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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Doctor Who

I've been walking around since Friday humming/singing a mashup of the Doctor Who theme ... driving The Girl crazy in the process.

So we were both relieved when I finally got around to seeing the new Doctor Who last night. Doctor Who ranks with shows like Voltron or Robotech ... early gateway media into more hardcore science fiction. Doctor Who has a pretty long history, probably apexing with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor (for the unitiated, The Doctor's replacement actors are explained by "regenerating" a new body after death ... all part of being a Time Lord) and hitting a low, low point with Paul McGann's Eighth which featured motorcycles, romance and stolen Alice Cooper sets.

With all that history, the new show has big shoes (or a long scarf) to fill. How would a former pop star work alongside a veteran actor? The answer is ... pretty well. There are some rocky bits, for sure ... at times Rose seems almost bipolar in her mood swings between growling and grinning as she becomes the next companion for The Doctor and a few moments of "living plastic" seem to cut a little close to the campiness that doesn't help sell the show. However, the show maintains a sense of whimsical almost Douglas Adams-like (who, himself, used to to write for the show) tone which almost feels tounge in cheek from time to time. And yet, in just two episodes the show starts to get a backbone.

So I'm excited to have an old friend back. They're already into like, season three, across the pond ... so there's plenty more to come.



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6 comments:

Winkyboy said...

I think in the same way that the awesomeness of videogames of yesteryear can never be reached in our memories, that long scarf will NEVER be filled.

However, I'm very glad that they're at least SHOWING the Doctor on American TV again. I used to support KTCA solely because they were the only channel to have 'im.

I really dislike the Americanization of the Doctor, myself... For example, the commericials are all whiz-bang and "the Doctor is so Cooooooool" (Plus they get it wrong, unless I'm out of date, saying that he's the last of his kind..?!)

One thing that must be remembered, but is easily forgotten by The Media, is that Doctor Who has pretty much never been about romance. (That '96 movie was so embarrassing.) Just give us the good, sci-fi stories.

Winkyboy said...

I think in the same way that the awesomeness of videogames of yesteryear can never be reached in our memories, that long scarf will NEVER be filled.

However, I'm very glad that they're at least SHOWING the Doctor on American TV again. I used to support KTCA solely because they were the only channel to have 'im.

I really dislike the Americanization of the Doctor, myself... For example, the commericials are all whiz-bang and "the Doctor is so Cooooooool" (Plus they get it wrong, unless I'm out of date, saying that he's the last of his kind..?!)

One thing that must be remembered, but is easily forgotten by The Media, is that Doctor Who has pretty much never been about romance. (That '96 movie was so embarrassing.) Just give us the good, sci-fi stories.

Josh said...

Russel Ties (I think I'm mispelling that), that guy who brought the show back to the BBC, was apparently an enormous even before he started working with it.

Apparently any hints to a romance are treated as jokes, as in the second episode where a sentient tree asks if Rose is The Doctor's prostitute.

Chris E doesn't match Tom Baker's beautiful awkwardness, but he handles himself pretty well. He maintains an air of near constant distraction which work well.

I'm amazed the McGann movie was even considered canon. So dreadful. Also featured the Worst Performance As The Master by any actor (curse you, Eric Roberts)

Jeffool said...

If you've not already seen this season, rest assure it gets only better. I was only peripherally aware of Doctor Who before this series started, but having seen this season, I'm solidly a fan. In fact, despite having known him only from 28 Days Later prior to this, I enjoyed Eccleston in it so much that I'm not even mad he left after one season. I hope he goes on to get tons of wonderful roles making him insanely rich.

And don't worry about romance. By far and large it's treated as an affinity for her rather than love. Though personally I don't see what's wrong with the Doctor getting a little love.

Clamatius said...

I liked the new Doctor a lot. Eccleston was fabulous. I managed to see the whole series before they started running it on SciFi because it was on CBC (Canadian channel).

There were a few grating moments later in the series for me but generally it was a fun ride and scratched the nostalgia itch nicely.

Duncan said...

The new Doctor Who is a wonderful revision, and addition to the series. There is enough of the requisite campy-ness that it still feels right, but it improves on a lot of fronts. It is a full out shame that Christopher Eccleston did not decide to continue his role as The Doctor. But his replacement is going to pan out nicely, I think.

For the record, Doctor Who (2005) is entering its second season in Britain this year (probably in the next month or so). Canadians got the first season a couple of months after the original episodes were aired. Those of us with a penchant for downloading TV to play at more convenient times can see it much closer to the original airdate.

If you are interested, they also produced a series of behind-the-scenes shows (one for each episode) called Doctor Who Confidential which aired on one of the other BBC stations (they have so many).