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Old 01-04-2014, 10:12 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Urban do you like shows such as Farscape, Stargate Sg1/Atlantis?
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:55 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I'm surprised that this wasn't even lower down on your list, as I know it's often regarded as the worst Doctor Who story ever. Crap story with some shockingly bad American accents by second rate actors.
It probably would have been lower had I not waited so long to see it. It still has a novelty factor to it and technically I've not watched it the whole way through.

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Urban do you like shows such as Farscape, Stargate Sg1/Atlantis?
To be honest a lot of Sci-Fi leaves me cold, especially if we're talking military in space exploring & blowing up things. In fact I hardly ever watch it.
I'm more of a fan of cult TV. Kind of like something set in the present day-ish with a sci-fi edge or has something quirky about it. Life On Mars, The Prisoner, The Avengers or Lost would probably be the best examples of that.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:40 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Perhaps I will try life on Mars. Looks like the US and Euro version both only had 1 season though?

Been looking for another good scy-fy(ish) show to watch.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:53 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I believe the US series had one season. the UK version had 2, but the story continued on in 3 seasons of Ashes to Ashes.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:55 PM   #35 (permalink)
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216: A Town Called Mercy

Doctor : 11th (Matt Smith)
Companions : Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)
Series : 7 (New)
Originally Transmitted: 15th Sept 2012




What did I say about Doctor Who and westerns not mixing?

I know a lot of people think that Curse Of The Black Spot was the nadir of Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor but I much prefer Pirates to Cowboys so this story gets the wooden spoon.

But is it really fair to say this is Matt Smith's worst story?

Probably not, I can think of a few Christmas specials that are worse than this but after several years of disappointment & boredom at most of these specials I'm kind of used to them being sentimental fluff pieces that you watch with the whole family with a belly full of turkey while you pick at a tin of Quality Street. (Did I mention I got a 'big big purple one' this past Christmas from my mother. A giant plastic purple Quality Street with 35 of the purple ones inside. In fact here's a picture of her holding it.



Now that I have successfully used a picture of my Mother holding up a giant chocolate in a Doctor Who review let's get on to what the story is about and why I dislike it.

As this episode doesn't have the luxury of being a Christmas special I have no hesitation in awarding it the title of Matt Smith's worst episode. I feel bad for Matt Smith because in preparing this I had no real inkling of just how many of his episodes really suck until I really analysed it. So by the looks of things there may well be a run of Matt Smith stories coming up in the near future which is a shame because he is my favourite Doctor since the series returned, although some of the pratfalling can become grating after a while.

In this story the Doctor is taking Amy & Rory to Day of the Dead festival in Mexico. The Tardis being the Tardis doesn't quite arrive in Mexico & ends up taking them to a small American frontier town called Mercy instead.



They notice 2 strange things about the town instantly. The first is that there is a ring of wood & stone around the whole town.



The second is that the town seems to have electricity 10 years too early.
They meet up with the town Marshall, he informs them that the ring is there to protect them from The Gunslinger, a cyborg who stops anyone from leaving the town and also stops any supplies being bought into the town.
The Gunslinger shows up looking very much like Yul Brynner in the fantastic movie 'Westworld'.



In fact go watch Westworld instead of this, it's about a theme park where a bunch of androids go haywire and start killing people. Much better than this story anyway.

The Doctor discovers that The Gunslinger is looking for another alien called Kahler-Jex.



Jex crash landed 10 years earlier and saved the townsfolk from an outbreak of cholera and also giving them electricity and that the townsfolk don't want to hand him over to the cyborg. The town is becoming short of food. Using Rory & the Marshall as a decoy they distract the cyborg long enough for the Doctor to leave by horseback to get back to his Tardis. On the way he discovers Jex's crashed ship.



In Jex ship the Doctor discovers that Jex built the cyborg to fight in a war and that he was responsible for experimenting on people to achieve this. He accidentally sets off an alarm and the cyborg finds him leaving the ship, he tells the Doctor he wants revenge on the people who did this to him and that Jex was the last of the people he wanted revenge on.He also didn't want to harm any innocents which is why he built the barrier around the town. He gives the Doctor an ultimatum, the next person to cross the line must be Jex.

The big confrontation happens & the Marshall is killed saving Jex, As he dies The Marshall gives the Doctor his badge & tells him to look after the town. The Doctor comes up with the idea of having all the townspeople wear the same facial markings as Jex to confuse the cyborg.



Jex escapes in the confusion and then instead of launching his ship to escape decides to set it to self destruct instead saying that the cyborg will follow him everywhere he goes and that he didn't want any more innocent people to suffer because of him. The cyborg knowing that his revenge is over attempts to destroy himself but the Doctor convinces him to become the new Marshall of Mercy.

The biggest problem I had with this episode was boredom, I just didn't really care about the outcome. Several times I found myself looking at the clock wondering how much longer the episode had left to finish. It's supposed to be a morality tale but that's difficult when you don't really care about either side. It also has Amy Pond questioning the Doctor's morality telling him he's changed since he's been travelling on his own and not for the better. Coming from someone else this would have been effective but coming from Amy Pond, a woman he's done so much for and risked his life to save countless times it just comes across as her being a bit whiney. Donna Noble questioned the Doctor's morality much more effectively in The Fires Of Pompeii. I put that down to Russell T Davies being able to write that stuff much better than Steven Moffat ever could. Moffat is more of a 'big epic space battles and the doctor stopping the end of the universe type guy' while Davies was more of a 'the doctor makes a difference on a personal level no matter how small.' Moffat is better at writing big complicated concepts, Davies is better at writing characters, people & emotions. Not knocking either guy for that every writer has their strengths & weaknesses. I know Steven Moffat didn't write this story but you get the feeling that had Davies been in charge he would have made the characters emotional standpoint much easier to write for.

It has to be said while this episode isn't great story wise it looks amazing, being filmed in the same part of Spain where all the classic spaghetti westerns of the 50s & 60s were filmed. Also I have to say I don't blame any of the shortcomings of this story on Matt Smith who tries his best to make this story move along and be interesting by giving it his usual energy & charisma, but in the end it just sort of falls flat and about half an hour after watching it you've kind of forgotten it ever happened.

Still I have to admit the line 'Everyone who isn't an American, drop your gun' did make me laugh, but that was during the trailer of this story so basically I need not have bothered watching the whole thing for this one highlight.
Oh well, watch Westworld instead.

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Old 01-04-2014, 06:10 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rezdaddy Longlegs View Post
Perhaps I will try life on Mars. Looks like the US and Euro version both only had 1 season though?

Been looking for another good scy-fy(ish) show to watch.
Life on Mars is excellent, seriously good. Haven't seen Ashes to Ashes, although I've heard it's not quite as good and kind of ruins the story from Life on Mars.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:29 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say Ashes to Ashes ruins it I thought everything got resolved in a really interesting way.

The problem with Ashes To Ashes was that while the first series was just as good as Life On Mars the second series was largely forgettable and only really picked up towards the end.
The third series is a bit of a slow starter but once Daniel Mays character gets more involved it really picks up again and the last run of episodes up to the final episode are really really good.
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:03 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Been looking for another good scy-fy(ish) show to watch.
You watched the newer Battlestar Galactica? Also get into Fringe if you missed that amaze balls show when it aired.
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:42 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Rez, Life on Mars is amazing; I'll be covering it soon in The Couch Potato. But if you're looking for sci-fi you'll be disappointed. There's very very little in it. The genius of LoM lies in the juxtapositioning of the police procedure from the 70s and today, and the dichotomy between the two. The only real sci-fi element in the show is through dreams and the question as to whether or not he has travelled back in time, which of course he ---- obviously not telling.

A few lines that illustrate its brilliance, won't give anything away:

"Where's my PC? There should be a PC on this desk!"
"Why does he want a police officer on his desk?"

and
"In pursuit! Suspect is an IC1 male."
"Say again?"
"Um. Oh. A black guy."
"Got it!"

Have you watched Babylon 5 yet? Revolution is also great as is Defiance. If you want some recs let me know.

We now return you to your usual programme, already in progress...
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:21 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Rez, Life on Mars is amazing; I'll be covering it soon in The Couch Potato. But if you're looking for sci-fi you'll be disappointed. There's very very little in it. The genius of LoM lies in the juxtapositioning of the police procedure from the 70s and today, and the dichotomy between the two. The only real sci-fi element in the show is through dreams and the question as to whether or not he has travelled back in time, which of course he ---- obviously not telling.

A few lines that illustrate its brilliance, won't give anything away:

"Where's my PC? There should be a PC on this desk!"
"Why does he want a police officer on his desk?"

and
"In pursuit! Suspect is an IC1 male."
"Say again?"
"Um. Oh. A black guy."
"Got it!"
I have to admit I don't understand the significance of either of those quotes, but the concept of the show sounds pretty interesting. I just added it to my Netflix queue.
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