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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Two Entries In One
Have I mentioned how much I've been enjoying the new Doctor Who series? I was planning on waiting until the end of the run before I tried to talk about it at length, but there are a couple of things I wanted to say, and frankly I'm tired of waiting.
First of all, companions. Billie Piper's Rose Tyler has been an excellent companion, more in the tradition of the competent companions like Sarah, Leelah or Ace than the dreaded Peri. She does occasionally need to be rescued as a result of her own actions, most notably from a balloon over London during the Blitz, but she more than gets back her own. She can save the day herself when need be, and she certainly shows far more initiative than most of the other companions the Doctor has had over the years. I'm also really enjoying the newest companion, John Barrowman's tri-sexual (men, women and aliens) Captain Jack Harkness. Some people out there are probably upset that the first companion to overtly flirt with the Doctor is male, but I love it.
And Christopher Eccleston's Doctor has rapidly become one of my favorites. He's insufferable and childish and temperamental, but compassionate and kind as well. He captures the contradictory personality traits that bring home just how alien the Doctor really is. It was quite shocking, as a long-time fan of the show, to see the Doctor's venom and hatred for the Daleks portrayed so emphatically in the episode "Dalek," in which the Doctor comes face to face with what he believes to be the last surviving Dalek. One of the most chilling, and frighteningly accurate lines of the series was spoken to the Doctor in that episode: "You would make a good Dalek."
The writing on the series has been excellent as well. So far only one script has really not worked for me, "The Long Game." Trying to wring some sinister effects out of media manipulation and giant bugs...just didn't work for me. But the two parter set during World War II, "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," was a fantastically well-written and genuinely creepy horror story, which even managed to inject a nice bit of subtextual commentary on sexual attitudes into the story. And the writers, in deference to the changing nature of television writing, have managed to insert a nice through-line for the series, contrasting the Doctor's isolation and essential loneliness with stories that keep coming back around to (in a vaguely Republican way) the importance and value of families. This season did something I don't recall any episode of Doctor Who ever doing; dealing with the consequences of the fact that the Doctor basically abducts people. In "Aliens of London" the Doctor means to take Rose home twelve hours after they left, but makes it twelve months instead, to discover that Rose's mother has been going insane with worry and that her ex-boyfriend, Mickey, has been under suspicion for her disappearance. It's a concept that's both amusing and a bit shocking, and further emphasizes the Doctor's alien nature; it simply never occurs to him that his companions leave people who care about them behind.
"In-story" sites: Who is Doctor Who: learn all about the alien menace in our midst Geocomtex, reverse-engineering illegal alien technology for a better future. The U.N.I.T. Homepage (hint for the secure log-in: it's been following the Doctor around all season...) Bad Wolf: who, or what, is the Bad Wolf.
There, now that I've gotten that out of my system, and while I'm still in a cryptic mood, and since I'm going to be mailing off my latest batch of Mix CDs for the most recent Mixed Bad Exchange, and since my track-listing is deliberately misleading (see, cryptic), here's some hints about what's on the disc.
"It's no pleasure" The most heterosexual song ever Remixed cartoon theme song Why tv actors shouldn't sing, part 1 Girl garage band singing a cover song An object lesson in double-checking your track listings before printing them out...I have MP3s from two artists last name: Moore, first initial: A. I decided against putting the track from the comic writer on this disc because I figured too many people would have heard it. But I was still thinking of that track when I wrote up the track listing to print out. So, it's the right song title, but the wrong artist...hence, many of you get a hand-written correction on your discs. "Time is running out" A cover of a song I put on my last disc Another heavily re-written cover by a long-lived novelty act Why tv actors shouldn't sing, part 2 "Buzz's bitch, that's what I want to be" Freudian symbolism as seduction technique A song that will make those of you who liked Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol happy "the king of the Potato People won't let me" A song by one of the performers on Mike's latest disc, because we are both evil The song that dares you to listen to it "Dykes on the other hand are evil" A song that sounds dirty, but isn't Why tv actors shouldn't sing, part 3 The song that would have made the remake of this movie 1000% better than it was "Are you ready for your Mystery Date" A song about a cowboy A song that sounds dirty, and is The song that will make you ask, "What the hell is wrong with Tony Randall?" "What's the peculiar noise" He should have stuck to Spock A song by a performer that's already appeared on one of the Wave 2 discs The song that's only on here for the benefit of Fred Hembeck Milton Berle spectacularly failing to be funny Don't worry, they are here to protect us "You never f*cking know the answer when it's important" A song from the same television show referenced in an earlier track Don't worry, it's only the apocalypse The Doctor gets the final word