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July 1, 2007

Doctor Who - 3x1-3x13 - Full series review

Posted on July 1, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Full Season Carusometer

Well, here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for: it's the unveiling of the first ever full-season Carusometer.

It's a bit small, isn't it? Sorry, my blog is only so wide and people's screens are only so much wider. Click on it to get a bigger version that won't mess with your eyes so much.

Anyway, as you can see, we started off all rightish with Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code and Gridlock. We then plummeted into some extraordinary depths with the Dalek two-parter, before beginning a slow crawl back up to the light via The Lazarus Experiment and 42 (which was really only as good as it was thanks to Graeme Harper's direction).

The Human Nature/Family of Blood two-parter was the first undisputed piece of excellence by the series, with Blink almost at the same heights (it would probably get a half-mark if The Carusometer believed in shades of grey and anything other than absolutes. It doesn't, so Blink gets a slight promotion) before a relatively even not-quite brilliant Master trilogy to finish off the series.

Compared with series one and series two then, series three is undoubtedly better, albeit slightly cheaper looking. Once again, we've had to sit through a relatively rubbish first third or so to get to the good stuff, but wasn't it good by the end? David Tennant's been allowed to find his feet properly and given a wide variety of material to work with; Sweet FA has generally had better material to work with than Pipes, even when the attention wasn't on her, but probably hasn't done quite as good a job with it. We've started to veer dangerously close to fanboy territory at times, but I don't think we yet crossed that particularly dangerous event horizon, from which no amount of effort will be able to extract it. And a whole new generation have been scared witless by the Master and got to realise the Daleks really aren't that frightening compared to some of the stuff that's out there.

We've also learned a few lessons this series:

  1. don't waste Graeme Harper on episodes like 42; save him up for stuff like Utopia. Imagine how much better those last three episodes would have been with Graeme Harper helming all of them. Still, he's only human and doing three episodes last year nearly wiped him out, so use him more wisely next year Rusty
  2. don't let Chris Chibnall write anything ever again. Even on his best days, nearly everyone else is better
  3. Rusty really can write. It's just sometimes he chooses not to

Here's to next year, hey?

But before I sign off, I'd just like to say that The Medium is Not Enough has declared the third series of Doctor Who to be a two or “Partial Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might volunteer to cameo as an evil alien genius. However, he will then ruin every take by being unable to understand any actor with an English accent and asking them to repeat the line. Fortunately, some quick thinking by script writers ensures that he is zapped by something sonic and converted into 17 CGI, airbrushed versions of himself that only have one line each, each dubbed by Sam Jones as revenge for Flash Gordon.”

For all my shiny reviews of this series' episodes, you only have to visit the Doctor Who 2007 category. Isn't that handy?

July 1, 2007

Review: Doctor Who - 3x13 - The Last of the Time Lords

Posted on July 1, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Last of the Time Lords

Well, blimey. Who knew Rusty did dark so well*? Not since I was a wee small boy and saw Caves of Androzani have I felt so disturbed after watching a Doctor Who story.

Indeed, it's not since Caves that we've really seen the Doctor get such a thoroughly good kicking, and certainly not deliberately, as the result of a carefully laid and executed plan. That was dark. Really dark. And I liked it, bar the occasional bits of Rustiness.

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June 28, 2007

Review: Last Man Standing 1x1

Posted on June 28, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Last Man Standing

In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, BBC3. Repeated 11.30pm, 2.25am; Sunday 8pm, 12.30am
In the US: Nowhere yet, but who knows. Maybe Discovery or BBC America

Anyone fancy a game of monkey tennis?

That if, you'll recall, was one of Alan Partridge's last-ditch pitches to a BBC commissioner in an attempt to get his own TV show. It's easy to imagine a similar conversation taking place in Soho House, not so long ago, between a desperate producer, a little the worse for wear from white wine and 17 rejections, and a BBC3 commissioner looking for new shows.

“Anthropology Agro!” suggests the tipsy prod. “We send six buff men around the world. They meet all sorts of tribes and cultures. They learn about their lifestyles and their customs. Then they pick fights with them.”

“Hmm,” muses the somewhat patronising BBC3 commissioner. “We are the BBC. We are supposed to be educational and informative. Except we're BBC3. We're watched by chavs and morons and Torchwood fans – who are both chavs and morons. The only way we're going to get our target demographic of XYZ9s to be interested in another country and its culture is by sticking it in an XBox360 first-person shooter backdrop and making sure there are plenty of naked tribeswomen in it.”

Decided, she exclaims, “Brilliant! You're hired” and Last Man Standing is born.

Except, it's the BBC. It's too liberal to be sending the prime of British youth around the world to beat up the natives. That's too Raj, too Empire. We can't do that anymore.

So they've stuck in a couple of provisos.

  1. Three of the six buff young athletes have to be American
  2. They all have to be bollocks at fighting

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