Joe lended me (yeah, I said lended) the complete first season of the new Dr Who (Christopher Eccleson), which I am now going to talk about. I like Dr Who. My favourite doctor is probably the first one. I don’t know why. It’s probably not rational. I remember watching them very early in the morning when I was…probably late teens. I also remember seeing the lighthouse one with Tom Baker like three times, which given that at the time I’d probably seen about a dozen episodes altogether is weird.
Certainly the new series (I haven’t seen any with David Tennant) is pretty good. Not great. Better than what I could do. Very few episodes have really engaged me. The writing is peppered with good ideas but is often sloppy. I could give examples but you probably don’t care. I like Eccleson’s performance well enough. I don’t care for Rose or any of the other regulars. I understand why they made most stories only an hour but I liked the old seasons where the stories were spread out over 5 half hour episodes. I like time travel stories, but unfortunately Dr Who doesn’t deal very often with the paradoxes that are, to me, the interesting bits of time travel stories. The one where Rose saved her dad was closest to the kind of time travel stories I like, but it was so washed out and off kilter that it didn’t thrill me. Dr Who can sometimes be like Harry Potter and Star Trek. You are often presented with a puzzle but there is no way you the viewer can figure it all out because the solution is in fantastic technobabble that only the writer is familiar with. I am thinking of the first Captain Jack episode with the nanoids. Sure, you may have made the connection between the little boy and the nanoids (I did juuuuust before they revealed it), but the explanation about the boy talking through speakers was explained with some throwaway make-em-ups at the end of the episode. Sloppy.
However, I am now watching the one where they go back to the present and capture the last slitheen who is mayor of Cardiff–it is probably my favourite episode (close in rank to the one with the ‘last dalek’) to take her back to her planet where she’ll be executed. I haven’t finished it yet so they could still ruin it, but the whole bit with the moral dilemma and the dialogue with the alien and the doctor over dinner in a restaurant is well done and very engaging. I love epic sci fi, but I’m glad the writers took time to explore the characters that was more than “I’m the doctor and I am wise but I’m threatened by anyone that Rose likes” or “I’m Rose and why doesn’t the universe work the way I think it should and also I don’t like responsibility.” I want to see more of the characters sitting down and talking so that when they’re running away from monsters I actually care whether or not they get away. So here’s hoping for more good episodes.