Surround-sound

Compare and contrast:

Alien helmet

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic, Alien.

Helmet Dr Who

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in last Saturday's Doctor Who episode, Cold War. (I'm not sure why the letters aren't the wrong way round.)

Did you watch Doctor Who this Saturday? It was OK, as far as Alien/Das Boot crossovers go. What was not to like? A scary monster running amok, foreign submariners shouting “ALAAAARM!”, a sonic screwdriver, and a cute new sidekick standing around being wet. Certainly a hell of a lot better that the previous week's frankly shite episode.

Particularly effective for me was the sound editing. I loved the way you could hear the alien scrattling around in the ventilation ducts throughout the show—even over the dialogue, when the human characters were trying to explain what the hell was going on. Nice touch, that, I thought.

Imagine my and Jen's surprise, therefore, when the scrattling sound continued even after our heroes had seen off the alien. It was at this point that we realised we had something scrattling around in our living room ceiling. Bats, Jen reckoned. Could have been rodents, though.

Perfect timing. Very atmospheric. And no licence fee to pay! In yer face, BBC!

(And, no, scrattling isn't a word.)

Goodness gracious! Great balls of fire?!

While Jen and I were watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special on Christmas Day, I couldn't help pointing out that the meteoroids currently bearing down on spaceship Titanic orbiting Planet Earth would not, in actual fact, be massive fireballs, as they were still in space. Meteoroids only start to burn after they enter a planet's atmosphere, when they are known as meteors. Any parts of them which survive the passage through the atmosphere and the subsequent collision with the planet are known as meteorites.

I also pointed out that magnetising a spaceship's hull seemed like an unlikely strategy to attract passing meteoroids: the magnetic field required to do this would need to be inconceivably immense, especially as we had already seen that the meteoroids' original trajectories came nowhere near the ship's.

Then it occurred to me that it was rather odd of me to complain about minor scientific inaccuracies like these, when I was quite happy to accept that our hero was a double-hearted Time Lord from Planet Gallifrey who regenerates every time he dies, and who travels the universe in a box which is bigger on the inside than on the outside. So I shut up.

If you can't suspend disbelief on Christmas Day of all days, when can you?

Technobabble

I'm sort of half-watching StarTrek Voyager on telly as I type, and I've just worked out that the so-called science officer is a total fraud. He's just spent five minutes standing in the background pretending to be playing on a computer or something, while some alien doctor (whom I don't trust one iota, by the way) spouted total pseudo-scientific bollocks to some other short-arse alien with spots on his face, whom I gather is one of the crew. So how come the science officer didn't step in there and point out that the first alien was talking through his anus (assuming he has one, that is)? It's obvious: he doesn't know the first thing about science (and no, Mr Science Officer, don't you give me any of your "Emergency containment field activated" nonsense, I'm not buying it!).

Oh, the alien doctor's just died. I guess he didn't have an ulterior motive after all.

See also: This evening's Star Trek TNG