Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Well we've had a wonderful past two weeks in war-torn London and it's back to gritting your teeth over RTD's emotionally labile character pieces and wondering how far he'll go this time!

Boom Town wasn't too bad all in all. I didn't hate it (cf my rant over the previous Slitheen episodes) and I definitely caught myself smiling. There's some fantastic dialogue in this episode - the last Slitheen's attempt to talk the doctor out of what he's doing is a wonderfully structured and well delivered piece of drama. It also put alot of emphasis on one the suspension of disbelief that we've so cherished as a necessary skill in doctor who appreciation! To have an intense and wordy exchanged between two actors in a restaurant where one is the last of an ancient time-travelling race and the other is a large green baby-faced alien criminal in disguise and carry it off so smoothly is quite an acheivement for the new series. Somehow it didn't seem like a cheap cop-out that they were just two actors with no special effects or dressing - probably because the writing was so good (the antithesis of Star Wars?).

However... sometimes RTD's episodes do come over as enormously unsubtle attempts to ram emotional drama down our throats. The dialogue all too frequently sounds like a first draft, reading like a script rather than something entierly believable. Partly because of this and partly because he uses so much dramatic short hand to make points, it all comes across as rather childish - which is such a shame when the guest writers have shown how you can appeal to children, be funny, clever and scarey without looking like toddlers' tv.

And if arch emotional drama is RTD's strong point, plot and sci-fi are not something he seems to find quite difficult. Now, I'd never claim that Doctor Who was straight sci-fi - it's a bit closer to LOTR than Star Trek - but despite the amount of fantasy inherent in the show (dimensional transcendentalism, time travel etc) there are some things that really require more of an explanation. The TARDIS showing the Slitheen its heart and hence making it regress into and egg was really a bit lazy. Fine have the TARDIS miraculously save the day if you're not going to really bother with plot but PLEASE give it a bit more credibility. Keeping the TARDIS mystical is great - sentient machine all the way good good - but this isn't mystery, it's melodrama.

-actually, I'm afraid this episode has transgressed too many sacred rules (in my head) and I'm going to have to get very anal...

Regressing to an egg?!!! Sorry to get on my science high-horse but this is so far off sci-fi it's getting a bit silly - why not just have all sorts of clocks flying around the time vortex cuz they've got something to do with time?! (You'll have to forgive me some more...) virtually none of the matter contained within her egg would be present in her adult body (alien-schmalien) so how could the TARDIS recover that material? If it isn't the same material then the egg technically isn't her and there's nothing other than biology and chance linking her to any matter that has been part of her during her life so there's no way the TARDIS could trace it - unless you go into the whole bbc novels' 'biodata' explanation for anything a bit too symbolic for sci-fi ...which would be OK, but do you thing RTD though about that- NO HE DID NOT!! He was too busy thinking about (really rather good) scenes with people being emotional and stuff. Grrrr!

Anyway none of that really matters except when you put it next to last week's wonderfully intelligent explanation for a symbolicly charged event - the nano genes recognising maternal DNA and re-addressing their model for what a human should be as an explanation for teenage mother acknowledges her son surrounded by golden glow and love brings people back to life... Hey! Do you think that Grace and Chang Li coming 'back to life' in the TV movie could be Gallifreyan nano genes from the Eye of Harmony?.... that would certainly put my mind at ease ;)

-Daleks next week. Interesting to see what RTD does with them.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television