Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Shit about Doctor Who

Bigtime spoilers below for 3rd series - look away now if you wish to avoid. And general nerd alert too.

Anybody else finding the third series of DW a little...erm...deja vu-ish?

First, let me say I'm still finding the show very entertaining. The Dalek two-parter was weak but Human Nature - written by Paul Cornell - was astonishingly good. And I'm muchly looking forward to John Simms' end-of-season appearance as 'Mister Saxon' - 'Master No Six' in anagrammatical terms (oooooh).

I think it's fair to say David Tennant has earned the mantle of best non-Tom Baker doctor. He really owns the role now. Hope he sticks around for at least a couple more seasons to cement his place in DW history. Being the sexiest Doctor ever doesn't hurt either (plus, unlike his Serious Actor Pants predecessor, Tennant knows how to market himself in the broader BBC light entertainment world to build his and the show's profile, so snaps for that).

The deja vu arises from the Doctor's relationship with Martha Jones. It's great they've finally casted a black actor as a companion - an upper-class character undertaking a medical degree, no less - and Freema Agyeman is almost as spunky as Tennant.


I think the ghost of Rose Tyler haunts the new series way too much.

Despite the repositioning of the companion's class and race status, she's still basically Rose. Or even Lauren 'I ain't buvvered' Cooper. A distinct Chav factor remains. Perhaps this is more reflective of Agyeman's acting limitations than anything else (I've heard her interviewed in real life and she's charming, but only in a totally chav way).

And the doctor-companion relationship dynamic this season appears to be unrequited love, whereby Martha is infatuated with the Doctor but the latter refuses to reciprocate, still smarting from having lost Rose 'forever' (subject no doubt to a reappearance in some cheesy Chistmas special ep).

I'm probably a bit of a purist at heart and prefer my doctors to be more uncle-like around their companions than loveresque. Nevertheless, Russell T Davies and friends went for something new with a romantic doctor-companion relationship, and in the case of the Doctor (Tennant, not Eccleston) and Rose, it worked. I guess it's a dynamic that cannot be avoided so long as relatively younger, spunkier actors (say, relative to Bill Hartnell or Sylvester McCoy) are cast in the lead role, opposite the companions who are inevitably young, female and cute/hot.

I just would've preferred something different this season. Initially I heard that Martha was going to be lesbian which I think would've been fantastic (and teaming with Davies' powerfully gay agenda) - no sexual tension, just a quality platonic friendship enhanced by remarkable adventures across the universe.

Instead, we have a companion once again completely besotted by the enigmatic Doctor. It worked better with Rose because the Doctor gave her otherwise unremarkable existence meaning - but it feels contrived with Martha, who by contrast has started on a solid, successful career path and has not whittled away her pre-Doctor life the way Rose was seen to have done.

I'll keep watching, of course - this show's renaissance has been nothing short of miraculous and demands respect even with its shortcomings - but I'm hoping this deja vu will be shaken off soon.



At 13/6/07 1:49 pm, Anonymous Zakalwe said...

I'm a bit old school too when it comes to The Doctor and his companions. Keep it platonic.

Admittedly its always hard for a new companion to fill the shoes of a popular one. Perhaps Martha as a character, though black and a medical student, isn't different enough. Look at the difference for example between Sarah Jane and Leela, Leela and the Romanas.

This season so far has been an enjoyable romp. "Daleks Take Manhattan" was a bit of a let down. But the other episodes have been excellent. "Human Nature" was one of the best Doctor Who stories ever.

Coming up next episode Captain Jack's back!! Phoar! ;-)

Remember, don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink!

At 13/6/07 5:26 pm, Blogger Jeremy said...

I really enjoyed the "blink" episode. Those menacing statues getting ever closer to the TARDIS every time the lights went out; the friend not being able to turn around to check if one was coming up behind him - excellent stuff.

At 13/6/07 9:59 pm, Anonymous Richard said...

Nice to see a post on such a serious topic.

I second the comment on Capatin Jack (Double Phoar!!) - looking forward to Torchwood - such a shame it's on Ten

At 16/6/07 2:14 pm, Anonymous Adrian said...

Yeah, I was hanging for a platonic androgynous Doctor/ lesbian companion relationship, too. Unfortunately, Freema's not good enough to get rid of the scent of Rose, and she's hampered by the writing team's insistence that Rose continues to waft over the TARDIS, in spirit at least.

I loved Human Nature (and love Paul Cornell, who I think once went to Mardi Gras with my old high school teacher). Have you seen Blink yet?

David Tennant's a spunk. 'nuff said.

At 19/6/07 1:45 pm, Blogger Jeremy said...

Don't watch the episode after Blink yet - it's the first of a three-parter and ends in a frustrating fashion.

At 19/6/07 2:02 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Too late Jeremy, already have - and had sussed out about 10 mins short of the conclusion that it was going to be a cliffhanger.

PS - Since when has The Master been able to regenerate? Hasn't his story arc since Roger Delgado always been extending his last regeneration at all costs?

At 19/6/07 5:39 pm, Anonymous Zakalwe said...

"PS - Since when has The Master been able to regenerate? Hasn't his story arc since Roger Delgado always been extending his last regeneration at all costs?"

He usually took the bodies of his victims since he was out of regenerations. The last time we saw him he fell into the Eye of Harmony so who knows what he's been up to since then. Maybe the Time Lords gave him another set so he could fight in The War and he ran to the end of the universe and hid?

At 29/6/07 2:10 am, Blogger Peter Pan said...

Good post fella. The twice weekly mentions of Rose (remember Rose, He loved her you know...) have got right up my arse. Eps 1 & 2, its acceptable, by the one in Utopia I was ready to drive down to Russels flat (me living just outside Cardiff) and have it out with him on the doorstep. I am wondering if, as you say, its becuase there is some cameo coming ... possibly in Last of the Time Lords (not wishing to say more in case you ahvent seen Sound of Drums yet!)
Needless to say, thsi saturday my matesa reunder strict instructions to not disturb me from 7.05 for 51 minutes ..... and if my bf is right with his theories, its going to be stunning.


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