Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The British Are Coming!

Independence Day may be just around the corner, but come July 6th, the British will be back! Yes, that's right, Doctor Who starts back up on the Sci Fi Channel this Friday! For those of my fellow Americans who've had the patience (or suffered under enough technical limitations) to wait instead of obtaining this season's episodes by swifter, albeit more legally dubious, means, let me just say that you have a hell of an interesting (if perhaps slightly bumpy) ride ahead of you.

And, I must admit, I'm sort of chuckling evilly, because I find myself thinking that I could tell you stuff that happens, quote you lines of dialog, describe certain images that, while out of context, would be the absolute, literal truth of what's on the screen, and you would be absolutely certain I was making shit up. But I'm not going to do that, of course... If the rest of the internet hasn't spoiled you already, there's no way I'm going to do it here.

9 comments:

  1. Oh yes. Definitely watch these. If you are at all able, watch these episodes.

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  2. DVR primed and ready to go

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  3. The first season piqued my interest, but I think the third turned me into a real convert. I still have trouble with the dated effects and hokey acting in some (or maybe a lot) of the "classic" series, but I really don't think I'll be able to entertain the idea that Doctor Who isn't cool anymore.

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  4. I often find the bad FX to be part of the classic series' charm (and have discovered, quite recently, that I'm actually rather happier with a goofy rubber monster than I am with a poorly-done CGI). But, yeah, some of the acting was just plain bad.

    The thing about Doctor Who, though, is that there's something about it, some sensibility, some weird chemistry that completely transcends the hokeyness and the cheese and the unconvincing plots and everything else, something that means that what you come away from it with when you're done watching is often better and more satisfying than what was actually on the screen. There's a kind of magic buried in among all the bad science and endless running-down-corridors that just burrows into your heart and mind and stays with you. And either you get that or you don't. There really isn't any explaining it, not in a way that's going to convince anybody who isn't already converted.

    Anyway. Welcome to the fold. :)

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  5. Finally!

    I remember the original series FX and thought it was kind of hokey, but that was part of the fun.

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  6. That's all true, and I can forgive a lot of the hokeyness because it sometimes is part of the fun -- or because I recognize the realities of what was available to them at the time. Decades-old graphics shot on video with whomever was handy from central sasting to act against them...well, that could turn out hokey no matter what you do.

    One of the things I really loved about this third new season was that it seemed to combine the best of both worlds: better production values and acting (i.e. more money) of today with the weird anything-goes mentality of the past.

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  7. I sometimes think that a basement-level production budget is good for an SF series... It means you have no choice but to emphasize things like good scripts, instead of relying on slick eye-candy visuals. And when you know the full details of some of the limitations the production teams faced, some of the results are damned impressive. The very earliest episodes, back in the 60's were almost performed live; actors were generally given only one take and no second chance if something went a bit wrong. And yet some of them still manage to be surprisingly high-quality television. ("The Aztecs," for example, is just plain good.)

    And, yes... One of my main worries when the new series was first annoucned was whether anything done with a modern sensibility and a decent budget would still manage to capture the spirit of the show. But, while I can quibble over any number of specific things, overall there's no doubt in my mind that the answer to that is "yes."

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  8. I sometimes think that a basement-level production budget is good for an SF series

    Possibly my favourite SF film is "Dark Star", which I believe John Carpenter made on a budget of about 10 cents. (I exaggerate slightly, but ISTR that it was something ridiculously small like $35,000.)

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  9. I saw that one ages and ages ago, but barely remember it. I ought to rent it sometime.

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