Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Dr Wh(ed)o(n) strikes again: Dr Who Christmas special

Faster, faster. More, more! Raise voices to fever pitch then take it even higher.

Chuck in Restaurant At The End Of The Universe; Kylie as Ripley in Aliens slugging it out in a robotic exoskeleton and saying everything but "Get away from her, you bitch!"; Kylie as Ripley in Aliens Three, giving it large with the sacrifice as she plunges Christlike to a fiery doom (because Russell T Davies likes his "homages"); and an entire cast in relentless boggle-eyed hysteria. Just what we want after Xmas day with the relatives.

With one eye on the computer game, let's stick our heroes on a rickety bridge playing junkyard cricket with murderous cyborg angels and their lethal Odd-Job/Goldfinger stylee halo-blades.

Jeopardy, survival, fury, sentiment. These broadest of brushstrokes are apparently the only ones available to writer and series helmsman Davies, and he can no more vary these than he can the volume of the action which is all VERY LOUD.

The Dr Who Christmas special was high in production values but signified very little as we are getting used to to by now. Lord knows we were all fed up with the plodding Brit (non) drama of old and someone was bound to borrow the surface characteristics of the far more exciting American shows sooner or later, especially after Whedon lit the shining path for all us believers. But, sadly, such emulation proved skin deep. How can you care about characters with only one unvarying dimensionless objective: survival. And for over an hour. Yeech!

I see from the Torchwood trailer they have recruited James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) to add some much-needed class to this sorry dog of a series. Davies has played in Joss Whedon's toybox for long enough, he may as well be up front about it. If we didn't get the greatness by association message via Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy) in Dr Who, he'll hammer it into us now til it bleeds.

Thanks to Louise for kicking off.

More pix of James Marsters here .


Louisefeminista said...

I dunno, it just looked like they spent the cash on Kylie's salary as opposed to some stunning effects and a decent script.

But I just kept seeing The Dr in the role of Gene Hackman in the Poseidon, leading a gang of rag-tag survivors though the Dr lives but Kylie dies (oh, the inhumanity..of bumping off one of the main stars). You knew she was doomed, I say doomed, when she said she wanted to travel with the Dr in his Tardis.

But I wish Russell. T would give it a rest and start using his own creative juices and imagination.

Madam Miaow said...

Yes, derivative or what?

I don't think there's been one episode where we haven't ended up playing "spot the nick". Remember the blatant "V For Vendetta" back in the Christopher Ecclestone days.

Shame coz they really do have all the ingredients for a great show.

I knew Kylie was doomed as soon as I saw it was Kylie coz she was hardly gonna give up pop stardom to go back to her telly roots. Astrid. Stardust. Yes, Russell.

The best TV series of recent years remains The League Of Gentlemen.

Louisefeminista said...

"The best TV series of recent years remains The League Of Gentlemen".

Yeah, I agree!

Phil BC said...

Obviously you both remain unacquainted with The Wire ...

Madam Miaow said...

Indeed, Phil. Wossat, cult cop show? Which channel? Any repeats?

D.B. said...

Yeah, I agree. I think the best that could be said of the whole thing is that it was (partially) enjoyable trash, but they did go way OTT, even moreso than usual, with no real depth at all.

For me the most annoying thing was how horribly sentimental it was. It made the finale of the last series look quite modest in the bucket-of-mush stakes. It also strikes me that this is one incarnation of the Time Lord who seems to get more Christ-like with every passing act of heroism, and so do his companians.

And he seems to be snogging more of them than his predecesors would have done as well...

Re. Buffy/Spike, I think Spike is possibly my greatest TV villain ever (with the exception perhaps of Cigarette Smoking Man from The X Files) but Davies had an ideal opportunity to emulate but surpass Spike by introducing The Master last series. And for a while it showed potential, but for me they just didn't pull it off.

Madam Miaow said...

I thought it was hilariously wrong when they tried to turn the runty sidekick in Torchwood into a Spike and only succeeded in making him look even more of a todger-tugger than he is already.

It requires a light touch and a deft hand at reversing character types and Russell is no great shakes.

(Sorry for all the wanker metaphors.)

Madam Miaow said...

"... they just didn't pull it off."

Indeed they didn't. (Fnaarff!)

Louisefeminista said...

I admit C4 made, around 10 yrs ago and by the same team who brought us This Life, the sheer brilliant Ultraviolet. It was fighting vampires, secret organisation, main protagonist getting sucked in the never world of fighting pesky vampires..yada yada.. and had a good script.

It may have starred Jack Davenport but it was a real under-rated gem and they only did one series.

I didn't miss an episode...the special effects weren't great but the script and acting made up for it.

Madam Miaow said...

Sorry, what I should have made clear was that The League of Gentlemen was the best British TV series of recent years. But I'll keep an eye open for The Wire, Phil.

For me, the best TV series, including the US, would have to be Buffy.

Ultraviolet. Hmmm. Really not sure about that. Someone gave me the DVD and I got one and a bit episodes in when I ejected it from the machine, from home, from my life, for evah. It seemed very .... well, English in all the worst ways.

Louisefeminista said...

"It seemed very .... well, English in all the worst ways".

Yeah, you are probably right but, rather like me finding Cap'n Jack desirable, I don't why I liked Ultraviolet.....and I don't even like Jack Davenport. Dunno, totally unfathomable...

Though I do agree with you that Buffy is the best TV series.

Lioness said...

You might have a point about Davies stealing from Whedon if Whedon had actually invented any of those tropes. As it is, both men play with story ideas that go back thousands of years. Kuddos to both for giving them a modern update.

Madam Miaow said...

Hello, Lioness. Thanks for posting.

Joss Whedon just seemed to pull everything together in a way that was both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. I loved the architechture of Buffy, not to mention Angel, where he had one big arc across seven series. Then each series had it's own throughline and character development. And each programme had its own arc.

Davies seems incapable of getting under the skin of the Dr Who series and giving it an anatomy that all works together. So we have varous bits and pieces that look fantastic on their own but it all hangs wrong.

It's also set at the same feverish pitch with none of Buffy's wit, pacing and subtlety.

Buffy's stories worked on so many different levels, all exploring and illuminating real moral and psychological dilemmas you face in everyday life and giving you the strength and power to find your own inner Buffy. For me, this is one of the aspects of the show that made it extraordinary.

I watched League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse again last night. It had few, if none, of the problems of Dr Who so I know that the Brits can do it. But I'm still waiting for Davies to get it together.

BTW, nice silversmithing.

Louisefeminista said...

(Sigh) You have made a Spike fan very VERY happy seeing those pics (sigh).... I will sleep well tonight.

But I do miss the bleached blonde hair...

Happy New Year to you, Madam Miaow!

V said...

Phil's dead right about the The Wire...I'm a late comer but completely stunned by how good it is.

Madam Miaow said...

OK, now I definitely want to catch it. Please let me know, anyone, if it turns up again.

Happy new year, all.