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.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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2 responses to “Dr Who Review….”

  1. Wail says :

    I disagree on the point about sexism. Reinforcing patriarchal stereotypes about gender roles which see a woman’s power solely in her ability to foster life and be nurturing is not empowering and is in my eyes sexist regardless of it’s esoteric basis.

    Further, prejudices are not always overt to those in the position of oppressor, but when on the reviewing end it doesn’t make a difference if it was through malicious intent from the creators of the show. It shows a lack of caring for the opinion of women and a creative process devoid of any real appreciation of what empowerment actually means for those that are subjugated.

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  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Wali,

    And as I have said the show merely reflected the centrality of patriarchy in paganism, nature based religions etc. In truth, they emphasise the need for balance but the notion of a female divinity is obviously so alien to most people that they take it as some kind of slur against women :S

    What utter tripe, really, truly you have kind-of lost the plot. Maybe we should never discuss childcare and the fact that women carry children for fear of offending them? This is PC feminism that has lost its marbles. How is it oppressive to state a material fact, women carry children, men dont. Women are central figures in pagan religions, men are there but dont have that centrality.

    As I have said…if anything, this episode was sexist against men, not women….anybody who thinks different isnt engagin the soft spongy thing between their ears.

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