Friday, June 16, 2006

Doctor Who redux

If you were unaware of the existence of a new Doctor Who series, which is already filming its 2nd season in the UK and has already replaced their first new Doctor, then you can try to catch up tonight on the SciFi channel when they show the 1st 4 episodes back-to-back, starting at 7pm central(I think). I've seen some of it, off and on, and was surprised how well-written it is. Christopher Eccleston finally began to grow on me as the new Doctor when they replaced him for next year. Billie Piper, the new girl Friday, stays on.

The only thing(s) I've seen of the new show which I found off-putting were the new Daleks, who are just as cheesy and stupid as the Daleks of yore. Interestingly, the show as a whole has a certain obliquely melancholy quality about it that the old ones from the 60s-80s didn't. Some episodes have a (veiled) anti-Blair/anti-Bush undercurrent, which didn't strike me a preachy or creaky. You may disagree, of course. (As a point of reference, I found the animated movie The Iron Giant to be heavy-handedly propagandistic, as well as the later M*A*S*H* episodes from the last two seasons.) Anyway, I thought the anti-police state theme that runs through the new Doctor Who episodes works, in no small part because none of the characters stop to lecture anybody and because you can probably follow the story fine without even noticing it.