Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Recyclingwatch Special: Voyage of the Recycled

Rose: Companion holding off villain with sports activities over giant molten pit.

The End of the World: Although it might not be visible at first glance, it’s this story that it’s all coming from: human being who has, through attempting to combat the vicissitudes of age, been rendered into a grotesque quasi-human object on serious life support, who joins a group of people on a cruise over the Earth, starts picking them off one by one using killer robots, tries to aim the vessel at a heavenly body, and then, when caught, reveals it all to be a financial scam before being killed.

The Unquiet Dead: maid sacrificing herself for the hero.

World War III: Well-known television anchor makes guest appearance.

The Long Game: Hidden megalomaniac tycoon named Max; shielded layer of the ship/space station where nobody goes which hides a terrible secret.

Boom Town (and arguably Torchwood): Watch where the Tardis goes when it flies towards the Earth—it’s on a beeline for Cardiff.

The Parting of the Ways: person getting sucked out into space; character giving farewell message through blue-tinted projection.

The Christmas Invasion: Ambulatory seasonal ornaments which turn out to be killers; unseasonal snow caused by spaceship activities; a bit of gratuitous royal-family-baiting.

Tooth and Claw: More royal-baiting, plus a queen who knows who the Doctor is.

Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel: Crippled megalomaniac businessman plotting takeover with evil army of robots; talking holographic advertising pictures with annoying catchphrase; Doctor gatecrashes posh party; companion in waitress uniform.

The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit: Trapped people, trying to find their way out of a doomed edifice while being attacked by what used to be calm-voiced innocuous servant-beings and are now calm-voiced vicious killers; Tardis, which could provide a solution, is conveniently rendered hors-de-combat for the duration; somebody getting sucked into space; the commander is trapped in the control centre with no way of getting to the others. Unscientific adventures in magnetism.

Love and Monsters: The Doctor’s “Hold on! I can save her!” bit, with mixed results.

Fear Her: Yet more moonlighting news anchors.

The Runaway Bride: Santa’s a robot, yes, and so are the Christmas angels. More unseasonal snow. Gratuitous Gallifrey namecheck. One-off companion (though the chances of this one coming back in two seasons’ time are slim). Villain falling into bottomless pit at end. There's a review on Tachyon TV which draws pretty hilarious parallels between the two.

Smith and Jones: Another bloody companion who falls in love with the Doctor straight off, and manages to get a snog off of him.

The Shakespeare Code: More baiting of queens who know who the Doctor is.

42: More trapped people trying to find their way to the bridge; more people getting sucked into space, in this case grabbing the villain and taking them with them as they do so.

Human Nature: Yet another companion in Edwardian servant uniform.

Blink: Creepy unstoppable killer angels.

Catchphrasewatch: “I’m so sorry”; “Allons-y, Alonzo” (groan); “No no no no no no!” (ad nauseum).

Old Skool Who: The Robots of Death, a lot (beautiful art-deco robots who go on a strangling spree thanks to the intervention of an evil genius who’s smuggled himself on a long trip; practically every line the Host have which isn’t preceded by the word “information” is, or ought to be, copyright Chris Boucher, and by the time you get to a scene where one gets its hand first stuck, then cut off, in a door, you start to wonder if RTD isn’t just taking the St Michael); Enlightenment (human-seeming entities who have fun by flying Edwardian ships around the solar system and looking down on Earth humans); Delta and the Bannermen (alien tourists visiting Earth, incognito, having a fairly dubious grasp of the planet’s culture, and getting hit by a satellite; there’s even a tickling-stick visible on the Titanic as the Doctor leaves the Tardis); Revelation of the Daleks (disembodied-head bad guy who is secretly planning corporate machinations); while we’re at it, there are talking disembodied heads in Perspex tanks in the Peladon stories as well; The Claws of Axos (a horde of space-borne beautiful golden killers); The Web of Fear (unexpectedly deserted London); The Enemy of the World (it’s not the first time the Doctor’s teamed up with a blonde named Astrid); Earthshock (blobs representing people vanishing off the scanner screen as they get picked off one by one by robots; ship programmed to crash into the unsuspecting Earth). Silver Nemesis (Queen cameo). The Wheel in Space (controlled meteorites as weapons). Frontios (Human being incorporated into machinery that runs on wheels).

Everything Else: Real life (tycoon Robert Maxwell, who famously threw himself off his yacht when his company went under, or did he); Blake’s 7 (teleport bracelets, even down to the design; Mr Copper’s half-understood pastiche of Earth culture is like the President’s half-understood pastiche of Earth history in “Bounty”; “In-for-ma-tion”); The Poseidon Adventure (forget all other 70s disaster movies—this is the source, down to including a fat woman with a Shelley Winters hairdo); Star Wars: A New Hope (attempt to cross a chasm on a narrow beam, as army of killers tries to break through the door); Aliens (unexpected attack by woman wielding forklift); Alien 3 (same woman, hurling herself and the enemy into a fiery pit; Astrid even does a slow-motion look-up like Sigourney Weaver does); Seven Years in Tibet (the Doctor’s slow-motion walk through fire); any movie/TV show involving a talking disembodied head in a Perspex tank, from They Saved Hitler’s Brain through the future sequences of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (where Nursey is now, well, you get the idea); Harry Potter (talking pictures); Ghost (touching sequence featuring kisses between phantom and corporeal people); Robert Silverberg’s novella “Elegy for Angels and Dogs,” which features a clique of superrich people who, at one point, sail through the Solar System on the Queen Mary liner, which has been converted for space flight); Goldfinger (gold people theme, plus compare the Angels’ halo-throwing to Oddjob’s hat trick). James Cameron’s Titanic (leaving aside the obvious, you’ve got an ending where the hero [Leo DiCaprio/Astrid] dies and the bad guy [Billy Zane/that rich fellow] lives; Douglas Adams’ Starship Titanic. There’s a film called “Passenger 57”.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'd sooner kiss a Wookie

Thoughts on the Star Wars DVDS:

  • When you watch the movies in prequel --> original order, weird things stand out. Like how there's no kids in the original series (well, I think there's a baby Ewok at one point, but that hardly counts), and lots in the prequel series.
  • Likewise, the Stormtroopers take their helmets off all the time in the prequel series, but not in the sequel. Which makes sense from a production point of view, but narratively it makes you wonder if they all suddenly got ugly or something.
  • What an amazing thesp-fest the original series is! It's fun to watch just for the sheer entertainment value of seeing Julian Glover, Cy Town, Don Henderson etc. turning up every five minutes. Prequel series far more disappointing in this regard, though occasionally you do notice someone like Celia Imrie where you wouldn't expect it.
  • Round about The Empire Strikes Back, suddenly there's a masive jump in dialogue quality. Even characters like C-3PO suddenly up the wit quotient (the monologue at the beginning, where he's rambling on about how difficult it is to get Princess Leia's clothes washed and dried in the freezing cold of Hoth, sounds like improv comedy). And I'm sorry, but, in narrative order, that's the first non-Lucas-written script.
  • People can say what they will, I like the new overdubbed voice for Boba Fett, mostly because the idea of a bad guy with a New Zealand accent is enchanting.
  • Doesn't Ian McDiarmaid really look like Dennis Potter? All he needs is a pair of huge 1980s glasses for the resemblance to be complete.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Late addendum

Have added another renaming option: "Nyder's Takeaways"-- referencing the Nyder's Dyner parent site. Because Blogger won't let me edit the poll, I've added it as a separate poll, but will count votes for it in the main poll.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Poll: Rename this Blog?

Please note: on the right-hand sidebar, I've started a poll. I'm considering changing the name of the blog, as it's a bit negative, and really I'm not so sure I do hate Steven Spielberg. Possible options include:

Keep the current name (why not, if you like it)
"Dreams Without Gangsters" (a line from the theme tune to Gangsters: I like this one because of the Maurice Colbourne connection, and the media connections)
Daniel Feeld's memories (sometimes I feel like I'm just archiving nostalgia)
Mostly about the Media (the simple minimalist idea)

I was tempted to include "prison sex with Christopher Neame" as an option, since it's one of this blog's inside jokes, but decided not to on the grounds that I might be stuck with it.

I'll add other options if I think of them. Poll closes Jan. 10.

RIP Evel Knievel

...which is even more ironic, since two days beforehand, I discovered this website. It's full of toy catalogues from the mid to late 1970s (including two separate Evel Knievel catalogues), which has taken me on a massive nostalgia trip, full of exclamations of "I used to have one of those!" "The kids next door used to have one of those!" and "I always wanted one of those!" It's interesting, too, to be able to put a name to all those nine-inch action figures that the unbelievably grown-up and sophisticated older kids next door (three and six years older than me, respectively) were always playing with (Mego Star Trek, Planet of the Apes and Superhero figures, mostly).

I'm also both enchanted and frustrated by the discovery that Space: 1999 had not one, but two sets of action figures associated with it (by Kenner and Mego, respectively). I didn't discover Space: 1999 till my teens, but I would so have loved a teeny-tiny Paul Morrow and Victor Bergman for my desktop.

It also makes me mourn the loss of the Family Show. TV shows that were adult hits, like The Six Billion Dollar Man, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica routinely had action figure lines, reminding us that these programmes were made to be enjoyed by kids too, even if they didn't totally understand the nuances. Much as I love the new BSG, it's a real shame that the only programme out there which seems to have that family niche at the moment is Doctor Who.