Sunday, May 21, 2006

Doctor, Doctor!

I've been neglecting to update this thing for a few days again, haven't I? Tsk. I know how you all hang on my every word and wait breathlessly for my next entry.

I haven't been doing anything terribly interesting, though. The most exciting thing I did this week, in fact, was getting together with some friends yesterday for a barbecue/Doctor Who marathon. It's kind of surprising to me just how much my social life currently revolves around Doctor Who...

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? It's actually not remotely surprising at all.

I am a bit surprised, though (as well as highly gratified) by how successful the show's revival has been, and not just in the UK but now in the US as well. I don't think the ratings have exactly been stellar here, but it does seem to have penetrated the US consciousness in interesting ways. A friend of mine bought a toy Dalek in Hastings the other day. For some reason, this just sort of blows me away. I'm used to having to mail-order my Doctor Who toys.

And I know lots of people who are watching it, including people who were never huge fans of the original series and whose interest I find mildly surprising. Heck, my dad called me up a couple of days ago lamenting that, because he'd been in the process of moving, he'd missed the end of the last 2-parter that aired on Sci-Fi and was desperate to know how it ended. (Hey, Dad, if you're reading this -- which you probably aren't if your DSL still isn't hooked up -- a disc will be making its way to you tomorrow. Let no one say I am not a good and dutiful daughter!)

By the way, you people watching on Sci-Fi in the US, hold on to your hats. You've got some very cool stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks!

The episodes I've been watching lately, though, are the current episodes obtained from the UK. I have no idea when and if Sci-Fi is planning on showing them, but I really hope they do.

In the meantime, I present my own brief opinions -- I hesitate to call them "reviews" -- of the season 2 (aka season 28) episodes thus far. (Note: non-spoilery for anything not given away in the scenes-from-next-week trailers.)

"The Christmas Invasion" (which is not technically part of the 2nd season, but I don't care): I love David Tennant more every second that he's on the screen. Rose annoys me a bit, but on repeated viewings I mostly forgive her. I'm not sure if the plot makes more or less sense the more you think about it, so mostly I don't. And I have something of a love-hate relationship with the ending. Bonus points to the whole thing for traumatizing small children on Christmas.

"New Earth": The plot is painfully nonsensical, but the humor and the entertaining quality of the acting goes quite a way towards making up for it.

"Tooth and Claw": The plot makes, well, slightly more sense than the previous week, but that isn't saying very much. The FX are cool, the werewolf is creepy, and Queen Victoria kind of rocks, but somehow the whole thing never adds up to much. Also, the interaction between Rose and the Doctor is definitely starting to annoy me by this point.

"School Reunion": Now that's more like it. It's wonderful to see old friends again, and they're very well-served by the story. Anthony Stewart Head makes a nicely malevolent bad guy. Some good emotional moments and some good humorous ones. Admittedly, Rose is being annoying again, but if I make an effort to see things from her perspective, I can sort of understand why.

"The Girl in the Fireplace": This episode has everything. I mean it. Every freaking thing. It's funny, it's sad, it's creepy, it's exciting. It's SF, it's horror, it's historical fiction, it's romance. It's caused huge amounts of fannish controversy, which is always entertaining. And it's pretty. I've seen it, like, five times now and I'm still not tired of it.

"Rise of the Cybermen"/"Age of Steel": A very, very Old School-style two-parter. Which is actually kind of fun to see after the serious New-School character drama stuff of the last couple of episodes, but, eh. Mickey is lovely and the new Cyberman look pretty cool when they're marching around, but for what was clearly intended as a fairly important episode it failed to make a great deal of an impression on me. I was entertained while I was watching it, but found myself forgetting most of it as soon as it was over.

And that's as far as we've gotten. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the season, though. And lest some of those comments seem a bit too critical, I should mention that despite any and all flaws, I am enjoying the hell out of this show, and am loving it with the deep fannish love. I'm seriously hoping we can go another 25 years before it goes off the air again.

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