"Time of Angels" review by Matthew Rayner
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Doctor Who - "Time of Angels"

written by Steven Moffatt

Directed by Adam Smith

Executive Producer Steven Moffatt

"Time of Angels" opens with Doctor River Song (Alex Kingston) breaking into some kind of institution on a spaceship, the starship Byzantium, having apparently kissed a young man with hallucinogenic lipstick that rendered him in a drugged semi-conscious state.

12,000 years later - the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) are investigating some sort of Museum where the words "Hello Sweety" are engraved on the remains of a flight recorder from the starship Byzantium in Ancient High Gallifreyan.

Back on board the TARDIS, the Doctor is able to get a fix on the TARDIS monitor screen on the person who engraved them 12,000 years earlier - River Song. Confronted with a man in a suit and his armed off-siders, she speaks her co-ordinates enabling the Doctor to get a fix on her in space and time and arrive in the TARDIS.

She falls in through the open door on top of the Doctor and commands him to follow the Spaceship she was just on.

She takes control of the TARDIS which she is able to do somehow. A fact which is remarked on by Amy Pond.

The Doctor asks why after materialisation, the TARDIS didn't make its usual wheezing-groaning sound. River says that it isn't supposed to make that sound and that the Doctor always just leaves the brake on.

The Doctor observes that they are on the planet Alfava Metraxis, but having dropped off River Song to where she wanted to go, he wants to runaway as she is part of his future that he isn't ready to deal with yet.

Amy complains that he promised her a planet.

River Song's banter with the Doctor suggests quite strong familiarity, perhaps a relationship with at least one of the Doctor's future incarnations. A fact that doesn't escape Amy Pond and noting that she's "kind of like 'heel, boy'", she asks the Doctor if she is his future wife. (He answers "Yes" with a worried and disappointed look).

There's some soldiers on the planet headed by Father Octavian (Iain Glenn), and River Song has promised them the equivalent of an army - the Doctor!

She also asks the Doctor what he knows of the Weeping Angels. (The living stautues that move when no one is looking and kill people slowly by sending them into the past to 'live' to death...last seen in Series 3's "Blink"). Apparently there is one here that came from the Starship Byzantium.

The Soldiers give the Doctor a run down on the Planet's history up to this point.

Amy watches a Weeping Angel in what she thinks is a recording on a Computer screen. Each time she turns away it gets closer, and changes pose.

River Song asks the Doctor about when this is in his timeline that she is meeting him. He answers cryptically.

Reading from a passage in a diary, the Doctor and River discover that an image of an Angel has the power to become a real Angel.

The Computer image becomes life size and emerges from the screen and continues to move closer to Amy. She is able to use the Computer's remote control to switch it off but she is convinced she has something in her eye.

The Doctor and the Soldiers investigate the caverns - a labrynth full of statues..the "Maze of the Dead". Here they hope to find the Weeping Angel.

Octavian says something to River Song about the Doctor not knowing yet who or what she is. She answers about it being too early in his timeline and also something about not wanting to go back to prison.

River gives Amy some sort of "virus stabilizer".

Amy asks River about the Doctor in the future, and whether she is his wife. She says she's not saying if Amy is right but that Amy is very good.

A Soldier investigating on his own in one section of the maze finds himself face to face with a Weeping Angel.

His voice comes over the communicator of one of his comrades and insists on him having to come and see what he has found.

Meanwhile, Octavian tells a younger Soldier to stay calm. The Doctor asks the young Soldier his name - Bob, and tells him that anyone in this room who isn't scared is a moron. He does this to gain the Soldiers confidence and trust. He tells him that he will keep him safe.

Also all the Soldiers are from the same religion it seems.

The Doctor, having mentioned meeting the architect once and him having two heads, realises he's made a mistake and that they are all in danger.

River works out that what he means is that the Aplans (natives of the planet) had two heads then all the statues only having one head means that they are all Weeping Angels.

Angelo's voice comes over Bob's communicator. He calls on Bob to "come and see...".

Bob soon comes face to face with a Weeping Angel.

The Doctor wonders what happened to the Aplan race. He also realises that they are in the middle of a Weeping Angel army slowly coming to life as they draw energy from the ship.

Bob's voice comes over Octavian's communicator and tells them that the other two soldiers were killed by the Weeping Angels that are on their way towards them. He also goes on to inform the Doctor and the others that he is also dead having had his neck snapped as well but that his consciousness was re-animated by the Weeping Angels in order to trick them.

The Doctor observes that neck snapping is not the usual method by which the Weeping Angels kill...normally prefering to send people back into the past and letting time run its course.

Amy's hand appears to have turned to stone and she can't move it. The Doctor says that this is the Angels playing tricks on her and that they are able to do this because she looked the one that came to life from the Computer screen in the eyes.

Amy tells him to run and leave her to sacrifice herself to the Weeping Angels that are getting nearer. He convinces her that her hand isn't stone by biting her on the hand and hurting it and they escape to catch up with the others.

The voice of Bob talks to the Doctor telling him that the Angels want him to know how Bob died and that he was upset that the Doctor wasn't able to keep his promise to keep Bob safe - this is to make the Doctor angry.

The Doctor ends the episode with the cool line of dialogue about there being one thing you do not put in a trap if you value your life - him.

With the Weeping Angels on their way, this is the cliffhanger for the first episode of this two part story. The continuation being next week's "Flesh and Stone".

"Time of the Angels" strives to open up new layers of mystery to the character of River Song and the Weeping Angels as well - and I guess also to the Doctor in terms of his future.

Alex Kingston's River Song is quite different here to how she was in the David Tennant episodes "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" which occur later in her timeline as indicated by her being a Doctor here and not yet a Professor and also by some of the dialogue.

In this she's a very stylish and fabulous adventurer and there is definitely something having gone on between her and a future incarnation of the Doctor.

Some aspects of her character are reminiscent of the novels/audio characters Professor Bernice Summerfield and Iris Wildthyme respectively and I think the writers drew on these characters to some extent. I'm not sure if Alex Kingston herself is familiar with the Doctor Who spin-off media however but the way she plays the part fits perfectly with this.

There also seems to be a darker side to her character here than in her series 4 appearance with reference to her having been in prison and something she did that the Doctor in this incarnation isn't yet aware of.

In this story she also has amazing dress sense in the opening scenes...especially those shoes!!!

Matt Smith's Doctor is very cool here too and goes from strength to strength. He draws very heavily on Patrick Troughton's Doctor (after having fallen in love with "Tomb of the Cybermen" apparently when he was watching a lot of old Doctor Who stories to prepare for the part and work out how he wanted to play it - and with this story one can imagine it was written with this very much in mind. In fact it wouldn't take much re-writing for it to work very well for the Second Doctor and has some stylistic similarities to some of the serials in his era).

Karen Gillan's Amy Pond is less to the fore here...but she still has some great scenes and some important moments. The preview trailer for "Flesh and Stone" seems to indicate that she is still pivotal to events in the show and there is going to be some fleshing out of the whole crack in time and space thing and its connection to her.

I look forward to the next episode and the conclusion to this story...

Review by Matthew Rayner



"Victory of the Daleks" written by Mark Gatiss Directed by Andrew Gunn
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Mark Gatiss' "Victory of the Daleks" is another story very much in the British Science Fiction Comic Book tradition and also I guess echoeing the old "Boys Own Adventure" stories also of British tradition.

The episode opens in World War II London during the Blitz. Under attack from the German Luftwaffe, Winston Churchill orders that they roll out the new secret weapon: The Daleks!

The TARDIS arrives in Winston Churchill's cabinet war room exactly a month after Churchill phoned him at the end of the previous episode "The Beast Below".

Churchill greets the Doctor as an old friend but during their handshake attempts to steal the TARDIS key. (The dialogue in this scene indicates that this is something that Churchill often tries to do when the Doctor visits him, slightly later dialogue also hints that Churchill knows about regeneration and has met at least more than one of the Doctor's past incarnations).

Professor Bracewell is head of the "Ironsides" project. The Doctor discovers that the "Ironsides" allegedly invented by Bracewell are in fact the Daleks (with tiny Union Flag's painted on them!).

The Daleks at this stage don't seem to know who they are (or at least act that way) and seem dedicated to helping the UK win the war against the Nazis. (They use the line of dialogue "I am your soldier" apparently a reference to a similar line of dialogue "I am your Servant" from the Second Doctor's debut story "Power of the Daleks" from 1966).

The Doctor argues with Churchill that the Daleks weren't invented by Bracewell but are aliens using alien technology and that they are evil.

The Doctor is also shocked and surprised that Amy has no memory of the Daleks invading Earth or moving it across space in the Series 4 stories "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End".

Amy converses with one of the Daleks, whilst Churchill argues with the Doctor that he needs the Daleks/Ironsides, citing that if Hitler invaded hell he would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

In a humorous moment, a Dalek offers to make/obtain a cup of tea (!) for Bracewell.

The Doctor questions Bracewell about his invention of the Ironsides/Daleks, and his other inventions, and warns that the Daleks are deadly.

The Doctor shouts at a Dalek and attacks it to provoke a reaction, and then orders it to kill him. He tells them that he is the Doctor and that they are each others greatest enemies, and names them as the Daleks, before kicking the one he attacked across the room.

The Daleks have recorded the Doctor's statement that he is the Doctor and they are his enemies, the Daleks and play it back, saying: "Correct. Your testimony is accepted."

They transmit it to a space ship in orbit of the Earth.

The Daleks announce who they are, exterminate someone and reveal that they invented Bracewell and shoot off his hand further revealing him to be an Android.

They beam away to their spaceship.

The Doctor tells Amy to stay behind (in the middle of the London blitz) and leaves in the TARDIS to track the transmitted signal and follow it to the Dalek space ship.

Churchill tells Amy that the Doctor would want them to "keep buggering on!" (!).

The Doctor arrives and confronts the Daleks on their ship with a jammy dodger that he bluffs them is a 'self-destruct' mechanism for the TARDIS that would also take them and their space ship with him, and finds out what the Daleks are planning.

The Daleks reveal that the pro-genitor on the ship refused to recognise them as pure Daleks and that they set up an elaborate trap to get the Doctor to testify that they were in fact Daleks. They need the pro-genitor to re-start the Dalek race as it contains 100% pure Kaled mutant DNA. (Referred to here as Dalek DNA).

From their ship they cause all the lights in blitz era London to come on, which would allow the in-coming squadron of German bombers to easily see their targets.

Amy works out that they can use a gift from the Daleks to help them - Bracewell.

The pro-genitor opens whilst the Doctor is talking to the Daleks and a group of bigger, better, newer, bulkier, souped-up, colourful Daleks emerge. (With colour schemes right out of the Peter Cushing "Doctor Who and the Daleks" movies or the Terry Nation Century 21 Comic strip).

As imperfect examples of the Dalek race and therefore inferior to the new Daleks, the old Daleks volunteer to be destroyed by the new ones they helped bring into existence.

Bracewell is having some sort of emotional breakdown. He has a gun and is threatening to commit suicide. Amy and Winston Churchill convince him to not go through with it and to keep helping them. He realises they can use his gravity well invention to send something into space. He also has a communication device that picks up broadcast signals from the Dalek space ship, and on it they watch the Doctor conversing with the new Daleks.

The new Daleks have scanned the Doctor's "TARDIS self-destruct mechanism" and discovered the Doctor's bluff.

Meanwhile, Churchill has sent WWII Spitfires into space with Bracewell's gravity well, and they launch an attack on the Dalek space ship with lasers that must also have been invented by Bracewell.

The Doctor escapes into the TARDIS but orders the Spitfire squadron to destroy the Dalek ship. The Daleks communicate with the Doctor via his scanner screen on the TARDIS and order him to call off the attack, they reveal that Bracewell is also a bomb and they will detonate him and destroy the Earth unless the attack is halted.

The Doctor orders the squadron to withdraw, and arrives on Earth in time to punch out Bracewell and reveal to him and the others that he is a bomb. He also hurts his hand and fingers in the process.

The detonator is somehow linked to Bracewell's emotional state. If he gets too depressed / disheartened then it will explode. The Doctor tries to defuse it by appealing to Bracewell's 'humanity', playing on the human memories that the Daleks implanted in him and trying to get him to believe he is human to change his mood. It isn't working.

Amy intervenes to get him to think and talk about the woman he had a crush on when he was young, Dorabella.

This works and the bomb is defused, but it is a pyrrhic victory as the time taken to do this allows the Daleks to make a getaway in their space ship.

The Doctor is overwrought that he allowed the Daleks to escape - but Amy points out that they saved the Earth and that this isn't too shabby.

One of the women working for Churchill becomes upset and it is revealed that her boyfriend was a pilot who was shot down.

Churchill tries to convince the Doctor to stay and help them fight the Germans but the Doctor says it doesn't work like that but reassures him that Britain will win the war even if there are some dark days ahead first. The Doctor says his goodbyes to Churchill and Amy gives him a kiss and a hug - and realises that he has managed to steal the TARDIS key, and makes him give it back.

Bracewell is waiting to be deactivated. The Doctor and Amy have a cute scene where they talk about this urgent thing they need to do first that may take fifteen minutes to half an hour to an hour and hint that they won't be deactivating him and that he should try and find the woman from his implanted memories that he believes he had a crush on.

The Doctor and Amy make their way to the TARDIS and the Doctor questions Amy on her not remembering what she should have remembered about who the Daleks were and what they had done to Earth in what he believes is her time. (A closer look at "The Eleventh Hour" reveals that Rory, her boyfriend, has a Nurses badge that was apparently issued in 1990 - perhaps a clue although the technology of that episode included laptops, blackberry's and mobiles).

The TARDIS dematerialises and on the wall behind where they were, a crack in time and space appears.

"Victory of the Daleks" is a fun, kitsche, jolly romp episode.

Writer Mark Gatiss researched the script by going to the real World War II Cabinet war rooms and by studying Churchill, although he presents him as a comic book, boys own adventure version of the former Prime Minister.

He also draws on classic British war movies that he apparently watched on tv as a kid, and apparently theres some subtle references to some of those movies in the dialogue in a few scenes.

Ian McNiece portrays Winston Churchill as an amiable, affable, eccentric. Brave but fearful of losing the war and perhaps looking for a short cut to defend his country.

His rapport with the Doctor and the dialogue they share in the scenes they have together indicates a relationship similar to that of the classic Doctor Who series incarnations of the Doctor with the character of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

Bill Paterson's Bracewell is also a loveable eccentric. A very human Android full of character and emotion, and before being confronted with the knowledge that he is an Android invented by the Daleks, he is a cheerful optimist.

Karen Gillan's Amy Pond continues to be a very strong and intuitive companion, often succeeding where the Doctor falters or is unable or unaware to make the right decsision, or take the right action for the win.

She's also very sexy, and has a cheeky confidence that is very appealing.

The souped-up Daleks took some getting used to. I took to the colour scheme right away with its echoes of past spin-offs and even the Pertwee era. The shape and size threw me a bit on first viewing.

"Victory of the Daleks" is a spectacular re-introduction/re-vamp of the Daleks. The Russel T. Davies era Dalek stories almost always ended with the Daleks being wiped out again perhaps in fear that the estate of Terry Nation might not let them make another appearance next time.

I loved the Spitfire battle scenes with their echoes of "Star Wars" and also to a certain extent "Dan Dare" - a British comic book roughly equivalent to the American "Flash Gordon".

Whilst it does have its flaws, and it isn't my favourite episode of series 5 so far, I did however thoroughly enjoy "Victory of the Daleks".

Next week, Alex Kingston returns as the Doctor's old/future flame, River Song in the first of a two part story that also sees a return stoush with the Weeping Angels from "Blink" , Steven Moffatt's series 3 story.

 

 - Matthew Rayner

 

 

 

 

 



Doctor Who: "The Eleventh Hour" reviewed by Matthew Rayner
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“The Eleventh Hour” written by Steven Moffatt, Directed by Adam Smith
Starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan.
reviewed by Matthew Rayner.


Having now seen the first three episodes of the new Steven Moffatt/Matt Smith/Karen Gillan revamp of “Doctor Who”, I feel qualified to begin forming and articulating opinions on it.
What’s clear so far are the new show’s influences and 1960’s “Doctor Who” figures in that in a big way from the new series logo (perhaps minus the “DW” badge), to Matt Smith’s costume, to Amy Pond’s name, to the sudden and spontaneous return of the St. John’s Ambulance badge to the TARDIS exterior (a feature of the early Hartnell era TARDIS exterior that hasn’t been seen since 1965).
There’s an overall feeling of drawing on the very early “Doctor Who” perhaps filtered via the Peter Cushing Dalek movies, and various comic strips such as the early Doctor Who ones, and Terry Nation’s 1960s TV 21 Dalek comics, and 2000AD, Dan Dare etc.
There’s also an Orwellian influence on the second story “The Beast Below”.
But this becomes more clear as the series goes on and over subsequent episodes. The purpose of this review is to look at the first episode of series five: “The Eleventh Hour”.
Beginning where “End of Time Part II” left off, Matt Smith as the newly regenerated Doctor is hurtling to Earth almost falling out of his malfunctioning and damaged TARDIS.
Cue the new opening sequence – which I actually quite like – and the new version of the theme music which is growing on me but which at first I thought was the worst the series had used ever!
The TARDIS crashes and the somewhat disoriented Doctor meets a very young Scottish girl named Amelia Pond (played by Karen Gillan’s real life cousin) . There follows the extended and very funny sequence as the new Doctor gets the young Amelia to provide him with various different food all of which he spits out or throws out in disgust after tasting with his new incarnation's new tastebuds. That is until he decides what he needs is the combination of fish fingers and custard.
Amelia also tells him about the crack in her wall and the voices she hears. The Doctor investigates and discovers that the crack is in fact a crack in space and time, a split in the fabric of the universe. (This becomes a running theme as the season goes on).
A voice saying "Prisoner Zero has escaped" can be heard, the Doctor opens the crack wider and a giant eye becomes visible as Prisoner Zero's guard looks through for him/her/it. The crack then closes back to its original width.
The Doctor notices something in the corner of his eye but has to get back to the TARDIS which is in trouble. He leaves but promises young Amelia he will be back in five minutes.
The young Amelia sequence is a way of seeding the Doctor into the new companion, Amy Pond's past, and also demonstrates the strength of her character that even as a little girl she isn't scared or phased by the Doctor's arrival or the appearance of the alien eye in her wall.
The Doctor returns twelve years later (re-establishing the idea of the Doctor having very little piloting skills of the TARDIS, a trope of much classic Doctor Who but particularly the Hartnell and Troughton eras of the 1960s) and he is promptly hit in the head with a cricket bat by the now adult Amy Pond (Karen Gillan).
Waking up handcuffed to a heater, the Doctor is faced by his attacker dressed in a Policewoman's uniform, complete with tight, short skirt and stockings.
Amy pretends to be a policewoman and interrogates the Doctor, pretending to call for back up.
Meanwhile at a nearby hospital, coma patients are speaking the word "Doctor", and a young male nurse named Rory has seen some of them walking outside and filmed them on his mobile camera but a Doctor from the Hospital refuses to believe him (even though she also witnessed the patients saying "Doctor") and won't take or even look at Rory's mobile phone camera.
The Doctor points out to Amy the door to the room she never noticed in her house because of a perception filter, and despite the Doctor's warnings she proceeds to investigate.
She finds the Doctor's sonic screwdriver he left behind twelve years ago on a table and is soon confronted by "Prisoner Zero" in the form of a CGI snake. (Reminiscent of the Mara, and designed to sort of look like a rubber one but with more realistic movement).
Amy runs out of the room and reveals to the Doctor that she isn't in fact a Policewoman at all but in fact a kissagram dressed in a policewoman's uniform.
The alien Multiform steps out of the room having shapeshifted into a man and a dog but both the man and the dog bark and growl.
The Eyeball Aliens (known as the Atraxi) arrive and threaten to incinerate the human residence (meaning Earth) if Prisoner Zero doesn't vacate the planet.
The Atraxi's warning plays on all radios, loudspeakers, mobile phones, televisions and communications devices.
The Doctor and Amy arrive at Amy's friend, Jeff and his mother's place and her friends are pleasantly shocked and surprised to see the "raggedy Doctor" that Amy always spoke of through 12 years (and four psychiatrists) is real.
This sequence includes some dialogue triumphs and the Doctor and Amy's banter including the whole "What sort of job is a kissagram?" "I go to parties and I kiss people. With Outfits, it's a laugh!" "You were a little girl five minutes ago" "You're worse than my Aunt" "I'm the Doctor, I'm worse than everybody's Aunt - that's not how I'm introducing myself" scene.
The Doctor works out he has twenty minutes to save the world, but first he has to convince Amy he really is the "raggedy Doctor" from her childhood.
Rory Williams, the nurse from the hospital, turns out to be Amy's boyfriend, and is busy filming the Multiform in Man and Dog shape whilst everyone else is filming the strange events in the sky because he recognises the man as one of the coma patients...this helps the Doctor find the multiform.
The Doctor attempts to draw the Atraxi's attention with his sonic screwdriver but the device is destroyed and the Multiform (Prisoner Zero) escapes and goes to the hospital through the drain and ultimately somehow the ventilation system.
The Doctor sends Amy and Rory to the hospital and makes for Jeff and his mother's house and Jeff's laptop. When he gets there he snatches the laptop from Jeff and his dialogue ("Blimey, Jeff get a girlfriend!") indicates Jeff may have been downloading porn.
The Doctor establishes a communications link with world leaders and other notables (including inexplicably Patrick Moore, the famous Astronomer) and leaves Jeff to convince them to agree to set all the world's clocks and neon signs and everything with displaying numbers to flash zero at exactly the same time. (To draw the Atraxi's attention).
Amy and Rory track down the Multiform in disguise as a woman with two daughters at the hospital.
The Doctor comes to the rescue with a commandeered fire engine.
The Multiform Prisoner Zero warns the Doctor cryptically of the crack in space and time, and the coming moment when silence is falling.
The Doctor uses Rory's phone to signal the Atraxi and transmit to it pictures of all the coma patients that the Multiform has disguised itself as.
The Multiform uses Amy to take on the form of young Amelia Pond and the Eleventh Doctor - the Doctor realises he's part of the disguise because the now unconscious Amy can hear him and he talks to her until her mind projects the image of the Multiform in snake form (its natural state) which it changes back into.
The Atraxi locate and lock onto Prisoner Zero taking it away with them.
The Doctor signals the Atraxi back to Earth with the phone and whilst waiting for them begins changing clothes. (Rory asks Amy if she will turn around whilst the Doctor is shirtless and she answers "Nope" with a cheeky look in her eye).
The Doctor in new clothes confronts the Atraxi and shows them images of Earth history, and the different aliens that invaded or tried to invade (including footage of monsters from the old and new series) and asks them if it was defended. We then see a clip of all the first ten Doctors and finally the Eleventh (who seems to step through his image) - a scene to delight any fanboy (or fangirl).
The Doctor takes off in his TARDIS and it's new 'sexy' interior intending a short ten-minute hop but returns two years later (we later discover in episode two that he returns on the night before Amy's wedding) to pick up Amy and take her on adventures through time and space.
"The Eleventh Hour" is a wonderful start to the new series. The writing and dialogue are very good and the acting is great.
The new Doctor and Companion are both very good and very attractive, and feel right for Doctor Who.
They also have fantastic on-screen chemistry and engage in some nice banter.
Matt Smith looks awesome in his 80s pop star hair and tweedy "Harry Potter" suit at the end of the episode, and Karen Gillan is very beautiful and fiesty as Amy. Her red hair, pretty face and sexy scottish accent drive me wild. (David Tennant's real life accent does similar strange things to me but we only ever got to hear it in one Doctor Who episode - "Tooth and Claw").
The new TARDIS interior is totally cool, especially the new console which is the best bit including the archaic typewriter that is now part of it's controls!
"The Eleventh Hour" is, I think, with the exception of the Telemovie and "Rose" which are in a special category, the best debut episode/story for a new Doctor since "Robot" in 1974.
The episode ends with a preview of episode two - "The Beast Below" which is my favourite episode of what I've seen of series 5 so far. But more on that later.....

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