Sunday, May 27, 2007

Brideshead Recycled: Human Nature

OK, first off this story takes the Recyclingwatch prize automatically for being an admitted recycle of Paul Cornell's New Adventures novel Human Nature.

Alan and I had a discussion during the Confidential over whether this means that I can't actually point out similarities with earlier episodes of Nu-Who, since the story was technically written before Nu-Who was even conceived of. We decided in the end that it was legit, because in the first place the novel has been rewritten to bring it into the Tennant Era (and thus there might well be bleedthrough from other episodes), and, in the second, they wouldn't have picked that particular novel if they didn't think it fitted with the show as it is now.

Plus, Alan pointed out that each season thus far has recycled a production from the Hiatus Era, so doing the same this year is carrying on the trend.

Rose: Silent, shambling automaton-monsters; also, despite Phil Collinson's assurances that they stop mentioning her after Episode 3, guess what, she gets another namecheck.

The Unquiet Dead: Shambling possessed human corpses; non-corporeal aliens; plucky girl housemaids; psychic children/young people.

Aliens of London/World War Three: Aliens in human suits who are into hunting, and, particularly, want to hunt the Doctor.

Dalek: The first season's Hiatus Era recycle, being Jubilee without the, well, jubilee.

The Empty Child/the Doctor Dances: Creepy blond little boy; seemingly possessed children and adults.

The Parting of the Ways: the Doctor has a recording of himself in the Tardis to instruct the companion of what to do if something goes wrong.

School Reunion: The Doctor impersonates a schoolmaster, while his companion impersonates one of the school's staff; the Doctor meets a human woman, and his relationship with her makes his companion jealous.

The Girl in the Fireplace: The Doctor falls in love with a human woman, to companion's chagrin; "a girl in every fireplace," says Nurse Redfern.

Rise of the Cybermen: The second season's Hiatus Era recycle, being Spare Parts without the, well, spare parts. Once again a newspaper masthead is used for exposition about the date. A party which is gatecrashed by monsters.

Torchwood: Greeks Bearing Gifts: Sometime in the past, an alien spaceship crashes/lands and an alien who looks like a human turns up with intent to infiltrate and kill the human population.

Timelash Moment: Story refers extensively to earlier, unfilmed adventure of the Doctor's which we haven't seen.

The Fifth Element: Alien creature is transformed into a human to protect it.

Old Skool Who: Remembrance of the Daleks (the possessed little girl with the balloon; Murray Gold even references the "five-six-seven-eight-there's-a-Doctor-at-the-gate" musical sting for her); Shada (invisible spaceships); I'm pretty sure there was a BBC Books novel featuring animate scarecrows; the unmade Doctor Who Meets Scratchman movie (animate scarecrows again); the Troughton Era (the Doctor's diary, plus gratuitous Mister Science moment about meteors); Four to Doomsday (shenanigans with cricket balls); The Pyramids of Mars (Edwardian upper-class twit unwittingly wanders into spaceship and gets possessed by aliens); The Mark of the Rani (where the Master disguises himself as a scarecrow and the Doctor meets his feminine match). Arguably Black Orchid (though it's twenties-Edwardian rather than tens-Edwardian, it does have posh Edwardian men wandering around crumbling old buildings hiding secrets and ranting about the Empire). The War Games (World War I; the Doctor going by the alias John Smith, though at that you could count any number of stories starting from "The Wheel in Space" for that one). The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (creepy alien-impersonating-human family; the Doctor engaging in Heath-Robinson physical comedy). The Curse of Fenric (the sequence of the scarecrows shambling over the fields and then attacking the landowner with their arms stiffly outstretched is pure Fenric; as is the cheeky lascivious housemaid being possessed by something evil).

Everywhere Else: Pick your public-school stories here: Billy Bunter, To Serve Them All My Days, The Compleet Molesworth, The Browning Version, Ripping Yarns, If (complete with students running amok with firearms), The Liar, etc. Also your Edwardian social-change/class conflict dramas: Brideshead Revisited, Upstairs Downstairs, Gosford Park, The Duchess of Duke Street, Howards' End. The Singing Detective (animate scarecrows, plus the fact that, to judge by the local landowner's accent, this is set in Gloucestershire). The Wizard of Oz again (scarecrows, their appearance and walk).