Monday, April 02, 2007
In SQT's regrettable absence (don't believe all that about broken computers, she is CLEARLY on the lam from the feebs) I thought I'd post a review of episode one of the new series of Doctor Who for your reading pleasure. Of course, if you don't like Doctor Who then it won't be a pleasure at all. And if you do like Doctor Who but don't live in the UK, then it's going to be downright painful for you.
Either way, it was FANTASTIC...
The story itself need not trouble us overlong. Basically: hospital transported to the moon, sweet old lady is actually blood-sucking homicidal alien, enter giant space rhinos (the Judoon - ace name) hot in pursuit of old lady/killer, the Doctor saves the day. No, the focus of this first episode was to introduce Freema Agyeman as the Doctor's new companion, medical student Martha Jones. The chemistry between Agyeman and David Tennant's Doctor was great - teasing with the right levels of mistrust and respect. There was a lot of concern about the absence of Billie Piper's iconic Rose - whose popularity helped cement the returning show as a massive success in the UK - but Agyeman and series honcho Russell T Davies have laid the groundwork not for a "replacement Rose" but for an entirely new, self-contained companion. The fact that Martha is an academic makes her far less likely to take what the Doctor says at face value. Rose, it was clear, was in love with the Doctor. I think Martha is more likely to see him as a sort of colleague or ally. My one gripe is that Martha also comes with a large family who, we are promised, feature in future episodes. This slightly annoyed me when we had to keep revisiting Rose's screechy Mum, Jackie, but at least she was only one woman. Martha's family seem equally annoying - but there are FIVE of them... sigh. I get that Russell T Davies wants to "ground" the series in reality, but must he ground it in such tiresome people? I mean, Martha's middle-aged Dad even has a trophy girlfriend (yaaawn).
That quibble aside, this was a splendid bit of sci-fi "family fun" (hate that term, but it works here perfectly). Considering the relatively tiny budget that the BBC works with, the Doctor Who special effects team do an amazing job, expecially the make-up crew - the latex space-rhino Judoon were totally convincing - and the set painters who made a lovely, atmospheric job of the lunar backgrounds.
The acting, as with all BBC shows, was great. David Tennant gets better and better as the Doctor: more alien, more interesting and less with the silliness that almost undermined him entirely early in his tenure. Freema Agyeman was, as mentioned, splendid. And a special mention must go to Anne Reid (left), as super criminal alien Florence Finnega! Reid is a well-known comedy and dramatic actress in Britian, and she turned more than a few heads a couple of years ago in the movie The Mother - in which she plays a woman who has an affair with her son-in-law, played by Daniel Craig - who I believe certain blue-skinned proprietesses in the near vicinity have something of a personal interest in...
So, top hole and all that. I love this show, my critical faculties are demolished as soon as the music comes on - next week they meet Shakespeare and some demon witches. What's not to like?
Posted by Hey there, Skippy at 4/02/2007