Watching: Doctor Who [Series 5]

I adore Doctor Who;  I have been watching since 1976 [my eldest brother used to hide behind the sofa – WUSS].  Tom Baker was definitely my favourite Doctor, but I found Doctor # 7 played by Sebastian McCoy and his companion Ace [Sophie Aldred] really engaging.  They were in the very last three-episode story-arc of Doctor Who called “Survival” in 1989, before the BBC finally pulled the plug after 25 years.

The return of Doctor Who in 2005 was wonderful, and the series so far have been consistently good and living up to the iconic nature of the show.  Of course there have been grumbles about things “not being like they used to be” but generally I find the show works better in its 45 minute format [as opposed to 25 minute episodes] and general improvements in special effects, costuming etc.  The aliens are still basically men in rubber or metal suits though, just as in 1976;  there’s something very comforting about that.

I wasn’t sure I would like the Eleventh Doctor [Matt Smith], in fact I was decidedly against the idea of using such a young actor – over 10 years younger than David Tennant*.  However thanks to the ABC I’ve been able to get to know and like this young, cheeky boy; he’s definitely growing on me.   The first episode’s minor “glitches” could mostly be put down to a) canonical issues with the Doctor’s personality et al arising from his latest regeneration; and / or b) growing pains.

* I hold a beautiful pure love for David Tennant, DESPITE the fact that the actor only goes out with 23 year old blonde beauties who work on whichever show he is currently working on – I think there were about five girlfriends during his time as Doctor Who, most if not all from the production department et al.

Ah, fiddlesticks!  Who am I kidding?  OF COURSE I was in love with David Tennant, and adored the last episode of Series 4, “Journey’s End”, where Doctor 10.5 and Rose finally got to smooch – and what a smooch it was!  If you haven’t seen the outtakes on YouTube you must check them out – David Tennant is much more physical than in the takes used for the episode, lots of grabbing and holding on for another go!  Lucky Billy Piper – although she looks a bit surprised by it at some points a la “Oo-er I wasn’t expecting that”.  

I’m still a wee bit sad that while Rose and the Doctor loved each other mutually, and Rose had her own mostly-human Doctor 10.5 to live out her life with, she and the “real” Doctor didn’t get to say a proper goodbye.  Very poignant.  The final “Special” two-parter “The End Of Time”, farewelling David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, was pure brilliance and wonderful entertainment.  Again, exceedingly poignant as well as heart-poundingly exciting.

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By “glitches” in Doctor # 11, I mean his manic behaviour being just a little OTT, even for a post-regenerative Doctor; not quite fitting into his skin, not quite settled into the iconic character.  It’s got to be a damn difficult gig, let’s face it, fitting into all those pairs of shoes and giving it your own spin.

The sightly manic part of his personality however is settling in with a deeper intensity.  He is always studying his environment / enemies and refuses to be deviated.  The way he thinks back to things observed, said, and brings puzzles together in manic rants is fun and fascinating to follow – it’s also great dialogue work from Matt Smith [“But Doctor, you’re not making sense!”  “Yes I am making sense;  you’re just not keeping up.”].  The cheeky young boy is all there, it’s absolutely charming.  He is so child-like in his enthusiasms, brimful of excitement and pleasure in the variety of life and beings he meets.

So yes, I do really like the younger Doc after all, so different from the professor-ish types in the past, with masses of energy yet he manages to bring off the young-looking but temporally-ancient [907 years old apparently] dichotomy with élan.

The new opening theme and graphics are effective, with just the time-tunnel effect and the new Doctor Who logo with the DW separating Doctor- and -Who styled to resemble the TARDIS.  And yay, still no face fading in and out – it’s the one thing I really didn’t fancy in all my years of Doctor Who watching.

Next up: the new Companion, the bubbly somewhat ditzy Amelia “Amy” Pond – now avec fiancé, the gormless Rory who makes Ron from Harry Potter look fascinating.  I found her annoying at first, then she began to grow on me; and now I am finding her increasingly irritating with her constant bounding around like a female Tigger [with less brain and charm] and squeeeee-ing over everything.  And then getting pissed off at the Doctor when she gets herself in trouble.

I’m pretty sure Amy Pond’s unbelievably long legs helped her get the part – and help to keep the dads interested – her figure is totally unremarkable except for THOSE LEGS.  Oh and the eye lashes; either that or the make up department is incredibly good at falsies / lash extensions].

I like the plot arc that’s emerging, however, about the cracks in reality and worlds, the falling silence, and why Amy and the people on “her” Earth have no recollection at all of the previous invasions of Daleks, Cybermen et al.  I hope such story arcs continue throughout the series.  Like Buffy et al, it’s always more fun when there’s a general series-wide story arc, as well as the MOTW [Monster Of The Week] format.

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OH and it’s quite obvious there’s a Terry Pratchett fan on the writing team, which fills me with glee.  Firstly in “The Beast Below” [Episode 2] we have a star-whale [a shout out to the Discworld’s Great A’Tuin, the star-turtle anybody?].  In “Victory Of The Daleks” [Episode 3] Professor Bracewell recalls an unrequited love for a girl called Dorabella back in his old village.  In Pratchett’s Going Postal and Making Money, main character and con-man’s Moist Von Lipwig’s love interest / fiancée is called Adorabelle Dearheart.  Merely coincidence?  I am sure such examples – and I hope there’ll be more – are major shout-outs to an immensely talented fantasy writer who has done so much for the genre. [Although I view Pratchett’s writing as “true literature”; like Lord Of the Rings; they’re not just your average swords and dragons epics.]



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