Confessions

Confession #90: I've Underrated Martha

Jul
22

Martha Jones came on the scene at an awkward time—awkward for me, that is. The way I was introduced to the show, I had zero time to process the loss of my first Companion before another was thrust upon me, and I was not ready to move on. Sort of like the Doctor, then, I didn't really give her a fair shake. She didn't get the affection and respect from me that the character really deserved.

As I look back on her time in the TARDIS, though, I realize that I really have given Martha short shrift. Just by being there, by taking up space on screen and refusing to be shoved aside, she did more for representation of diversity than anyone else in the show's history.

It's not just her existence as a black Companion that makes her significant (and a better character than I've been able to internalize before); she has some brilliant moments that turn the old, comfortable "standard operating procedure" on its ear.

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Confession #89: I Like Obscure Species

Jul
08

It's fairly safe to say that anyone who calls themselves a fan of Doctor Who knows about Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels. Most have probably at least heard of Sontarans, Autons, the Ood, and the Silents, too. But with a series history over fifty years long, there have been a vast number of species introduced, of which many only make brief appearances. For most of them, one would likely have to watch multiple times even to catch their names.

Creatures of various ilk are a hallmark of the show, and one can't help but speculate that writers sit around trying to out-weird each other with their creations. Sometimes there's probably a hope in the back (or even forefront, in a few documented cases) of their minds that their new monster will be the next big hit, the next Daleks.

Mostly, though, these aliens are simply the means to an end—a way to tell the best story the writer knows how to tell at that moment. They serve one particular purpose, and then they're never seen again. It's some of these obscure species that I find charmingly bizarre.

Take, for example, the Chumblies (from Galaxy 4).

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Confession #88: I See History Happening

Jul
01

I don't know about you, but I usually enjoy those little moments when the Doctor talks about (what is to us) historical Earth and gives his own interpretation of the significance of the culture or event in question. Granted, the focus is usually weighted rather heavily toward Western history and cultures in centuries past and British history for more recent events, but it's still fun to try to put oneself in the place of a member of an alien species, and imagine how he might interpret it all differently.

What do you suppose the Doctor thinks about the current era?

I know he never says much about American history, but it's been a remarkably newsworthy couple of weeks here in the States. With both advances and setbacks, I've had a familiar feeling recently; the same feeling I had on the morning of 11 Sep 2011—the one that says, "we're watching history in the making."

For those who haven't seen the same news reports I have, here's what I'm talking about. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down some key rulings last week. Whether or not you agree with the Court's position, I don't t think anyone can successfully argue that these decisions are not important to the future direction of the country.

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Confession #87: I Hate Best/Worst Polls

Jun
24

How many times have we seen it: "All the Doctors, Ranked Best to Worst" (or "Worst to Best")? Every fan will have their own preferences, and that's as it should be; different strokes for different folks, and all that. But to try to codify any one viewpoint by publishing it for the world to see makes no sense to me at all.

I mean, what can one possibly hope to accomplish? Unless your goal is to get people arguing with you on the Internet (and I'll grant that for some, there appears to be no greater pleasure), you can't win. No matter who the article writer's personal #1 turns out to be, somebody's gonna come away pissed. "They call that idiot 'best'?" "How could you rank my fave at #5?" At best, you find the one or two other fans who are in complete agreement with your opinions of every Doctor; at worst, you get death (or other) threats.

Instead of trying to do something so controversial (and, frankly, impossible—not only do my opinions change from day to day, but it's kind of like choosing your favorite child/pet/other loved one), I thus thought I'd spend a little space sharing my thoughts on why each Doctor is awesome in his own way. Though I'm sorry—if you want to see either Peter Cushing's version or "the War Doctor" discussed, you'll have to peruse a different blog (although that could be a different post; stay tuned).

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Confession #86: I Love "Children of Earth"

Jun
10

Over the past few months—between Gally in February and CONsole Room at the end of May—I've been re-watching Torchwood (TW). It had been a while, and I honestly can't remember whether I'd even watched any of them more than once before this. But the plethora of TW guests at Gally inspired me to re-familiarize myself with the show; as an added bonus, I got to meet an additional cast member at CONsole Room.

Knowing something of what I was getting into going in, I found the first series more enjoyable than I had remembered. My particular preferences hadn't really changed—there are still one or two specific episodes I think are stinkers, including one that everyone else seems to love—but it was fun getting to know the team again, watching how their relationships grew and evolved.

Clearly, there are plenty of examples in Series One of the writers trying a little too hard to separate TW from Doctor Who (DW), and demonstrate how "adult" it was compared to its parent show. There are distinct growing pains, as everyone struggled to find their footing and determine just what this show should (or could) be.

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