6/30/2006

Doctor Who

Those of you that know me, and read this -so about one- know that I tend to review films, games on occasion; but only when I feel up to it. So I felt that I would be unorthodox and review a television series… how strange.Anyway, as some of you may know that on Sunday 2nd July 2006 I am attending a convention, and present will be various film and comic related people. Now of course I want to meet as many of the guests as possible, and very hopefully get pictures of them with moo.
Now, with a large number of the guests affiliated with the recent Doctor Who series on television. I felt it most appropriate to watch at least the episodes pertaining to the guests. So, forth-with I obtained the whole of series one and most of series two.
Now I must say I would have otherwise had no intention to watch the programme. Undoubtedly due to Billie Piper’s appearance as a main supporting character, as well as my automatic adherence to the show. Though to quote Ransom it is pretty awesome, and most probably down to the same two words that he had stated; ‘Christopher Eccleston

Unknown to myself; it is an actual fact that Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction drama in existence, though really I could care less about the old series’ full of cheap British set designs, and a very 70s-ish look I would never choose to look back upon the old series’. But if there is one thing television does well, it is improve. Now we’re talking humour, drama, character interaction, even believability through special effects. Though through all these changes I still try and distance myself as far as possible from most British television, simply because, in my opinion, we can do nothing more than comedy well -and even with comedy there are some real ifs. Though something very rare to find the UK produce is good science fiction, which is most probably the reason for my dislike of programmes such as Doctor Who.
Anyway, I very much digress, I should get on with this thing.

Doctor Who is based upon the surviving time lord, known only as ‘the doctor’ -played by Eccleston, who if perhaps was not chosen for the role, would have been the downfall of the show. He is really the complete opposing actor that you would give to the position of the doctor to. After all I only know him as that guy from 28 Days Later, and Shallow Grave. Or the guy that dies at the start of eXistenZ. Both roles not exactly shining as heroes, when I first heard that he would be assuming the role I thought it a bit strange and could never imagine him in such a television programme; as set in my mind Eccleston was a relatively serious actor... boy was I wrong
Now to my surprise the series began with the introduction of Rose; setting her as a rather important character, as well as identifying the doctor and giving a little bit of info along the way. Throughout the whole episode I was telling myself “thats Billie Piper, she can’t act” But I must say that by the end of the first episode I was actually ‘liking’ her character.

Now I think the main part of the show that surprised me was how little of it was actual science fiction. Now this is the reason I do not prefer to watch programmes like Star Trek and Stargate; because I find them boring, they’re all about the science, and space etc. Though I like shows such as Firefly and the X-files because it gets to a point where you are really rooting for the characters, and you begin to like them. Rather than focusing on the science in the episode, you have emotions, history, and dialogue that is funny to anyone joining in.
And as much as I dislike British television, it's always an extra bonus to be able to understand what people are talking about as well as understanding the jokes -as it is set in my country.

I must say though, one problem I did have with this series was in fact the special effects. Now I hear that they were spending out £1 million on each episode, which is quite a bloody lot! And I feel that for this, in terms of special effects there isn't really much to show. Creatures like the Slitheen just looked really silly when running about. I know many people have commended it on having amazing special effects, but if you ask me... on a show like Doctor Who -with most creatures- you should go animatronics all the way, simply because they are so much cooler, and that they are corporeal, I mean sure, some things cannot be handled without special effects, but other things can also be handled with animatronics. (Then again, they’re most probably more expensive... if anyone knows this to be true I would be interested in finding out)

When it got to the final episode I was rather put out that there would no longer be any Eccleston; with David Tennant already taken over the role. Especially as the newer series feels very different; Eccleston brought out a dark, but funny character, not afraid to insult though quite a loner, yet caring, and alongside his portrayal also came pretty much joint screen time with Billie Piper.
Now I prefer guys as much as the next girl, but it was a nice change to watch a show where the two main characters were actually equals; whereas now with the newer series, her role seems to be much smaller and insignificant somewhat of a downfall if you ask me.

Billie Piper... Billie Piper, Billie Piper, Billie Piper... it's hard not to imagine her outside of her ‘singing career’ especially acting. Though I must say I was pleasantly surprised by her performance in the role. Apart from the fact I didn’t think I could stand her... she was completlely bearable, and a hell of a lot better than the majority of female heroines. Billie Piper is pretty much a good representation of Britain –unlike some females they stick in television, and for that I like her exceedingly in the role, she plays it very human.
But with Billie Piper leaving, I feel that the show may not be itself. Of course it wasn’t really the same since Eccleston left. It just goes to show that the overall character development in the show is pretty spectacular, as otherwise I wouldn’t give a damn if a character left or not.

Now Christopher Eccleston came on with his outlandish behaviour, his ‘fantastic’s and most notably of all his strange face: the sort of face that science fiction should have, someone who has character.
Also if there is one thing I love, it's discovering ‘new’ actors, it's always so great to realise that someone has been there under my nose, and I had an inkling to who they were; but really knew nothing about them, and I’m pretty sure I can vouch this with most actors. That I am always very successful (in my opinion) that when I spy a good actor, that it always turns out that they are in fact a pretty darn good actor, and Christopher Eccleston has gone on to join that list.
Either way his portrayal brought with it, a sort of annoyance, but you also couldn't help but be on his side and laugh along the way, and from this I must say there were no actual annoying characters... sure some of the antagonists can be roll-your-eyes-increasingly... but antagonists are there to be stupid and annoying -at least, they always seem to be with myself.

The writing is pretty darn humorous I must say! With most episodes written by Russell T. Davies, who wrote Casanova -which was hilarious- and Queer as Folk, his dialogue is snappy, monologues not too long and all-round amazing writing, almost on par with Joss Whedon in my books!

The music of Doctor Who was also something rather surprising -not sure who the exact composer is- showing that it could be emotional, actiony and intense and all work really well with everything else going on. Whereas most British television just sticks the latest pop songs in the background.

Not since firefly has a science fiction show seemed so fun. Sure Doctor Who had it's moments when I think, ‘this is lame’ (Parts of ‘Bad Wolf’ in particular), or ‘this has to be meant for children’ (World War Three and toilet humour...), rolling my eyes etc.
But Doctor Who has proved to be a most exhilarating ride. Though from what I have already seen, I don't feel that the 10th doctor lives up to Eccleston’s weird eccentricity in the slightest. But then of course, it's all down to the writers. Which seem rather eccentric themselves.

I’m not too sure if its possible for myself to grade something like this… so at the very least, I’ll give it a Cptalbertwesker thumbs up : )

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