Become a Podshock Supporting Subscriber
Now more than ever, we need your support! Become a Supporting Subscriber today.

Paradise Towers


Chase - Posted on 04 August 2009

 

1

In my search for my new worst DW I have but one question (for now): can watching too much DW rot your brain?

Anyway, I guess I'm more tolerant of bad DW now. This wasn't THAT bad but it was bad mind you. Why?

Mel running away, doesn't realize the Doc fell...I think in front of her. Then she goes and has a snack with two old ladies who...don't seem quite right in the head from the second they appear...but they do cut her loose and she does need some info to continue, and they give her some. Not sure how long ago the young people were abandoned but almost every criticism of this story gives us the idea that the Kangs are too old and played by actresses who are too old. I am not sure I agree. I do agree that they, and almost everyone else in this story, acts retarded or more eccentric than the Doctor...and that's a problem...I think. It used to be but perhaps as in all DW, there's room for every kind of story and tone.

Here the tone is: well, retarded. No, really. The Doctor does like the Kangs and laughingly gives them their long involved salute (with accompanying goofy music). The Kangs are annoying. The robotic cleaning machines look about as dangerous and threatening as a small, very small kitten or puppy. Even the Doc gets too close...of course he's just viewed a picture on a wall that showed him one of the cleaning machine arms killing a Kang so he's stupid too to do that.

The Caretakers seem to be killed by them as well with full consent of the strange leader of the Caretakers...who, in a strange cliffhanger greets the Doc as the Great Architect and orders him killed!

Oh and the Doc had to eject the swimming pool from the TARDIS. Did they need that bit? It got them here as Mel seems fascinated with pools in this ep and wants to go swimming. Huh?

Well anyway on the plus side: there's....

...

?

The Doctor has stopped mixing up proverbs and doesn't even say any that I heard. He does tend to mumble just about now. This story also starts the trend, earlier than I expected, of fans or viewers having to read about the story to figure out what the F is going on. I mean really. The novels, fan fiction, fan articles, fan letters, interviews with the writers, questions an answers in Doctor Who Magazine, interviews with JNT and Eric and the actors, and the novelizations of the story or fan made scripts, etc....and even introductions to the novels, future New Adventures, ABOUT TIME, TIMELINKS, etc...all have to explain what is going on. It's mostly stories like CURSE OF FENRIC and GHOSTLIGHT (where too many elements are thrown in with the kitchen sink, too many characters, and too many subplots without any explanation or link to the sink or link to each other) but here we have PARADISE TOWERS and a bit later HAPPINESS PATROL and possibly even SILVER NEMESIS. Blimey, I've heard of letting the viewers figure things out for themselves (ever see the original THE PRISONER?) or of symbolic surrealism and hidden meaning and deep thought social commentary (again all in THE PRISONER and possibly the very first ep of BLAKE'S 7) but this is ridiculous.

I longed for the time when the show would tell us "Gee whizz, Adric, we're in the year 2525?"  or more likely Adric would read it out, "We're in the year 1925 on Earth."  and so on. Usually before Adric and Romana, it was the Doctor who told us where we were and if he didn't know he'd say that too and make a guess.  Here we exit the TARDIS and we're in a flat on an unnamed planet in where? In what time? It does give an otherworldly quality to the thing(s) and stuff like this was happening all the time in this and the last era and somewhat in Davison's later stories...we might as well be in Oz, Neverland, Fantasia, or the Looking Glass. I mean some of the time I'd like a year. Oh, wait, the novels will fill that in.

That leads me to what I was saying before: If stuff has to be filled in by other sources...is this a good thing or a bad thing? I am not sure. I guess it depends on how I feel while watching. If I want to be entertained, then I want something thre to fill me in. If I want to be force fed into reading to learn, then I guess give me the abstract (PRISONER again), symbolic, strange, social comparision, thinking man's and woman's scripts which reflect and react to society and make  you think about what's wrong with the world...usually though I don't want that in DW...but if you're going to do that, do it well...which DW almost never does in this era and the era just before it. I mean KINDA, SNAKEDANCE, WARRIOR'S GATE, LOGOPOLIS and CASTROVALVA can all be understood. If you are going to try to give us social rebellion or commentary or show us about individuality vs conformity and make us figure out which one is better or worse or at what times one is better than the other, do it like THE PRISONER.

OR don't do it at all.

this episode, the thing is: I'm not sure what it's trying to do or to be. And at this point, it makes little to no sense. And that's before Pex arrives. Maybe the explanations of everyone went off to war and left the old and the young here to fend for themselves is enough. But surely something ELSE is going on. Maybe we get more answers later on. I find myself saying that all the time during this and the last error...

but at least McCoy  has calmed down and is not as fast talking...now he's mumbling but he seems like the Doctor here and actually IS the Doctor. Mel has started becoming...less like a companion and more like a problem though...         

2

Dang, dag, and all that. I thoroughly enjoyed that. I did. The Kangs didn't get on my nerves, Mel was good, even Pex impressed with his...uhm, pecs. One thing wrong is that the Kangs make fun of Pex for being a scaredy cat but he doesn't seem much older than they are: so maybe they were cowards too. Surely if they were sent 15 years ago from the current time...he'd be but a small boy....maybe? Certainly they seem almost the same age.

Anyway, Sly gets his first GREAT moments here and what a bunch they are too. The first great moment seems to be his Tom Baker like escape from the Caretaker guards. For Pete's sake that's funny and the most Tom Baker like moment we've got since, well, since Tom left really. With some exceptions such as pointing one way and going another, flipping a coin and ignoring the results, mostly done by Davison's Doctor but also by Colin's Doctor. McCoy is quite funny here and also when winning coins from the slot machine and when getting a refreshing drink from the soda machine and sharing it with the Kangs.   

The cleaning machines still fail to impress and are slow slow slow but they are the only thing that is. The towers themselves LOOK great and the idea is brilliant that someone or something built this and left it all...

Okay what's with the LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS moments? What's that thing in the basement (is it the basement or the upper level?)? Richard Briers can be funny and his "Who did that?" after the farting noise comes from his radio is pretty funny. That said, the caretakers with their reliance on on numbers are starting to annoy but again, nothing here is terrible and I'd have to say this episode is one of the better ones in some time! WTF, who knew?

I love the cliffhanger with Mel being menaced by two old ladies...they were up to something and God knows what they were eating before Mel got there...I assumed a rat or something, it couldn't be the chubby lady they were chatting to before because, well she was a meal and not small like one of them said...Tilda I guess, I mix their names up. Good cliffhanger for Mel this time...and in the credits to part one I could have sworn the Doc winked at me twice!    

3

 

This ep is not as good as the last one. I'm not sure why. The Doctor lets himself be recaptured after the Caretaker aides find him and he lets the Kangs get away. He finds out more about the Towers. I think it's that everyone has once again started playing this like they were children and as if they thought this is just DW and it can be played like a pantomine. Mel, Pex, the Kangs (God, they're most annoying in this episode and I couuldn't wait for them to shut up! and if that's not bad enough, the Blue meet the Red), the Caretakers, the old lady...all seem to be playing it this way, an over the top kind of panto. Even Slyvester engages in this now. Mel and Pex's elevator shenanigans aren't funny and aren't exciting and are not played seriously when if done so, could have been very, very scary and exciting. I also say this every episode of this story but the cleaning robots aren't very menacing at all. It's a bit disconcerting to see old ladies pulled down the waste disposal and that fear is pretty well drawn. Pex saving Mel is a nice touch...twice. The thing in the basement...I don't know what to make of it at all really...it's now not a mystery...and it seems threatening. Even the cliffhanger in this ep isn't really that thrilling. Perhaps the story is an ep too long.  I think I forgot to mention in the last ep, there are two really good musical interludes with the DW theme in the background and not at all intrusive.

Oh, for this: Mel decides to take another rest, despite what happened to her the last time she tried to take a rest and AND AND! she decides that later she'll go for a swim in the pool and AND she makes fun of Pex for being cautious. She's an idiot. AND that pool monster looks about as menacing as the robot cleaners. It's not! If it and the cleaners had been and if more of this "acting", so called, were played more straight, then maybe this story would have held up longer but honestly, this ep falls down a lot...still the idea of the Towers is a good one and it could have worked and might still in the last episode...      

I happen to like Paradise Towers.  I think it's an alright story and an intriguing concept.

The concept is good and it has its moments but ep3 is poor IMO. Ep2 is very good and ep 1 falls somewhere in between. It's being played like a kid's show but way over the top. I'm not sure why it was that way though. It could have been so much better if played a bit more serious 

4

Yeah. Oh dear. Can you imagine any non fan watching this for the first time what they might think? And as good as DELTA ep1 is, that too? I mean explanations are rattled off and mumbled so that anyone not into sci fi or even DW in general would not really get what was going on, would they?

Here, things fall apart quickly. Execution is terrible. Richard Briers is awful as the Great Architect Kroagnon. I don't know what made him play it like THAT but it's awful. I must say it's unique in DW history and possibly all of sci fi, horror, and fantasy to have a baddie played like that? What was behind it? Was it the trouble the thing had using a human (?) body? Either way it's embarassing all round. Ditto the Kangs. By now I've lost my patience with them and they are just as annoying as Peri was when she first started, only more so and there's so much more of them. Their constant razzing of Pex was annoying. Add to that that one of their arrows can put a cleaning machine out of action...all together now, the cleaning machines are not much of a threat. They suck as suck can be. Even old ladies can fool them and drop a net over them and push them down a hallway. My goodness, this is a poor episode.

Oh and Mel's attack in the swimming pool is just terribly done. She's practically attacking herself, well, she's have to to make us think she was under attack by that very poor pool cleaning robot. WTHell? ANd didn't she see it lurking at the bottom of that very clean pool to begin with?At least she apologizes to Pex.

Yeah I get THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET thing ("your parents locked him up"). The music is once more like TIME AND THE RANI yelling at us with BAM DUM DAM pause, BAM BUMP, DAA DAA DAA DUMP. WTF?

The Doc in an earlier ep (1,2,and 3) starts rolling his Rs. Which is almost as annoying as his saying sayings the wrong way around, which he does not do here at all although he does say "nothing ventured, nothing gained" the correct way. Charmingly, the Kangs give the Doctor a scarf that is blue and red and make him a Kang. They also dedicate a something to Pex...and...

hang on a mo...Pex died using explosives on the Caretaker and dumping him down (and himself) a lift shaft? WTF? Why did it have to be done that way? Is Pex really dead? Is the Great Architect? I suspect not but whatever...poorly done last episode and really worthy again of being the worst DW story...

No one seems to be really thinking about how this will look and sound on the audience that are not fans...which is why the ratings stayed so low. I'd like to say there's something redeeming about this ep, but there's not really.     

 

Thinking about how I would never start with this story to show a non fan what I like about DW, I wondered which I would. The Pilot? Ark In Space?

I certainly wouldn't start with CAVES or MORBIUS and once tried to start with TALONS (it didn't go over well). Most of those are just patch up jobs of stuff that non fans will have seen or have some knowledge of as better: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, FRANKENSTEIN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, etc. I like DW, I really do but I'm not sure that even good stories are the ones to go with: STATE OF DECAY really can't beat DRACULA; FULL CIRCLE's monsters are not a beat on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. I'd say the Pilot ep might be one to go with or maybe even KINDA or DEADLY ASSASSIN. I once read a letter in FANTASY EMPIRE that a fan got his girlfriend to love DW by showing her NIGHTMARE OF EDEN and HORNS OF NIMON. Not kidding. I can actually see EDEN working as it has a lot of good ideas and less over the top stuff than most others. In the same token I'd probably try THE DAEMONS or one of the JonPertwee's but even those don't really give us a good idea of DW's traveling to other planets and the ones that Pertwee does go aboard so to speak are...somewhat fun but somewhat lacking. 

I'm actually stumped. Does anyone have any ideas? So which would you start with? TIME AND THE RANI?

I'd leave out the new show because truthfully I think those go over better with better acting, effects, plots, character involvement, emotionality, etc. I showed ROSE, THE UNQUIET DEAD, END OF THE WORLD, THE EMPTY CHILD, and THE DOCTOR DANCES and got four people hooked on it. I also showed HUMAN NATURE, FATHER'S DAY, and BLINK. They liked all of them but thought that HUMAN and FATHer'S DAY  were very sad...

On other thought RTD quote: Good television does not have to depress us. Is he trying to prove himself wrong with TORCHWOOD?  

Wyldstaar's picture

When it comes to classic series episodes, I'd recommend City of Death.  This story has loads going for it.  First, it's written (more or less) by Douglas Adams.  Second, the villain is played by Julian Glover (aka: That guy from Empire Strikes back, Indiana Jones, James Bond, The Avengers, The Saint & Blake's 7).  Third, most of the story doesn't require much in the way of visual FX, so their shoestring budget quality isn't beating you over the head every two minutes.  Fourth, it stars Tom Baker.  You can't go wrong with Tom, ever.

For the new series, I'd go with Blink.  The uninitiated will easily relate to Sally Sparrow, because she doesn't know who The Doctor is any more than they do.  The writing is superb, as Steven Moffat always has been so far.  It's scary, funny and totally original.  As a bonus, they'll never look at an angel statue the same way again.  My nephew hasn't been able to be around statues since seeing this episode two years ago, but that hasn't prevented him from being totally hooked on Who.

Enter: The Conquering Chicken

yeah I agree, however, once done with CITY OF DEATH and/or BLINK, will they think the series will always be like that? Then you have to have them deal with the likes of PLANET OF THE DALEKS, JOURNEY'S END, KEYS OF MARINUS, THE CHASE, and while I like most of those, I don't think they are ...well they are more typical of DW than either CITY or BLINK.

I think this story could have been a very good story. But music and production spoiled it

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

New Doctor Who Podshock schwag

Podcast Feeds

Subscribe to
the Doctor Who podcast
Doctor Who: Podshock


iTunes users click here
Podcast
Gallifreyan Embassy - Doctor Who: Podshock - Doctor Who: Podshock


Direct podcast feeds:


Doctor Who: Podshock
Podcast


MP3 Format Podcast:
Doctor Who: Podshock MP3
Podcast


  More feeds and info

  Supporting Subscribers

BEST PODCAST

Doctor Who: Podshock Awarded BEST PODCAST
Doctor Who: PODSHOCK

DW Podshock App

iPhone, iPad, iPod touch podcast companion app

Doctor Who: Podshock Podcast Companion App

Doctor Who: Podshock Companion App

Syndicate (RSS Feed)

Syndicate content

Poll

How do you rate Doctor Who: Flatline? (5=Fantastic)
5 TARDIS Groans
50%
4 TARDIS Groans
50%
3 TARDIS Groans
0%
2 TARDIS Groans
0%
1 TARDIS Groan
0%
0 TARDIS Groans
0%
Total votes: 2

Amazon US Store

Amazon UK Store

Latest image

DW Podshock 314 Cover

BBC Shop (UK & Europe)

Monthly archive