Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Okay, I've given up on the Sixth Doctor. I never saw him as a kid (being of the sad generation who discovered Doctor Who during the Seventh's era), and I had heard pretty much nothing good. But once I decided to start this blog I became determined, in the interest of having a complete perspective on the show's history, to give him a chance.
And I have to say, its really incredibly bad. The Doctor himself has basically evolved into a complete asshole for some reason. The supreme confidence and endearing surliness of classic Doctors has given way to megalomania and a general sort of disdain for others, particularly humans, and especially Peri. On top of that, he's rendered completely ridiculous because he's going around acting like he's the best and everyone's beneath him, while he's dressed (literally!) like a clown.
And yes, let's talk about Peri. First of all, she's taught me how British people feel when Americans do crappy British accents. Actually, I haven't figured out if her questionably American dialect is a separate problem from how every one of her lines is delivered in the whiniest of voices, or if the whining is part of her attempt at an American persona. Seriously, she's unwatchable. She never has anything to offer except, "But Doctor, what are we going to do now?" and "But Doctor, you can't do that!" She's frequently remembered for her revealing costumes, but it's hard to imagine anyone over the age of 13 getting past how annoying she is long enough to find her even physically attractive.
The sad thing is, despite his infamous firing by the BBC, it doesn't seem like any of the problems with these episodes are Colin Baker's fault. He has occasional moments where his performance transcends the writing and the costume, and you feel like he could have been a really, really good Doctor. It's just that everything is working against him: the writing (particularly of his character), John Nathan Turner's production, the costume designs (not just for the Doctor- every character on the show in this era looks god awful), and Nicola Bryant's performance as Peri.
For the record, I don't care for Mel either, but she's not as bad as Peri. Mel's just sort of a cypher. We never even really get to see how she met the Doctor. She's just suddenly there one day, encouraging him to eat his vegetables and get his exercise (how very 1980's).
I'm going to try to move on to a Seventh Doctor post pretty quickly, in the interest of getting the bad taste out of my mouth by discussing a Doctor I actually like.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Sorry for the delay- I got a little stuck trying to come up with anything positive to say about the Sixth Doctor's era.
So instead, let's talk about "Time Crash," the 8 minute long Children in Need special where the Tenth and Fifth Doctors meet. Let me preface by saying that as an American, I have no understanding of the whole Children in Need thing. I just know it's some kind of charity telethon that's been known to include Doctor Who mini-episodes (which definitely makes it more worth watching than any American telethon I've ever seen).
Anyway, "Time Crash" is a nice bit of fun, and it's great to see a classic series Doctor on the new series (sort of, anyway). And Peter Davison was the clear choice for the crossover, since he's still alive and while he's aged considerably, he doesn't have the Grandpa look that Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy do these days (not to mention the "wow, you've really let yourself go" look of Colin Baker).
The Tenth Doctor's nostalgia is the main thing that makes the segment worthwhile. The way he gazes admiringly at his younger/older self with a big grin on his face just seems so right. Once he recognizes the Fifth Doctor, he's never worried about the situation, because he remembers how it turns out- he's just happy to see himself. This incident is a bit like a personal time capsule for the Doctor- for the last however many subjective years it's been for him since the early 80's, he's known he would get to see that version of himself again.
One thing that strikes an off note for me, on the other hand, is when he says that it was as the Fifth Doctor that he learned to take himself less seriously. This seems odd since the bohemian, jelly baby addicted, always on the lookout for the perfect cosmic vacation spot Fourth Doctor came first. Five's era was actually quite grave by comparison, what with Adric dying and Turlough trying to kill him and Tegan getting fed up and leaving. Ten does have a good point about the suit and sneakers, the glasses, and the squeaky voice, though. And I love the bit about "trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young," which is the best explanation of the First Doctor I could imagine.
Also, when Five asks of the Master still has a beard, and Ten says, "Well... a wife," is there any way to interpret that other than the Doctor implying (confirming) that the Master is gay (for him)? I'm pretty sure there's not, which makes it an interesting little tidbit.
I'm not sure how I feel about the idea that the TARDIS has a "desktop theme." I suppose it's an amusing way to account for the control room's changing appearance over the years, but honestly I think the thing that bugs me is how Windows-y the phrase sounds. I hate to think that Microsoft has any stake in timelord technology.