Monday, June 28, 2010

Fezzes are cool

Okay, I know everyone was waiting for my reaction to the Dr Who finale, like my good opinion is the sole decider on whether there's a new series.

Well, you can all relax because I enjoyed it. Enjoyed it because it wasn't as sheerly awful as the last few DW finales have been. Enjoyed it because faith in the Moff has been vindicated. Enjoyed it because it was heart warming and well acted. Enjoyed it because after far too long we finally get a vaguely menacing Dalek - ironically, after their relaunch in new child-friendly dayglo colours, in monochrome.

(When this one is up for a Hugo (as I suspect it will be), and they play a clip from it, I hope they show the bit with River and the Dalek. Edited update that occurs to me hours later: "One alpha meson burst through your eyestalk would kill you stone dead." So why doesn't it just look away? HA-HA! I AM TURN-ING MY HEAD! YOU CAN-NOT SEE ME!)

But, it was still just as silly as all the other finales - just better done. It's still TVSF, a medium on which I have previously recorded my thoughts. So I will spoil everyone's fun and pick holes in it.

First of all - my one disappointment - I was hoping that the extremely unlikely grand alliance of unholy races at the end of last week was yet another illusion because it was just so unlikely. But no, apparently not. We'll put that to one side.

Now, 1800 years ago, it appears, every star in the universe was unmade. I lost track of whether they subsequently never had existed at all, or whether they just exploded, which would have bathed this world in a sterilising wash of radiation that burned the very microbes off the topmost layer of rock. Never mind. We can assume that since then Earth has developed more or less as before but with absolutely no knowledge of stars. Heat and light in the meantime provided by a permanently exploding TARDIS.

Yet everything else we saw about history seems exactly the same. They had World War 2. They have Richard Dawkins. Did they have Copernicus? Galileo? The heliocentric theory came about as the only one to explain the movement of stars, sun, Earth and other planets all in relation to each other. Did that happen? Somehow during WW2 fleets of Luftwaffe bombers still managed to find their way in the dark to London. Handy things, stars, if you've got them. Not easily replaced if you don't.

(Besides, it's an established fact that a race which grows up with no knowledge of stars turns into a race of charming, delightful, intelligent, whimsical, manic xenophobes.)

I know, I know. Wibbly wobbly timey wimey. But like so much TVSF, it all falls apart if you look too closely; and while the logical treatment of time travel verges on Einsteinian by RTD standards, Bill & Ted did it all more funnily a long time ago. Books will always be better ...

But, it was a very nice bit of TV, for all the above reasons. However, I do hope that people stop phoning the Doctor up with their problems - he's not Batman, you know. His adventures work best when he turns up at random. Much more of this and they'll be summoning him by beaming the image of the Seal of Rassilon onto a planet.

We have an interesting dynamic in the TARDIS crew, with a married couple now on board, but as it is still their wedding day I hope the Doc allows them a little privacy. I don't believe there's any canonical record of that kind of activity on the ship before now but there's a first time for everything.


  1. You don't consider Tommy B Doc spooning Sarah Jane over the Nerva Beacon control desk with the words "We're heading for the biggest bang in history!" to be canonical?

    Actually, fair enough, I'd rather forget about Revenge of the Cybermen too. Or does the reference not count because it didn't happen inside the TARDIS?

    And don't (or do! do!) get me started on canonical *hints*.

    Looking forward to seeing a DW version of Commissioner Gordon next to the Doctor-signal next year. It's funny how the Doctor's changed over the decades from someone who randomly flits about to please himself, to someone who randomly flits about but feels compelled to combat injustice when he finds it, to someone who actively seeks out evil and fights it, to (now) someone who can actually be summoned by the mortal great and good as their personal champion. Isn't it funny? Verity Lambert would've laughed, I'm sure.

  2. I am so not getting you started on canonical hints ...

  3. Personally, I blame David Whitaker - the original DW shipper.

  4. Anyway, any DW Commissioner Gordon analogue would have to be the Brigadier, and Nicholas Courtney really is a bit long in the tooth.

  5. Anonymous11:42 pm

    Personally, I like the idea of the phone (which is obviously something the TARDIS herself decided to add, likely in response to the success Nine and Ten had with giving cell phones to their companions). The idea of the Doctor randomly dropping into trouble is fine, but it is getting a bit old. Some of the best Doctor Who stories of all time occurred during the UNIT era when the Doctor was put on assignments by, indeed, Doctor Who's Commissioner Gordon, the Brig. Regardless of how well (or not) Victory of the Daleks turned out, it was still bloody cool to see the Doctor summoned by Winston Churchill (not once, but twice, if you count his attempt to reach him in Pandorica Opens)!

  6. Good point. However, the one time he was actively summoned back by the Brig (Zygons), he and the Brig had very different ideas over what constituted an emergency. Also, even in the Brig days the Doctor was constrained - by UNIT's limited resources, by politicians or regular army officers who outranked the Brig, and so on. Constraint and/or tension lead to vulnerability lead to interesting plot. Here the Doc has the unconditional support of the most powerful man in the British Empire: not really the same thing. Anyway, wasn't he banished by Queen Victoria? That's more like it ...


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