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May 11, 2008

The Family and the Fishy Pet

Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter

Dd5 I've seen some trite episodes of Doctor Who in my time but nothing comes close to the cheap, facile, inconsequential mess that is The Doctor's Daughter.

There were literally dozens of ways in which the Doctor could have been a father. Most of them would have been controversial and all of them would have been far more interesting than what we eventually ended up with: the Doctor sticking his hand into a glory hole. Look up the word 'contrived' in a dictionary and you'll find a picture of Stephen Greenhorn grinning back at you. The only people who would have been happy about this monumental cop-out are the ming-mongs who can't get their heads around the Doctor doing the rude thing with a woman. And even if the Doctor isn't f**ked, the audience most certainly are.

I don't want to take anything away from Georgia Moffett, though. She was fantastic. But her dynamic screen presence and impressive acting talents were wasted on this throwaway fluff. She hasn't exactly been smacked about the head with an ugly stick, either. Which helps. OK, I admit it: she was lovely.

Sadly, it's impossible to care about her character. She might as well have had the word DEAD stamped on her forehead as soon as she steps out of that infernal machine. I don't know what's worse - not caring one iota when the Doctor cradles the dying Jenny in his arms or being outraged when the show suddenly decides to cop-out by bringing her back to life. Punch the air? No, punch Stephen Moffat instead - apparently he was his stupid idea, which just goes to show that nobody's perfect. Still, it's not all bad news, at least we'll get another guaranteed spin-off: The Further Adventures of Jenny and her Peachy Arse - coming soon to BBC-Squee.

"A man who never would!" Yeah, right. Such condescending, patronising twaddle from the bloke who blew up Skaro, wiped out the Vervoids, destroyed Gallifrey (twice) and annihilated the Daleks on a regular basis. It's like a lecture on morality from Robert Mugabe. His treatment of Jenny was despicable for the first 30 minutes and he only changes his mind when she manages to exude even more smugness than he does. Not that he cares about her that much - he'd rather do a quick runner rather than attend his own daughter's funeral. That speaks volumes.

But at least he had a good excuse - dumping Martha back on earth before she can embarrass herself even further. It was either that or sticking her in the corner of the TARDIS as the new hat-stand. What did Martha actually do in this story? Apart from accidentally drowning a fish? Yes, they drowned a fish! Obviously that little gem slipped past the production team who were too busy slapping themselves on the back for coming up with this vacuous, fan-baiting shit in the first place.

It's like a lecture on morality from Robert Mugabe...

Dd9 Lots of people have been wittering on about how great David Tennant is in this episode. Why? Because for once in his life he decided to underplay a scene? Big deal! And how many more times must we be reminded that he feels bad about what happened in the Time War? It's gone beyond a joke now. I actually believe that the Doctor is carrying a Bose sound system around in his transcendental pockets so he can play some sad Murray music should the opportunity ever arise where he can wax lyrical about how fucking terrible the whole thing was. But don't worry, Tennant throws away the shackles of subtlety when he stands there pointing a gun at Cobb's head - you can practically see steam coming out of his nostrils. Look at him! He's so angry his jaw is threatening to detach itself! Just shoot yourself instead, you hypocritical, two-faced git.

I haven't even mentioned the plot yet. It's a story set in a video game. Oh look, the Doctor just unlocked an extra map! There's some re-spawning machines! Wow, there's a cut scene featuring an attractive, but entirely pointless, obstacle to negotiate!

This would all be forgivable if the story itself made a modicum of sense. The whole 7-day war conceit falls apart as soon as you start to think about it. Where are all the dead bodies? Why did they create Cobb as an old bloke? Or does he just have a really bad memory? How can you possibly propagate a creation myth in less than one week? They have supposedly been creating generations of soldiers and yet we only see a handful of troops at any one time. And if you can only reproduce soldiers from people who haven't been "cloned" already then surely they must have run out ages ago which means they somehow managed to misconstrue a memo about terraforming for a religious war in a couple of days, tops. Which is just stupid, isn't it? Didn't anyone write anything down? For a highly advanced civilisation they reverted to folk-tales and gossip awfully quickly. That machine can clothe you, apply make-up, style your hair, educate you and prime you for battle but it doesn't bother to tell you why you are fighting in the first place, or what your bloody orders are.

The Further Adventures of Jenny and her Peachy Arse - coming soon to BBC-Squee...

Dd7At first I thought the "clones" only lived for a couple of hours before dropping dead - which would have made dramatic sense. This way Jenny would have been doomed to her fate rather than succumbing to a stupid bloke from Cornwall. And the Doctor could have shown her another world before she croaked it, and that would have been far more moving than the perfunctory bollocks we got.

And where did that run-down theatre come from? Were the robots (that we never saw) programmed to design the colonist's habitat in the style of "doer-upers"? Are run-down shit-holes all the rage back on the homeworld?

The genesis device was hilarious too. Firstly, why didn't anyone just set it off before the war started? Or even ten minutes after it started? And secondly, you have to marvel at a super hi-tech device that is designed to be activated just by knocking it off its plinth. And finally, the Hath, while certainly striking in their design, had about as much personality as, well, a wet fish. Was the TARDIS translating their speech or was Martha just blagging it? And where did the Hath come from in the first place? Were they Messaline's indigenous species? Members of the crew? Family pets who had gone rogue? Oh, who cares?

I had high hopes for this episode. After my relentless optimism of the last few weeks I was ready and willing to defend just about anything. Especially the Doctor getting his end away. But this farrago is simply indefensible.

Next Week : the crime is committed by Russell, in the study, with a typewriter...

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