Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Repeated Meme 2012: The Power of Five

Asylum of the Daleks
Central Premise Recycled From: "Planet of the Daleks", mostly. And "Dalek", and one particular bit of "Revelation of the Daleks".
References to Moffat's Back Catalogue: The Doctor fixing up the Ponds' relationship again. White rooms on space stations. Ginger-haired Moffat Moppets. Oswin as an adult verison of the little girl in "Silence in the Library". Space zombies. Nanogenes with magical powers of handwavium. How is it that the whole population of Earth has not been turned into Dalek dickheads?).
Amy Saves the Day with Wuv: Apparently it has the power to stop her from getting turned into a Dalek dickhead.
Gratuitous Plot Hole of the Week: Why don't they just drop a bomb down the great big hole in the planet and have done with it? Also, how did a spaceship crashland on a planet with an impenetrable force field?
Cliche of the Week: Bisexual girl hacker genius. Willow Rosenberg and Lisbeth Salander would like a word.
Nostalgia UK: More like a sort of nostalgia cocktease, as the Doctor Who publicity machine spent months telling us about how there were all these original-series Daleks in the show, where they were sourced from, etc., etc., and then we barely see any of them at all.
Continuity Frakups: How is there still a Skaro?
Gratuitous Hymn to Motherhood: Apparently the whole reason the Ponds are at outs is because Amy can no longer have children. Couldn't they adopt?
The Pond Relationshipometer: Sharp swing from "getting a divorce" to "madly in love," via "Rory gets passive-aggressive."
Amy's Job This Week Is: Model.
Doctor Who!: Exclaimed by the Daleks.
Hats! Not on the Doctor, but some people have the Daleks eyestalk coming out of their foreheads.
Small Child! OK, it's a Dalek really, but Amy thinks it's a small child.
Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: Well, actually, they've already released "Death to the Daleks"-style toys. They're inaccurate and say the wrong things, though, so something tells us they won't sell all that well. How about some of the Dalek dickheads?

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
If the Doctor took the Queen of Egypt back along her own timeline, so she could meet herself, would he get a pair of Nefer.... oh, I'll get me coat.
Central Premise Recycled From: "The Ark," and Space: 1999's "The Taybor". Crossed with "42".
References to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Gratuitous parents (Rory's not Amy's this time), random pterodactyls.
Amy Saves the Day with Wuv: No, just a lot of parental bonding from Rory.
Gratuitous Plot Hole of the Week: What's the value of a ship's control system that has to have two operators who are genetically related? Seriously, like, what?
Cliche of the Week: Nefertiti. Come on, people, other Queens of Egypt are available, and ones that did a damn sight more than she did. What about Hapshepshut, who actually ruled Egypt as Pharaoh in her own right?
Nostalgia UK: The British Empire! Full of jolly, handsome explorers! Who go about shooting elephants and shagging natives, but somehow that's OK, because they're jolly and handsome and things.
Continuity Frakups: Oh no! It's the return of the Silurians with Hooters and Honkers!
Gratuitous Hymn to Motherhood: At least we're spared that this week.
The Pond Relationshipometer: Set firmly on "domestic", with a couple of swings to "flirting with the guest star when the Pond of the other sex isn't watching".
Amy's Job This Week Is: Holder of stepladders.
Doctor Who!: Not actually stated, but plenty of people don't know who he is.
Hats! Nefertiti is wearing a silly-hats giant version of the crown in the famous bust of her.
Small Child! Well, there's some Eggs! anyway.
Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: You don't actually need one this week. The whole story is like something a child would make up using his Doctor Who action figures, his toy dinosaurs and robots, a couple of great-figures-from-history action figures from some worthy educational playset bought by a faintly misguided relative, a toy spaceship oh, and including his Dad because his Dad's the best Dad ever. A little hunting around in Tesco's and the British Museum gift shop (or, perhaps, the Argos catalogue), and you've got the set.

A Town Called Mercy
Central Premise Recycled From: Red Dwarf, and The Three Amigos.
References to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Moffat Moppets, hymns to motherhood, fetishization of the USA, the Doctor traveling alone for too long, hats, narrators. The original name for Captain Jack was Jax.
Amy Saves the Day with Wuv: She plays Doctor's conscience all episode.
Gratuitous Plot Hole of the Week: Not really, but there is a great big plot convenience in Jex deciding to blow himself up rather than forcing the Gunslinger to confront a basic moral issue. Also, if your afterlife involves carrying the souls of everyone you've wronged, won't the people you're carrying also be carrying other people's souls, who they've wronged in turn? Perhaps even your soul, considering that people are quite capable of wronging each other? Think your metaphors through, Kahler People.
Cliche of the Week: Ah-merrah-cuh! The land of second chances! Actually, social mobility is harder in the USA than in the UK. And this particular town is way too racially egalitarian to be credible. But never mind.
Nostalgia UK: Is there anyone under the age of forty who actually played cowboys as a child?
Continuity Frakups: Although it's deliberate, it's worth noting that this story actually takes place in the middle of the one which follows it, since they've recently visited Henry VIII and had to leave hastily.
Gratuitous Hymn to Motherhood: Apparently you can tell Amy's a mum because she has kind eyes. I would suggest that her hair-trigger temper is probably a better indication, but maybe I'm being cynical.
The Pond Relationshipometer: Stagnant. Seriously, you'd never even know they're married. I'd be worried.
Amy's Job This Week Is: Companion. She asks the questions, holds the screwdrivers, and tells the Doctor he just can't do the unethical thing.
Doctor Who! No, but plenty of tedious the-Doctor-has-a-dark-side stuff. Seriously, this is the episode the Nineties forgot.
Hats! Get shot up a lot, again suggesting that Stetsons are still not cool.
Small Child! And a pretty useless and gratuitous one.
Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: This is another episode allowing the viewer to source their action figures from elsewhere; buy a few cowboy toys and a Palomino horse to scale, and one of those Terminator action figures of Arnie with half his face off. A few hours customising, and you have your own set. Recession-conscious Doctor Who for the win!

The Power of Three
Central Premise Recycled From: Most of the Davies Era, but I'm thinking mostly either "The Sontaran Strategem" or the one with the Adipose. Also "Terror of the Autons," but given that the Davies Era recycled it repeatedly, that's a given.
References to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Amy and Rory getting all domestic and the Doctor getting all patronising. Fish fingers and custard. The Doctor, as in "The Lodger," trying out real life for a while. Creepy zombies with gas-mask-like faces which hang around with a creepy small child.
Amy Saves the Day with Wuv: There's a lot of buildup about Amy and Rory's wonderful relationship which, along with the title, suggests that their being together with Brian or with the Doctor is somehow going to save the day. Huge big letdown when it doesn't happen.
Gratuitous Plot Hole of the Week: If all those people have been clinically dead from heart failure for more than five minutes, how is a defibrillator going to help (as even if you could get the heart restarted, irreparable brain damage would have set in)? Is the writer aware that defibrillators aren't automatic magic heart-restarting machines? Why did the Doctor leave all those people on the spaceship to die? Why were the ventilator-faced creatures kidnapping people anyway? What was the point of having the little-girl android monitoring things when the Cubes are supposed to be monitoring things? Why have we never heard of this alien race in the past if they're such a big deal (and the fact that this keeps happening in Doctor Who is no excuse)? Wouldn't preventing humanity from spreading out into space frak up all those fixed points in time that result? Wouldn't creatures which exist "throughout all time" know that?
Cliche of the Week: Kate is a "scientist." Like every TV "scientist," she doesn't seem to have a specialty like real scientists do, though at least we're spared the TV-"scientist" cliche of having her turn out to be an expert chemist, physicist, microbiologist, geneticist or whatever the script demands.
Nostalgia UK: Not much for the UK generally, though obviously there's a lot of UNIT-era referencing going on for the fans.
Continuity Frakups: Although, as noted, last week's story takes place in the middle of this one (unless they've visited Henry VIII twice), we still get images from it in Amy's opening-narrative montage.
Gratuitous Hymn to Motherhood: Well, actually, fatherhood this week, as the Brigadier's daughter finally becomes canon.
The Pond Relationshipometer: Apparently they have to choose between Doctor-life and real life. With the implication that real life is somehow not particularly exciting. That's your fault, Ponds.
Amy's Job This Week Is: Travel journalist.
Doctor Who! No!
Hats! Surprisingly, no.
Small Child! One which sits around an emergency room for over six months without getting noticed. Possibly a pointed comment on the state of the NHS.
Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: Character Options are missing a real trick if we don't get novelty desktop Cubes by Christmas.

The Angels Take Manhattan
Central Premise Recycled From: "Blink", mostly, with a certain amount of "Dalek" and "Doomsday".
References to Moffat's Back Catalogue: How many more Weeping Angels stories are we going to have? Cherubs = Weeping Angels crossed with Moffat Moppets, the Moffat Bifecta of Evil. River Song getting all domestic with the Doctor. Obsession with spoilers.
Amy Saves the Day with Wuv: Deciding to Stand By Her Man in the end rather than run off with the Doctor.
Gratuitous Plot Hole of the Week: So, there's some wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey reason why the Doctor can't visit Rory and Amy again (not even by virtue of parking the Tardis in Newark and taking the bus, or inviting them for a weekend on Rhode Island), but apparently that doesn't preclude him visiting Little Amelia in a timeline that now hasn't happened, because it was rewritten two seasons ago. OK, whatever. And the other big question is, how does the Statue of Liberty actually move, given that in a city like New York, the amount of time where absolutely no one is looking at it is going to be infinitesimal? And how does River get to hear the detective's story-- the obvious way would be for her to go back to Winter Quay in 1937 and interview the old man, but if Winter Quay's been erased by the paradox, she can't do that, and there's no reason for her to do it in the first place.
Cliche of the Week: Kind of excusable actually, as the Raymond Chandler cliches turn out to be justified by the story.
Nostalgia UK: Chandleresque detective stories, The Maltese Falcon.
Continuity Frakups: The Angels used to look like statues, now they apparently take statues over.
Gratuitous Hymn to Motherhood: River keeps calling Amy and Rory Mother
and Dad.
The Pond Relationshipometer: Throwing themselves off buildings for each other.
Amy's Job This Week Is: Book publisher.
Doctor Who! River Song gets to say it.
Hats! On River Song, for a change, and of course pretty much anyone outdoors in 1938, though that hardly counts.
Small Child! There's one in the windows of Winter Quay, just for atmosphere. And of course the Angels now come in creepy-small-child form as well. Guest appearance by Little Amelia at the very end.
Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: More Weeping Angel variants to go with the several dozen already out there. Though Melody Malone: The Angel's Kiss has
apparently been released as a tie-in e-book already.