08 September 2009
Visiting the Doctor
When we first got cable back home, 'round about 1980, we got WTTW, the PBS affiliate from Chicago. On Sunday nights, they showed exotic TV, from way, way far away-the UK. I remember occasionally staying up to watch Dave Allen at Large (must check if those are available in my Region's DVD format) and Doctor Who. I cut my teeth on the Tom Baker episodes, with his quirky wardrobe and the slightly subpar special effects that marked productions by the tight-fisted Beeb.
I sort of drifted away from the show (it was on at 11pm on Sunday-school beckoned the next day) and forgot about it, though I knew the good Doctor went through several incarnations since Baker the First. I remember seeing my first episode of Red Dwarf, thinking it was an episode of Doctor Who. Then I thought 'Wait a minute! There's no laugh track in Doctor Who!'
Last Saturday, I stayed up late to catch the hour of The Red Green Show (the show that's just like home), and after that I heard the familiar theme. It's the Doctor! With computer generated special effects and a funky-looking interior in the ol' TARDIS! Since it had been a while since I tuned in, I hung around to watch. The episode was Gridlock, and it looked like it was made within the last year or so. The actor playing the Doctor (David Tennant) didn't seem too bad in the role, and his companion, Martha (Freema Agyeman) was, well, the typical Companion. The story was similar to all those I remember in the older episodes-somewhat quirky and a bit cerebral (though I'd not have minded had some of the Who writers had worked on any of the Star Trek spinoffs-they'd have been more watchable).
For all that, there was something missing for me in these new series, and I can't place it. Perhaps I'm just getting old and can't change-but these didn't seem very rewatchable to me. As I recall, the old Whos might have had a story arc stretching out over several episodes. This episode was only an hour long-not much time to set up a good plot for the man from Gallifrey to set right. Maybe that was a lot of the problem I had. Perhaps it was no clunky K9 on board. No, not that.
Any veteran fans of the Doctor out there? Is it just me that sees something a bit amiss compared to the older series?
*DEPOWERING GEEK MODE*
Posted by yankeedog at 18:43