Sunday, April 15, 2007

Recyclingwatch: Gridlock

First of all, let me say that this is one of my favourite episodes of the new series ever, and I haven't had this much fun watching Doctor Who since "The Girl in the Fireplace." However, I have a service to provide, so that's not going to stop me doing a Recyclingwatch on it. I'll just open by juxtaposing two quotes that sum this whole exercise up:

"I think we're creating... our own mythology." --Phil Collinson
"You're just taking me everywhere you took her, aren't you?"-- Martha Jones.

The End of the World: The year Five Billion; the Face of Boe; the Doctor takes his companion on a journey to the future to show off and ends up putting her in peril; companion expresses distaste over future society and concern for her parents; Doctor ends up explaining to companion about being last of Time Lords, etc. The Doctor says "Everything has its time."

New Earth: The setting; the Face of Boe dying; cat people; red people; the Duke of Manhattan; New New York's got a nasty secret in its lower layers again; crescent moons; apple grass; companion kidnapped; rain/shower effects; Doctor saves the day with simple solution. "New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York" gag.

Bad Wolf: The Doctor returns to what he predicts will be a glorious time for humanity, only to find it's all a bit grotty now. Doctor gives angry/uplifting speech about how he's going to find his companion and then come back and wipe all the grot out.

The Parting of the Ways
: Ostensible atheist Russell T. Davies does yet another story about Christianity; the Doctor messing around with wires; major character does self-sacrifice bit. Rose says "Everything has its time."

The Long Game: The drug vendors suddenly appearing; nobody knows what's above/below the studio/motorway, but they have heard that it's good/bad. When we find it, it looks like some kind of giant sea creature.

School Reunion: "Everything has its time" again, this time spoken by Sarah.

The Idiot's Lantern: Sally Calypso (blue and white virtual lady); companion kidnapped and Doctor vows to find her and then come back for revenge.

The Satan Pit: Once-intelligent monsters losing their intelligence. Random classical/hymn music interlude. Companion being drugged and kidnapped, and pulling a gun on her kidnappers once she revives.

Love and Monsters: Bliss.

Army of Ghosts: Cute Japanese girls.

The Fifth Element: Do you really need it spelled out for you? Just watch the first twenty minutes of the film and you'll get the whole idea.

Timelash Moment: Something nasty lurking in the lower reaches of the city, unknown to its (tiny) population. Morlox, meet Macra; Macra, meet Morlox. Sally Calypso should probably also meet the fake Borad.

Old Skool Who: The Happiness Patrol (bowler-hatted gent, but see below); The Sensorites ("The sky is a burnt orange..."); Paradise Towers (satire about contemporary urban life; people trapped in brutalist location after catastrophe kills off most of the planet's population; two old ladies in a long-term relationship; crablike monsters); The Macra Terror (go on, guess); The Robots of Death (recycling human waste for human consumption); Mawdryn Undead (companion mistakes burnt corpse for Doctor); Silver Nemesis (arrows remaining in door from previous story are removed by the Doctor). David Weir's unmade story "The Killer Cats of Geng Singh" (go on, guess again).

Everywhere Else: Ben Elton's novels (satire about cars); any cyberpunk writer of the 1980s (designer drugs absorbed through transdermal patches; huge highways; techno-dystopias; Japanese people; Max Headroom-style holographic newsreaders; ISTR one cyberpunk short story which featured an entire society living in the stairwells of a block of flats); Bladerunner (only in terms of the dystopian-city really IMO, but if I don't mention it I'll get eight million e-mails on the subject); Escape from the Planet of the Apes (ostensibly normal baby animal that suddenly starts saying "Mama, mama"); Judge Dredd (dystopian urban satire; RTD claims on Confidential that the bowler-hatted gent is based on a character from Judge Dredd, but as Andrew Cartmel was a comic fan, they may share the same source); Good Omens (people trapped on a motorway for all eternity); American Gothic (the painting, not the series); the video for REM's "Everybody Hurts" (in which a group of people stuck in a traffic jam on a motorway all abandon their cars and walk away).

But hey-- talking kittens!