Saturday, December 29, 2007

Series 4 Preview

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Voyage of the Darned

Face it, despite the imagery of heaven and hell, gods, devils and messiahs, this years Christmas special lacked the real epic danger you feel with good story telling to warrant being compared to escaping damnation. No, the campy formulaic story was much more like a voyage of the darned. There is a great review of the Christmas special that I think captures what the episode was lacking at Behind the Sofa.

With that said, there were some good moments to the episode, but most of it was due to David Tennant’s solid performance as the Doctor that we have come to expect. This got me thinking, as someone who really wanted to see the Christmas episode and had to go out of my way to try and watch it in the US, I wonder how much this Christmas Special was just produced on automatic pilot? Knowing that after a few months without Doctor Who, as we anxiously await the next season/series, perhaps the Doctor Who production team believes that we are so starving for the Doctor that we will accept sub par stories during what would otherwise be down time.

I think RTD has done a good job over all and reviving the Doctor Who franchise, though I definitely don’t think that the 2007 Christmas special reflects the best of RTD’s vision for Doctor Who. I just think that it would be far too easy to lean on Tennant’s performance to try and pull off cardboard heroics of generic plots. You might be able to get away with this from time to time but it is not sustainable in the long run and not the same kind of story quality that drew us back to the Doctor a few years ago.

I can lived with a Voyage of the Darned on occasion, even just enjoy it as a cheesy popcorn adventure, but I do expect more from series four and hope that “specials” they will be producing in lieu of a hiatus from the show in 2009 will have a quality to them that will stand alone rather than just trying to tide us over to series five. I don’t think any of these specials (Christmas or otherwise) should just be stories that tied as over like a cheap appetizer- they should be made to stand alone as a quality feature that meets and maybe even occasionally exceeds what we have come to expect from the best of the TV series.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doctor Who Comic Book Preview

The Doctor is coming to the great form of story telling that is told through sequential art and words balloons in January; in other words comic books. Let’s hope for long a successful run of stories. You can check out a preview of the comic HERE.

I think the art looks good, but they do not seem to be able to consistently draw Tennant in a way that is always true to his actual likeness. Some of the frames they have him nailed and others he looks like a 13 year old. Maybe he is hard to draw. Anyway, I am looking forward to checking out the book in January.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Next Time: is to long off for U.S.

Ok, all I want for Christmas is for someone in the UK to record Voyage of the Damned and send it to me in the U.S. in time for the New Year. I don’t even care about quality because I will buy it when it is available; but I just can’t wait till NEXT Christmas to see it when it finally airs in the United States.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WHO Knew? Doomsday wasn’t the end

With the news of Rose’s return there has been a lot of talk about the Doomsday episode where Rose was (supposedly) lost in a parallel world and never able to be reunited with the Doctor. One of things I have heard often is that the Doomsday episode is somehow ruined and tarnished itself because Rose is coming back.
While I am skeptical of Rose’s return being a good idea, even though I love her character, I would have to disagree that her return would “ruin” the Doomsday episode itself. Yes, her return could ruin Rose’s chance to have the perfect departure from the show because I think the departure of Rose in Doomsday is going to be hard to top. But I don’t think that Doomsday itself looses any of its dramatic effect as a good story itself. Yes, some of the emotional sting is taken away if you’re watching it now and you know Rose will return, but of course if you know what will happed later on in a story or series it will ruin some of the emotional impact. Also the characters during the Doomsday episode don’t know that this isn’t the end and Tennant’s and Piper’s performances are very convincing.

Another complaint I am hearing is that somehow Rose’s return undermines the integrity of the Doomsday story because in that story we were told that it was “impossible” to travel back and forth from parallel worlds. What I find interesting is that in the Doomsday story the term “impossible” certainly had lots of qualifications. The Doctor told Mickey that traveling between parallel worlds used to “be easy” and you could “just drop in for a cup of tea whenever you wanted.” So, I don’t think Rose’s return jeopardizes the integrity of the Doomsday story because in that same story we are told that traveling between parallel worlds ranges from “impossible” to “easy” depending on other factors and circumstances. The other factor we are told is the existence of the Time Lords, so if they return in what I hope will be part of the over all story arc of season 4 then Rose’s return becomes easily accepted as having continuity with what we learned from Doomsday.

It was very clear to me even when I first saw Doomsday way back that the writers left themselves an out to escape the “impossibility” they created in the Doomsday storyline just in case they wanted to bring Rose back. My only hope is that the story they come up with for her return is as epic as her departure. I think having good stories are more important than just having Rose back, and regardless of what happens next (I am hoping for the best) Doomsday was a good story.

I love this youtube video set to Pink’s song Who Knew because it captures the storyline of season 2 extremely well including the emotional impact of Doomsday. My wife can’t watch it because it makes her too sad, but there is a line of hope in the song that get sprinkled in; “until we meet again”. I think that may be one of the reasons why so many of us loved the story line to begin with even though it was extremely sad, because even if we did not pick up on it or really think Rose would actually return the story always had seeds of hope.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Three’s a Crowd?

With the return of Rose, certainly being the focus of the story line, the question becomes if there is enough room in the Tardis for all three companions of Rose, Martha, and Donna. OK, the Tardis is infinitely large on the inside, so clearly there is enough room in there; but is there enough room in the length of an episode (even a two-parter) to have all these characters play an important part?

Rose clearly has fans, and Martha has her fair share of fans as well. Donna’s character is not as well liked so far, but Catherine Tate who plays her is very well liked and we will get a better taste of what she is like as the Doctor’s companion after series 4 begins. Donna’s popularity as a companion could very well grow before Rose returns. But with all three characters on the show at the same time it is very likely that at least one of these character are not going to have enough to do.

The question is who will fade to the background during these episodes and what companion out of the three will ultimately outlast the others? If Billie Piper wants to stay on past this season it will likely be her, but if Rose does not remain as a main character at least for the three specials following series 4 will Martha’s or Donna’s characters continue to be expanded?

Or… Since Kylie Minogue is rumored to want to return to Doctor Who in the future too, maybe there would be room for FOUR women traveling with the Doctor. Speaking of Kylie the band Fast Ood Rockers has released a very “Doctorin’ the Tardis” like song called “Song 4 Kylie: ...I'm In Love (With A Girl In A Time Machine)”. You can listen to it by clicking the play button to the right!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Look WHO’s back!

Well, it’s a good thing I said in my last post that I only “partly” hoped that the rumors about Rose’s return are not true, because BBC has just confirmed that Billie Piper will return as Rose Tyler in series four of Doctor Who. Like I said before, I really like Rose’s character, my only concern was that I felt that with the romantic affection Rose and the Doctor had for one another, especially so expressed, that there may not be anywhere for these characters to go.

It seems to me that there are only a few options. They could advance the relationship, but I have a hard time believing this would be the direction the show would go. They could end the relationship, or at least the romantic aspect of it. The problem with this is like many fans I actually liked the romantic and sexual tension between the characters, so it would be disappointing to see it end. And if it does end, what would be the point of bringing the character back? Another option is that it could end in tragedy, but I thought the last exit of Rose was tragic enough and at least had a silver and hopeful lining. I am not sure they could credibly repeat another exit of the character like that when Billie leaves the show again.

I suppose the only other option would be to have it so she could not travel with or see the Doctor all the time. I kind of have a sneaking suspicion that her return could be linked to the return of the Time Lords and Gallifrey. If you remember it was said that it was only when the rest of the Time Lords were around that traveling between parallel words was possible. So it seems reasonable that it may take the return of the Time Lords to bring Rose back from the parallel word she was stuck in. I also think that if Russell T Davies is considering wrapping up his tenure as producer of Doctor Who that he may also want to wrap up a story line that was clearly and uniquely his- the story of the “Last of the Time Lords.” So I can see Davies ending that story line and leaving the Doctor in a universe with other Time Lords again for the next producer to take on. Anyway, perhaps in a story line like this one Rose (who was becoming an equal and peer with the Doctor anyway) would be needed in some way to continue working with the Time Lords. Perhaps this might even put her somewhat at odd with the one she loves as the Doctor again becomes somewhat of a renegade among the Time Lords.

Ok, perhaps that is a crazy idea, but that is how I would handle it. But all we can do now is wait and see how the producers and writers handle Rose’s return and where it will go. As a fan I have to admit I am a bit leery of the idea of Rose’s return, but the production of the show since Doctor Who was returned to television has proven to be innovative and creative and makes use of a lot of extremely talented people. At this point I will just have to put my hope in their proven track record, and sit back and enjoy the ride. Welcome back Rose!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Doctor Who Season 5 Companions

Ok this is more of my wish list for season 5 companions, it would be my wish list for season 4 but I know that season 4 is already in the works. The Doctor’s companions are a very important part of the story telling in Doctor Who, and this has never been more true since the re-launch when we met Rose. I like Rose, I miss her character, but now that she is gone I really don’t want her to come back; so I partly hope that the rumors about her return are not true. I just think with the romantic tensions between her and the Doctor, especially with them so expressed, that there really is no where for these characters to go. The only two options would be to advanced their relationship further or end it; and I don’t think I like either options.

Ultimately, the Doctor needs to have companions that best can help tell the kind of stories you want to tell. This is one reason why I am looking forward to the Donna Noble character returning because it is a move away from the on going story line for the companions where they are “in love” with the Doctor like Rose and Martha. Hopefully Donna will add a dimension we have not seen a lot of when relating to the Doctor and allow the show’s writers and producers to tell some stories that would not have worked as well with Martha or Rose. Though I suspect Martha will be a much different character when she returns mid 4th season so that should be interesting too.

With all that said, the characters I would really like to see traveling with the Doctor for a season or so are Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale from the episode “Blink”. I have heard a lot from fans about a desire to see Sally Sparrow again, the performance Carey Mulligan was extremely good in “Blink”. Face it, the Doctor only appeared in like 5 minutes of the episode so Mulligan’s performance had to carry the whole story line; and not only did she carry the episode but it is probably one of the best episodes since Doctor Who returned to television. But, I would also like to see Finlay Robertson return as her boyfriend Larry Nightingale. I thought his chemistry was good with Carey Mulligan and he is a male character, besides the Doctor, that I think fans could relate to.

I also like the idea of having two companions, I think it adds more opportunity to build character dynamics. This is one reason why I enjoyed Captain Jack in season 1 and 3; he provided another really likable character for the other two to play off of and this added a lot. In addition to this because Sparrow and Nightingale are a couple it would move the story lines away from the romantic tensions we have seen so far in the first three seasons between the Doctor and his companions. Again, I really liked the romantic tensions, but we have already seen these stories and the stories need to at least take a break from this idea or they will loose their effectiveness. This is not to say that Larry could not feel threatened by the Doctor as competition for his girlfriend, even if there was absolutely nothing going on between the Doctor and Sally. Or, you could even have Sally feeling slightly left out when Larry and the Doctor get all excited about tech geeks stuff. Perhaps the Doctor would partly try to live vicariously through the love and relationship of Sally and Larry after resigning himself the fact that he can not live that kind of life. I am sure there are all kinds of angles the writers could explore between the dynamics of these three characters.

Anyway, I would really love to see Sally Sparrow and Larry Nightingale travel with the Doctor for a time. They are established and proven characters that would give the Doctor something different to relate to since the re-launch of the show. I just don’t want to see the Doctor with another young female companion where there are romantic tensions; they have already told that story, and told it well. I really do think Sally and Larry are strong characters that would help keep moving the show in new directions. Doctor Who is too good of a show to start rehashing its newest innovations so soon; when it comes to the companions I want to see something we haven’t seen yet in the new Doctor Who and I think that Carey Mulligan and Finlay Robertson can give it to us.

Oh last thing... Don't Blink!

Friday, November 23, 2007

44th Anniversary of Doctor Who

TimeWarden has reminded me that today is the 44th anniversary of Doctor Who! Doctor Who first appeared on BBC television at 5:15 pm (GMT) on 23 November 1963, staring William Hartnell as the Doctor. And so began the adventures of our favorite hero traveling through time in a blue Police Box with his companions battling for good against such evil foes such as the Daleks and Cybermen!
Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Time Crash

Monday, November 5, 2007

five and dime regeneration

According to BBC’s Doctor Who website, “David Tennant's Tenth Doctor is set to meet Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor in a special scene commissioned for BBC One's Children in Need. The scene, entitled Time Crash, was written by award winning Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat, and will transmit as part of the Children in Need fundraising evening on Friday 16 November 2007.”

Peter Davison said, "It is an honor for me to be able to make the connection between the Fifth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor, however… I can feel the hand of history on my shoulder.” Looking at the promo picture on the BBC website we are reminded that Davison has not played the Doctor since 1984. He is now 56 years old but when he took the role as the Doctor in 1981 he was the youngest actor to have ever played the part at 29.

I am glad they are doing this television short for the Children in Need charity. I think this is a great medium to have a short fun story about the fifth and tenth Doctor meeting rather than trying to do something like this in a regular episode.