Twatty New Who Review- Aliens of London

ALIENS OF LONDON TWATTY WHO REVIEW

The unrestrained Id of a fan is aimed at the worst episodes of Doctor Who, This time its ‘Aliens of London’

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32 Comments

  1. Masterful deconstruction once again!

    This episode… You can really tell that they didn’t know what they wanted new Who to be at the point. It’s full with silly ideas and dumb jokes that could only appeal to little kids, but it happens alongside clearly adult themes (which are, in turn, handled badly). It’s a mess!

  2. I agree that Eccleston wasn’t the perfect Doctor, but from a character standpoint? I kind of see what they were doing. The 9th was the Doctor who had just survived a massive, brutal, bloody cataclysm and had commited genocide on two peoples – one of which was his own. Thus, it’s my head-canon that the reason he doesn’t act like the Doctor is becuase he genuinely doesn’t want to be the man he was and is distancing himself from that person as much as he possibly can. Hence the dark clothes and all that jazz.

    That, or the writers were smoking “Bland-it-all” and didn’t tell Christopher Eccleston what he should be doing. Either or.

  3. Minor correction: The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki used the space time visualiser to watch The Beatles and Lincoln in the first part of The Chase. If I recall correctly, there is an ironic twist where the Beatles footage used is the only surviving version of that particular performance.

    Meanwhile! The visualiser is probably the most inadvertantly terrifying things Doctor Who ever had in it. Why? Because it’s a device that (properly programmed) permits its owner to view any event that has occured in the past. Whether it was recorded or not.

    As for the episode itself. My only real lasting impression of it the first time I watched it was along the lines of “that’s it? That’s the first cliffhanger televised Doctor Who has had since the 80s?”

    Also, looking back at Torchwood (particularly its second episode which I swear must have been based on some porn he’d seen just before writing) and this two parter it becomes quite clear that RTD’s attempts to appeal to a particular age group will at absolutely no point consider the words “subtle” “nuance” or “dignity”.

  4. Excellent commentary, ma’am.

    What a stupid episode. It could have be really good, even with the silly farting sections.

    On behalf of Wales, I apologize for Davies, he truly is our greatest shame. Well, him and the sheep fucking.

    Also, I don’t think that the general could legally declare martial law without the Queen’s permission.

  5. Hrm, I enjoy this episode (mostly) so I’m gonna reply as I watch:

    Well 9 is tied for my favorite. I can understand why some fans don’t like him though. Also I agree, the costume is boring.

    On an unrelated note I realized I don’t really have any strong feelings about Rose. I don’t hate her as much as her haters but I don’t love her as much as her fans either.

    Hrm, I find another thing to agree with you about. The set up of the doctor bringing a companion back to their family a year to late is really good, and they don’t really use it here.

    The army obeying him was just a throw away gag. I thought it was funny.

    The farting was ridiculous, I think everyone agrees about that.

    The Mickey thing. I don’t quite see it. He was there and the last person to see her and can’t say what happened to her unless he wanted to sound crazy..

    • Also fun fact. I saw an interview with all the classic doctors at once and in it Collin Baker said that the costume he pitched to the BBC was “pretty much exactly what Chris Eccleston was wearing”.

      • Also just to permanently lose respect from everyone on this page: my two favorite doctors are Eccleston and Troughton.

      • Why would Troughton being your 2nd favorite lose anyone’s respect here? He’s Diamanda’s all-time favorite.

  6. I was hoping you would do more of these, especially this episode as well as some 9th Doctor in general. The 9th Doctor was my introduction to the Doctor Who, before that the only thing I knew about it was that it caused Comic Book Guy to buy 100 tacos for $100. While I thought the first series was ok, I still thought this episode sucked.

    The end of The Parting of the Ways had me so angry I rage quite the show (it wasn’t the last time either). I haven’t watched any series 1 episodes since, and besides The Empty Child and Dalek I don’t plan to either, so I would appreciate you doing more in the future.

    One more thing since this is the first time I’ve commented on one of these videos, Twatty New Who Reviews actually made me a Doctor Who fan. I’ve watched them all, and you address many of my problems with the new series while simultaneously comparing it to the classic series. That got me to actually start watching the classic serials they have on netflix. I loved it, and I am currently making an effort to watch more of the classic series.

  7. You never cease to amaze me with your analyses.

    And just a question: Are there any season 7 episodes so far that you think deserve the Twatty Who treatment?

    • I thought the first half was mostly weak but with no truly terrible episodes. The second half is stronger. I’m anticipating hating the season finale and the anniversary special though (will be happy if I don’t though)

  8. Okay, I have to raise an issue with the Doctor’s age – inconsistency makes sense. Age is based on the notion of years, and what is a year? I’ve always thought that the Doctor was simply moving out to slightly slower years and planets and, when he felt like it, forward. His age can go up and down and he’s not technically lying as it’s very him.

    I know it’s hard to excuse RTD’s reshaping of the Doctor and cutting his lifespans terribly, not to mention anything involving Rose, but I’ve never expected the Doctor to give an accurate age. I’d be upset if he did frankly. As much as they were created by plot-holes the season 6b and Four’s post-regeneration adventures before Robot are the stuff this show thrives on.

  9. You know, I’ve always been curious: does the intro to your Twatty Who reviews showcase moments from Doctor Who that you hated or that you liked? Or is it just a random montage of moments that I’m analyzing too closely?

    • Who could dislike Curse of Fenric?

      • Me… Sorry. I just don’t think that very many of the 7th doctor episodes were very good. Nothing against McCoy, he was excellent, but the episodes got somewhat samey and bleh. If one good thing came from the cancellation of the show it was putting an end to Andrew Cartmel.

  10. I can’t, won’t, nor do I want to defend this episode. It was and is pretty crap. The 9th Doctor is my favorite though. You could say it is because he was my first, and I’ll admit that has a lot to do with it, but I don’t agree that he didn’t bare any resemblance to the Doctor. He was arrogant, often abrasive, didn’t like to see those around him die (for the most part), really seemed to enjoy new things he saw in the universe, and typically did what he thought was right, and typically kept his sense of humor. You can point at the costume and say that the Doctor wouldn’t wear that, but I think it works for the incarnation. Its not that its modern, its that its simple. After what the character has just lived through its perfectly fine to imagine he wouldn’t care about being a snazy dresser. Essentially I find enough in the character thats like his predecessors to not have a problem seeing him as one of them. Really compare the 4th Doctor to the 6th for a moment and think how much the two characters had in common? I don’t think much less then they do with the 9th.

  11. Actually, Diamanda, In The Chase, the Doc wasn’t checking what time period he was in when watching the Beatles, he was showing Ian and Barbara various random events from history with a ‘time tv’. I don’t blame you for misremembering that though, because The Chase is a pretty painful sit! If only it got lost and The Dalek Master Plan survived!

  12. great review
    i often find that i disagree with some of your points – or in same cases almost all – but it’s nice to see things from another’s perspective.
    there’s just one thing i want to say about this upper-class thing: if i understood that correctly, you’re saying that the doctor isn’t portrayed as belonging to the uper class because he has a manchester dialect. A dialect does not and can not tell you a thing about that person’s social standing. A dialect refers to region. An idiolect refers to social class. So this dialect does not mean at all that he’s lower-class.

  13. The problem with the 9th doctor is they never really explore him. I don’t think he’s necessarily “bad” as much disappointingly unrealized. If they had put more effort into showing why he’s so different from his other incarnations that would be one thing, but they don’t really do that. I could buy the Doctor second-guessing himself and being less Doctory because he somehow feels that his former attitude caused the end of the Time Lords, but that’s never addressed.

    As for Rose the problem is that the show seems to love Rose for reasons that are never really made clear. Again I could see the Doctor clinging to her after the trauma of the Time War, but we never see that. Instead the Doctor is written to see Rose in exactly the same light as the showrunners saw Rose, idolizing her for qualities that she never displays. Or they could have actually made Rose a good person who sympathizes with her mother and boyfriend. Whichever.

    And this episode. The problem here is tone, the serious bits are treated like comedy and the comedic bits should have been serious. That may be a microcosm of the first season of New Who, it feels like they weren’t really sure whether they were going to go super serious and dark and have the Doctor second-guessing him self and attaching to an unpleasant companion and being traumatized or if they were going to skew younger and make it goofy and kid friendly. It is possible to do both in a series at different times, I’ve seen plenty of kids shows with dark undercurrents, but you need to know what you’re doing and go in intending to make that kind of show. Eccleston’s run couldn’t manage that

    • Long time lurker, first time poster. While I love all your reviews, I must admit my favorite reviews are those that involve TV shows ( I had to track down the Urban Gothic series 1&2 on Amazon thanks to you)

      I think part of the reason I enjoy your Twatty Who reviews so much is because I wasn’t a fan of David Tennant’s version of the Doctor, while I knew alot of people who were calling him “The new Tom Baker” 0_o. It didn’t help matters that the whole “Rose/Micky/Doctor” triangle just felt painful to watch.

      That said, I actually liked Eccleston’s Doctor, and I wish he had stayed on. I agree with Omnicrom in that I don’t think they gave him time to grow.

      Rose…I wouldn’t have a problem with her if they made her actually likeable. As it was, I felt more sympathy for Mickey by default. Oh well, at least his story had a happy ending.

      As for the episode, it was meh. It certainly wasn’t as bad as “Love and Monsters”, “Fear Her”, or….*eye twitch* “Daleks in Manhattan”

  14. According to IMDB, the best possible reason for an easily avoidable continuity error- “The close-up shots of the Palace of Westminster clock tower (a.k.a. “Big Ben”), as it is destroyed by an alien ship crashing into it, show the clock faces back-to-front. This is because the director wanted the ship to move across the frame the other way.” Reverse the texture and re-render (given how crap the CGI is in this episode couldn’t have been that time consuming), or even DIRECT the visual effects team during the storyboard phase. I also don’t think it matters what direction it crashes into it from!

    • I did that ep in March so I could be mis-remembering but I’m fairly sure I didn’t mention the error. I think this is the first I’ve heard about it. Big Bens not the tower by the way, its the bell. The tower is ‘Elizabeth tower’ and was named that a couple years ago.

      • No, you didn’t mention the error but you did mention the director screwing around with the script and never working on New Who since. I remember hearing the fact a while back and thought it was absolutely ridiculous that a director said “It absolutely HAS to crash right to left”. Especially since the error could easily have been avoided on day one, or fixed with little effort (flip the clock face texture horizontally, re-render then flip the finished render horizontally in editing). There’s another account saying that the clock hands are actually still moving after the ship crashed into it but I haven’t seen that myself.

        I did know about the tower name change, that was a copy/paste straight from IMDB :p Keep up the good work, love the Twatty Who reviews!

  15. Diamanda says: “It takes talent to create a predestination paradox where one of the things doesn’t actually cause the other.”

    In The Parting of the Ways Rose says, “It’s a link between me and the Doctor! Bad Wolf here… Bad Wolf there!… It’s telling me I can get back!” Now, you can argue that the connection Rose makes is spurious, but then, with the power of the Vortex, she brings it into being, making it not just a paradox, but also a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  16. The worst `9th Doctor stories were multipart? The Empty Child? Bad Wolf? Those were the worst? Well, okay, Bad wolf’s start was quite silly, but the Empty Child? The “Are you my Mummy?” episode? THAT’s one of the worst?

    • Aliens of London/ World War 3 and Bad Wolf/ Parting of the Ways. Rest my case. :p

      • Aliens of London/World War 3 was terrible, and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances doesn’t make any bloody sense whatsoever, but Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways is an excellent story. I certainly await your review of the latter with interest!

      • Despite its flaws, I consider the first series finale to be the best RTD finale. You may decide for yourself whether this is a good thing or not.

      • I watched “The Idiot’s Lantern” a few days back. It makes “Aliens of London/World War Three” look like a Hinchcliffe classic. Piper and Tennant were massively over the top and the sea-saw direction made me feel sick. I think you’ve got to go all the way back to “The Space Museum” to find a worse story, and at least that one had a Dalek in.

      • Oh, I’m so glad to see someone finally agree with me. For me that episode was worse than Love & Monsters because I physically found it difficult to watch due to the awful hand-held camera work that made it hard to even follow the plot. I actually liked the cinematography in The Hunger Games, but there was no skill to it in The Idiot’s Lantern.

        It just made me keep pausing the episode to get a handle on what was going on and keep from becoming nauseous. The dialogue is hurled at you and the camera is changing constantly every time something important happens which means I actually have to re-wind the thing.

        I read an article saying it can be maddening to watch the existing 1960s Doctor Who serials because they are slow-paced and black-and-white, which irritates me because I never see people like me who adore 2001: A Space Odyssey being pandered to for daring to be bothered by the mindless color frenetic action of 42 and the Sontaran 2-parter because that’s literally all those episodes are.

  17. The only flaw with the first season finale is the fact that the Doctor turns into David Tennant. If Eccleston has stayed on then they would have gone with their original ending (where the Doctor discovers that Rose is slowly dying) and season 2 would have been much better.

    • I don’t mind 10 being bashed but I honestly did like the Ninth Doctor, mostly because of Eccleston’s acting. One thing that was obvious to me watching his episodes is that Christopher Eccleston is a great actor and I just can’t hate any incarnation capable of delivering such a passionate monologue as we got in “Bad Wolf”. It makes me more depressed when he regenerates into Tennant in the next episode and I remember him whining, “How many times do I have to tell you, you CAN’T fight SON-TAR-ANS!”


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