Friday, January 21, 2011

Postclassical Who - "Boom Town"

Man that Slitheen egg is gross. Did it have to have little waving tendrils on the top? Reminds me of one of the truly disgusting-looking props from the Classic Series: incredibly fake looking but somehow so hideous that you can't take your eyes off it. That's sort of like this episode.
"Boom Town" gets a lot of stick for being a crap episode, and that's fair enough, because it mostly is a crap episode. There's some decent stuff involving the Doctor having dinner with an enemy, and some believable stuff between Rose and Mickey regarding their relationship. There is also the fact that the enemy is the female Slitheen from "Aliens of London"/"World War Three" which is a terrible shame because they're rubbish and the fact that seeing Rose and Mickey having a justifiable spat is a high point and rare moment of realistic plotting and character development only serves to remind how utterly far this revival has deviated from the spirit of the original programme in some ways. Inserting these soapy elements into this escapist science fiction show again may ground it in more realism or make it more palatable for a modern audience but the fact of the matter is that a mainstream modern audience is as thick as two planks and wouldn't know art if it slapped them across the face with the Mona Lisa. Dumbing down Doctor Who for the soap fiends and reality show crowd is virtually unforgiveable, and the only redemption comes in the form of the dinner scene.
Annette Badland is very convincing as the murderous yet desperate Blon Slitheen, and Eccly's Ninth Doctor is on top form again as he explains how killers occasionally let people go to spare their consciences. This is of course ruined by the fact that Blon still plans to blow up the TARDIS and, absurdity of absurdity, ride the destruction of Earth out of the solar system on a "pandimensional surfboard", which is the kind of utter pseudoscientific and character-wrecking drivel peddled repeatedly by RTD. It's like he doesn't understand that he has crafted something truly clever and then demolishes it for the sake of appeasing his own urge for 'good telly'. I think his own self-satisfaction and smugness is summed up in the incredibly cringe-inducing and virtually unwatchable high-fiving scene. Why the hell is Captain Jack suddenly in on the super trio of cool even though he was a reckless con man, whereas Mickey saved the world and the Doctor still takes the, well, Mickey? Is it because RTD is warm to John Barrowman's form? Maybe we'll never know. Noel Clarke's performance as Mickey is better than ever, so it's unfortunate that all his scenes are things which point out what is absolutely wrong with this series and era.
I'm not angry, just disappointed.
Captain Jack has virtually nothing to do in this story. Apparently a bloke from the 51st Century knows how to wire things up to a TARDIS, an insanely advanced and complicated piece of now-lost Time Lord technology. And speaking of which, the ending is absolutely appalling. Trying to blow up the TARDIS through incredibly convoluted mind games to escape, which apparently involves causing something to happen that makes the TARDIS start shooting lightning into the sky like the evil apartment building from Ghostbusters, Blon gets exposed to the 'Heart of the TARDIS' which seems to be very similar to the Eye of Harmony from the TV Movie because it lets the TARDIS do whatever it bloody well likes, in this case regressing Blon to an egg. What utter rubbish. Clearly RTD couldn't think of an ending so he just used the TARDIS to grab a deus-ex-machina out of thin air. Don't worry though, he's just getting started with that. I almost wish it could have just been the Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Jack hanging out and having some laughs in Cardiff, because as it is this mediocre cop-out is Eccly's penultimate adventure and that is probably its most disappointing aspect.

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