The Crooked World
Roots: The Farscape episode Revenging Angel. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Numerous cartoons and characters, including Porky Pig, Scooby Doo, Wacky Races, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Tom and Jerry, Deputy Dawg, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Tweety-Pie and Sylvester, The Jetsons, and The Flintstones. The Whatchamacallit is possibly based on Woody Woodpecker and Roadrunner. Mr Gruenwald, a.k.a. The Green Ghost, might be named after late Marvel Comics writer and artist Mark Gruenwald. There are references to Shakespeare and Barbie.
Goofs: Rhian reminded Anji of Velma from Scooby Doo during The Book of the Still, but she doesn't seem to recognise Thelma here, or indeed any of the cartoon characters on which the inhabitants of the Crooked World are obviously based.
Squeak's last minute resurrection is an enormous cop-out.
Dialogue Triumphs: 'Free will has its downside, but it's a necessary downside and it's a price worth paying. Where self-determination exists, there will always be people prepared to employ it without responsibility, to cause harm. Thats why people like me exist too. It's our job to stop them.'
'And I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for you you you complete and total bastards!'
Continuity: The precise nature of the Crooked World is unclear, although it is presumably an actual planet given that an escape capsule was able to crash-land on it. The Doctor deduces that it exists in a state or region of malleable reality, allowing its fabric and the beings that inhabit it to be shaped by the thoughts of outsiders, including the Doctor, Fitz and Anji. Previously, a [human] girl crashed on the planet in an escape capsule; she starved to death within days, but the child's thoughts and memories shaped it into a cartoon world, populated by cartoon characters that lived their lives in a meaningless, repetitive existence until the TARDIS arrived and the Doctor and his companions accidentally gave the inhabitants free will.
The Doctor picks a lock with a spoon and a length of wire.
Fitz again uses his Fitz Fortune alias. He is hugely attracted to Angel Falls, but is quickly frustrated by her complete lack of genitalia.
Anji's hair is black. She dons a short, black jacket. She has a key to the TARDIS. Prior to travelling with the Doctor, she rarely visited Temple, and is not particularly religious.
The TARDIS console is hexagonal again (c.f. Trading Futures). A red-topped lever once more operates the exterior doors. In addition to the library, there is a storage alcove adjacent to the control room. The library is much bigger than its alcove, stretching away into the distance further than Anji has ever ventured; its contents are arranged randomly, but the TARDIS rearranges it according to the needs of its occupants. As in The Book of the Still, the internal gravity compensates when the TARDIS is lying on its side. The TARDIS has a food machine again, which it must have recreated following the events of The Ancestor Cell (The Edge of Destruction).
Links: There are references to the Doctor losing a heart (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street) and Fitz's late Mum (The Taint). Anji recalls her last encounter with talking dogs (Mad Dogs and Englishmen) and her visit to EarthWorld (Earthworld). There are a couple of references to Albert (Grimm Reality).
Location: The Crooked World, date unknown [far enough into the future for humans to be space-travellers, but near enough for them to still be watching Warner Brothers cartoons].
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Mark Twain.
The Bottom Line: Witty and imaginative, although not as funny as it should have been, and it eventually becomes the usual Lyons morality play. Nevertheless, its an entertaining read and the regulars are captured well. The Doctor's use of a custard-pie gun to rescue Fitz is hilarious.