Archive | May 4, 2010

Horton, Here’s a Who

Tom Baker as the Doctor

Tom Baker as the Doctor

Until recently, apart from a single 1996 tv-movie I hadn’t watched Doctor Who since the 1970s, back when Tom Baker played the main role.

[Aside to readers unfamiliar with the show (there’s probably at least one): Doctor Who is a British science-fiction series that initially ran from 1963 to 1989, then suffered a lengthy hiatus (interrupted only by the aforementioned 1996 tv-movie, pilot for a failed revival) before being brought back in 2005. The eponymous protagonist, a quirky and enigmatic traveller through space and time, maintains his immortality by periodically regenerating, a process that leaves him with not only a new appearance but also, to some extent, a new personality – thus both allowing the show to survive the periodic loss of its lead actor, and allowing each new actor to put his own spin on the character (there’ve been eleven main actors so far).]

I had some reasons to watch the revived show: I’d liked the original; Steven Moffat of Coupling was now one of the writers; and Catherine Tate of The Catherine Tate Show was now one of the lead actors.

David Tennant as the Doctor

David Tennant as the Doctor

But I had reasons not to watch, too: the few times I’d spun past the new Who and seen a minute or two it hadn’t grabbed me; Tom Baker’s image was too ingrained in my mind as the Doctor for David Tennant to dislodge it easily; with three decades of continuity, plus all the recent interconnected spinoffs like Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures, it seemed like a lot to jump into and get caught up on; and with my busy schedule I tend to be wary of getting hooked on another show (I haven’t even watched Caprica yet). Plus what I primarily liked Tate for was her skill in playing a dizzying variety of characters on her own show, so seeing her play just one character wasn’t as strong a draw. So I ended up not watching it.

Recently I’d found a couple more reasons to start watching. Moffat was moving up from a writer to head writer; and a new Doctor, Matt Smith, had just been cast (thanks to a recent regeneration), which meant to some degree a new start, making it seem like a convenient time to pick up the show. (Though on the downside, Tate had left.) Still, I didn’t make a point of watching it.

But then the other day I came across the new season’s second episode, “The Beast Below,” by accident, and found it rather charming; so I hunted down the first episode, “The Eleventh Hour,” and liked that too. So now I was kinda-sorta committed to watching more.

Matt Smith as the Doctor

Matt Smith as the Doctor

Then I read a bit about the show and discovered that two of the upcoming episodes, “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone,” would make more sense to me if I’d watched three earlier episodes, from the Tennant era: “Blink,” “Silence in the Library,” and “Forest of the Dead” (all written by Moffat, incidentally). So I found those online and watched them – and now I’m much more hooked on the Tennant series than on the new Smith one. (This isn’t a judgment about the two actors specifically; it’s about overall story.)

However, I’m about to watch the new season’s “Victory of the Daleks,” on BBC America, so we’ll see.

The State In Action

Forty years ago today, Ohio National Guardsmen murdered four unarmed students at Kent State and wounded nine others, permanently paralysing one. (CHT Making Light for the reminder.)

The students’ crime? Protesting the invasion of Cambodia (or, in some cases, walking nearby while others were protesting it).

Kent State massacre

“That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes