Viewing posts tagged series 4

Little People

The inevitable round-up of my Timelash II stuff on Series 4 and the 'specials'.  It's a bumpy ride.

Voyage of the Damned

In this story, fat people or little people are there to sacrifice themselves when the plot needs them to, having shown some fatuous mechanical bravery and/or expressed some mawkish emotion-by-numbers. Sexy, pretty people are inherently of more value, whatever their intellectual vapidity and hollowness as characters, as evidenced by the Doctor's laughably protracted and exaggerated heartbreak over the death of anonymous, mechanised dummy Astrid (seriously, I was waiting for her to be revealed as an Auton). The episode itself mourns her too, with its frankly revolting music and hilarious over-emphasis on her passing (one last kiss with the radiant ghost, a shooting star, etc...)

We're supposed to gasp with awe at the way RTD Subverts Expectations by letting Unpleasant Posh Bloke survive while 'good' people die (oooh, have a little pat on the head you good little people - you have done your master's bidding and died on cue like the plot fodder you always were)... but so what? Bad people don't always get their comeuppance? Wow, thanks for that.

And, in ...

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 ...

The Commodity Strikes Back

Thoughts on 'Planet of the Ood'

A very beautiful episode to look at. A stark pallet of whites and blues and greys, the exterior scenes harshly bathed in cold light... counterpointed by the dark warehouses and the red haze of the Ood rage.

Series 4 continues its apparent intent of readdressing moral lapses on the part of the Doctor/show. The inexcusable laxity of the treatment of slavery in 'The Satan Pit' (and the invisibility of the issue in the preceding episode) gets repudiated here. Big time.

Some would rather have had a story about a race that actually did crave servitude... but J. K. Rowling has already given the nation that sort of thing with her innately and happily subservient House Elves. And I don't believe a sentient life form could evolve that wanted to be a commodity.  Indeed, to even suggest such a thing may be to fundamentally misunderstand what consciousness is.

This may be a straightforward polemical tale, but there's nothing wrong with that. This is about ruthless, corporate capitalism exploiting people that it sees as nothing but a resource to be used. Sentient beings cut and sliced and spliced into shape as customisable ...

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