Sunday, May 27, 2007

Doctor Who - Human Nature

What a difference a week makes. From the generic SF of 42, to something intelligent and thoughtful in Human Nature. This is why Doctor Who is the greatest show on television ... nothing else can present such differing episodes and still be the same programme!

Human Nature was written by Paul Cornell, and based on his Doctor Who novel of the same name. The novel comes highly recommended and often tops polls of peoples favourite Who novels, and so the pedigree is good for a cracking television yarn. And that's what we got!

We open with a bang ... something I'd often thought should happen but until now never did - starting a story at the tail end of an unseen one. I always liked the idea of that which is why we did it when Telos published the original Doctor Who novella Companion Piece a few years back ... but anyway ... something is after the Doctor and he has to try and escape. The details of what happen come a little later on: he uses something called a chameleon bridge to rewrite his biology and make him human. What is it with the current Doctor Who team and DNA? Barely a week goes by without something happening to mess with it. In Smith and Jones, the Judoon are detecting non-humans with DNA scanners, in The Shakespeare Code the Carrionites have DNA replicators, in Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks it's the Daleks playing with human and Dalek DNA, in The Lazarus Experiment it's all about DNA gone wrong and now we have more DNA messing about. So the Doctor is now a single-hearted human called John Smith who teaches history at a boy's public school in 1913. Martha is keeping an eye on him by posing as a servant and somehow the Doctor's personality is now held in a pocketwatch.

There are so many great things about this episode that it's hard to keep track of them all. The pacing is brilliant, introducing concepts perfectly, and managing to slowly crank up the tension all the while. The other schoolboys are a wonderful lot, with the spooky Baines and the brilliant Tim Latimer as the highlights (Thomas Sangster playing Latimer is simply awesome). The Doctor is falling for the school matron, the widower Joan Redfern, brilliantly played by Jessica Haynes, and although some of their scenes are perhaps a little mawkish for a Doctor Who audience (the kissing mainly), you had to see the Doctor (or rather John Smith) going through this to make him real to the audience. And David Tennant pulls another rabbit from the hat by managing to make Smith different from the Doctor. It's a stand out performance as usual from Tennant and he makes it all look so simple and elegant.

There are some beautiful scenes with the journal that Smith has been keeping. I felt these were wonderfully played and am I the only one who wants a 'Journal of Impossible Things' of my own?

But this is Doctor Who and any life of idyll bliss will soon be shattered. The nasty aliens arrive in their spacecraft and promptly start harvesting bodies to occupy through the services of a stack of animated scarecrows (I have assumed that the collective noun for a number of scarecrows is a stack ... sounds right anyway). I guess the aliens took the scarecrows as temporary bodies at first until they could get enough human flesh to work with. The hapless schoolboy Baines is one such body, a farmer called Clark is another, a small girl with trademark red balloon is a third, and fourth is Martha's fellow maidservant Jenny. The aliens call themselves 'the family' and are after the Time Lord for some unknown reason.

The effects throughout the story are awesome. The invisible Family spacecraft is magnificently eerie, I loved the green lights everywhere and the alien voices. In fact, the spooky scarecrows were perhaps the least successful element - I wondered why they all looked the same. Did they all come from the same farm perhaps? The direction of their first appearance was also a little sloppy and non-threatening. Something of a lost opportunity I thought. As was the whole elaborate sequence with the piano falling. A great idea, but the execution was clumsy, spoiled by never actually seeing the woman with the pram in the same shot as the piano until the very end, thus not bringing home the tragedy that Smith was averting.

The plot rolls forward and Latimer, who seems to be able to see people's futures (he witnesses the death of an older bully on the battlefields of the Second World War), takes the pocket watch with the Doctor's personality in and opens it, thus alerting the Family to the Doctor's presence (I guess they knew he was on Earth somewhere but couldn't trace him precisely enough). There were some wonderful scenes here, with short cameo flashbacks to a Dalek, Cyberman, Ood, Werewolf, Sycorax, Racnoss and Lazarus. I did with some concern find this resonant of the self-indulgence of the eighties where barely a season could go by without too many back-references and the show slowly vanishing up its own posterior. I sincerely hope this isn't an indicator of the future here.

Smith and Joan head off to a local evening dance, and Latimer follows, realising that something is up. No sooner have the couple enjoyed a waltz than the Family-inhabited humans and scarecrows burst in, and confront Smith - Martha had given the game away trying to get the Doctor to snap out of it - and demand that he turn back into a Time Lord or they will kill either Martha or Joan ... and Smith must decide.

A cracking ending to the episode, and a great cliff hanger. All the performances here are uniformly brilliant, with no-one in particular taking overall kudos as they are all so good. There is an elegant simplicity in the Family's ray guns, turning victims into little clouds of ash, and the idea of the Doctor's Time Lord persona being in a pocket watch is a cute idea and very well handled. I can see kids in the playgrounds pretending to find invisible spacecraft, and eyeing the school nurse strangely ... not to mention that new teacher.

There are so many subtle nuances to the story, in the way it unfolds and is paced that it is a joy to watch. I really enjoyed it, and on a second viewing I enjoyed it more. I really can't wait for the concluding episode next week, and I hope that it manages to maintain the high standards set by the opening half.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Doctor Who - 42

One of the great things about the new Doctor Who series is that if you miss an episode, you can always catch it later as they're being repeated all the time. I was, however, a little surprised to tune in to catch the new episode, only to find that they were showing a condensed edition of The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit instead ... but then I looked closer and realised that some of the cast were different and there weren't any Ood around, so reasoned that it had to be a different story. But even so ... isolated group of humans in danger of being sucked into a space event, a mysterious power taking over characters and making them speak catchphrases and making their eyes glow with light, the TARDIS cut off from the Doctor, the day saved by the Doctor's companion ... Add to this a dirty/grimy sub-Alien feel to it all, some rubbish science and loads of CGI and the whole feeling of the story was of something very familiar that we had seen before.

The sense of deja vu does not stop there though. Here's a question: which Doctor Who story features the Doctor picking up a distress call and arriving to find a group of characters trying to harness a power source. One of them becomes infected by a creature composed of that power and their eyes glow white as they start killing off the other crewmembers one by one. Meanwhile, in trying to escape, a spaceship is dragged back to its doom because some of the power source is still on board and it must be ejected to escape, and the Doctor's companion is nearly fired into space along the way ...

Answer at the end.

So, for 42, the problems are manifest from the start. There's an almost overwhelming sense of familiarity about it which is not good. Little things like the Doctor fixing Martha's phone so she can phone home (shades of The End of the World). Also the whole element of being too close to the sun is the same as in The End of the World.

So the Doctor finds that he's cut off from the TARDIS for no good reason - something to do with the heat in that area rising too high, but why not in the rest of the ship as well? The spaceship is falling into a sun, the engines have been sabotaged and the auxillery engines are at the other end of the ship, past 29 locked and password protected doors. Cue Martha and Riley on a mission to open the doors. Whoever set these random password questions is a nutter though. The only reason you'd want to open them is to get to the other engine room ... and yet it's the equivalent of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to do so. Whatever year this is, how are they supposed to know who had the most pre-download Number Ones out of Elvis or the Beatles! It's lucky Martha has her phone, but who does she call? Her useless mother. If it was me, then my mum would be the last person I'd ask about a question like that (and not only because she doesn't have the Internet). Surely Martha has other far more net-savvy friends. And then there's the later question of what Riley's favourite colour is! They are all doomed I tell you.

So while Martha is off answering questions and opening doors, the Doctor and the others are faced with the possessed figure of Korwin - husband of McDonnell. Now don't get me started on the casting of the, frankly, useless Michelle Collins as McDonnell. The woman has no presence, no authority, was totally unbelievable, and was simply walked all over by the rest of the cast who were uniformly superb. In script terms, why does she call her husband 'Korwin' when we learn from the end credits that his first name is 'Hal' - and why are their second names different anyway? Sheesh. There is no discernable plot though, as Korwin works his way through the crew, killing two of them by blasting them to ash with his glowing eyes, and transferring his 'infection' to a third.

But the question is, why is this alien entity bothering? In less than half an hour all the crew will be killed when the ship crashes into the sun, so why bother possessing people and then getting them to kill the rest? Then there's the question of the escape pods ... they have escape pods ... so why is the crew still on board at all? And why are the escape pods apparently down this corridor of locked doors? That's handy in the event of a problem.

But then whoever designed this spaceship was a raving loony anyway. Who in their right mind puts buttons and levers on the outside of the fuselage which will return an escape pod launched in error? Never mind as to why the auxilliary engines are so hard to get to, and why the fuel could not be ejected from the main engine room. I was reminded of the scene in The End of the World (again) where the Doctor has to get past a row of spinning fans to pull a switch. The same design madness at work.

Then there's the question of the size of the ship. From outside it looks like it's large - maybe half a mile long? I guess Martha is therefore a marathon sprinter to get from one end to the other in about a minute. And we won't go into the totally variable lengths of time it takes other characters to get from one part of the ship to another.

So there's lots of running around, people being killed, the Doctor doing a heroic spacewalk to save Martha (despite the fact that there is no way that magnetism would be strong enough to reclaim the pod and return it when up against the gravitational pull of a sun), and finally McDonnell doing the honourable thing and putting us out of the misery of her abysmal acting by shooting herself and Korwin into space where they can hug and fall into the sun together (more shades of The Impossible Planet). But even more questions: in The End of the World, just the light of the Sun was enough to scorch the walls and vapourise anything it touched, but here, even though they are 10 minutes from impact and getting closer every second, the light does nothing. Even the Doctor is able to spacewalk without even breaking a sweat, and McDonnell's body should have been burnt to a crisp in a nanosecond the moment she opened the outer door. But then maybe this living sun isn't as hot as the Earth's Sun. Yeah. Right.

The Doctor realises that the sun is alive and is possessed by the creature. He is then able to tell Martha that they will be saved if they jettison the stolen fuel with the sun particles in ... well if that's all it took, then why did the sun creature go to all the trouble of meting out personal and nasty revenge on the crew? It's just going to let them all go is it? And lo and behold it does. Or when the fuel is dumped, the engines start working ... or something. It's all a little unclear.
Overall, 42 was a story with so much potential, all wasted in a runaround based on a familiar plot and a series of very familiar set pieces. It just makes no sense at all. Compounded with the first major casting mis-step of the ineffectual Collins in the lead role, 42 just doesn't work.

There are some kudos to pass out though. First to David Tennant who makes playing the Doctor seem just so effortless. His performance when possessed was nothing short of brilliant, he managed to set the right levels of tension and angst and was supremely watchable. Such a shame that the production team didn't play a double blinder on the viewers and actually have him regenerate into John Simm mid way through ... now that would have been magnificent ...

Other praise to the rest of the cast who were very convincing. Martha was just the right side of annoying, and the others were all believable and watchable (with the sole exception of you know who). Martha's mum was still pretty annoying though, and there's the undercurrent about her having her phone tapped by mysterious colleagues of Mr Saxon, who, for whatever reason seems to be after the Doctor. I know this is setting things up for later on, and thankfully it's less sledgehammer than the 'Torchwood' arc last year so I forgive it.

Oh, and the Doctor Who story I was describing above was actually Planet of Evil from way back in 1975 ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dig Deep

While we wait for Saturday and more new Who, I wanted to take a short sidestep into the real world for a moment. One of my best friends, Gwyn, suffers from a mild form of epilepsy, and she is trying to raise awareness of the condition through raising money for the Epilepsy Foundation, an American-based organisation dedicated to funding research into the condition in the ongoing hope that greater progress can be made towards understanding it, and eventually curing it. Have a look at her words on her page here: The condition hit her out of the blue when she was 18, and is still with her today. It's something that is misunderstood by many people, and it's really not a nice illness to have to live with. So, if you feel moved to spare a few pounds (or dollars depending on where you are reading this), then please consider donating through the link on Gwyn's page on the Foundation website above. Thanks so much.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Regular readers of my blog will recall that back at the start of March I posted my woes on not being able to find a job. Well I'm pleased to report that the situation has finally changed and I start my first contract with the Royal Bank of Scotland this coming Wednesday. Obviously I'm over the moon about this, and can't wait to get back into the thick of things. Thanks to everyone who offered words of sympathy, advice and help.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Doctor Who - The Lazarus Experiment

There's something about episode titles which seem to give the whole game away which sometimes make you wonder whether it's worth watching the thing or not. Here we have Professor Lazarus ... now what could he possibly be going to do? Die and come back to life again perhaps? It's a shame really, because this episode was really entertaining and one of the best so far. I suspect that Lazarus' name falls into that unique category of science fiction where all planets, alien races and names must define wholly the major characteristic of that planet/race/creature. So guess what the Planet Aridius is like? Arid perhaps? Give the man a peanut. And the inhabitants? Well they have to be Aridians don't they. And the Hungersaurs ... what might they be like? Hungry dinosaurs perhaps? Now ... a tricky one ... Doctor Phoenix ... now see if you can guess the plot of whatever episode of whichever science fiction series he appears in ...

Anyway, back to the plot, and The Lazarus Experiment was, as I said, a superb slice of Saturday evening entertainment. After the hole-riddled plot of the previous episode, something complete and watchable without saying 'Yes, but ...' after every scene.

We open with the Doctor returning Martha to Earth. Her reactions were spot on ... having enjoyed her trips with the Doctor she is in no mood to go back to mundanity, and the cheer when the TARDIS reappeared was immense. But what of the mysterious old Professor Lazarus and his wonderful machine?

The Doctor and Martha attend the evening's event, and it transpires that Martha's sister, Tish, is Lazarus' PR secretary and has organised the event. Now this does pose some questions. Given how close Martha and Tish are, it's strange that she never mentioned the Professor or his experiments to Martha. And that if she did, Martha didn't find it all a little odd and mention it to the Doctor or want to investigate further herself. And there was no mention of this groundbreaking event the previous day when Tish seems to have time to meet Martha for lunch and to go to an evening do in the local pub with her family ... I somehow think that for something as large and lavish as Lazarus' demonstration, poor Tish would be totally rushed off her feet the day before ...

Anyway, we get some name drops of Mr Saxon again: the old lady who seems to be Lazarus' main financial partner in the venture (and who also appears to have been with him all his life) says that Saxon is one of the main investors in the project. Oddly the lady isn't named until Martha refers to her later on as Lady Thaw. There's more Saxon to come though ... Thaw was wonderfully played by Thelma Barlow, her out of Coronation Street, proving that sometimes soap actresses can actually act.

I loved the reference to James Bond as the Doctor and Martha arrive, and it was a great shame that this wasn't carried forward into the incidental music, which was mawkish and out of place throughout the episode. I guess that the theme which kept playing was the 'Martha' one, but it seemed wrong and out of place for much of the story.

So Lazarus gets into his machine (a sonic microfield manipulator according to the Doctor) and is regressed to a young man. Meanwhile the Doctor falls foul of Martha's mum, Francine, who is way too overprotective and just nasty. How old is Martha? Isn't she able to make her own decisions as to who she sees? This just didn't ring true to me and edged the scenes way too far into soap territory for my liking.

Lazarus starts chowing down on food - he needs energy - and the Doctor is very suspicious. Shades of The Fly here I felt, and very nicely handled by both Mark Gatiss as Lazarus and David Tennant as the Doctor. Lazarus kisses Martha's hand and heads upstairs with his unnamed old lady.

As Lazarus transforms into a monster and sucks the lady dry, the Doctor and Martha use the labs to analyse Lazarus' DNA (from the kiss) and learn that his genetic structure is still changing. Next on Lazarus' list of munchies is Tish, and the Doctor and Martha arrive on the roof in time to save her, and to watch him transform into some huge scorpion-man thing with a human face and an expandible jaw (definite shades of Predator's monster in the jaw, as well as the alien from the Jeepers Creepers films, and some other films/TV shows that I can't recall the names of at the moment).

The chase is on! The monster gambols around the building after the Doctor, as Martha tries to get everyone out to safety. This is a great chase with some lovely CGI moments and a genuine sense of tension as Lazarus goads the Doctor in a whispery, papery, horrific voice.

While all this is going on, Martha's Mum is approached by a mysterious stranger (played by the unlikely named Bertie Carvel, but he does seem to be a real actor) outside - the same man who had earlier warned her of the Doctor in the reception - and he apparently tells her more about the Doctor ... very worrying and nicely handled, fitting season-arc stuff into the story in a way which was not intrusive.

The Doctor and Martha end up trapped inside Lazarus' machine, and the monster activates it. Luckily the Doctor is able to reverse the polarity (in a nice nod to the Pertwee years) and reflects the power back out again, apparently killing Lazarus (who reverts to young human form on death).

The ambulance arrives to take him away, and the Doctor enjoys a slap and a showdown with Francine before we hear the ambulance crash - the medics have been drained and Lazarus is on the loose again ... you see ... you can never believe that a man named Lazarus will actually be dead when you think he is ...

The Doctor tracks him to nearby Southwark Cathedral where he turns into a monster again chases Martha and Tish up into the bell tower while the Doctor plays the organ, the sound waves created - along with a little extra oomph from the sonic screwdriver - being enough to kill the Lazarus creature and send it crashing to the ground. I loved here the mention of turning it up to '11' - obviously the Doctor is also a fan of Spinal Tap. Also note the allusions to The Quatermass Experiment in the location.

So Lazarus is killed (but is he ...), and I wondered why he still looked like a young man when the Doctor gets to his body, but then instantly reverts to the old Lazarus ... didn't make much sense. If anything he should have been old all along ...

The crisis averted, and it's back to Martha's bedroom for the Doctor to offer to take her with him permanently ... well we knew it was going to happen, but again the interplay and reactions from Martha were excellent. They head off to new adventures, missing the telephone call from Martha's mum: she knows who the Doctor is and Martha is in danger ... and the information comes from Harold Saxon himself!

A great ending to a very entertaining and enjoyable episode. Mark Gatiss was simply brilliant as Lazarus, managing to bring pathos and a sympathetic element to a ruthless and driven character, and his interplays with David Tennant's Doctor were very well handled. The CGI was top notch, and the monster looked real for the most part. I suspect that the other actors could have done with a physical prop on occasion though, and the inclusion of this may have made it all just a little more real. However it was scary and nasty and I can't wait for the action figure ... well ... it has to happen doesn't it?

No Doctor Who next week due to bloomin' Eurovision Song Contest, but there was a trailer showing what's coming up ... scary scarecrows, Captain Jack, spaceships, the Sun, Martha separated from the Doctor, a man tapping a table with his hand ... it's all go! What's confusing though is that these are clips from several of the remaining 7 episodes, and not all from the next episode. I hope kids won't be too disappointed ...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Doctor Who - Evolution of the Daleks

Well what happened there then? The first part of this adventure was exciting and dramatic and built brilliantly ... and then in the concluding part it all seemed to fall to bits, as though they had put all their effort into the first bit and then just forgotten about the second!

The problems all seem to stem from the script, and it looks like no-one cared to ask Helen Raynor what was actually meant to be happening and instead just went with whatever she had come up with. There are several inconsistencies in the plot and the way it all came together and hopefully I'll touch on these as we go through.

So we open with the amazing cliffhanger from last week - the human/Dalek Sec hybrid creature. Someone pointed out that the reason he's not speaking with a Dalek voice is that this voice is created by the casing (as evidenced in a couple of earlier stories) and that's true! I had forgotten this, so I guess we have to then get used to the New York accented Dalek for the story. Sec wants all the humans to become like him, and then the Doctor reveals himself and does one of his speechy things to him - seems that Sec is becoming more human which is a good thing for him, but less so for the other three Daleks. The Doctor makes a radio explode with his all-purpose sonic screwdriver (how does he do this precisely?) and they all run for it, being chased by Daleks and pigmen.

Then we have one of the most ludicous scenes in the show - two Daleks talking in a sewer and one looks around to check it's not being overheard!! By who exactly? And don't the Daleks have sensors for this? It reminded me of the 'thick' Dalek in The Chase (1965) who hesitates and gets its words wrong when reporting.

Back in Hooverville and the Doctor tells Soloman to get his people out as the Daleks need humans for conversion. Then the pigs attack, closely followed by two of the Daleks flying in and blasting everything. Soloman does a War of the Worlds speech to the Daleks and is promptly exterminated. Then the Doctor does the same but is spared by Sec, much to the other Daleks' annoyance. These scenes drag terribly, slowing the action down - maybe we needed Soloman to do this, but the Doctor as well? Sheesh.

Before he leaves with the Daleks, the Doctor gives Martha his psychic paper wallet, but fails to tell her what to do or where to go. That's handy. Poor girl is left to figure it all out on her own ... whether what she eventually does is what the Doctor intended is left to our imagination as, really, she does nothing at all!

Anyway, the Doctor arrives back at the Empire State Building where he rants at the Daleks again. He says the green globby Rutan thing he found was a Dalek embryo ... what? Where did that come from then? There are only four Daleks in the Cult of Skaro and all are accounted for, so where did an extra embryo come from? And the Daleks have 1000 or so humans, brains wiped clean, suspended on pallets in a sort of mad Frankenstein way in the basement of the Building ... what a lot of effort to go to! Constructing all that with no-one knowing or realising. And ... hang on ... the people have their minds wiped, so why were the Daleks last week only after the intelligent ones? Seems a bit of a waste to me. The idea is that the bodies will be filled with Dalek ideas by Dalek DNA going through them in some sort of blue liquid. How does that work then? DNA is an encapsulation of physical attributes, not mental. It says whether you'll have three eyes and no hair or whatever, not whether you'll think like a Dalek or not.

Now comes the biggest load of tripe yet - the Daleks need a gamma radiation strike to activate the bodies, this is coming from a solar flare, and yet it's night time ... so how, when the face of the Earth the Daleks are on is away from the Sun, could a blast of anything from the Sun affect it? And then it's delivered via a lightning bolt - which is electricity and not gamma radiation. And did the whole Earth suffer the same lightning ... and what happened on the side which was actually facing the Sun at the time? The Daleks had attached Dalekaneum to the lightning conductor, it seems, to add their DNA to the gamma radiation to pass to the bodies ... so what was the blue liquid the Doctor helped develop then? And since when did a lightning bolt extract DNA from anything! Does this mean that people who survive being hit by lightning turn into trees or whatever they happen to be touching at the time?

Pauses for breath as all this is so much rubbish that it's hard to get it all down.

So ... we have to believe that the Daleks have managed to convert a load of mind-wiped humans into Daleks via this means. Okay. And that the action of the Doctor in holding onto the lightning conductor somehow adds his Time Lord DNA to the mix.

While all this nonsense is going on, Martha figures out that she has to go to the Empire State Building - which is a good 5 miles from Central Park by the way - and use the Psychic Paper to get in ... well I guess that's okay though I wonder who would be guarding a half-built building anyway ... and then she and Frank and Tallulah and Laszlo get up to the top. She then spends ages frikking around with the plans for the building to try and see the differences between two versions (what?) so that when the Doctor arrives she can tell him it's Dalekaneum on the mast. However before this we get the second most ludicrous scene in the episode - the pigs in the lift! Standing there, looking embarrassed as they ascend. This has to be one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes in Doctor Who ever. Made me laugh anyway.

So the humans are converted to Daleks, and Dalek Sec is overruled by the other three Daleks and put in chains - why didn't they just exterminate him? Dalek Kahn takes command of the Dalek army, and the Doctor needs somewhere to use for a final showdown ... so what other set do we have in these episodes? The Theatre! Of course ... so he, Martha, Frank, Tallulah and Laszlo head for the Theatre where the Doctor summons the Daleks with the ever-useful Sonic Screwdriver.

They mysteriously arrive in a flash of pyrotechnics on the stage, and with Dalek Sec crawling on the floor before them? What? Why? Why bring him along? Why make him crawl? Oh well.

The human Dalek army arrive, neatly kitted out with spanking new Dalek exterminator guns - should we ask where they came from? No, thought not - and there's a standoff. The Daleks try to kill the Doctor but Sec blocks the blast and is finally killed himself. The human Daleks are then ordered to kill the Doctor but they do not. Instead they ask why they should. So the Daleks and human Daleks fight, and the two real Daleks are blown up by the weapons. Interestingly, the Daleks don't just kill the Doctor themselves in all this ...

So Dalek Kahn promptly destroys all the human Daleks. Now if he could do this, then why bother having the Daleks and human Daleks fight at all? Why didn't Kahn just kill them all the moment they turned on the Daleks?

The fun's all over and the Doctor returns to confront Dalek Kahn, who, just like Sec before him, engages temporal shift and vanishes. Handy function that.

So it's all over bar the shouting. Laszlo is saved by the Doctor who whips up something in the Daleks' lab to stabilise him and stop him dying, Tallulah has her man back (although he now looks like a pig) and the Doctor and Martha return to the TARDIS where the Doctor predicts he will meet Dalek Kahn again one day ...

So after a very promising start, Evolution of the Daleks descended into a runaround which really makes little sense as soon as you start to actually try and follow the plot. The pigmen were a nice idea (and I heard them dubbed as 'Hogrons' the other day which I liked a lot - the Ogrons were an earlier race of ape-like humanoids that the Daleks used as slaves in the stories Day of the Daleks and Frontier in Space) and the story looked magnificent. The actors were all first rate, and the CGI and effects were well up to par. Unfortunately this one fell down on the script ... the most important element of any story.

The ideas seemed to be pinched from the earlier story The Evil of the Daleks (a search for the 'human factor' so the Daleks could become more human and thus win out over humanity, however this in itself was a trick so that the Dalek Emperor could find the 'Dalek factor' and instead turn all the humans into walking Daleks). However there it all made much more sense.

Next week it looks like a bit of a runaround ... Mark Gatiss, Professor Lazarus (now what could that name possibly infer), more of Martha's family (I so hope it's not going to be another soap-fest), and a rather nice looking CGI monster.