Doctor Who Season 5 (ish) Episode 1 – SPOILERS!


Okay, I’m going to make this quick as I’ve got a backout blind to put up.  It’s the blitz in 1939, Derbyshire.  Confounded time circuits…

Last night, Episode 1 of the new series of Doctor Who.

Great start.  Really, great.  Matt Smith channeling a small amount of Tennant as well as reforming into his gawky college professor at the same time – maybe it’s not being used to the new legs – and the madness of RTD coupled with more natural colours, bringing Moffat’s reign in at as gentle parabola rather than a smash of a change.  Great.  Titles time tunnel effects?  No, don’t like them one bit.  It’ll take time for me to like that.  Especially the, ahem, fiery corridor.

BUT, I can’t get Amy Pond out of my head. No, not for that reason.  There’s something all together, for want of a better word, alien about her.

Amy Pond, is she human?  I’m not that sure.

1.  The beasty in the episode came through a crack in the space in her bedroom that it did not create.  Who did?  Amy or the invisible Aunt?

2. The beasty has been in prison or her house, it’s only contact with the outside world being Amelia/Amy.  How does it know about this, word probably wrong here, Pandoricle that will silence the world?  From the Aunt or from it’s psychic link with Amy?

3. Where are her parents?  We only know she was raised in Scotland.  Her “Aunt” now looking after her.

4. She is scared of nothing really.  That’s not completely normal for a 12 year old child.

5. The Doctor does seem to be quite interested in her and that crack, the contents of the monitor above the console being a wavelength superimposed over the crack. – I’m sure he knows more than he’s letting on.

6. Is she Gallifreyan?  When the Doctor questions her choice of career, she says, “You sound like my Aunt.”  Possibly a throw away line, but this is Steven Moffat after all.  Perhaps she is being hidden on Earth for some reason by a timelord as she is this pandoricle or something to do with it, maybe she is capable of causing collosal cracks in the Space Time Continuum and Earth is, as the Doctor reminds us, a level 5 protected planet.  If I was a child with this sort of power and I ended up living in England away from my home, I mnighnt accidentally open up a crack with my unbalanced emotions.

7.  All this could be bollocks and she might just be a normal girl running away from reality…  Yeah, right.

Final word.

We all know that SM wants to make Doctor Who a little more reminiscent of the classic series, but keeping the feel of the new series.  Who wouldn’t, sounds like the perfect decision to me.  And, as we all know, the classic Doctors had alien companions as well as Earth born ones.  Is this a cushion into introducing a non human companion?  Oo, I do hope so.

Being Human


The main cast of BBCs new series Being human

The main cast of BBC's new series "Being human"


For quite some time, the United States have shown that when it comes to Fantasy and Science Fiction, they rule the roost.  Let’s face it, the wonders of Lost, Fringe, Chuck, Eureka  plus having a history that includes Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Outer Limits  and thier contemporaries shows that the US TV industry knows how to put its money where it’s mouth is.

This side of the pond, we have lived off a twee existence of science fiction programing born from the wobbling sets and man-in-a-suit monsters associated with Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 of old.  Apart from the odd piece of accidental cash injections into the genre – such as the BBC’s adaptation of The Day of The Triffids – this has not been seen a serious genre for the British to throw money into.  Then in 2005 the BBC brought back Doctor Who with a more proportional budget in relation to its demand and rewrote our concept of what the UK could accomplish. Remember, a lot of CGI in motion pictures is done in the UK now – especially with a weakened Sterling of late.   Since then the UK has created Torchwood, Primeval, Demons, and so many others, the most recent being “Being Human”

Based on a pilot created in the mind of Toby Whithouse which aired in the Summer of 2008, Being Human is a show very much out its comfort zone.  Neither a straight comedy nor a horror drama, it tells us the tale of three supernatural beings – a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost – all living in a house together in the suburbs of a City, the two living characters spending their days working in low profile jobs at the local Hospital.  All three of them are only just coping on a daily basis with their individual situations and the problems it creates for them in the world of naturals around them.

The Vampire, Mitchell, and the werewolf, George, moved into the house in an attempt to forge something like a normal life only to find a tea making ghost, Annie, living there. Having chased out the previous tenants, Annie can only be seen by supernaturals such as werewolves and vampires and thus the three of them seem to forge something of a normal relationship.  If only.

In this six part series there is evidence from the first episode that something on a grand scale is afoot.  Their are other vampires in the City and they seem to be awaiting for some imminent event that will tip the balance between them and normal people, putting Mithell – a vampire trying to stay on the wagon – at some kind of risk.  George is finding it hard to come to terms with his “curse” and Annie doesn’t seem able to resolve issues she has over the actual cause of her death, something we can currently only guess at.

The thing about this series is that something tells me it shouldn’t work.  It should end up being a farcical mish-mash.  But it isn’t.  In fact it is well written, heart-felt and poignant in every possible way.  Mitchell’s everyday exterior occasionally slips to show a sinister maturity and the animal underneath, his suffering more akin to a drug addiction making it accessible to angst ridden teens and 30 year olds alike.  George’s blustering, house proud character and his inability coping with his other self is sometimes hilarious and at other times heart-rending.  Annie’s character is caring and almost childlike one moment and the next appears alone and sad even in a crowded room.  The secondary characters driving the plot are solid and played with deft hands.  The filming is well lit and atmospheric and the visual effects – which go from recolouring eyeballs black to a complete werewolf change sequence not dissimilar to the masterful work of Rick Baker on American Werewolf in London – are wonderful.  it scores on so many levels, it deserves to go on for some time.

Two episodes in and I am completely in love with everything about it.  It has classic written all over it. If you are in the UK and can get to the bbc iplayer service, download it and watch it.  If you are in the US, you are so going to be in for a treat.

Arthur C. Clarke – The Science and the Fiction

I have just used the BBC listen again service – fantastic service it is, too – to listen to a biography on the life of Arthur C. Clarke.  It’s only about half an hor long, but it is reallt interesting.  Here’s the link:

It was recorded back in October 0f 2005, two and a half years before his death this March, and is a wonderful glimpse into the life and mind of one of Great Britain’ s most esteemed scientists as well as a science fiction novelist.

Arthur C. Clarke served in the RAF as a radar instructor and technician from 1941-1946.   It was during this time that he came up with the concept of satellite communication systems in 1945.  As well as winning many awards in his lifetime, he was also the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1947 to 1950 and was finally given a knighthood in 1998, ten years before his death in Sri Lanka.

His work, at the very least, lives on as some of the best speculative fiction in the world along with Asimov, Pohl and the like.