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Doctor Who: "The Runaway Bride"

No suspension of disbelief - everyone knows the only Lakeland Plastics in London are in shopping centres. Not anywhere near Chiswick, and certainly not in the open on a high street.
On the one hand, they went to the formation of the Earth! On the other hand, they went to the formation of the Earth as a throwaway plot point that doesn't make sense.

Actually, I think I quite like some of the things the episode was trying to do. But the execution was a bit, er, hysterical and muddled.
I wanted to kill both the female characters throughout the episode. This did not help my mood.

Also, why did The Doctor make snow? And did he really believe that the Annoying Bride could 'be magnificent'?
It looks like Martha Jones might be smart, though, which would be nice. I'm not saying Rose was stupid, but it wasn't an emphasised aspect of her character -- and after two seasons, hopefully the audience doesn't need the companion to be slow on the uptake to give the Doctor an excuse to explain everything.
Unlisted option 'somewhere in between good and bad'.

I like that they didn't ignore Rose, but it did feel rushed. And a little more panto then usual.

My Dad and I where talking earlier about how it pissed us off that every Christmas film seems to end with snow, so we laughed at the snow at the end.
Unlisted option 'somewhere in between good and bad'.

Your lack of arbitrary judgement displeases me.
I abstain from this vote, for reasons that should be obvious to you.
Oh, the suspense! :)
I think it did exactly what it set out to do: make a light hearted comedy-adventure romp mixing farce with action. I liked a lot of it and I didn't like a lot of it, but overall the good outweighed the bad. Tennant was far more consistent than usual, and angst about Rose suits him better than angst about the Time War. Those dashes of darkness were effective.
Tennant was far more consistent than usual

Well, more consistently annoying than usual, at least. Which may or may not have been deliberate, since I don't usually find his mannerisms that annoying, and here I virtually cheered both times he got slapped.
I voted 'Good' solely because at no point during the episode did I find myself shouting "That makes no sense!" at the TV, which makes it a million times better than any episode of Torchwood, at least.

On the other hand, I'd been drinking rather a lot of wine.
Compared to Torchwood, the episode of Emmerdale I watched this evening is a dramatic masterpiece. I don't think we can use it as a comparison for anything.
I really liked it but having read everyone else's comments now suspect that Torchwood has just lowered my expectation levels so much that anything half decent seems really good by comparison.

I agree it was a bit panto but I didn't mind that. Whilst RTD has a track record that's a bit left-field superficially, when it comes to Dr Who he's very traditional - from the start he's been careful to protect the "institution". And Christmas specials are a Beeb tradition going back decades - not only in variety but special episodes of drama series, often with added humour.

We're not a typical audience so I think occasionally it's worth us reminding ourselves that the BBC sees Dr Who as not only an institution but "classic family entertainment" and I think it probably worked well for the core audience they have in mind. Indeed, as a cultural observer I find it fascinating to watch the game that's being played out with the mass audience as the BBC team tries to be original yet always carries its historical baggage of approach and style around with it. To escape that fully I think it usually needs a totally original show with no history and often on a lesser network (X-Files, B5 ...).
To escape that fully I think it usually needs a totally original show with no history and often on a lesser network (X-Files, B5 ...).

Alternatively, a revival of a traditional show with an established reputation for being a bit more serious - that is, Quatermass.

This is my masterplan to save British TV SF: new Quatermass. On BBC 4 to begin with, to give it room to grow into something solid (excellent point about lesser networks, palatinate), structured either as standalone episodes, or possibly three-part mini-arcs, or perhaps even one 2 x 45 minute piece once every few months, rather than a proper series. Set out to to do serious, respectable SF stories, well written. Rope in really good current British SF writers (of which we have plenty) to do the plots, and team them up with good scriptwriters (of which we have barely enough). Shoot anyone involved with Who if they come within a mile of the studio. There won't be the budget to do flashy effects, but good SF can be done without them. Save them for the Stephen Baxter / Mike Leigh christmas special.

-- tom
Why WHY is no one posting big hot juicy spoilers of the type that make it unnecessary to see the actual episode!

What good is it having UK folks on my FList if there's no spoilerage goin' on on the Who front?
Baddy tries to take over earth, Doctor stops her with help/hindrance from plucky but dim earthling chum.
Also killer robot Santas.
How do you make science fiction really boring? Exactly like that. I went to bed.
Were you watching Battlestar Galatica instead?
GOOD or BAD in the context of Doctor Who is always a bit of a surreal exercise, since by absolute standards, it's all very, very BAD. Somehow, not as BAD as Torchwood, but still, none of the new Doctor Who has been genuinely GOOD television. Accordingly, we have to judge it on its own terms.

Thus, i voted GOOD on this episode because (a) my mum thought is was funny and (b) there were several strikingly gratuitous down-wet-cleavage shots of a well-supported Catherine Tate, which is relevant to my interests.

Brief laundry list of what was BAD:

  • The clunky shift between plot/action scenes and character/emotion scenes; clumsy writing in general

  • The plot/action scenes being quite unconvincing

  • The character/action scenes being completely unconvincing

  • Hole to the centre of the earth (THE CENTRE! OF! THE! EARTH!)

  • Spider babies being expected to be able to crawl up said hole (which is about 6000 km long, geology fans) in the space of one scene

  • The water in the Thames being expected to be enough to fill up said hole

  • The hole not spewing magma

  • Basically everything about the hole

  • The dialogue

  • The explanation for why the magick energy refinery was under the Thames

  • The rather convoluted plot to dose the Bride with magick energy; why not just kidnap someone and keep them in a basement? Why not just slip magick energy in to the food at a soup kitchen and abduct some homeless?

  • Given that the magick energy can apparently be extracted from someone quite harmlessly, everyone's terror at being used as as host

  • The mini-"no cause for concern - EXCEPT SKIFFY!CANCER" scene

  • Formation of the Earth happening in about five minutes, sundry other bad physics associated with this scene

  • Stupid children, repeatedly



  • High-tech robots with normal guns (might be practical, but looked wrong)

  • Was that at N64 controller? And wasn't it a controller for the grenades, not the robots? So how did the gurnmeister use it to disable them?

  • Overuse of sonic screwdriver (although if i had one, i would too)


  • Snow

  • "Be magnificent"

  • Many other details i have managed to forget but reserve the right to add later

-- tom
BAD for the fish- GOOD otherwise.
The stupid children - well, the stupid child at least, was clearly a pun on the Dakota Fanning scream moment in WotW...as was the entire plot point about the aliens being buried under the earth. I thought the joke about the spiders down the plug hole was just a joke, and not as deep and meaningful as some of the posters here clearly wish it was. Shallow, frothy and fun - I expected nothing less and was not disappointed.
On an academic level, I realize that there were a hell of a lot of problems with this episode - mostly having to do with Catherine Tate being horribly wooden until the episode's final scene in which she gets hit with the character development stick and suddenly develops a completely unearned (both for the character's intelligence as it's been established and for the amount of time she's spent with him) insight into the Doctor - but I've apparently been so battered by Torchwood that anything even remotely fun - which "The Runaway Bride" unquestionably was - will win me over. I suspect that on further reflection the episode will, like the second season finale, come apart like damp tissue paper.

(That's a GOOD, in case I wasn't being clear.)
Dear god, that was so bad there are not sufficient words to express either my horror or my level of boredom. That's an hour of my life I regret wasting; I could have been cleaning the bathroom, clipping my toenails, doing the filing, or anything stimulating and entertaining.