Saturday, February 7, 2015

TARDIS Travels: Exploring Doctor Who Part 3 - Clearing the Board

I am late in updating my continued exploration of the rebooted Doctor Who.  I've already written about my impressions of Season 1 and how I believe the TV Threshold can be found in the fourth episode of season 2, "The Girl in the Fireplace."

Now I have completed Season 2.

Overall, it is a marked improvement over the first.  David Tennant is fantastic as the Doctor.  I'm finally beginning to understand all the hhullabaloopeople have been making about the show.

Here are my overall observations (SPOILERS BELOW FOR SEASON 2)
picture by MisanthropicPoet

1.  Chemistry.  The relationship between The Doctor and Rose finally clicks in a believable way.  While I could see the connection between her and the Ninth Doctor, the Tenth Doctor has a much flirtier and intimate relationship with her.  And that chemistry was the heart of this season.  It made the last episode so incredibly heartbreaking.

2.  Cheapness.  I was hoping the production value of the show would improve, and it has.  But there seems to be an inherent cheapness to the show.  Maybe this is an outgrowth of the whimsical tone it sometimes tries to set, but it draws me out of what I'm watching.  I don't know what the show's budget it, but they should do more to make the aliens look less CGI.  Even the makeup looks cheesy at times.  In "Love and Monsters," it was silly and horrific.  And, I'm sorry, but I am over the Daleks.  I get that they are important to the show's history, but the production design needs to be updated or abandoned.

3.  Callbacks.  This season really reached back into Classic Doctor Who.  We saw the return of Sarah Jane Smith, a companion of the Third and Fourth Doctor.  We also saw the return of the Cybermen and it all culminating with a war between these classic Who enemies and the Daleks.  But I have to say that I'm not a fan of them.  Perhaps this is only because I've jumped onto the new series and I am not a fan of the classic shows.

4.  Creepiness.  I am not a horror fan, but the scariness factor on the show is actually one of the things the show does best.  The episode on the Impossible Planet was so scary in tone, design, and directing that I was on the edge of my seat.  And the constant sense of foreboding that accompanied the season made the tension build and build until it became wonderfully unbearable.

5.  Clearing the Board.  The finale really felt like closing the book on the main cast of Season 1.  And while I liked Rose, I was not a fan of the the dynamic between her mother and Mickey.  With this grouping out of the way, it feels like a fresh start for the show.  And it felt like a cathartic goodbye with Rose finally saying, "I love you."  It was sad, but necessary.  There was something a bit cloying and low brow about those characters that were weighing the Tenth Doctor down.

Stay tuned for my reflection on Season 3.

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