Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gap Year Of The Daleks

Steven Moffat: "They aren't going to make an appearance for a while. We thought it was about time to give them a rest."

Of course, since then he's been on Twitter to say "Daleks: I was talking about THIS series. Stand down."

Got me thinking, though. Daleks might have reached a less-is-more point, where the Inverse Ninja Rule applies so strongly that it would be cooler to see just the one, acting like a villain, rather than a horde of the things invading and overwhelming with numbers. Treat them much like any humanoid villain with a suitably vicious agenda, with minions, room for verbal baiting, and the like.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The joy of trailers

The trailer for A Good Man Goes To War did get me fair buzzing with excitement.

Spoilers! Spaceships! Sith! ... People in berets!

I like a "whoa, what is that?" trailer, as you may have gathered.

Whatever it is, it looks like it might be the first big crazy action space opera epic of the Moffat era, and whether this is true or not the possibility is rather appealing because it's a new Who plot type we haven't seen him try as writer or showrunner, just briefly toy with in one scene each of Victory Of The Daleks and The Pandorica Opens. So how much big crazy action space opera epic we actually get is as yet unknown, but I'm hoping for enough to get by.

And of course, there's nothing like making a trailer to get me thinking about swipable visuals which, in Doctor Who, can come from just about anywhere.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Rebel Flesh

... is a nice straightforward story with some interesting guest characters and some fun for Rory and Amy, and a cute cliffhanger.

That’s about all one can say, really. There has to be a normal story in the series somewhere.

So I suppose I can talk about what it does in game terms...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Angelic Conversations

A darkened room. The silhouette of a figure standing utterly still in the centre.

An eerie, whispery feminine voice.

"Close the door. Do not look. If you do, we cannot speak. And you must hear what I have to say..."

The visitor listens, keeping his eyes averted, resisting the temptation to look at the speaker.

And only when the speaker finishes, and he leaves and the door opens, do we see the figure is a Weeping Angel.


Prompted by the thoughts over on Bigger On The Inside, about how clever/ingenious/actually stattable as monsters rather than an environmental hazard the Weeping Angels really are...

"In 'Blink' you can't talk to them, you can't fight them, either you're looking at them and they're stone or you blink and you're instantly sent back in time."

This changed with the rude radio chatter of Angel Bob, but the two-parter changed so much it didn't really feel like the same thing anyway...

So that got me thinking about a situation where a Weeping Angel wanted or needed to communicate. Not using someone else's voice and a comlink, but speaking directly to someone...

No idea why they'd need to, have to think about that one...

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Doctor's Wife, followup

A Guardian Q&A with Neil Gaiman which confirms that some things were lost and some things were gained and that a spare Neil would go and live in Cardiff and do nothing else.

And this, on regeneration limits...

“It’s interesting, that rule. It was obviously bendable to begin with (the Time Lords gave the Master a whole new round of regenerations). So I’ve always thought that it was more a law like a speed limit is a law than like Gravity is a law.

And if there are no longer any police to make you observe the speed limit, you can drive as fast as you like. Although it’s a lot more dangerous.”

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Doctor's Wife

Scary voices! Green Ood! Corridors! Neil Gaiman!

(And a lovely Confidential with him reading the script... I'd tune in to a Doctor Who that was read by him weekly...)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Authors' Doctors

Thinking about it, so many great British genre and comic writers have tackled the Doctor here and there.

Alan Moore made Rassilon and Omega contemporaries and that became “true”. His Who backup stories have a lot of treachery, betrayal, and recognisably human motivations even for the likes of Cybermen.

There’s rather a lot of Mills and Wagner’s Doctor Who Weekly comics in the DNA of the new series, not least the homage to The Star Beast in Smith And Jones. Having art by Dave Gibbons didn’t hurt either - indeed, early exposure to DWW has skewed my idea of how big and mad and fast and visual Who should be, so I always wanted something more like the new series than the old...

Grant Morrison and Jamie Delano, and John Ridgway’s lovely - and thankfully black and white - art, helped make the Sixth Doctor a less flamboyant figure while his world became a riot of visual surrealism based largely on letting Ridgway draw whatever he wanted.

Warren Ellis has joked about it, but I’d love to see what he could really do.

And of course there’s a whacking great Michael Moorcock novel looming over the Eleventh Doctor’s other tie-in books, as well as Stephen Gallagher going from surreal adventures to horror novels, Douglas Adams recycling bits of Shada into Dirk Gently...

Neil Gaiman discusses what we'll be seeing soon.

Neil Gaiman talking about his episode. Which I'll read after I see it on Saturday, just in case, although I know he can keep a secret while slyly winking about it.

The Hand Of Fear

This story was repeated on BBC4 over the past two days to celebrate the life of Elisabeth Sladen. It’s a fine little story in and of itself, if a bit odd in having the titular creepy hand quickly turn into a perfectly good female villain and then she turns into a shouty bloke when you’d think a moving hand was enough, but of course it became more than a footnote when it turned out to be Sarah Jane’s swansong as a companion.

It isn’t quite business as usual, as she comments on how much horrible stuff has been happening to her of late - “I must be mad. I’m sick of being cold and wet and hypnotised left, right and centre. I’m sick of being shot at, savaged by bug-eyed monsters, never knowing if I’m coming or going... or been... I want a bath, I want my hair washed, I just want to feel human again... and, boy, am I sick of that sonic screwdriver. I’m going to pack my goodies and I’m going home...”

She goes to pack, and then the Doctor receives a call back to Gallifrey and has to leave her, so now she doesn’t want to go. Such a natural reaction.

So many classic companions left with little warning (see next companion Leela deciding to stay behind and marry Some Bloke) that it was good to see the reasons for Sarah Jane’s departure pile up throughout this story. It’s something the new series has built on, making every departure a big deal.

Something to consider when a player has to leave a game, or a game is ending, assuming you get a few sessions’ warning. How do you make the character’s departure memorable, in a good way rather than the “I’m leaving with that guy over there, bye!” way?

Bring them back home or leave them very far from it? A happy ending or a broken heart? A new life or going down a blaze of glory? Upbeat or tragic or somewhere in between?

Best to talk this over with the player. How they feel about the character can factor in to how they’d like them to leave.

Monday, 9 May 2011


I was out all weekend, so my commentary upon The Curse Of The Black Pearl Spot comes after BOTIS’s so would be largely academic.

So I’ll note a few interesting things.