Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Who: Mostly Harmless

It was a bit of an album track, according to Scott. It had the depth of a puddle, according to Jonn. It was painless enough, I say.

It's unexpectedly hard to review something as bland as The Lazarus Experiment, especially for someone as lazy as I am. It's really quite easy to batter on about massive plot-holes, rubbish characterisation and lack of imagination, and it's equally straight-forward to gush with love when something spectacular comes along.

But tLE was, to quote someone else, mostly harmless. Not enough plot to contain anything so large as a plot-hole but also not enough plot to generate anything interesting to talk about*.

So a quick mention of the good things (the Doctor using 'science' to defeat the baddie; Mark Gattis not hamming it up too much; the guy from Saxon whispering in Mrs Jones' ear) and the bad (the Scorpion Gattis apparently nicked wholesale from the rendering engine behind Resident Evil on the PS1; the 'terrified' crowd acting which could well be a homage to the McCoy years, so bad was it; Martha's odd looking mother), and then on to the best thing by far about Saturday's episode.

The trailer for the rest of the season.

The stories might turn out to be rubbish, but at least the trailer made them look good.

So what if 42 is an idea so fan-fictionesque that I full expect Jack Bauer to appear and give the Doctor a quick one off the wrist? There's a spaceship hurtling towards the sun in it!**

And yeah, Utopia features the return of the wooden Barrowman as Cap'n One Note - but the trailer only shows him running and jumping, which plays to those few strengths he has.

Who cares that Human Nature is yet another story that I already know and could be as messed up a translation to screen as the Spare Parts/Rise of the Cybermen debacle last year? Actually, scratch that - Cornell's got talent and surely won't turn his own novel into that kind of disaster area. It certainly looks fantastic: starched collars and slicked down hair, the Doctor in one of those massive dressing gowns apparently made of lion hair and glue, and genuine 'this isn't Oz' creepy as hell scarecrows.***

And then there's the final two-parter. John Simm has only been on screen for a total of six seconds, and he's already by far the best thing about season 29. The terribly unctuous smile is nice, but the scene of Simm - divorced from the real soundtrack - tapping on the desk in what appears to be Number 10, surrounded by corpses and wearing an oxygen mask is an astonishingly powerful image.

Damn - nearly forgot 'Blink'. But that's by Steven Moffat and therefore needs no promotion whatsoever. It'll be so brilliant we'll forget about the whole 'Gridlock' to '42' crapfest which preceeded it.

* I've seen it suggested that the Lazurus machine could play a vital role in Simm's introduction to the series at the end of episode 11/start of episode 12. But that would seem pointlessly complex, unless Simm is not playing the character everyone believes he is.
* *Interesting (sic) fact from the Wikipedia entry for '42': it has "the shortest Doctor Who episode title, at least in terms of the number of characters; it has three syllables, which makes Rose (the runner-up in number of characters) still the shortest in that regard." And people say Doctor Who fans are sad geeks with no lives.
***Seemingly named after the Leader of the House of Commons , therefore expect a sketch in Dead Ringers next year featuring a battle between the gordonbrownalon - a lumbering, wall-eyed monster with designs on taking over the world - and the dreaded Davec Ameron, a harmless bag of hot air with nice teeth, played by Jon Culshaw.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger SAF said...

Amazingly (perhaps!) that trailer has made me optimistic about the rest of this season... so let's just hope that doesn't play against it when I get to see the actual episodes! :)

(I also have the advantage, if advantage it is, of not knowing the story of "Human Nature".)

11:40 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

SAF: "(I also have the advantage, if advantage it is, of not knowing the story of "Human Nature".)"

It's a good idea, well done in book format and Cornell is too good a writer to mess up the adaptation.

11:54 am  
Blogger SAF said...

Stuart: "It's a good idea, well done in book format and Cornell is too good a writer to mess up the adaptation."

Let's hope. Depends on how much Rusty is involved, I suppose! Who knows, I may even read the book eventually.

8:33 am  
Blogger TimeWarden said...

I'm most looking forward to "Blink" if the description of it being a proper horror story is true.

And, the other motivation? The gorgeous Carey Mulligan, Ada Clare in "Bleak House", has the lead!

3:43 am  
Blogger Stuart Douglas said...

Tim: "I'm most looking forward to "Blink" if the description of it being a proper horror story is true."

A Tennant-lite horror story by Moffat is something to look forward to; it'll be interesting to see if he can match the likes of Nigel Kneale in that genre (or is he more a Brian Clemens?), because I genuinely think he has that level of talent.

8:39 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home