightmare.

It wasn’t merely that Bush was an idiot, although he was. Rather it was that he conformed to a particular American stereotype: someone who was proud of their ignorance. What was terrifying about Bush was that he didn’t know much about the world and, more to the point, didn’t care to. He was eager to play the cowboy: decisive, independent, and beholden to nobody. While the rest of the world stared, slack-jawed, and tried to figure out if America realized that westerns were works of fiction. Added to this was the bizarre system of power Bush represented. The very fact that he was a contender for the Presidency was clearly down purely to the fact that he was the eldest son of someone else who had been President. There was no other way that a failed businessman and drunken frat-boy fuckup was going to have ascended to those levels of power except for the basic fact that when you’re from a family as rich and powerful as the Bush family the rules don’t apply to you.

Fine. Aristocracy is hardly unfamiliar to the international audience. It’s not like anybody is labouring under the illusion that Prince Charles’s qualifications for anything whatsoever extend beyond what uterus he incubated in. But Prince Charles at least has the common decency to consistently act like a rich, entitled aristocrat. What was bizarre and terrifying about Bush was that he not only acted like a common “man of the people” sort, he seemed to genuinely believe that’s what he was. The idea of an upper class twit is easy enough to deal with, as is the idea of an ignorant yokel. But their combination and equation seemed, to anyone outside the US in 2000, a particularly unnerving and dangerous prospect. Unlike Ronald Reagan, who was at least blatantly an actor, Bush gave every impression of being sincere in his identity, despite hte identity being an incoherent impossibility. And so to most of the world the biggest story of the 2000 election was how this was even happening in the first place.

All of this feeds tangibly into Minuet in Hell. The main antagonist, Brigham Elisha Dashwood III, is at once a populist with mass appeal and tangibly a scion of old power. His citation of the historical British Hellfire Club as inspiration and his touting of how he’s descended from Sir Francis Dashwood positions him firmly in the George W. Bush tradition. And there’s a careful play with religion here. Dashwood’s style is firmly in the American Protestant tradition that Bush hailed from, save for the detail that he’s a Satanist. But that really I just a detail - as Penn Jillette is fond of pointing out, Satanism is just Christianity where you knowingly pick the losing side. That is, in the end, the point the audio makes, contrasting Dashwood’s foolish credulity and belief in his Satanism against Sir Francis Dashwood and the original Hellfire Club’s use of the “black mass” as little more than an ostentatious acting out in an attempt to be shocking and decadent

On paper these ideas are gorgeous, and they come close to justifying all of the over the top portrayals of America. If the point is that Dashwood is a ludicrous figure who reflects a fundamental failing of American society then the grotesque exaggeration of America makes sense. I mean, if we’re basically accusing George W. Bush of being the Reverend Harry Powell then we may as well go whole hog. The details are perhaps a bit sloppy, but there are moments of real cleverness in amidst it all - particularly the litany of deranged killers in the asylum and their “ripped from bad American tabloids” crimes.

So where does it go wrong? For the most part because as good an ideas as all of that is, it gets lost in a smorgasbord of other ideas, not all of them as good.

Like The Sword of Orion, Minuet in Hell is an adaptation of an old Audio-Visuals story. But there’s a difference. The Sword of Orion was nearly a line-by-line remake of its source material that matched the structure more or less perfectly. But the original Minuet in Hell had what could only be described as an idiosyncratic structure: its first episode was nearly forty-seven minutes long, followed by a seventeen minute episode that hurriedly squared away the plot. Unlike The Sword of Orion, which ran at about the two hours Big Finish shoots for, this meant that Minuet in Hell was too short in its original form. On top of that, its second episode was bizarrely mispaced, packing its revelations in far too tightly.

On top of that, the Audio-Visuals Minuet in Hell was set in the 18th century, around the original Hellfire Club in London. This is a “five minutes in the future” style story set in the United States, and with the Brigadier thrown in. Clearly this is going to take some reworking. And yet the level of reworking was in some ways strangely minimal. The original cliffhanger is maintained as the cliffhanger of episode two. This results in an absurd mushrooming of the story: three of the episodes are over half an hour long, and the first one is a brutal forty-four minutes, almost all of which is just introducing the profusion of plot lines and characters that the story trades on.

The problem is that for all the plot lines,  there’s not actually a plot as such. Structurally this works like a bad regeneration story: a crisis brews on one end, the Doctor wanders around trying to become the Doctor on the other end, and as soon as the Doctor gets his act together he dispatches the villain pretty effortlessly. So for three episodes and change - the length of most Big Finish stories - all the Doctor spends his time doing is conspicuously failing to encounter the plot or deal with it. He spends the whole story amnesiac and in an asylum, in fact. Charley gets the plot together faster, but that mostly means she gets to fail to find the Doctor at great length. And the Brigadier mostly serves to have the plot explained to him. The story this all resembles most? The Twin Dilemma.

All of this means that you have an audio with too many things going on. The original Minuet in Hell was mostly a psychological character piece about the Doctor having an identity crisis. And this seems to have been the angle they pitched to McGann. Fine - it does sound like a meaty acting role. But that sort of high concept “let’s do something challenging” ethos drags the production away from Big Finish’s actual strengths, which is storytelling. The Doctor locked up having an identity crisis is a neat concept, but it’s not one that has a story. There’s nothing for him to do while he’s fretting that he might not actually be the Doctor. In this regard doubling the length of the story is a staggeringly poor idea because there’s not actually story.

But more to the point, this doesn’t match up with the over the top camp satire of America. One is grotesque and overplayed, the other is supposed to be intimate and psychological. They just don’t go in the same story. Doctor Who can do both, and that’s its strength, but they aren’t going to work in the same story. In this regard, quite unlike The Sword of Orion, the decision to be based on an old Audio-Visuals script is where it goes wrong. Freed from the confines of being a remake this could have been a modern day The Happiness Patrol. But the need to retain fealty to a story structure that doesn’t serve it just kills it.

On top of that there’s the Brigadier, whose presence is flagrantly down to the old logic of “The Brigadier should meet every Doctor.” That’s the only reason he’s here: to tick off a box. He’s delightful, because Nicholas Courney is, and he gets all the best bits, but he’s only there because they didn’t know if they’d get McGann again, so they wanted to give him a Brigadier story. It’s easy to criticize this logic, but we’ve been doing it since at least Dimensions in Time, and really since the Saward era. It’s still around, it’s still occasionally influential, and this time it adds more straw to an already paraplegic camel.

So what we have here is an odd artifact. The things that were advantages for Big Finish in the first three audios turn to disadvantages. Part of that is just bad luck. It’s certainly possible that someone could have been given the brief “This old Audio-Visuals, a commentary on America’s relationship with aristocracy, and the Brigadier” and made something that worked. Instead we got Gary Russell, who was never going to manage that. But it still highlights the fundamental problem of overtly traditionalist Doctor Who. “Just like you remember, only in a way you’ve never seen before” is still beholden to a long memory of the series. What Minuet in Hell direly needed was someone to take the actually quite interesting new ideas that they had and rescue them from the burden of the old ones.

Instead we got a flaccid mess of ideas that didn’t know what to do with each other: a troubling confirmation that the old demons of Doctor Who that have haunted it since the 1980s still apply. And this is the paradox of the early aughts for Doctor Who. The framework was snapping into place faster and faster, but no matter how much progress was made the problems of Doctor Who seemed progressively more and more intractable, finding ways to reassert themselves again and again. So much so that the point where the show’s revival was announced and the point where it looked the most utterly hopeless would end up coinciding almost exactly. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Comments

Ross 4 years, 4 months ago

I remember when listening to this that it really bugged me that they seriously expected me to believe that the United States of America, in the middle of our ongoing debate on whether or not our deist founders actually, in fact, wanted this country to be legally required to enforce a very specific kind of christian religious fundamentalism which, for the most part, did not yet exist at the time, would add a state called "Malebolge" without anyone even suspecting that it might have something a bit satanic about it. Y'know, rather than outright civil war breaking out when half the country decided that surely this was End Times (Heck, I bet that even if you called the 51st state "Jesusland", they'd still freak out because the digital root of 51 is 6-as-in-666).

It also bugged me that so early on in the line, they were doing an episode where The Doctor spends most of the story being Not Himself. If I'd only known...

One other thing. One of the last Who things Nicholas Courtney did was an in-character interview for a DVD extra, and he actually mentions this story as the most recent time he'd met the Doctor. That seemed really weird.

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Abigail Brady 4 years, 4 months ago

Well, yes, but is this any more absurd than the absence of a world outside Venice in "The Stones of Blood"? If it were otherwise any good, we'd forgive it.

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jane 4 years, 4 months ago

According to the Big Finish Companion, Volume 1, this one turned out to be a nightmare in production. Alan Lear (whose ME flared up) was given first crack at adapting his own Audio Visual, and it ended up being so long Russell had to come in and chop it down from its new impossible length to something that was merely unwieldy. The better example for what can happen to a story when this happens is Ghost Light, but unfortunately Minuet doesn't have such brilliance to prop it up. They finally got the script about two days before they were scheduled to record it, so no one had much time to get ready -- actors, techies, the director. And if I'm not mistaken, they got moved to a different studio, which was cramped and overheated. So, yeah, awful!

Anyways, this for me is the low point of the 8th Doctor audios. I think Phil lets the terrible accents off the hook -- this is an audio production, we've got nothing to go on except voice, so to have such awful voices for such extended periods of time, well, it's torture. Same goes for the demon voices; I just found the whole technical end of the production excruciating (which also applies to Time of the Daleks.)

The Brigadier's "reports home" were funny and clever, but sucked all tension from the story -- in the end, it's lazy exposition. I think there are so many characters that it's hard to get a handle on what's happening and who's speaking -- it doesn't help that they're all broad stereotypes, for the most part, rather than fully fleshed-out characterizations. And that's the other problem with relying on their Audio/Visual adaptations: they're not really character-specific. We get generic Doctor/generic Companion, rather than new stories designed around particular characters.

I'm all for a rollicking critique of America, but this barely scratches the surface -- it's all tropes, no substance. And I agree with Phil, throwing in the Doctor's identity crisis doesn't make for good alchemy -- in fact, I doubt that this is a good point in the audio line for this exploration, since they're still trying to establish who McGann's Doctor in the first place (thankfully we eventually get Terror Firma to do a proper job for this sort of story.)

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elvwood 4 years, 4 months ago

The Malebolgia thing bothered me too - I recognised it, and I'm not even Christian! Mind you, I have actually read (a translation of) Dante's Divine Comedy, so I had a bit of a head start.

The American accents and caricatures did bug me, but I'm saving that discussion for next time. The Doctor in the asylum didn't. Partly that's Paul McGann's performance, a reason which has stayed with me on subsequent listenings; partly it's that the plot allows a way of sorta-kinda bringing the AV stories into continuity, by thinking of them as the distorted memories of Gideon Crane (conveniently played by Nicholas Briggs). That has done less to help me enjoy the story lately, but I still think of it as a nice little touch. And yeah, when I first heard it I did appreciate being able to tick off the Brig meeting McGann's Doctor (even if Nicholas Courtney was wasted). [blush]

The thing that really, really got to me was the whole sex slave plotline, and the way it was handled. This is as fully deserving of a rant as previous personal issues - after all, this is one that pushed my buttons, too - but I can also understand not wanting to go through all that again. So I'll just say that this has kept Minuet in Hell near the bottom of the heap of Big Finish audios for me.

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Ross 4 years, 4 months ago

So, I know hardly anything about the Audio-Visuals -- I only first heard of them at all a year or two ago. But now that they've come up a few times, I'm curious. I've always felt like there was some Secret History that I hadn't been privy to during the Wilderness Years -- it seemed like everyone was working off the same bible (or at least, the same pile of scribbled-on cocktail napkins), and knew things before any licensed material came out. The Cartmel Masterplan, at least, I knew where it came from sort-of. But there were frequently things where it seemed to me like they should have been surprising, but everyone "in the know" reacted less like "I can't believe they did X" and more like "Oh, we finally got to the part where we were scheduled to have X happen." (Stuff about Gallifrey seemed to work that way. All that mess about the pythias and the looms and the humanoid TARDISes and the War, it seemed like even when I went back to their first appearances in licensed books, there was always the assumption there that the broad strokes of those facts were already well-established) Did that come from the Audio-Visuals?

Are these things worth tracking down? I went on a frenzy some time ago and acquired most of the BBV stuff (ANd even managed to watch some of it. Man, back in the 90s when my mom allowed me to buy just three of the Off-Brand Doctor Who Videos, I had no idea how lucky I'd gotten to have selected Shakedown, Downtime and Airzone. I assumed those to be representative of the line. This turned out to be a mistake)

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Adam Riggio 4 years, 4 months ago

I don't remember much about Minuet In Hell, probably because I have never listened to it. I liken the story to those times when a friend eats something that makes them nearly gag in front of you, describe how horrible it tastes and feels in their mouth, and that I'll never taste anything so bad in so many different ways. Then they ask you to try some. I always say no.

Your point about the checklisting nature of fandom, which was made most brilliantly and was most necessary to make in the Five Doctors essay, still resonates with me, as I think over the evolution of my own fandom, and my attitudes to life in general. Because I used to think about each Doctor as having to have had a certain number of things done in order to be a proper Doctor Who: I was weirded out when Eccleston never encountered Cybermen, having presumed without thinking about it that it was only right that he should do so. It's a sign of immaturity: focussing on the superficial — checklists of images and encounters and empty repetitions — as the most important.

But the practical effects of carrying on an artistic (or any) enterprise that way is to make the enterprise moribund: going through the motions that have come before. The goal of art (and everything, really) is the creation of novelty, divergences, directions that are faithful to the heritage of the past, but which create new material, making the heritage more complex.

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theonlyspiral 4 years, 4 months ago

I wanted to love this story. I really did. But I can't.

I can forgive the bad accents. Speaking as someone who's education and professional life is spent in theater and dealing with actors, accent is a difficult thing. Not everyone is a Jamie Bamber or Hugh Laurie who can maintain and keep an accent.

I can forgive the misuse of the Brigadier. Courtney is one of my favorite parts of Who and I can let it go here just because he does the best he can.

I can let go of the fact that the Doctor's role is all about not making any progress, and every time he looks to be getting part of himself back it slides. McGann grabs what he can out of the script and likewise Fisher.

I can't deal with the tone of it though. There is the condemnation of the people of America, (especially the religious and mentally ill) and the treatment of women. This thing was painful to listen to. I've said this before but it took 2 weeks for me to get through. Every other audio I've listened to took me one sitting. Period. Dark Eyes included.

It's mean spirited. It takes cracks at people's faiths in a way I'm not comfortable with. It glosses over sex-slavery in a way I'm not comfortable with. And at the end of the day it was all human nastiness with an alien meddling a bit. It's like the end of Burn After Reading:

CIA Supervisor:Jesus Fucking Christ. What did we learn, Palmer?
Palmer Smith: I don't know sir.
CIA Supervisor: I don't fucking know either. I guess we learned not to do it again. I'm fucked if I know what we did.
Palmer Smith: Yes sir, it's hard to say.

Nothing is learned. Nothing is really made better. The non-plot of this new state is averted I guess? This thing is a slog. It rates as my least favorite piece of Who that I've ever consumed. The Twin Dilemma, Attack of the Cybermen, Fear Her...nothing was this bad. It's a shame, because it has a lot of interesting ideas it could do something interesting with...but it falls so short.

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Aaron 4 years, 4 months ago

I know how you feel about that, it often feels like everyone already knew about these ideas before they happened in the books, and were never explored all that well in the books because they didn't want to waste time on them since everyone already knew about them. The whole Time's Champion thing, for instance: we never really had a book that set up this idea, but Cornell et al just seem to run with it like it's already a trope before it's even set up. The Doctor being manipulatory too, seemed like it was overplayed- everyone kept talking about how many times the Doctor planned everything from the start, but it never felt like we got more than a handful of "typical" plans for the Doctor.

I think this is a symptom of the shared world- no one wants to explore the typical case of something in their book, but rather they want to show a unique situation that's different from the others. So no one actually wants to do the book where they explain the Pythia, or explain the idea of Time's Champion, or show a typical adventure masterminded by the Doctor. Instead, everyone wants to show the cool interesting thing that they can do with the idea. Which means that we never are shown that idea, minus the stuff around it.

I think having rec.arts.who around so everyone can sit around and talk about all these theories doesn't really help either. Rather than showing us these things through the books, I think sometimes there's a lot of assumed knowledge coming out of this community.

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Commander Maxil 4 years, 4 months ago

This was actually the first Eight Doctor Audio I eve bought, (almost entirely on the strength of ‘The Eighth Doctor meets the Brigadier idea). Luckily I stuck with the line as this is probably the weakest of all the McGann audios Big finish has done. The accents are appalling and the hints at rape are in extremely poor taste (and luckily dropped fairly early on and not referred to again). The first half is terrible but for me, the second half picks up quite well and I find that I quite enjoy this, on the whole. The monsters are okay and it ends fairly well. Certainly I was expecting more Brig/8th Doctor action but Big Finish have produced worse stuff than this. Luckily, despite this weak finish to the first series, Big Finish were able to get McGann back. Can’t wait for Wednesday, several of my favourite ever Doctor Who stories of all time are coming up over the next couple of weeks or so!

As to the Audio Visuals stuff, I would say it probably isn’t worth tracking down. I bought the complete set off a guy on ebay and haven’t listened to more than about 5 minutes of any of them. Now that we are used to a high standard of production and the real actors playing the Doctor on audio, I found them impossible to listen to. They were undoubtedly important at the time as a launch-pad for many of the people involved in the programme today in one form or another, but when there is so much Who-related audio out there, I don’t think it is really worth bothering with them except perhaps as a historical exercise (I should add I have listened to most of the BBV stuff recently and enjoyed it, but the AV stuff is a significant step down in quality even from them and light-years away from what Big Finish give us nowadays).

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The Lord of Ábrocen Landmearca 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey Dr. Sandifer, would you be willing to give a list of your favourite Bug Finish stories, free of the constraints of exegesis? I mean, you can add that if you want, I'm just curious as to your recommendations as to the 'cream of the crop' was, as it were.

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John Seavey 4 years, 4 months ago

Another thing that's almost impossible to overcome by itself is the sheer length of time that they play out the "Is McGann the Doctor or isn't he?" subplot, which ends (as everyone always knew it would) with, "Oh, yes, he is." It's intended to be a tease to those segments of the audience that was always hoping they'd decanonize the TV movie somehow, and it falls utterly flat.

I'd have forgiven it if the scene where the Doctor and the journalist with his memories have their Doctor Who trivia contest had ended with the Doctor saying, "Which of us has two hearts? Because I think I might win that round..."

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jane 4 years, 4 months ago

I'd especially like it if he came to DePaul in May to elaborate. (It's not that far, Phil, really!)

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Steven Clubb 4 years, 4 months ago

"As to the Audio Visuals stuff, I would say it probably isn’t worth tracking down."

Pretty much.

I listened to them a few years back and have never felt the urge to revisit them. It's very obviously a bunch of people learning their craft. It's high-end fan-produced stuff, but you're better off with the low-end professional stuff from BBV where there's usually a few Doctor Who actors propping the production up.

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Alan 4 years, 4 months ago

But from an external perspective, the very prospect of electing Bush was an existential nightmare.

No kidding. I told people as early as 1998 that I saw in George W. Bush the doom of our nation, and it was still worse than I ever imagined. In my worst nightmares, I didn't anticipate that within three years of his taking office, we would be having serious discussions about whether it was acceptable to torture people for information.

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J Mairs 4 years, 4 months ago

The threat of rape aside (and there's a sentence I don't have to use that often) I thought this was okay. I mean, there's certainly worse out there.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying its good - but it's a shame that most of the criticism in fandom is directed at the premise of "America adds Hell as a state" and about how unrealistic this was.

I thought this was mostly having fun with the inherent absurdity of Twenty Minutes Into the Future stories which become obsolete almost the moment they're aired

However, mentioning Bush this early in the range is a good connection of DW to concurrent history: I'd never thought of the whole "War on Terror" tension that comes out of the Eighth Doctor series to stretch this far back.

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Ununnilium 4 years, 4 months ago

I was just barely too young to vote in the 2000 election, but from the way I remember it, it was surrounded by a thick pallor of "Who cares? All politicians are the same."

I watch the "Jack Johnson and John Jackson" bits from that one Futurama episode and I just... cringe.

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BerserkRL 4 years, 4 months ago

Too bad this didn't feature Francis Dashwood Tandy.

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BerserkRL 4 years, 4 months ago

it was surrounded by a thick pallor of "Who cares? All politicians are the same."

Which, well, turned out to be true. Most of Obama's policies, for example, are virtually indistinguishable from Bush's, apart from slicker packaging.

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Adam Riggio 4 years, 4 months ago

"Structurally this works like a bad regeneration story: a crisis brews on one end, the Doctor wanders around trying to become the Doctor on the other end, and as soon as the Doctor gets his act together he dispatches the villain pretty effortlessly."

So I guess this means you're probably not that big a fan of The Christmas Invasion either? Neither am I. It makes every character who isn't the Doctor look like a whiny impotent imbecile. I'm not sure that I understand what Russell T Davies was trying to do with it. Show how much Doctor Who needed the Doctor? Turn the original question of regeneration — Is this really the same person? — into a source of tension in the plot? If so, it didn't quite work.

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Ross 4 years, 4 months ago

I suspect what RTD was going for was "Something light and fluffy for Christmas that gives David a chance to try to feel out the character without relying too much on him since he hasn't had time to get his portrayal down yet."

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Ununnilium 4 years, 4 months ago

It worked pretty well for me as an exploration of the Doctor's role in the story. I didn't really see impotence or imbecility among the secondary characters. (Maybe a touch of whining.)

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J Mairs 4 years, 4 months ago

Yeah - and given that there is an entire generation of views who had to be introduced to the idea that the man they had been following, who called himself "The Doctor" could actually be played by an entirely different actor.

So yes, I'd say it achieved it's aim, as well as being pretty much the last hurrah of the "This show has two leads" attitude through Series 1.

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neroden@gmail 3 years, 6 months ago

The actual problem with the accents is that no two of the actors are doing the *same* US accent, making it impossible to place it anywhere regionally.

Apparently Gary Russell didn't realize that we have dozens of regional accents in the US.

The Gunfighters does better by at least having everyone sound *similar*.

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neroden@gmail 3 years, 6 months ago

All true -- Obama has been cloning Bush policies -- but Gore turned out to be the exception, ironically, with his leadership on global warming.

I knew this at the time, which is why I was so frustrated in 2000. Most of the Democrats *were* like Republicans. Gore was *different*. It was impossible to explain this to people.

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Daibhid C 3 years, 3 months ago

Regarding the misogyny, I recently stumbled across a transcript of the Audio Visuals version online. And, ye gods, it's worse! The counterpart of Becky the Demon Slayer is Nelly, who comes straight from the box marked "stereotyped 17th-century tavern wench, lawks, good sir" and is positively enthusiastic about being kidnapped into sexual slavery. Yeesh.

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