Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

When it takes you all night to do what you used to do all night

Ah, I do love a lavishly mounted costume drama, preferably one set in historical Italy, with a star-studded cast, filled with power, passion, political intrigue and gratuitous displays of muscular flesh.

But enough of the DVD box set of Rome that I just started watching. What about last night's Doctor Who?

Here are some thoughts on The Vampires of Venice:

  • I do hope the Doctor kept that novelty cake that he popped out of at Rory's stag do, if only so that he can paint it black and silver and go to a fancy-dress party as Davros.

  • So the Doctor owes Casanova a chicken, because of a bet they had? I imagine this is a creative misunderstanding on the Doctor's part, and the wager was actually something like "Last one to jump thirty canals gives the winner some cock..."

  • "We never interrupt mummy when she's hydrating." - Bringing a touch of Hampstead Garden Suburb to Renaissance Italy, it's Signora Malfoy Calvieri and her foppish son, who is weedy and wet (not surprisingly) and says "Hello clouds, hello mummy, hello Dr Freud". Although I'm not sure whether Sigmund ever had much to say about fish, unless you count The Interpretation of Breams.

  • The Doctor meets the representatives from the Calvieri Push-Up Bra and Hair Gel Academy and tries to scare them with William Hartnell's library card. All of them stare at it blankly, proving either that vampire schoolgirls of the 16th century weren't big on cult TV, or that they're all hardcore David Tennant fans. I'm guessing it's the latter.

  • "Yours is bigger than mine." / "Let's not go there." - Despite the daunting size of the Doctor's flashlight, I think we've seen this scene done before (and better) with Captain Jack and his rather more sonic weaponry.

  • The problem with the "you make them want to impress you" speech is that you KNOW Rory's going to start acting like that himself. And guess what? He will. But first, some more squabbling.

  • "There are ten thousand husbands waiting for you in the water." - Well, it's a change from "There's plenty more fish in the sea", innit? Or as my grandmother used to say, "There's better fish than's ever been caught." (Admittedly, this was some years ago, when fish stocks were much more plentiful than they are nowadays.)

  • I realize that it's hard to narrow down your vampire mythology these days, given that there are so many options already on the marketplace, but please decide whether yours can go out in daylight or not, and stick to it. I realize that there's a notional difference between direct sunlight and clouded-over, but it just looks silly to have characters be outside in daylight and yet have them screaming at light that's only slightly brighter.

  • I did enjoy the sexed-up showdown between the Doctor and the Signora, who seemed to be having a ball with her heaving bosomed villainy. Also loved "I'm a Time Lord. You're a big fish. Think of the children." Given that the Daily Mail posse got all worked up about last week's entirely humanoid kissathon, I can't imagine what they'd make of hot man-on-fish action.

  • Not only does Isabella get it in the neck (or in the canal, more accurately), but her valiant dad's self-sacrifice gets pretty much ignored too. What have supporting characters got to do to get any attention from the principals these days? Are they too wrapped up in their sub-teenage romantic entanglements to care?

  • Rory versus Rosanna's foppish son has to be the wettest duel since Hugh Grant and Colin Firth duked it out in Bridget Jones's Diary. It was amusing that Calvieri Junior's berserk button was his mum, though. Personally I'd have tried insulting his hat too, to see which one he had the most unnatural lurve for.

  • You'd think the Doctor would have learned his lesson about climbing to the top of precariously tall structures. Even when it doesn't kill him, it's never pretty, mainly because it always ends up with a dodgy superimposed background that isn't convincing in the slightest.

  • Why was Rosanna jumping into the river such a bad thing? She's a bloody fish! Or were her ten thousand sons in the water going to eat her alive for failing to get them a date? Come to think of it, given that their chances of a shag elsewhere had been eliminated, eating her was probably one of the least horrid options. Bleurgh.

  • After being distinctly underwhelmed by Rory on first view back in The Eleventh Hour, I was really hoping he'd display some depth and character this time around. Did it happen? I've got to say that it didn't, at least for me, and it's hard to say why. Somehow he remains utterly generic, like he just wandered in from a TV advert for extra-strength deodorant. Is it the script? Is his acting? The occasional decent line is placed in his mouth, but I feel like he's just spouting what he's been given to say, not that he's actually displaying any wit or timing. Even within the Whoniverse posse of much-maligned boyfriends, he's nowhere as well defined as Mickey or Rhys, and shows little evidence as to why Amy might have been attracted to him in the first place. (Other than that she lives in a village, and that cuts down the options.)

  • Amy didn't exactly come out of this episode well either, sticking primarily to her patented wide-eyed "this is what I do instead of screaming" face, randomly deciding she liked Rory again when he showed a bit of backbone. and still failing to show much weight or depth beyond pouting when told to stay out of danger. Hmm. Can't we do better than this?

  • In conclusion: a mixed bag. A few great lines and an excellent and full-blooded villainess, but STILL suffering from disjointed disease, with characterization straight out of a dispiriting rom-com, and a blithe hope that push-up bras can be used to cover plot holes. I'm beginning to doubt whether I'll ever find a properly satisfying episode in this series, but at the same time, I'm really, REALLY hoping that I'll be proved wrong. Let's wait for next week and find out....
Tags: doctor who
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