Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Liveblog: The Leisure Hive, episode 3

Opening titles:  Let's talk (briefly) about music.  A friend of mine who's a classically trained composer once said he liked this version of the theme music better than any other Who music simply because it offered the right balance of melody and rhythm.  You've gotta hand it to him, he's right.  It really is a nice, iconic theme - probably the most well-remembered of them all, especially starting and finishing with the "sting".

Reprise: Well, it's obvious that the Argoin don't belong to anything like the Galactic Geneva Convention - this sort of thing would be highly frowned upon, using a prisoner as a guinea-pig for arcane experimentry.

2:29: That's a beautiful expression from Baker as he sees his reflection ... utterly crestfallen and confused.  It's a lovely bit of acting, and one that he wasn't really known for.  What's most impressive - and forgotten - about Baker as a leading man is that he was often best when he was confused and uncertain, rather than when he was all bombast and sarcasm.

4:30:  Hang about a bit ... if the surface of Argolis is uninhabitable, how did they actually build the Hive?

4:50:  This talk about "distance" between Mena and Hardin - is she suggesting a *cough* biological relationship between them?  Or  just that they were very good friends?  In some respects she is acting her "age" better than Baker - as Tom just walked off with his Argolin guard.  She has had to rest on Hardin.  Once more after a single look tells us he's vulnerable, perhaps the Baker Doctor is once again indomitable.
Courtesy: nzdwfc.tetrap.com

5:37:  With all this stuff about Pangol, you've gotta realise he's the youngest of his race by a considerable number of years.  That's enough to draw anyone into madness.  Actually, this may have been a better angle to use rather than unhinged/ambition/patriotism.

7:00:  Really impressive vocal acting from Adrienne Corri, changing her voice to convey pain and Grandma status.

8:30:  There's that creepy spider-music for Klout again.

10:18:  Hardin seems to vacillate between being remarkably sure of himself (as in this scene) and a gibbering wreck of a scientist with no confidence whatsoever.  I guess we can attribute this to one of either crappy writing, or excellent, nuanced stuff.  I want to give Fisher the benefit of the doubt, but not sure I can.  After not really going anywhere for two-plus episodes, we're starting to make headway with the plot now, with an episode and a half to see where it evolves.

It's things like this - where the story develops at a leisurely (pardon the pun) pace for half its run-time and gives the Doctor the chance to find things out for himself (rather than know them arcanely and just from being a bit of a clever-trousers) that leads me to think so fondly of the Original Who.  Since Tennant, especially, and now Smith, you don't see him working things out nearly as much.  The writing's top notch, but most often we're just told "the Doctor is a genius because he is" not "he's a genius because he asks the right questions".

14:12:  With this hackneyed dialogue ("more stupid than you look"?) it's getting harder to give Fisher the benefit of the doubt as I wrote before... He certainly likes overblown dialogue - as he proved with The Androids of Tara.  That was fun (and much, much better than The United States of Tara, but that's not hard)....

15:20:  ... but he came up with some absolutely beautiful concepts - like knocking out two guards simply with mathematical equations that they weren't able to comprehend.  This reads so much like an Adamsian gesture, but also has a whiff of Bidmead.  That - and Tom Baker's earlier crestfallen expression - are probably my two favourite things so far in the serial.

17:22:   Our first full look at a Foamasi.  Fat bastard.  Probably isn't helped by videotape, the colour scheme in the laboratory or HDTV.

19:43:  Yet more Daddy issues from Pangol ... telling everyone that his Mum's dying and this means more inheritance for him.  Everyone knows someone like this, don't they?  Yep, and no-one likes them.  Another reason for Pangol's angsty nature - that he's the little bastard no-one likes?

20:04:  Nice FX shot of Brock's face being ripped off.  Pity the Foamasi beneath has massive collar into which his head/neck are tucked in.

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