Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Me and Miss Jones...we got a thing going on...(perhaps)

It’s back, BACK, BACK!

The departure of Rose and the defeat of the Cyber-Dalek invasion seems like a very long time ago. Although we did of course have the runaway bride to plug the gap at Christmas time. But finally the months of waiting have paid off and the third series of Dr Who is upon us.

It all kicked off this Saturday with the Season Three opener “Smith and Jones”.

And one of its major talking points has of course been, the introduction of new companion Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman.

And the verdict? I for one really, really liked her. Probably more than Rose in fact (although it’s very early days and Martha could metamorphosise into smug-companion, as I felt Rose did in the latter stages – let's hope not!) She was down to earth, intelligent, sassy, honest, funny and refreshingly uncomplicated. And she also had a kind of easy-going confidence about her which I liked - although naturally some of the events that transpired in the episode kind of knocked her for six. However having said that I did think her reaction to some events was rather too laid back, for example when the entire hospital was transported to the Moon: “We’re on the Moon…we’re on the bloody Moon!” Okay on paper that actually sounds quite convincing, I just felt she should have been slightly more…shocked about it.

Granted, Earth has already seen its fair share of alien invasions before (Slitheen, Sycorax, Cybermen, Daleks – and it was nice to see Martha acknowledging all these past events – so I guess the old human race is getting rather blasé about extraterrestrial happenings now).

Personally I think we needed a cut away scene to the hospital café at this point, with two old ladies having tea and biccies:

“Oh my God Doris, look out of the window! We’ve been transported to the moon!”

“Oh come on Ada love, it’s nowt. I mean I’ve seen a frickin’ Slitheen spaceship crashing into Big Ben, then there was that bloody big Sycorax thing making a horrible black shadow all the way across London. I couldn’t watch the Queen’s Speech properly, it was so bloody dark in the lounge. And only last month we had those bloody annoying – what are they called? Durex? And those metal Cybermen things – god, they make such a racket with their crashing great feet, such a disturbance – having a ruddy big fight! Those silly screeching pepperpots kept going "Exterminate" and those silver thingamies shouting "Delete"! It was just SO inconvenient. I mean there was I, waiting at the bus stop to go to Tescos, and they kept shooting laser beams all over the place! Old Mr Smithers from next door was cut clean in half by one of them, the poor dear”.

Quite. As I was trying to say, in spite of Earthlings’ increasing acquaintance with all manner of space creatures, I still think Martha could have been a bit more incredulous in her responses to the (literally) earth-moving events around her. Oh well. On the whole I liked her a lot. And it’s clear that she’s partially attracted to the Dr but is doing her best to conceal this fact. The final scene in the TARDIS, where Martha decides to accompany the Dr on his travels, had some sharp dialogue with Martha telling the Dr that she was only attracted to humans, not aliens “for the record, I’m not remotely interested”. But when the Dr curtly replies “Good!” we (but not the Doc) see a distinctly crestfallen look on her face!! And in typical TARDIS fashion the ship bucks all over the place on take off, with the Dr shouting over the noise: “Welcome aboard, Miss Jones” and Martha replying “It's my pleasure, Mr Smith!” Lovely stuff, although if you’re as old as me, you might remember “Planet of Fire” contained a very similar ending with the Dr and new companion Peri.

Oh and I guess it does help that Freema is a rather gorgeous looking young lady. I might bat for the other side but she still floats my boat. And I’m sure the fellas have all noticed that she has a rather nice bottom.

As for the plot, it was rather thin on the ground: a blood-sucking plasmavore, masquerading as one of the patients, hides out in a hospital, then a large number of alien stormtroopers with rhino heads come after her. There wasn’t much more to it than that. Oh and I also couldn’t help wondering – why did the Judoon have to arrange for an entire hospital to be beamed to the Moon, just to capture one criminal? Would it not have been a lot easier and less time-consuming to have teleported themselves into the hospital on Earth, grabbed the granny and done a runner? Anyway, in the absence of a decent plot there was at least a good sense of pace and lots of action. Most importantly there was room for the introduction of Martha and a focus on her growing dynamic with the Doc.

The Judoon themselves did look pretty good – I loved their rhino features, spacesuits and the stick things that marked people’s hands – and their entrance, touching down on the Moon and marching en masse into the hospital – was powerful and impressive. A pity then that their full monstrous potential wasn’t quite realised, considering that their only real purpose for being there was to capture an old biddy. I think they need a decent return story.

Anne Reid as the human-cum-plasmavore was nicely menacing although I found the use of a straw to suck people’s blood a bit naff (surely it would take ages that way?)

Roy Marsden was a little underused although suitably bureaucratic in an NHS kind of way.

What about David Tennant? To my mild irritation he seems to be exhibiting the same hyperactive characteristics that were on show last season. Not all the time, but the manic manner and silly faces were nevertheless back in force again. I don't want to trash DT's performance because there are positive, more in depth aspects to it (watch the Dr's reaction when Martha reveals that she lost her cousin in the attack on Torchwood tower, for instance) but there's also a superficiality which does tend to undermine this. Ah well. Let's see what the rest of the season brings.

And then there was Martha’s family. Given the choice, I’d rather that they hadn’t featured atall. It’s too much like the Tyler clan all over again. The opening sequence, in which Martha is indundated with phone calls from her sister, brother, Mum and Dad, felt very contrived, as did the end sequence with the family all having a row outside the pub. All too soap opera-ish and obviously set up to show the hassles that Martha has to put up with, therefore increasing her desire to clear off somewhere like, oh, another place and time and leave them to their own devices. Mmm. Russell T Davies does have a bit too much of a fondness for the “domestic”. I applaud the fact that the New Who is rooted in some kind of reality and acknowledges things like male-female relationships, not to mention male-male ones! (a sign of the times - the old style Dr Who was very coy about all this!) But I sometimes think RTD dwells on these aspects a little too much. This is a science fiction show after all. I’m not saying that the Jones family are bad characters in their own right, I just question their place in Dr Who. In particular, the ooer-missus shenanigans of Mr Jones and his tarty blonde mistress belong more in the realms of Eastenders. I hope all these elements aren’t overplayed in the rest of the series.

Overall though a very promising start. And I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series shapes up. More than just looking forward in fact. Positively wetting my cosmic panties!

7 Comments:

  • At 7:25 pm , Blogger Steve said...

    Totally, totally agree. The Judoon actually reminded me of the Vogons from Hitchhiker's Guide...

    I liked your little old lady scene. Russell T needs to get you on board as script editor pronto! I imagined the two old ladies as closely resembling the Mrs Brady character from Viz...

     
  • At 3:37 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    Glad you enjoyed it, Simon. I did too which was something of a surprise! Like yourself, not unreservedly. I would've script-edited out the "bloody" you mention. I know it's mild but how can you tell young kids not to swear if it's included in a family show?

    I wish RTD would stop referring back to his own adventures. He never references any others! I wanted to shout " It's OK Russell, we remember!" It was nice to see an episode that didn't mention Torchwood and one that doesn't include Russell's own personal agenda.

    Martha's Dad's been in "Doctor Who" before, in episode 5 of "The Trial of a Time Lord". I'm sad enough to be able to remember some of actor Trevor Laird's lines from that 1986 serial. "There's nothing down that way," he says menacingly to sixth Doctor Colin Baker, "Only the Lukoser"! I think he has a very rich and distinctive voice.

     
  • At 1:43 pm , Blogger Minge said...

    Hurrah!

    Oh, and keep those panties. You can sell them on ebay.

     
  • At 4:14 pm , Blogger Minge said...

    Peri was always my favourite.

     
  • At 4:16 am , Blogger Brian said...

    Yes, I enjoyed it but I just don't think we've seen enough Martha to pass judgment, good or bad, quite yet. I'm not sure she's any different than Rose was when we first met her. She's smart and can take charge in a crisis situation; both qualities Rose displayed early on.

    The Judoon were interesting, if tepid. Do you think they and the Sontarans have the same fashion consultant?

    I'm certainly willing to give Martha a chance and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

     
  • At 4:20 am , Blogger Brian said...

    And am I the only one who was glad that the Doctor expelling the radiation from his body didn't end with a fart?

     
  • At 9:23 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Steve - I'm so glad you think so! Move over RTD! I should demand that he rewrites the episode pronto. Maybe I can persuade him to insert the extra scene before it comes out on DVD.

    Timewarden - I think you're slightly harsh about the "bloody" thing - not so bad surely? I guess the referencing was a bit inevitable as we had to find out about the link between Martha and Adeola. Mind you that seemed to be more for the viewer's benefit than the Dr's, as he clearly didn't see the resemblance (in spite of the fact he'd only met Adeola in Canary Wharf a few episodes before - oh Doc, you're a forgetful fellow! Still when you're saving the world maybe individual faces get forgotten...)

    As usual you surpass yourself in the reference stakes.

    Minge - But didn't Turlough in his panties float your boat more than Peri (in Planet of Fire?) I thought she started out okay but then got pretty whingy and annoying and I wasn't that keen on the "cat and dog" relationship she had with Colin Baker.

    Brian - Thanks for the comment, and welcome! Yes let's see how Martha shapes up. Just seen "The Shakespeare Code" and she was pretty good in that I thought - I loved all the flirtations scenes with Will Shakespeare and it was good to see her putting her medical skills to use too.

    Yes the Judoon and Sontarans obviously shop at the same cosmic branch of Top Shop.

    And as I said on Minge's blog, I too was glad there was no fart gag - seems we were all dreading/expecting that - must be something to do with those bloody Slitheen!

     

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