Viewing posts tagged rtd

10

"We waited here in the dark space," booms the Dalek Emperor, "damaged but rebuilding. Centuries passed, and we quietly infiltrated the systems of Earth, harvesting the waste of humanity. The prisoners, the refugees, the dispossessed. They all came to us. The bodies were filtered, pulped, sifted. The seed of the human race is perverted. Only one cell in a billion was fit to be nurtured."

So, In Russell's rewrite of 'Revelation of the Daleks' (which would be a better title for this story than it was for Saward's script), the Daleks are no longer harvesting the elite.  Brought to the brink of extinction, they have been forced to resurrect themselves from the 'dregs'... which seems to be synonymous with the contestants who lose game shows.  The Daleks take the people who get knocked out before the finale.  Because the Daleks have become TV producers.  They've become the people who run Big Brother and Trinny & Susannah and The Weakest Link.  They've become the bosses of reality TV.  They've become Simon Cowell.  (Which is kind of an insult to the Daleks, if you ask me.)

Big Brother, in our ...

20

For March Against the Mainstream Media Day


The Editor (apparently he edits the whole of human society) has uncovered Suki's true identity.  Instead of being just another inoffensive wannabe employee, she's actually...

"Eva Saint Julienne, last surviving member of the Freedom Fifteen. Hmm, self declared anarchist, is that right?"  His tone is patronising.  Non-mainstream political principles are a quaint and amusing affectation.

"The Freedom Foundation has been monitoring Satellite Five's transmissions," says Suki, pulling a gun on the smug bastard, "We have absolute proof that the facts are being manipulated. You are lying to the people."

"Ooo, I love it," he giggles, still in the same tone of amusement, as though he's listening to hilariously naff dialogue in a period drama, "Say it again."

"This whole system is corrupt. Who do you represent?"

The Editor is self-aware enough to know that, for all his power, he's a slave himself.

"I answer to the Editor in Chief.... If you don't mind, I'm going to have to refer this upwards."

Suki looks up, to see what the Editor is referring to.

"What is that?" she asks.

"Your boss. This has always been ...

37

A flying ship has plunged into a tall public building, causing panic.

Outside 10 Downing St., the media have been sat around for hours with their cameras trained on the closed black door, waiting for someone official to come out and hand them their version of events... which will, of course, be repeated verbatim as The Story. 

Luckily for these relentless seekers after truth, a politician comes out to give them a press conference.

"Our inspectors have searched the skies," he tells the journalists, "and they have found massive weapons of destruction, capable of being deployed in 45 seconds.  We face extinction unless we strike first."  He goes on to beg the UN for "an emergency resolution" which will give them permission to launch this pre-emptive strike.  His words are relayed on the TV news without comment... except by the Doctor and the other people watching.

As satire, this isn't subtle.  It's like a sledgehammer to crack a nut... because that's what the WMD story always was: an easily cracked nut.  But in a world in which barely anyone in the global media is capable of cracking nuts even with a ...

40

Rose is exploring the space station, waiting for the end of the world.  Suddenly she encounters a young woman with blue skin, wearing overalls and hard at work.

Rose asks if she's allowed to be where she is.  Her automatic response to officialdom of any kind is to question her own status.  For all her confidence, she's a girl who lives on an estate and worked in a shop.

The young woman in overalls looks awkward.

"You have to give us permission to talk," she says, nervously aware of the irony.

Rose is dumbfounded.  She realises that this woman looks upon her - Rose - as a high status person, someone before whom she must be humble.

"Er..." she says, embarassed, "you... have... permission?"  She inflects it as a question.  'Is that the right form of words that I'm using?'  There is embarassment in her voice, and a faint look of nausea on her face.  It makes me love her.

"Thank you," says the woman, who's name turns out to be Raffalo, "And, no, you're not in the way. Guests are allowed anywhere."

Rafallo turns out to be a ...

The Third Way

There is, in some quarters, an assumption about alternatives.  There is fannish continuity obsession on the one hand and, on the other hand, there is 'the real story' which tends to be to do with families and relationships.  To an extent, this is a straw man... but it sometimes exists, implicitly, even where it is abjured.  And it's a false dichotomy.

There is a Third Way: the investigation of the relationship between the political implications of monster wars and the lives of ordinary people.

This is a Third Way that the classic series hardly ever engaged with.  In its own more ass-covery, fig-leafy way, this is something that the new series hardly ever engages with either.

Whereas the classic series concentrated on the monstrous, and then later upon the fan view of the monstrous, the new series tends to concentrate upon interpersonal relationships with monstrosity as a pretty backdrop.

The difference is that the classic series' logic was pragmatic (i.e. we are making a show about monsters) whereas the new series' logic is openly ideological (i.e. human family and romantic relationships are THE REAL STORY).  If you doubt that this is ideological ...

Reithian Values Meet 'The 60s'...

The old show was frequently highly reactionary but it also did better than most shows when it came to challenging establishment, bourgeois ideology and/or imperialist assumptions.

This division is the 'ethos'. Frequently reactionary but with a proportionately greater tendency to buck this trend.

The hero of the show is a white male with a professional title, a line in Edwardian clothing (which retains a formality despite veering between scruffy, dandified, bohemian, etc.) and who travels around in a symbol of the British state. The odd Jacobite aside, his companions are usually thoroughly respectable types.

So, even when he takes a moral line against exploitation, it can seem like the civilized Englishman taking it upon himself to explain ethics to the barbarians.

However, while it may be possible to characterise this as an "overall or originating ethos" (as a poster at Gallibase put it) it's one that has also been challenged from within.

At the start of the classic series, the Doctor is adamant that he cannot and must not intervene in history... including the religious practices of the Aztecs, a people destroyed by imperialism.

Then again, in that very same story, we also get a dose of condescension ...

Asylum, UK

A rejigg of something I wrote for the old site on the subject of 'Turn Left', the best episode of series 4.


The alternate world that Davies conjures up in ‘Turn Left’ is not so far removed from our own. We might not (yet) see British soldiers patrolling our streets and pointing automatic weapons at unarmed women (though the recent behaviour of the police towards student protestors has been pretty savage)... but that sight would not be so unfamiliar to the people of Baghdad. Or Belfast, for that matter.

The nightmarish, decaying, dystopian Britain in this episode reflects aspects of our current social predicament… indeed, as Simon Kinnear pointed out in DWM, the episode seems prescient of the years ahead of it, of (to put it my way) recession/cuts torn Britain.

While it doesn’t get specific, or touch economics much, ‘Turn Left’ seems like the closest thing to a direct political attack on crisis-wracked British society that any mainstream TV show could possibly get away with. Let’s just recap: in an episode of that highly commercial kid’s romp known as Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies suggested that, in a time of crisis, the British state might ...

Veto Axons

This is a round-up of my Timelash II stuff on Series 3... well, those bits of it that I haven't already posted elsewhere.  The 'Smith and Jones' bit is a tweaked version of something from the old site.  There's nothing about Axons in here, I just found myself amused by the anagram.


The Runaway Bride

The Doctor cold-bloodedly kills the Racnoss children... and the episode tries to have its cake and eat it by both giving the Doctor 'no choice' and implying that he 'went too far'. The probably unintentional implication is that neocon logic is unpalatable but inescapable, that we need people who will ruthlessly kill on a massive scale in order to protect us from the forces of unreasoning hostility.

We're a long way from "massive weapons of destruction" being a lie from a politician with an evil, greedy alien baby inside him. 



Smith and Jones

Russell reuses many of the ideas and techniques that made ‘Rose’ work as an introductory tale. There is a frenetic opening scene which introduces Martha, her family situation and her workplace. As in ‘Rose’, the new companion meets the Doctor at work and, as in ‘Rose ...

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