Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Aliens of London / World War Three - "Your body is magnificent."

Aliens of London (TV story) - Tardis Data Core, the Doctor Who Wiki

Series 1, Story 4 (Overall Series Story #160a)


The Doctor, meaning well, brings Rose home thinking he's got her back after night has passed since they left. Problem: Rose was gone a year, her mum has been freaking out and having Mickey questioned by the police, so when she strolls in like the teenager (she is) who forgot to check in before crashing at a friend's for the night it is profoundly uncomfortable. Jackie hauls off and slaps the Doctor who, for not being able to read a clock, frankly had it coming.

There's not much time for recriminations and excuses though. Saved by the bell, as it were, an alien ship crashes into Big Ben and splashes into the Thames in broad daylight. Suddenly, everyone's got something else to deal with. How society deals with it is a bit cynically portrayed, perhaps. Maybe the bulk of humanity really is the crass and shallow though.

We meet Harriet Jones, getting blown off for her appointment. The bigwigs are rolling in to deal with the crises while everyone seems to be unsure where the P.M. is. (Dead, in a closet, it turns out.) And those bigwigs, they're scheming aliens wearing human skinsuits with a pressure valve defect.

Is it juvenile to laugh at all the farting (sorry for using that word!) before we know why all the gathering officials seem to be unable to control their sphincters?  Maybe. But in a moment of crisis when the guy everyone is looking to as a leader lets an utterly indiscreet toot rip and announces, "Blimey!" well, if that's not funny then I don't know what is.

Alien autopsies: always a hoax.
The Doctor's investigation moves into full swing as he checks in on the autopsy of the pilot of the alien craft. Poor wee piggie in a jumpsuit. (This must be a bit of a nod to Mr. Sin, right?) Jackie's mention on a 911 call triggers a computer monitoring program that knows what to do when the words "Doctor" and "blue box" are overheard in the same call. This gets the Doctor into Downing St. and Jackie and Mickey into some trouble.

Nine seems to be having the time of his life. He's witnessing history, and he's being consulted as an expert so he can show off a bit for Rose. Eccleston's Doctor may never be what you'd call light-hearted, but he's enjoying himself so much here we can't help but smile with him and his crooked grins.  Even his jibes at Rickey ... errr, Mickey ... are more petulant than mean.


I think the key takeaway here is just that this one is a bit of fun. It's got just enough depth and menace to keep it being weightless fluff, but not so much we're jolted out of the spirit of the romp.



World War Three (TV story) - Tardis Data Core, the Doctor Who Wiki

Series 1, Story 5 (Overall Series Story #160b)


We rejoin our heroes barricaded in a steel-reinforced room inside 10 Downing St. Slitheen outside and no escape route. From their safe, but isolated position, the Doctor rings Rickey ... errr, Mickey ... and guides him through some seriously suspect web security to arrange for a missile strike to stop the Slitheen from initiating WWIII.

Seriously suspect. The password is "buffalo." That's it. Figure that out and you too can initiate missile attack on any site in the world. Oi.

But, I did like how the news dutifully reported that Britain had given the "proof-positive" the U.N. needed before they would release the nuclear codes to launch an attack against the (non-existent) alien mother ship. That was mockery the news agencies and our governments richly deserved. We are, after all, still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as I write this in 2013 ... ten freaking years on a ginned-up in casus belli for Iraq and twelve years into a doomed, profoundly unwise mission in Afghanistan. We needed to do more naming and shaming.

Harriet Jones is so full of promise here. A shame she pisses off Ten later.


All in all, I enjoyed this much more on this re-watch with my kids than I did back it when it was new, before they were born. The farting makes much more sense in this one than the belching rubbish bin in "Rose" did, and my kids laughed their little butts off. I, of course, merely cocked an eyebrow and archly declared such silliness to0 childish for my sophisticated wit. (Kidding, I laughed with them. The Highbrow Family, that's us.)

This held up really well. The incidental music probably never seemed subtle or spot-on, and is certainly now a bit much. The verdict of history will be, if it's not already, that it sounds a bit dated and hokey. But, that's a nitpick. Good, snarky fun to be had here.


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