Sunday, April 18, 2010

Regeneration

I like the new Doctor. I get the feeling Matt Smith's chaotic, unstable alien is what the producers were aiming for with Colin Baker all those years ago. And bow ties are cool. But I'm not sure the numerous other changes were all necessary.

Amy Pond is quite good so far (although she didn't have enough to do in Victory Of The Daleks), but let's face it, in the 21st century kissograms do not exist - certainly not on the kind of wages required to support a house that big. Amy Pond is clearly a stripper, and as a Who fan of thirty-odd years' standing I have to say that I'm, er, kind of fine with that. It's the sort of thing the Doctor would just overlook. Also, I have a weakness for redheads dating back to the early nineties - Amy reminds me of someone, and I will not say who.

The new Daleks were entirely unnecessary but by no means mythos-wrecking - the notion of specialised Daleks is not a new one (there've been Supreme Daleks for many years, Bombardier Daleks have been mentioned in the lore, and I still have fond memories of the Special Weapons Dalek from Remembrance all those years ago) and it's certainly good to see them become taller and more tank-like. A missed opportunity for showing some Nazi Daleks, though, and space Spitfires? Really? Hmm.

The sonic screwdriver is different (drat, have to buy a new toy one now), the logo is different (good, the previous one was a bit generic), the music is different (appallingly reminiscent of the synth-heavy pootling of the late eighties - do hope they change it), the TARDIS shell is different (St John's Ambulance! Hurrah!), the control room is different (doors! Hurrah! There'd damn well better be some TARDIS episodes now - I would love to see a TV version of Cat's Cradle) and the opening sequence is different (strangely, less convincing now). It's a lot of change when really, only the Doctor needed to regenerate. There's a danger of it looking a bit self-serving.

Still, that's of little importance. Victory was a middling episode weighed down with exposition (I can't be the only one who thinks the Dalek rebirth was just a lead-in for the video games) but the rest have been excellent so far, especially the wonderfully allegorical The Beast Below. It's good to see the new Doctor differentiate himself from David Tennant's portrayal so quickly. The last moments of The Eleventh Hour show him as a good deal more devious that his predecessor (if you're not sure what I mean, look at the scanner screen before he surreptitiously switches it off - he's not bringing Amy along for the company of a hot stripper, no matter what he says), and he's a little more apt to lose his temper and slag off humans.

With River Song, the Weeping Angels and a nest of Silurians due to return this season (and probably more Daleks) there's a tendency towards nostalgia that worries me a bit. Who is always at its best with original thinking and new ideas, something Moffat has always been keen to bring in - hopefully whatever's behind the cracks in time and space will be something or someone we haven't seen before. Either way, it's still the best thing on television, or indeed in the world.

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