Sunday, 30 September 2012

Highlight: Red Dwarf VI

Psirens. Not you, Pete Tranter's sister!
Series VI is my favourite series of Red Dwarf, because it hit upon a winning sitcom formula and kept up a major story arc. This is the series where our characters were honed to perfection, and while there are a few misses you can't help but love the madness of Out of Time's cliffhanger or the sheer gold that composes award-favourite Gunmen of the Apocalypse. Simple enough, then. My highlight from Series VI is Psirens, the episode that ushered our characters back into development and managed to be the most successful reboot that the show has managed so far (of the three or four.) Also - chameleonic space weevils? Cheeky references to the failed Red Dwarf USA? Count me in.

Written 9/6/12

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Review: Doctor Who 7.5: The Angels Take Manhatten

The Book provides an interesting plot device.
"She must die!" - my friend Josh on Amy Pond.

Season 33a, or what I will now call "The September Season", has been a bit bumpy for me. The Moff's first episode was fun but had some deeper issues with character. Both of Chibnall's episodes were forgettable messes of the sort that he dabbles in whenever he sees fit to vomit over our screens. A Town Called Mercy provided some fun as well as a comprehensive and wonderful moral dilemma the likes of which Moffatt's seasons have never seen. I had no idea what to expect when it came to the swansong of Amy Pond and Rory Williams, but I certainly didn't expect something this restrained. It tread the line between being admirabley respectful and being disappointingly underwhelming, but at the end of the day there was a subtlety to the whole affair that helped the pathos actually work.
     Reading a book about a mysterious figure in New York (while actually in New York), The Doctor and Amy discover that Rory has been zapped back in time by a Weeping Angel to meet River Song, who's been investigating them. After River helps them to land in 1938, they're forced to run from the Angels into their own hiding spot; an apartment complex constructed for the sole reason of trapping people and feeding off of their time energy for decades on end. After an Old!Rory is seen to die before their eyes, Rory and Amy throw themselves from the roof of the building in order to create a paradox that'll destroy the Angels and set everything right again. They do so, but one Angel survives and Rory is sent back to his death - which, despite the Doctor's pleas, causes Amy to follow him. River calms The Doctor and points him to the afterword of the book, in which an older Amy tells The Doctor that they're ok, and that he should never travel alone.
     The episode doesn't do as much as it could have with the Angels, but they're still as scary as they've ever been and it was great to see Moffat going back to using their timey-wimey nature to create a fun plot. There was very little mentioning of blinking, for the sole reason that the plot hinged on both Amy and Rory's relationship and on the Doctor's fear that the events described in the book will come true. It never felt, in that typically RTD-esque way, that this was most definitely the end, and the sudden nature of both Amy and Rory's departure did rob some of that scene's impact for me, but I thought that their end was incredibly appropriate and fit perfectly with their characterisations. Their time on the show has been characterised by the themes of deep love, marriage and of waiting - embodied by their continued, happy life together. It was all so subdued, it made such a wonderful change. There was no rolling silent credits, no big sweeping music. Just two people, preparing to live out the rest of their lives together. And it was beautiful. 
Amy and Rory prepare to make their sacrifice.
     It wasn't perfect by any means - there were a few problems with pacing and there were several aspects of the plot that didn't keep up to their potential. But it did keep up a wonderful tension and the time-focused plot really pushed my buttons. From a dramatic perspective, it wasn't the biggest exit the show's ever had, but instead it was the adult conclusion for these characters that they've been waiting for all these years. Long live Amy and Rory and bring on Clara!


Highlight: Red Dwarf V

Holoship. Smaller portions, but so many courses.
And the so-called Golden Age ends with a bang, on an entire series focussing almost exclusively on Rimmer, with a few nods to other characters here or there. Lister takes the spotlight again in the ambitious The Inquisitor, while the crew meet their potential evil sides in Demons and Angels. And while everyone in the fandom would expect me to say Back to Reality (if they actually read this blog), my highlight from Season V is the much more interesting Holoship, which takes Rimmer and puts him into a tragic tale of love and loss. The simple fact is that you can see the character development up close; it doesn't seem strange that the uptight and insecure Rimmer from all those series ago can stand here now and sacrifice his dreams for the woman he loves. It's bloody beautiful.

Written 9/6/12

Friday, 28 September 2012

Highlight: Red Dwarf IV

Dimension Jump. Ace Rimmer... What a Guy.
Series IV is about Rimmer and Kryten, at that time the series' most interesting characters. While I like Camille's whole-plot reference to Casablanca, I can only really enjoy Kryten when he's being Mr. Exposition - the character becomes exceedingly irritating the very moment that they stray beyond that, as Seasons VII and VIII would later show. Season IV brought us a whole plethora of fun stuff, from GELFs to Curry Monsters, from Simulants to White Holes. But my highlight must be the unbelievable epicness that is Dimension Jump, introducing us to the remarkable Ace Rimmer. Every second of this piece works both as an extravagent parody of action heroes as well as a clever character study for Rimmer. What a guy.

Written 9/6/12

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Highlight: Red Dwarf III

Marooned. Lister and Rimmer chat around the fire as they
await rescue.
So; two years have passed and the RD team have had an entire year to get the new series ready. With Robert Llwellyn on as Kryten, the series is given a fresh lick of paint and the Golden Age begins. Out of these six absolute crackers, which would I pick as a highlight? Well, that's incredibly difficult. The classical Bodyswap? Timey wimey Timeslides? Shameless Alien parody Polymorph? Well, it's none of them. My highlight is most definitely Marooned, a quiet character piece between the two leads that provides some of the best character work and comedy in the series. Who can forget Lister eating from the tin of dog food, or pretedning to burn Lister's guitar? And where would we be without Rimmer's revelation of his Eunuch past?

Written 9/6/12

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Josh: Music: The 2nd Law

Also comes in vinyl edition?!
"A Christian gangsta rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia." Matt Bellamy on 'The 2nd Law'.

Only Muse, the alternative rock band from Devon, could base an album on the second law of thermodynamics. The band's interest in science and willingness to experiment with other musical genres has produced 'The 2nd Law', a possible replacement for my favourite Muse album over 'The Resistance' (which Smith has reviewed previously). Here's some analysis of all thirteen songs on the album;
     1) Supremacy - like something straight out of an action film, perfectly suited for James Bond, we have a exciting, vibrant start to the album that you can't stop yourself from rocking.
     2) Madness - I've adored this song ever since its released. It's obvious attempt to experiment with genres works. It's catchy and generally just an enjoyable song. One of the best by far on the album.
    3) Panic Station - Another different style to Muse that has a great use of guitars and is one of the more upbeat songs. It's riff is funky and easily loveable, its use in the introduction hooks you immediately.
     4) Prelude - a wonderful little piece of music that's pleasantly orchestrated and could be listened to time and time again with a smile on your face.
     5) Survival - uplifting and a truly fantastic joy to the ears. The voices are key here to its brilliance, Matt Bellamy's falsetto is something I continue to love. The riff's excellent, the instrumental mesmerising. Fits nicely after Prelude.
     6) Follow Me - the dubstep bass is a nice surprise after the intriguing slow beginning to the song. Though the said was opening was nicely calm. One of the few that you might forget about though.
     7) Animals - the song feels very much like Muse's original style and doesn't keep in touch with the experimental aspect to the album. Its not a bad song, just its average, slightly disappointing and could be much better. The weird ending is pretentious and ruins the experience.
     8) Explorers - a similar opening to Follow Me but the cute tinkling in the bass puts you into a trance of happiness. I don't have a real stance on this one. Is it trying too hard? Is it just enjoyable?
     9) Big Freeze - its joyous, yes, but it sounds very samey to me. Its definitely not an immediate favourite, nothing really jumps out as really likeable. It's quite an average song for such an album.
     10) Save Me - who knew Chris Wolstenholme (bassist) had such an overwhelming voice. There's great instrumentation and its all very upbeat but the unexpected vocals from Wolsetenholme are steal the show. They're fantastic.
     11) Liquid State - very well written alike Save Me (both by Wolstenholme). More of Wolstenholme's bloody good voice. It's heavy in a cool way. You just want to rave to it.
     12) The 2nd Law: Unsustainable - one of the most experimental and best songs on the album. The beginning might remind you of Resistance's Exogenesis Symphony but the cinematic soundtrack feel with dubstep overtones sees a strange yet beautiful blend of genres.
     13) The 2nd Law: Isolated System - not as good as Unsustainable by a long shot. Still, the use of news broadcast audio bytes is clever and it summarises the album's themes in a reasonably good song.

Breaking the mould of alternative rock
     The 2nd Law is simply just incredible. The beginning and the end of the album dominate the middle in terms of brilliance. It also acts like a yo yo, moving from light, soft and cheery sounds to heavy, bass-filled rock. It's a contender to beat the Resistance in terms of the quality of music. Muse are clever with the themes they use for albums. They use themes that can relate to the world we currently live in. The idea of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (energy is running out) creating fear within the human race is a concept that's believable considering the world we have.  Exploiting and analysing these concepts in wonderful lyrics fitting with higher quality instrumentation is utter brilliance yet something Resistance also brought us. The experimentation in this album is what makes it significantly more adventurous and interesting to listen to than its predecessor. The use of dubstep and other genres is excellently mastered. Matt Bellamy's writing talents and stunning vocals are better than ever. Then, we had the magical experience of meeting Chris Wolstenholme's brave writing about his alcoholism and his glorious voice. That being one of the better, more enjoyable surprises of the 2nd Law. Though its very different in its style to Resistance the middle section of the album feels too familiar. The songs best recommended from myself are; Madness, Survival, Supremacy, Unsustainable and Wolstenholme's two songs. It may take a couple of listens for it grow on you on because of Muse's huge diversion in genre, feel and instrumentation but it's a highly enjoyable album that will probably become my favourite out of all of theirs. An album definitely worth the wait. Intensely innovative and intelligent, the 2nd Law is a triumph that the men from Muse should be proud of.

Thanks, Josh.

Highlight: Red Dwarf II

Thanks for the Memory. Rimmer tries a
Triple Fried Egg Chili Chutney Sandwich.
So I may have left Rimmer's episode out of my Highlight from Series I. No matter. Series II is a bit different; while still stuck with the first series' aesthetic, the second 1988 series tries to be bigger and better than its predecessor, introducing Blue Midget to get about and actually meeting other people and things. Unfortunately this leads to a lot of great ideas that are never well-delivered upon, the most notable examples definitely being Better Than Life and the troublesome Parallel Universe. My highlight is of course Thanks For The Memory, the best episode of the series on account of Chris Barrie's astounding performance and the way that timey-wimey is used to deliver genuinely touching character development. Goes down well every time, and yet is frighteningly underappreciated by some of the fandom.

Written 9/6/12

Review: GHTTB: Ashes To Ashes 3.3

Ray faces down his idol.
Ashes To Ashes - Series Three, Episode Three
Written 23/6/12
"Show me that you've got the balls to go and arrest Andrew Smith"

Increasing the comparisons with Lost, this episode took another centric look, this time at Ray. Due to that character's relative longevity it was a much stronger effort, as well as a dark look at the politics and concequences of the Falklands War and of the 1983 election. It did a lot more with the mythos and the characters were a lot more well developed, and it also made the viewer question themself for the first time in a while.
     It's nearing Election Day, and the CID are alerted to a series of arsons targeting politically important locations. At the site of one of the fires, Ray goes into the flames to rescue someone trapped inside. Coming to his rescue is Andy Smith, a fireman who's just returned from the Falklands and is suffering from shell-shock. Under pressure from Special Branch to catch the arsonist before the Election, the team are forced to confront Ray's history when Andy becomes the main suspect in the investigation. Tracking him down after several false starts, Ray give an impassioned monologue that convinces Smith to give himself up and that allows Ray to feel confident in his father's pride, as well as getting a magicky Life-On-Mars-Music Moment.
      Ray on his own is a much more confident character, albeit a much more schizophrenic one. In his early incarnation in the first series of Life On Mars, he was the blind servant of Gene, taking his traits and emphasising them. He got a bit of development half-way-through Series Two, but his road to development didn't start until Ashes To Ashes, and even then it was very much depending on the writer; in some places we saw a more desperate, sensitive side, and elsewhere we saw an army-obsessed supporter of the old ways. This episode does what last week should have done and combined all of those loose character threads to give us one consistant characterisation - one that, for the first time, I really liked.
This centric episode was better than the last for the sole
reason that Ray is a better character overall.
     The anti-villain of the piece is memorable for two reasons. Andrew Smith happens to be my name, and so the quoted exclamation gave me a right chuckle. The other, of course, is the fact that this is the most interesting enemy we've had in the entire bonanza. He's a man with a Hero complex - he's angry at the Government, still shell-shocked after what happened in the war - conflicting between his desperation to seek justice and his desire to help people. He set buildings on fire with his military expertise and then saved people's lives inside them.
     3.3 was an awesome piece of characterisation, and really got the series going. Ray got the first real piece of characterisation he's ever had, and that made for a brilliant examination of the Falklands War and its fighters. Although often it could be a bit slow, that worked in its favour as the conflict built and built and payed off in a monologue that will go down in the series' history.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Highlight: Red Dwarf I

Future Echoes. Lister prepares to die.
After three years of development hell and an electrician's strike that nearly killed the series before it had began, the first series of Red Dwarf began broadcasting in February 1988. The first series was the one that stayed most true to the series' brief, as well as being the one in which the relationships between both characters and actors were most raw. My highlight from the first season isn't a tricky decision. Sure, The End is a great pilot, and Me^2 is a great character piece, but when I look at the first series, the episode I remember the most fondly is Future Echoes. Blending a high-concept sci-fi idea surrounding predestinative time-travel with great character moments, Future Echoes blatantly defies the contraints of Red Dwarf's brief and, despite the way that it breaks up the narrative of the series, it still acts as one of the best second episodes of anything, ever.

Written 9/6/12

Monday, 24 September 2012

Review: PSY - Gangnam Style

Forgive me. Written without much better to do 24/9/12.

 Let's talk about K-Pop. Specifically, a new meme related to an incredibly energetic and weird video, for the PSY song "Gangnam Style". The song's appeal to the Western audience comes from the fact that the absurdity and humour in the video matches our expectations of a "weird" Eastern culture, with silly dance moves, clothes and a series of ridiculous lyrics. The question that must immediately come to mind is a rather simple one. Is Gangnam Style attempting to parody the execesses of both Western and Eastern pop music, or is it really being serious and has simply used Western influences to make their music appeal to a mass audience?
     I think it's important to take a look at what this most resembles in the Western market, and that would have to be the horrendous LMFAO, whose songs seem to be as deliberately as bad as possible in a kind of lazy attempt at irony that instead just produces painfully bad music. The beat of the song is immediately similar to their magnum opus Sexy and I Know It, and the video features similar imagery (albeit in a different cultural setting). From external appearances, Gangnam Style is LMFAO's perfect replacement - the same hypnotic, lazy pop beats without any of the unpleasantness that comes with their revulsive attitudes.
     But, like it or not, PSY is much cleverer than that. Their lyrics talk about wanting a girl who can appreciate time to relax and drink some good coffee, who advertises himself as a man who can "one-shot" his cups before they've cooled. It's a mixture of humour and genuine poetry that both parodies Western music and its banal excesses, but also offers a replacement. Those who understand/look up the lyrics get the intended meaning, while the rest of the world can enjoy it as a more savoury pop treat as well as being awed by their crazy aesthetic style. What it has done, when push comes to shove, is not just create a long-lasting meme, but has also introduced a large group of new people to an entire genre of music.
     Good on you, PSY. Keep doing it Gangnam Style.


News: Red Dwarf Highlights!

Hey, smegheads! Next Thursday sees the return of proper Red Dwarf to our screens after thirteen long years, and unlike the Doctor Who hiatus, I was alive for all of them! In tribute, I'll be taking the week off from my normal stuff (Ashes to Ashes excepted) to look at some of my Red Dwarf highlights from each of the eight series. I hope you'll enjoy

If you want to read my old Red Dwarf reviews/recaps, see here.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: Doctor Who 7.4: The Power of Three

Kate Stewart... didn't do much.
Chibbers. Listen to me, man. I don't hate you. Not as much as I did a few weeks ago, and I'm sorry for that, but can you really look at your history and not see why? I mean, you spend so much effort in the Eighties having a go at the show when it was just trying to get along without getting cancelled, and then your episodes for the show end up being these slightly interesting but ultimately empty schlocks. It's like you took the strange image of the Eighties being style over substance and then decided in the interim years that, hey, perhaps I like that now. The Power of Three was by no means as bad as the train wrecks that were The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, but it certainly was just a complete and utter mess. It had trouble with pacing, with its core concepts and, some of the time, even keeping my attention.
     The story took a much looser format for the first half, with the Ponds awakening to find the world inundated with seemingly harmless unchanging black cubes. The Doctor, getting tired of waiting for the cubes to do something, goes off and we end up skipping over nine months, in which time the Ponds start to live a life of semi-permenance. When the Doc comes back, the cubes start doing a collection of random things in order to scan the planet, which leads The Doctor to discover that this had been an invasion by the Shakri, a legendary race of universal pest controllers who had identified humanity as a threat. The Doctor saves everyone, and he and the Ponds leave for further adventures.
     What permuated the story was an incredible sense of hollowness; it had a lot of concepts and ideas it wanted to get across, but it was absent of any real theme and they often contradicted one another. One moment the Ponds are reflecting upon how much they're enjoying life without the Doc, the next they're accepting the Doctor's offer and popping off on yet another adventure. Chibnall also came up with a dozen different ideas for adventures that in themselves would have made awesome episodes in their own right - meeting with Henry VIII, Zygons under the Savoy hotel... it gave me a strange whiff of the stupid, stupid prequel series Pond Life which did exactly the same thing.
Look at how clever we are...cubes...three... look, clever!
    This episode had very little in it, so it's not too surprising that this episode's main attraction, the return of UNIT and the daughter of Allister Lethbridge-Stewart, was similarly lacklustre.UNIT didn't even have their damn symbol, and spent most of their time in dingy underground bases. Kate Stewart, who was added in as a homage to the late Nicolas Courtney's Brigadier, wasn't so much ineffectual as she was absent as a character at all, with around three scenes in which she did nought but serve as speedy exposition. What, I may ask, is the point of bringing back classic things if you're not even gonna do anything with them?!? At least the Eighties had entire stories exploring the backgrounds of the Cybermen and Daleks, Chibnall, but this is damn pathetic!
     As opposed to his previous story, which was devoid of any interesting ideas whatsoever, this story took far too many and tried to squish them into a brand new format, and on every single level the episode failed to captivate or create anything resmbling coherancy or entertainment. It tried to be clever and it tried to do things in a fresh way, but none of it came together, and that's what really matters. Sorry Chibnall, but I still don't like your work.


Of Scrooge and Christmas Cheer

George C. Scott's awesome version of the
It's still Autumn, and I'm yet to even raise my Halloween Banner, but since there's a decent chance I'll be performing as Scrooge this year, I've decided to look into the character. I've talked about episodes, series, films, and groups of characters, but I've never before focused in on only one across so many mediums. In fiction, there are a wide host of characters, and the main archetype of the rich curbudgen on a path to redemption is Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge, as portrayed by greats like George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine. If you don't know the story by now, be ashamed of yourself, but I'll fill you in anyway; Scrooge is visited one Christmas by the damned soul of his late business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him of three spirits - Christmases Past, Present and Future, who warn him of the error of his ways and turn him into a good man once more.
     The stereotypical character of Scrooge, as so replicated by spoofs of the story, is unfortunate in its lack of subtlety. Scrooge is evil because Money is evil too, and he only likes Money. Bah, weak anti-captialist sentiment, Christmas is about family and not posessesions. But in the original version (and in versions close to it,) Scrooge is an amazingly modern protagonist. Christmas Past shows us the reasons why Scrooge is so money-grabbing , and the truth is revealing. As a child, Scrooge has trouble with his father, who bore a grudge against him for her death in childhood. He claims to make friends as a child only with books, and his academic and economic development leads him to neglect the few friends he does make, leading him into a life in which accumulation of wealth and knowledge are the only standards for happiness and success. In other words, and in a way which may be a tad avant-garde, Scrooge is one big Nerd.
     Scrooge isn't deliberately being such an ass because he just feels like being a tad evil today, but because his worldview is such that other people don't deserve anmy compassion because they never gave him any earlier in life. His father taught him no compassion, no tact, but rather the act of hatred and of guilt, and this impacted upon his social abilities as her grew up. While me and my parents get on quite well, usually, I certainly can see where Scrooge was coming from. I know a lot of cases where neglection by one's peers means that someone turns to academia as a means of escape. This is exactly what happened with Scrooge, and reflects upon both his stubbornness to accept that his way of life is damaging and his desperation to prove the spirits wrong in order to justify his own self-worth.
Caine caught a lot of the complexity. His co-stars were
also Muppets.
     It can be argued that the spirits teach him compassion, but it's clear from the story that he found it on his own; his failed relationship with fiancĂ©e Belle shows that. It's less a case that he doesn't love her enough to follow her, but perhaps that he sees this rejection as a confirmation of his experiences in life so far - first his mother dies giving birth to him, his father forces him to live in a permenant state of guilt, his peers neglect him and now, he sees, his lover can no longer stand the sight of him. This moment is the trigger, not for Scrooge loosing his compassion, but certainly for a long period of repression that sees him through until the beginning of the story. And that, really, is why the three ghosts come in chronological order. Frighten him with Future first and you only deepen Scrooge's neuroses; he needs to be reminded first that he has loved before and that there are good people who deserved to be loved now.
      Scrooge is, in a way, the first example of a Sheldon Cooper archetype in fiction, and it's that story that people really dig. It's not just evil into good with Scrooge, because he's a sympathisable protagonist in so many ways, and the story is arguing against obsession with profit at the expense of compassion for other human beings. He's one of my favourite protagonists, and that's because of his subtle complexity and his ultimately relatable nature.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Overview: Doctor Who Classic: Season 25

The 25th Anniversary Season was a mixed bag of stories. It was also a very small bag; like the two seasons preceeding it, and every season afterwards, it only had 14 episodes. Half of the season was given over to thought-provoking satires that asked challenging questions, while the other half was given over to crowd-pleasing Monster slideshows, with varying degrees of success. Because the characters haven't much changed, I'll do that other kind of overview where I look at the bests and worsts of the season.

He makes sweets that kill people.
Best Story
By far my favourite story from the entire season has to be The Happiness Patrol, a story with delicious satire and just the right percentage of madness. Everything, from the scathing Thatcherite parallels to the demented Kandyman, is perfectly fine-tuned to make this one of the most interesting stories in the entire Seven era. I loved it from beginning to end, warts and all. Happiness prevailled. My favourite moment was most definitely the Doctor's trick, where he manages to cause a civil war amongst the Patrol simply by pretending to lauch; they wanted to shoot him for causing a riot but couldn't in fear of violating their own dogma.

Worst Story
Poor Silver Nemesis. The story upon which so much importance was placed, it's another "checklist" story where the producers gave the writer a list of things that needed to be here. This time, it was a "silver" theme, the Cybermen, and something to do with the royals. Somehow this was interpreted into a 17th Century Lady, some Neo-Nazis and a Cyber-fleet that does almost nothing. It's not an unpleasant story, but it's certainly one that I don't want to visit again, for the simple reason that I've got much more interesting things to be doing. It really is an empty shell, and the worrying Cartmel Masterplan overtones only make it more throw-away.

See what I mean?
This is a season with a lot of great villains, but the scariest and spookiest are definitely the Circus from The Greatest Show In The Galaxy. Even Ace thinks that clowns are scary, and the army of eternally smiling robots are incredibly creepy. Add that to the Gods of Ragnarok and their devatatingly biting metaphorical meaning as an unappreciating British audience. And, from The Happiness Patol, you know that I love Thatcherite Helen A and the Kandyman. Worst villains? It's going to have to go once more to Silver Nemesis. On one hand you've got Lady Peinforte, who looks  and acts like a reject from Horrible Histories. Then you've got Herr Flores and his army, who have to be some of the weediest Nazis I've ever seen, not even one bloody swastika. And then there's the Cybermen. Given a silvery paint job, they stand about being impotentand being blown up by impact with a gold coin. It's so utterly disappointing on every level.

Success of the Story
The most successful story - that is, it succeeded in being what it was trying to be - was Remembrance of the Daleks. It was a much better anniversary story than Silver Nemesis, which of course is the least successful.It managed to celebrate the series using not only setting-based and visual cues, but also in the way it revitalised the Daleks and made them awesome again after the post-Genesis Davros stories made them weak. It's the standout story of the season, the one I saw first and the one that everyone is going to remember, standing beside Doctor Who's greats.