Reviews Doctor Who: The Satan Pit

Published on June 12th, 2006 | by Mark Watson

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Satan Pit Review #2

Hey you, you at the BBC, the guy who designed the Ood, the Devil, the Black Hole, the cavern, yeah that’s right YOU!

Where were you? Popped out for a fag during the design stages of Rose, migraine on Fathers Day, did you take a duvet day on the morning of the Jagrafess design meeting?

For Gods sake, someone grab him and tie him to his workstation.

Remember the old feeling of being cheated by accidentally being British? Other sci-fi series had computer generated aliens and we still had men in suits. Other sci-fi series had giant, warp capable, city in space, star-cruisers while we had a wheezy old blue box. Other sci-fi series had planets with lagoons and lakes, triple-suns and teleports while we ran round quarries in Bedfordshire. Sure, we always had a better premise, a face-shifting, omnipotent, Time-Travelling Rebel with a soft spot for ‘stupid apes’, a spaceship with a mind (and heart) of its own and a willingness to toss a few grisly deaths in your Saturday tea-time TV salad but we could never compete with the effects. Until yesterday that is. Whenever you guys at the BBC need to justify a TV license hike just say ‘We are going to spend all the money on Doctor Who’ and I bet you won’t receive a single letter of complaint. Even the gunfire sound effects on The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit were brilliant. Well done.

Please keep it up.

OK, I’m not going to dwell on the Devil, if that is what it was, or any questions the episodes asked of religion, there were many, my favourite being a ‘leap of faith’ because it wasn’t important, hopefully it scared the kids enough for them to leave the room altogether and allow the grown-ups to watch a good old fashioned adult Doctor Who story, I’m sure plenty of under tens had nightmares about ‘that man with the worms in his mouth’ too! The most important part of the two stories was that the Doctor had to question the impetuous nature of his latest regeneration. Whether it was by accident or by design he had to use not only his courage (which we know he has bucket loads of) but caution too. This new Doctor realised that his buttons were being pressed more than ever, stuck at the bottom of the Satan Pit, the TARDIS lost and not knowing if Rose was alive or dead he knew he had to do what he does best, act and act fast. So what did he do, he had another look about, had a bit of a think and sorted it all out. Get in DT your stock is rising! I for one gave a little cheer when he looked up into the homely lights of our treasured little blue box which must have drifted down on the same air cushion as the Doctor, heh heh, I’m sorry folks you won’t get any of my usual griping and nit-picking in this review, ‘Woah’ I exclaimed when Toby tipped a sneaky wink to the pursuing Ood and ‘Go on girl’ when our Rose blasted him out the window.

We had elements of many sci-fi classics but there’s nothing wrong with taking things back to the Blueprint every now and again if it’s justified and above all enjoyable, none of the space station staff had any redeeming or outstanding characteristics in fact, if what the Devil said was to be believed, exactly the opposite. The Doctor liked them because they were curious enough to be there in the first place.

Why does he love us? The now-extinct Gallifreyans were masters of the universe, the custodians of time and space, sterile and scientific they had lost their curiosity and also their resourcefulness. This new Doctor is the ultimate rockabilly rebel, he loves us precisely for the mistakes we make, the careless attitude and the willingness to hurl ourselves into the void just to see if we come out the other side (I know this part of humanity very well, all my male ancestors died within seconds of saying ‘just watch this’ except my great-uncle Bob Hoop, his epitaph reads ‘Loved by many. Missed by few. Shame he sucked when he should have blew.’)

Why can’t it always be like that? Do we really need the comedy, the ‘we are not amused’ jokes? I prefer a bit of tension myself; the last two episodes had me almost wondering if they were going to get out alive for the first time since last series and next week we have Peter Kay.

Ahhh what the heck, know what DT? After those two episodes…

Hula’s got your back.

Doctor Hula Hoop

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