Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Dr. Who: Impolitic views

I Should Never Put Up Polls, But I did
     I asked, and my legions of fans (for various powers of single-digit legions) answered. Tell us your impolitic views on Doctor Who, kaffyr, they demanded. And so I shall, at least some of them. Under a cut, of course. Feel free to tell me I'm an idiot, or a genius, or gaze at me blankly, or skip on to the next person on your f'list, or roll your eyes, or tell me you think I might want to take a few deep breaths and calm the fuck down.
     (Brief detour into serious territory here. I have many good acquaintances and friends who hold some or all of the views that make me froth at the mouth below. They have every right to hold those views. Anything I might say below does not for one minute suggest otherwise. What's more, they have every reason and right to think I'm an idiot when it comes to my views. We're all part of Who fandom, and I'll defend to the death their right to hold their views, and to sound off just as loudly about them. I'm just inveighing, and venting, and exercising my rights as a grumpy old broad.)
  1. David Tennant made a jolly Doctor, and is endearing in his own nerdy love for Doctor Who. I like him. He's got wonderful comic timing, and is intermittently capable of some emotionally honest and affecting performances. He is not sexy, nor romantic, nor even particularly attractive to me, except as any good and lively person is attractive. His features are too sharp and his lips are too thin. I shall miss him in the way I miss lovely neighbors who move away, but his place in my heart was always the front room, not much farther in.
  2. I think Christopher Eccleston, while probably occasionally a tad too earnest for his own good and far too enamored of roles that end in death, madness or both, is twice the actor Tennant was for my tastes, with three times the general and sexual attractiveness, (again, for my tastes.) He's craggier, but his lips are full, and his eyes are the only things that are sharp. Like knives, in fact. Two minutes after I met the Ninth Doctor, he walked into my head and my heart - kicked down the doors to both, as a matter of fact - and started living there. He's still there. I miss him like whoah, both intellectually and emotionally.
  3.  I shall miss Russell Davies a great deal. I like his sense of humor. I like his love for the characters he builds. I respect his ability to write characters in such a way that they demand my attention, my love, my care. I respect and adore his respect and adoration for the franchise. I am heartily tired of Old Who people, or New Who people for that matter, who at best can offer Rusty lukewarm thanks for reviving the show but still want him gone, or at worst blame him for bringing sex into the show, for bringing Rose into the show, for taking himself too seriously, for not taking The Tradition seriously enough, and for the sinking of the Lusitania. I know he stumbles about when it comes to plot lines and pacing, and I don't care. I know he's done awful things to characters I care about - hello, Donna! - but, while I don't think a severe talking-to, or a bitch-slap, would necessarily be amiss (or perhaps just a non-confrontational chat over a beer, where he doesn't joke his way out of it), I still love him. I love him for Donna, despite what he did to her, because he gave her to us in the first place. I love him for Captain Jack, and what he's done with, and to, Captain Jack, but perhaps that's next door, in My Impolitic Views on Torchwood. I love Uncle Rusty because he speaks to me in a way many show-runners, writers and producers don't, and because he probably doesn't mind when people call him Uncle Rusty.
  4.  I love what he does with religion, and may be the one person in 2.6 billion who was enchanted and moved by the concepts and at least three-quarters of the execution of Last of the Time Lords. In fact, I will only with difficulty restrain myself from regaling you with my theory about how LotTL is actually a paean to the power of humans, and not at all a slavish worship of (augh, I hate this self-consciously clever little phrase) Tinkerbell Jesus. It wasn't sickly sweet, it wasn't Doctor ex machina, it was imagination, exploration of spirit and love all interwoven with, and of a piece with, the cheerily cheesy tradition of Who. (What, "The Moment Has Been Prepared For" wasn't religious imagery? Borusa turning into a laughably plasticene statue wasn't Lot's Wife, the Golden Calf and Eve Eating the Apple all in one, plus half a dozen other bible stories I can't recall at the moment? Oh, please.)
  5. I shall miss Russell a great deal, but I am heartily tired of people - Old, New, Who Knows Who - who fear or hate the coming of Steven Moffat because he hates Rose (the truth of which is sketchy, and really doesn't matter, frankly) and will dishonor What Russell Wrought. I think he'll do just fine, and I'm not going to stop watching the show because he's on board.
  6.  I think Moffat's very clever, and just as prone to Not Thinking Things Out as his predecessor. Quantum angels are cool, but stupid, and Sally Sparrow is cool, and plucky, and more than slightly insufferable, and not very nice to anyone.
  7. I'm really looking forward to Matt Smith.
  8.  I'm getting tired of having to wait for more male companions. Jack had better not be the last one.
  9. I adore Rose. I neither think her a Mary Sue, nor think she was built up by RTD as a saint, and indeed am apt to break out in hives at the term The Blessed Saint Rose, used by people who, again, think it's clever. I found her a dynamic, engaging, intelligent and attractive character, played with remarkable skill by a young, brilliantly intuitive actress who happens to be breathtakingly beautiful as far as I'm concerned. I am also tired of the assumption on the part of too many people who don't like Rose that all folks who do like her, are NuWho fangirls who don't understand or appreciate The Tradition. I first watched the show in 1963, people,and fell in love with it then, back when the Doctor was a crotchety old man with white hair, an Oscar Wilde fashion sense and a nervous granddaughter. It was magic for me then, and it was magic when the Second Doctor came along. I watched them, and then the Fourth Doctor as a teenager, and then the Third Doctor and the Fourth - again - as a 20-something. The Fifth and Sixth Doctors followed, and I liked them, (Six only in the sense that one must love that relative, but still, I did.)  I'd have loved the Seventh Doctor, too, if the North American broadcasts of Who hadn't dried up in the 1980s, and I really liked the Eighth Doctor. Three is still my second-favorite Doctor. I have, at the very least, decent North American street cred when it comes to DW. And I'm a Rose fangirl. A 54-year-old-happy-in-a-relationship-mother Rose fangirl.
  10. I also adore River Song, and that's that. I roll my eyes when people hate River because she's not Rose. I roll my eyes when people declare she's smug and arrogant when she came across to me as a vital, independent, intelligent, forceful, brave character who didn't suffer fools gladly, even if the fool was the Doctor. I am uncomfortably reminded of the male/female, assertion/aggression, self-confident/smug, strength of character/bitchiness disconnect in our society and I'd roll my eyes more about it, except that doing so has already given me too many headaches. And Alex Kingston is gorgeous. And no, River wasn't consigned to some anti-feminist half-life backwater by Moffat - or if that's what he wanted to do, he failed, because I saw her as free to live every adventure she ever wanted to. She cared about her team, why shouldn't she care about some kids as well? And why the hell should she not get to shuck a sweaty old environment suit for something that looked a hell of a lot more comfortable? I'll repeat: I don't think Moffat meant it that way. If he did, he can go hang, and I'll enjoy the story my way.
  11. Jon Pertwee is cooler than Tom Baker.
  12. Donna has a place in my heart almost as deep as Nine. (Wait, that's not an impolitic view, is it?)
  13. I keep avoiding S3 of NuWho became I keep remembering Martha as pleasant but boring. And yet, when I can bring myself to watch the best of that erratic season, she's really not boring. It's the writing that's boring, and the direction that's largely uninspired. I think they could have done a lot more with Freema Agyeman, and I wish they had.
  14. Sex does so have a place in Doctor Who, and in the Doctor's character, and in the stories. If we can have Maccra and Sontarans and Daleks and Slitheen and Gas Mask children and scientists turned scorpions and giant wasps and such, why the hell is anyone going to deny a tired old Time Lord the relaxation of a roll in the hay? With anyone?

And with that, I'm going to stop. Impolitic, and purely my own pompous, self-important own. There. That's done and dusted. On to


Mar. 5th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
This was a very interesting read. Some things I agree with passionately (Rose Tyler FTW!), others I disagree with respectfully. I wish I could feel the same way you do about River Song, but even on rewatch I disliked her thoroughly. I don't know how much of that dislike is based at least sort of on reason and how much is the fact that as much as I believe the Doctor will and should love again after Rose it was a bit too soon for my shipper heart to be fully accepting. *shrug* I'm glad what Moffat was trying to do with the character worked for you.

And no, River wasn't consigned to some anti-feminist half-life backwater by Moffat - or if that's what he wanted to do, he failed, because I saw her as free to live every adventure she ever wanted to.

Of course Moffat wasn't consciously trying to be anti-feminist. That doesn't mean it didn't end up as a creepy half-life that tossed aside what we know of River Song's passions--the Doctor, archaeology, adventure--and set her in some sort of involuntary domestic gilded cage with the same imaginary children given to Donna. Just because he didn't intend to oppress women doesn't mean that the creation isn't disempowering.

I have come to the conclusion that I think I would have liked TLotTL if the Doctor didn't levitate when he got the power of Earth's thoughts. That detail pushed it over a cliff from rather awesome and moving (in a somewhat cheesy Who way) to over the top, dragging everything around it into the silly column too. Some great ideas that you discuss, not brought to fruition really well.

I'm with you on Eccleston being a better actor than Tennant. Tennant improved a fair amount as he went on and put in some really outstanding performances, but Eccles was stunning from day one in both the show-off moments and the smaller moments. I think I would rather have dinner with Tennant, though. We could have a really amazing and geeky conversation. Both of them are outlandishly attractive in my book.
Mar. 6th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
That doesn't mean it didn't end up as a creepy half-life that tossed aside what we know of River Song's passions--the Doctor, archaeology, adventure--and set her in some sort of involuntary domestic gilded cage with the same imaginary children given to Donna.

I think perhaps I ended up focusing on the fact that the very first thing River did upon awakening in that world was to see her professional colleagues and friends; to me, that indicated that her first love would continue to be the adventure and research they all undertook in the outer world.

I agree that the imagery - while comforting and full of 'everybody lives, even the little imaginary ones!' goodness for me - probably did veer carelessly and thoughtlessly into sexist and near-sexist tropes. Perhaps there could have been a final image of River and the team reading to the kids all together (because I think that was the image Moffat was trying for; River was telling the kids a story, because they were in a place built for telling stories - a library.)

I was probably in the minority in not thinking of River's life in the library as a half-life. Perhaps that's because I have always thought that any life in which you are self-aware and self directed is a real one.

Latest Month

August 2019
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Akiko Kurono