Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

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Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:45 pm

Rewatched 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars' yesterday.

'The Waters of Mars' gets even better on rewatching. I would give it 10/10.

'Planet of the Dead' gets even worse. One minute Captain Arisa Mgambo is saluting the Doctor, and the next she plans to leave him to die on a planet on the other side of the universe, despite the fact that he's the most valuable resource UNIT has ever had. WTF? How does a mere captain even get to make decisions like that? And the next time she sees him, she salutes him again, the slimy hypocrite! If the Brigadier ever heard that she'd left the Doctor to die on San Helios, he'd flipping shoot her - and Sarah Jane Smith would be handing him the gun.

Also, if I were scientific advisor Malcolm Taylor, and Captain Mgambo had just pulled a gun on me, the next time I saw her I wouldn't meekly scuttle off to do her bidding. I'd punch her to the floor and while she was down there tell her, "Screw you, I resign."

The old UNIT of Sgt (later Warrant Officer) Benton, Captain Yates and the Brigadier were a lot less sycophantic and grovelling about the Doctor. The Brig would never say a daft thing like "We all wish to meet the Doctor, but we all know what that day will bring" (which Captain Mgambo says to Taylor). That's all part of RTD's Oncoming Storm, Lonely God, burns-at-the-centre-of-time* crap. The Brigadier would be more likely to say "Doctor? What on earth are you babbling on about now?"

However, the old UNIT would be much less likely to leave the Doctor to die. Sgt Benton disobeyed a direct order from General Finch to help the Doctor in 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs', and even though Captain Yates was working for the baddies he did so on the condition that the Doctor would not be harmed. The new UNIT talk all smarmy but will abandon the Doctor to his fate without a second thought. Actions speak louder than words.

Despite all that, I was strangely moved by Malcolm Taylor's bravery in refusing to close the wormhole with the Doctor on the other side of it, even though Captain Mgambo had the aforementioned gun pointed at him. The best bit of the episode was him clutching his keyboard to his chest in his silly little fingerless gloves, staring down the barrel of the gun and telling Captain Mgambo "I will never surrender."

Just a pity that he didn't punch her to the floor afterwards like I suggested.

Also, why is everyone cheering when the Doctor helps Lady Christina de Kleptomaniac to escape? She stole an irreplaceable part of the nation's heritage worth £18 million, which had been on display in the National Museum for everybody to see. This makes her a selfish immoral rat of the first water. This is NOT the attitude towards theft the Doctor displays in 'Planet of the Spiders', where K'anpo Rinpoche makes him aware that stealing is wrong and he actually has to die to atone for his crime. In 'Planet of the Dead' the audience (which will mostly be children - heaven knows no adults apart from the most hard-core of fans would be watching that flying bus nonsense) is meant to sympathise with Lady Christina and think that stealing is fine as long as you can get away with it. I doubt RTD would maintain that attitude if none of the DVDs of his episodes were sold because everyone was downloading them illegally.

However, 'The Waters of Mars' is bloody brilliant. The idea that we have to die so that the future can happen is really frightening and sad. It made me want to read 'Four Quartets' again. I also liked the Delgado reference - "The laws of time are mine, and they will OBEY ME!" David Tennant being the Time Lord Victorious was genuinely chilling. The Doctor makes a good villain.

I have also decided that Captain Adelaide Brooke is one of my favourite companions, and quite the bravest.

Also, you can see WHY the Doctor broke the laws of time - he just couldn't bear the pain of watching people die any more. The scene where he's talking to Adelaide in the air lock and the scene where he's walking away from Bowie Base One hearing the crew dying and Steffi sobbing in terror as the Flood takes over her body were both superbly done.

Furthermore, the depiction of Bowie Base One was excellent. You could genuinely believe that they were actually on Mars. Every last little tiny detail was perfect.

*Yes, I do know that Cornell wrote that particular episode, but I think he was influenced by the prevailing ethos of the show at the time.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:40 am

The depiction of UNIT in the RTD era is one of those things that irritates me, too-it's equally grating in The Sontaran Stratagem when Colonel Mace insists on saluting him! Even Torchwood do it in Army of Ghosts, this same inexplicable awed attitude on display even though they're intending to hold him prisoner. Why, after all these years of being just a traveller in a box, did the Doctor suddenly have to become A Legend? It was deeply, deeply annoying. No wonder he let it go to his head...

Have to agree to disagree on Lady Christina, though-I've always had a soft spot for beautiful, classy female thieves, I think it must be the lingering effects of Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the old Batman TV show...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:46 pm

You'd stop having a soft spot for them pretty damn quick if one of them TWOCed your car.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:53 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:You'd stop having a soft spot for them pretty damn quick if one of them TWOCed your car.
Catwoman would never have done that-she always had her Kitty Car parked in a convenient alley. Your classy lady thief would never stoop to escaping in a Vauxhall Corsa. A flying bus is probably allowable, though.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:09 pm

Honestly, Tony, there's just no persuading you!

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:19 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Honestly, Tony, there's just no persuading you!
Shallow as I am, I'll admit I'd probably be less forgiving of the thieving Lady Christina if she were Lord Chris...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:38 pm

You're as much of a sucker for a pretty face as the Doctor is.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:38 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:You're as much of a sucker for a pretty face as the Doctor is.
Well, yes-but I have the perfectly valid excuse that, unlike him, I'm not (scriptwriters, please note) a centuries old alien being!!

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:59 pm

To be fair, Eleven doesn't seem nearly as amorous as Ten. I've got this idea (probably unoriginal) that each regeneration brings a different aspect of the Doctor's personality to the fore. Three is the Aristocrat, Four is the Fool, Nine is the Warrior and Ten is the Lover.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:To be fair, Eleven doesn't seem nearly as amorous as Ten. I've got this idea (probably unoriginal) that each regeneration brings a different aspect of the Doctor's personality to the fore. Three is the Aristocrat, Four is the Fool, Nine is the Warrior and Ten is the Lover.
Now, see, I was under the impression that nine was the refugee from a John Osborne play and ten was the annoying smug pillock! But I'm always happy to learn...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:00 pm

Just take my word as gospel and you won't go far wrong Razz

See, it's like tarot cards. T. S. Eliot taught me that you can make up your own tarot. (Although the Fool is an actual tarot card - 0.)

But yes, Ten is an annoying smug pillock.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:07 pm

I Knew that. I can read the Tarot. That may come as a surprise.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:35 pm

Actually, it does. But it's cool, 'cos now you can do a reading for me Smile

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Actually, it does. But it's cool, 'cos now you can do a reading for me Smile
Sure-but contrary to what a hundred moneygrubbing websites will tell you, you'd need to be in the same room as me for that to work...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:18 am

(a) Why?

(b) That can be arranged.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:33 am

Lucy McGough wrote:(a) Why?

(b) That can be arranged.
Because remote reading really doesn't work. You need to be able to see the other person.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by GBF on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:14 am

Julie Newmar is one the most gorgeous women seen on TV. She was also in 'The Time Tunnel' a couple of years later wasn't she??

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:38 am

GBF wrote:Julie Newmar is one the most gorgeous women seen on TV. She was also in 'The Time Tunnel' a couple of years later wasn't she??
She was certainly in The Twilight Zone, Get Smart, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Bewitched, The Bionic Woman and Star Trek, but the one in Time Tunnel was the other Catwoman, Lee Meriwether (the one from the 1966 movie). She played Dr Anne MacGregor. We never did find out if Doug and Tony ever got home, did we?

For clarification: this was Newmar...





....and this was Meriwether.





...not to be confused with these ladies...




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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by GBF on Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:20 pm

That's the one - Lee Meriweather! Anyway, they were both gorgeous and, of course, I remember Eartha Kitt...the first time around!! Michelle and Hally are pretty lovely too!!

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:23 pm

GBF wrote:That's the one - Lee Meriweather! Anyway, they were both gorgeous and, of course, I remember Eartha Kitt...the first time around!! Michelle and Hally are pretty lovely too!!
Ms Berry made a great Catwoman. Just a shame the actual film was utter drivel...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:32 pm

It's all part of the objectification of women if you ask me. Why can't female supervillains wear nondescript clothing and sensible shoes? Lex Luthor doesn't dress like a manwhore.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:51 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:It's all part of the objectification of women if you ask me. Why can't female supervillains wear nondescript clothing and sensible shoes? Lex Luthor doesn't dress like a manwhore.
These guys, on the other hand, do! Meet Tyroc (of the Legion of Superheroes) and Vartox (one of Superman's dumbest foes). Both the afro wearing Troy Stewart and the alien Vernon O'Valeron were products of the seventies, when I guess 'man whore' was considered a trendy look for awhile (Vartox was actually patterned on Sean Connery in sci-fi flick 'Zardoz').





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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:03 pm

Okay, fair does.

I still think Catwoman was created because the writers wanted a tart with a heart in the comic but couldn't actually call her a prostitute because there were kids reading.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by GBF on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:12 pm

What's the problem with scantily clothed women? Halle Berry didn't HAVE to be in that film...none one made her sign the contract. Same with Lynda Carter - when she'd 'made it', she turns into a feminist and God botherer saying women are exploited. EVERYBODY is exploited in some way. Look at all our tax money going to everybody except US who pay it. And look what happened to Kim Basinger when, after reading the script and signing the deal, decided she didn't want to take clothes off. She didn't HAVE to sign. Tough! affraid

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:40 pm

Some of our tax money does come back to us, you know - unless you're lucky enough never to have used the NHS, or been on JSA, or used any sort of council or government amenities whatsoever.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by GBF on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:46 pm

The NHS is collapsing because too many people come from overseas to claim it - the same ones who haven't paid tax in this country. For the record I'm currently unemployed, receive NOTHING and am too old to get a job it seems. I've paid my taxes for the past 30 odd years and now I want some I get ZIP. I'm worried about my pension too. Enough money to bomb other countries though. Always.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:14 pm

If you're unemployed you're legally entitled to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

I haven't noticed the NHS collapsing.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:21 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:If you're unemployed you're legally entitled to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

No-only for six months (contributions based JSA). After that, it's calculated on household income. If your partner earns more than you'd be getting on the dole, you get no dole.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:41 pm

What about if you live with your mum and dad?

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:26 am

Lucy McGough wrote:What about if you live with your mum and dad?
No, that doesn't count against you. But a couple are counted as one person and the government says a couple can live on about £90 a week (I believe; it's been some years since I tried to claim), so if your partner earns more than that, you get nothing.And a couple cannot live on £90 a week. That calculation doesn't include 'luxuries' like petrol for the car...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by codywillis1 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:29 am

Is it shameful to admit I quite like both of these? I rather loathed POTD on first viewing, but it's rather grown on me. I find it quite charming and fun in a brainless sort of a way. I certainly prefer it to The Next Doctor, which ironically I thought was okay on first viewing but have rapidly come to despise!

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:45 am

I quite liked Planet of the Dead (in comparison to most of Tennant's other stories, anyway). It was, as you say, fun. I think Waters of Mars was ruined for me by the Doctor's out of character behaviour.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:54 pm

tony ingram wrote:I quite liked Planet of the Dead (in comparison to most of Tennant's other stories, anyway). It was, as you say, fun. I think Waters of Mars was ruined for me by the Doctor's out of character behaviour.
It was quite in character for the way the Tenth Doctor had been behaving, so that doesn't really stick unless you say that you dislike all of Ten's stories - in which case, surely you'd have to admit that 'The Waters of Mars' is one of the best of a bad bunch.

I didn't really like 'The Next Doctor', and the prick-teasing title was atrocious. Two things saved it for me:

1) The villain. Can't remember what she was called, but the lass in the red dress was a really good villain.

2) The bit where Jackson Lake says "Help me" and the Doctor, for once being completely serious and compassionate, says "Two words I never refuse." For me that summed up the entire history of the character.

'Planet of the Dead' was retrospectively spoilt for me once I started watching classic DW and saw UNIT at the height of their glory. If it ain't got the Brig, it ain't canon Razz

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:06 pm

It may have been kind of in character for the tenth Doctor, but I'd say it was out of character for the Doctor overall-the Doctor we've known for forty odd years would never have done what he did in Waters of Mars, he'd never consider himself above everyone else-or anyone else, for that matter. That's what grated on me. The Doctor is neither a god nor a superhero, and he'd never consider himself to be either-not the Doctor I know, anyway. He's just a bloke with a phone box. That's what makes him a hero.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:26 pm

'Waters of Mars' is an end-of-Doctor story, and in those I think the Doctor is allowed to act a bit oddly, to show why (from an existential and narrative point of view) he needed to regenerate. For example, in 'Planet of the Spiders' the Doctor accidentally kills someone in an experiment to satisfy his scientific curiosity and shows no remorse.

And "the Doctor would never consider himself above anyone else"? Seriously? Have we been watching the same show? It may be true of Two, but it definitely isn't true of One, Three or Four.

We all have moments of intense selfishness, arrogance and egotism, Time Lords included. The Doctor is flawed. That's what makes him a hero.

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:30 pm

Well, I still think that Doctor was more flawed than most...

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Re: Some thoughts on 'Planet of the Dead' and 'The Waters of Mars'

Post by Lucy McGough on Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:21 pm

Can't argue with you there!

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