It will be pretty obvious to everyone by now that I’m the weak link in the chain. The faulty circuit, the twisted wire in a RTD-scripted deus ex machina finale where it turns out there’s a setting on the sonic screwdriver that can fix everything. My v. professional and v. insightful friends are two episodes ahead of me, seem to recall detail with startling clarity and have the intellectual kapow to back up those recollections with solid critique. All this while rooting the new series squarely in the context of the show’s mythology and (quite possibly) making stacks of fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and crispy bacon just the way I like them.
I’m not going to attempt the trick of catching up, of trying to shoehorn in an alternative perspective for each episode when they’ve been thoroughly interrogated already. That’s a lot of words and my fingers are like thick frankfurters tripping greasily across the keys, I don’t have the wpms in me. It’s a fool’s errand exacerbated by the following points:
a) I love Dr Who. Love it. Consequently any attempt on my part to go all Siskel and Egbert on its ass is doomed to failure. My utter unfeasible love for the programme renders me a dribbling moron with the analytical prowess of toast. I try to be insightful and unbiased but I’m not and it’s stupid to pretend otherwise.
b) As soon as I try to write a review, I think to myself “I’m writing a review now” and suddenly I revert to school mode and it stops being fun. I find myself clicking the word count every sentence and mewling to myself in irritation. Have you ever heard a grown man mewl? It sounds exactly like a cat. It’s uncanny, I don’t know how I do it. Make it stop. Make it stop.
c) I can’t remember the first two anymore, the third one’s getting fuzzy now too. They’ve all kind of blended together into a Rutan-alike amorphous blob entitled something like Dr Who and the Planet of Fiery Crime or Ood in Pompeii.
Anyway, here’s my review of Ood in Pompeii …
Isn’t the Doctor good? He just sets the screen on fire, doesn’t he? I mean even when everything on screen is literally on fire he still lights up the place like a magnesium flare. Any plot hole, any slight wobble with the dialogue can be relied upon to be ironed out by the sheer titanic steamrollering presence of the Tenth doctor. God, it’s brilliant to have him on the show- all crackerjack energy, wisdom, wit and rage. DT, in my humble opinion, is the broadcast equivalent of MSG in Chinese food – only good for you.
And this series has raised its game to keep pace with its star. The scope, the ideas, the FX execution is really quite brilliant. From those cute little teddy bear blobs of fat through choking volcanic ash to an ICE PLANET we’ve been spoiled in a way comparable to having the ambassador unload a dump truck’s worth of Ferrero Rocher on our front porch. I love the confident referencing of the show’s history, I admire the temerity of the writers to tackle complex and morally dubious issues, I applaud the skill and joie de vivre of a crew working at the very top of its game. This is a TV show don’t forget, and a British one at that, it has a tight schedule and a budget that Hollywood would laugh at and called ‘titch’ or ‘small fry’ while making derisive snorting noises through their cocaine-decimated blow holes. Well screw you Tinsel Tossers because this little Welsh televisual engine that can has delivered ancient cities, lava-veined granite homunculi, skin-rending, tentacle -spewing species switching and an orange rocket ship with go faster stripes. All within a budget that wouldn’t even cover Teri Hatcher’s mid-morning smoothie. Hooray for you BBC.
Oh dear, now that I’ve started there’s so much I want to talk about. The theory of Whoniverse time travel that I’ve cobbled together from years of trying to make it all make sense. The difference between a show like Lost that has been worked out 4 series in advance and a show like DW that has a spaceship that looks like a Police Box because they had a spare one lying around when they started filming. A show where layer upon layer of lore has been added by different artists with no rhyme or reason other than expediency and practicality at any given moment in its history and that now stands proudly unbent beneath the accumulated mass of more than six decades of creativity.
But perhaps I’ll be contented with unburdening myself of these furious narrative flights of fancy in short bursts throughout the week. What say you chaps? Are you up for some full on geek-flavoured navel gazing to break the humdrum passage of quotidian reality? Shall we free ourselves from this rigorous prison of academic discursion and plot our own course through the vortex?
Or shall we fall back on well-worn terrain because I tell you what … I’m still not sure about Catherine Tate.