Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nice One, Doctor!

While there was a time when I'd hide behind the couch with the best of them, I found the appeal of Doctor Who waning at some point after the Key to Time was retrieved (the latter stages of the Tom Baker era, I think). I finally stopped watching when Colin Baker mangled the persona.

I had a brief check on the new series when it started, but felt the slightly manic Chris Eccleston was a bit too slapstick for my taste (staid Jon Pertwee fan that I was!)

If I thought Eccleston manic, the performance was nothing compared to David Tennant. Yet, somehow, I've found Tennant's portrayal of the Gallifreyan drifter has been growing on me!

The plots have been improving over the last series (#3), too, with interesting premises being explored in 'Human Nature/Family of Blood', a truly imaginative adversary and bit of time travel problem solving in 'Blink' (which gets my vote for 'best ever'), and finally, the grand Master revival finale.

An underlying theme of this series has been the increased level of support from companions Rose and Martha. It reached its climax with the Doctor thwarting the Master's wicked plot by restoring himself with the psychic energy provided by the mass populace of Earth that was channelled through a network set up over the preceding year by Martha.

OK, so it's a hokey bit of taradiddle! But dig a little. Have a look at the memes underlying the plot:
  • citizen empowerment
  • humanity cowed by aliens which turn out to be humanity's own decadent descendents (You would weep, Doctor, if you knew who they were!').
  • the Doctor's ecstatic pronouncement on his revivification: 'How can you call humans decadent when they're capable of *this*?'
  • a notable lack of what has been an emblematic facial feature of past incarnations of the Master (played here with barking enthusiasm by John Simm)? A feature whose absence immediately draws attention, thereby inviting comparison with another set of global terrorists.
  • the Doctor wanting to say one thing to the Master: 'I forgive you'
  • the Doctor trying to stop Martha's mother from killing the master by saying 'you're better than him'
I may be reading far too much into this, but it suggests to me that there is an air of receptiveness to an alternative to the catastrophic warmongering and erosion of fundamental liberties that's been the approach to terrorism for the last six years!

The Doctor always did eschew violence.


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