Saturday, June 23, 2007

Politits

I suppose there are a couple of things to be thankful for. Come mid-week, scumbag war criminal Tony Blair leaves office and hopefully fucks right for good. A few days after the final episode of Doctor Who airs and we’re shot of that honking great pile of nonsense. At least for another year.

I mean, come on!! It’s 2007 for fuck’s sake! You don’t resolve a cliffhanger with the kind of ‘in a single bound they were free...’ that even the makers of the wonderful old Republic serials would be embarrassed by. And as for....

Ah, you know what... screw it! Here are some fluffy kittens instead.

23 Comments:

At 11:54 pm, Blogger TonyB said...

I think Dr Who should be renamed 'Dr Deus Ex Machina'.

Still, it's fun to have something to rant about - in a short while the execrable 'Torchwood' will be back on our screens :)

(Rubs hands in anticipation).

 
At 12:04 am, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

A US colonel wrote recently that a private who loses a rifle faces worse consequences than a general who loses a war. How much more so does that apply to the political leaders who started the conflict in the first place?

As for dear old Doctor Who, did you notice that in the second half of tonight's episode they could 'teleport' anywhere on earth using Jack's magic wristband - which begs the question, why did they spend the first half of the programme driving round in a Vauxhall Corsa?

Deus Ex Machina is almost too polite a way of putting it. Russ is just pulling ideas out his ass.

 
At 12:08 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Still, Captain Twat Scarlet must have felt at home on Cloudbase at the end.

 
At 11:45 am, Blogger Dom Carver said...

Fluffy kittens are always good. Nice to know you have a soft and fluffy cuddly side ;-)

 
At 2:26 pm, Blogger Phillip Barron said...

You're all still watching it though.

Doctor Who, I mean, not the kittens.

 
At 2:45 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

PB,

Well... how can you not? I mean it's entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

It reminds me of a comedian I saw some years back who completely misjudged his audience and died an absolute death on stage.

Okay, it's difficult to formulate a story that appeals to a "family audience" but old Russell's episodes seem to be an abject lesson in how not to construct a narrative.

 
At 2:51 pm, Blogger Phillip Barron said...

I can't agree more with you. I'm still watching too, but out of a sense of loyalty to the show I loved when I was a kid. I don't think I'd watch it if I could be objective.

I hated the 'well that was easy' answer to last week's cliff-hanger and I really hate the way the characters tend to sit down for a chat in the middle of action sequences.

I really like Steven Moffat's episodes though. I'm hoping he'll get put in charge some day.

 
At 3:49 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

You see, I don’t have that sense of loyalty to the show.

I watched it from partway through Troughton’s tenure to Tom Baker’s. When I stopped watching it Louise Jameson was still the companion. Actually, maybe it was Lalla Ward.

I think the bloody dog put me off, and there were better things to do with my time. There were certainly much better things to watch.

There is something bloody annoying about the stories slamming on the brakes so they can have a yap. Even if the excuse is, well it’s a budgetary thing, at least have them doing something. Having become accustomed to the likes of The West Wing’s “walk and talks”, the scenes in Doctor Who look like someone in the control room has accidentally leant on the pause button.

I suppose people will say, well it’s science fiction so it doesn’t has to make sense – in which case the speaker is identifying themselves as a complete cunt – or that really for kids so it doesn’t have to be that clever. Although when I was a kid being a fucking retard wasn’t a badge of honour.

I thought Moffat’s Blink episode was perfect for the format and thought he would be better in charge. Although having watched last night’s second episode of Jekyll I’m not so sure. The tome seemed to be all over the shop.

Were they worried that it was going to be too dark? The really camp characters are beginning to jar and look like they’ve wandered in from a completely different production.

Toward the end of the scenes at the zoo, I half expected Jimmy Nesbitt to say, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

 
At 4:16 pm, Blogger Phillip Barron said...

I haven't seen Jekyll yet. I missed the first episode and was hoping to be able to pick it up.

The simple solution to the 'stop and talk' stuff in Doctor Who is to shift it to earlier in the show.

Jurassic Park, as an example, has all the explanation near the beginning so when the dinosaurs start attacking we already know all we need to know.

In this season's Lazarus episode, Mark Gatiss turns into a monster and goes on the rampage, turns back into a human so they can have a little chat, then goes on the rampage again. That's not a budgetary constraint, that's just badly structured.

Have the chat, then the action. Race for the finish, don't sit down halfway through.

 
At 5:10 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Well, I think from the moment it returned one of the major flaws in the show has been in its episode structure.

Because the old stories used to come in something like four, six or eight parts, and the staff/RTD are such big fans of the old show, it seems like they can’t wrap the stories into a 45-minute format. (Then again, Moffat and Cornell can so it’s probably Davies that hits the foul ball every time).

A number of these newer episodes play like they shot it as a six-parter and then let somebody with no idea of pace or structure hack it down to fit the shorter timeslot using Final Cut Chainsaw.

If you look at other dramas – mainly US dramas – they either keep dialogue clipped or at least have the camera moving so that they sustain momentum. With Who...

Didn’t see the Gatiss episode all the way through. I think on that one I turned it off before the end. When he changed into perhaps the crappiest CG monster ever and then they did a really bad rip-off of Alien 3 by turning the camera up onto the ceiling - although typically the corridor wasn’t long enough so it was more of a barrel roll - that was when I decided enough was enough.

 
At 8:54 pm, Blogger Phillip Barron said...

jaded & cynical: they spent the first half of the episode in the Corsa because it was mysteriously bullet-proof.

Apart from the back window.

The old style 4 to 6 episode stories mostly consisted of people running around in corridors. I always thought it was rather telling that the original Daleks story got cut from 7x25 minute episodes to one 90 minute film without losing any story.

Most American Sci-Fi shows manage to squeeze a lot of plot and action into 45 minutes, it can't be that difficult.

I will say, not all of Russell's episodes are awful, some of them are really good; but a fair share of the stinkers are written by him.

As I frequently say, I may not be able to produce anything better, but I can certainly be as bad for that much money.

 
At 9:16 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Yeah, that car did manage to stave off quite a few rounds before the window blew.

Actually, in previous posts last year I’ve frothed at the mouth over Davies’ inability to tell a coherent story in 45 minutes. The X-Files managed it, and they had to set up some increasingly weird shit each episode. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I’ve always had the feeling that RTD so wants to be Joss Whedon. The first series of Doctor Who was heavily influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, certainly. But it’s like he’s watched Whedon’s shows and hasn’t learnt anything. Rather he wastes too much time on dumb, sometimes illogical, character moments and silly little references (not to mention lifting whole chunks from other people's books, films and TV shows) instead of story and structure.

As I frequently say, I may not be able to produce anything better, but I can certainly be as bad for that much money.

Ah, that’s brilliant! You’re not alone.

 
At 10:47 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

Guys, you're being much too modest.

If you could structure a coherent plot, include some passable dialogue, and somehow resist the urge to add lots of crass double entendres, then you could do better than that.

Mind you, that's faint praise, because there's probably a million people in the country who could do the same.

 
At 11:06 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Just caught a trailer for Saturday's finale. After all the cheap pyros it end with a voice saying, "Can't you hear it?"

No. But I can smell it.

 
At 1:00 am, Blogger Phillip Barron said...

'Tolcafane' is an anagram of A fecal Ton', no one's going to tell me that's a coincidence.

I'm still going to watch it though.

 
At 1:13 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

I got "locate fan" - and kill them!

 
At 9:47 am, Blogger Oli said...

You could just... stop watching it.

 
At 7:32 pm, Blogger Robin Kelly said...

I see nothing wrong with fans, of whatever age, loving Doctor Who unconditionally. But I also see nothing wrong with writers watching it critically to try and learn something (or just to take the piss).

Witty dialogue, good performances and spectacle can take you quite far but for the next episode, now it's been mentioned, I will be looking especially at the structure and pacing and seeing what I can learn.

 
At 2:21 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Witty dialogue, good performances and spectacle can take you quite far

Are we still talking about Doctor Who here?

Because when it comes to those three factors the show tripped over it's own feet as soon as the starter's gun fired.

 
At 6:09 pm, Blogger Robin Kelly said...

I was talking specifically about RTD's last couple where there were at least some good gags and..erm... naming no names, some performances are better than others. In terms of spectacle the worst written episode in the series so far looked absolutely gorgeous.

 
At 6:42 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

I guess it depends on what else you're watching to compare the show to.

Compared to what I've been watching, I'm afraid Who comes really far down on the list.

But I tell you what, I've give the show a break and after next week I'll stop ragging on it for a while.

 
At 6:48 am, Blogger Robin Kelly said...

OK, compared to Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who probably isn't as good. Maybe.

But while I prefer filet mignon from a Michelin starred restaurant, sometimes a burger from McDonalds will do. In fact most people would prefer McDonalds. It's no-where near as good but it does a job.

 
At 12:54 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Robin,

One final point I want to make is it's interesting that you compare Doctor Who to Battlestar Galactica.

I suppose I've done the same on the odd occasion because it's the obvious one, but tend to see all these shows as drama first, genre second.

As drama, you-know-what can go shove itself you-know-where. As drama it simply fails.

 

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