Friday, April 8, 2011
I promised you another post, and I'm nothing if not a man of my word.
If Christopher Eccleston gave the show a five o'clock shadow, then David Tennant's appearance gave it a big bushy beard. Not that Eccleston was a poor doctor in any way, but his approach left you with a doctor who was just gruff, angry, and lonely. Tennant on the other hand was somewhat more manic and lent a lot more to the explorer-vibe. Really though, Tennant's doctor ended up having a lot more to say for himself than Eccleston's, if only due to him having a lot more episodes to do it in.
This is again where you begin to see a real boost in production values as well (and even moreso in Series 3, 4, and 5). Sure some of the character design is a bit random if not downright hokey, but the writing is still there to pull it off. For example, "Love and Monsters" is one of the best episodes of the show so far, but the enemy is basically Fat Bastard.
Also, it maintains the, dare I say, epic-pace. Each series builds on the remnants of the last, not forgetting anything. Though each series also tends to be very centric to itself, as most occurrences build only to that series' finale. Each time they come up with a new enemy as well, or at least an old with a twist. Series 1 simply reintroduced the Daleks, who don't return purely as a "series big bad" till 3 series later. No more Bad Wolf though (wait, did that really end?). Instead now you'll learn of Torchwood, Mr. Saxon, the Medusa Cascade, and "He will knock four times". And just because each series holds it's own, it doesn't mean there won't be references to older characters. Just wait for Series 4's finale, where everyone who's anyone gets brought back, and all with their own roles to play.
The companions switch out fast in these as well, but they're all vastly different. First, there's Rose, the one true love-interest. Then Martha, the strong-willed one who's love is unrequited. Then Donna, a completely different, almost purely comical companion. Each of them complement each other and bring out a different aspect of the Doctor, from the romantic to the responsible. This is seen in the music too, Rose's theme is slightly more emotional, Martha's is more forward-looking and enthusiastic, and Donna's tramples on both by being flighty and incidental. The rest of the themes remain spot-on as well, prevalent mostly in Series 2 and 3 with "Doomsday", "All the Strange, Strange Creatures", and "YANA".
I really don't want to give much more away, but Series 2, 3, and 4 are beyond great. The 4 serials after series 4 are ok (though the end of Series 4 would've been a better ending for Tennant's Doctor IMO). But they still don't detract from the Doctor's appeal as a hero for the masses, and Tennant pulls it off: not only is the Doctor great at flying by the seat of his pants, but can also show true empathy when dealing with others suffering.
And then comes Series 5, which changes the tune dramatically...