Saturday, 19 June 2010

Last Minute Lodger!

What the hell was this picture all about?

Hello folks,

As I write this The Pandorica is due to open in about three hours time so getting down this review is a tactic to stop myself from just flitting about the house in an excitable haze. I say review, but it will be more like a selection of thoughts that arose during the recording of the now lost podcast episode. As you all should know by now there won't be an episode this week due to unfortunate technical problems, but I offered to write this, so that you'd at least have our general reaction to it.

Using the patented Eleventh Hour Two Tier Rating System (tm) we both decided that we liked 'The Lodger'. However, if the system were to accommodate an additional middle tier vocalized by Chris as 'fleeeeurgh', then I think we agreed that Gareth Roberts' latest effort would be fully in 'fleeeeurgh' territory.

The central plot, what the episode was really "about", as it were; was pretty effective and well done: The Doctor has to live as an actual human, uniquely apart from important people and events, for an unusually lengthy amount of time. This is the main concept, if you didn't know, lifted from Roberts' 2006 comic strip of the same name, as featured in Doctor Who Magazine. If, indeed, this episode felt most like a holdover from the Rusty era then this would be why, although both Chris and I were of the opinion that Matt Smith was more successfully weird and alien in the role than Tennant would ever have been. People have pointed out that the Doctor (especially in his third incarnation) spent a lot of time on Earth but as I pointed out he never had to sit around in someone's living room eating Murray Mints and watching Timeslip. So the Doctor getting the intricacies of human interaction just slightly wrong was mostly a joy to watch.

However, it seems the rest of the plot bolted on by old Gareth (some have forgiven him for this episode, but I still can't forget The Shakespeare Code) was somewhat less enjoyed by us at EH? Towers. In particular, the denouement seemed critically short of decent explanation. I don't mind not knowing how the ship got there or how long it was there for. But the actual details of the perception filter - and are some of us ever tired of hearing that term, seemed a bit sloppy. How could one go up non-existent stairs? How did it extend as far as the intercom? Also, did the ship have some kind of crazy self-destruct sequence that only activated when people didn't want to leave? Doesn't sound like a particularly good design feature. I also wondered how dead bodies could produce a poisonous rot, even if that rot could be cured almost instantaneously with tea, the apparent Phoenix Down of the Whoniverse. The trouble is that it forced us to make up theories to explain stuff that the writing didn't cover, which is never any fun.

Speaking of people not wanting to leave the developing romance between Craig and Sophie, although not written in a hugely original fashion, was played out quite nicely, even if Chris found James Corden rather more anonymous than most fans. True, his appearance had been hyped up quite a lot, when it wasn't a huge amount more than decent. And again, the end of this particular strand was faintly ridiculous - as mawkish as Professor Bracewell's defusing in 'Victory of the Daleks', and just as unsatisfying.

I think when recording we were a bit meaner to 'The Lodger' then we initially thought we were going to be, but in truth it was just quite an average, though mostly fun, adventure. Perhaps in Rusty times it would have been a good solid above-average episode, but in what has been quite a remarkable series it just sort of just kept things chugging along in the slightly poisoned chalice nature of episode 11 (before we got Utopia or Turn Left). It was funny, yes, but low on particularly gripping plot. But we've got next week's episode (by which I mean it's on in a few hours) for oodles of plot, and we're definitely jizzing ourselves inside-out waiting for that. Let's just hope it isn't actually Russell T. Davies inside The Pandorica, ready to take over the series again, without Moffat's knowledge. That really would be scary...

Finally, though: SURPRISE!

It's an episode! Right when we said there wouldn't be one. It's just five minutes long, introducing the voicemails we would have included in the great lost episode. For those who emailed, our apologies for not getting to you.


Kevin gives us his CRACKWATCH
MB gets confused
Ros gets excited
Tosus gets ahead of himself.

LISTEN TO "THE LODGER" (emergency voicemail only version)

We'll see you again quite soon, when the Pandorica opens.

Image from Sonic Biro

And, for what it's worth, have the one-track SPOTIFY PLAYLIST


Catbrain said...

That picture on the wall is Nick Cave in 10 years.

mb said...

HA! you studmuffins. Thanks for playing the voicemails after all!

Listening made me wish I had actually done a little more research in MY 3 years of podcasting next to an artificial voice and used different (and better) ones - in particular, the ones YOU used (they were quite good). They're probably stock on many non-macs (i.e. easily found for anyone bothering to look)? right? or....where'd they come from?

Horatio Outside said...

Catbrain - I totally made the Nick Cave comparison on the lost recording. I also forgot to mention your use of the term 'mind nutting', which amused us greatly.

I'm sorry, I'm finding it difficult to talk about The Lodger now that The Psndorica has opened (and how!)

Catbrain said...

Can we talk about that now, or do we have to wait until you've got the podcast up for it?

Maybe I should just head over to the SSDWFFCP and have a blurt there. Many thoughts and questions (mostly kooky, probably)... or just send a long-winded comment / email.

Chris JC said...

We've never really though of having episode reaction threads before, not least because we're still getting used to the idea that people are listening and might want to chat to us about the episode. The Super Cool Forum is certainly an option.

Would episode reactions be a popular idea? A bit late for this series, perhaps, but it's an idea for the future.

Chris JC said...

MB, there's a big chat on he last few posts on our Hungry Earth episode that discusses the Rvoice speech synthesizer and its use on Xtranormal - a site where people can make their own basic computer animated videos.

The actual speech synthesizers aren't being run on this computer, the company who run Xtranormal (presumably) licence the speech synth for their videos, and now that the Rhetorical voice demo is long gone from the internet then the easiest way to use these voices in a production is to make a video and then just nick the audio off it. I haven't tested it with any of the American accented ones, but there's some amazing AT&T ones - you can hear one from about nine seconds into this Cue the Film episode from 2008.

As for your experience with artificial voices, I loved that Mac was such a basic recognisable voice, it added immensely to his character and made vocoding him that time very funny.

Do you have any plans to remain in the podcast arena, guy?

mb said...

Thanks for the info on the speech synthesizers, I will have to check that out. AND thanks very much for the compliment :)

As far as further podcasting - I think for now I'm content to pester the EH podcast and maybe a few others. I do like podcasting a lot, but the production damn near kills me (I just have no time - or at least feels like it). It would be fun to be part of a podcast at some point where I wasn't doing all the production though (maybe sharing the load to something - TWSS? does that work?). Maybe next year or something.

Jennie said...


Sorry, just felt like saying that.

Catbrain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catbrain said...

Speaking of which, have some crack.

Chris JC said...

We got the email alerts for that: you REALLY tried to push that crack, Catbrain!

Catbrain said...

What are you talking about? I have no memory of pushing anything.

Chris JC said...

Apologies - I get comment alerts from the blog but for some reason today a glitch has doubled the alerts so your two posts for that link (one deleted) was sent to me as four attempts, hence my comment which now looks silly.


Catbrain said...

And my lame attempt at an in-joke just flew by...

Deleted post
No memory

Let's not ever speak of it again... until we're rigorously deconstructing the finale.



Horatio Outside said...

Don't worry, Catters, I got that joke. Like your crack moustache as well.

Flippin' podcast is (hopefully) being edited as we speak.

Chris JC said...

I nearly did go for that joke but i wasn't sure and was also worried we'd overdone it a bit (LOST fans will remember loads of jokes about nosebleeds a couple of years back).

The Flippin' Podcast is in bits on our EH Supercomputer in the process of being stuck together. sorry about the delay.