Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEp10-300This past week Mark Gatiss took us back to the 80s. Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy and find out how we felt about Duran Duran, Ultravox, submarines, and most importantly, the ICE WARRIOR. Who was thrilled? Who was meh? Who wants to make out with the set designer and director? All these things and more await you on this week’s Verity!


Also covered:
A Celebration of Doctor Who! (Facebook event page)
Big Finish: Eldrad Must Die!
The Spartacus finale kills all joy forever.
“I Built a TARDIS” video!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:02:14) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 10 – Cold Warriors of the Deep" (18)

  1. I really loved Cold War. It was my first experience of the Ice Warriors and also the first time in awhile that I genuinely felt absolutely terrified of a Doctor Who episode. I ended up seeing it twice because the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) repeats Doctor Who on ABC2 at 8:30 Monday. I made the error of watching the Fades afterwards which was also terrifying so um not good when dreaming.

    It was a great mash up of things. submarine, the Cold War, a returning villain I had never encountered before, 80s electro music and David Warner. Mark Gatiss did a brilliant job.

    I love that Mark Gatiss’ next episode The Crimson Horror will have five female characters. So it will be great to see how that turns out.

  2. Wow – I didn’t even think of the fact that the cast was almost entirely male in this episode and I wrote an article back in February about the woeful lack of women writers in Doctor Who and the sexism that has appeared in some stories. I feel kind of hypocritical now but I absolutely loved this episode. I’ve been lukewarm towards other Mark Gatiss stories but this one really ramped up the tension. I appreciated the fact that the Ice Warrior was portrayed as a person with an emotional center rather than just a cold-hearted monster. I thought the bit where Skaldak reminisced about his daughter and the red snow was lovely. I can’t defend the use of the cattle prod in a veritable deluge of water but I was willing to let that slide since the rest of the story felt tight and well-crafted. Stepashin was an opportunity wasted perhaps but I’m not sure he was necessary to the story to begin with.

    I suppose the reason the lack of women didn’t bother me as much as it might have (I admit I may be searching for my own justifications) is that the setting was a Soviet submarine in the 1980’s where women were not likely to be found anyway. I agree that wouldn’t be such a big deal if we also had episodes that featured a mostly female cast. Or even more importantly if we had episodes that were penned by women writers. Only one woman writer has appeared in the entire run of New Who – Helen Raynor – who wrote four episodes back in series 3 and 4.

  3. Chris (@Silver_Nemesis) said:

    I really enjoyed this episode and see it as a redemption for Mark Gatiss as his episodes have been getting less good (I don’t want to say “worse” as that suggests they were bad) ever since the heights of Unquiet Dead.

    I think one of the aspects of the sexism problem is that there are a multitude of historical settings where sexism existed at the time, the people were at least majority male but that there would be an interesting story to be found. This means that there are times and places where if you wanted to represent it accurately you would have an all male cast. There isn’t a natural historic situation I can think of where there would be an all-female cast and I worry that a present or future setting with a majority of one gender would look forced. That doesn’t mean I don’t think the writers should try to achieve it, more that in episodes like Cold War I think we are seeing the sins of the past rather than the sins of the present.

    The lack of female writers is more of a concern for me. I don’t know if Helen Raynor is actually part of the problem as the stories she has written are consistently voted amongst the least popular with fandom. However, having just finished reading Chicks Unravel Time I am now more convinced then ever that there are enough intelligent, creative female writers who love and understand the show for more of them to be given the opportunity. (As a side note, I loved the book and knew I was going to as soon as I got it – I have a habit with new books of opening them to a random page and reading a paragraph to get a flavour of the book. This one referenced Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place. Win.)

    On the subject of fan service, I think Mark Gatiss did it a couple of different ways here and he got it right every time. The use of the HADS to remove the TARDIS created a more critical situation. This was necessary for the story and by using something canonical from the classic series it kept the classic fans happy whilst making no difference to new fans as he would have had to invent something else if he hadn’t used it. The other thing was using the Ice Warriors themselves. In the same way that Dalek did, an iconic creature was given added depth and story and made to look that little bit better. The different appearance and voice even make sense (if you read enough into it). Previously we have only seen foot soldiers and Ice Lords. Skaldak was a general – a battlefield commander of troops. This means he would be different from both the everyday infantry and the politico class of Ice Lord. I know that’s me writing extra back story but it’s what immediately came to mind whilst watching it.

  4. I know I said on Twitter that “I’m a fan and I like to be serviced.” Needs to be either a T-shirt or a Gally ribbon, but I also want to point out that it CAN be both!

    Also, In a bit of shameless self promotion, we interviewed Astrid (Silly Sparrowness) on the Happiness Patrol podcast a little over a year ago and she is absolutely nice and wonderful as you would expect a Doctor Who watching, TARDIS building, chicken owning Bavarian school teacher to be.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Loved the vid! Will have to check out your interview with Astrid. And yes,Fan Service comes in all sizes – it really can be both. 😉

  5. Ray Adamson said:

    Thanks for another comprehensive analysis/review of the Cold War.I don’t know that i completely subscribe to the opinion that Mark Gatiss’ writing for Doctor Who is almost procedural in it’s construction as i can always seem to respect how much attention he devotes to building the environments and characters in his scripts as well as developing the relationship between the Doctor and his fellow travellers.It’s odd how he seems unable to resist separating the Doctor from his companion to move his plots along.The contrast between Cold War and the previous stories in terms of the number of scenes Matt and Jenna Louise shared together was rather apparent,Most of Jenna Louises’ strongest work in this episode was in her scenes with David Warners Professor Grisenko.I appreciate that there was some attention in this story devoted to depicting a period of adjustment to the gravity of her new experiences as well as the close encounters with new species.I really liked the way the story concluded with the Doctor saluting Skaldek as he departed for being honourable and intelligent enough to spare humankind from armageddon despite their transgressions.Significantly though,i feel the quality of performance from supporting actors is exceeding the characterisation in the scripts pretty constantly at the moment and i hope that improves.I’ve been contemplating the discussion about how contemporary companions are too central to ongoing story arcs and how uncomfortable many long term fans are.I actually believe that it’s a bit of a necessity considering how thoroughly the new series has examined the dramatic implications of people being invited to accompany the Doctor that there needs to be considerable justification for the Doctor risking their lives constantly.Finally,it is always their own decision but considering the Doctor is well aware of the consequences of what he’s doing,he has to have a strong incentive now for removing them from their backgrounds,if he’s still going to be heroic.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Thanks for another detailed comment, Ray.

      I don’t think you’re alone in pondering the issue of the companion becoming too central to the story arc, or, in some cases, being the entire story arc. It’s a trope that has worked well in the past (both in the modern and classic eras) but, with the exception of Martha, it has been EVERY companion since 2005. Personally, I’d like another Tegan-esque companion where someone just wanders in and is whisked away for hijinks and adventure.

      • Ray Adamson said:

        It’s just way more difficult to execute that kind of accidental introduction in the contemporary series because of mobile phones and Police Boxes being antiquities now.I suppose it could be made to work if that happened in a historical period or if somebody was just investigating what was going on,if they saw the Doctor going in but it’s much more awkward now.Hope the resolution of this woman twice dead idea justifies all the effort that’s put into setting it up.It has left Moffat vulnerable to accusations about revisiting storylines and has been very challenging for Jenna- Louise.

  6. I really didn’t like this episode at all. It was a weak remake of “Dalek” that changed its mind to become a weak remake of “Alien” before becoming a weak remake of “The Abyss” at the end. Plus the ridiculous CGI Ice Warrior face was pretty much the worst CGI the series has had. Full review here:

    • Chris (@Silver_Nemesis) said:

      How can you say that this was the worst CGI after the apalling green-screening for the space bike in the Rings of Akhaten?

      • I personally found it worse than the space bike, which I must admit surprised me during Akhaten for its unbelievable crappiness.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Grant – as much as I ADORED this episode, I have to agree with you on the CGI. It was very much at the level of stock children’s programming here in the States.

  7. I expected to adore this episode: I enjoy base-under-seige setups and love the Troughton era, was stoked for the return of the Ice Warriors, and I am one of the fans that loves to be serviced. Throw in all the classic references you want, I eat it up. On paper, this was my ideal episode.
    But something about Cold War just didn’t click with me. It felt like so much action/tension in the very beginning, which was great, and then the expected running around the sub, and then it just…fizzled out. At least to me. That was it? They just sort of talk Skaldak out of blowing things up and he leaves? I didn’t DISlike it, and I’d watch it again, but it was definitely my least favorite in series 7 so far.

    I did like the new Ice Warrior costume, and the twist that he got out of the armor (I hadn’t even considered that they HAD armor, I’d thought it was just what their bodies looked like!) but I do wish we hadn’t seen his face. I found the unknown much more eerie than the actual reveal.

  8. […] War” Podcast My Lasst […]

  9. Six Months in a Leaky Boat is a New Zealand song, not an Australian one.

    • Go on, Paul, you know anything New Zealand does can be automatically claimed as Australian. : )

      • bekitty said:

        No no no, Australia’s the West Island of New Zealand. Kiwis can claim anything Australian as ours. It’s just that most of the time we don’t actually want to. 😉

  10. […] War” Podcast My Lasst […]

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