Friday, September 02, 2011

Doctor Who: Season 3

I’ve been in a Doctor Who frame of mind, and not just because of my new woolen TARDIS… wait, I haven’t told you about it?! Last weekend was Fan Expo, and aside from getting to meet a lot of amazing people and reconnect with friends who I seem to see every year at cons (which is more than I see non-con friends, I’m sad to say), I finally met the delightful Christina Boulard, who owns TresBellesKnits, where she sells her lovely knitted creations. And… she gave me my very own tiny knitted Dalek!!! This is me with Christina (in her gorgeous and very long Tom Baker scarf) and the one I shall call Dalek Wool (he's from the Cult of Knitros)

And here he is in close-up…

Seriously, how amazing is that?! I love it. And if you love it, too, head on over to Christina’s site and choose one of your own! Her general shop is here and the page for the Daleks is here.

Thank you again, Christina!

But as I was saying, I’ve had DW on my mind, not just because of Dalek Wool but because I’m continuing to work on ECW’s upcoming Doctor Who book with authors Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?, which has been a lot of fun. And so I figured I should get around to posting this, which I wrote about three months ago. ;)

I liked season 3 a lot, and bombed through it in about three nights. Overall there were parts where Tennant was at his best, and I liked Martha a lot. Smart, beautiful, assertive… and some of my favourite episodes of the series are in S3. This is the season where Tennant becomes the Emo Doctor, where his pining after Rose makes him unable to pay any attention to the companion in front of him, and where her need to be something more to him becomes the very definition of UNREQUITED. So while I wasn’t thrilled by the Doctor/companion pairing, I actually loved what that coupling did for their characters and how it developed the Doctor so much.

But thank god for season 4’s Donna Noble, who will come along and smack him back into reality.

And speaking of which, we get our first taste of her in the Christmas special, “The Runaway Bride,” where she is hilarious and awesome. I didn’t love the episode overall, but it was exciting and fast-paced and Catherine Tate is brilliant.

Smith and Jones was next, and it was a great season opener, although I didn’t think it was a memorable episode overall. I did love when the camera panned back and you saw that beautiful scene of the hospital alone on the moon… gorgeous. And of course the “Go Fro Schmo Toe Poe Woe Moe” rhinoceros aliens were menacing and kinda funny.

The Shakespeare Code was interesting, but I found it a little complicated and was wondering how young kids could have been following this one. Also, for the Classic Series fans, has Shakespeare appeared before? I had an image of Shakespeare in my head and thought it was maybe something I was remembering from childhood on Doctor Who before I realized wait, I think that was an episode of the Twilight Zone. ;)

Gridlock has people perpetually stuck in cars, and as the episode was happening I was thinking, “This is a little strange…” but the longer it went, the more I liked it. By the end of the ep, I thought it was rather stellar. It’s frightening and clearly a comment on our wasteful world and the love we have of our cars. The guy from Father Ted is in it, and Martha is eventually kidnapped by Annie from Being Human (before Annie became a ghost, of course). Great cast, amazing look at the various aliens in their cars, and wonderful and highly original premise.

I know I should probably cower and prepare for people to throw things at me, but I found the Dalek two-parter to be a little boring. I loved the idea that the Empire State building actually looks a bit like a Dalek (ha!) and it has a few good lines (“Yet again that’s a no with the kidding” was a very Joss Whedon-sounding line) but this two-parter was draggy for me. I watched them with my son, actually, so now he thinks Doctor Who consists of the Doctor, the TARDIS, Daleks, and man-pigs. And for the most part, he’s correct! Good thing he’s not old enough to realize this is the least successful Dalek outing so far…

And maybe I was just in a mood this night or something, but I thought The Lazarus Experiment and 42 were also middling episodes… am I becoming hard to please?

No, because next up was Human Nature (with Viserys from Game of Thrones as the baddie!) and The Family of Blood. “Mother of mine…” “Son of mine…” BRILLIANT episodes, both of them, I adored these ones. But again, I noticed that the Doctor has two hearts, yet rarely uses either one of them, at least for romantic love. CAN he fall in love or does he choose not to, knowing that he simply can’t connect to anyone in that manner? Poor Martha. She’s rather doomed.

And then… Blink.

Holy. CRAP.

Everyone had told me about this episode, starting at 2010 Polaris when this woman came in a stellar costume of one of the Blink angels, and when I said, “What is that supposed to be,” I had collective gasps around me and “You mean you haven’t seen BLINK?!” said in utter shock. Geek cred gone momentarily.

But wow, was it worth it. I’ve discussed this episode with Mark Askwish at Space a lot, and both of us agree that where Hush is the Buffy episode you can show to non-Buffy fans as a way to get them to start watching the show, Blink is that episode for Doctor Who. It’s rather standalone, it allows you to get into the DW universe without having to know everything that came before it, and it’s frickin’ TERRIFYING. OK, so maybe it give a false impression that DW is more frightening than it actually is, but wow, WHAT storytelling. I want to bow down before Steven Moffat (also the guy who brought us the “Are you my mummy?” episodes in season 1) and thank him for being a genius. THIS is officially the first episode of Doctor Who that I watched between fingers. I’ve now seen it three times. In the scene where Sally is chatting with that guy (Lawrence?) and they keep turning away and the one angel is closer and closer, I was actually moaning in fear and finally dropped my head into my hands and said to my husband, “Just tell me when the angels are GONE!” But then I looked up again, because I just couldn’t look away. Even scarier than Hush.

What an episode. And to think, it’s the Doctor-lite episode of the season.

And really, from “Human Nature” onwards season 3 ROCKS. Utopia with the always masterful Derek Jacobi… having Captain Jack back.

The Sound of Drums (John Simm from Life on Mars is the Master!! I LOVE HIM), and Last of the Time Lords are wonderful episodes. The SFX on tiny old little Doctor in the cage is amazing… and creepy. It's like the Doctor's own Mini Me, if Mini Me were actually him, shrivelled into a tiny apple-head doll that moved. I wish that had gone on forever, I absolutely adored those scenes. The tension between the Doctor and the Master is wonderful, while at the same time the Doctor is so desperate to hold onto him no matter what he does because he’s the only other Time Lord left. The end of this season is devastating.

And good-bye Martha. I felt like you didn’t really have a chance, but the actress who plays her was SO good, and don’t get me wrong – the Doctor/companion pairing wasn’t done badly, it was actually done brilliantly, and just felt like the right thing to have done following Rose. The rebound companion was always doomed to fail as she was shadowed in the memory of Rose, and the way the show explored that was fantastic.

What a season… we get the Jack Shephard of Doctors, who tries to fix things and is always so sad. But he never becomes entirely emo; he cackles too much for that. Oh season 4… how will I be able to say goodbye to this Doctor? I’ll just think about how much I love season 3 some more.


Christina B said...

First, Nikki, THANK YOU! It was such a pleasure to meet you (finally!). Getting to chat with you was definitely one of the highlights of my first ever con, and I promise it won't be the last time we meet! :)
For those of you that haven't met her, Nikki is even more warm and welcoming and friendly and BEAUTIFUL in person!

Now, I LOVE it when i see any blog post from you pop up on my FB feed, but I especially love it when Doctor Who blog posts pop up!!

The rhino's in space were so much fun! I always laugh at the bunions bit!

The Shakespeare Code was just 'eh' for me, but I really enjoyed Gridlock. I loved Brannigan, and we see the death of The Face of Boe (*sad face*), and the end, where the Doctor finally opens up to Martha is beautiful.

You're not alone in your dislike for the Dalek episodes or The Lazarus Experiment. I honestly don't know many DW fans that like them!
They ARE boring and slow and a little silly, really.

But I AM surprised you didn't like 42!

Human Nature and Family of Blood are BRILLIANT! I was waiting for you to see Vicerys (before Vicerys!)! Wasn't he just fantastic in this role??
Those two episodes are definitely in my top 10!

And Blink. Ah, Blink. The reason I will never again take my eyes off any statue (even the one of Queen Victoria in a local park!) as I walk by. ;)

This is Moffat at his very best and, in my eyes, the man is neck in neck with Joss in brilliance.

I loved every single moment in Blink.
You might be interested to know that people STILL want to see Sally Sparrow as the Doctor's companion in the future!

John Simm as the Master...It will be difficult for me to accept anyone else in this role if they ever decide to bring him back. He was the epitome of evil!

One thing I'm surprised you didn't mention...
Captain Jack IS The Face of Boe!

Did you laugh as hard as I did when I saw that part the first time?!
Ah, I just LOVE that idea!!

Can't wait for your post on season 4! If you loved Donna in The Runaway Bride, you'll just adore her in the next season.
Season 4 is my favourite, Donna is my favourite companion and some of the episodes are absolutely mind-blowing!

Quarks said...

I was extremely confused when I first watched 'Blink', because I was sure I recognised the story. Well, parts of the story. The parts with the Weeping Angels were new, and it was a bit more grown up, but Sally Sparrow was familiar, as was finding her name behind the wallpaper.

I then remembered where I knew it from. At Christmas in 2005, when I was still young enough to enjoy reading annuals, I got the 2006 Doctor Who Annual, which contained a short Doctor Who story called '"What I Did on My Christmas Holidays" by Sally Sparrow', written by Stephen Moffat. You can read online here:

'Blink' is a great episode, one of my favourites, and it introduces the Weeping Angels, who are probably the most famous new aliens introduced into the series.

Page48 said...

I love the Weeping Angels. They match wits with The Doctor and Amy Pond in an epic 2-parter down the road a bit, with their legendary creepiness fully intact.

I like Donna Noble, but I really enjoy her Gramps as well. I was never overly fond of Rose's Mum. Martha is gorgeous (as is her sister, Tish), but, despite the easy-on-the-eyes factor, Martha is my least favourite companion.

Nikki, I think you'll love the next Doctor, too. As much as I loved Tennant, I accepted Matt Smith as The Doctor right out of the gate. He plays TD with considerable flair, and, personally I think his 1st season is brilliant.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Nikki, if you had liked those crappy Dalek episodes I'd be worried about you. ;) Though did you recognize up and coming star Andrew Garfield (soon to be seen as Spiderman?)

I think you need to give 42 another chance. Say it backwards. I'd rather have Tennant than Kiefer. :)

I wish I could say I love Matt like I love David, but I like him a lot.

Graeme and Robert? and Nikki. I like it when my friends get together.

Rebecca T. said...

This makes me want to watch this season again SO BADLY. I love all of your comments and they are usually exactly what I was thinking!

Susan said...

This is funny Nikki because I often have different opinions from you, for example on aspects of Lost ;-) but what you said about every episode in s.3 agrees with my opinion as well. As you can see from the above comments, the 2-part Dalek episode is not a big favorite. However a lot of people also don't like the last 2 episodes of the series, but I'm with you on these, they were really good (except for the cheesy doctor-floating thing at the end).

Blink is awesome in its scariness, but there's more to it. It has wonderful writing and great acting. You actually care about people who we will (probably) never see again. I feel like crying every time Billy and Kathy arrive on screen. It says a lot about this episode that it's considered one of the best nuWho episodes, and the Doctor barely appears.

Joan Crawford said...

Dear Christina Boulard, your baby booties with the big buttons on the side are the cutest and coolest baby shoes ever!

Batcabbage said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Blink, Nikki, but honestly, how could you not? I've found that my favourite episodes of DW are written by him, and when I found out he was taking over the showrunner duties in Season 5, I squeed quite a bit. I think he's a genius. Check out Coupling, the series where I first met him (so to speak), and then check out his mini-series Jekyll, one of the most brilliant adaptations of a classic story ever (it stars James Nesbitt, who is an acting GOD).

Martha was my favourite companion of all of them, for all the reasons you stated: smart, funny, COMPLETELY GORGEOUS.... and the unrequited love storyline I thought was handled brilliantly. I also loved the Master (mostly because of previously held love from Life on Mars) and Batkitty tells me that the reason there was such great chemistry (or the sort of chemistry you can have with your greatest nemesis, at least) is because John Simm and David Tennant are great friends in real life. All in all, a great season! Glad you're enjoying Who!

kluu said...

I have yet to see Blink. I was watching the season when it first aired but missed the episode or some reason and then DW was taken off TV where I am so I never got to see it.

JJ said...

There is one thing to like about "Daleks in Manhatten": an American character (from Tennessee, I believe) refers to a pick-up truck as a "lorry." I find this amusing. Everything else stinks, though.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I have a quibble with you, Batcabbage - how could you not recommend Sherlock? :)

Batcabbage said...

You know, redeem, I have no idea why I didn't recommend Sherlock (which I came around to slowly, despite the presence of Tim from the Office - I came to love it though, and eagerly anticipate the second series), especially because of the (apart from the obvious) link to Doctor Who! Sherlock, Nik, is written by Steven Moffat, and also Mark Gatiss, he of 'Mickeylove' (League of Gentleman) fame, who has also written four episodes of DW, including the one that aired today! Or last night. The time difference throws me. He has the best nose on television. He's the reason that whenever I see a fire engine I automatically say 'Fireman!' in a silly voice. He's brilliant, and you should watch Sherlock. He's also Lazarus in the DW episode 'The Lazarus Experiment'.

JavaChick said...

Yeah, the Weeping Angels freak me the hell out. It amazes me how they can make stone statues so terrifying!

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

If you haven't seen it check out Troc rockers, Time Lord rockers, Chameleon Circuit doing their homage to Blink...