Timelash II. Series 5. You know the drill. Thank goodness this tiresome, needless, self-imposed task is now almost over.
The Eleventh Hour
How interesting that, whereas RTD usually got public figures to play themselves in contexts that took the piss out of them (even if they didn’t realise it), Moffat drafts Patrick Moore and casts him as a prestigious and influential expert with a naughty twinkle in his eye, rather than as a sexist, right-wing old pratt.
I’ll post seperately on The Beast Below. I’ve looked at the heavily biased and ideological representation of Churchill in Victory of the Daleks here. The only other thing to note about that wretched story is the cynicism with which the Daleks have been redesigned in order to launch a new range of toys.
The Angels Two-Parter
I like the bit with the angel on the screen. Nice bit of appropriation from J-horror.
Otherwise… well, I’ll once again quote my friend vgrattidge-1, who captures it concisely:
Just what ‘Who’ needed – another straight-to-video style ‘Aliens’ rip-off that undermines a brilliant (one-off!) monster and makes them behave in illogical ways for plot expediency, plus the smug and annoying River Song (I just can’t bring myself to care what relationship she has with the Doctor) and well, not much else. It’s hollow stuff with the Doc making another tough-guy speech before firing a gun…Yawn
One interesting thing about this story is the matter of the Church Soldiers (related to the Church Police perhaps… will they be investigating dead Bishops on the landing and rat tart?). I remember Paul Cornell saying he was grateful to Moffat for his generosity in portraying relgious people in a positive light. So… Paul sees it as positive when monks are shown going around in fatigues, obeying orders within a military hierarchy and carrying machine guns? How telling.
Vampires of Venice was too boring to write about. Here is my (positive) look at Amy’s Choice.
The Hungry Earth / Whatever the Other One was Called
The Silurians become dull, generic reptile aliens… and, as I recall, such reptile aliens featured in one of the very few half-decent episodes of ST: Voyager, which actually tried to intelligently investigate some of the cultural ramifications of ‘common descent’, etc. It comes to something when Who can’t even do reptile aliens better than Voyager.
The less likeable side of Star Trek actually provides the inspiration for story. It resembles the worst excesses of Trek when it’s in liberal-moralising-allegory mode. There is the fatuous treatment of racial suspicion, the vapid semi-allusions to Israel/Palestine (lets get round the table and sort out a deal… all we need is a reasonable negotiating partner!), etc.
Worse, it wants to have its cake an eat it. On the one hand there is the morally myopic liberal fingerwagging at nasty old inherently-xenophobic humans… but this contradicts the half-assed (bordering on offensive) subtext about Guantanamo Bay / Abu Ghraib, where the mother who tortures a recalcitrant and inherently hostile Arab terrorist… sorry, I mean a Silurian… for information is shown to be acting from understandable necessity.…