Thursday, November 5, 2009

7th Doctor - Earth Aid (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Mysterio & The Whore World
Dr Who & The Uninspiring Star Trek Piss-Take
Doctor Who: The Taxi of the Metra (Canada Only)

Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed smug in this story.

"My hands have claws. I crush spacecraft with my hands. Um, and claws. The claws should not be underestimated in the process of spacecraft-crushing. Not at all. Or my fangs. Did I mention the fangs? My fangs are teeth. Well, my teeth are fangs. Yes, and I tear their spacecraft with my teeth. And fangs. The fangs are involved in the whole tearing-up-space-craft scenario procedure quite a lot. Claws and fang, tooth and hand or... hang on, how does it do again? Eh? Sorry, Andrew, what was that you just said? What do you mean 'this is a take'?"

"Polite prisoners don't take people! Wait, I've got that arse-about..."

Goofs –
The entire cast are very clearly pissed out of their heads. The Metatraxi Prime holds a yard-glass of Speckled Goat in every scene! To be fair, though, Ensign Herriman is clearly sober – judging by all those amphetamines he's sucking down like smarties...
In the end credits, the script editor is credited as "Andrw Throat-Wobbler Mangrove" while the costume designer as "Bob".
Just why the hell did Ace pretend to be Captain Janeway when she makes it very clear she considers ST: Voyager an abomination of moral bankruptcy and lowest-common-denominator perversion in the form of Jerri Ryan in skin-tight spandex? Is Ace just satirizing the inherent masculine oligarchy that has been part of Star Fleet since the very beginning? Or is she just a bloody hypocrite hijacking space ships for shits and giggles? I'm sorry, I don't know why I even asked...

Fashion Victims -
Really? Samurai Insects? Are you dicking with me?!

Technobabble -
"0-0-MPS! That means no response on the RFQ band or the UVPTP laser! We're T-minus 30 on the P1CC, which threatens all our pre-bingo maneuvering reserves!"

Links and References -
The starship !C-Mel was so named because it warp drives sound like Bonnie Langford screaming in F Sharp.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor built Stonehenge in just under three weeks when he got into a bit of a DIY craze in his third incarnation.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A special feature about Patrick Stewart's repeated efforts to sue the BBC for taking the piss out of him, and why they only awarded him damages because of this story's content.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: In the words of Powdered Toast Man... LEAVE EVERYTHING TO ME!!

Ace: Make it so! Engage! Steady as she goes! Belay that!
Mariko: Captain, have you been taking your medication?
Ace: Coo-coo-ca-choo!

Metatraxi: Fighting an unarmed opponent is against the Metatraxi Code!
Metatraxi Prime: ...I know. Why are you telling me this?
Metatraxi: Just. You know. Thought it was worth mentioning.

Herriman: Remember people, think before you shoot!
Jones: Admiral philosophy!
Admiral Philosophy: Yes? You called?
Jones: Um... nothing. Sorry.

Doctor: The creature before you is a conceptovore – a data vampire. Its true name is whispered fearfully in the shadows of a thousand worlds. And that name is... the NOSTRADATUS!
Ace: Nostra...datus?
Doctor: Yes. I'm afraid you heard correctly the first time.

McGough: Who are you and what are you doing here?
Jones: A generalistic question of identity, biography, topography, history and philosophy! Oh, if I charged money for every answer I give to a question, you'd be in real trouble by now, let me tell you!
Ace: You know, I preferred you when you just shut up and molested cats.

Metatraxi Prime: Hive Commander! Captured them!
Metataxi: "Captured"? Mmm. What does "captured" mean?
Metatraxi Prime: What am I? A bloody dictionary? It means you make them come with you but don't kill them.
Metatraxi: DON'T kill them?
Metatraxi Prime: Are you seriously the best we can do? SERIOUSLY?

Dialogue Triumphs -


Ace: This is mutiny, Mr. Herriman. I'll see you swing from the highest yard-arm in Titan Docking Port for this day's work. You WANKER!

Herriman: Ensign Herriman reporting! Nothing to report!
Mariko: So you're reporting... that there's nothing to report?
McCough: Don't try to be clever, Mariko.

Doctor: There's a chance we might fall apart before too long!
Metatraxi: You let others die for you! You put others in peril and they suffer and die, all for your selfish objectives!
Doctor: Only time will tell if I am right or wrong.
Metatraxi: You care nothing for those who travel with you and fight at your side! You bring nothing but pain and danger to the ones you pretend to care about! You use them and when they are no longer of any use to you, you discard them! They mean nothing to you!
Doctor: Think of what you're saying – you can get it wrong and still you think that it's all right!
Metatraxi: You grow weary, you are tired, you are totally bogus!
Doctor: We can work it out!
Metatraxi: Plus you recite Beatles lyrics when you can't think of anything clever to say to win an argument...

The Metatraxi Prime observes Cat Molester Jones at work –

Doctor: Once upon a time there was a race of things – things that weren't human. And this race of things that weren't human had a thirst for conquest. Which was rather a human trait, even though they weren't human. I can’t emphasize that enough. These things which weren't human would have wiped out every other life form in the sea of stars – even the ones that WERE human, although that did not include themselves because, as I mentioned earlier, they weren't actually human at all. They would have got away with it too if they could only overcome their limitations. They were extremely limited, you know. Rather like humans. But they weren't humans. That's the amazing things. They were almost identical to humans in every way, shape and form. But they weren't. Actually, I'm not even certain about that any more. Who were we talking about again? Humans? I think it was humans... Yes, humans. I couldn't put that any more lucidly myself!

UnQuotable Quote -
Ace: Wow, that well tedious!

Viewer Quotes -

- the Monk on the Doctor's claims of building Stonehenge (2003)

"ave this 9/10 but shou have given it a 10/10. I thoought it was funny,interesting, very Hitchhiker's Guide by way of Trek but a good satire without being silly and it had some tension. PerhapsI was nt payng attention but how did the Doc get himself as ship's doc and Ace as Captain? I was interested in thisto see how Ace faired as a space cptain and she did ell seemed a bit William Shatner which is fine by me. I like Shatner. The humor reall worked in regard to everything especially past DW. Wish BF was always like this. This story als reminded me of Tom Bakers later era whch is good too"
- Zygote With a Keyboard LiveJournal (2011)

"What the hell was this garbage?"
- Eloquent Fence-Sitters Weekly (September 1990)

"I've found this season to be a revelation, personally. They're certainly the only Doctor Who stories I've seen that made rush up to Michael Grade and offer him oral sex in gratitude for preventing this toss from ever reaching the screens of decent, license-fee-paying British citizens. Even WORSE than I imagined! I HATE YOU ALL!"
- James Bow (1993)

"It's that strange quirk of message boards - you can squee your head off without elaborating and it's all good. Take the opposite end of the spectrum and suddenly it's invalid ("lazy") and/or a personal insult! Well, this was awful, for the reasons that you and others have outlined so well. This was a waste of time and more importantly for me, a waste of fanwank. For shame!"
- Lawrence Miles on... well, actually, it could be about anything. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it involved Steven Moffat, Star Wars and a Bagpuss DVD, and leave it at that.

"Each story seems to be a bunch of ideas mashed up and thrown together, which is a problem as each idea is complete shite! For me, The Fishmonger will remain the significantly more successful follow-up to Survival in terms of style, plotting, and character. It's much easier to pretend that these four tedious abominations never happened!"
- the bloke who wrote The Fishmonger (2011)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"No complaints from me at all! Vendettas, yeah, but no complaints!"

Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"I've enjoyed the journey my Doctor has made into those darker realms. So as you can imagine, I despise this lighthearted guff with every fiber of my perfectly-proportioned body. Humor is terrifically enjoyable to do... when it's funny. That's a distinction so many people seem to overlook these days. Yes, on second thoughts, I think I'll quit this year. I don't want to risk suffering another story this bad."

Sophie Aldred Speaks!
"Ace has a tendency to be a bumptious, facetious and criminally insane. I mean, seriously, someone who keeps high explosives in her back pack and goes looking for a fight should be taken out by SAS snipers rather than taking up William Shatner's role on Star Trek. Mind you, Ace isn't as much as a hypocrite as that wanker, is she? So that's something. Anyway, it's probably for the best that I quit this year. In fact, the sooner the better. Hopefully I can sneak out halfway through the season before any of the other drunken halfwits twig what's up..."

Trivia -
We are seriously better off NOT having seen this season.

Rumors & Facts –

From a present-day perspective, it seems inevitable that Doctor Who would become one of the most popular things on human television, with the crème de le crème of British writing talent squatting in Wales churning out epic, emotional and very-badly-dubbed masterpieces starring Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and occasionally Paul McGann that are instantly available on magical shiny discs for less than two cows and your firstborn son. But then, everything seems bloody inevitable in hindsight, doesn't it? Especially for you smug precognitive soothsayer bastards! Yeah, you knew I was going to insult you, it doesn't mean I'm wrong, though!

But it now emerges that, after 1989's Season 26, Doctor Who came perilously close to cancellation. Hell, many people automatically assume it WAS cancelled, cause they sure as hell never saw that final season which would cement the show's post-1988 return to form! No, the series was left dangling after the inconclusive Survival, and viewers were denied scenes which would now define the show in the public eye... rather than Amy Pond having a threesome with her husband and a version of herself from ten seconds in the future. Which, admittedly, is a scene that lingers in the memory for one HELL of a long time.

The arrival at the BBC of executives with a business-based approach (most notably Michael "SHOW ME THE FUCKING MONEY!!" Checkland and the man who would replace him as Director John "HE SAID SHOW ME THE FUCKING MONEY GODAMMIT" Birt) has been blamed by Corporation employees and rival broadcasters alike for much of what is seen to be wrong with British broadcasting in the nineties, the collapse of the British pound, the death of the Princes in the tower, the pillaging of Rome by Alan the Visigoth and the infestation of giant caterpillar people on the planet Calufrax Major. And quite right too.

Yet, it was the politics of localized cost accountability (also known as the "SHOW ME THE FUCKING MONEY OR I BREAK YOUR FUCKING LEGS!" principle of Negative Cash-Flow Waveforms) was what persuaded BBC1 Controller Jonathan "You May Think That But I Couldn't Possibly Comment" Powell to allow Doctor Who to continue for one more year.

Mind you, a detailed financial breakdown of the series - showing that ALTHOUGH it was performing poorly against ITV's "Watching Paint Dry With Torville, Dean & Roland the Rat", it DID pay for itself twice over through syndication overseas, merchandise licenses, illegal pornography rings, drug cartels, disorganized prostitution and whatever loose change Sylvester McCoy could get for shoving ferrets down his trousers – helped Powell come to this decision.

As were some incriminating photographs. Those helped too.

The last time that Doctor Who was on trial, a complicated and borderline-criminally-insane tangle of fine print and red tape had lead to a full three series of Colin Baker stories being scripted, filmed and produced in total secrecy and not a single frame ever reaching the television screens. Thus, there was a precedent for the BBC to make Season 27 on the legal grounds that no one would ever watch it – giving them the perfect excuse to cancel it anyway but ALSO demand that the cast and crew do everything to make the show brilliant.

Ah, BBC executives. Best fuckwits in the Northern Hemisphere.

Producer John-Satan Turner, script editor Andrew Cartmel and some guy off the street they met called Nobby were left with the task to make Season 27 so awesome it would exert a hold on the public consciousness, even though the public would never see it.

After years of doing insane crap that any random Joe and his mum would have realized was stupendously foolhardy, the production team had noticed that actually doing stuff that WORKED over the previous few years might prove better in the long-term than stubbornly sticking with the stuff that refused to work. Considering 1980s BBC middle management, this is a revelation bordering on divine revelation.

Thus it was decided that the regular cast would comprise the Doctor and one young female companion – and no broken androids, murderous ginger aliens, shape-shifting penguins, robot dogs or anyone answering to the name "Matthew Waterhouse" would be considered.

It was also finally twigged that stories set in recent British history brought out the best from BBC designers (or at least it was easier for them to steal stuff from Poldaark and The Onedin Line), whereas asking them to build an empire of glass five-dimensional fractals speaking with the tongues of long-unborn gods merely ended up with them putting up some silver walls with a sign saying "WELCOME TO THE PLANET ZOG".

What's more, it was also deduced that the best way to avoid people comparing Doctor Who with blockbuster science fiction films was to simply do lots of odd little stories exploring the dark side of human nature. Tales like 8091 Paradise Towers, Bertie Bassett Doesn't Take Shit From Anyone and Goth Night had many, many complaints from all quarters of human society – but no one was accusing them of not being as good as Star Wars, were they?

Having established these crucial ground rules, the Doctor Who production team promptly ignored them all in a philosophical triumph of free will and independent thought. Either that or they were all morons who stopped giving a shit. We may never know.

In a two-fingered salute to Doctor Who's new direction, it was decided to get the show's fourth decade off to a memorable start with an action-based space opera humping the discarded sofa of Douglas Adams. This, after all, used to be standard operating procedure, and Ben Aaaaronovitch (the man to blame for Rememberin' To Take Out The Dustbins, Battlefield: Earth and the Blake's 7 Remake) was chosen to write the mutha. To this end, Aaaaronovitch cut-and-pasted a draft script for a Doctor Who Stage Play that not even Jon Pertwee, Colin Baker or David Banks were willing to perform earlier that year.

Could this be because of the uncomfortably disparate plot elements crammed into too short a space to give the ideas room to breathe? Or maybe because it was utter shite of the first order and inflicted on the world the Meta-bloody-traxi, who were all Meta and no Traxi if you get my not-so-subtle-drift?

Or could the answer lie that this story started with a patented Really-Cool-Idea-For-An-Opening-Sequence and absolutely no rational thought for what would happen AFTER Really-Cool-Opening-Sequence?

What's that you say, Skippy? You think it's all of the above? Oh, what a clever marsupial you are, Skip!

For twenty years, the evil multi-dimensional law firm of Cartmel, Aaaronovitch & Plate had been promising that the next four stories after Survival would be awesome. They would see Ace's coming of age, her rampant ominsexuality, the Doctor's manipulative ways come back to bite him in the backside. They promised story arcs to be confronted head on and pushed further than ever before.

Basically, they promised us any old crap we wanted in the firm belief that Ian Levine wouldn't consume the BBC videotape archive in his usual practice neo-plasmic absorption and discover the un-broadcast Season 27 which had nothing like that at all and was just more predictable angsty crap without any kind of intelligent characterization whatsoever.

As you can imagine, this was to the delight of Big Finish who suddenly had something approaching proof that they actually knew what the fuck they were doing by introducing Hex into the lineup – a decision which had baffled even Philip Olivier himself since 2003.

Ultimately, the weakest element of this story – up against some pretty stiff competition - is its plot, and considering Live Aid is nothing more or less than a clichéd and predictable space-slobber-knocker, that's really quite pathetic when you think about it. I mean, the whole thing is a ghastly pisstake of Star Trek and they CAN'T EVEN GET THAT RIGHT?!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, AAARONOVITCH?!?

We can only assume that this story's main job was leave its audience aching and desperate to never see another wacky sci-fi hi-jinks tale in outer space ever again – have the public yearning for mature, dark, scary drama about real people with real problems rather than inept teenagers pointlessly going undercover in ridiculous, quickly-abandoned plot-threads! They wanted stories that weren't colossal, disappointing squandering wastes with zero re-watch value!

Yes, this was a truly brilliant psychological ploy.

And, had the remainder of Season 27 actually BEEN any of those things, this plan might actually have worked. I could go on, but why waste any more time on it?

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