Posts Tagged ‘Lazy co-editor’

Dead Beat?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

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Guest reviewer: David RonayneThe Sound of Drums really is a guilty pleasure.  I watch, and on some critical level I’m sucking air through my teeth thinking “ooh, this really is a bit sloppy and pandering to the fans”, but on another, more basic one, I’m going “yeee-haa!”

From the almost casual dismissal of the previous episode’s cliff-hanger to the fanhappy shots of Gallifrey (new CGI, old costumes) the episode does suffer from Empire Strikes Back syndrome.  Quickly clearing the decks, and exposing Saxon – all  before the opening credits, followed by a quick run-around to set up McGuffins (TARDIS keys, Jack’s teleporter) and the cliff-hanger for next time. It doesn’t really stand as a story in its own right, but it does it all in such a classy fan-tastic way.  I say classy, because while I was grunting and smirking at the screen my wife loved it, but didn’t any of the references.  I’m not sure I could handle this every week, but just for once it is nice to see them “let the docs out.”

RTD takes his usual swipe against American politics and populist spin (looks nice but no actual policy) with blasts from the past all along the way; Little Britain; Out of the Unknown; “falling from the skies” – a possible Wormwood reference;  jelly babies and chips; the Master’s “hypnotic voice”; the Teletubbies/Clangers; the Sea Devils; a faithful human companion (name checking the old “Doctor’s wife” joke from the JNT era, just like the “secret brother” story); the TARDIS keys emit a Douglas Adams SEP field; nice big red Warner style sticks of dynamite; the Doctor previous dealings with PMs (Cabinet rebuilt, Harriet Jones) as well as mention of every present day invasion since the series rebooted; the “you did this – you voted Saxon” reminiscent of the speech in V for Vendetta; numerous plugs for Torchwood; the Valliant confirming Jack’s place as the new Captain Scarlet, with the TARDIS hidden behind the door with the big Thuderbird 4 logo; the End of the World (again) and for once it’s not the Doctor telling everyone to “Run!”

Even the Master’s laser screwdriver looks good – who’d have sonic? (Although the point of the Lazarus system was that it was based on sonic technology, oh well.)

All this, and tantalising hints of a past we haven’t seen – what did the Master do for Lucy’s father; and what happened to his other blonde from the security service; the Time War, the Dalek Emperor at the Cruciform.  I worked out who the spheres were fairly late into the piece – the irritating child’s voice of one of them being a little too reminiscent of the cute kid last week, especially with the talk of the impending darkness.

Ultimately a good setup with some nice character pieces.  Jack’s “you too, huh” line continues the trend of adding more to his character in throwaway scenes that was ever revealed in his own series, though the Doctor’s line about fancying someone a little too aware.  Again Martha shows great gumption, but John Simm steals the show with the perfect balance of brilliance, evil and craziness (and lets be honest, the best lines, and nifty red lined jacket).  All that’s missing is someone to make a joke about the Master’s “balls of steel”… well, maybe not.

DR

Reprinted with kind permission from Reverse The Polarity! issue 25