Monday, 27 October 2014

What I’ve been watching on TV

Dr Who

I’ve found this a bit of a mixed bag.

The opening episode, “Deep Breath” with a throwaway dinosaur, was something of mishmash, and rather a wasted opportunity. It was nice to see Matt Smith, but risky, as the familiar and charming only accentuated the rather spiky Capaldi Doctor.

“Into the Dalek” was a different take, and clearly showed the roots (even with a mention) of the TV movie Fantastic Voyage; it was nevertheless rather fun. What happened to the Dalek’s protective force fields, by the way? Present in the Russell T Davies era, they seemed to have gone.

“Robot of Sherwood” was typical Mark Gatiss, pressing the comedy as far as the drama would allow, and if you enjoy that (and I did) a rather good romp. Gatiss also has an excellent ear for dialogue, and this was sparkling.

“Listen” was rather more of a sequence of sketches than anything concrete, though the unseen figure under the blanket on the bed was extremely scary, an excellent example of how to use imagination to terrify. The part of the Doctor’s early childhood (if that is what it was) seemed a bit out of sorts with the established continuity; it will be interesting to see if more is made of that.

“Time Heist” by the same author was an enjoyable run-around, a timey-wimey story, but with rather a good alien monster, and an enjoyable pace. 

“The Caretaker” was enjoyable, but slight. 

“Kill the Moon” had a wonderful lunar landscape (Lanzarote, with CGI colour changing), scary spider like monsters, but a denouement whose science just defied description. I really didn’t like the ending, which seemed rather unconvincing. The abortion subtext was also pretty obvious.

But “Mummy on the Orient Express” and “Flatline”, again two by one author, were classic Doctor Who, perfectly structured, brim full of ideas, characters, and pace and plots which actually made sense.

“In the Forest of the Night” took the bold step of telling a very different story, with a strong ecology message, but again some rather bad science surfaced – how were people using mobiles when the solar flare would have wiped out the satellites?

I rather like this clerical sleuth, and the two leads, James Norton and Robson Green are excellent, and it has a good supporting cast.

As I don’t like missing “New Tricks”, I record that at 9, and use ITV +1 for Grantchester, so I can have a double dose of murder.

One of the features I like especially is the sermon which ends each episode, and here are two of them. They are mini-sermons, but they draw upon the storyline of the episode and provide a neat and rather different way of concluding the story.

Sermon by Reverend Sidney Chambers
We cannot erase our pasts, however hard we try.

Instead we must carry them with us into the future. We must carry them with us and look forward with hope. We must look forward, because to look back is to waste precious time.

Someone recently said to me, "We should live as we have never lived."

And we must all of us take heed and live as we have never lived.

For we are all mortal.

We are all fragile.

And we all live under the shadow of death.

Sermon by the Curate, Leonard Finch
Kant once wrote -"By a lie, a man annihilates his dignity as a man."

Our good friend Immanuel wasn't one to mince his words. He saw things in black and white. He didn't dwell on the grey areas.

But who amongst us can honestly say that we haven't lied for good reason? Who amongst us can say we live a truly good life?

And that's not to say we shouldn't try. We should all continually try to be the best we can be.

To escape the sins of our past..... to be accepting of our little foibles... and of others.

We can't run away from who we are.

We must turn and face the truth head on.

Sometimes in life... it's better just to... get on with things.

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