Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doctor Who, Season Three

For the most part, I disliked season 3. Compared to Torchwood it seems juvenile (which makes sense, because it's a "family" show), Daleks bore me*, and Martha's unrequited love just seemed gratuitous (and demeaning to the character.)

But I really liked the "Human Nature" two-parter. It was original, and it demonstrated to me that David Tennant can act, which I was starting to have doubts about. I want to see more of him now (don't we all?) Therefore, I have to admire the way it led up to the season finale . . . although I didn't like the finale as much.

  • The manic Doctor is slightly annoying at times (see above for my doubts about Tennant's acting abilities.) The manic Master is extremely annoying. What, are all Time Lords like this? Don't they have any other setting?
  • I dislike the use of popular music in TV shows. Russell T Davies seems to like it a lot. Actually, let me qualify that: a show like Scrubs uses music all the time, and I like it, because they've established it as part of the show. When it shows up in Who it surprises me. Also, I've always assumed that Who (and I suppose Torchwood) take place in an alternate universe, so how can they have the same music we do? Finally, although music has always been an important tool in establishing mood in film, there's something about using other people's songs (and especially other people's words) that just seems lazy to me. Do your own damn work, scriptwriters!
  • Yeah, okay, the Doctor. He's callous enough to abandon Jack when he's in trouble. He can't return the love that humans feel for him. But he begs his arch-enemy to stay with him, because he doesn't want to be the last of the Time Lords. That's a good one.
I've said it before: Davies' approach baffles me. Season 3 was often overly simplistic, playing the same cards over and over again. And yet . . . when it comes to the main character, he never fails to maintain an almost-perfect ambiguity. Just when you think he's made up his mind, he throws in something completely different. Very strange.

* My favorite Dalek episode is "Dalek," which suggests that one Dalek is more effective than one million, in dramatic terms. Actually the ideal number of Daleks is probably three. Maybe it wasn't just accidental that the BBC only ever built three working Dalek models.

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