A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Loving monsters and thoughts on Doctor Who's Russell T. Davies

I really liked "Love and Monsters", the most recent episode of Doctor Who.

OK, it was a bit weird. And it had the Doctor and Rose in it for only a few minutes (apparently a Patrick Troughton episode back in the day had Jamie have his face change by accident just so that the actor who normally played Jamie could go on holiday). It was odd and probably could have done with a couple of explanations. Unlike the Doctor Who stories of back in the day, it was less about a time traveller and his friends killing evil aliens and more about the idea of the Doctor, the kind of people who get left behind after he's killed the evil aliens, the random passer-by who happened to see something.

I like that kind of thing. It adds depth. I think one of the reasons Harry Potter did so much better than The Worst Witch was that while both are boarding school stories about doing magic, you can find out who Harry's parents are, where he lives, how he found out he was a wizard, what people do when they're not at school, what wizards think of unmagical people, and the headmaster's favourite sweet. Mildred Hubble might as well have dropped out of the sky into Cackle's because she never seems to write home - or even think about it, and I think once she referred to "normal people" having to use the gate instead of a broomstick.

It might not particularly matter what some guy who met the Doctor once and got together with Moaning Myrtle thinks about anything. Who really cares, for example, if he happens to be a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra? I admit, "In this episode, we discover the favourite band of some guy who met the Doctor once in a story not shown" doesn't sound thrilling. It's just nice to know. It's nice to wonder what would happen if Rose met Sarah-Jane Smith, or think about what a companion's mother does with her time. It's interesting to wonder if there are lunatics who'd set up a website of collected photos of Christopher Ecclestone at notable events of history.

Something that annoys me a bit about more geeky Doctor Who fans, the kind that actually know who wrote each episode and know both answers to "Who created the Daleks?"*, and can, for example, refer to the 5th Doctor without mentally counting "William Hartnell, one, Patrick Troughton, two, Jon Pertwee, three..." is that they all seem to dislike Russell T. Davies. Never mind that RTD resurrected Doctor Who (or should that be, regenerated?), brushed the dust off, and made it into respectable British science fiction again. Gave us Daleks chanting "Half-human! Blasphemy, Blasphemy!" like some hardcore Whovians watching the TV movie with Paul McGann for the first time. Brought back K9. Gave us Doctor Who on Christmas Day! Employed the extremely delectable David Tennant.

No, he got to take care of our baby, so damn him for not doing it properly. "Parting of the Ways" was hardly Terry Nation, was it? Where's all the 25 minute episodes in 6-part stories with cliffhangers galore? How dare he think of doing an episode that features a companion's boyfriend, mother, deceased father... In fact it amuses me that we tune in every week and get all excited about Daleks, Sarah Jane, and what Bad Wolf might mean and then it seems we all go on to complain about the awfulness of Russell T Davies.

Give me a break. We don't hate Russell T. Davies. We practically love Russell T. Davies. If we really didn't like him, we'd turn off on Saturday nights and invest in some more Tom Baker type goodness.

"Love and Monsters". How could you not love an episode called "Love and Monsters"?

*Terry Nation and Davros, in real life and Doctor Who canon respectively.

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