So a new end to a new season of a new era of Doctor Who has come and gone, and with it the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. He’s had a good run, and now it has come to an end. It makes me kinda sad, especially since he didn’t really receive a good send-off.
Now, Doctor Who is one of my favourite science fiction shows and it is the definition of classic. Doctor Who pioneered technobabble and is possibly the longest running television show ever. The original series lasted for 26 seasons from 1963 to 1989, saw seven different actors playing The Doctor, accompanied by 28 different companions of all shapes, sizes and species.
I never got a chance to see much of the original series, but I have seen every episode of the new series and the 1996 TV movie. All in all I like it. The show’s science is among the softest I have ever seen, but it works. That’s the beauty of fiction, it’s all made up so the writers can do what they want, and they have proved they are experts at making things up, especially when it’s in the name of fan service.
Let’s take a look at the concept of Regeneration. Back in the early ’60s, William Hartnell, who played The Doctor, was experiencing health problems. Knowing he would soon be unable to perform, and wanting the show to continue regardless, he proposed another actor come on to replace him and wanted the writers think of a way to fit the new guy in. The result: Regeneration. First the character is literally killed off, then a new character, who shares his predecessor’s memories and is also named The Doctor, comes on to take his place. It was established that The Doctor can only do this twelve times before he dies for good. Now, more recently, it seems the writers and actors have taken undue advantage of this.
Christopher Eccleston, who played number nine, only stayed on for a year, making his tenure the second shortest, being beat out by Paul McGann who played number eight and only starred in the Doctor Who Movie. Eccleston said he was afraid of being type cast, and for any role to be type cast in, The Doctor’s not a bad one, especially the one he played. The Ninth Doctor was a very sad and determined character, and if you ask me Eccleston already played the same role in Gone in 60 Seconds and 28 Days Later, determined and melancholic anti-villains, one trying to survive, the other just trying to do business. Now David Tennant says he decided to leave after three years because if he didn’t, he’d never leave. THAT’S THE POINT! WE LOVE YOU!!! Of course I just wish he could have regenerated back into Christopher Eccleston instead of Matt Smith.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, what I really want to talk about is The End of Time, the final episode featuring the Tenth Doctor. Here’s my problem, there was plenty of hype surrounding this episode. Talk of it featuring the return of several of his former companions, including my favourite, Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. Why is she my favourite, because she never expressed a desire to boink The Doctor. Unlike almost every other companion in the new series, with the exception of Mickey Smith, but he’s a dude so you understand. Anyway, Donna was worked into the storyline very well I believe, but she kinda sorta disappeared for half the story with the other characters showing little concern. Too little if you ask me, she-oh, maybe I should mention this: Spoiler Alert. Anyway, she’s left unconscious in an alley while every human on earth has been transformed into a clone of The Master, The Doctor’s arch-nemesis. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if someone who wasn’t The Master took care of her while she’s in this state?
Anyway, gaping plot holes aside, there are other problems, while we were told several former companions would be making appearances we were not told they would be just tacked on at the end, almost as an afterthought. I probably was not the only one thinking their appearances would be, at least loosely, connected to the plot. Make Jack the one that rescues The Doctor after noticing some crazy shit going on at home. Work Sarah and Luke in by explaining they were protected by Mr. Smith who erected a force field around their home. Martha and Mickey? Well they make their appearance after everyone is converted back. The hardest would be bringing Rose back…which is why you don’t. I don’t see why they were brought back at all. It was unnecessary, but as I said, the writers are experts at fan service.
But my biggest pet peeve is reserved for the overall plot. It fails to impress. Yes, The Master makes his contractual return. Yes, the Time Lords attempt to escape from the Time War, placing the entire universe at risk. Yes, this would traditionally make for a sufficiently awesome epic story that would make any fan geekgasm. But the execution is poor. A lot of the story is needlessly drawn out, like the part where The Doctor spends ten minutes deciding who he should shoot, The Master or Rassilon, instead of just fucking shooting. So little happens in this episode it feels like a sad little poof instead of a giant fireworks display we were anticipating.
Not only that, it opens up a few new questions, like who is The Woman, the Time Lord who attempted to rebel against Rassilon and somehow survived the Time War to talk to Wilf, and lead him to help The Doctor and indirectly save Earth. My money’s on Romana. It’s weird because Russell T. Davies said he wanted to tie up all loose ends before leaving the show, so it seems odd that he would also create some. But basically I’m saying Journey’s End still kicks it’s ass.
Now I want to talk about the new season and the new Doctor, and all I’m going on here is the season five trailer. What do we see? The Doctor hitting a Dalek with a giant hammer, running towards the camera then acting as if he’s lost, blowing up his sonic screwdriver, running towards someone and punching them in the jaw, and talking to the TARDIS like a crazy person. I’m not sure I like this new guy. He seems crazy, stupid and reckless. But I wish him the best.
Finally I’d like to close with an episode idea I just came up with for the new season, or maybe for a future season, in November 2013 is the show’s 50th Anniversary, and this would be a perfect way to celebrate. It opens with the Eighth Doctor regeneration into the Ninth at the conclusion of the Time War, and they would actually bring in Paul McGann for this one, he’s still alive so he can do it. However his regeneration doesn’t work out, it’s glitchy, it’s an old trope of the series, regenerations having some crazy side effects. Then through a contrived series of coincidences, the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors, with Donna and whomever Mr. Smith is hanging with at the time, because it’s likely to change by then, all cross timelines and try and protect the newly regenerated Nine from jumping off a cliff in guilt and sadness. Meanwhile the Cybermen or whatever are having some fun at the expense of others…as you do, and all three must team up to kick some ass. From there…figure it out…but it had better be epic!
So, regardless, I cannot wait for season five, it’s been a while since Doctor Who has had a proper season…wait, it’s only been a year and a half….feels longer. Anyway, I hope the new stories are sufficiently epic. Let’s wait and see.