|'Go With the (Time) Flow (Analogue) '
Yerse.....I don't think I need to go and do the sumz Mum, this has actually emerged as me likely objective favourite series of 'Who' ever, old or new. Not necessarily subjectively and there are certainly individual stories peppered throughout the history that trump this* but yeah, weird.....It's just been consistently very, very good for meself. Weird 'cos I know it's far from perfection but it's also very far off the abysmal that some would peg it as. Double weird. Especially seeing as I (one attempts to type without sounding gag-makingly sanctimonious/patronising) totally get the vibe (plus much of the reasoning) of the naysayers of many types. Indeed, originally thought I might be giving up/throwing me toys out the pram but, nah.....Hand on heart, I've really enjoyed this series and can only, mildly inaccurately, echo Jon Pertwee back in the day- 'If you don't like it that much there's always the off switch.' And again, granted, he wasn't speaking at a time of the inter-webbed up interactive culture, with 50+ years of love and investment in a show that's changed perchance more radically than it ever has done thus far but.....Tumbleweed Wibble.....I've enjoyed it as said. In reverse order, from bottom to top then....11.5
for a treble hander of 'The Woman Who Fell to earth'/'The Ghost Monument'/'The Tsuranga Conundrum'
Perchance a tad establishing by degrees/by the numbers and guilty pleasure** but all well effective for meself.12
for 'Arachnids in the UK
', climbing the ceiling just a tad.
And scaling an eminently respectable 12.5
with 'Kerblam!'/'The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos'
Teetering atop a very atypical 13
with 'Demons of the Punjab'
Chibnall nearly aces it with a 13+ 'Resolution'
garners an eminently predictable 13++
from me trad-frock sensibilities.
And game, set'n'match with the double ace of 'Rosa'/'It Takes You Away'
with time knobs Reverend.
So yeah, go figure indeed. A series that hits the heights and never dips below an 'outstanding with amazing moments' for meself. Over-wibble all I like, Chris Chibnall and co are most definitely delivering for Gantrysville. A final overview, look to the future in a couple of weeks or so then over'n'out for the time being I feel. Peace, Love, Krotons as ever.....
* Truth be told seasons/series past too- Classic I, V, VII, XIV, XVII, Nu I, IV, V and VIII but this has assuredly been their equal, just in terms of sheer production consistency/emotional whump'n'literacy if nothing else.
**Yeah, I knew this outing was doing something right when we got to 'Tsuranga'- a true guilty pleasure c(r?)lassic, right up there with 'Marinus', 'Krotons', 'Time Monster', 'Invisible Enemy' and 'Warriors of the Deep' for meself. Pass the smelling salts vicar.
|13.11: 'D.I.Y. of the Daleks'
'Jodie Whittaker, you are very much indeed the Doctor for meself- respect
Okaaay...Let's talk Whittaker. Last time out I had her pegged around me middle tier of Doctors, very solid but not hitting it outta' the park, aka a Baker T or Troughton. That said, she here does nothing to lessen her standing. In fact, very much consolidates things. She's most definitely the leading light/presence but very much playing off'n'to those around her, as with Troughton or Davison before her. And very gracious in not playing against or attempting to upstage Bradley Walsh who, granted, has very strong presence. But this core pair meld well and support one another and the whole very effectively for meself.
'Bloody hell! It's 'Marco Polo' 5- 'Rider from Shang-Tu!!
Whittaker gets some great head to head moments with the Dalek, there's a real fired up defiance'n'determination here. Love all the slow-mo skidding about the place. Chuffed you should be Doc' Thirteen. Of said Dalek, it's not Rusty, more Wonky but also literally rusty. Love the shadowing of the Doctor's D.I.Y. cobbling together at series's start. And no, it doesn't quite come out in the mix, which has to be wholly intentional. Me first instinct was to laugh but this scout survivor grows on you with menaces, a junkyard demon indeed.
'Very strong guest turn from Daniel Adegboyega as Aaron
Some lethal face offs with our armed forces. Although quite why it stops for a showdown with the army'n'tanks, beyond showpiece, is mildly beyond me. Like the troopers dismissive talk of 'a drone' (most timely innit Reverend?) and the sarky/incredulous 'Did it just speak?!' But they know not what they're dealing with and like Eccleston's lone Dalek previously, it levels the playing field more than ruthlessly. That UNIT-less playing field......
'Mad genetic scientist Dada taught me it's kind to be cruel.
.....Yerse,can't find it in meself to get in a tizzy about that one vicar, think Chibnall deals with it/sweeps it away wryly and effectively. They'll be back around again some day f'sure but not in this iteration and that's fine with meself. More 'Everything lies fallow awhile' than Nine's 'Everything has its time. Everything dies.' (Perchance too our beloved TV iteration of 'Who' but that's a latter wibble. I've really enjoyed this run, look forward to more of Thirteen but truly- go out while you're ahead gurlz'n'boyz. Which, despite mucho over-analytical bickering in some parts they still are for my grotzits.)
'A D.I.Y. face-off between Wonky and Chirpy- there'll be sparks afore bedtime I tell ye.
Plot-wise, for all Chibnall's talk of 'epic' things are very obviously undercut by a slashed budget but heck they continue to make the best of a very rough deal. That lone GCHQ operative, the snippets of other climes through CGI and very judicious editing. Direction from Wayne Yip remains pretty darn smooth and things are nicely complimented by Segun Akinola's score and incidental stuff. Although he occasionally keeps putting me in mind of 'Big Brother' and the diary room, early noughties for some reason. The core and guest cast are all very good. Tosin Cole plays very well against Daniel Adegboyega as absent dad Aaron. Likewise Bradley Walsh's Graham. I don't find any of the emotive stuff over-mawkish or clumsily done. Sensitive'n'well played to boot for me. I think I've pinpointed the 'Yaz Factor' as well- Mandip Gill is great but she's actually the only one playing a straight down the line 'Trad 'Who' Companion' type and it really sticks out. But I like her, good stuff etc
'Well there's lovely innit?
No, what stops this getting absolute full marks for meself, is the way things play out so rapidly. Aaron could've appeared earlier in the series and the emotional stuff clashes just a tad with the epic. The doorbell rings for a fast track delivery of emotive bits and the epic temporarily hangs suspended. Plus they really are pushing the cheese to the max with Ryan's saving of Aaron from our malicious mutant squid. Who has also taken some convenient stupid pills and doesn't think to ask if the Doctor's parked up alongside a supernova. But I'll give it a pass. Charlotte Ritchie and Nikesh Patel have been really good value as support character colour, Lin and Mitch. Although again, it's all just a tad pat at the, er, resolution, surely Lin is gonna' find some serious questions being asked of her somewhere down the line, Dalek possession or no? But all's lovely that ends lovely and heck, 13+
Mr Chibnall, your best 'Who' yet for me and I look forward to more.
'Though can't we just have done with it and call the show 'GRAHAM' for Series 12?
|13.10a : 'No Exit On Yesterday'
'Yonder the Doctor in misguided trousers
We open in an Antarctic looking wilderness. You wonder for a moment if Thirteen's brief sojourn has come full circle, has the whole series been but a dream within a dream? Did Twelve dream this whole thing and we're about to get back to the original deal?
'Santa's hopelessness is palpable.
But the candy cane and signage give it away- we're at the other pole and Santa has a true crisis on his hands. Heartwarming to see the Chibnall era's first use of an old character. But Santa's in real trouble this time out- even more so than Chibnall's own '42' we're thrown headlong into the unfolding drama.
' 'Heaven Sent' got nothing on this baby.
Things look grim indeed for Santa. But with regard to Chibnall's talk of 'risk and boldness' he really seems to be aiming to kick the ball out of the time park this time. The sheer nerve/verve of delivering a one minute four seconds story is breath-taking. With regard to his (non) engagement with fandom as is it almost seems to operate on a meta-textual, extra-diegetic level.
'Tension you could cut with a spoon.
The TARDIS stands alone and distant, against an unknowable alien sky. No birds wheel here- you can feel the thin air, cutting, cutting, cutting the extraneous. Closer to the bone. To the final edit. Is Santa's call going to go unanswered?
There is a very real sense that it might be. Ryan and Yaz are entirely, frighteningly absent. Graham has become utterly subsumed within, indeed is
the narrative. And with a giddy thrall of simultaneous horror and elation, you realise the Chibnall era has returned us to The Realm of (Meta) Fiction. Awesome. Thirteen is in, she looks like a Doctor but she walks and talks like a cartoon. Chilling.
'Now Santa can clearly pilot a TARDIS with immense efficiency...
So, yeah, in bringing us a story where the concept of cartoon physics are delivered to 'reality' the Chibnall era really has taken down all comers, past, present and future, never mind yer 'Infinite Quests', 'Crooked Worlds', series old or Nu. And so the Doctor gamely plays along to the credo of consumption tune, loaning the TARDIS out to Santa. Everything subsumed to the happy ending and instant gratification. 14
with time knobs on and a panda with a perigosto stick on a chair. We're in uncharted territory now Reverend.
'...and that look of familiar admiration...Yes, Santa Claus is the Doctor's dad!
And thus here we are. Again. 12X'WHO'. Or something. Nothing lasts. Nothing is finished. Nothing is perfect. We must accept 'Who's' transcience. It's ultimate imperfection. Skating a lake of Wabi-sabi yet to come. With a disembodied, unseen cartoon Whittaker breaking the fourth wall into a million shards at the close, we've arrived back at and are someway beyond Bill Hartnell circa 1965. Pass the sherry vicar. This is the way that worlds end, not with a bang but a wibble.....
'Hospital! I'm gonna' need stiches for the inter(mi)na(b)l(e) bleeding.
|13.10 'The Power of Krull'
'Team TARDIS circa 2018: Doctor Who & Fam. Crikey.
Yerse, ‘You’re not the only ones who can create something out of nothing
’, eh Jodie? The cynical part of you is tempted to say Chris Chibnall can pull the plot out of his arse, based on several that other folk made earlier. This has got strong shades of ‘Stolen Earth’ (directly referenced/acknowledged!) plus ‘Face of Evil’ and ‘Pirate Planet’ to it. The former with the Doctor unwittingly setting up further future trouble as with Xoanon, the latter with the miniaturised planets held in stasis, firing up the pink ‘God Lightning’ or whatever it is. What, indeed, is all this in aid of Mr Chibnall?
'You'd blow everything to smithereens if this was Season 15 Doctor.....
True, there ain’t anything genuinely original under the sun, it all depends what you do with your half-inched paintbox/smorgasboard, innit? And truth be told I’m fair, more than fairly tickled with ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos
’. (Y’can make ‘Kronos Ark Salvo’ outta’ that planet y’know- I’m sure we’re missing something deep that’ll be revealed come Series 14 and Michaela Coel’s XIV. Oh yes.) The ongoing ‘obvious slashed budget but making darn effective use of what they have' continues here. Yes, we’re in a C21st ‘Who’ quarry but it’s niftily/mistily done and there’s some nice enough CGI hanging about the place too. Tzim-Sha’s Ux abbeted hanging monolith/monument of doom is quite the thing, if a tad ‘Krull’.
'Another nice day for it.
Ah yerse. Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw- Samuel Oatley is clearly having a wry/sly old time with it. There are some near inane, very over-arch moments for our boy Tzim-Sha but he’s a goodie. Well, baddie, but you know what I mean. The ‘little man gone wrong’ to a massive extent. Guy has some presence, I wasn’t underwhelmed fer sure. Does the Davros like defiance of ‘hand slapped against the stasis chamber’ forewarn of a third encounter somewhere down the line? Two close encounters is careless, bitten on the time arse a third time by Terrible Tim would just be embarrassing for the Doctor and co.
'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Stakka Bo, with a 'Here We Go'/'Down the Drain' jazz hip-hop medley'
Ryan and Graham get a true ‘Companion/Friend (!)’ DNA moment, to a ridiculously improbable level: The Sniper Bots shooting over ‘em and blasting each other to bits is just ‘Lucky DNA Get Out of Jail Free’ in excelsius. Graham’s emulsional journey and eventual decision to be ‘the better man’ and not gun down Tzim-Sha in vengeance for Grace is very well done; Ryan’s awkward ‘I love you’ moment really quite affecting. And the inevitable but none the less exquisite hand bump finally arrives- huzzah!
Robert Baratheon, sorry, Paltraki (Mark Addy) has forgotten who, what or where he is. Like the concept of the psychic field. There’s a whole other, nightmarish ‘Mind Robber/Minds Robbed’ story for the Nu ‘Who’ age right there, come to thunk it. Some very ‘Alien’-esque shots from director Jamie Childs at the intro. Segun Akinola’s score is very well suited to the Grimm Sky-Fantasy on show here. Love the strident metallic blast/rasp that announces another intimate moment of menace with Tzim-Sha. Dammit, Mr Shoots Himself In and Gets Shot in the Foot should come back for a third outing. Guy gets more poutily hilarious by the minute so props to Samuel Oatley.
'Ah, crap! Now I remember, I'm in the 'Who' series finale...
Phyllis Logan and Percelle Ascott as the used’n’abused Ux, Andinio and Delph are also very good. As for our for some ever contentious Doc’ Thirteen, she remains on good, very, very solid form for meself. I’d add her to me very satisfying middle tier of Doctors at present- so that’d now be Hartnell, Davison, Smith, Capaldi, Whittaker. Yes, this remains the most different ‘Who’ we’ve ever had: A truly pacifist (sort of
) Doctor in an ensemble piece, it’s all been a bit of an on occasion mildly cack-handed handbrake turn/sideways step. But Chris Chibnall has effected it largely, um, effectively for meself. He’s not given me a +++ uber classic as yet himself but this garners an eminently respectable 12.5
from me. Thoughtful, fun and emotionally literate ‘Who’. If weirdly vexed'n'thin in spirit on occasion but that's for a post New Year's Spesh over-wibble'n'outro fer now. Laterz innit Reverend?
'Sensing the Fan Consciousness.....Use my power to make this all a bit more Hinchcliffe? Eh?.....
Chibnall’s tendency to casually throw in uber powerful entities remains- The P’Ting and now the Ux. (Only really seen in that such as Sutekh, Kronos in the classic series.) Also maintaining a proud tradition of bafflegab- how does Tim Shaw’s monolithic device actually work Reverend? Plus ‘planetary genocide’ has been thrown into the mix, so the re-sized worlds are returned spatially but inhabitants thereof still deado as dead things? Also Whittaker wittering about finding Tzim-Sha ‘annoying/irritating’ isn’t really opening up a Tom vs Sutekh/Davros verbal hoe-down. I really like Thirteen but there’s perchance still some fine tuning to be done...
'Goodnight, sleep tight, there is a light that transcends dimensions innit?
The ensemble vibe (which has taken me a time to get me head round for ‘Who’) continues to throw out genuine imbalance/chaos and moments of real challenge: Very directly with Graham and the Doctor, also latterly Ryan and Graham. Yaz remains likeably pro-active’n’spunky for meself so that’s a thing. Although kind of a bit CBBC with the ‘sacrifice meself for the Earth’ moment but basically all good. And of course, as with ‘New Earth’ not being Ten’s true opener but somehow construed as such after the gap from ‘Xmas Invasion’ this ain’t truly the big hoe-down/rounding off- that feels to be much more in the ballpark of New Years Days ‘Resolution’ (Of the Daleks* vicar?') Onwards, sideways, etc etc
*Currently coming down in favour of it being as likely to be the Fendahl as our Skaro contingent and likely summit completely different.
|13.9 'Fjordging Ahead''BEST. THING. EVER.'
Sometimes a 'Who' just sits right with you. 'It Takes You Away
' is one such instance for meself. Previous examples for meself from classic era 'Who' would be 'Aztecs'/'Mind Robber'/'Carnival of Monsters'/'City of Death'/'Snakedance'
, Nu, 'End of the World'/'Blink'/'Vincent'/'Listen'
and this comfortably joins 'em. A daft gem in some respects but a very well polished one indeed, no curate's egg for meself this time out. It certainly all looks
convincingly Nordic but I'm not 100% sure this actually is Norway? Great location for director Jamie Childs and he certainly makes the most of it.
'Lost in the woods again
The early stages of creepy 'cabin in the woods/mad axeman' are pretty soon undercut and we're into weird sky-fi/fantasy territory. Superficially at least,'cos Ed Himes's script is operating on way more than one level for meself. Which I'll come to but of the guest cast this time out.....There was a lot riding on Eleanor Wallwork as Hanne and she really aces it for meself, convincingly stroppy, upset and defiant about the situation her absent father's landed her in.
'Scandinavian Other Dimensional Kitchen- €999
Yer, Christian Rubeck and Lisa Stokke as said father and deceased mother Erik and Trinne are both perfectly good if not given so much to play with. The other standout is Kevin Eldon's magnificently monikered Ribbons of the Seven Stomachs. Although his take and mannerisms thereof really, really
put me in mind of John Simms Mr Razor last series. But it's a good take and the treacherously obsequious Ribbons is with us all too briefly.
'Yer ever present past.
Speaking of supporting local colour, the Flesh Moths are a grotesquely lovely creation for meself, Ribbons's piranha like devouring a real stand out moment. Though perchance not for Ribbons. And a real shame the 'big womble thing' (as described by one preview site) was cut, can't go wrong with a bizarre big womble thing Reverend. Also liking the dank tunnels of the Anti-Zone and the luminescent red flesh balloons/lanterns. So it's all aesthetically very pleasing for meself, from fjord to fantastical. Nice.
'Great turn from Eleanor Wallwork
But the fantastic before/outside time etc of the Anti-Zone and Solitract are really all just underpinning the grief and how to cope (or not) vibe going down here. Macro level with said Solitract and our universe, micro with Christian and Trine, the Doctor and uncountable numbers and most especially Graham and Grace. Which is where this one really hits it out of the time park for meself.
Bradley Walsh has been great value all season but he truly hits his mark here. Ably played off by a Solitract re-imagined Grace O'Brien from Sharon D Clarke. Who clearly would have been superb as a regular companion, perchance a true C21st Barbara but them's the breaks innit vicar? Here she's weirdly dissonant, clearly 'wrong/out of kilter' but still a powerful presence. But everyone is well served here. Whittaker has never been more Doctorish and really seems to have settled into the role, munching on the local soil and reminiscing about Granny's Two and Five. Tosin Cole as Ryan gets some really strong stuff too, at first clashing then bonding with Hanne. And Mandip Gill's Yaz is by no means fifth wheel for meself; if Graham's the reflective/conflicted one, Ryan flawed/struggling then Yaz is a highly effective spunky/at times frustrated. All working for meself.
'Learning to let go?
Segun Akinola really hits it outta' the park with some dissonant electronica this time out but also stirringly emotive when called for. So major props there too. And Graham and Ryan's final 'Grandad' moment, acknowledgement of grief is powerful, got a tear outta' me. Which settles this on a very, very
, a series best alongside 'Rosa
'. Yep, okay, your mileage may vary, this could be a tad Marmite where yer uber-cosmic Solitract Frog is concerned but I loved it. No more inane than an Alpha Centauri, Erato, Cassandra or Slitheen. Plus inane is good. This was brilliant, warm , human and absolutely, wonderfully 'Who' for me.
'The future's behind you
Loving the Who from a very early age and invariably banging on about it. Hence the blog.
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