Dr Who Review….
I feel kind-of morally obligated to point out at the beginning of this that I am a huge, and I mean HUGE, Who-sceptic.For my money, it doesn’t really grab me, I dont feel any strong sense of engagement with the characters and it is reliant on special effects over substance. This is ok as far as it goes but it doesn’t do it for me, I like my sci-fi with a bit of meat – one of the great draws of say BattleStar Galactica for me was the strength of the characterisation as well as a fascinating plot. My strong suspicion is that if your cerebrally inclined like that its hard to learn to love Dr Who.
I don’t think this is helped by the shows structure which aims to make each episode a self-contained little firecracker of action. I think this has become worse in its modern incarnation. The main thing that ties the episodes together is the Doctor, his assistant and the occasionally re-occuring enemies. Alot therefore depends of the Doctor and his sidekick to carry the show. David Tennant was the ideal epitome of the modern Doctor with his quick-fire wit and the amazing ability to make dour clothing seem fresh and snappy. Amy Pond was obviously physically attractive but otherwise seems to lack an extra dimension.
Nonetheless, I was impressed by the episode with two Amy Ponds and not for the reason that the dear reader may erroneously imagine. For the first time for me, the characters came alive and I wanted to watch right to the end as Pond came became expressive of the whole gamut of human emotions. So, I decided to give this years Christmas show a go. Entitled the The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe, it was meant to be loosely based on the Chronicles of Narnia – a combination that may well have made CS Lewis a little restless in his grave.
Matt Smith is a pale imitation of David Tennant – it’s a bit like drinking whiskey and then a whiskey chaser. However, one of the pluses of the Christmas specials is that they do generally try to tell a story and this time the story was the empowerment of the widowed mother to tell her children about the fate of their supposedly crash-landed father. She does this by wearing what looks suspiciously like the One Ring from Lord of the Rings on her head and saving Ent-like creatures from an acidic death.
My Twitter timeline was full of allegations of sexism towards the end of the show. This was because of the widowed mother was selected as the strongest figure according to the natural world because of her role as the mother, the creator of life. This actually reflects the centrality of the Goddess and Goddesses in the pagan pantheon and in general in nature based religions as opposed to male Gods. Allegations of overt sexism on the part of the creators of the show are therefore rather misplaced I feel.
The whole show had a strong undercurrent arguing for female empowerment – the mother was a strong figure who came to terms with her grief and the female child was obviously brighter than the male. The romance between the widow and her husband did show her in a somewhat submissive light but then again she was much more aware of what was really happening than the husband and was shown to be right about his trajectory, and , finally, she saved him. The ending was rather twee as you could imagine but that returns me to the top of my review – Dr Who is popular culture and it will therefore always have fanatical fans who adore it for what it is but people who are less sure. If you like that kind of thing I am sure it is a amazing roller-coaster ride but for others it will always be something that is watched with a slightly weary eye.