Posted 02 June 2006 - 09:31 PM
Hmm, wasn't as impressive as I'd expected. The reliance on contemporary reality/game shows is going to hurt it in the long run, since viewers in the future won't remember who Anne Robinson was or get the other references; for that matter, the Weakest Link craze has been dead in the States for so long that I doubt a lot of US viewers understood the "Anne Droid" reference. And since I don't watch reality shows, a lot of this was lost on me. (And what show were those fashion robots based on? Or was that Cyber Eye for the Organic Guy? Ah, never mind -- Wikipedia says it was What Not to Wear.)
The "deadly game show" aspect was too much like "Vengeance on Varos." I think there was a Missing Adventures novel along similar lines, Killing Games. And in this one, the satire of media culture wasn't as effective because it never really went anywhere and got sidetracked into the "hidden manipulator behind the scenes" business.
Still, it had its good points. The idea of the Doctor's actions turning out to have such negative consequences is a nice twist, and continues the theme that's been explored in several episodes this season, particularly the previous episode "Boom Town"; while that one explored the consequences of the Doctor's actions on a personal scale, this did so on a global scale.
Seeing it months after the fact, and knowing the casting for next season, undermined the impact of Rose's apparent death; but I was able to appreciate their cleverness in making Lynda-with-a-Y appear like a potential new companion in order to make it more credible that they might really kill Rose off. Still, now that we know Rose is alive, I wouldn't say much for Lynda's chances of survival.
Of course I loved the nostalgic touch on the Dalek ship, the reuse of the classic "Dalek Control Room" sound effect from the original series, going all the way back to their first-ever appearance (that low-pitched "boop-boop, boop-boop" sound, sort of an electronic heartbeat). Even if I hadn't known in advance who the bad guys were, that sound effect would've given it away.
But about the Daleks being the bad guys... I don't get it. The Daleks are ruthless, malevolent, xenophobic, sadistic, monomaniacal, homicidal. At times they've been devious and calculating. But now Russell Davies seems to be asking us to believe they're capable of whimsy. Why would they manipulate events to make the phrase "Bad Wolf," a reference to a fairy-tale character, follow the Doctor through history? (Not to mention how.) And why would they be behind this Byzantine thing with game shows? Well, I'm willing to grant that that part wasn't their idea -- that they just allowed humanity to develop its own bad habits and managed to twist them into something worse. Even so, the whole thing seems out of character for the Daleks.
Well, I guess we'll find out more next week. Maybe that will make some more sense of it.
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"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time
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