April 28, 2008By Joe Diliberto Posted: Apr 28, 2008
Friday is SF/fantasy night. I just wish I got home in time to see GHOST WHISPERER one of these weeks. Nevertheless, I did see some good stuff.
DOCTOR WHO: Hey, look, it's Rose! The new season premiere wrapped up with a shout-out to the past, as Billie Piper reprised her fan-favorite role as former companion Rose in a crowd scene. I was ecstatic, but why did Rose look so sad? And why did she disappear into thin air right before our eyes? Well, keeping in mind that Rose works for Torchwood in her alternate reality, I'm theorizing that she may have bridged the gap between dimensions by using alien technology that came through her version of the Rift. We shall see…. The fourth season premiere, "Partners in Crime," was really about the Doctor's new companion, Donna Noble (previously seen in "The Runaway Bride"). This time, Donna was noticeably less annoying, even though she is clearly more abrasive than any companion since Tegan (who traveled with the Fourth and Fifth incarnations of the Doctor. I'm not saying annoying — that prize goes to Mel, of course). This softening is welcome, because no one wants another Adric (who coincidentally also traveled with the Fourth and Fifth Doctors). No, in this case, Donna was played for broad comedy — which is probably fitting, since she's portrayed by comedienne Catherine Tate. When Donna and the Doctor got into that hilarious pantomime exchange, I was ROTFLMAO. There was little funny, however, about Donna's mother, who is yet another maternal harridan. I'm no doctor, but I wonder if somebody on the writing staff has mommy issues; Rose and Martha also had oil/water relationships with their mothers (at least at first). However, this was somewhat balanced out by Donna's grandfather (whom sharp-eyed viewers will recall from the London newsstand during last week's "Voyage of the Damned").
The story itself was lightweight — pun intended — revolving as it did around a weight-loss pill that secretly implanted alien embryos inside human hosts; the creatures (called Adipose) then become living fat — tiny, blocky creatures that smile and coo. I was a bit disappointed that the story (the Doctor and Donna independently investigating the same operation, too closely resembled season two's "School Reunion," and I prefer the Doctor to be more proactive. Also, the plot too closely resembled the pilot of the WHO spin-off THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES (in which a creature called Bane tricked people into drinking orange soda laced with alien DNA.) Who else thinks the Doctor will sorely regret tossing Ms. Foster's sonic pen into a trash bin? It was pointed out to me by a friend that the megacute Adipose are ready-made for mass-marketing, and I have to agree. Who wouldn't want a plush toy modeled after living fat? Cutest. Monsters. Ever. (I think they edge out STAR TREK's Tribbles because Adipose — kinda sorta — have faces.) Next up for the Doctor and Donna: Pompeii in A.D. 79: Volcano day!
Next up for me, however, was BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. This episode opened with a touching memorial for Cally, whom Tory "spaced" last week. While it was interesting to see details of a religious ceremony, I wondered how anyone knew Cally was dead. Since she was blown out of an airlock there obviously was no body, and Tory presumably took care of any security video in order to cover up her own involvement. I decided that a patrol Raptor must have spotted Cally's corpse — or maybe it collided with another ship in the fleet. (You thought it was messy when a big mosquito hits your windshield!) Speaking of Raptors, Chief Tyrol frakked up by forgetting to replace a capacitor, almost killing Racetrack and Skulls (who managed to walk away from one helluva Raptor crash). Too often SF shows forget that spacecraft are supposed to be working vehicles that need regular maintenance! Later, Galen melted down over his wife's death. "I got stuck with the best of limited options," he railed, by way of explaining his marriage. He lamented that Boomer turned out to be a Cylon. A Cylon that Cally killed. Yes, that was the "Anvil of Irony" dropping on the scene. On the plus side, remembering the chief's crush on Sharon signals that this show does not forget the myriad minutiae of its history.
Keeping up with the religious theme, Baltar continued slouching toward apotheosis. He is obviously starting to buy into this messiah nonsense, allowing Six to use it to manipulate him. "The time has come to make a stand," he said, just before bursting in on a religious ceremony to denounce Zeus as "a serial rapist" (well, he is — just ask Leda!). The dark side of zealotry was also seen in The Sons of Ares, a self-righteous militia. Concerned about escalating violence, President Roslin tried to pass laws aimed at Baltar's sect, but the Quorum balked at religious oppression in the polytheistic fleet. I had to crack up when Baltar advised his followers to "Love yourself." Is there anyone, anywhere, who loves himself more than Gaius Baltar? "You are perfect, just as you are," he declared to his flock. Sounds like he's founding the Church of Billy Joel.
The idea of perfection is one Tory can definitely get behind. "We were made to be perfect," she exulted. As Tory revels in her new identity, actress Rekha Sharma has been vamped up (not that that took much work). Tory tried to show Baltar how pain can become pleasure (but he wasn't really buying). Meanwhile, Col. Tigh wondered if Six could turn off her emotions, so she beat the frak out of him to teach him how to turn off pain. (He called her a "frakkin' freak machine." LOL).
As far as I was concerned, however, the big revelation came when Six was picking up Baltar during the sequence when the soldier was beating him: He looked like a marionette hanging from tangled strings, suggesting he was being physically lifted by an invisible force. This must mean that the Six he sees in his head is much more than just a vision — she can affect the physical world. (So, all those times when Baltar had sex with Six in his mind, was his body also…um, having sex with Six?)
See you on the next Night Shift...