Confession #119: I Love Sharing Who With My Kids


Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the immense pleasure of binge-watching Doctor Who with two members of the Target Market™. My daughters, who became fans by watching Twelve and Bill and later fell in love with Seven and Ace, have been getting up-to-speed on the modern storyline. It's been a richly rewarding experience for me to watch them watch Who.

They liked Nine and Rose (especially Rose), and weren't so sure about this weird-looking replacement guy. Pretty soon, though, they were fully invested in Ten and Rose (especially Rose). When Doomsday rolled around, there was ugly crying—which, I have to admit, they come by naturally; that was pretty much me ten years ago, when I first saw it. RTD did his job well, ripping out their hearts. They just weren't quite ready for a new Companion.

But then they got to know Martha, and let's be honest—she's actually pretty damn awesome. Soon they were just as attached to her as they'd been to Rose (or very nearly). And when we got to Blink—well. Let's just say all of their reactions were exactly what I imagine the production team envisioned with wicked glee as they wrote (Moffat) and created (RTD) the episode.

As the Series Three finale approached, the girls got nervous. How would Martha's time with the Doctor end? They'd been burned before. One girl wanted me to tell her before we went any further; the other was in favor of a just-watch-and-see-how-it-plays-out approach (let no one ever tell you that identical twins are "the same"). I told the former in private just enough to satisfy her: after bad stuff happens, Martha chooses to stop traveling with the Doctor. Hers is the best departure (from the characters' POV) of the modern era.


Nu-View #21: Disgust & Side-Eyes


Love & Monsters (Series Two, Ep. 10; 2006)
Viewed 15 Jan 2018

Doctor/Companion: Ten, Rose Tyler
Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper
Preceding Story: The Satan Pit (Ten, Rose)
Succeeding Story: Fear Her (Ten, Rose)

    It's been some three-and-a-half years since I last did one of these. Aligning four adults' schedules often enough to keep up on new episodes with the Ladies—let alone review old ones—has proven a serious challenge. We are, in fact, still in the middle of Series Ten. I'm hopeful we'll get caught up with the Christmas episode by midsummer.

    When Verity! podcast released their Love & Monsters commentary a couple weeks ago, though, I knew it was time to relaunch a new version of the NuViews. It felt like Fate, because my 11-year-old twin daughters' introduction to the modern show had paused right at that exact episode. If I could convince them to watch with me again, I could both get them back in the proverbial saddle and share their unique perspective with my readers.

    The girls were game, and so we sat down (not without trepidation on my part) to watch Elton's vlog about his encounters with the Doctor. I realized immediately that this would be a different kind of experience than watching with the Ladies. To start, H & V are still quite new to Who; they don't have a whole lot of context upon which to draw for comparison. For another, they are for the most part still simply absorbed in the story; any comments they make tend to be direct gut reactions rather than the snarky comments of jaded adults. It's refreshing, even if it means there are fewer mid-episode impressions to report.


    Confession #114: I've Come Full Circle on Rose


    Several months ago, I got my daughters to agree to watch an episode of Doctor Who with me—just one. I told them if they didn't like it, they didn't have to watch any more. It turned out, though, that they did quite like it, and we ended up watching another right away.

    Since then, we've watched a number of stories together, from Series Ten to The Monster of Peladon to Dalek. With the summer holidays winding down and a new school year starting, we've come to something of a viewing standstill (though I'll admit to not being overly anxious to push forward, as the next two episodes in the queue are Love & Monsters and Fear Her...), but now that we are ~85% through Rose's time as a (regular) Companion, I have to say it's made me think about her differently—again.

    When I first started watching, Rose was my everything. I fell in love with the show and the Doctor through her, totally reading their relationship—starting with Nine—as romantic. I even had my own headcanon about exactly when each fell for the other, and when each ~realized~ they'd fallen for the other. I made notes (I'm that kinda nerd).

    I spent a great deal of Series Four (which was airing as I caught up to it) waiting with bated breath for Rose's return. It couldn't come fast enough for me. Although Donna replaced her as my favorite modern Companion (until Series Ten), for several years I had nothing but fondness for Rose. Then I started interacting with The Fandom.


    Confession #90: I've Underrated Martha


    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.


    Nu-View #20: Brave New Worlds


    New Earth / Tooth and Claw (Series Two, Eps. 1-2; 2006)
    Viewed 05 Aug 2014

    Doctor/Companion: Ten, Rose Tyler
    Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper
    Preceding Story: The Christmas Invasion (Ten, Rose)
    Succeeding Story: School Reunion (Ten, Rose, Sarah Jane Smith)

      Our latest WhoFest was meant to be the first in my new home. The depressing fact that it wasn't (and that our move is rapidly receding into the realm of myth) was somewhat alleviated by jO's return to the fold after an extended absence.

      The early, jaunty Ten had been similarly absent from all of our Who viewing in recent years. "Look how young he looks!" exclaims jO. "When was this?"

      I remind the Ladies that Series Two went out in 2006, and jE summarizes our common reaction perfectly: "We're getting old."

      Old we may be, but at least we're not hanging onto our youth in sheer desperation like Cassandra. And she's a crafty one, redirecting Rose to her lair for her own nefarious purposes. "[Rose] knows she's not on Ward 26," observes jE. "Why doesn't she just get right back in the lift?" It's one of several plotting flaws we notice this evening.

      I found it interesting to realize how I always think of this story as having a lot of Zoë Wanamaker (Cassandra) in it, when she actually only plays the character for a few minutes. With all the body-swapping, even Sean Gallagher (Chip) spent nearly as much time as Cassandra as Wanamaker did. And, by the way, kudos to Gallagher; Chip was a physically awkward character to play, especially running through corridors with his arms straight down at his sides.

      But I digress. Comedic body-swaps aside, the supposed main storyline of the episode is about the mass of humanity that's been vat-grown to use as medical guinea pigs. The Matrix-y vibe of the endless rows of pods in the Intensive Care ward is stronger this time around than I've previously noted. Then another precognitive similarity stands out. Defending her order's actions, Novice Hame explains that these creatures aren't real people. "The Sisterhood grew its own flesh," she tells the Doctor. "That's all they are. Flesh." Why do I get the feeling Moffat found some inspiration in that moment?



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