Dr Who on the road to nowhere

A fair bit of social comment from Dr Who in another good episode.

I guess that makes it proper sci-fi. It certainly “referenced” lots of existing sci-fi. The sky traffic flows brought to mind the Fifth Element; the people changed into animals looked like they’d stepped off the set of Dark Angel. There were still some specifically British elements, like the old ladies singing inspirational hymns in way that brought to mind both Vera Lynn (who is astonishingly still alive and giving lucid interviews) and Songs of Praise.

For a change, the setting wasn’t London, it was set in a future dystopic New York, although you certainly couldn’t tell from the accents. Which has got to be better than actors trying to fake American accents, given how few have the gift of getting away with it. The acting standard seemed to be up a few notches in any case.

People in the lower levels of the city chase away unwanted thoughts by patching on medication. The rest are on the motorway. Everyone on the motorway lives in groups of one or two, on an endless commute to nowhere. Communication is through receipt of central instructions from the tv. The police put you on infinite hold until you finally get through to two women who can offer almost no assistance. Everyone is expressing a borrowed “individuality” while remaining isolated. (See what I mean about the social comment)

Their cars are a cross between old Volkswagen Travellers and Tardises laid on their sides. With skirts instead of wheels, bacause they fly. They are fitted out with all the necessities of life, like human wastes recycled for food.

I’ve just watched the accompanying “Making of” show on BBC4 (?) where the scene designers discussed what they’d done and why. There was a great bit – that I must have missed through the dsitractions caused by defragging – where they played Snow patrol’s Chasing Cars to a scene of the flying cars. (Sorry, I just really like Snow Patrol.) THe making of programme is pretty good as well.