So here we are: my catch-up post on latest telly excitement. Let’s not beat around the bush:
‘Doctor bloody Who: The Sontaran Stratagem’. At first glance this was very old skool and fun – and why not? Bring back a favourite old baddie, dust him down, give him a fab make-over (but keep the same voice?) and you have a really fun villain. His no-nonsense approach is ace, and I loved the whole Sontaran strutting around thing. Brilliant. And I loved his jibe that “words are the weapons of womenfolk!”. Yeah, they really are. Nice observation! Of course, Martha being back (and then er, being back twice, not to spoil owt) is just too fab for words – and the fact that she gets on wi Donna is ace. Donna’s “he’s too skinny! You hug him, you get a paper cut!” had us in stitches, and she did so well in the scenes where she ‘says goodbye’, and also goes back to see Granddad. I loved her and Doctor ‘saying goodbye’, especially her parting shot. Oh Donna, you are ace. Speaking of the Doctor – loved his little wisecracks (“An intruder? How did he get in, then? Intruder window?”) and his little barbs (“A place full of geniuses? I’ll have to go there – I get lonely”), and of course, his treatment of General Staal and that gobby little shite Rattigan. Nice.
Oh! Oh! Oh! My two favourite bits! The Doctor saying “With all this stuff, you could travel to another planet,”, and Rattigan replying, “If only that was possible,”, and the Doctor going “Were. If only that were possible. Conditional clause,” and the consequent ‘and you call yourself a genius’ bit being silent. Bloody marvellous! I have a long and twisted personal history with conditionals and suppositions, but I have corrected a fair few students of the English language on this very point – and then there was that time I was being assessed by Cambridge for my teaching exam and the bird from Cambridge insisted you could use ‘was’. I insisted otherwise, and to this day it’s been a pet hate. Yeah, I know I’m a geek – it’s my job. Anyway, that was great, and then gobby shite Rattigan pulling the Doctor up on calling it ‘ATMOS System’, when the S already stands for ‘System’. How many times did we do this to people at school when we had a SPUD? Not a SPUD Day, a SPUD (Sponsored Personal Uniform Day). I laffed my arse off. Well and truly.
There was so much good stuff here – but what was that, Doctor? The fifteenth broken moon of the Medusa Cascade? Why is this important? Just think he’s mentioned it before somewhere. Maybe it’s me just seeing things where there isn’t, but… No, never mind. That and planets disappearing, Gallifrey being mentioned, and other people coming back… Oh! That’s where all the planets are disappearing to then! The same place a certain someone is coming back from! Just joking. As if I know… We’ll have to wait and see…
Just hoping all is not lost for Wilf, Donna’s granddad, cos he is the God From My Childhood, the great Bernard Cribbins, and they must find a way to save him! Or there will be Trouble… Still, gives us summat to mope about till next week, eh?
Well, yeah but no but yeah but no but though… Cos I have to admit, all excited and a little worried about next week’s ep I might be, but I’m more worried about next week’s ‘Supernatural’ episode, ‘Long Distance Caller’. The caller in question is none other than Dad (A.K.A. John Winchester), who is calling Dean, even though he’s dead, gone to Hell, escaped, then apparently melting into oblivion before the purr wee Boys’ very eyes. So what’s he doing calling Dean and giving him earache cos he sold his soul for Sam? How is he able to contact him, how is calling anyone, and more to the point, how did he get Dean’s new-new-new phone number? Let’s face it, The Boys change their phones and numbers more often than they change their flannel shirts, the last time being to avoid Gordon Walker, am I right? Somewhere around episode 3.7 ‘Fresh Blood’, methinks. Anyway, joking aside, what worries me more is two things: that, one, John is calling to tell him THEE demon that holds Dean’s contract is in town, and two, he loves him. Hmm… Since when has John ever used the L word in connection with anybody, much less Sam and Dean? Sure, he’s been dead a while, and maybe that changes a man. But come on, Dean, are you really going to believe it’s him? This is your Achilles heel, your family, and if you don’t listen to Sam, you ain’t going to live long enough to bitch about it.
Anyway, getting back to last week’s ep, ‘Ghostfacers’. It’s had a mixed reaction (cos 90% of it were shot on handcams to make it look 'real'?), but I loved it. The whole thing was like an ‘Ocean’s 11’ moment – you know the bit where George Clooney is doing his justification to Brad Pitt scene, after taking the plans from the office at night, and they’re waiting by the lifts, and he ends by saying summat like “Was that ok? Did that seem rushed to you?” etc., and Brad Pitt’s telling him he thought maybe he rushed it a bit but it was good, like he’d been practising it. It just doesn’t feel like they’re acting, but that they’re after scenes, just talking between themselves as real people. The whole SPN episode felt like that – it freaked me out cos it were almost like behind the scenes footage, but not. The very end scene in the Impala was all back to normal though.
Honestly, if Sam and Dean Winchester were real people, then this would the part of the regular day that we weren’t meant to see. It was freakier than actually seeing the creepy janitor ghost dude, having Sam and Dean swear, chat, argue and ridicule as if it weren’t live on film. (Note to self: Ask The God That Is Eric Kripke how much of the dialogue were scripted.)
The fact that the characters were at their most essential without being caricatures, that they were accomplishing things cos they had just the right mix of personalities that they needed, that things came out in the wash without ignoring the things we had to be told or being left behind – all this should be no surprise when you remember that the episode were written by the criminally talented Ben Edlund, whose previous writing triumphs include not only some of my favourites from ‘Supernatural’ – ‘Tall Tales’, ‘Hollywood Babylon’ (the ‘Evil Dead’ send-up!), and the seminal ‘Bad Day At Black Rock’, but also two of my favourite ‘Firefly’ episodes, ‘Jaynestown’ and ‘Trash’. (In fact, the very concept that an ex-‘Firefly’ writer / co-producer also works on ‘Supernatural’ is more than enough incentive to watch this show, buff brothers aside!)
Final verdict? How can you lose with The Boy’s naughty words bleeped out, and pure comedy gold moments like Dean’s one-fingered responses pixelated out, The Boys having to explain the obvious to dumbass Ghostfacers (cos obviously they don’t watch the show), proper creepy ghosts, and of course Sam in a party hat? So The Boys didn’t actually ‘solve’ this one themselves, but hey, you don’t win them all. And it would have probably given the Ghostfacers enough mis-placed incentive to go do another crazy piss-take of ‘Most Haunted’. But not during the seasons of SPN that we have left, but then that’s ok. We have much more pressing problems to solve, and solve well: Dean’s Deal. Cos if he’s left to go down, there will be Trouble within the SPN fanbase and general SPN community. Still, it’s going to be nail-biting stuff during these last three episodes, that’s for sure!
That’s shallot. No, onion. Always get those two mixed up. Stay tuned, loyal viewers, for exciting accounts of how I manage to fill my days when I’m sober. Or not.
Doctor Who ~ Martha Jones ~ Freema Agyeman ~ Donna Noble ~ Catherine Tate ~ Sontarans ~ Supernatural ~ Dean Winchester ~ Sam Winchester ~ John Winchester ~ Firefly ~ Ben Edlund