The Doctor, not Generations

I haven’t gotten around to re-watching Generations yet, since we’ve been watching all the post-Eccleston episodes of Doctor Who. Thank Wii streaming for the fact that it’s easier to watch something like 40 hours of recent TV than 2 hours of VHS. I’ll probably end up watching Insurrection, too. Which might mean I’ll just have to watch (or re-watch) all the Star Trek movies between the whales and last year’s offering from Abrams. I don’t think I’ve seen all of them, though it seems like I’ve seen Nemesis about 800 times.

Anyway. Since I’ve been watching Doctor Who, I might just as well make some comments on it, right? RIGHT? First, and just to get it out of the way, since I don’t think it’ll have much bearing on the actual comments. Tom Baker will probably always be my doctor, though I quite liked Peter Davison as well.

What is there to say, really about the new offerings from the team who brings you the Doctor? We’ve just started, what is it… Season 4? Eccelston is one, Tennant with Piper is two, Tennant with Agyeman is three, so yes. Season 4. Just finished giving the Ood their brains back. It’s good to have a companion who isn’t all gooey for the Doctor.

I’m glad the TARDIS is still a police box, but I’m not sure I’m such a fan of the especially large control room. Given how little time is spent in it, it seems like kind of a big ole set. The joke (such as it is) each new companion gets, “bigger on the inside,” is as well served by any set that’s bigger than a call box. I understand that the post-Tennant control room set is even larger. It’s not really a complaint so much as a matter of taste.

This next comment about the TARDIS is more of a complaint. The TARDIS seems more active in the new shows than I remember. I was always comfortable with the idea that the TARDIS is more than just a conveyance, that it has its own motives, and is capable of independent action. All that is OK, there just seems to be kind of a lot of plot keyed to the TARDIS itself. The end of season 1 relied on previously-unseen abilities of the TARDIS, for instance. In the the later parts of Season 3 and early in Season 4 the TARDIS gets, if you will, kidnapped rather a lot. I like the idea that the TARDIS (well, the Doctor’s anyway) isn’t capable of fine-tuned movements through space and time, except for the purposes of a joke (such as when the Doctor does that tie thing with Martha Jones). Also, I liked the fact that the TARDIS, once it landed, was locked in place, and couldn’t be moved except by an operator. I don’t especially like that someone can come along with a furniture dolly and take it someplace else. It makes for an exciting moment, sure, “YEIKS! Where’s the TARDIS‽” But given what it is, and what it seems able to do on its own, why can someone in ancient Pompeii just pick it up and take it somewhere? Though, of course, in that case it might be argued that the Doctor and Donna wouldn’t have resolved the problem (that Vesuvius wasn’t going to explode like it was supposed to) if the TARDIS hadn’t gotten sold off and moved. Maybe the TARDIS was acting in the Doctor’s interests by allowing itself to be moved. Yeah. Maybe.

This is threatening to turn into a list of mostly complaints. Dagnabbit, that’s not what I want to do. So let me just step in here and say that I’m really enjoying the show. The characters and the interrelationships are great. This is true of the main cast, the recurring cast, and the supporting cast for the various story lines. As for the fact that the Doctor and Rose were all gooey, and then Martha was all gooey, too? Well, I’d have preferred it if they didn’t do that. But they did, and they handled it well. They didn’t merely rehash that material, and they didn’t make Martha a hanger-on or damsel-in-distress type. She knows her own mind, even when she’s all gooey, and is still able to make good decisions both for herself and in the crisises she and the Doctor encountered.

But, and this is a minor complaint, but… I feel quite often as I’m watching these new episodes that I’ve seen a lot of them before. There’s enough variation and vim that I don’t feel like I’m merely seeing retreads, but there is enough similarity that I find myself thinking, “with all of time and space to work with, why is the villain another family chasing the Doctor? Why is there another story whose climax is about fifteen quintillion of something flying around London killing people?” And so on.

Anyway, my wife says I should watch the two-parter where Martha works for UNIT, and Donna gets a salute, so I probably will. And I’m sure I’ll be glad I did.

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