Saturday, March 31, 2007

Doctor Who 3x01 "Smith and Jones"

So Nu Hu bounces back onto UK screens and it does so with a swagger, a jape and a knowing wink that it's already been commissioned for a fourth series. Which is why Russell T Davies seems to have followed through on his promise to not change a single thing.

Think back to the release of Oasis' third album. The expectation was massive and although the fans (like me!) thought it was great, the critics decided it was just too much of the same, identical to the first two albums. The third series of Doctor Who is following the same tack...except that SFX, Europe's best selling science fiction magazine, still appears to be kneeling in front of RTD with mouth agape. Still, I await the results of the forum vote.

This may be the year that I stop watching. There's only so many dysfunctional families that you can watch in a childrens SF show setting. Like Smallville it may develop into an event-episode watch only: the inevitable Dalek episode; the rumoured Master episode and the series end.

See, even the much-publicised "first black companion" (Sorry Mickey. You've been forgotten about) for which RTD can strike off another minority tickbox, can do something to shake up the program. Most programs in their third series have a shift away from where they were; think BSG stranding themselves on New Caprica. In introducing Martha Jones, a capable enough actress with a sort-of likeableness, you can't help imagining it's just Rose with brains. Which wouldn't be so bad if other things had changed for the better - RTD's way of writing 'generic female companion isn't too bad by itself - but all the usual Nu Hu tick boxes were marked in the very first episode: London? Check! Mouthy family? Check! Stupid people? Check! Sonic screwdriver used as regular mcguffin? Check! Contemporary setting? Check!

Let us not forget this is a program that can go anywhere in space and time - we should be seeing new weapons not gun analogues, new planetary vistas not...what we get, undescribable aliens not anthropods with dodgy voice changers, concepts, ideas - something to make you think! This is a kids program after all and surely it's remit should be to challenge the future generation, not to convince them that London is the place to go see spaceships?


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