Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Recyclingwatch: The Shakespeare Code

The Unquiet Dead: the entire plot, basically (honestly, it's practically a straight swap, Dickens-Shakespeare, ghosts-witches), but, if I must go into detail: Doctor going all fanboyish over historical writer; companion making first trip into past and going all gooey over it, plus nervous over the idea of changing the past; a near-identical dialogue sequence in which the Companion points out that she can't have died/the Earth can't have ended in the past, and the Doctor sets her straight; more lit-studies in-jokes than you can shake a stick at. Near-identical climaxes in which the evil aliens attempt to come through a rift to our world, and are thwarted not by the Doctor or companion but some random historical person.

Tooth and Claw: the whole celebrity-historical formula (this time with Queen Victoria and werewolves; what's next year, Wordsworth meets Frankenstein); psychic/ghostly phenomenon given explanation involving aliens; queens threatening the Doctor's life on little/no provocation. The moon.

Rose: Familiar London monument (the Globe/the London Eye) used by aliens as means of instigating an invasion of Earth.

Also notice that once again pretty girls are either evil (Torchwood: Greeks Bearing Gifts) or dead by the second reel (The Impossible Planet).

Old Skool Who: The Massacre (17th-century, or near as damnit, setting; companion having the opportunity to cop off with one of the locals but calls it off in the end); The Chase (Shakespeare, Elizabeth 1); The Mind of Evil (man drowning on dry land through psychic suggestion); Silver Nemesis (17th-century setting again; arrows hitting the Tardis and remaining there after takeoff).

Timelash Moment: The Doctor meets a famous writer from the past and gives him a number of his best ideas.

The Fifth Element:
The idea of ancient writings being really alien codes.

Everything Else:
Blake's 7: Power (the Seska, an all-female race with psychic powers, who use co-radiating crystals versus the Carrionites, an all-female race with psychic powers, who use co-radiating crystals); The Da Vinci Code and any other book suggesting that the art/literature of the Renaissance had some kind of ulterior purpose beyond its obvious artistic value (I'm especially thinking Tim Powers here); any of the BBC's educational dramatisations of Shakespeare plays; Shakespeare in Love (Shakespeare reconceived as something like a modern celebrity; jokey anachronisms; cameo by Queen Elizabeth; Shakespeare receiving outside help on his writing; lost Shakespeare plays); Restoration (madhouse scenes); Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S5 episode "Tough Love" features flying lesbian witches, well, Willow anyway); The Wizard of Oz (witches swirling around in a whirlwind)