Viewing posts tagged series 3

The 1917 Zone - Part 1: Tim Nice-But-Then and the Curse of Downton Abbey

The first in a new series of posts looking at the way Doctor Who has tackled World War One.


Looked at from a certain viewpoint, 'Human Nature' / 'The Family of Blood' makes all the right noises.  All the proper sounds issue from it when it is tapped.  It notices social hypocrisy about war, perhaps even moralising about it.  For instance, while the young boys at the school are taught how to be good little soldiers, a veteran of the Crimean war is to be found begging outside the town hall.

There is also an acknowledgement that war is unpleasant.  The boys tremble and cry when forced to actually point weapons at an approaching enemy, with even the odious Hutchinson is seemingly relieved at the realization that they've been shooting at empty scarecrows.  Joan lost her husband at Spion Kop (a battle of the Second Boer War, which would've been a British victory but for the farcical incompetence of the British generals).  The Headmaster has his speech in which he describes using his dead mates as sandbags.

There is an attempt at balance, at the dramatic demonstration of values rather than the elaboration of a didactic authorial point-of-view.  Yet ...

Veto Axons

This is a round-up of my Timelash II stuff on Series 3... well, those bits of it that I haven't already posted elsewhere.  The 'Smith and Jones' bit is a tweaked version of something from the old site.  There's nothing about Axons in here, I just found myself amused by the anagram.


The Runaway Bride

The Doctor cold-bloodedly kills the Racnoss children... and the episode tries to have its cake and eat it by both giving the Doctor 'no choice' and implying that he 'went too far'. The probably unintentional implication is that neocon logic is unpalatable but inescapable, that we need people who will ruthlessly kill on a massive scale in order to protect us from the forces of unreasoning hostility.

We're a long way from "massive weapons of destruction" being a lie from a politician with an evil, greedy alien baby inside him. 



Smith and Jones

Russell reuses many of the ideas and techniques that made ‘Rose’ work as an introductory tale. There is a frenetic opening scene which introduces Martha, her family situation and her workplace. As in ‘Rose’, the new companion meets the Doctor at work and, as in ‘Rose ...

Three Act Tragedy

And so it came to pass that Series 3 ended with a trilogy.  And Jack looked upon the trilogy.  And Jack saw that it was... umm... er...


'Utopia'

Good stuff; the Master's return at the end is the least of it.  We have to put up with some of the obligatory "gee, aren't humans just neat?!" stuff from the Doctor, but it passes soon enough. Yana is a touching, melancholic figure. Chantho is one of my favourite characters in all Who. The scene where the Doctor and Jack finally discuss Jack's immortality is beautifully scripted and acted. The desolated conglomeration is beautiful.

The whole set up is pregnant with intricate, sombre, uncomfortable implications. At the end of everything, with even the galaxies disappearing... amidst a wasteland, haunted by a dead city and one lone survivor (who still clings to her obsolete cultural norms)... amidst all these things, there are two groups of humans... the unreasoningly fierce and cruel "futurekind", with their gnashing sharp teeth, their flaming torches and their mindless desire to destroy... and the refugees who huddle together for warmth; who value family and friendship; who have created structure and purpose out of ...

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