3 and 4: The Pirate Planet, the Stones of Blood and Digression

The Pirate Planet or ‘Douglas Adams’ ode to drug addiction.’
Interesting, because it’s a rarity and exists as a story where the people don’t actually really want the Doctor there (in the sense that “We’re fine,” not in the say, Daleks on Skaro we’re going to kill you, or you’re atleast going to die a painful death from radiation poisoning way. By the way, what happened with the Daleks’ dependency on radiation, anyway? Speaking on whom, the premise of the Pirate Planet bares some similarity to the Daleks ridiculous plan in The Dalek Invasion of Earth where they plan to hollow out the Earth’s core and presumably drive the planet around the universe like a sports car. Me neither. Conceptually, The Pirate Planet makes a little more rational sense. The planet materialises around other planets at which point they plunder the planets entire mineral wealth before moving on elsewhere. In this case however, the planet turns out to not actually be a planet at all but a section of the Key to Time. Which going back to my original point, really accentuates how fucking insane the premise of The Daleks Invasion of Earth is. Although I’m sure I’ll get around to writing something on that at some point as despite the craziness, some aspects of it I absolutely love. However, I digress. It’s an interesting story, just don’t try and think about it too much, like for instance, people who are unwittingly complicit in the Pirate Captains scheme acting against their own material self interest and ultimately coming around to fuck over themselves and their own material self-interest. Then again, there’s working class people who vote Tory. You say tomato, I say…

The Stones of Blood effectively takes place at a pseudo stonehenge, has a pseudo villain and a literal cliff-hanger. I was recently reading something about cliff-hangers and the correct way to use them which I thought was fascinating. Essentially you know that the person who is “hanging from a cliff” isn’t going to die. It’s a way of making the audience engage with the plot. I used to watch Batman when I was six or seven. The campy 1960’s one and I unashamedly loved it and still do. I think in fairness, having the capacity to enjoy something like that is a prerequisite for enjoying Doctor Who and ultimately why I enjoyed the classic series so much. The first episode of Batman I ever saw ended on a cliffhanger where, I can’t remember if it’s Batman or Robin are caught in a trap by the Catwoman with a choice of opening two doors. The episode ends with the opening of a door that contains a tiger, unleashing it into a small room. Now, I was an evil child and I used to hope that Batman and Robin were killed and just for a change the villain would win. However, the fact that it wasn’t for whatever reason years later until I saw the resolution of that cliffhanger and I actually can’t remember how they got out of it, I just remember that what was far more interesting was engaging with the story and coming up with my own ideas for how that may turn out. Of course, in modern Doctor Who, Steven Moffat understands this fully and has brilliantly mastered how to do the cliffhanger. He probably does it better than anyone I can think of in the history of television or cinema actually. Moffat doesn’t actually bother insulting the audience with the conceit that there’s a possibility a main character is going to die. Of course, the most beautiful execution of this was after ostensibly killing off Sherlock, in the next episode where he brought him back from the grave, he didn’t even bother to explain how the suicide was faked, instead just presenting a series of meta  fandom squabbles. The point being, that it really doesn’t matter. It’s a hook for the viewer to latch onto. That was the brilliance of the cliffhanger to Time of Angels where the question is not of the Doctor dying but of “Why is the Doctor firing a gun?” His resolutions are usually equally inventive. Moffat has learned that the best place to start the sequel is in a completely different place to the cliffhanger. Doctor Who is by far more interesting when the writers just throw cool sounding hooks out there, for example post ’05: Bad Wolf, the jaws of the Nightmare Child, the Hoarde of Travesties, the Meanwhiles and Neverwheres led by the Could’ve been King, the Silver Devastation, the cracks in time. It’s more fun to speculate, than have an outright resolution. Intriguingly then, probably Moffat’s biggest failure in his time as show runner was also as a result of a cliff-hanger. When Matt Smith’s second season started off with the cliff hanger of The Doctor being killed outright – a brilliant premise –  right at the start of the episode – and The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon are good – it had the unfortunate result of the season finale being reduced to merely tidying up loose ends or, just being about what trickery the Doctor used to survive, which was far less satisfying. Moffat is by far at his best when he just throws hooks out there and leaves them hanging like he did with Sherlock than he is at tidying them up. Fortunately, I think he figured that out though, which is why his two-parters and season finales have been more satisfying. Even his Cyberman – the most rubbish of recurring villains, and turning them into Ironman-esque cyborgs instead of humans obsessed with survival doesn’t improve them at all – with Missy as the Master reveal worked reasonably well. The fact that Chris Addison and Michelle Gomez are brilliant helps a lot. The Dalek two parter the following season had flaws but had enough intriguing combinations and loose ends to overall make it reasonably successful. The only combination it didn’t really try was Michelle Gomez and Davros. Of course the point is, that Missy abandoned on Skaro leaves a lot of potential for an active mind. The final three episodes of the season is where Moffat nails his formula again, and they’re brilliant. So as a result of those season 8 and 9 two and three parters, at any point you can have Clara and ‘Me’ cruising around time and space in an American diner, Missy delightfully scheming with Davros, anyone brought back from the dead and pretty much anything you can think of being only a line of dialogue away from becoming a reality in Doctor Who.

By the way, I’ve been considering how to do the next Star Wars. As we’ve established, starting where we left off would be a pretty rubbish way to do it. Start years into the future where Kylo Ren has learned discipline and went back into the shadows and where Rey is a fully fledged Jedi but has suffered some pretty bad injuries, (presumably a knee replacement will be in there somewhere going by the way she runs) – and some big losses including that stupid fucking robot C3PO and Luke Skywalker to give Kylo his promotion to serious villain  – we know Jedi don’t really die anyway so who gives a shit. Put the alliance on the back foot. Have Finn turn villain too because he’s been rejected when Rey chooses celibacy and the Joseph Campbell monomyth only to have him redeemed in the final part.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

The Alliance have suffered great tragedy at the hands of the enemy. The Sith Lord Kylo Ren has long disappeared and the pilot Po Dameron, is sent on a mission to safely return the injured Jedi commander Rey who has been seeking a Macguffin to complete her training… However, the weird Voldemort dude from the last movie has chosen to finally reveal himself. ”

Actually starting off the movie with that Snook dude is probably far enough out of left field to work.

“Your manner appeals only to the homicidal side of my nature”


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