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Love And Monsters!!
Gaspode Chats Up The Director Of Tonight’s DOCTOR WHO!!

I am – Hercules!! Gaspode, the man who loves “Who,” checks in with the director of tonight’s “Love and Monsters”! Dan Zeff: Directing ‘Love and Monsters’ [In every season of Doctor Who, there always seems to be one episode that the fans either love or despise, with very little middle ground in-between. For season two, that seems to be episode ten, ‘Love and Monsters,’ an off-format story in which the Doctor and Rose actually take a back seat for most of the episode. Although that was largely due to the fact that it was being shot at the same time as ‘The Impossible Planet’ and ‘The Satan Pit,’ requiring producer Russell T. Davies to pen a script that was Tennant and Piper-lite, the episode also allowed Davies to seemingly make a few not-so-veiled comments about the nature of fandom in general. This interview with director Dan Zeff is fairly spoiler-heavy, so you might want to come back to it if you haven’t seen the episode yet, but I suspect there will be a very spirited talk-back to follow…] How do you feel ‘Love and Monsters’ turned out? Dan Zeff: I’m really pleased with it. It’s had some really good previews and it seems to have struck a nerve. I think it’s quite an unusual episode, but for me, that’s a lot of the attraction of it. I was very pleased with it, and the whole ending with the work that the sound guys put in and the composer as well; I think he did a lovely score for us that had quite a lovely dark fairy tale feel to it. I was very pleased with the very ending of it, and Russell [Davies] and Julie [Gardner, the executive producers] came to the final dub, and they were delighted with it, so it definitely ended on a high. Is it strange how an episode of Doctor Who can get so much attention for a director nowadays? Zeff: It is interesting, because on the other hand, I came in doing short films and also I’ve worked in film and done a couple of screenplays. In the film world, it seems that the directors are often overly hyped, so everyone knows who directed a film, but often no one knows who wrote it, but in television, it’s the other way around. In some ways, the balance is slightly better, because the scripts and Russell’s writing on Doctor Who are obviously very crucial, and this episode is one of his scripts, which is one of the reasons I was I attracted to it. You came into this series a bit late, didn’t you? Zeff: It was really fortuitous actually; I’d worked with [producers] Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner before and I’ve always wanted to work with them again. Phil actually rang me when he was first doing Doctor Who and I was involved in a series for Steve Coogan’s company with Johnny Vegas, which was taking up a lot of my time, so the timing with Doctor Who just wasn’t right at all. And then this episode came along and I really don’t know what the background was, but it was brilliant to be involved. I was very frazzled at the beginning, because I was still finishing off Ideal while starting on Doctor Who so it was all a bit crazy, but I was desperate to do it when the opportunity came up and the fact that it was one episode was lovely for me, because I was able to really focus on it. As I say, it’s quite an unusual little piece, but something I’m really proud of. Hadn’t you worked with David Tennant before? Zeff: That was the other real attraction to it, and they’re very keen to get me to do more and I would love to, but I’m keeping it open at the moment, because I’ve been away from London a lot and I’ve got very small children and I can’t run off straightaway. But yes, David was a real attraction. I did a short film with him, I think possibly it was his first film that played at film festivals and he had just come from doing Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre and he was lovely in it. It’s a mad little film; he plays a guy who is trying to split up with his girlfriend and is so awkward about it and desperate not to hurt her feelings that she misunderstands and thinks he’s proposing to her and it escalates very quickly in ten minutes, with everything getting out of hand, the parents coming around, and he’s caught in this situation, so it’s a comedy, but it’s quite a touching comedy, so it was lovely to renew that relationship. It’s a bit ironic that he only appears in a few scenes of your episode. Zeff: I know! It was really nice the days he did come in, which was the reason he said, ‘You’ve got to come back and do more!’ because I genuinely get on very well with him. I think what’s lovely about this episode is although the Doctor is not in it an awful lot, his presence is absolutely blueprinted across the episode, so I hope you don’t miss him but when he finally turns up, it’s like the cavalry arriving. There’s something very powerful about his final arrival, but I think I’ve got such a marvelous supporting cast. Marc Warren and Shirley Henderson really carry the emotion of the piece and Peter Kay is a superb villain. Marc’s character is the one that we empathize with, and that we experience the story through. I think he’s so empathetic that hopefully as a viewer you love the Elton character. He’s not too geeky and not too cool; he’s somewhere in-between, but he’s very lovable and really carries you through it, so when the Doctor finally turns up, he’s a very significant character to Elton and you really feel the shadow that he casts over the episode. What was the tone that Russell was going for in the episode? Zeff: He’s very clear about what he wants, and I think his scripts are lovely to read, because you get a real sense of the tone, which was important because it’s quite a funny script that has a lot of comedy in it, but it’s also very touching and moving. I think the most important thing I got from him, and it’s very much the way I would want to approach it anyway, was that things mustn’t be too pushed, that we weren’t trying to force the comedy, but equally we weren’t trying to push the emotion in a heavy way, so there’s a certain naturalism to it. Although this is the world of Doctor Who, so there’s a real pace and energy to the episode, there’s also a real sense of reality. As an example, with Elton’s little dance to ELO, it was so important that we weren’t laughing at him. That could have been so many different things with him looking geeky or stupid dancing, it could have been him posing, but what I hope you get from watching it is quite a warm feeling, because it’s quite natural. He and he does look a bit silly, but in the way that we’d all look a bit silly if somebody was watching us when we didn’t think anybody was looking at us dancing to the music, so there’s a sort of innocence to it. I suppose there’s a very delicate tone to the episode, so that was one thing. The other thing that I really picked up on was that you wanted things to feel quite empty. You didn’t want lots of extras around when we were shooting outside, so when we shot in the park for example, we went to what looked like quite a real London park but looked very empty so the people felt like these little pinpricks of warmth that needed to huddle together. They’re adrift in a world that’s a little bit deserted, so there’s a real sense of urban alienation, for want of a better word. The feeling I had in my head was that this was a place that was once busy and really lived-in and energized, but for some reason, everyone had left as though there had been a plague or an attack of bird flu and everyone had left the city, so you had all these streets and spaces that felt quite familiar but quite cold and cast a shadow and this slightly dark fairy tale feel over everything. But yes, it’s hard to pick out exactly what came from Russell, but certainly that was a major part of it and just the fact that he didn’t ever want the comedy to be forced or overplayed. I think there are certain episodes where the art department can really go to town and have a lot of fun, and I think there was room to have a lot of fun in this episode, so there are a lot of lovely touches in there and I think everyone put quite a lot into it, but it also had a more naturalistic flavor, and that was key really, to get the Doctor Who-ness of it, but we’re not suddenly in some soap opera. We had to keep it believable, so Elton’s attic room for example when he’s talking to camera, that felt kind of real, and with the flashbacks, we weren’t suddenly doing a wild, mad 1970s kind of thing, but just that it felt really genuine, that is a four year-old child who did grow up in the seventies so obviously it had to have a period feel, but it was just little touches, little bits of the toys around and stuff like that, that were just hopefully there to give you an emotional flavor of what was going on rather than it being some kind of design fest. How complicated was the casting process? Zeff: It’s a dream cast. You often work on things where you don’t get your first, second or even third choices. You generally end up with people you’re very happy to have, but casting can be quite a stressful period, although I’ve got to say, this wasn’t at all. That’s part of the testament to the show, and also just how powerful Doctor Who is, but equally the job that Russell and Julie and everyone has done so far that people are so keen to work on it, and it was a lovely script to send out, so you’re confident that you can send it out and that if people read it, they would love it. I was particularly pleased about Shirley, because on paper it’s not such a big part, and were she kind of actress that counted lines, it might not have attracted her, but I talked to her about it and she loved the part and she loved the script. There was a really delicate quality to the script and the nature of the relationship between her character and Elton’s that was beautifully understated and that really attracted her, and I think that’s a real credit to her, because I think she is one of the best actresses of her generation around. I was so delighted to have her on it, and she was absolutely my first choice. It was almost like, ‘Let’s ask Shirley Henderson, but we probably won’t get her,’ so to have her come back and say yes was a dream. I think Elton was a wonderful part, and it was great that Marc Warren was willing to do it and was available as well, because he’s so busy at the moment, but I’ve admired him for a long time and in particular, he did a part in State of Play that was very funny but a very original, special performance and I think Marc is very talented. He can do a lot of different things, and I think he makes it feel almost like Elton is completely natural. People would feel that it’s him, whereas I can see how he crafted that kind of innocence, so he really worked on that, so it was great to get him. What about Peter Kay? Zeff: Again, that’s one of the lovely things about this. They rang me and I had a conversation with Phil and Russell about it. They said they were thinking about it, and I think Russell had been in touch with Peter after the first series anyway and said how much he liked it, and obviously it had been an idea they were very keen on, so it was an idea that I was listened to and given a veto as I was with all the other casting. They spoke to me before they offered it to Peter and I had never worked with him, but I was certainly very happy about it, and having worked with Johnny Vegas for a while, I wasn’t scared off by comedians. I know they can be absolutely brilliant on screen and you can often capture something quite natural because they’re so actorly. We had quite a few standup comedians on Ideal, and the discipline on set is slightly different, but you do get moments of magic through that unfamiliarity. Obviously Peter has done a lot, so he’s not unfamiliar with the camera, but he would come up with different things that were quite different in different takes and that can be really attractive sometimes for a director, those little moments of inspiration, because they’re so used to thinking on their feet. But this is a very different performance for Peter. Zeff: I agree, and I was really worried, because the biggest thing for me I did not want it to feel like it was Peter Kay in a costume playing a pantomime character, because everything depended so much on the realism of the episode. We had set up these lovely relationships with this little group and they all had their vulnerabilities, and the script itself was so textured and obviously with this underlying sense that it’s all about Elton losing his mother, so that was the underlying emotion, and equally the relationship between him and Ursula had to be played completely straight and that could only work if the monster had a genuine sense of menace, and Victor as well. You had to believe that he could be evil, because he was quite larger than life, and I gave him that ridiculous opening coming down in the lift and appearing in silhouette, so that was a lot of fun, but equally, you had to believe that they would go along with him, so if he played it as camp evil, you wouldn’t believe it, so we had a small conversation about that, and he was keen to do that as well because it was something different for him. While he wanted it to be funny and obviously bring his qualities to it, which I did as well. He was completely keen to make it credible as much as a green absorbing creature can be credible. Was it difficult, trying to create a balance between comedy and scares? Zeff: The whole dark fairy tale thing was what we were going for as a tone, but there’s something quite soulfully moving about him, especially now with Murray’s mournful score added to it. It’s a very haunting Edward Scissorhands-like score, and the sound FX we added as well. Although we essentially kept Peter’s northern accent, we treated the voice and gave it a gravely, scarier dimension. And I think there’s something about the nature of absorbing people and then being on the skin and then the things that Russell put in about people not being in pain particularly, but somehow sucked in that is quite haunting and quite soulfully moving, so in that sense, it’s ludicrously comic, and of course it’s Peter Kay as well, so it’s kind of iconic in that way. And it comes the week after we had an episode with the devil in it as the monster, so Peter is just like a bloke; it like there’s 100,000 other Absorbaloffs on the planet Glomm and he’s just one of many, rather than him being THE Evil Absorbaloff, so there’s something about his blokishness that comes out that is really lovely, because it’s really understated, but there’s a real sadness, particularly with Ursula and what happens to her. I think it’s a great advertisement as an episode that from some adversity can come some brilliant things. I can’t think of any example now, but there are millions of great examples in world cinema of things that wouldn’t have happened or a person who wouldn’t have been cast; all sorts of things that wouldn’t have happened is something hadn’t gone totally wrong. As soon as I read the script, I knew exactly what Russell was going for, and we talked about the understating of it and it’s a tone that I felt more than comfortable with. With Russell’s script, I can’t really claim too much authorship, because it’s so authored by him, but whether it’s coincidence or not, I feel emotionally attached to it in a way that I haven’t for many things. I’ve written some of my own pieces, but other than that, it’s quite rare to feel like that. Even with ELO, they were the very first band I was into, I’d actually bought, at the age of 11 or 12 with my best friend, we used to put ELO music on and take turns to pretend that we were playing different instruments, so that was sad. It was the first album I bought, and then I completely forgotten, because I started getting properly into music and going to gigs, but ELO was before that. I think because I was a younger brother, I might have heard them through my older brother and it was at a time when I was only into one band, and that was ELO, so I had three ELO albums and listened to them all the time and I had quite forgotten about that, so that sense of youth and innocence, there were so many things that straightaway felt, ‘I get this!’ There are so many Doctor Who episodes that are brilliant, but as a director I may not have got, but this one suited me somehow. Do you have to get the clearances for the songs in advance? Zeff: Certainly if you’re going to film something that’s going to commit you to using it, you do. Blue Sky and Don’t Bring me Down were both written in, so they would have checked that in the script before we filmed it, and actually I ended up using Mr. Blue Sky a lot more. I also put in another track for the Jackie Tyler sequence, which was Turn to Stone, and I think I even had another one in at some point. Again, credit to Russell and the reason why I used it so much in other points is because it’s emotionally absolutely right. It’s not just a name-check of some funny band that people haven’t heard of; it’s not Russell thinking, ‘Oh, what would be a good band that would be funny in here?’ It’s not a gag. Mr. Blue Sky is a lovely song partly because it has that sense of innocence, and I think we may have found some other tracks to use in there, but it wouldn’t have been easy to use David Bowie or somebody else in there. This choice was absolutely right, and there was obviously something that appealed to me when I was that age and I still like them now. It’s one of those bands that if you take them too seriously, they fall apart. I’ve only just got my albums back from the art department; I dug them out just in case they wanted them for set dressing, so it was a real pleasure to go up to my loft and dig them out. Was it tough to find the right tone for Marc’s character? Zeff: Marc and I worked very hard on that character at the beginning to get that innocence and yet he’s not some naïve geek. In some ways, he’s quite a normal bloke, but he’s got quite a lot of deliberate youthfulness which I think in some ways you can explain through his mother have died when he was very young. And once we had that, we talked about it in the context of Jackie, and there were lots of little questions about how overt to make it. Is Elton aware of it? How sexual is Jackie being here, or is she just being friendly? We really put a lot of thought into that, but for me, I think two of the most important things are casting and script, but more in the way it was performed I’d say, and where I can in, I was really just coaxing and tweaking the performance and getting that right and the right sense of awkwardness without turning it into some big physical comedy. I love when he steps back to that corner of the room where the mantelpiece was, so he’s cornered a little bit, and Marc is brilliant at playing those subtle things. It’s just real. Were you worried about those scenes with Elton and Jackie? They could lend themselves to caricature if you’re not careful. Zeff: She’s actually very natural and obviously knows her character very well. Equally, I felt that a lot of things I was saying were just reinforcing what she was doing anyway, because I think she naturally doesn’t overplay. She wasn’t going to play that in a big vampish way; she’s got a naughtiness to her, but she plays it quite lightly and gets the tone very well, so I think it was just a matter of reinforcing that so she’s friendly, she’s obviously making a pass, but it doesn’t need to be hugely loaded; it’s not like she’s enjoying his discomfort. Again, she’s just genuinely attracted to him and thinks he’s attracted to her and is pushing that. I think Marc absolutely gets that level right as well, as somebody who is made uncomfortable but also quite up for it. It’s a really delicately judged performance and in some ways, it’s just a matter of finding the right way to say it at the right to them rather than overloading them with too much to think about, because their instincts are pretty good. I was really pleased with both of them, but obviously the viewer is feeling it through Marc and I think he plays it absolutely perfect and it was a joy to edit as well, because he does slightly different things, but essentially gave us a lot of options, so it was really enjoyable to be able to craft that in the edit. Was your job made easier by the fact that you didn’t have a lot of special FX to deal with? Zeff: Until the end, yes; I suppose that’s true. Certainly as a first episode as well, as a way into it, it was gentle in that sense. There was still some lovely FX work to be done and some lovely special FX stuff as well, like blowing up windows and things like that, but they were fairly isolated and contained and I could really focus on what I enjoy focusing on, which is largely the performances. So yes, I think the thing that was good in that was that it was quite an attractive element to me in the script, which isn’t to say that I would have enjoyed more of it, but I think what I wouldn’t find a pleasure so much would be doing something that was all about the FX where somehow the emotional story became less important because the FX took over. And I actually think on the whole, partly because of budget reasons but also for me certainly in terms of things I like, it’s not a question of showing everything in a big way. It’s what you don’t show, so if there’s a big strong moment, it’s more about how that moment affects the people involved. That’s what is going to move you emotionally. Sex scenes aren’t just about showing sex; they’re about what you don’t show, so in that sense, it was nice to have something that was not constantly FX-led. Apart from anything else, I think I would have found that a little boring after a while, because there’s only so much blue screen and stuff that you can do in different ways that will really excite you. It’s really people that make things interesting. Your episode is almost a breather before the big season-ender coming up, isn’t it? Zeff: In a way, I’m really happy about that. I was a little worried that in some ways it was going to be the runt of the series, but it’s also what I really love about it, and in a way, the more it’s different, and it may alienate (but I hope it doesn’t) some die-hard Doctor Who fans, even some of the younger audience as well, because there’s quite a lot of rich human stuff going on in the middle, but it has a lot of thrills and spills at the beginning and obviously the last 15 minutes as well. Who knows? I hope it’s got enough in it to keep the youngest kids entertained too, but even so, I really do feel very proud to be attached to it. I watched the first Cybermen episodes, and when I was filming, I was getting slight monster envy. I remember some of the great creatures from when I was a child, like the Sontarans and having monster envy I suppose, but apart from having a great monster in the Absorbaloff, I kind of feel as a director at the age I am now, I feel really emotionally attached to this in a way that I don’t think I would have been too much to another one, so while I love watching the other ones as a viewer, I kind of feel very pleased and proud to have done one that I feel very bound up with. Do you think you’ll be doing another episode? Zeff: I would love to, but I don’t want to just go back and repeat the experience; it would have to be something different, but they’ve certainly been very open in terms of keeping the door open to go back, so for me, I think it’s all about timing; the being away from home factor and various aspects, but yes, I very much hope so. It was very enjoyable and all of us got on incredibly well. What’s been going on with work-wise since you finished ‘Love and Monsters?’ Zeff: I’ve actually had a screenplay that I wrote a while ago was picked up by Tribeca, so we’ve got the development money and we’re looking for a writer now. I wrote the first draft, but I’d quite like to find someone to work with on the second draft. And I’ve got various other projects in development, one with Steve Coogan’s company Baby Cow, so all of these projects are in the early stages where they need some nurturing and time, and I’m quite happy to spend some time with those projects in development. Like most directors, I want to try and juggle as many things as possible, but I’d love to make films as well as telly, but the thing about those projects is they do need a bit of time to push them along. So that’s where I am at the moment. 8 p.m. Friday. SciFi.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Heh Heh "Love & Monsters"

    by Kenny8

    The episode that's too clever by half. Hated by those who have no life outside TV fandom.....

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:46 a.m. CST

    And Tom Bidet, don't bother you loser!

    by Kenny8


  • Dec. 8, 2006, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Behind on the times...

    by jinamina

    It's weird to be pretty much one year behind Britain on this show. Seems like most people on this site have already seen Series 2. Especially since there was a post of the Series 2 finale on this site before Series 1 finished on Scifi. Plus, they're also selling the 2nd series DVDs on Amazon.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 2:36 a.m. CST

    love & monsters

    by kwisatzhaderach

    oh my god, wait til yuou guys get a load of this crap. The worst episode of Doctor Who ever. Oh and Kenny8, about 75% of Doctor Who fandom hate this episode too. It's THAT bad.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Love and Monsters

    by Kevin Kittridge

    Goodness gracious, I hated this episode.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:24 a.m. CST

    Trial of a Timelord was better than this

    by Finklestone

    Love and monsters is the shitiest episode of Doctor Who in its 40 year history, and given that some of that history included contributions from Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker that's saying a lot.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 6:52 a.m. CST


    by Mirrorball Man

    I thought "Love & Monsters" was a superb episode, funny and moving and totally in line with the history of "Doctor Who". That being said, I know why most anoraks seem to hate it: they love monsters, but they're not entirely comfortable with love. As the Doctor once said: "Life depends on change and renewal".

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:26 a.m. CST

    i loved the episode but........

    by kmw4121

    peter kay is NOT FUNNY and he ruins the entire episode, if they had got someone else to do the role it may have been better but for me he fucked up a fairly good episode imho

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:29 a.m. CST

    In praise of Shirley Henderson

    by Thomas Cromwell

    Shirley is Britain's, no the world's best actress. This bonny wee Scot steals whatever film she is in with her brilliant talent and her intelligent modesty that puts lesser actresses (I'm talking to you Niclole Kidman, you talentless, overpayed stick) in their places. She is also damn pretty with her petite body, sweet face, flowing hair and smouldering eyes. Put simply, she is a goddess and provides the only reason to watch 'Love and Monsters' Vive la Shirley!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    i didn't watch it at the time

    by aestheticity

    because it had peter kay who I dislike in it, and I only watched the ones with cybermen, daleks and cute girls in, and that one with the giant demon, but I saw a lot of people afterwards and ever since say it's complete shit. Since the people who liked it appear to be armchair psychologists here, analysing everybody else and finding them wanting, I'd say they're probably douchebags. Seriously. Qualifying your opinion with a specific attack on those who disagree. Enlightened.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:58 a.m. CST

    "Love & Monsters" -- * (out of 5)

    by SpyGuy

    Okay, you're going to read comments by people with disturbingly low standards about how "clever" and "innovative" Love & Monsters is, but if look at it objectively, it's really just a painfully bad load of crap. <p>If you've never watched DOCTOR WHO before, all you think is, "What the fuck is this?" and if you're a longtime fan, all you think is, "What the FUCK is this?!" To put this episode into its proper perspective, it's worse than the last three episodes of "An Uneartly Child," worse than "The Krotons," worse than "Invasion of the Dinosaurs," worse than "The Horns of Nimon," worse than "The Twin Dilemma," and worse than "Time and the Rani."</p> <p>While I give credit to Russell T. Davies for trying something different to give David Tennant and Billie Piper a break, "Love & Monsters" pretty much comes off like bad fan fiction. The only decent looking monster appears in a wacky SCOOBY DOO homage, Peter Kay is basically an alien version of Fat Bastard (complete with tongue slurping), and the sexual innuendo of getting oral sex from an animated piece of concrete is completely pointless, or should have been held back for an episode of TORCHWOOD.</p> <p>So go on, praise this unholy abomination if you want but be prepared to lose all credibility in the process. At least you'll be doing something more constructive than TomBodet and his neverending one-note joke about Daleks and stairs.</p>

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Hey guys, I heard this great joke...

    by Strabo

    Apparently, those stupid Dalek things can be defeated if you simply run up a flight of stairs! How lame is that? I mean, they're supposed to be these big bad guys, yet they can't make it up a flight of stairs!<BR><BR>(I'm sorry. For the record, I thought this episode was horrible...but hey, CONCRETE SLAB BLOWJOB! WOOHOO!!)

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Everything Spyguy said...

    by ejcarter9

    ... and more. This episode was completely pointless and downright disgusting at the end. A parent's worst nightmare.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:32 a.m. CST

    this post

    by INWOsuxRED

    felt like someone was being interviewed about one of their shits. People who say they loved this either have no standards, or are more likely just trolling for some attention.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Alot of people do not like

    by ShaneWho

    Alot of people do not like the episode for many reasons. I will not say they are wrong it is just not what they want to see in Doctor Who. Love & Monsters took me off guard. I like it, but it is such a huge change from the rest that it takes most off guard. I like the fact that Doctor Who can be so different from episode to episode. The Scooby Doo chase in this is great. And Blow Jobs from sidewalk blocks is strange.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Shirley Henderson is my future wife...

    by Seph_J

    ...if she'll have me.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Worst Episode Ever

    by durmer killik

    Go watch Girl in the Fireplace again.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 11:50 a.m. CST

    SpyGuy; stupid and infantile rant?

    by WiseJoeyD

    <p>I've liked Spyguy's previous reviews on each Doctor Who talkback even the ones I disagreed with, such as School Reunion. That was an episode I'd thought "here is a story that's playing on fanboi's love of nostalgia to sneak in a crummy story".</p><p>However to read his indignation at anyone liking this episode and going off on a tangent to accuse them of demonstrating a sub-standard, and supposedly perverse, sense of enjoyment watching this episode is disappointing. It sinks into a rant not highlighting any meaningful criticism, merely revelling in casting those who enjoyed this one-off episode as some sort of sell-outs (?! "lose credibility" for what exactly?! As a fan of all sort ofs scifi and anime that means my opinion on them isn't valid at all now? If that's not what was meant it's sadly what it reads like.)</p> <p>Rants or attacks made by those who like this episode railing against those who didn't is stupid and infantile; the same is true of those berating people who dared to enjoy this 45 mins of television.</p>

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 12:07 p.m. CST


    by Thomas Cromwell

    Not if I get there first!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:43 p.m. CST

    I'll skip it.

    by ckane123

    HUGE Whovian - just rewatched The Three Doctors last night - and based on he previous talkback and this one I'll not be watching. Nothing in the interview made me remotely interested; alos love ELO, BTW.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 3:50 p.m. CST

    WiseJoeyD: So pro-L&M attacks are OK, anti-L&M aren't?

    by SpyGuy

    I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions, but my comments were a direct response to those who claim "Love & Monsters" is such a "clever" episode that anyone who doesn't appreciate its sheer genius be a friggin' moron. <p>Well, in my opinion (which, by the way, feel free to disagree with), anyone who DOES appreciate "Love & Monsters" must be a friggin' moron. Stupid, maybe...infantile, perhaps...but then again, so is "Love & Monsters."

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 4:12 p.m. CST

    both POVs are wrong..

    by WiseJoeyD

    <p>.. if they do rant or character assassinate. I'm sorry that may not have come across at the end of my mini rant. I was saying either "side" ranting and casting aspersions isn't ideal. I admit to being guilty of being pro-L&M and lambasting those who weren't open enough ("progressive" even?!) to enjoy it, and apologies if that rubbed people up the wrong way!.</p> <p>It was never the best/most refreshing episode for me, but like everything in Internet world when you read the immense hate directed towards one admittedly average-at-best episode it tends to rile you up; Usually over the most inanely inconsequential things like an episode of Doctor Who! </p> <p>I'll just end by saying yes I think I've read enough to cover the aspects that didn't go over well with others, but appreciating (perhaps too strong a word; "enjoying" ) it nonetheless doesn't denote someone being a "friggin' idiot".</p>

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 6:38 p.m. CST

    if you are a Nielsen or have a TiVo...

    by lynxpro

    Do watch it and just remember that it will all be worth it in two weeks time when the 2-part season finale begins. I think the last little "gag" in this episode ruins the whole thing, and I'm not known as being a prude either. Plus Kay's character sucks. Everything else is fine in the episode.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 7:20 p.m. CST

    It's not a favourite of the season...

    by Avon

    ...after what came immediately before. Next week's episode isn't a huge improvement, but the two episodes after that are great.

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 8:09 p.m. CST

    next week

    by INWOsuxRED

    seems like a rejected X-Files script where they went through and did a replace Mulder with the Doctor and Scully with Rose. The sad part is for those who actually subject themselves to the tourture that is Love and Monsters with commercials this week, is that it doesn't get much better next time. The finale is done pretty well though. The new Christmas special is only a few weeks away!

  • Dec. 8, 2006, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by Yoda's Ball Sack

    This episode could be the crowning turd in the waterpipe in the entire history of Who.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 12:13 a.m. CST

    Not the WORST

    by Larry of Arabia

    That's saying a great deal for show with a 40 year history. Rose's mom had some nice character work in there and LINDA was kind of fun till the joke died about 2 minutes into it. The bad thing was how cynical the show was, and the characterization of the Dr. Would he really bring someone back to live the rest of their life in that form? I mean he's seen some weird things, but that would be a living hell. She didn't seem all that happy. "It could be worse" Well, wonderful. She seems THRILLED. And the idea that eventually everyone the Dr. meets has tragedy visit them is certinaly way to downbeat for a show that is, in essence, a lighthearted sci-fi romp with a few scares thrown in. The whole final act left such a bad taste in my mouth it scuttled the few joys the episode had. Damn, now I'm actively angry at the episode.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 4:45 a.m. CST

    I liked probably 80% of the episode.

    by Sly Fox

    I don't think the Doctor would have brought her back like that (although he did!)... remember all his "everything has it's time speeches"? The Abzobaloff creature was silly but designed as part of a Blue Peter contest so forgivable, but why did they have him runing around outside? It looked so stupid.... the last joke was either a reference to online relationships or to blowjobs, probably the latter sadly.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Hands down the worst episode ever

    by kwisatzhaderach

    It doesn't even feel like Doctor Who, but some half-hearted UK crap soap opera. SpyGuy was dead on, RTD's episodes are low-rent fan fiction.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 11:25 a.m. CST

    great episode

    by Redmantle

    I thought it was pretty good. I mean, the bad guy should've been more than a parody of Fat Bastard, but seeing the doctor through the lives of others is pretty clever, and he certainly DOES spell trouble for those he comes in contact with. Wonder and Horror, they are the twin forces that make sci-fi really work, and the Doctor embodies them- he's wonder, but horror comes in his wake. Pretty damn cool to me.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Kwisatzhaderach: Not all of RTD's episodes are fanfic

    by SpyGuy

    Some of them are, yes, but I did like "The End of the World," "The Parting of the Ways," "The Christmas Invasion," "Tooth and Claw," and the uber-fanfictiony "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday." <p>Sadly, though, RTD is a bit too self-indulgent in his scripts at times and no one seems able to tell him "No" when they really need to. Case in point -- "Aliens of London/World War III," "Boom Town," "New Earth," and "Love & Monsters." When RTD is good, he's really good, and when's he bad...well, you get Fat Bastard running around outside and Moaning Myrtle reduced to a blowjobbing piece of concrete.</p>

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST

    to Spyguy

    by lynxpro

    What's your user name on Outpost Gallifrey? And have you been posting on the SciFi Channel's forums too?

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 4:21 p.m. CST

    as for Outpost Gallifrey...

    by lynxpro

    For the uninitiated, the website location is at Click on the forums after that. And any fans of *Hex* and its star Jemima Rooper should check out

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 4:42 p.m. CST

    and if you don't know who she is....

    by lynxpro

    Here goes... She's on my "list", along with Monica Bellucci, Rosario Dawson, Cerina Vincent, and Isabella Soprano. Tee hee.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Lost interest after about 15 minutes

    by skydemon

    of that crap. All the more reason the DVD set should be a reasonable 30 bucks or less. I might finish this sometime when I'm completely bored, and there is nothing else on or recorded to watch. Right now I'm off the check out last nights Battlestar Galactica, bet it doesn't let me down. Oh, yea, that happy crappy british pop in this episode has GOT TO GO!

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Jemima is fine enough, but...

    by chromedome

    ...Christina Cole (Cassie) and Amber Sainsbury (Roxanne) from Hex are far hotter and more beautiful. And Christina has a bit part in Casino Royale (receptionist at the Ocean Club). Saw CR last night, and drove me crazy trying to figure out why I recognized the receptionist, until I put it together.<p>This week's Who was pretty bad, I gotta say. Tennant's initial "hello, now get out of here" or words to that effect was just a lame ripoff of Eccleston's first-contact with Rose. This was not only a "filler" episode, it was inedible, un-digestible filler at that. This Season has not measured up thus far to the Eccleston season. I sure won't pay for the dvds based on what I have seen so far. Couple of good episodes only, but maybe (from what UK TBers are saying) there are some good ones coming up. Hope so!<p>Jeez, even Billie Piper, the main reason for watching, seems tired and "phoning it in" this season, whereas in the last season she seemed to be so into it all. Her boredom seems to be coming across, as does Tenant's.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 9:01 p.m. CST

    WiseJoeyD, I understand what you mean...

    by ejcarter9

    ...X3, anyone? That was attacked so viciously I felt the need to defend it just as viciously. Anyway, I understand what you mean. Honestly, while I hated this episode, I'll admit that it's because of a few small things that ruined the whole. Namely the ending BJ line (The episode would've been much better if they ended it at the fade-out), the faces in the Abzorbaloff's skin, the monster itself, Kay's character finding LInDA in the first place (how???), and the lacklustre camerawork. Perhaps if they played up the mental state of the main character more? Perhaps if they didn't go for the humor? Perhaps if they went even further with the "experiment" and film it all through a handicam? But as a regular episode it flops big time, and as an experimental episode it flops big time.

  • Dec. 9, 2006, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Clever things make people feel stupid...

    by Bill Clay

    ...and unexpected things make them feel scared.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:01 a.m. CST

    ... and sometimes bad tv is just bad tv...

    by ejcarter9

    ... and people see things that aren't there.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:02 a.m. CST

    Bill Clay: Good thing "L&M" isn't clever or unexpected

    by SpyGuy

    "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" and "The Girl in the Fireplace" are clever. The Master taking over Tremas' body at the end of "The Keeper of Traken" is unexpected. "Love & Monsters," meanwhile, is 45 minutes of Russell T. Davies turning a story he wrote at 13 into a filler episode.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Lynxpro: No on OG, yes on Sci Fi's DW forum

    by SpyGuy

    Between AICN, Newsarama, Sci Fi's DOCTOR WHO forum and my MySpace page, it's a miracle I get any work done at all. Look for me to star in OFFICE SPACE 2: SPACE HARDER...

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:41 a.m. CST

    I liked it.

    by DarthCorleone

    Didn't expect to after all the negativity I'd read. But I actually liked it. A lot. And I'm as big of a Who fan as any of you with all the standard excellent episodes as my favorites.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 1:02 a.m. CST

    This was my first time watching the new dr who

    by Eyegore

    WTF is that crap? This is what I end up thinking every time I've ever tried to watch the show's different incarnations over the years and I though I'd give it another chance. WTF was that crap?? Horrible!

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 3:19 a.m. CST

    So Elton and his "JOHN"....

    by RickSlamu2

    Didn't make miss Mertyll (probally didn't spell that right) MOAN!!! once before their relationship was CEMENTED?!?!?! Ah.crap that sucks....

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 10:28 a.m. CST

    SpyGuy: L&M went over your head. Sorry.

    by Bill Clay

    Don't feel bad. Sometimes the material really IS too hip for the room.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 11:41 a.m. CST

    chromedome, I beg to differ...

    by lynxpro

    Christina Cole had a bit role in *Casino Royale*, but Jemima's bit role in *The Black Dahlia* was the most memorable bit in the entire film. I'd take her any day over the others you mentioned. Plus, I think she's a better actress to. But that's a matter of personal taste, I'd say... Heh.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 11:44 a.m. CST


    by lynxpro

    Tune back in in two weeks. SciFi will be running a marathon all day on the 22nd. The 8pm episode that night will be the start of the two part season finale. Of course, you could find them online....stay away from "New Earth", "Love & Monsters" and "Fear Her". Every other episode in season/series 2 is gravy.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Bill Clay: Liking "Love & Monsters" makes you "hip"?

    by SpyGuy

    I guess Huey Lewis was right after's hip to be square, apparently. <p>Go on, be "hip" then, you little rascal you, while those of us seated at the adult table enjoy "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances," "The Girl in the Fireplace," and "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit." Go on now, shoo, the big kids are talking...</p>

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 2:18 p.m. CST


    by chromedome

    ...differ away, sir! I have not yet seen Dahlia (could not catch it on the big screen--damn!) and did not know Jemima was in it. Will watch for her on dvd. I do agree she is probably a better actress, but Christina is more luminous (to me).<p>Now, did this come up in a Who TB because Jemima is going to be in a Who episode or something? I have lost track. Who will be replacing Rose after this season? [First base! drum riff]

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 4:40 p.m. CST

    for chromedome...

    by lynxpro

    Here ya go...Jemima as "Lorna Mertz" in *The Black Dahlia":

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 4:42 p.m. CST

    and no...chromedome...

    by lynxpro

    She hasn't been cast in Doctor Who as of yet. I'm just trying to work my online mojo to get the wheels a'turnin'. Kinda like posting about how Ra's Al Ghul should be a Batman villain on film a few years before it was announced as such. Heh. If you go to the official BBC website, you'll see The Doctor's new companion.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 8:32 p.m. CST


    by chromedome

    Nice!! Thanks, lynxpro! keep working your mojo--would definitely like to see Jemima in Who, even if only for a guest role.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 9 p.m. CST

    Yo, SpyGuy

    by DarthCorleone

    I thought "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" and "The Girl In The Fireplace" were without question the best episodes of the new seasons. But I'm still an adult, I don't think I'm hip, and I enjoyed "Love And Monsters." Was it great? No, but I thought it had entertaining aspects to it and was a fun departure. I enjoyed it as much if not more than "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit," if only because I didn't find anything terribly original with respect to Doctor Who therein.

  • Dec. 10, 2006, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Bill Clay could learn a lot from DarthCorleone

    by SpyGuy

    Y'see, Bill, even though DarthCorleone liked "Love & Monsters," he admits it's flawed and doesn't go telling people who hate the episode (a considerable portion of DOCTOR WHO fandom) that it's too "clever" for the masses to comprehend the oh-so-subtle nuances of RTD's script. Your pretentiousness isn't very becoming.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 12:23 a.m. CST

    uhm.....about *The Black Dahlia*...

    by lynxpro

    Since Round Robin mentioned a "dildo", I should point out that Lorna Mertz is shown holding one in those scenes previously mentioned. That's for you, Chromedome! :)

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Spyguy: Don't get your Dr. Who underoos in a twist

    by Bill Clay

    It's okay if popular entertainment is a little too edgy for you. You can always put your dentures in a glass and go back to your Huey Lewis 8-tracks. ;)

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Bill Clay probably thinks THE PHANTOM MENACE is "edgy"

    by SpyGuy

    A fiver says he goes to sleep at night curled up with his Jar Jar Binks and Abzorbaloff dolls while his Justin Timberlake poster hangs directly over his bed on the ceiling.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 8:54 a.m. CST


    by mulberry

    Firstly, I quite enjoyed this episode when saw it in UK (apart from the monster reveal). Secondly, I couldn't have been paying that much attention as I missed the scandalous double-entendre. Thirdly, possibly wouldn't watch it again, unless it was on, my legs had both gone to sleep and the remote had broken. Fourthly, a good measure of this episode's quality is that last night's Torchwood had very similar themes, but was noticably better.... Just less ELO. Fifth, (as an aside), I think the third new season should have an episode with multiple doctors - which ones? The first one: but as a much younger man - maybe soon after leaving Gallifrey - would avoid problems of the actual actors from the past times being a bit creaky/dead. Also mean a bit more freedom with how they interact.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Spyguy: You old geezers sure are grouchy...

    by Bill Clay

    Sounds like your Depends are due for a change, Grandpa.

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Bill Clay: The proper term is "curmudgeon."

    by SpyGuy

    And shouldn't you be finger-painting in kindergarten right now, instead of trolling on the internet?

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 11:53 a.m. CST


    by mulberry

    I've got a thesaurus too. bear*, bellyacher*, bug*, complainer, crab*, crank, crosspatch*, curmudgeon, faultfinder, griper, grouser, growler, grumbler, grump*, kicker*, lemon puss, malcontent, moaner, sorehead*, sourpuss*, whiner. Not sure which ones are the "proper" ones (I assumed they all are, dependent on context and intent, that or use alternate phrasing). What was the point again?

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 9:26 p.m. CST


    by chromedome

    ...does she do more than just hold it?

  • Dec. 11, 2006, 11:04 p.m. CST


    by lynxpro

    Its implied she uses it on the Dahlia. Its in the "stag" film scenes. Jemima doesn't have much screen time in the film (maybe 4 minutes), but what she has is memorable. Much more than the cameo made by Rose McGowan that the AICN staff carried on over. Jemima also uses her "fauxmerican" accent that she used in *A Sound of Thunder*. Its cute. That's been playing on HBO lately. Horribly bad CGI, but bearable. Ed Burns and Jemima do well in it. I can't believe that the TV Guide programming guide summary on my TiVo credits Corey Johnson and not Jemima in the film. The only other thing I've seen Johnson in besides this flick was the episode "Dalek" where he played Henry Van Statten.

  • Dec. 12, 2006, 5:48 a.m. CST

    SpyGuy: Shouldn't you be at the Early Bird right now?

    by Bill Clay

    Instead of whining about episodes of Dr. Who that are too avant-garde for curmudgeons?

  • Dec. 12, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Bill Clay thinks the Weather Channel is "avant-garde"

    by SpyGuy

    Kid, I realize you're obviously smitten with me to keep giving me all this attention, but I'm already married to a beautiful woman. Maybe someday you'll find someone who shares your appallingly horrible taste in "Love & Monsters." Kenny 8, perhaps...I think you two would make a cute couple together.

  • Dec. 12, 2006, 11:51 p.m. CST

    SpyGuy continues his schoolgirl crush on Bill Clay

    by Bill Clay

    Jeez, are you one of those creepy old guys who follows boys around the playground? All the homosexual references in your posts make you sound a little latent, Pops.

  • Dec. 13, 2006, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Bill Clay likes to refer to himself in the Third Person

    by SpyGuy

    Wow. First, he displays Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and now Dissociative Identity and Compulsive Sexual Disorders. If I stopped responding to Bill's desperate cries for attention, would his obviously fragile mental state collapse like an upset house of cards? Let's find out...

  • Dec. 13, 2006, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Spyguy is newest guest on "To Catch a Predator"

    by Bill Clay

    I know you have a crush on me but sorry, Gramps, I ain't into old guys who stalk younger men. You're gonna have to satisfy your homosexual pedophilia fetish somewhere else. I'm sure you'll still reply to me like a lovesick schoolgirl, though. Sad.