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21 December 2008 @ 03:47 pm
Finally watched 'Voyage of the Damned'  
So I *finally* watched "Voyage of the Damned." I know why I initially waited to watch it. I was skipping through series three of Who and then read a note about Billie Piper's appearance in "Partners in Crime" being a very rare BBC secret so that it shocked everyone and was like "AAAHHH! Rose!!! Must get to series four!!!"

So when I finished series three, I knew that the Christmas episode didn't really impact what happened in four, so yeah, that's why I passed it over. Now I had intended to go back and watch it once I was caught up (mid-season four), but I had gotten more and more into the Doctor/Rose relationship, and I read not so nice commentary about the episode and Astrid/Kylie Minogue. Then I saw brief flashes here and there of the interaction between the Doctor and Astrid that my newly Doctor/Rose-loving heart rebelled against. So yeah, didn't watch it forever.

Well, I finally did.

Erm, did Russell T Davies REALLY write this one? I mean, REALLY?!?!? This was baaaaaaaaaaaad; and not because of Astrid. I actually quite liked Astrid, but I do think that better casting would have made her even more likable. That's not to say that Kylie Minogue was bad -- in fact, the cutest moment for me was her grabbing the box to kiss the Doctor, which only happened because of how flippin' tiny Minogue is. She was, well, rather like Freema Agyeman in that she's not a bad actress, she just doesn't compare at all to Piper, Catherine Tate, not to mention Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. And, being shallow for a moment, she's a very good-looking woman, but she also looks her age and therefore, no matter how much foundation they applied, she still looked older than Tennant. Don't get me wrong, she was very cute and I did think that Astrid was adorable, she just isn't a very good actress, and not quite cute enough for me to buy the relationship that was being sold. Oh well.

Moving on to the main reason (hey, I can be honest about it) that I waited so long to watch VotD: the kissing. I was fine with the first kiss in terms of why/how Astrid did it (again, the box? HI-larious!), but I was a bit thrown by the Doctor's reaction. He was, well, a bit too thrown himself. It's not even about Rose, it's about the fact that the Doctor NEVER reacts that way to being kissed -- okay, well, he did when Rose/Cassandra kissed him, but other than that, he doesn't. I just think that RTD and/or Tennant overplayed that moment. But that had nothing on the fact that the Doctor repeated the custom line and kissed her atoms at the end. WTF? No, seriously ... what the fuck!?!? The Doctor doesn't go around kissing people when he's going to lose them/lost them. He woulda done that when he first sent Rose off in "Doomsday" if he did. He just doesn't do that. It's not about my shipper-tendencies, it's that it was out of character. The Doctor doesn't roll that way; his brain doesn't work that way. It was just stupid, frankly. He's not going to say goodbye to someone by snogging them. That. is. not. the. Doctor!

So, that was complete overkill, in my opinion. But then the Doctor coming across as somewhat fancying Astrid through much of it was a bit out of character too. The Doctor doesn't randomly get a thing for people he just meets. Yeah, it happened fairly quickly with Rose, but it didn't even happen that fast with her. So, yeah, the whole Doctor reaction to Astrid overall was a tad out of character. Honestly, Rusty! Does he have some heterosexual crush on Kylie Minogue that he was incapable of not pouring into the script?

As for the rest ...

- WILF!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had forgotten that Bernard Cribbins was in this as Wilf. Yayers!!!

- David Tennant looked REALLY, REALLY good in this episode. There was actually a shot where I thought, "hmm, he looks hot." And (a minority in this fandom, I know), I NEVER think that about Tennant. The tux, the hair -- much better than how it was in series four, the glasses (when they came out). Very, very nice.

- Some great Doctor moments in general, cute lines ("Take me to your leader. I've always wanted to say that."), good scenes here and there.

- I was actually a tad bummed that the Doctor didn't offer Mr. Copper the chance to come with him. I really liked Mr. Copper.

- The Doctor walking in practically slo-mo, standing still, all bad-ass (while I was literally rolling my eyes), holding his arms out, the Hosts walk up, he snaps his finger (GOD!! So that's where Moffat got it from! Thanks, Rusty!) and the hosts take him flying. SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?

Yeah, pretty lame episode. As one of the few who really likes "Love & Monsters," I'd easily say this was THE worst Russel T Davies-penned Who episode; and, of course, it's one of the highest ratest ever. So, meh casting or not, Kylie sure brought 'em. I just wish that Rusty had offered up a better episode for the masses. Ah well, now I don't feel like I've been missing out at all by not having watching this before.

::Shrugs::

At least my new Who-viewing is fully complete at last. (Oh crap, it's not. I still haven't watched "Time Crash." Damnit!)

ETA: I generally share a brain with butterfly when it comes to Who, and I know that she really enjoys this episode and Astrid, and really bought into the Rose/Astrid parallels (which I didn't mention above). I didn't mention them because while to a small degree I could see them, well, shinyopals described the superficialness of it very well:
The way I can just about retcon it is because Astrid reminds me anything from "a little" to "a lot" of Rose. (Although bear in mind it's been a year since I watched it, so my analysis may be a bit off.) Superficially, she's blonde and pretty. Also, she's working a dull, minimum wage type job, pretending to smile and be good at "customer service" and squees like mad when she finally gets a chance to stand on a different world. And her death in particular: she falls from him and then he gets one last chance to see her, but it's not quite real and he *can't* touch her/talk to her.
I got all of that too, but I shouldn't have to reach to get there and I did. I WISH that I could have seen those parallels stronger, but I think that would have relied on stronger acting by Kylie. And I don't think she's capable of it.

It did have a few other good moments, salienne mentioned a few more in her comment below; it was just the overall cracktastic nature of it was just too much for me. I dunno, maybe if I had watched it in order and not let so much time pass between with expectations (thinking it would be horrible on one hand, thinking I'd wind up absolutley loving it, on the other) I would have enjoyed it more. I dunno.
 
 
 
Marina: billie sparklesjavabreeze on December 21st, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
I've only seen VOTD once but I thought it was a pretty decent episode if you ignore the flying Angels. And yeah, although Kylie makes Astrid really flipping cute at times, I wasn't impressed by her acting and wished they get a better actress for the role and not some big name.

David Tennant looked REALLY, REALLY good in this episode.

Oh, hell yes. This and Tooth and Claw... the man is looking FINE.
Arabian: Billie Piper_04arabian on December 21st, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Word. All around here.
Opal: TSE: reunionshinyopals on December 21st, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
I think the Doctor and Astrid's relationship was *way* too rushed. If it had taken a few episodes, I might have been able to buy it, but it seems to me that they got a bit too "OMG IT'S KYLIE" and wanted to make her be something differently special.

It's not just that the Doctor doesn't do things like that, it's that, for him, VotD was about five minutes after LotTL. If there's a time when I think he's likely to push people away (much like he did with Martha "one trip only") it's after losing the Master like that and then having Jack and Martha up and leave. Especially since Martha's crush nearly caused him to reject Donna.

The way I can just about retcon it is because Astrid reminds me anything from "a little" to "a lot" of Rose. (Although bear in mind it's been a year since I watched it, so my analysis may be a bit off.) Superficially, she's blonde and pretty. Also, she's working a dull, minimum wage type job, pretending to smile and be good at "customer service" and squees like mad when she finally gets a chance to stand on a different world. And her death in particular: she falls from him and then he gets one last chance to see her, but it's not quite real and he *can't* touch her/talk to her.

It's kind of helped by The Stowaway. I don't know how much Murray Gold knows about these things in advance, but taking that song as sung by Astrid about the Doctor, there's "He closed his eyes, all out at sea, I think he danced with her not me". Perhaps reaching a bit, but M-G's Xmas songs have described the Doctor's state of mind pretty well in Song for Ten and Love Don't Roam.

So yes. Admittedly I'm still not a fan of VotD and I think the relationship between the two of them could have been way better written, I can explain it away in my head as the Doctor seeing echoes of Rose in Astrid and perhaps not wanting any more regrets, since he never got to kiss Rose good bye.

As for the angel fly-through-the-ceiling... I admit I tend to forgive him silly scenes like that because they're just so over the top I can't hate them! Also, it was a very pretty scene! XD

(And I will grudgingly admit that Time Crash is, as a one off, rather funny and rather sweet - if you'll accept some of what Ten says to Five as being David Tennant talking, not the Doctor. If you try and take it as canon, like Moffat wanted it to be, it also makes no emotional coming right after LotTL.)

EDIT: OH MY GOD. I've just realised how long this comment is. Erm... yay for lots of free time? XD *Has spent a long time thinking about VotD, if it doesn't show*

Edited at 2008-12-21 09:36 pm (UTC)
Arabian: Dr Who (10)arabian on December 21st, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
I get where you're coming from, and yeah, I could sorta see the Rose parallels, but yeah, coming off of TLotTL was too much. And it just, Kylie Minogue just wasn't strong enough, I think.

This really nails it for me:

I think the Doctor and Astrid's relationship was *way* too rushed. If it had taken a few episodes, I might have been able to buy it, but it seems to me that they got a bit too "OMG IT'S KYLIE" and wanted to make her be something differently special.
(no subject) - shinyopals on December 21st, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 21st, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinyopals on December 21st, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 21st, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on December 22nd, 2008 01:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinyopals on December 22nd, 2008 01:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterfly on December 22nd, 2008 01:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinyopals on December 22nd, 2008 01:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinyopals on December 22nd, 2008 02:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 02:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pluckyyounggirl on December 22nd, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Salienne de Lioncourtsalienne on December 21st, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of far too out of it (sleep deprivation=yick) to put a detailed response to this right now, but let's just say, I disagree. :P I thought the Rose/Astrid parallels were pretty huge, so not only was it meant to remind the viewer, but on some level it reminded the Doctor. Plus, after being left by just about everyone again, he was in a similar *CLING* mode as he was during The Runaway Bride, all of which cumulated to the sudden attachment.

Although I did think it was too much rehashing of every one of RTD's themes, and I always always always crack up at the JamesBondJesus moment. (And the way Allonso doesn't die... and the Doctor doesn't bother to treat him. Okay?)

The moments that really make the episode for me, though, are a) London deserted, b)"I can do anything!", and c) how picking who lives and who dies would make him a monster. Some really great bits, there.
Arabian: David Tennant_01arabian on December 21st, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
I generally share a brain with butterfly when it comes to Who, and I know that she really enjoys this episode and Astrid, and sees much of what you did, but alas I did not. I mean, I could reach and find it, but the parallels weren't big enough for me to overcome the sudden lurve the Doctor had for Astrid (although, I like shinyopals thing above about the Doctor kissing her atoms as kind of because he wasn't able to kiss Rose goodbye). I WISH that I could have seen those parallels stronger, but I think that would have relied on stronger acting by Kylie. And I don't think she's capable of it. Aww, I feel bad saying that because she is adorable and I do like her, but there it is.

I always always always crack up at the JamesBondJesus moment.

Seriously, my eyes rolled back so far for that one. Seriously.

(And the way Allonso doesn't die... and the Doctor doesn't bother to treat him. Okay?)

Not only that, he's shot pretty badly and yet we stop seeing signs of that half-way through and by the end, he's showing no wear and tear at all. WTF?

The moments that really make the episode for me, though, are a) London deserted, b)"I can do anything!", and c) how picking who lives and who dies would make him a monster. Some really great bits, there.

Oh, I agree that that stuff was good. There WAS some good stuff there, just not enough to overcome the cracktasticness of the rest.

Sigh, now off to edit a few points into my post above.

But you can call me Bowie: dr who fiveisiscaughey on December 21st, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
Aww, I love "Time Crash". It's only five minutes, and it is cute! You should watch it.
Arabian: Dr Who (Ten)arabian on December 21st, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
But, but, but ... {whining} it's Moffat!!!. *sigh* I'll get around to it eventually. I will; I will.
(no subject) - isiscaughey on December 21st, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 21st, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lavender gooms: dw: one and the samethe_spin on December 21st, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Voyage of The Damned is quite possibly my least favorite episode of New Who. And not really for any ship-related reason, but because I found it like, offensively boring and shocking trite, even for my beloved schmaltz-loving RTD.


And for God's sake, watch Time Crash RIGHT NOW. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER OMGOMGOMG.
Arabian: Dr Who (10)arabian on December 21st, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
It was pretty bad.

Sorry, I can't stomach a bad Who episode and then Moffat in the same weekend. It's just not possible, my Who-loving heart can only take so much. Maybe next weekend.
(no subject) - the_spin on December 21st, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
real life dropout and online overachiever: the tenth doctorrynne on December 21st, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
I've never thought too much about VotD--didn't love it, didn't hate it. I did see the parallels between Astrid and Rose, but only because I was looking for them, I think; I'm not sure it would have occurred to me that they were supposed to be similar if I hadn't already been in the fandom by the time I watched it.

There was something that irked me in this episode, and the same thing with Time Crash--the fanboying. I understand that David Tennant is a fanboy, and I love that about him--but these are the only two episodes (well, episode and mini-episode) where it come across to me as DT fanboying someone else. In School Reunion I can buy it and think it's sweet because as much as DT fanboys Elisabeth Sladen, I think the Doctor truly would be that happy to see Sarah Jane being so awesome. Here, the Doctor has no reason to fanboy Astrid, so it comes across as DT fanboying Kylie. Even if she reminds him of Rose, I don't think the Doctor would react to her that way.

I am probably one of the few people who don't like Time Crash. I can accept it as a thing for charity, and try to ignore it beyond that. There's just...pretty much nothing there that I can buy into. Even for a Doctor who's desperate to be near other Time Lords again, Ten fanboying Five just doesn't work for me considering in the Classic series, different versions of the Doctor tended to not get along very well. The plot makes no sense to me. The fact that Five is even there makes no sense to me, for a complicated reason that would make this comment way too long if I explained it XD.

Like I said, Time Crash is all right if it's just taken as something fun for charity, but it just WILL NOT WORK if anyone tries to fit it into the actual continuity of the show. Like, you know, the rest of Moffat's stuff. :p

Hah, I just talked more about something you mentioned in one line than the rest of your post. Sorry about that. XD
Arabian: Dr Who (Ten)arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
No, don't apologize, you (in a different way than shinyopals) nailed why I had an issue with it. You're absolutely right. It was so out of character for the Doctor, so instead it just played like Tennant was crushing on Kylie. Ugh.

Yeah, I'm thinking funny lines or not, I won't be a TC fan.
madeelly: darla bleedingmadeelly on December 21st, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with you. I was mostly just bored through the entire episode, though, which was the worst part. I'm rarely ever bored during Doctor Who. And I did think Kylie Minogue's acting was rather awful. And the slow motion thing made me roll my eyes too.

I just think that they could have made a much better special, and that this one was basically, "Look, we've got KYLIE MINOGUE as a cute young-ish waitress!"

I don't think that watching it earlier or in order would have made the experience any better for you. I actually watched series 3 first (before series 1 or 2), and then I watched Voyage of the Damned and I was still bored with it. I don't think I even watched the ending the first time, I was so bored.

My opinion was that this episode was lame. It's really sad to say that, but it's true. I like "Love and Monsters" too, by the way. =]
Arabian: Billie Piper_03arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was a bit bored too. And I'm NEVER bored during Rusty stuff. And, GOD! That slow-mo thing was dreadfully laughable. Just awful.

this one was basically, "Look, we've got KYLIE MINOGUE as a cute young-ish waitress!"

YUP! That's how it came across.

I like "Love and Monsters" too, by the way. =]

Yay, we L&M lovers need to unite!
(no subject) - madeelly on December 22nd, 2008 05:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 11:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - madeelly on December 23rd, 2008 04:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
Diana: *heart* -- the Doctorbutterfly on December 22nd, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Is it wrong of me to be amused that you didn't like it? I think maybe it's because you dislike it so much that my feelings go over into amusement.

Of course, I think that a lot of the reason that it works emotionally for me is because of context, because it's right after LotTL. It's right after both Jack and Martha have walked out on him. Someone sweetly enthusiastic, as Astrid was, has to be something of a relief. But it doesn't bother me that you aren't a fan!

(which... some people say you should run out and watch Moffat's "Time Crash" piece and, well... it's very Moffat. There are funny and cute lines, it doesn't fit with emotional continuity, and, even in a five-minute bit, he manages to squeeze in some sexism -- and if the Doctor's characterization in VotD felt too "David" for you and not enough "Doctor", take that up to eleven for "Time Crash")

Edited at 2008-12-22 12:58 am (UTC)
Arabian: Billie Piper_05arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
Hah, I'm amused that you're amused. Seriously, it was just baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. LOL! Now, not bad like Moffat's episodes are bad, but just bad in a ludicrously, WTF!?Crack you smoking Rusty, bad.
Honestly, I just -- well, it's been explained above by so many others so much better. rynne described it well when she said it was so out-of-character for the Doctor that it came across more like Tennant fanboy-ing Kylie. Yeah, it bugged. And then she said (and now you repeat) that basically TC is DT fanboy-ing Five. Oh, David.

I DID like Astrid; and if they (either Rusty or David's crush on Kylie) hadn't hit me over the head so ridiculously with the Doctor being all 'ooh, I lurve her!' about Astrid, I would have liked this a lot more. Astrid was adorable; and I did think that her excitement over the planet-bouncing was very Rose-like, and there were moments that were Rose-like, but Minogue didn't sell it well enough, Rusty didn't write it well enough, and David acted the crush on Astrid way too much.

Ah well. Hey, at least I watched it! (And now I can read your fic that rewrites VotD.)
(no subject) - butterfly on December 22nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - salienne on December 22nd, 2008 01:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 02:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
alexiscartwheelalexiscartwheel on December 22nd, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think I knew you're so new to Who. (That's not a bad thing, by any means, just an observation. I'm hardly old hat myself. I didn't start seriously watching until last December.) Anyway, I think I've seen VotD all of twice, once last Christmas and again when Skiffy aired it in April. A lot of people think it was awful, so you're definitely in good company, but I don't have strong feelings about it either way. Not the best of we've had from RTD, but I didn't think it was bad enough to be the worst.

I do think it's the weakest of the Christmas specials so far, but it was generally a fun and entertaining episode. I'm always okay with Ten in a tux, Astrid was a cute one-off character, and there were some really good moments. I really like that RTD went back and worked Wilf in after the fact, but made it seem like it meant something all along.

The ultra-dramatic slo-mo thing (wasn't there also fire?) and the flying hosts just amuses me with it's OTT factor. I mean, compared to Tinkerbell-Jesus!Doctor it seems normal! :D I've seen an icon around with animation of that scene that says something about how the Doctor "doesn't play god." I see it as amusing RTD crack.
Arabian: Dr Who (10) - Christmas Invasionarabian on December 22nd, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I do think it's the weakest of the Christmas specials so far, but it was generally a fun and entertaining episode. I'm always okay with Ten in a tux, Astrid was a cute one-off character, and there were some really good moments. I really like that RTD went back and worked Wilf in after the fact, but made it seem like it meant something all along.

I actually do agree with this; my big problem is that I felt the Doctor was a tad OCC in how he was so smitted (that's the word I've been looking for) with Astrid, and, it was kinda boring, not in parts, but overall.
blackcat_1 on December 22nd, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
I didn't like this episode at all, for much the same reasons you cite. I felt like it was a massive anti-climax. As you say, Kylie's acting pales in comparison to the Who regulars, and most of the other guest stars. I felt as though RTD placed too much reliance on her superstar status.

However, I am much more optimistic for this year's special.
eolivet on December 22nd, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Had to go back and find my thoughts about this ep -- I had a good idea what I thought, but just wanted to make sure I remembered.

My main complaint with VotD was that it was just too dark to be a Christmas special. Seriously. There was too much death, and too many likable characters died (and wasn't the widow's death almost like a suicide?) Just extremely, extremely depressing.

I thought Astrid came off as WAY younger than Rose, or at least more immature (Rose always seemed a little more wise in the ways of the world) and I found RTD's killing her off kind of...horror movie-esque. :/ The innocent blonde gets killed at the end? Really?

I did hear from some UK folks on my Friends list that DT lost his mother while filming this. :( Not like RTD would've ever known that when he was writing it, but...maybe that's what made DT give a more weighty performance, and therefore, make the ep seem even sadder. :/
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arabian on December 22nd, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)