Rewatching the Doctor

September 17, 2009 at 10:19 pm (BBC, Geekery, TV) (, , , , , )

I haven’t seen Early New Doctor Who for a couple of years, since I blazed my way through the DVD’s (mostly while I was out of work). Now BBC America On Demand (I sound like a commercial) has ’em, and … I hope they aren’t teasing me. I would love to think that their having Season One up now means they’ll put up the new stuff as it comes along … I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

Regardless, I started at the beginning, with:

Rose – by Rusell T. Davies

The story has a nice introduction, entering into it through her, letting us get to know a nice, ordinary teenaged girl who may be … a little more. Who has the capacity to be more. I absolutely love that the first we see of the Doctor is his hand grabbing hers to drag her to (relative) safety.

And here was the reason I didn’t like Rickey Mickey – he was deeply irritating in this. “Anyfing”. Which isn’t fair of me, ’cause Rose does it too. Still. Calling the Doctor a thing sealed his fate. (“He’s NOT invited” – one of my favorite moments.) I did like that he played with the arm, pretending it was strangling him, which of course meant Rose assumed the dorkiest about the Doctor later. “Give a man a plastic hand…” (Which also underscores the fact of it being plastic, in case one needed it.) And – not really his fault, but I don’t care, Fake Rickey looked ridiculous.

I wonder if this was supposed to have been his first outing? He looks in the Tyler mirror and says “Could’ve been worse – lookit the ears” as though it’s his first look at the new regeneration.

The Doctor takes his coffee with “just milk”. Note to self, just in case.

“Yeah. Doctor what?” Hee.

There were two “Chips” mentions in this one; I didn’t remember that. (I’m collecting them, because they’re a recurring theme.) There’s the one I’ve got saved somewhere, about all you lot do is eat chips watch telly and go to bed while all the while there’s a war going on beneath you… Then there was Rose trying to figure out her next career move now the Doctor’s blown up her work; she might try the canteen at the hospital (or should it be “at hospital”? Or is it only “in hospital”? Yes I’m being facetious), but “Is that it, then? Dishing out chips?” There was also a glancing blow at the Chips concept: “You could stay here – fill your life with work and food and sleep, or you could go – – anywhere.” No, thanks, I’ll just stay here and eat chips. I’m so tempted to abstain from chips – their kind and ours – for the rest of my life… this makes them a little nauseating.

“The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through that door, and believe me, they’ve tried.”

The first “Fantastic!” – as the Doctor finally twigs to what Rose is getting at with the Eye. That exchange could have been lethal. It was fant – er, lovely.

Poor old internet bloke (Clive). He started the trend of nice folk getting rubbed out, though he wasn’t a pretty female and he didn’t do anything heroic. At least, started the trend for the new series; there was never any hesitation in killing people off in Doctor Who, was there? Wonder if he knew about LINDA, or if that came later?

I remember enjoying this immensely, and how buoying it was that there was new Doctor Who and it was fun. Revivals of geekdoms are so hit or miss; ST:TNG was good, especially in the beginning, for Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner and that beautiful ship (and, later, Whoopi!); the rest, really, meh. Star Wars … Really, I shouldn’t get into Star Wars episodes 1 – 3. (I don’t have that kind of time.) And I can’t abide New Battlestar Galactica (yep, I’m the one). And while I seem to remember it had a moment or two, I was horripilated by the (*shudder*) American Doctor Who movie, and prefer not to consider it canon. So I was worried… And more than proportionately geekily giddy when I fell in love with Christopher Eccleston. The monsters – Autons – were a bit dreadful; but that kinda (hee) made them classic DW monsters.

Now I realize how much of it was Billie Piper, too. She’s attractive without being annoyingly gorgeous and size-1; she reminds me of one of my nieces, in fact. Only cockney. She’s good, and has great chemistry with Eccleston – and the joy on her face when she runs into the TARDIS at the end is … yeah, that’s about right. That would be the look on my face. They often show her beaming – running across the bridge to the Eye, beaming. She’s enjoying the hell out of it; it’s hard not to follow suit. She clings to him like a burr almost from the beginning, first out of frustrated curiosity and then increasing intrigue; things are going to happen when he’s around, and it feels a bit safer the closer he is. However I feel about him now, Russell T. Davies did a good, good thing…

Next:

The End of the World, (also) by Russell T. Davies

It’s a little tacky of the Doctor to take Rose to see her planet end… Especially given what we find out in this episode, that his has had its end as well, and not in the natural course of events. In a way, she goaded him into something spectacular and undeniably timey-wimey; in a way, he’s lost track of the scope of human reaction and how although our sun expanding might be just another jaunt to him, it has to be traumatic to a 19-year-old human girl… Not to mention all the aliens. From never having seen any (except the Nestene Consciousness and, of course, the Doctor) to a platform full of them – the only human-appearing creature being the Doctor, who is proving with every word he says that he’s as alien as the rest of ’em – phew. And Cassandra, the “last human”, aka the bitchy trampoline … Poor Rose. Her reaction to the Steward was beautiful (“He’s blue.” “Yup.” “Okay.”); the sudden alien overload was beautifully done, too. And the Doctor’s reaction to her reaction … If she had whinged, she would have been turfed out pretty quickly. Instead she toughed it out, made a joke out of it, as best she could – and the Doctor managed to do exactly the right thing. ‘Course, how untold many Companions has he had to nursemaid through their first attack of homesickness/culture shock? Even if you think you never want to see poky old Earth and home again, it’s still got to be overwhelming to have home be long long ago and far far away…

“You lot. You spend all your time thinking about dying. Like you’re gonna be killed by eggs or beef or global warming or asteroids. But you never take the time to imagine the impossible: that maybe you survive.”

Hey – sponsor of the main event: The Face of Boe. He didn’t acknowledge the Doctor here; interesting. Also interesting, if he is who he seems to be – that he’s the OTHER last human there, and is also only a face …

Jabe’s little computer chirped like a bird. Nice touch.

Raffalo was a nice little character. And, now, dead. Hate that – but, thinking back, it’s very DW. So: good job, RTD. She reminded me of Jenny Funnell from As Time Goes By (only blue and in coveralls), but she was played by Beccy Armory.

As opposed to the awful Autons in “Rose”, the cgi spiders in this were wonderful. The aliens were a mixed bag – the blue folk looked great, and the Trees, while the Moxx of Balhoon wasn’t too successful – but those spider probe thingies were very well done.

“Perhaps a man enjoys trouble when there’s nothing else left.” Ooh. A hit. A veritable hit. Although … the Doctor’s always enjoyed trouble. Kinda (hee) blows that theory. But this scene was very well played indeed: we didn’t know anything about the new Doctor, even that there was anything new to know. (Like I wondered with “Rose”, was this a new regeneration? Was the 8th Doctor the one who fought in the Time War? And doesn’t seem to have acquitted himself too well – wouldn’t be surprised.) This is the first we learn of anything momentous having happened – and it’s huge. Jabe (Yasmin Bannerman)’s shock at her discovery that he’s a Time Lord; her empathy for him bringing a tear to just glint at the rim of his eyelid without ever being allowed to escape… Well played, both. Well written.

“Tainted Love”. My goodness. I still think of this episode when I hear it. And merciful heavens, Britney Spears – never thought I’d see the day these two worlds would collide…

“Where’m I gonna go? Ipswich?”

Good grief – Cassandra was played by Zoë Wanamaker? Huh! I’d no idea. Wikipedia: “…Lady Cassandra O’Brien Dot Delta Seventeen, simply a face on a large piece of skin that must be continually moisturized, mounted on a frame with her brain in a jar below it” – it was? Yes, I am indeed unobservant… Well, I guess it had to be somewhere.

The scene at the end was an excellent distillation of The Doctor Is Different: Cassandra, the (spoiler!) one responsible for several deaths and the attempted murders of everyone else on the station (homicides at least), is drying out, dying. Rose, who could not stand the creature, can’t stand by and watch her shrivel up.

“Help her.”
“Everything has its time and everything dies.” And she, basically, explodes.

“You’ve seen how dangerous it is. Do you want to go home?”
“I don’t know. I want …” is distracted “Can you smell chips?”
(laughing) “Yeah… yeah!”
“I want chips!”
“Me too!”

No, thanks. No chips for me.

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