Tony Gallichan is Mildly Perturbed by... The Big Bad Wolf
Ok, so I admit, this article is looooong overdue. I've been...distracted.
So, what did Uncle Macfadyan think of series 27 then? Oh alright, Volume two, series one, LOL.
On the whole I enjoyed it. You may have read Purcell-face's little rambling about it and I mostly tend to agree with him. However, I'll go through my fumbling thoughts for your edification and abuse.
So, I've already had a little peeky poos at Rose, so to speak. Lets move on from there to The End Of The World. Well, it was a lightweight piece of fluff but it did contain little layers of depth that added to the new series back story. Obviously, after Rose, the show needed to go into space and hit the audience with a touch of the wow factor ((c) P. D. Evans) as well as getting rid of the old, old moans and piss taking about wobbly sets and effects. Oh, and I loved the Moxx of Balhoon. What a shame he didn't make it to the end - much like Clive in the preceding story. Both characters I'd have loved to see more of.
Ecclestone still seemed to be settling into the role - and quite right too. Billie Piper though was slowly starting to impress me. I'd seen her in the Canterbury Tales and if I'm honest, I don't think she was done justice in that. Doctor Who, on the other hand, has shown that yes, Miss Piper CAN act, and in places, act very well indeed.
And so to the start of the two back stories. The Time War and Bad Wolf. The latter was a purely throwaway remark from the Moxx but the former really was electrifying. The shivers went down my spine when Jabe told the Doctor that she knew who he was and how sorry she was for him. Superb.
Now then, The Unquiet Dead. Yes, it was VERY good. Very good indeed. However, it's not the classic that everyone is screaming about. It felt....standard. What the norm of the programme should be. It traded on the shows past glories. But it did it very well, fair enough.
Aliens of London and World War Three do get better on repeated viewing. Yes, the fart gags are distracting and misplaced. However, the kiddies nowadays do like that sort of stuff - trust me, have you SEEN Saturday morning telly recently? I still have problems with Mickey and Jackie. I can understand why they are in the series, but somehow I feel they may have been miscast. Mickey not so much, but Jackie fairly much so. She's just too much of a caricature, I'm afraid.
And now to the big bone of contention.
I liked it. Sorry, but I really really did like it. I can understand people's comments and views on the ending, honestly, I can...and I can agree with them. However, there is more to it then that, you see. I feel that it made sense in the context of the story and the new series 'mythology'. It was a very useful way of bringing real character development to the Doctor. Remember, this is the same guy who started the Time War in the first place (Genesis of the Daleks - yeah, I know he was pushed into it, but still), the guy who wiped out, without compunction, the entire Skaroan system, the guy, it seems, who finally committed double genocide by wiping out both the Daleks and the Time Lords.
The 'pacifist' who pointed a huge gun at an enemy at it's weakest.
The healer becomes the warrior - and in doing so needs healing.
This character development needed to be there. A modern day audience simply will not accept the straight laced hero the Doctor used to be. The production team realised that back during the Sylvester McCoy years, nurtured it in the New Adventures. This had to be done. And it had to be a Dalek - no other Doctor Who monster would have the same impact.
By now, one thing was becoming clear about the new series. The stronger stories seemed to be written by people other then Russell T Davies.
The Long Game.
Well, on the surface, this was another piece of fluff. Simon Pegg was superb and played yet another character I'd like to see return. Adam, on the other hand, I am so very glad to see the back of. The loose plot threads about the implant in his head I can quite happily live without seeing the show return to to tie em up. Unless its set in the future and Adam is already dead.
Father's Day, I do admit, I am biased about. I love Paul's writing. Loved every single one of his New Adventures. The man has a singular voice, steeped in heartfelt emotion with the tang of nostalgia wafting around it. You can see why RTD wanted Paul to write that one. But wasn't it simply a wonderful story? However, by now, Murrey Gold's music was starting to grate. Did he really have to have ' One day my prince will come' from the Disney films as a main theme throughout this episode? Plus if the story wasn't deep enough, his music didn't add the proper gravitas to help the story along - it just added to the froth. Yes, every now and again he would pull a good one out of the hat - Dalek being one of them.
The jewel in this series has to be The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances. I simply cannot say how much I enjoyed this two parter. Funny. Witty. Scary. I was actually on the edge of my seat during this one. I loved the resonating concrete line and as for the 'well, there is a war on, maybe you miscounted?' line, delivered so wonderfully by Richard Wilson. Brilliant. And just how creepy was young Jamie? Trust me, had I watched this one when I was little I'd have been very very scared indeed.
And the ending was sheer unadulterated joy. Just once. Once only. Everybody lives.
Doctor Who, from the start, needed an ending like that and it was the perfect story for that to happen.
Yup, I can see what they wanted to do with this. But again, it was simply too fluffy.I will, however, say this. I'm 37. I am one of the ones that needed Doctor Who to be seen as serious drama. I am no longer a child and my critical faculties have been sharpened by years of reading reviews and articles.
So who am I to complain?
Oh, and Murrey? If yer gonna copy City Of Death's music, give Dudley a credit, would ya?
Boomtown did have one moment which sent shivers down my spine.
Bad Wolf. And the Doctor slowly 'clicking'
By now the whole country was talking about it. And I was again suffering the very slight lightheadedness of 'Wrrr? But this is Doctor Who - its not meant to be this popular...help!'
Well, Bad Wolf, the episode itself was a good set up...nice ideas and I'm so glad that if they had to do a game show spoof or two, they were able to use the real things. Anything else would have just been so naff. And the Doctor's speech at the cliffhanger...yes!
And so to The Parting Of The Ways.
Hmm....in places it did feel like the story was marking time - not what you need for an all out action fest series finale, in my own, humble and useless opinion, lol.
Loved the rescue of Rose - just what Lord Macfadyan would have done - well done to the young upstart! But the Emperor Dalek was very much a mistake. Yes, it was beautifully done. But it became a surrogate Davros, reducing the Daleks themselves to mere shock troops. Sorry, but I want the Daleks and not a mouthpiece. The Dalek Empire series was able to include the Emperor without reducing the character of the Daleks themselves.
But I can forgive all that. Again, I'm trying to imagine what I would have felt if I had seen it as a child, and I'm sure it would have thrilled me beyond belief.
The series was damn fine. It had become obvious that RTD was actually being very very generous with the script allocation. Instead of keeping the juiciest storylines for himself, he willingly farmed them out to the people he thought would be the best to write them. His own big moment, the final two parter, whilst it could have been better, showed that he can write good, thrilling and serious Doctor Who if he needs to.
Ecclestone's Doctor was seen to progress throughout the series. He had started off as a flippant yet harsh character which slowly mellowed as the inclusion of friends helped him slowly with his pain. Just as in real life.And to be honest, a little part of me is glad that he went when he did. The story was told. He could move on and hopefully the tenth Doctor will be able to start with a clean sheet and LIVE.
One thing I am still...concearned about is Murrey Gold's music. Even in The Parting Of The Ways, the big, bold series finale, some of his music was misplaced, lessening the tension at the wrong moment when it should have been building it. An example would be the Dalek fleet on the move with some nice funky music over the top instead of ominous, urgent thrumming, building chords.
And for Heaven's sake guys, get him to remix the theme!. The baseline is a mess. Unclear. A melange of sound. He has some great ideas in his arraignment but its currently a mess. I'd advise bringing the original bass line to the fore slightly more and making things more precise. And please, restore the middle eight for the end of two parters. It will add an extra little bit of oomph to the show, every now and again and the children will love it, thinking they have just watched something even more special.
So, there you go. It's a huge success. I'm in the oddest position of being able to admit to being a Doctor Who fan and not having to worry about it. Even though before this I'd be 'out and proud', I still worried, secretly. Now though...well...
Tony Gallichan desperately hopes that at some stage during The Christmas Invasion either Rose or the Doctor gets to say 'And incidentally, a very happy Christmas to all of you at home...'