Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Husbands of River Song (time shift)

My [insert relative] gave me an empty box for Christmas and told me it was an Action Man deserter.
- Lots and lots of people take credit for this.  All but one of them are liars.

Or, if you want to be all obvious about it:

It doesn't much signify whom one marries, for one is sure to find out next morning that it was someone else.
- Samuel Rogers

Me:  You'll notice there wasn't a next time trailer.

Him:  There wasn't anything.

Me:  No. 

Him:  Just cold.

Me:  Okay, I-

Him:  It was better than Sleep No More though.

Me:  It was better than Sleep No More.  It could've been forty-five minutes without a problem.  It didn't need to be an hour.

Him:  What would you have cut?  And don't just say, "All of it".

Me:  A lot of the comedy scenes were unnecessary.1  Although, I know that they're there to be-

Him:  It's not your show.

Me:  It's not my show.

  It's not your show.

Me:  I think we can also tell that, as far as Steven Moffat's concerned, at the end of that one it wasn't going to be his show any more either.  The Husbands of River Song really does wrap everything up.  That's...  Y'know, good luck to him for the next series - which doesn't look like it's going to be next year - because...  There were so many tropes revisited in that, so many things that we've seen before, so many...  Stuff done again-

Him:  'So many stuff done'?

Me:  So many stuff done, yeah.  It was just, kinda, right...  The snow in the titles.  Well, that was money well spent, wasn't it?

(The sea badger makes what'll, almost certainly, be its final appearance in 2015.)

Him:  Murray well spent.

Me:  Oh!  Murray?  Murray?!  Murray Gold!?!  Oh, my God. 

Him:  "I playa da spoons!"

Me:  Every so often-

Him:  Why was he playing the spoons in that one scene?

Me:  I don't know, but-

Him:  He was playing the spoons!

Me:  I'm sure this must just've been an oversight on someone's part...  You'd think they'd spend more time getting this right, but every so often I could actually hear some of the dialogue.

Him:  That was weird.

Me:  Being able to hear the dialogue?

Him:  Oh, hush.  It was only that one scene.  But still, why couldn't you hear the dialogue?

Me:  Because the music was so blinking loud.

Him:  That's not what I mean by 'why' and you know it. I mean as in, "WHY?"

Me:  Ha!  Well, it was nice to see that Robot of Sherwood getting edited really hasn't affected Steven Moffat in any way whatsoever, hence the Zygons-

Him:  You're right, you're right.  Just let it go.

Me:  Diagon Alley?  Nice to be back there?

Him:  Lovely.  Same alleyway, yeah.

Me:  It looked totally different with Christmas decorations on it. 

Him:  No.

Me:  And it was nice to-

Him:  Although the series has just ended.  We saw that alleyway, what, two months ago?

Me:  Less than that, it was November. 

Him:  Face the Raven.

Me:  Face the Raven, yeah.  Say, five weeks?  Right...

(Surprise sea badger!)2

Me:  Murray Gold is never going to be Danny Elfman, so he should stop...  TV isn't the place to be doing that type of music.  Christmas is-

Him:  So many people complain about Murray Gold, and you don't really focus on the things he does right.

Me:  He's done some stuff right, but the problem is he's hung around... about seven years too long, to be honest. 

Him:  And, you know what?  I don't think it's fair to blame him.  He's probably the person who's got the least control-

Me:  Over what they play?

Him:  Yeah!  Basically, he's recorded a tape for them-

Me:  Ha!  He just sends over a cassette?

Him:  Yeah, and then Steven Moffat says, "Okay, play The Sun's Gone Wibbly.  Yeah, that's good.  We'll go with that.  Now make it louder.  Yeeeeah."

Me:  You can always tell when there's a comedy scene coming up because someone starts plucking away at strings.

Him:  That music with the spoons was new though.  "Since itsa Christmas, I playa da spoons."

Me:  There was another nod to Prometheus.  There's been quite a few of those in the last series, but that one was a definite nod to the film rather than the legend or Doctor Who Comic version.  The head in the bag.  That's a story for another day.  Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston looked like they were having a whale of a time and were probably really good together.  It'd have been nice to hear them.  I'm also going to say that the guy playing the Hydroflax body, Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston were the best performers in that.  And pretty much everybody else was...  I dunno.  Performing for their Amazing Moms, who they knew would be watching.  Because it's Christmas.3  It felt really overblown and over the top and...  It was very Russell T. Davies.

Him:  Lots and lots and lots of Russell T. Davies.

Me:  Voyage of the Damned, End of the World...

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Russell T. Davies with better dialogue.  Possibly.  Deep Breath too.  In the scene in the...  where everyone turns out to be...  The irritable bowel bit was funny.  Still, at least it wasn't called 'Sex Storm'.

Him:  Was that its original name?

Me:  Near enough, yeah.  It was nice to see a really subtle tribute to Jon Pertwee as well.  When the TARDIS did its wobble and the stuntman wearing an unconvincing wig and dressed as the Doctor fell over...  Quite good.

Him:  Once again, because I don't go to a puppet show and watch the strings, I didn't notice that.

Me:  Fair enough.  I'm going to ruin some things for people now.

Him:  You do go to the puppet show and watch the strings.

Me:  With CGI...  The artists who do CGI backgrounds or scenery, need to stop putting in birds. 

Him:  Ha!

  This has been going on since The Phantom Menace.  Every bloody CGI shot of a landscape of some description needs to have something flying across it.  I understand that it gives it movement, but-

Him:  I didn't see the birds.  Makes you wonder why they put them in.  How much money will that've cost for something I didn't even notice?

Me:  They could've spent it putting more snowflakes in the titles.

Him:  Oh, it's Christmas.  You've got to let them have that.

Me:  I suppose so.

Him:  There're many other things you can actually complain about that're worth complaining about as opposed to picking out things that aren't worth complaining about.3

Me:  And the shot that was like Titanic.


Me:  The towers're based on a couple of statues - I think, in Egypt - and with the way that one's eroded, when the wind blows through it, it screams.

Him:  Oh, those towers.  Those towers.

Me:  Do you want to do the Matt Smith stuff now?

Him:  Even though you'll say it wasn't canonical, Steven Moffat seems to think those little shorts he releases are canonical.

Me:  They're not.

Him:  In one of them, Matt Smith talks to Matt Smith and tells him that he's just taken River Song to the singing towers.

Me:  They don't count.

Him:  Whether they count or not, Steven Moffat treats them as counting.  And he shouldn't then go back on them.  It doesn't even make sense. 

Me:  It seems a little bit harsh that Matt Smith had actually specifically requested that the story of River Song be over and done with.

Him:  You could pull all the stuff together, provided you took in that bit that you say that isn't canonical.  It still fills in the story.  I don't remember which one it was.

Me:  It was in the Last Night and First Night - and things like that - series of VAM.

Him:  One of those ones.

Me:  Jim the Fish was in one of those too, I think.

Him:  Not personally, Jim the Fish was in the series.

Me:  Right.

Him:  Jim the Fish is a running gag.  Everyone knows Jim the Fish.

Me:  Steven Moffat wanted to wrap everything up with the kind of script that he can do in his sleep and-

Him:  But, he's done it.

Me:  And it's another one about why marriage is great and...  I'm not convinced.  I'm afraid that I'm a little bit with Lawrence Miles on this one.  I think that River Song is an incredibly unpleasant person.  I'm stunned as to why the Doctor even hangs around with her.  She should be a villain.

Him:  She is kind of a villain, that's the thing.  She's the anti-hero.  If anything, she's like the chaotic neutral.  She's not particularly good.

Me:  She's deeply unpleasant.  She's not a nice person at all.  Anyway, never mind.  At least Steven Moffat's got that out of his system so, hopefully, next year we won't have to-

Him:  Next year we'll have Murray Gold as the companion.  He'll be the love interest.

Me:  He near enough was the companion.  He's in the show more than bloody Kamelion was.  Good luck with the next series...  The problem is that we've heard this song so many times - and I don't just mean River - I think Doctor Who needs a year off in order to try and come up with something new.  We're just seeing the same stuff over and over again.  I know it's for Christmas...

Him:  It's a weird Christmas special.  Why can't a Christmas special be as ridiculous as Feast of Steven?

Yeah.  Well.  I don't know.  Next year it'll be Daleks anyway.

Him:  Steven Moffat Christmas specials have always been part of the plot.

Me:  The Husbands of River Song was too.  The plot being that Moffat was leaving, so that's him wrapping everything up and having a laugh. 

Him:  Last year you had the Christmas miracle.

Me:  And this year you had the Christmas miracle too. 

Him:  God.

Me:  I mean...  Yeah, it's great and everything, but...  Nah.  I don't know.  I'm a bit fed up with it now.

Him:  With Doctor Who as a whole?

Me:  I've...  I think they need a break.  In order to come back and...  be... refreshed.  And to have a bit more energy.  Even though it was set in all these different locations, it still felt really cheap.  It's weird.  It's supposed to be expensive and it's supposed to look expensive... 

Him:  Well, they spend all the Murray...

Me:  On Money Gold, yeah.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  And on that bombshell.  Thank you for reading us, Lady and Gentleman, and we'll be back next year.

Him:  Maybe.

Me:  Maybe.

Him:  Well, we probably won't.

Me:  I don't think Doctor Who's going to be on until next Christmas at the earliest.  Unless they do a special or something.

Him:  Do you think they'll do a year of specials again?  'Cause it went so well last time.

Me:  I don't think they will.  Who knows?

Him:  Waters of Mars...  That was...  Hanukkah?  Kwanzaa?

Me:  Ha!  It was Hallowe'en.

Him:  Oh, right.

Me:  And on that bombshell.  Ho ho ho.

1.  As with most of Moffat's work, the actual story is hidden behind the scenery.  Last year folk got flustered about Missy, Seb and the Cyberbrig (now getting his own Classesque spin-off) - whilst totally missing the conversations that the series was actually about.  With The Husbands of River Song, we're not watching a farce of Ortonian beauty, but a(nother) retread of The Curse of Fatal Death, including flirting with the wife and bribing the architect.

This series feels like Moffat's last.  With the exception of the copy-and-pasted 'Minister of War' reference, there's been nothing much obviously seeded for the next series - whenever that's actually going to turn up.  Gallifrey's back - or isn't - because it just is - or isn't.  Steven Moffat obviously doesn't care much for it - unless he feels compelled to bang the Valeyard's trap door shut before finally leaving - and it only serves as the scenery for fan-baiting supporting characters to chew on, whilst the conversation that this series is actually about takes place.

To quote the mighty Therapy?, "The road ahead is shorter than the one behind." 

2.  Some of you might be avoiding spoilers, so, even if you're a professional writer trying to shamelessly self-promote yourself, please just shut the spack up, yeah?  Speaking of which.3

3.  Mugging actors have form in Doctor Who stories directed by Douglas Mackinnon.  I'm guessing he's more of a visual director...

Monday, 21 December 2015

David Van Day's Diddly Squat Series 35 Vivisection

One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing.
- Frank Sheed

Ah, Lady and Gentleman.  You look like you've been good, so here's a winter solstice present for you.  It's been a while since the Rev (yes, that one) and myself have had an unfettered natter about things and stuff, and so here's our most recent one.  There's been an awful lot of toot typed and talked about the thirty-fifth series of Doctor Who - calling it 'season nine' is a basic error for a start - so here's our chance to point out a few of the mistakes pundits may, or may not, have been making.

Also, it finally answers the question that nobody seems to've been asking about which of Missy's statements back in The Magician's Apprentice was a lie.  Spoiler: it's not the one you thought it was.

So, sit back, pour yourself a warm lemony drink (or tear open an old speckled hen) and wrap your ears around two chums having a fine old time.  Or don't.  Completely up to you.

Play nice now.  See you soon.

Hoe, hoe, hoe.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Hell Bent (time shift)

When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell.
- Brian Aldiss

Or, if you want to be all obvious about it:

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends.
- Herbert Hoover


Me:  Well, it's because Clara had to descend into the Underworld with a god - as we predicted last year - who would then save her and bring her back.   

Him:  But, the names!

Me:  I know, I know.

Him:  The names!

Me:  The Doctor became the Man With No Name, because it was a Western, and we had stand-offs and back to the barn, and echoes of the Doctor/Donna, and four knocks and back to Listen and...

Him:  Well, that's because it was meant to be Steven Moffat's last one.

Me:  Yeah, that's what he said.  That was kind of his final statement, and then the Christmas special was going to be the epilogue.  Hell Bent wraps up the last ten years.  As much as anything.  Clara's now, basically, the Doctor.

Him:  It's even got a decent picture on iPlayer.

Me:  The shot of him walking away from Gallifrey, with the guitar?

Him:  In fact, Gallifrey very much represents a Gungan bubble, doesn't it?

Me:  The underwater one?

Him:  Yes. 

Me:  Ha!  'Space Glasgow' was alright, I suppose.  The 'get off my planet,' line, which is from Battlefield, was...  pretty good.  There's an echo of Rory the Roman with the waiting forever.  Steven Moffat does like...   And there was a quote from Terrance Dicks in there: 'Never cowardly, never cruel'.  That was paraphrasing Terrance Dicks.  Telling Clara she has to go off and be a Doctor.  Once again, that's Steven Moffat's final statement on the series.

Him:  We've still got the Christmas special.

Me:  Yeah, but it wraps everything up.  It's not the conclusion to this particular series, it's the conclusion to the last fifty-two years.

Him:  How do you think he'll reboot it?  Again.

Me:  Well...

Him:  For the third time in the last two years.

Me:  I think it'll depend on what the new companion's going to be. 

Him:  You don't think it'll be River?

Me:  No.  I've got... other sorts of ideas.  So, the Hybrid?

Sea badger!

Him:  Maybe it'll be the Hybrid.  Whoever the hell the Hybrid was.

Me:  It was the Doctor.  We got it right.

Him:  That was so vague. 

Me:  I've got to say something about the whistling Murraycone-

Him:  You had this weird back and forth, where the Doctor and Ashildr were both trying to convince each other that the other one was the Hybrid.

Me:  I think that was a bit of Steven Moffat having a go at the audience again. 

Him:  Yeah, that's what I said before.  "So that means it's him.  But wait, that's a double-bluff.  No, it's a triple-bluff because he never calls her that.  No, no, no. Wait.  But, it's Steven Moffat, so..."  Until you reach the point where you're, y'know...

Me:  And then it's really impressive, but you still don't get your watch back. 

Him:  Ha!

Me:  It's a good trick, but you don't get your watch back.  I think that we were also right that a lot of the talky scenes in the preceding eleven weeks were in order-

Him:  I don't remember any scenes being set in Torquay.

Me:  "Madam!  That is Torquay!"  Don't you remember the herds of wildebeest and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?   It felt quite expensive.  So, the Time Lord who got lost in the Cloisters was the William Hartnell Doctor, I would've said.  Would you agree with that?

Him:  What was up with the Cloisters?

Me:  I don't know.

Him:  What was up with the terrible firewalls?

Me:  Well...

Him:  The Shufflers.

Me:  The Sliders.

Him:  Oh.  'The Sliders'.

Me:  Yeah, not 'the Smilers'.  It was done as a Western.  I thought that Peter Capaldi was excellent throughout that.

  Yeah, but has there been any point where you can fault Peter Capaldi's performance?

Me:  I think he's got better and better as it's gone on.  I think he really enjoyed doing that.  Turning it on its head so that it was Clara who remembered...  Do you like the idea that Clara's got a TARDIS?

Him:  It's like the DARDIS.

(I missed the opportunity to call it a CLARDIS here, so we've got that to be thankful for.)

Me:  Both Clara and Ashildr...  That's the end of their story now, because it's been pointedly stated that neither of them will age.  So they can't come back.

Him:  They could come back...  But they'd have to do it soon.

Me:  Ha!  Right, the other question is, do you think Hell Bent was a success?

Him:  Do I think it was a success?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  What do you mean?

Me:  Was it good?

Him:  It was okay.

Me:  It held your attention.  Was it as good as Heaven Sent?

Him:  No.

Me:  Right.

Him:  But it was better than Sleep No More.

Me:  It was, wasn't it? 

Him:  I don't think it was quite as good as Face the Raven.

Me:  Really?

Him:  Really.

Me:  The bit that made you grin and made me think, "Oh, go on.  Please, please, please, please."  When the Doctor stole the TARDIS and it was the original TARDIS interior.  "Please keep that one."  Your face just lit up in a massive grin.

Him:  He couldn't keep that one though, because the broken chameleon circuit makes the other one iconic.

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  Why did it turn into a diner?

Me:  'Cause the chameleon circuit works.

Him:  Is that what blends in?

Me:  Yeah, it's over the hill from Lake Silencio.  It's the same diner.

Him:  Is that what blends in?  In the desert?  Diners?

Me:  I dunno.  The diner's in the middle of nowhere and the barn's in the middle of nowhere, but people still seem to turn up at it.

Him:  The barn...  Initially, it's this tiny little space and he climbs up and then there's a woman.  "Oh, I wonder where she came from."  And then there's fifty people.  Where did they come from?

Me:  Interesting pronunciation of 'Shabogan' as well.  Okay.  And on that bombshell-

Him:  Do you not have anything else you want to say about it?  Do you not have any complaints?  You've always got complaints.

Me:  Murray Gold pushed his luck.

Him:  I saw a little grimace from you at one point.

Me:  It was when he started whistling. 

Him:  Oh, right.

Me:  That was the bit I tried mentioning earlier as Murraycone.  Which, you probably won't get.

Him:  No.

Me:  And on that bombshell, lady and gentleman.

Him:  You don't have any complaints at all?

Me:  It did what it did.  Good luck to Steven Moffat next year.  I do feel he's probably been 'persuaded to stay', because that felt like it was the end of what he wanted to say. 

Him:  What did the Shufflers do?

Me:  The Sliders?  They wrap you up in wire.

Him:  I felt sorry for that Dalek.  I genuinely did.  Why was it there?

Me:  Missy's Theme was in it, but Missy wasn't.  Although she didn't come back-

Him:  Are you sure it's not just 'Murray Gold Track Twenty-Three'?

Me:  Ha!  "What's this song called?"

Him:  "Track Nineteen."

Me:  Rather than 'Clara'!  And on that bombshell, lady and gentleman, thank you very much for reading over the last twelve weeks, and we'll see you...

Him:  On the flip-side.

Me:  Ooo.

Him:  Oooo.  Let's make more camp owl noises.

Me:  Ha! 

Him:  Oooo.

Me:  'Camp owl'?

Him:  Oooo.

Me:  Do an owl emitting a pellet.

Him:  No.

Me:  Bye!

Him:  Oooo.