Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cassandra's Back...Literally!

STORY 172 : NEW EARTH

When last we saw the dishonorable Lady Cassandra, she had apparently been obliterated and thus ended the last fully human being.  However, one can never really keep a good villain down.  New Earth not only brings back the first villain created in the NuWho series, but also a remarkably intelligent story that uses science-fiction to ask some serious questions about how shocking and immoral acts can be justified by claiming they are for 'the benefit of humanity'. 

The newly regenerated Doctor (David Tennant) takes his Companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) to the planet called New Earth.  The planet called Earth may have been destroyed in The End of the World, but humans are a resilient species.  They travelled and expanded, and a group of them found a planet similar to their long-lost world and settled there.  This visit to New New York is not a sightseeing tour, though.  The Doctor has been contacted via his psychic paper to pay a call at the hospital just outside New New York.

We find that it is the Face of Boe, whom the Ninth Doctor had met in The End of the World.  He is dying due to old age.  However, the Lady Cassandra (Zoe Wanamaker), who has been hiding out in the hospital basement, recognizes Rose and now wants her revenge, and her body.  She gets her half-life minion Chip (Sean Gallagher) to divert Rose's lift/elevator and bring her to Cassandra.  Rose is shocked to see she is still alive, with her devoted Chip caring for her.  Cassandra suspects the nurses, a cat-like group called the Sisters of Plentitude, are up to something.

So is the Doctor.  In this hospital, illnesses that have no known cure are indeed being cured.  He suspects something is wrong, especially in the Sister's ambivalence as to how they can cure.  Cassandra, meanwhile, takes over Rose's body.  While this causes Cassandras' brain to die, she is soon thrilled to have such a hot body to which to play with.  Attempting her best to pass herself off as THE Rose, she and the Doctor soon discover the hospital's shocking secret.

In what the Sisters call their Intensive Care, there are thousands of living species which have every disease in the known universe.  The Sisters have been using them to provide for their miracle cures, and should one become conscious of his/her existence, they are incinerated.  The Doctor soon threatens to bring down this whole hospital, but he has one other matter to attend to: Lady Cassandra.

Cassandra is determined to use the discovery of this "human experimentation" to gain wealth, but the Sisters refuse to pay her off.  No matter: Cassandra unleashes the patients, not quite understanding that a mere touch from them would give anyone they come in contact with all their diseases.  This allows the Doctor to escape and pursue Cassandra, and soon our villain is jumping around between Rose's body and the Doctor's.  She is so thoughtless that she has no problem abandoning her loyal Chip to the patients, who so yearn to be cured themselves they inadvertently infect all that come in touch with them.

As he is the Doctor, he finds a way to bring healing to all those trapped in Intensive Care.  He also brings down the Sisters, who are arrested for their crimes.  The Face of Boe, almost forgotten in the melee, tells the Doctor that the Great Secret he has to tell him will be revealed in their third and final meeting.  The Doctor tries to convince Cassandra that it is her time to die, but rather than face the uncertainty of death she plops herself into Chip.  While Chip is willing, he cannot sustain her.  Cassandra finally comes to accept that she indeed must now die, and in an act of kindness, takes her/Chip back to Cassandra's past, specifically the last time anyone told her she was beautiful.

"Chip" tells "the Lady Cassandra" that she is truly beautiful, then falls.  The Doctor and Rose leave a distraught Cassandra comforting a dying Chip.

It is here where Russell T Davies both creates a touching scene and a question of logic.  If we go by what we see in New Earth, it is Lady Cassandra who is telling Lady Cassandra that she is beautiful.  Add to that, has Cassandra lived so long that she no longer remembers who told her she was beautiful?  Now, I'll grant you that because it had been literally centuries since Cassandra had so shifted from a full human into a trampoline she might not have remembered this odd-looking fellow dying in her arms, but it is a bit of a stretch (no pun intended) to think she wouldn't, in the back of her mind, suspected that the life-form devoted to "The Mistress" wasn't the same one who told her she was beautiful.

Furthermore, it is a little strange to think that the Doctor would take Cassandra to tell HERSELF what she remembered so fondly. 

Timey-wimey in my view.

Still, given that, on the whole New Earth worked brilliantly on so many levels.  On the first is the actual story itself.  Davies established Cassandra's involvement in New Earth rather quickly, so it becomes an anticipation game to see when the rivals will finally meet (and get a logical explanation as to how she apparently made it out alive after she had literally been stretched beyond what she could endure.      

The fact that the Doctor had regenerated worked in New Earth's favor.  It brought to mind the first story of the Second Doctor's era, the sadly now-lost The Power of the Daleks.  In that story, although the Doctor had changed his physical appearance, the Daleks

New Earth flows very fast, which in this case is both good and bad.  It allows for all the pieces (Cassandra, the hospital, even up to a point the Face of Boe) to all fit in very well.  However, I couldn't help but think than in the classic Who the horror of the patients in the Intensive Care would have been built up more, even allowed for greater interaction between the patients and those who were in the hospital. 

There were great performances in New Earth.  David Tennant in his first full story (one must remember that in The Christmas Invasion he was pretty much out of it for at least the first half of the story) owns the role of the Doctor.  His shifts from almost manically goofy to righteous fury are so fluid that one accepts the Doctor as a fully-realized being, not a character on a program. 

He and Piper had an incredibly difficult task in New Earth.  They not only had to play the Doctor and Rose, but also convince us that the Lady Cassandra was now in possession of their bodies, so now Tennant and Piper have to play two characters.  Both of them pulled it off brilliantly, bringing a great comic style to how vain and selfish Cassandra was.

Equaling them is Gallagher's devoted Chip.  There is something almost endearing and sweet in how loyal he is to this stretched-out being, almost an innocence in his attachment to his mistress.  However, Gallagher's best scenes are at the end, when he not only has to play Lady Cassandra herself but also has to face his/Cassandra's death.  We feel so sad for them that it brings a touch of genuine sorrow in New Earth.

For her part, Wanamaker perfects the vanity and selfishness of the Lady Cassandra while never losing focus on the fact that she is also ridiculously funny.  We also get a chance to see Wanamaker as an actual human, not just her voice.  This ploy is familiar to me, but at the moment I cannot recall in what story I saw it done: a character that had been just a voice was given a full body in another episode/film. 

James Hawes kept everything flowing well, and he got great performances out of his cast.

Where I would fault New Earth is on things that have never appealed to me.  The Face of Boe, who was really one of many characters in The End of the World (is it only now that I note a curious trail in the titles from The End of the World to its sequel called New Earth?) is now being built up as this important, almost iconic being.  I think he was brought back because the prop was so expensive it was best to reuse it.  However, I am not a fan of anything that suggests there will be another tie-in to a future story; hence, when the Face says he will meet the Doctor a third and last time (AND reveal a great secret), I am slightly put off. 

I suppose as an American I didn't quite get the idea that the Sisters had to be cats, and the expression, "Never trust a nun, a nurse, or a cat", may be something British to tie in to why the Sisters were felines.

Finally, while there is a good suggestion that the beings the Sisters created to infect (and draw cures from) were worthy of life itself and thus should be considered human, I don't think there was enough follow-through on just how horrifying and evil the entire plan was.  It has some curious ramifications if beings created but not fully alive were thought of as having rights.

Pro-life advocates, anyone?

I figure Davies did not intend anyone to make those kinds of connections, but it was scratching at my mind's door.

New Earth moved fast, had moments of genuine smiles (not outright laughs) and even moments of tenderness.  It had one asking questions about what is right and wrong about experimenting on other life forms, and gave the leads a chance to expand on their acting range.   It is a good sign of a healthy series.  

8/10

Next Story: Tooth & Claw

Monday, June 18, 2012

One Tomb Many Cybermen

STORY 037: THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN

The Tomb of the Cybermen is the first complete Second Doctor story known to exist, the first story to feature Victoria Waterfield as a full-fledged Companion, and the only complete story with Victoria known to exist.  It is also the first complete Cyberman story, given that their debut story The Tenth Planet and their return in The Moonbase both are incomplete.  The Tomb of the Cybermen however, is not just historic because of those stats.  It is also one of the best Doctor Who stories, and certainly one of the best Second Doctor and Cyberman stories around. 

Immediately following "the final end" of the Daleks in The Evil of The Daleks, The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), his Companion Jamie (Frazer Hines) and the newest Companion, Victoria (Deborah Watling) now arrive on the planet Telos.  They come just as an archaeological expedition is taking place, one that has already cost one of the expedition members his life.  This expedition, headed by Professor Parry (Aubrey Richards), is on Telos looking for the fabled Tomb of the Cybermen.  This race disappeared 500 years ago, with no sight of them.  Here on Telos, Parry suspects we may find their remains.

The Doctor, having already faced off against the Cybermen twice, is highly alarmed at the suggestion that this group will try to find anything related to them, so he quickly gets himself to be the de facto head of the expedition.  He and his Companions come just as the expedition is about to open the fabled tomb.  While the experienced Parry and the forever fretful Viner (Cyril Chaps) are interested in the science and history behind the lost world of the Cybermen, not everyone shares in their passion.  Instead, expedition financier Kaftan (Shirley Cooklin), her assistant Klieg (George Pastell) and her bodyguard Toberman (Roy Stewart) have their own secret agenda.

Once we learn exactly what it is, it is a shocking one.  They intend to find the lost Cybermen and revive them from their slumber so as to use them to conquer Earth!  It is only after Toberman has disabled the rocket ship of Captain Hopper (George Roubicek), forcing the expedition to remain on Telos, that we learn Kaftan and Klieg's nefarious plan.  Of course, things involving the Cybermen will never be as simple and clear-cut.

The Cybermen themselves have created this tomb as a trap, freezing themselves until a civilization intelligent enough to open it came along.  Rather than be the muscle to Kaftan and Klieg, the Cybermen instead plan to 'convert' all the expedition to Cybermen and then use them to conquer Earth.  Now, the Doctor must stop both Kaftan & Klieg and the Cybermen. 

The Tomb of the Cybermen brilliantly echoes the archaeological find of the 20th Century: the discovery of Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb, and in a subconsious manner recycles all those legends of explorers foolish enough to enter forbidden tombs.  However, while co-writers Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis echo many 'lost tomb' stories, they created a brilliant twist: while having the financiers of the expedition try to sabotage the purely scientific endeavours for their own purpose, they find that THEY are the ones being used by the Cybermen.  This raises the stakes for everyone in Tomb, creating an added level of danger and risk since the Doctor now has to fight both the Cybermen and the gruesome twosome of the Brotherhood of Logicians.

One of the best things in Tomb is that Pedler and Davies build on the two previous Cybermen stories, referencing them in the four episodes of the story.  It is beginning a continuity with the Cybermen that I suppose is being echoed in the NuWho stories with their myriad of plots and stories, although we have yet to make the Cybermen the Who icons that they will become.  However, it is smart to illustrate that the Doctor has encountered them before so as to keep things in some order.

In some ways, the characters are all rather stock.  You have the nervous Nelly of Viner, the gruff Captain, the sincere archaeologist, the sinister femme fatale and her smooth-talking accented aide, and the mostly silent muscle.  However, The Tomb of the Cybermen allows for this because it is open (no pun intended) about how this story is about opening a mysterious chamber except that it is in outer space. 

Director Morris Barry never allows any slack in his pacing for Tomb.  In fact, the flow is amazingly fast.  No one really notices that the Doctor is not the actual head of the expedition but he soon is giving out orders.   Barry also should be congratulated in getting each of his actors to make their characters less cliched than the story presents them and give them positive aspects (except perhaps for Kaftan and Klieg who don't have redeeming qualities).  Cooklin just has to give a glance to let us know that she has no interest in history and even though we don't hear her or Klieg state exactly what they are up to, we already know they are up to no good.  Still, when she meets her grisly end, one still feels a slight bit of sadness that she has to be killed off so hideously.

Pastell also makes Klieg very grand in his ambitions, and while there is the danger of being over-the-top (and I'd say that perhaps he was), Pastell is quite great when he sees to his horror that he cannot control the Cyber-Controller and the defrosted Cybermen.  Shaps' Viner is almost comic in how nervous he is, and Roubicek's Captain is his opposite as the confident and bossy leader.

I digres to say that given the wide number of accents (I heard British, vaguely Continental, and even American), The Tomb of the Cybermen does a good thing in making this expedition appear to be a truly international affair. 

Curiously, something that has not been remarked on is that in The Tomb of the Cybermen, the Cybermen are the precursors to the Borg from Star Trek.  In 1967 the Cyber-Controller tells the expedition that "To struggle is futile", long before the Borg Queen tells the Enterprise or the Federation that "Resistance is Futile".   Similarly, the Cybermen's main goal right from their debut in The Tenth Planet is to make the humans exactly like them, to transform them into Cybermen.  One could say that the Cybermen have a plan to "assimilate" all life forms, in particular humans, into Cybermen form.  In future Cybermen stories (in particular the NuWho two-part Rise of the Cybermen) this idea is expanded on.

I cannot say whether the Cybermen were thought of or even known when we first meet the Borg, but it does appear that the former has similar ambitions to the latter...and a good thirty-plus years before. 

Troughton and Hines continue to make a great double act, bringing a zesty humor to their roles.  Whether it is the irritation the Doctor and Jamie express when they discover they are inadvertently holding hands (something which was not scripted) or in how Jamie dismisses the Doctor's bad pun of how the Cybermen had a "complete metal breakdown", their interplay shows that both the actors and the characters had a great deal of trust in and with each other.  Jamie McCrimmon also puts to rest the idea that the Doctor's best Companions are always female.

The Doctor's newest Companion does well in her debut.  Watling's Victoria is still trying to find her way among the double act of The Doctor & Jamie, and her hesitancy at first gives way to a solid determination to not run from danger (most of the time).

The Tomb of the Cybermen does have some flaws.  The big one technically is in Episode Three when Toberman is lifted by the Cyber-Controller.  The harness holding Stewart up is so obvious that it does become distracting and takes you slightly out of the story.  I wonder if it was a good idea to leave this in when some simple work with today's digitizing could have removed it. 

Another flaw is with the Cybermats: these rat-like things that can scurry around when and where the large Cybermen cannot..  I cannot shake the idea that they were created as a potential for a toy line, and they are more cute than menacing.  I figure there have to be people who love the Cybermats, but just like I didn't think much of them in Closing Time, I didn't think much of them in The Tomb of the Cybermen

Finally, Tomb cannot escape the casual sexism of the times.  No matter how often Kaftan and Victoria ask, all the men (especially the Doctor) insist that they are to remain behind.  One simply cannot imagine NuWho Companions from Rose to Martha to Donna to Amy or even that slut River Song obeying the men's wish to "keep out of danger".  Times have changed, and for the better, but watching The Tomb of the Cybermen with 21st Century/NuWho eyes, this thing of keeping the girls out of it does date the story. 

On the whole however, The Tomb of the Cybermen is a fast-paced thrilling story with great performances that tell a great story.  It is the first masterpiece of the Second Doctor's era, and it is so good to have it still with us, thanks to that outpost Hong Kong. 

Assimilation never looked so good.

Sadly, the next few stories are in tatters thanks to the BBC.  Stories 38-43 (The Abominable Snowmen, The Ice Warriors, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear, Fury From the Deep, and The Wheel in Space) are all incomplete, with Fury From the Deep having no complete episodes in existence.  The closest that one can come to filling in the gaps is to animate the missing episodes of The Ice Warriors in order to have the complete story again (an option that is highly possible given the success of The Invasion which was likewise restored via animation).  Within the missing stories are the farewell appearance of Victoria and the debut story of Companion Zoe Heriot.  It isn't until we get a new Companion that we get another complete Second Doctor story in The Dominators, but at least after that we have a solid run of complete Second Doctor stories, with only the restored The Invasion and The Space Pirates having missing episodes. 

As always I will still review the surviving episodes and try to get a handle on how good or bad the stories are.     

10/10


Next Story: The Abominable Snowmen

Monday, June 11, 2012

Christmas Crackers

STORY 171: THE CHRISTMAS INVASION

The Doctor has regenerated, and things are not going well (regenerations never ever go well, do they?).  Given that, this is absolutely the WORST time to have Earth invaded.  Think what it will do the Winter Solstice sales?  The Christmas Invasion is the debut story for David Tennant, and thus we do begin a new era for Doctor Who.  I can't say that it is particularly memorable, but it isn't awful either.

Before we get to the actual story, we have a mini-episode tying in Bad Wolf Parts 1 & 2 and The Christmas Invasion.  It was a segment on the Children In Need special.  Here,  the Doctor (Tennant) has just regenerated to a shocked Companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper).  He is at first thrilled at his new appearance and oblivious to how Rose would take it.  She doesn't believe the Doctor is the Doctor at first, but he soon convinces her.  Rather than take her to the planet Barcelona, he's taking her to the Powell Estates, her home, for Christmas.  However, his regeneration comes with complications.

Now we get to the story proper.  The Doctor is coming in and out of consciousness as we crash into London.  The sudden arrival of Rose thrills her mother Jackie (Camille Coduri) and her erstwhile boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke).  With nowhere else to go, he is forced to recover in the Tyler's flat.  We find that Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton), formerly a backbencher MP in Aliens of London Parts 1 & 2, is now Prime Minister (as the Doctor said she'd be).  She is excited to be launching the space probe Guinevere One, which quickly gets sucked into a large asteroid.  Or is it?

Rose tries to get into the Winter Solstice Spirit, but a group of Santa Clauses (Santa Cli?) come upon them, and rather than spread Christmas cheer, they spread bullets.  Even worse, the Tyler Christmas Tree goes mad and attacks them. 

Yes, you read right, all the while playing Jingle Bells in a hyper speed manner. 

The Doctor comes around just in time to save them, and now he suspects an alien force at work.  With that, he slips back into unconsciousness.  On this Winter Solstice Day, all of Britain is excited by the newest images coming from Guinevere One, but Daniel Llewellyn (Daniel Evans), the Guinevere Project Manager, seems highly nervous about the momentary loss of contact at the press conference. 

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled Mars landing with a special bulletin: aliens are broadcasting threats against us, and on Christmas Day no less.  Panic at the highest levels creates a mad rush to the Tower of London, where an emergency meeting of UNIT (formerly the United Nations International Taskforce, now the UNified International Taskforce) is taking place.  Prime Minister Jones, along with her right-hand man Alex (Adam Garcia), are keeping the true nature of the alien threat secret.

There's an alien ship a'comin'.  They don't look too friendly.  Major Blake (Chu Omambala) of UNIT is highly reluctant to get Torchwood involved in all this.  Wait, what's this?  What's Torchwood (besides an anagram of Doctor Who)?   That's not too important right now.  Bigger fish to fry and all.

We now learn the alien's plan: the Sycorax now demand the Earth's surrender.  Of course, the reply is a no.  When learning that, the Sycorax release something that makes a third of the world's population start walking almost as in a trace where they head on up to the highest building they can find and going right up to the edge.   The common thread: all affected are A positive blood type. 

With no way to stop it, Prime Minister Jones is forced to go on television to address the world, and plea for the Doctor to contact them.  No time to wait: the Sycorax spaceship comes to London.  Major Blake, Llewellyn, Adam, and the PM are transported to the alien ship while the Tylers and Mickey head to the TARDIS with a still-out Doctor.  The terms are presented: surrender or the humans will be made to jump, and when they do surrender, half the world will be sold into slavery.  The Sycorax discover the TARDIS, and take it aboard as well, along with Rose and Mickey.

Tea that Mickey accidentally drops does what nothing in the universe could do: revive the Doctor.  A typically British response to all emergencies: put the kettle on.  The Doctor and the Sycorax agree to a duel for the planet.  At one point the Sycorax Leader (Sean Gilder) literally unhands the Doctor, but lucky for us: it's still within 15 hours of his regeneration, so he is able to grow another.  The Doctor defeats him and spares him in exchange for leaving the planet forever.

We could have had a happy ending, but alas, we couldn't leave it alone now, could we?  Once the Sycorax ship departs, Prime Minister Jones orders it destroyed via Torchwood.  This infuriates the Doctor, and he takes his revenge with six words: "Don't you think she looks tired?", thus bringing down the Thatcher...I mean Jones...government.

Still, it IS Christmas, which means a party and a new wardrobe for the Doctor.  This Christmas brings what we first think is snow, but it really is ash from the destroyed spaceship.  The Doctor will continue to travel, and Rose will continue to go with him, and Jackie and Mickey still disapprove.

All things being equal, nothing changes.

Russell T Davies' script has to have those little winks to the audience he so loves in The Christmas Invasion.  For example, when Jackie sees the Ninth Doctor for the first time, she asks, "The Doctor.  Doctor Who?" (Curiously, this is the First Question the Silence knows must not be asked, but surprisingly enough, it doesn't appear to bother them here.  Curious, that...).  A bit later, when told he has two hearts, Jackie asks, "Anything else he has two of?", a remarkably risque question for a children's program, or at least one that is meant to be family-oriented.  Even more bizarre is the Doctor's declaration that he wanted to be 'ginger' and disappointment that he wasn't.  While he meant it to mean that he have reddish hair, ginger could in British slang also mean 'homosexual'.

I mention this because Davies is openly gay, but in terms of his writing it is a curiosity that he is equally open about using terms that could be misconstrued.  In Aliens of London Part 1 Rose mocked the Doctor by saying that he was "so gay", and now we have the Doctor possibly wishing he were a homosexual.  I don't know what Davies' intentions were: whether it was a conscious decision to cast the Doctor as gay or just an innocent coincidence.  I condemned him for using 'gay' as a pejorative in Aliens of London, but in this case, I'm going to disagree with those who are probably making too much of the term 'ginger'.       

I imagine that Davies doesn't expect us to take this seriously, not with lines like, "I'm going to be killed by a Christmas Tree" being bandied about.  It also doesn't help to see Prime Minister Jones continue her schtick of flashing her identity card and introducing herself as "Harriet Jones, Prime Minister".  The usual response from everyone is a variation of "I know who you are".  Even the Sycorax leader says that.  Those little bits of comedy wear thin fast.  We're suppose to take our Prime Ministers more seriously than that, and given how often she does this we stop thinking it's funny very quickly. 

Davies also takes his typically left-wing jabs at both Tony Blair and George W. Bush when Prime Minister Jones informs Major Blake that the American President is, "not my boss and he's certainly not turning this into a war".  Wonder whatever he/she was referring to...

The biggest issue in The Christmas Invasion is the surrounding of a cloak of mythology over Torchwood.  Is it a new superweapon?  Is it a special organization meant to cover extraterrestrial issues sans Doctor?  Is it a potential Doctor Who spin-off that will take on a life and hard-core fanbase of its own to where its origins in Doctor Who are almost forgotten?  Is it all three and so much more?

I digress to say that not being a Torchwood fan or even ever having an interest in watching Torchwood, having it mentioned in The Christmas Invasion doesn't make me giddy with excitement. 

In fact, that may be why The Christmas Invasion is neither a great Doctor Who episode or a lousy Doctor Who episode.   The Christmas Invasion is suppose to be less menacing and dark because it is suppose to be something for the holiday.  This might explain why the Sycorax are not a particularly menacing threat or why we need certain Deus Ex Machinas (the regrowing hand, the Doctor reviving just in time to stop the killer Christmas Tree) to get out of situations.

James Hawes to his credit kept things flowing both quickly and easily, moving from the action in the Tyler flat to the Tower and the Sycorax ship without it appearing forced or jumping without rhyme or reason.  He also drew great performances from his cast.  Chief among them is Tennant as the Tenth Doctor (Ten-nant, Tenth, wonder if there's a connection...).  He plays the Doctor with full authority, his Doctor being a man who can be both forceful and jolly in equal measure.

Piper continues to improve on her Rose (although when she thinks the Doctor is dead, her crying jags made me chuckle slightly more than feel sadness).  It is nice to see Coduri more tender towards the Doctor than she has been before (even if it was only brief) and equally nice to see Clarke's Mickey be less of an idiot (although he still is frustrated at having to play second fiddle to the Doctor).  Wilton is a great actress (Downton Abbey and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel showing us thus), and I'd forgotten that she was even in Doctor Who.  I don't know if we HAD to have Harriet Jones back.  It brings back memories of the early years of Doctor Who when they tried to establish certain characters that would appear again and again.  Would it have worked any better if a new PM had come?  I think so.

I also do note the work of Omambala as the strict UNIT Major and Garcia as the efficient aide Alex, bringing a seriousness and even humor in the story.

As I see it, The Christmas Invasion doesn't have a lightness that a Christmas episode would lend itself to, nor is it a dark story that will be too frightening.  However, I don't think it's particularly brilliant or memorable nor is it atrocious.  It's just OK, a bit like Christmas treats: not bad but not long-lasting.

6/10

Next Story: New Earth