The Doctor (continued)…

January 3, 2009

Sorry about the delay in posting. I’ve just deposited Meredith back onto the platform in Poughkeepsie to return to Westcester. We had a lovely time for the less than two day trip she came for. As promised we put on a lengthy and diverse marathon of Dr. Who episodes. For Meredith, this show has been a growing obsession since late high school. For myself, as I have said, I just discovered the show and its star within the past year. Combining her extreme knowledge of the show and my interest in all british television, we likely viewed 15 episodes of various seasons. I now understand the relationship between Rose and the Doctor, Martha and the Doctor, and Donna and the Doctor; the ending two episodes of each series revealed much of the depth of these characters and their storylines.

I must admit, I had been watching the show on BBC America for several weeks now, hoping to catch the Doctor bug and embrace a new show. Yet, with every episode I watched, I never found the series particular gripping, neither in humor nor plot. Each episode was an independent entity, it seemed, but I was always missing some aspect of the plot. Now that I understand much of the back story, it all makes much more sense, making the Dr. Who experience much more rich.

Moments I particularly enjoyed from jumping around series 2 through 4 were:

  • The writing of Steven Moffat. I’d always enjoyed his creation of and writing for Coupling, which has provided me endless laughter since I discovered it in 2005. Then I spot his name at the end of the title credits, citing him for writing the episode “Blink”. This episode was absolutely stunning: well-written, smartly executed, and containing consistent thrills and action, this chapter of Dr. Who was great fun. Where the unfortunately named Russell Davies’ pieces focus on the development of the Doctor’s relationship with his companions, Moffat pushes the intellectual barriers in the show and shies away from sappy emotion.
  • The reintroduction of Donna Noble in series 4. Though I never viewed her original episode, the story was seemless in integrating her in an incredibly humorous way. Donna and the Doctor provided the best non-verbal comedy scene in the show, with each placed behind respective pieces of glass. Catherine Tate has given real comic chops to this show. It well-accompanied a video found on YouTube that shows them placed together for Comic Relief
  • Martha Jones leaving the Doctor at the end of series 3 was powerful and entirely believable. I was never the biggest fan of the Martha character, but her acceptance that she loved someone who could not love her back was absolutely beautiful. I would argue that the moment was a little undone by the “I’ll call you soon. You better answer” dialogue, but I still loved it.
  • Does Captain Jack ever not look amazing on film? The acting is debatable, but the looks are not. Damn him.
  • Discovering David Tennant’s real accent was interesting. Thanks video diary of the special features section of the DVDs. I should have suspected it due to the difference from his accent in the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries (which I love), but Scottish was not something I had expected. Well done: it is seemless.

As I mentioned in my last entry, I first discovered David Tennant in the RSC’s financially-lucrative production of Hamlet. In fact, I had seen another production by the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park group earlier this past summer. This left me with a ripe comparative to go to when watching Tennant’s version. I was not mesmerized by his work in the play. While truly excellent in larger group scenes, making the audience roll in the aisle, the character-driven silioquies were never note-worthy. Patrick Stewart, who I love in Star Trek, was much better than in Macbeth and provided a stirring interpretation of Old Hamlet (let us ignore his work on Claudius, which lacked any special fluorish until late in Act 4). Both Stewart and Tennant worked well together in those moments as father and son. But once Stewart left, Tennant lost something and his connection with the audience faded as a result.

Thus, I am surprised to find that he was in several other RSC productions earlier in his career, as well as a new production of Love’s Labor’s Lost currently (or, rather, will be after his back surgery). Tennant’s work on Dr. Who ends its run soon, and I suspect he is trying to expand his options while he can and avoid the easy typecasting that will, no doubt, take place. I know very little about his work, but I know what he does well. I trust he will be just fine.

This was definitely the end of the week that I needed. Things are so much better than before.

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