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The big CaB Doctor Who (2005) rewatch thread - starts May 30, 2022

Started by Mister Six, May 24, 2022, 03:30:33 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

H-O-W-L

Quote from: Mister Six on July 02, 2022, 09:35:24 PMYeah, I just thought it was a typo for "space monsters". Instead it's a solid pun. Fair play!

Also, WRT what you said about the lighting in S1, a big thing they do is use more colored lighting, rim-lighting, and lights that purposefully cast shadows. As Thomas said too, later seasons use shitloads of overblown light and seem to light up everything in the scene. The TARDIS interior is a great example -- compare any shot from Rose or Boom Town inside the TARDIS to any of Tennant's TARDIS shots, it's like night and day. In Rose and Boom Town, whenever Ecclescakes turns towards the console his entire outfit turns almost solid black because of the shadowing created by the outer ring of radiosity of the orange backlights (and the fact that not every 'portal' in the wall has a light inside it, unlike Tennant's interior), and whenever he goes near the console an increased shadow casts over his face because of the strong cyan-teal neon glow coming from the console.

There's way more strong rimlighting in the location/street scenes too, and they use a lot more indirect/non-uniform lighting to illuminate Rose and the Doc. It's consistent throughout S1 and it looks REALLY good IMO. Even if S1 has a whiff of cheapness about it because of the 2000s sitcom high-bloom exposure level (mad Ideal vibes at times) I think it's probably the best looking of the first three series, if not the first four, because there's a lot more classical cinematic techniques used in its visual direction. It has an incredibly strong visual art style all of its own that's carried through to the end of RTD's tenure, but one that's sadly never updated before he leaves -- it's all just drip-offs from the initial prototype. Same case with the logos and promo stuff, if you get what I mean. It's all just the afterquake of S1's incredibly strong artistic design.

S4 tries to relaunch the art style with all that BBC3 style pink-glow promo bullshit of Donna and Ten in the container yard from the Ood episodes, but none of it actually hits the episodes and those episodes, IMO, look like utter shit visually. Probably the worst of RTD's series visually, with S3 being a close runner because episodes like the Dalek twosome looking like complete CBBC shit to me from an artistic standpoint. The only exceptions are the 2nd part of the Family of Blood two-parter, and 42.

This is just visual stuff though. No bearing on the actual quality of the episodes-- but I watched S1 when I was very young, and it made a strong impact on my own art style (I'm mostly an artist, not that I've posted much of it here) much like the original Terminator did with its strong light direction, so it's something I've paid a lot of attention to.

Mister Six

Quote from: H-O-W-L on July 02, 2022, 09:21:03 PMbut it's harder for me to self-insert as them.

I'd love to insert myself etc etc.

Both Amy and Clara feel like Moffat gesturing towards RTD-style grounded characters, while really just not giving a shit about that stuff. I know he handwaves it as being part of the Cracks thing, but Amy's backstory makes no sense (a Scottish girl in a tiny English village who works as a kissogram?). And Clara's is barely there at all (she's got a mum and dad who are both apparently dead, a grandma that materialises for one Christmas story, and a couple of kids she's supposed to look after that disappear without explanation after one series.

I wonder if Moffat, having kids, felt a bit uncomfortable introducing companions' parents into a show as proper characters, knowing that their kids might well end up dying/getting stranded in space and time. Would explain why Clara and Bill were both orphans, I suppose.

Mister Six

Quote from: H-O-W-L on July 02, 2022, 09:56:06 PMAlso, WRT what you said about the lighting in S1, a big thing they do is use more colored lighting, rim-lighting, and lights that purposefully cast shadows. As Thomas said too, later seasons use shitloads of overblown light and seem to light up everything in the scene. The TARDIS interior is a great example -- compare any shot from Rose or Boom Town inside the TARDIS to any of Tennant's TARDIS shots, it's like night and day. In Rose and Boom Town, whenever Ecclescakes turns towards the console his entire outfit turns almost solid black because of the shadowing created by the outer ring of radiosity of the orange backlights (and the fact that not every 'portal' in the wall has a light inside it, unlike Tennant's interior), and whenever he goes near the console an increased shadow casts over his face because of the strong cyan-teal neon glow coming from the console.

Nice stuff, thanks for this! I love the stylised lighting in this first series, and it'll be interesting to see how it develops (or degrades), although I don't want the convo to get too far ahead of the present episode.

That said, I wasn't sure what you meant by this...

QuoteS4 tries to relaunch the art style with all that BBC3 style pink-glow promo bullshit of Donna and Ten in the container yard from the Ood episodes, but none of it actually hits the episodes

H-O-W-L

If you look up S4 you'll see a lot of promo images like this:


Which was an attempted visual re-brand, but it doesn't actually go anywhere with the show. S3 had similar but it had an orange/gold primary color that DID come into the lighting of S3. Same for S2, which had a paler blue-green tone that came into the show.

Tikwid

Quote from: H-O-W-L on July 02, 2022, 10:55:22 PM
Imagining this one as Donna stopping Ten from lunging at someone at the pub after too many pints, like that one Christmas card of Tony and Cherie Blair. "Oh come on just leave him Doctor it's not worth it"

Mister Six

Ah, gotcha. Forgot about the Attack of the Glow Stick pics.

Mister Six

Chatter is now open for:

Dalek
First aired April 30, 2005
The TARDIS is drawn to an alien museum deep below the Utah desert, where a ruthless billionaire keeps prisoner the last of the Doctor's most fearsome enemies.

Wayhey, the Daleks are back, with a little Cyberman cameo to boot! Plus: a brand new companion, loads of deaths, and Corey Johnson from hit movie Morbius as Henry Van Statten.

The NINTH DOCTOR Ratings

1/10

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2/10

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3/10

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4/10

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5/10

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6/10

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7/10

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8/10

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9/10

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10/10

Mister Six

RED HOT TAKE INCOMING RED HOT TAKE INCOMING RED HOT TAKE INCOMING

Are you sitting down? Here we go: Dalek is not as good as you remember it.

Yeah! Take that, The Orthodoxy! How'd you like THEM controversial apples?

I mean, I can see why it seemed like a 10/10 banger to us all at the time. After two weeks of farting aliens and CBeebies overacting, watching dozens of hapless grunts be mercilessly zapped, electrocuted and plungered to death over 45 action-packed minutes while The Doctor grimaced and shouted about committing genocide felt so thrilling.

And fair play - most of the episode does move along at a fair clip, and the reveal of this darker, crueler side of The Doctor are shocking even now - especially with Eccles acting his bloody heart out the whole time. Everyone turns in a good performance, actually, with particular props directed to Corey Johnson for choosing to make Van Staten a big personality without resorting to silly scenery chewing.

But it's all let down a bit by the dialogue, which honestly drags down the episode a couple of pegs for me. First off, there are far too many moments where people are staring wide-eyed at the oncoming Dalek and chattering away rather than legging it. That cropped up a fair bit last week, and I'm hoping it's something RTD gets a handle on as his time on the show progresses and they iron out the kinks, as I know he's very thoughtful about timing in The Writer's Tale.

It's also rather self-indulgent. Doing the "What are you going to do, plunger me? YARRRGH!" thing was bad enough, but then doing basically the same thing with the stairs a bit later just seemed lazy and crap. Especially when Rose, Adam and Doomed Soldier are all sat there gawping at the Dalek when it could very easily just shoot them without any need for a show EL-E-VATE gag!

My biggest problem with the dialogue, though, is that it's so bloody patronising and lazy, with everyone spelling out every theme and plot point like it's a particularly violent children's bedtime book:

QuoteDOCTOR: They're never going to come! Your race is dead! You all burnt, all of you. Ten million ships on fire. The entire Dalek race wiped out in one second.
DALEK: You lie!
DOCTOR: I watched it happen. I made it happen.
DALEK: You destroyed us?
DOCTOR: I had no choice.
DALEK: And what of the Time Lords?
DOCTOR: Dead. They burnt with you. The end of the last great Time War. Everyone lost.
DALEK: And the coward survived.
DOCTOR: Oh, and I caught your little signal. Help me. Poor little thing. But there's no one else coming 'cause there's no one else left.
DALEK: I am alone in the universe.
DOCTOR: Yep.
DALEK: So are you. We are the same.

...

DOCTOR: The Daleks have failed! Why don't you finish the job and make the Daleks extinct. Rid the Universe of your filth. Why don't you just die?
DALEK: You would make a good Dalek.

...


ROSE: It couldn't kill Van Statten, it couldn't kill me. It's changing. What about you, Doctor? What the hell are you changing into?

There's literally no subtext in the bloody episode! It's all right there in the text! That plus the odd bit of lazy writing (Adam can't get permission from Van Statten to see the Dalek, but then he's able to just wander in there with Rose) mar an otherwise solid episode.

Joe Ahearne's direction is mostly pretty interesting - some nice use of perspective, more great lighting - but the action scenes are often slow and clumsy, with soldiers just standing around waiting to die while a Dalek slowly rotates its middle section around to zap them, or people chatting while the Dalek totally fails to just obliterate them immediately.

A not-as-good-as-I'd-hoped but still pretty grand 7/10

H-O-W-L

I actually think this is the worst-lit episode of S1. Lots of flat white fucking everywhere. I'll write more about this ep later on when people have their thoughts in.

daf

6 | "Dalek"



Two Deader in Electric Streams

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Highlights
• Giant Slitheen - Beat you, cock!
• The "Intruder Window" Zinger
• Fantastic #4 : Great Space Dustbin
• The Sucking Face-Plunger Sketch
• A-Level Adam's Nutty Room : "Hairdryer!"
• The Floaty Stairs Surprise Sketch
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Other Bits :
• Bad Wolf #4 : "Bad Wolf 1 Descending"
• Doctorture Nude : Twin Tickers de-Tected
• Time War #3 : "We are the same"
• Negative Skeleton Zap Counter = 4
• Metaltron Murder Mood Malfunction
• Sunbathing Snot-Brain Squiddy Blubber
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6/10

olliebean

Frankly I'm prepared to give this one an extra point just for Eccleston's spittle.

Alberon

Well, I loved that.

This was an episode that had to work. If this had stumbled like the Slitheen two parter the show might have found itself on a downward path.

So the episode had one clear task. Make the daleks scary and a credible villain again. And it does that. The dalek from a position of weakness tricks Rose into touching it using her time-travelled DNA to somehow regenerate (to be honest it makes no sense, but there you go). It goes on to crush a man's head with its plunger before using it to interface with the door lock. Then it effortlessly despatches a squad of armed guards before you get the stairs scene.

Yeah, it's a bit slow and Rose and co make a big point of it being fucked by the stairs it can't climb, but I forgive the episode for this. We're fans. We know daleks can climb stairs even though it was rarely shown in the original run. There's a scene IIRC in The Chase where daleks are seen on a landing halfway up a flight of stairs.

But for most people the whole daleks-can't-climb-stairs was a well known fact. So you have the scene where the dalek is obviously taking malicious glee in showing it can fly up the stairs and no one is safe. The dalek seems to be enjoying itself after decades of imprisonment, it feels like it is deliberately stretching things out rather than just being slow so it feels fine to me.

I also have to commend the design of the dalek. The dalek has always had a special place in TV SF (and most film SF) as it was the rare case of not looking like a person in a costume. Even many cgi monsters are human shaped. Here the same shape has been retained, but everything has been upgraded, gone are the occasionaly shaky and flimsy daleks of the past and you have instead a proper one blob tank it was always supposed to be. It's the perfect iteration, as shown by the failure of the redesign a few years later. IIRC this version was designed to be just the right height to be eye to eye-stalk level with Billie Piper. While some of the cgi fails to completely convince, the actual dalek itself and the opened shell is very good.

The Doctor's reaction to the dalek and his fear and desperation in trying to kill it is perfectly understandable. As far as he knows the daleks killed his entire species. If this one gets out it will do the same to one of the Doctor's favourite planets.

So the daleks are back (even though the last one just killed itself in self-disgust at its racial impurity we always knew they'd return) and it works.

Van Statten is played well, his comeuppance is a bit arbitary and quick, but it is earned.

Then there's Adam, played by Bruno Langley, the second companion of the new era and the second (and unarguably the worst) of the three sex offenders appearing in this first series. His career ended in 2017 after admitting two sexual assaults. Admittedly, he was never intended as a permenant companion, but he does feel a bit wooden next to Billie Piper and there's a couple of shots where he stares at the approaching dalek with a look like he's trying and failing to act shocked.

The cyberman head gave me a thrill at the time.

We've gone from some great dialogue in a crap episode to some less than epic dialogue in a great episode. But all in all this episode was a thumping return to form.

9/10

BritishHobo

AAAAHHH IT WENT UP THE STAIRS!

This is one of those episodes I don't think I've ever seen all in one go, as I've not watched it since meandering my way through unofficially-uploaded chopped-up episodes on YouTube back in 2007. Watching it now, in context, I really enjoyed it. It's the first future episode to now take place in the past, but has been written in a way that, cleverly, means it doesn't feel obselete or dated. As it all takes place underground, and focuses on van Statten holding secret influence, there isn't any mad speculative stuff  to age poorly. No 'clever' lines about the global political situation or attempts to be prescient about technology. Setting it deep underground works in its favour.

It's also a perfect setting for the story, and while I'm basically ignorant on the technical side of things, I really like that the whole thing takes place in this drab, grey bunker. It's a great reflection of the episode's mood. This is obviously Eccleston the best he's been so far, and I really love that they let things get so raw. There I am wondering why the Doctor would be so mean as to call Mickey an idiot, and here he's storming about, shouting "kill yourself!" In a Saturday teatime slot. Bold. The episode tries harder than I remembered to put a new spin on the daleks, not just with the stairs, but with basically every element of the thing. The sucker, the  revolving waist, the use of the balls or whatever you'd call them, even the way it opens. But the characterisation is the best bit, two things coming to terms with being the last of their people. I agree with @Mister Six that it's all laid on a bit too thick in the dialogue, and it makes me wish there had been a bit more time with the Dalek before its release at the hand of Rose.

I do like that it's sort of the reverse of The Unquiet Dead, with Rose having faith in the 'alien' and trying to talk the Doctor into understanding it. Have to admit I did find it really effective when the casing opens up near the end and you see this poor fucking thing in there. At the end of it all, he/it really doesn't feel like a threat, just a lost thing with no purpose. I always thought the trick of this episode was making one dalek scary, but making it sympathetic is the real success. Fuck the stairs.

Agreed that van Statten is great, just a great example of a character so full of life and energy that he can get away with hammy lines. That opening West-Wing-esque walk-and-talk scene should be stupid, but it's so funny and perfect. Adam, on the other hand, is a weird character. I know what they're leading to with him, but it doesn't feel like he's given a huge amount of life here to explain why he suddenly gets to be a companion. He's British and he likes space, but there's something quite flat and unenthusiastic about his lifelong desire to see aliens. Hot on the heels of Mickey bottling it and not joining the crew, it feels odd to suddenly have Rose arguing for this rando to join them. After Jabe, and Gwyneth, and Harriet Jones, this character feels like an absolute non-entity. He gets Rose into the dalek's cage and then is next to her when they run away. Great. It also feels odd to have this significant moment between the Doctor and Rose - the reveal that he committed genocide twice and is now alone, with Rose getting him to see how angry he's become - and then bung another companion in.

Action-wise I again agree with Mister Six. Constantly sat there thinking "why are you just stood staring at the door when you've been told the dalek is about to unlock it?! Why are you just stood on the stairs looking down at it?!" The dramatic run down the corridor with the Doctor (very coldly) shutting the door feels very choppy as well. Firstly the old clichè of the door being almost closed and the character still being really far away, but making it through in the nick of time anyway. But also Rose's failure to get through is cut together in a way that I guess is supposed to feel surprising but I think robs the moment of any tension. And then the fake-out 'EXTERMINATE!' which feels cheap.

It is a bit of a mixed bag. Not particularly scary, although I can see where moments like the hovering did originally work. But on the emotional side, and what it does with the Doctor and Rose's understanding of him, especially in terms of the groundwork it sets for the character for years to come, I think it's still very powerful.

8/10

BritishHobo

The stairs bit is really odd, because you have these three people who have never seen a dalek before, but they have to react with the weight of forty years of received wisdom about daleks and stairs. They have no reason to assume this mad robot couldn't get upstairs, but it has to be written as if it's an enormous shock to them.

Mister Six

Quote from: H-O-W-L on July 04, 2022, 06:40:08 AMI actually think this is the worst-lit episode of S1. Lots of flat white fucking everywhere. I'll write more about this ep later on when people have their thoughts in.

Was thinking mostly of the Dalek reveal and some other bits, but yeah those corridors aren't very evocative, are they? No budget for dramatic swirly red warning lights I suppose. :(

Replies From View

Quote from: Alberon on July 04, 2022, 09:36:46 AMThere's a scene IIRC in The Chase where daleks are seen on a landing halfway up a flight of stairs.

That's right, except it's The Office and a woman in a wheelchair.

BritishHobo

It's a bit of bleak episode, on reflection. This mad cunt in his underground bunker controls the US Presidency and the internet, and after getting everybody killed, is simply replaced by the next usurper to continue the same mad power-trip. I may revise this once I've rewatched them (as it's been a long time), but I feel like this, The Long Game and the final two-parter (and The End of the World to an extent, with Cassandra) all make the future of the human race look very grim.

Malcy

I remember going down the pub the day 'Dalek' aired and they had BBC One on one of the TV's behind the bar and the trailer was on after every program from lunchtime onwards.

I was beyond excited for it. And loved it. Still do. I've still not managed to rewatch any of this series. I always get to POTW and feel really sad we didn't get more Eccleston. By far my favourite Doctor of the current run.

The return was a HUGE thing for me.

Mister Six

C'monnnnn @Malcy , join in the rewatch. What could go wrong? The next episode is, uh... oh.

daf

My score probably looks a bit low, but as I know what's coming up, (particularly with some of the Smith and Capaldi episodes), everything in these early days is knocked back a bit - to allow for the correct overall 'dynamic range'.

If this was the only season we'd got, I'd probably rate it at around 8 (and 'The Unquiet Dead' would get a 10).

Also, if anyone hasn't heard Rob Shearman's original audio version of this - 'Jubilee' - I highly recommend it * - THAT version gets a score of 10/10!

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* (It's on Spotify for free - just type 'Jubilee Main Range' in the search box) 

Quote from: BritishHobo on July 04, 2022, 02:48:53 PMIt's a bit of bleak episode, on reflection. This mad cunt in his underground bunker controls the US Presidency and the internet, and after getting everybody killed, is simply replaced by the next usurper to continue the same mad power-trip. I may revise this once I've rewatched them (as it's been a long time), but I feel like this, The Long Game and the final two-parter (and The End of the World to an extent, with Cassandra) all make the future of the human race look very grim.

That's a theme that runs through Doctor Who from the very start. That we'd leave Earth and head out to the stars and achieve great things but at a terrible cost.

What RTD does so brilliantly is grounding it. Classic Who's glimpses of humanity in the future would be set in sterile labs, space stations, mines and military bases, inhabited by scientists, soldiers, bureaucrats and the like. Everyone working, nobody living.

RTD sets his in hospitals, in traffic jams, in TV studios, in homes. The people we encounter are real people trying to live their mundane lives, just like we do. It makes the stakes so much higher and makes the cost that much more tragic.

This was the first episode where I properly thought "nailed it"*.

Burping bins etc just took the sheen off Rose, the next two didn't quite connect at the time, the two-parter is probably the worst story of the return series. But Dalek. Great. Loved it. Flaws and all.

*the remaining two in this series may not be the two you are thinking of.

Malcy

Quote from: Mister Six on July 04, 2022, 04:11:22 PMC'monnnnn @Malcy , join in the rewatch. What could go wrong? The next episode is, uh... oh.

I'm working non stop. And still bloody skint so I really need to justify buying the Evil Of The Daleks blu-ray by watching that first since it's sat in the shelf since day of release when that could have gone on something more important like more wine!

New shifts so more days off and been meaning to watch this series again so hopefully the weekend I'll do a 6 ep binge/mini review. For me it's more been about the feeling of having Who back in my thoughts rather than what I thought of the episode.

RetroRobot

10/10, shallnt elaborate further. Caused a lifetime love of these stupid pepper pots.

Mister Six

Quote from: Malcy on July 04, 2022, 05:43:03 PMNew shifts so more days off and been meaning to watch this series again so hopefully the weekend I'll do a 6 ep binge/mini review. For me it's more been about the feeling of having Who back in my thoughts rather than what I thought of the episode.

I look forward to reading it, whenever you have the time! Hope things ease up a bit on the time and money fronts soon...

daf


Daily Mirror (12 January 2005)  |  The Sun (31 January 2005)  |  The Guardian (10 March 2005)
- - - - - - - - - - -


The Sunday Times (6 March 2005)  |  Whats on TV (26 March 2005)

Alberon

Shows how entrenched the daleks-can't-go-upstairs idea was. The Sunday Times mentions the last time the daleks appeared but fail to point out that story had one flying up some stairs.

Disappointed nobody got the licence to create Dalek tables.

Endicott

The lack of understanding about daleks is always weird to me because I grew up with hard back Dr. Who annuals from the 60s that had dalek stories with them all flying around and features looking into dalek construction detailing how their anti-grav propulsion systems worked.

Anyway, I think Dalek remains the single best episode in new who featuring a dalek. Even with the ropey dialog which I don't even find that bad when judged by the standards of new who in general. 10/10

Replies From View

I remember in one of the forums in 2005 somebody saying that it would have been much better if the Dalek had just tilted back and glided up the stairs at an angle.

Stayed with me all this time because the image is so stupid.