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     Home »  The David Tennant Era »  S3-Epi8 'Human Nature'
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    S3-Epi8 'Human Nature' Views: 6107
     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 06:22 AM EDT
    I half expected them to put the full page up on the official BBC episode page. I don't know why they thought we would be interested in a copy of the newspaper or the dance poster rather than that page from the journal.

    Who knows - maybe if they do the advent calendar thing again this year they may include an image of the complete page with the images of all the Doctors. I'll keep my fingers crossed anyway.

    Semi

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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 06:35 AM EDT
    What an excellent episode. I must say that I've not been impressed by a few of the episodes this season (I'm trying to forget the Dalek two parter). But this episode (and hopefully the next), does it all right. Great acting, writing, plot, and not a ton of special effects, but when they're in the story, I was blown away--the invisible ship effect really worked well as do the green lasers. I hope that the tension is kept tight for next week and that the story holds true to how good this story was.

    I really enjoyed how this story panned out. Excellent, excellent work!

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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 07:42 AM EDT
    I agree with all the comments, this was indeed an excellent, excellent episode. I have to say that this season hasn't blown me away. Smith and Jones made me think that Ken's pattern was going to be subverted, but with the historical, New, New York, Daleks, humans in space stuff I was starting to get very worried. Then came Human Nature...

    (Note: I'm happy to judge this as a standalone episode for now as I think it stands up well enough without needing part-two to define it).

    What makes this episode great is what has made other episodes this season less so. Firstly, this is a challenging story designed to be enjoyed rather than understood - and something more than just a coat stand for monsters, special effects, or silly situations and science. Second, the use of CGI enhanced the story rather than trying to compete with it. Third, this was character-driven without being all about foregrounding characters and emotions against a less important backdrop of space/time fantasy storytelling. Finally, the episode acknowledged the show's history without trying to rewrite it, or simply giving the fans a pretty trivial nod to the past (Macra anyone?). Instead, it made the Doctor seem more real, more vulnerable and part of a long history of events, ideas and talent (including the history of the shows production!).

    Most of all, I think this worked because it was simple. Simple isn't always an easy thing to achieve since to appear simple and straight-forward means to be able to hide all the long hours, hard work, editing and effort that a good episode like this stands in for. If these are the results that come from taking existing stories/novels then long may this trend continue!

    In fact, I think it shows in this episode that the story behind it has been fully developed elsewhere since the author pushes the boundaries of the format so comfortably in ways that other shorter and less complex stories seem to have struggled with. I particularly love the story being told from Martha's perspective and her relationship with the TARDIS as a kind of fortress of solitude.

    More like this please...

    p.s. How does this compare with the original story written by Cornell?






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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 07:46 AM EDT
    Couple of niggles though:

    The 'laser guns' seemed a little daft (like bits of hosepipe), more in keeping with the silliness from other episodes that the weighty themes of this one. The guns were ok I guess, but they did diminish the threat of 'The family' a bit. Its like one of the Kray twins pulling out a catapult or a water pistol and expecting you to gasp in terror.

    I thought the scarecrows were great, but they did sometimes look like a bunch of trained dancers trying too hard to move in a scary way Laughing Out Loud (bet it still terrified the kids though - which is always a good thing.)

    Not a niggle as such, but I was begging Martha to walk around the TARDIS a bit more here. If this is her last place of refuge I was really hoping we would see her wandering around some rooms or empty corridors to emphasise her loneliness.

    Lastly, I did feel that the Doctor being human and trapped in a human world worked fantastically, but it did lose some of its impact given how much time the 10th Doctor has been threatened with this situation (i.e. normality).

    I think this story could have been better served by Seasons 2 and 3 giving us more of the worlds of wonder that Martha dreams of and that the Doctor mentions but never visits (at least while we are watching). As it is, it kind of feels a little less special than if say the 4th Doctor had been trapped on earth and was working on a building site ... erm... ahem.

    Anyway, excellent stuff. Like many of you have said, it reminds me why I love this show and I can't wait for the rest.

    Q: Does this mean the pattern is broken?




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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 09:31 AM EDT
    I'd like to watch the episode again before "Family of Blood". I had watched one part late at night and the rest early morning so I was a bit off with the flow of the story.

    I wondered why when Baines got abducted on to the ship that he completely lost his mind when he saw the aliens, but when the maid was in the same situation, though she was terrified as well, she didn't get immediately terrified...it just felt like Baines was more tramatized with just the sight of the alien...unless he saw something completely different(?).

    There was a bit of an E.T. moment as well when he first saw the ship, yet I don't remember Elliott freaking out...and due to the overall character personality and emotions of Baines, I think I would have rather seen Thomas Sangster be the 1st in the Family of Blood...

    But, most of the rest was fun to watch and I didn't mind the way it ended....

    "WOT?...WOT?" "WOT??????!!!!!" OUT!OUT!OUT!
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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 09:50 AM EDT
    Corker.

    Welcome back, Doctor Who, I've missed you.

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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 10:31 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Simon]As it is, it kind of feels a little less special than if say the 4th Doctor had been trapped on earth and was working on a building site ... erm... ahem.


    Or perhaps, a monestary Wink .

    M

    I'm a Time Traveler, I point and laugh at archaeologist.
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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 08:36 PM EDT
    A great episode. I could not be distracted during the show and I am anxious to see the continuation.

    The episode seems to act as a showcase for Martha I think. Martha is endearing and brave, and I like her even more now.

    I'm disappointed to see the photos pointing out the characters in the book. I was sure the one on the far right was curly from the three stooges.

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     Monday, May 28 2007 @ 11:56 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  lucas] Welcome back, Doctor Who, I've missed you.
    Due respect, but Doctor Who hasn't been anywhere to miss. It's been here every week, pushing forward its own boundaries, evolving and changing for the better. Sometimes it's dropped the ball, perhaps, but it's never done so except in genuine desire to innovate. It's a wondrous, mad, marvelous time for the Doctor Who fan, week in and week out. There's honestly no story in RTD Who that fails to run circles around all but a mere handful of "classic" episodes. Indeed, the best, even the middling, episodes of RTD Who are significantly better than the best stories of the classic series, in my opinion.

    This episode, despite its many excellent qualities, is not a part of that innovation. It's the most blatant rip-off—not a pastiche, or homage, but a rip-off—of the most bog-standard story archetype in all of fantastic fiction.


    The Chameleon Arch in action


    Every single hero, who's been around for any significant length of time, has explored his or her "human nature" at some point. Most obviously, this is, as Cornell himself admits in the preface to his book and in the episode's attendant Confidential, Doctor Who does Superman II. But it's also Spiderman 2, Star Wars: A New Hope, Kirk and Spock meet Joan Collins, the first month of Smallville's season 5—even, dare I say it without intent of blasphemy, Jesus in the wilderness. And it doesn't hold a candle to the very best televised episode of this ilk, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Far Beyond the Stars".

    That doesn't stop the episode from being one of the very most enjoyable in the history of the program. Nor does it detract from the fact that the episode is now dead center to the mythology of Doctor Who. It just makes it, curiously, a Five Star episode that's nevertheless overrated.

    Once you get past the wonder of the pitch perfection of visual design, the nifty nods to the past, and the brilliant dialogue and acting, you're left thinking about the plot. And, though part two hasn't yet aired, I think we can see the typical Cornell problem beginning to emerge. There's an "awfully convenient thing" going on here, just as in "Father's Day". If Cornell's earlier adventure had the Reapers on a schedule of destruction that made no sense except to serve the plot (hide in the church cause it's old enough to buy us 30 minutes to have a good talk), the underlying premise here makes very little sense at all. If the perception filter around the watch can disguise the Doctor's Gallifreyan "essence", why couldn't the Doctor just put a perception filter around himself? Because then you pack up and go home. There's no story.

    It's Cornell's 1991 comic strip, "Seaside Rendezvous", all over again. Sand creature threatening the Doctor and Ace? No problem. A building by the sea just happens to be burning down. So, hop the fence, you clever little Doctor-man, grab the fire hose, and wash that mean ol' Ogri right outta your hair.

    We complain all the time around here about Santas and spinning Christmas trees as being hamfisted into a story just to make them holiday-ish, or Macra being at the bottom of a freeway without good cause, or the "lunacy" of a Doctor Who story that fails to employ the Doctor for the majority of the episode—but yet when plots depend upon fatally flawed logic as Cornell's, we give him a pass? That's, to borrow a phrase appropriate to this episode, "just not cricket".

    Because, really, I did love this episode and I'm glad it was made. But do let's be a little fair and balanced when we speak of it. It's not the second coming. It's the thousandth coming of an old idea. Sadly, the idea isn't executed to perfection, but with sleight of hand. David Tennant's rapid-fire delivery comes to Paul's rescue here. The line which makes the whole plot crumble is said so quickly in the pre-title sequence that you'll miss it and not think too much once you're whisked away by the story proper.

    So you'll forgive me, perhaps, if I temper my enthusiasm for this gorgeous episode with a healthy fear of the Doctor ripping the Gallifreyan seal off his chest and using it to wrap up the "Family of Blood".

    "I think of myself as ambitious in casting terms, and I know that Bonnie [Langford] has the potential to make the part totally unirritating . . ." — JNT, 1986
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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 06:47 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  DarthSkeptical]Because, really, I did love this episode and I'm glad it was made. But do let's be a little fair and balanced when we speak of it. It's not the second coming.


    Well, no, it isn't. Because that was a pretty good movie starring Chrisopher Eccleston, but also written by Russell T. Davies.

    Ok, kidding aside (almost - really good movie, you should look it up. Here on the West side of the Atlantic it's available on Netflix) this was a very good episode, and while some may have seen flaws in it, it FELT rather good. It was filled with the kind of fan wank (a technical term) that we fans... wank over, so to speak.

    The "Journal of Impossible Things" book itself was the biggest piece of fan wank forever, but this is often needed in a show like this with such a rich history, including having Macra as villains, even if under spurious circumstances.

    But this certainly was good Who.

    As an incidental note, I just got this month's (or last) SFX which has the reader awards, and for Best TV Episode, three episodes were in the 5 top choices. (The winner was "Girl in the Fireplace", and runners-up were "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday" and "Impossible Planet/Satan Pit".

    But the interesting thing is, every episode of Doctor Who Season 2 was nominated except "Fear Her" and "The Idiot's Lantern", not surprisingly.

    This is a good thing. It shows that we are now at such a consistently high quality of episodes in what has been and will, I'm sure, continue to be, an excellent revival of a classic TV series, and if we are complaining that this one isn't perfect or that one (Daleks in New York) isn't perfect, they're still darned good, and we are all at least united (here anyway, as opposed to radw, the evil evil newsgroup of whiners, whingers and h8trz) in the idea that this is an amazing show.

    Sean.

    (P.S. - And I hope that Freema Bombshell story is bull, because she's awesome, and if the BBC thinks that they can find someone better, I'd challenge that notion, and if she's not given a chance to gain her wings before they chop them off, I, for one, will be a very unhappy person.)

    One solid hope is worth a cartload of uncertainties.
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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 08:50 AM EDT
    I never read the Cornell novel, but I sure enjoyed this episode and am really looking forward to this week's Family of Blood.

    Here's a spoilerish speculative thought... the boy that has the Doctor's watch, could he have absorbed enough Time Lord energy from it to essentially "become" the Time Lord the Doctor was told about by the Face of Boe?!?

    Perhaps he's tied in with Saxon somehow and it's nothing to do with a certain goatee wearing man in black we were all expecting?

    Curious what others thing.

    Check out HOO on WHO, my podcast devoted to the review of Classic series Doctor Who DVD's. http://www.hooonwho.com
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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 09:05 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Dr. Hoo] I never read the Cornell novel, but I sure enjoyed this episode and am really looking forward to this week's Family of Blood.

    Here's a spoilerish speculative thought... the boy that has the Doctor's watch, could he have absorbed enough Time Lord energy from it to essentially "become" the Time Lord the Doctor was told about by the Face of Boe?!?

    Perhaps he's tied in with Saxon somehow and it's nothing to do with a certain goatee wearing man in black we were all expecting?

    Curious what others thing.


    Well I think there is a link.

    Maybe after this story as the boy grows up and his 'experence' or slightly altered biology makes him a suitable 'host' for the Master.

    One great idea I've just read on Digital Spy 'Cult' forum - posted by 'TheSarge' is:-

    'If the doctor could use this technology to hide his true Timelord self, then could any other Timelords have done the same thing at some point (like during the last Great Time War) and have survived?'

    POST #599 in this thread:-
    here

    Also somewhere I read even wilder speculation that John Smith has a Grandfather clock in his room wondering if that could be the Masters Tardis.

    Lot's of ideas to throw around...great fun.

    Cheers, daveac

    daveac on blip.tv, TalkShoe, iTunes, LiveVideo, uStream, GE, Sci-Fi, DWO, DS & WTA, Dave C on WLP, cooperda on AVF, dac100 on YouTube & PB, dac on Tiscali
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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 09:20 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  DarthSkeptical] Due respect, but Doctor Who hasn't been anywhere to miss. It's been here every week, pushing forward its own boundaries, evolving and changing for the better. Sometimes it's dropped the ball, perhaps, but it's never done so except in genuine desire to innovate. It's a wondrous, mad, marvelous time for the Doctor Who fan, week in and week out. There's honestly no story in RTD Who that fails to run circles around all but a mere handful of "classic" episodes. Indeed, the best, even the middling, episodes of RTD Who are significantly better than the best stories of the classic series, in my opinion.


    And, due respect right back at 'ya, but "Lazarus Experiment" was not Doctor Who "pushing forward its own boundaries" and "evolving", it was a retread of some of the lazier elements of an otherwise often innovative series: intro big monster, then run around corridors a lot until the monster is eventually defeated. "42", while it had a couple of lovely moments, also ignored its many chances to do something really interesting. Instead, it rehashed the "Alien" formula (with some "Encounter At Farpoint" thrown in) but tried to do so in a compressed 45 minute format that made the whole thing feel very forced and hurried, with generally underwhelming results.

    Having said all that, I 100% agree with you that modern Who still runs rings around most classic Who. Smile It's just that I've really loved many RTD-helmed episodes and the previous few weeks have fallen very short of their usual benchmark of quality for me.

    But as was noted in a recent Whocast, this third series is interesting in that so many episodes have really polarised fans, unlike previous seasons when there have seemed to be more episodes with a consensus of opinion either for or against them.

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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 09:33 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Dr. Hoo] Perhaps he's tied in with Saxon somehow and it's nothing to do with a certain goatee wearing man in black we were all expecting?
    Well, since it sounds like the voice of the psychic boy saying those lines from the last few trailers ("He's fire. And Ice. And Rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the Sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the Universe."), and we've seen the boy's enhanced perception backwards and forwards in time since opening the watch, I'd say it's likely that this line is actually about the Master/Saxon rather than a reference to the Doctor as it is being visually suggested to be in the trailer.

    So maybe he delivers the line as a warning to the Doctor at the end of this story, sort of forming a second part to the Face of Bo's earlier message...? We'll find out in a few days time!

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     Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 09:52 AM EDT
    [Quote  by:  DarthSkeptical] If the perception filter around the watch can disguise the Doctor's Gallifreyan "essence", why couldn't the Doctor just put a perception filter around himself?


    The perception filter was so that the Doctor, or rather John Smith, doesn't open the watch, not so that it is hidden from others. The perception filter was written in as part of the personality encoded by the chameleon arch. The whole point is that John Smith is not supposed to be aware of his Timelord nature. But like all TARDIS systems, this just doesn't work at 100%. The Doctor is too close to the surface.

    The perception filter doesn't effect others. No need to, though I doubt how you would explain how it could work on others.

    Daleks don't accept apologies! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
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