We went there. Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we delve into the deep past of Mark Gatiss‘ scripted Doctor Who work for our “year of firsts”. It may not be the tightest, flashiest DW-related production ever, but we manage to tease out some Gatissisms that recur later. We do our darnedest to stay positive! And even succeed to some extent.
Have you seen P.R.O.B.E. – The Zero Imperative? What did you think? Did it quench your need for Who in a time without it? Or did the all-star cast distract you too much to pay much attention to the spooky story?
It’s a live-in-person (though not live-in-front-of-a-studio-audience) episode of Verity! Join Deb and Erika as we sit in a hotel room at LI Who and talk about the con and what we liked (and didn’t) about Mark Gatiss’ latest story, “Sleep No More”.
What did you think of this story? It seems to be a divisive one. Which side of the divide were you on? Let us know in the comments! (And remember to be civil.)
The onslaught of new Doctor Who continues with a much-needed romp. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Liz as we find out who enjoys joy and who has a cold, black, grumpy fangirl heart. We also check in on how an under-the-weather Liz has been feeling about Capaldi!Doctor. Plus, we announce a giveaway! Lots of fun stuff this week!
What did you think of this lighthearted episode? Did it make you laugh and cheer? Or did you shake your head and roll your eyes? Let us know in the comments! (Reminder: we’ve created a separate post for contest entries, so please go there and leave a comment to enter!)
This week’s episode feels more reverent than most, which seems fitting, given the subject matter. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we have an almost NPR-style chat about what we enjoyed in this “love letter to Doctor Who.” We all enjoyed it to varying degrees, but as you might expect, some of us had wee quibbles with it. Generally very wee, though. Think of this ep as a mellow way to ease out of the giant (sometimes exhausting) squee-fest that these past few weeks have been.
Kat can’t turn around without someone talking/posting about Doctor Who!
Saturday brought us Mark Gatiss’ sophomore series 7b story. Savvy? Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy as we cover “The Crimson Horror.” One of us really didn’t like it, and it may not be who you expect. See who thinks what about the Victorian trio. Find out who doesn’t know who The Wiggles are. Marvel that Erika bought a Doctor Who audio. And if you’re like Lynne when she’s not on the episode, yell at the recording for being so wrong!
I’ve been thinking about Mark Gatiss’ “Cold War” since we recorded, and I think I’ve put my finger on the number one reason it disappointed me. I can sum it up in one word: tension. Actually, it was the lack thereof, so it’s three words. Anyway, I’ve seen lots of people say they were gripped by this episode, but I was so far from the edge of my seat, I was literally reclining.
The story felt very by-the-numbers. Sometimes that’s okay in horror—you really do need to include certain elements or it ceases to be horror, but when you’re going to stick to those numbers very closely, you need to do something else that’s compelling to get me to buy in. This story lacked anything resembling that. I thought maybe the return of a classic villain might do it for me. Alas, it did not.
One of the “numbers” was the friend-turned-enemy subplot with Lieutenant Stepashin. Yes, I disliked him the way I was supposed to, but then that plot didn’t really go anywhere. Maybe killing him off so soon and suddenly was Gatiss’ attempt to get away from “the numbers,” but if so, it failed. Perhaps with more time to play out, it would’ve worked well. I come back to my assertion (while recording) that this felt like a classic episode of Who shoved into a new-Who time-slot.
The bright side of “Cold War” (excepting the set and direction, of course: drool) was Clara, but as she wasn’t exactly shining here, that didn’t make up for much. And I can’t say I was fond of the exchange between Clara and the Doctor when she says “Saved the world then. That’s what we do.” It made them sound like a superhero team. I’m not sure how I feel about the Doctor’s interference being so blatantly referred to that way. I know that’s what the show has become, and maybe one can’t blame Clara for seeing it like that after only a few encounters, but I much prefer the Doctor to bumble along and save people almost incidentally. And I should stress *people*. Saving the world/universe/all of time is wearing a bit thin for me.
Nits to pick:
Why does that dude unthaw the Ice Warrior? Like the TARDIS’s disappearance, I find this annoyingly convenient. I realize that both elements are necessary for the story to move forward, but I think that both could’ve been handled more gracefully. The unthawing bit in particular smacks of brute-force storytelling. That’s not something I automatically associate with Mark Gatiss, but perhaps I should now that I think about some of his previous stories. (Spitfires in space, anyone?)
Gosh, those chains on Skaldak must have loosened an awful lot to let the armor open enough for him to escape. Even if you argue that he can completely flatten himself, we *see* the armor open when Clara looks at it, and it opens pretty darn wide. Is everyone on this sub incompetent?
As Tansy said, that poor grunt is lifted up just like Paul McGann in Alien-cubed, but to where is he lifted? It’s such a cramped space, that scene seems unlikely. Maybe subs have between-deck hidey-holes. I don’t know. I’m not a submariner.
I do like that the Doctor comes clean about being a time-traveler so quickly. It’s an approach so rare as to be a refreshing change. A little gem amongst some dull rocks.
Clara of course. Her curiosity at the Ice Warrior when it first appears is amusing as she creeps up behind the Doctor to see it better. I think that bright curiosity fades a bit by the end of the story, and I like that too. After she realizes how real things are she’s more hesitant, but perhaps wiser.
I think it was Tansy who said she liked individual bits of the writing last week. I felt that way to some extent this week. I liked the exchange about speaking Russian, and I loved the line from the Professor about Skaldak wanting to talk to the organ grinder and not the monkey (not to mention Clara’s reaction to it). The dialogue was mostly pretty decent, it was the framework upon which it hung that sagged.
Speaking of the wacky professor, I loved him. When the Doctor says “I could kiss you” and he responds with “If you insist,” I smiled hugely. I’m going to insert a small complaint here in the pros section, and that’s that I wish there was more done with this character. He seemed like he probably had a really interesting, full backstory that we didn’t get to see (again—this story felt squished). I want that backstory. Some have theorized that David Warner will return. I hope that’s the case. I want more of this guy.
This 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!