Friday, June 22, 2007

Guh!

I watched last weekend's episode of Doctor Who approximately five hours ago, and I am still too keyed up over it to sleep. Possibly there really is a point at which my obsessions become unhealthy. Not that I can bring myself to care.

(Damn it. I may just have to go and watch it again. So hard to resist...)

20 comments:

  1. Not being overly familiar with the history of the characters, I can't really speak to that. But I can understand how there'd be a lot for old-time Whovians to geek out on here.

    I liked the episode, mostly. I think it coasts by on really nice performances by Derek Jacobi and John Barrowman (whose spinoff, Torchwood, I've found pretty disappointing in the few eps I've seen, but still). It definitely felt like the first of a three-parter, and I'm worried it's maybe going into too obvious territory from here on. It wasn't, for instance, quite as wow as "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood" or "Blink" were for me. But, then, it would be tough for anything to be. And I still liked this episode. I'm really looking forward to the next one -- which, really, is all one can ask, right?

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  2. [Note: I'm making a point of being vague about the serious spoilers here, but people who haven't seen the episode may want to consider skipping this anyway.]

    Yeah, I imagine this is definitely one that's likely to evoke a very different reaction depending on whether you're a fan of Old School Who or not. (I'm actually a little curious as to what a new viewer might make of it, to be honest.) The "guh!" is definitely an Old School Fan reaction, but, believe me, it's an extremely well-earned one.

    Jacobi's performance is perfect. At absolutely every point. And I did love Jack. I much prefer him on Doctor Who than on Torchwood, and he's definitely back on DW form here.

    "Family of Blood," I'm slightly embarrassed to say, made me cry. And after "Blink" I was walking around for a couple of hours going, "Wow, that was cool." But, incredibly hardcore Who nerd that I am, this one appears to have given me some kind of fangasm, and I'm still walking around 24 hours later going "guh!" As someone pointed out to me during one of the inevitable episode discussions I was having somewhere on the net, "Blink" achieves its effect with plot, and this one does it with character. The fact that that they're able to do that sort of thing to viewers in two different ways too episodes in a row is impressive as hell. When you factor in "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood" what we have here may just be something like the best season of Doctor Who ever, and that's definitely not something I thought I'd be saying when it started.

    I am so psyched for the next ep. Sure, it's not too difficult to guess where the plot is going to go, or even how the cliffhanger is likely to be resolved, but if it delivers the character stuff, I don't care. Guh!

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  3. I'm not sure about the best season ever, but it's certainly the best of the three "new Who" seasons. It's very encouraging that they've managed to turn it around, when the second season had been inferior to the first. (Though part of that may have been that the first season was the first season after about twenty years absence (discounting the TVM), so that almost anything would have been welcomed with open arms by most old Whovians.)

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  4. There might be a few other contenders for Best Season Ever, but IMHO this one's definitely strongly in the running. Of course, it's hard to have a sense of perspective when you're still in the middle of it. We'll see how I feel about it a few years down the road. I am finding that the Eccleston episodes are losing a bit of their initial gleeful sheen in my memory, so there probably is something to the idea that they gained something from the sheer fact that they were the first new televised Who in ages. But even so, I still think they were high-quality stuff, and I don't think "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," say, is ever going to quite be displaced from my list of favorite episodes.

    As for turning it around this season, I think the change of companion helped immensely. As I know I've said before, I really do think Tennant's Doctor and Rose were a serious character mismatch. She worked much, much better with Nine.

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  5. I think it's also helped that RTD seems to have improved as a writer, since he writes such a substantial portion of each season himself. The pacing of his episodes has been better, there's been less mistaking of silliness for humour, and his plots haven't seemed so much like an afterthought tacked on to the characters exchange of snappy dialogue and emoting.

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  6. True on all counts, I think. I don't even mind plots being slight as long as they're not actively stupid. If he can avoid a repeat of "New Earth" on that score, he's I'll be happy. :)

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  7. I want it! I want it!

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  8. I am finding that the Eccleston episodes are losing a bit of their initial gleeful sheen in my memory...

    Having recently started to re-watch them again, I think I can attest to that. The episodes are still great fun, brilliant even, but probably not so perfect that everything else pales in comparison. I'm looking forward to giving the second season another re-appraisal in its entirety, too.

    I think I've mentioned this, but I'd had very little exposure to Doctor Who before the recent series revival -- the Paul McGann movie and The Five Doctors were it -- so Eccleston's version was essentially my first Doctor. He was for me the gold standard against which all others were judged. So I was a little iffy on Tennant at the start, but he's definitely grown on me, as I think he's grown into the role considerably.

    I think the high points in this season have been just as high (if not sometimes higher) as those in season 1, while the low points have nowhere as low as those in season 2.

    I am curious, though: beyond (or, rather, previous to) these 3 new seasons, which would you consider the other contenders for "Best Season Ever"?

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  9. Dad: You must see it! You must!

    And I can't wait for Kathy to see it, either. I keep wanting to call her up on the phone and go, "Oh my god, did you see what happened?"

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  10. Fred: Having Eccleston as your prototypical Doctor (as I think many people do these days) has to be an interesting position to be in, because to my mind he is in many ways highly atypical. He's utterly brilliant, and totally Doctor-ish in the ways that really count, but I don't think there's ever been a Doctor quite like him. Tennant, on the other hand, has echoes of several previous Doctors in him. Although he's sort of an amped-up version of them, really. :)

    As for the Best Season Ever candidates... Oh, man. Let's see... Season 26 (the last season of the original show) is definitely in the running. Season 20 impresses the hell out of me. Season 21 would have a fair shot at it if it didn't follow "The Caves of Androzani" (the Fifth Doctor's final episode and one of the all-time best eps) with an episode dreadful beyond the telling of it. (I'll say this for the new show. It's never yet given us a "Twin Dilemma.") And the Tom Baker years are full of top-notch stuff. Season 14, at the very least, is firmly in the running.

    It should be noted, however, that that's a very personal list. There are doubtless Who fans out there who'd look at it and declare me out of my mind. :)

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  11. Also: I have now seen the next episode and am still going "guh!" a lot. :)

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  12. Yeah. It managed to be completely different from the episode before it and still pretty terrfic. I hate that I have to wait a week to see the next one.

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  13. Me, too. And if they leave this season on a cliffhanger -- or even anything remotely resembling a cliffhanger -- I don't think I'm going to be able to deal. :)

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  14. It occurs to me that, while the first season taught me to really love that particular show, this season is teaching me to really love Doctor Who in general -- if not yet in the particulars of the old episodes that I largely haven't seen, then certainly in the unique catch-all exciting weirdness of the character and what the show can do. What I mean to say is that Eccleston's Doctor made me think, "This is really great television!" Tennant's makes me think, "Wow, there's so many cool things you can do with this character!" (While also being really great television.) I don't know if that makes any sense, but these past eps have really made me want to look into the previous Doctors more than ever before.

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  15. That does, indeed, make absolutely perfect sense to me. And as someone who's been in love with the show for ages, I have to say, it rather warms my heart. :)

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  16. "And I can't wait for Kathy to see it, either. I keep wanting to call her up on the phone and go, "Oh my god, did you see what happened?"

    Would that be payback for my little phone call from London. Which was negated since you watched the episode the next day, you just weren't in London at the time.

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  17. Heh. It was actually just the literal truth. :)

    And you know, IMHO, the one you caught happened to be the weakest one in the current rather freaking amazing run of episodes... :)

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  18. "And you know, IMHO, the one you caught happened to be the weakest one in the current rather freaking amazing run of episodes... :)"

    Typical :)

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  19. "As for turning it around this season, I think the change of companion helped immensely. As I know I've said before, I really do think Tennant's Doctor and Rose were a serious character mismatch. She worked much, much better with Nine."

    Eccleston had that very serious undertone to his manic exterior, which contrasted well with Rose's lightness. Tennant's Doctor has a serious overtone that is often displaced by a genuine buoyancy within the actor himself. People have talked about his dark side, how unforgiving he is, but I still find him much lighter than Doc. 9.
    I liked Rose with 9, but am glad she is no longer with 10.

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  20. Yeah, the way I see it, #9 really needed someone to lighten him up a bit. #10 needed someone to bring him down to Earth (erm, so to speak).

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