When I saw the time jumps start in the Lodger, I thought...

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DarkComet
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When I saw the time jumps start in the Lodger, I thought...

Post by DarkComet » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:29 pm

"... so what is it?"

Please don't kill me.
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The Lodger

Post by HStorm » Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:34 pm

You’ll have to bear with me while I write this, I’m just ticking items off my ‘By-the-numbers formula for writing modern Dr. Who stories’ checklist. Let’s see…

1. Nondescript townhouse with a mysterious figure living in the room upstairs. Check.

2. Silly over-the-top music score designed to dull the senses and deafen the thought-processes of the audience. Check.

3. Twee, mushy, romantic sub-plot to provoke approving sighs of, “Awwwwwwwwww…!” from the soap opera-loving editorial staff of the Radio Times. Check.

4. Smattering of technobabble and post-modern self-digs in the dialogue to demonstrate the series’ ‘willingness to laugh at itself’. Check.

5. Surfeit of smug, unnatural-sounding, snappy quips like a script from a Spider-Man cartoon. Check.

6. Lots of loud shouts and screams during the conclusion of the story to convince the audience that something really exciting and scary is going on. Check.

7. Superfluous, scarcely-relevant visual references to all the previous incarnations of the Doctor. Check.

Oh, you get the idea.

Actually, this is probably a little unfair, as The Lodger had its share of redeeming qualities. But as has been the case quite a bit in recent weeks, original ideas were not among them. Even the Doctor playing football was clearly just a pastiche of the Fifth Doctor playing cricket in Black Orchid (shamelessly confirmed by the BBC website).

It was helped somewhat by the decision to separate off the Doctor from Amy. As Amy was the one who spent the whole episode trapped aboard the TARDIS, and the Doctor was the one who was stranded, the dynamic was at least somewhat new, so that at least can give the impression, however misleading, that we were watching something different. Sadly, the unrequited love story has been done absolutely everywhere, while the ‘evil-secret-upstairs’ scenario mentioned above was done twice in David Tennant’s first season alone (The Idiot’s Lantern and Fear Her).

Craig and Sophie were both rather dull guest characters that could just as easily have been slotted into an episode of EastEnders. Craig’s a couch potato, Sophie’s the girl who has a couple of keys to his flat. The only vaguely interesting aspect about them was Craig’s fast-cultivated resentment of the Doctor, which at least gave the episode a sorely-needed edge. As for Sophie, well, what can I say? Sophie wants an adventure! Sophie wants to get out there and live! Sophie wants to see far-off places! That wouldn’t remind you of one or two or three former companions of the Doctor would it? (Or indeed the present one?) It’s like every woman in the Dr. Who universe since Rose’s alarm clock went off is a bored chav who’s on the lookout for exotic travel (or the irascible mum of a bored chav who’s on the lookout for exotic travel).

The computerised hologram on the nonexistent top floor seemed very derivative as well. Not really much to distinguish its programmed nature from that of the robots in The Girl In The Fireplace. Still, that wasn’t a completely terrible aspect, as the robots were rather cleverly-written in that. If you must steal, you might as well steal from the best.

Once the spacecraft disappeared, the single-storey house suddenly looked ridiculously out of place against the two double-decker houses around it. Also, there’s clearly no way up from the house to where the spacecraft had landed, so how exactly did all those people who climbed the pseudo-stairs manage to board it? And by the way, the ‘perception-filter’ (TM & © of Deus Ex Machina Enterprises: ‘Emergency-Meaningless-Technobabble-For-Helping-A-Stuck-Writer-To-Contrive-A-Convenient-Way-To-Climb-Out-Of-The-Plothole-He’s-Dug-Himself-Into’ Division) was like those preposterous keys in Last Of The Time Lords; another cheap rip-off of the Somebody Else’s Problem field in Life, The Universe And Everything.

In defence of the episode, the acting was generally better than usual. Matt Smith is now looking triumphantly in command of the role, and making it his own rather than just a hand-me-down from David Tennant; Smith really is a natural for this part in a way no one has quite been since Tom Baker’s time and is developing into one of my all-time favourites now. Karen Gillan is back to good form as well, though more by circumstances than design; with Amy put in such a protracted, sustained position of panic, she never got the chance to resume her strutting-cockiness motif, which meant that, for the first time in about a month, she ceased to annoy. And given that they were playing a pair of dreary ciphers, James Corden and Daisy Haggard were commendably good as Craig and Sophie.

Production standards were reasonable, although if you think about it, that was hardly difficult seeing almost all the story is set in a shabby urban townhouse. But the set for the spacecraft is quite well done – if a little sparse – and the hologram effects did all that was asked of them. Pity that Murray Gold was profoundly reverting to type in the later scenes.

So, unoriginal but inoffensive again. The season is still stagnating in one-tone mediocrity, but rarely drops to a worse level than that, and seeing the mighty Moffat’s return to the writer’s saddle is imminent, there’s a good chance things will improve soon. The Lodger gets 6/10, which is becoming a very familiar scoreline this year.

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Re: When I saw the time jumps start in the Lodger, I thought

Post by BBrooks » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:27 pm

It was a strange 7 days for James Corden last week, not content with having the Doctor as a Lodger and hosting a World Cup show all in the same night. He also deemed it fit to have a verbal fight with Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise a few days previous. ;D

The Lodger was a Deliberately Funny and Enjoyable story, Corden was playing his usual Down-to-Earth normal bloke role in his usual energetic, slightly annoying and outgoing style. Whose voice goes slightly high-pitched and a bit squeaky when excited or surprised, he churned out a believable performance as Craig, Daisy Haggard was believable too as Sophie and they had good chemistry on-screen.

As for the computerised hologram in the episode. I thought it was good, although as HStorm said it was familiar to The Idiot's Lantern and Fear Her, and when it took on the role of a girl to lure the middle aged woman upstairs it was similar to The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Another great factor was the fact that you never saw it's face throughout. Does anyone else on here think that the spacecraft set looked incredibly similar to the Eighth Doctor's Tardis from 1996?

I think it's safe to say now that any doubts we had over Matt Smith's performance can now be Extinguished, he really has surpassed himself as The Doctor. It's the same with Karen Gillan who is already acknowledged as one of the greatest DW Assistant's ever.

I can't wait for next week's 2 part finale. What is the Pandorica? What's inside it? I hope it's not Daleks, although I did hear them being mentioned in the "Next Time" trailer and I saw a Cyberman in there as well. Here's hoping that it's either Gallifrey or The Master.

Here's my theory though (don't laugh). I believe the cracks are caused by the Tardis itself. They always seem to appear just outside of it. When the Tenth Doctor regenerated ( I think) it severly damaged the Tardis to such a degree that even though it repaired itself in The Eleventh Hour, some certain parts weren't fully fixed yet. And these parts are leaking out some sort of energy, so whenever the Doctor travels it causes rips in time. The piece of debris that he pulled out of the crack in Cold Blood was simply a chunk that blew off when the Tardis window's exploded in the climax of The End of Time.

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Re: When I saw the time jumps start in the Lodger, I thought

Post by Drassil » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:30 pm

Dark Comet wrote:When I saw the time jumps start in the Lodger, I thought...

"... so what is it?"
That didn't cross my mind. In spite of the inclusion of a hologram and a cat. I was struck by other sci-fi reminiscences in this series though, chiefly:

- Time traveller (re)unites couple he accidentally divided (Back To The Future -> Vampires Of Venice, The Lodger)
- Historical figure is brought to present day (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure -> Vincent And The Doctor)
- Time traveller begins fading away when changed timeline means they weren't born (Back To The Future -> City Of The Daleks)
- Bow-tie-wearing eccentric cries "Geronimo!" in an English accent before throwing himself into the unknown (Sliders pilot episode -> The Beast Below et al)

Also, did anyone else notice the church as a recurring theme? We had 'get into the church' in Amy's Choice and in the Silurian story (harking back to Father's Day) and in Vincent And The Doctor. There was also the prominence of the Church in the Weeping Angels story. Maybe this is coincidence, but it would be interesting to hear it come up in an interview with Steven Moffat.

Back on topic, some belated thoughts about The Lodger, as it was one of my favourites of this series:

- I bet RTD would have loved to get his hands on this story.
- I've thought for a while that CITV classic Mike & Angelo owes a lot to Doctor Who (alien comes to Earth in box, befriends younger human, alien changes actors, companion changes). In The Lodger, it seems to run both ways.
- Although I can imagine other Doctors doing this story, I can't imagine any doing it as successfully as the Eleventh. For me, that makes it stand out.
- As JamesA pointed out in another thread, the Doctor says "Ooh nasty."
- Not too thrilled to see Rose in this episode.
- 2010 has arguably seen a period of overexposure for James Corden - literally, in the case of the incident mentioned above by BBrooks - but here he was on very good form.
- The ending felt too contrived to me. If the TARDIS goes back in time for Amy to place her note, wouldn't that put it during the period when the time ship's disruption is still active, thereby preventing the TARDIS from landing? Couldn't Amy's finding of her engagement ring have been written without this apparent continuity error?

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The Lodger and Mike & Angelo

Post by Drassil » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:20 pm

I wrote:I've thought for a while that CITV classic Mike & Angelo owes a lot to Doctor Who (alien comes to Earth in box, befriends younger human, alien changes actors, companion changes). In The Lodger, it seems to run both ways.
The Mike & Angelo repeats that will open both days of CITV's Old Skool Weekend will be a chance for others to see whether or not they agree. :)

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Doctor Who and Mike & Angelo

Post by Drassil » Wed May 22, 2013 6:07 pm

I wrote:
I wrote:I've thought for a while that CITV classic Mike & Angelo owes a lot to Doctor Who (alien comes to Earth in box, befriends younger human, alien changes actors, companion changes). In The Lodger, it seems to run both ways.
The Mike & Angelo repeats that will open both days of CITV's Old Skool Weekend will be a chance for others to see whether or not they agree. :)
Fans of both series may be interested in this CITV clip, in which Tim Whitnall (the second Angelo) is interviewed in the CITV studio by a presenter called Tom who has since become famous under a different name.

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