Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Recyclingwatch: Utopia

Sporadic RWatch this week (busy still); will post this and update as the week wears on.

It's practically impossible to write this review and not spoiler the episode. My first attempt at this tried not to include spoilers, but for the edited version (this one), I'm throwing caution to the wind and just saying that if you don't want a serious spoiler (and believe me, you WILL like this story much better without spoilers), don't read this.

Rose: For God's sake, stop mentioning her!!!

The End of the World: The Doctor takes his companion into the far, far future, to meet quasi-human things, and other things claiming to be the last human.

The Empty Child: Captain Jack flirting his way through history, etc.

Boom Town: The rift in Cardiff being used as a Tardis-recharger; Captain Jack; introspective story in which we get to know one of the villains a little better; someone does something creative and unexpectes with the Tardis console.

Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways: "Just saying hello," "I don't mind" returns in catchphrase format. Along with various quips about how good Jack looks naked, etc. John Simms' speech when he regenerates is a deliberate parallel of David Tennant's "New teeth, that's weird," one.

The Impossible Planet: Industrial red-lit settings; unforeseen threat from an old enemy of the Doctor's; the Doctor gives the *&%^ "indomitable" speech for no good reason; Tardis goes missing; the Doctor and companions do a "it could be dangerous out there... [outrageous grin and rush out into said peril]" bit, although somewhat more understatedly here.

Torchwood: Captain Jack repeatedly dies, lies around for a minute or two and comes back with a big gasp. But that's it, fortunately; it's lovely to have the proper Jack back, as opposed to the evil twin version.

Ripping Themselves Off: Human Nature; hope Paul Cornell got paid extra for this. Plus the arrival, finally, of Mister Saxon. Martha sees herself, and even her own catchprases about the Doctor not loving her, in Chantho.

Timelash Moment and The Fifth Element: Haven't the faintest this time, actually. If I think of something, I'll update.

Old Skool Who: Trial of a Time Lord and Battlefield (we're initially led to believe that the Professor is a mind-wiped future incarnation of the Doctor); The Ark (oh, figure it out); The Ark in Space (compromised humanity-rescue attempt; also, please, Nu-Who team, no more variations on the £%&* "indomitable" speech!); Survival (the Master, and people with animal teeth); The Curse of Fenric (what humanity will evolve into in the far future; Doctor as vengeful pagan deity); The Leisure Hive (clickety insect people). There's a lot of New Adventures stuff in here as well (Steve Lyons' "Land of Fiction" books including a kind of evil-twin version of the Doctor, for instance, and they have lots of introspective moments where companions think about how little they really mean to the Doctor).

Everything Else:
Dead Ringers' "Torchwood" spoof ("I'm Captain Jack Harkness, and these are my shiny teeth..."); that Alita: Battle Angel comic mentioned below (in which the alt-universe Alita bonds with the alt-universe version of the villain); the 1960s version of "First Men in the Moon" (deserted planet; insect people; mad professors); Neil Gaiman's Sandman (man who finds he literally cannot die) and Neverwhere (multilayered structure crammed full of weird people). Several episodes of Blake's 7, principally "Countdown" (two antagonistic, yet similar, men have a fraught discussion while defusing a nuclear devce and end up respecting each other), "Deliverance" (rocket bearing the last survivors of a humanoid race which its creators can't launch, until an alien turns up and shows them how to do it) and "Dawn of the Gods" (spaceship winds up in a starless void where refugees are engaged upon a mysterious task). Robert Asprin's Thieves World novels feature a character who never can die, and who periodically takes it upon himself to test whether this is still the case (haven't read the books since I was about sixteen, so can't remember more). Buffy the Vampire Slayer S5 featured the Knights of Byzantium, who sport tattoos not a million miles from those sported by some of the Futurekind; Mad Max and its sequels (as admitted by Graham Harper)-- in fact any of the postapocalyptic-punk films that filled the cinema schedules in the 1980s.