Monday, November 18, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 9: Rose

And Long Game, Bad Wolf and The Parting of Ways

Ahhh New Who. This is when I started watching properly. I'm still sad that Eccleston only did one season, and having now watched these I'm even more so. He hits the Doctor perfectly, going from flippant fun to dead serious that you see in most of those I rate highly.

I expected more of a shift from Old to New, but personally I think that Who was slowly sliding towards it anyway. Comparing Curse of Fenric to The Daleks is more of a gap then to the Relaunch. Of course, The TV Movie is a big part of that shift as well.

There's an line of thought that this series is more about Rose than it is the Doctor, and it's an interesting point of view. I mean the first episode is named after her, and the big twist of the finale is all about her too. I'd forgotten that she nearly doesn't go into the TARDIS, instead worrying about what she's leaving behind.

Speaking of being left behind, one thing that got me was how little Mickey was a part of it. The episode Rose ends with her basically dumping him as she realises he's not worth it, which is repeated again in the finale. When Adam turns up and she's looking to bag him. Not long after there's the incredibly flirtatious Captain Jack and of course you have the constant undercurrent between her and the Doctor. It's almost weird that Mickey became 'the boyfriend' when Tennant took over.

However, Rose's character arc throughout is brilliant. Going from a council estate chav who just goes through the day to realising life can be so much more, willing to sacrifice herself for what's right. In some ways, with this arc, I can understand how the Doctor falls for her, and the regeneration going all in since Nine's death was a big part of her turn around. I can't forgive “You look like you need a Doctor” line. It sounds like a bad chat line in a dingy bar.

I really liked the addition of Adam, the almost-companion that sees the future and realises he can profit from it. In some ways I'm surprised that we've not seen it before, but then again the one aspect that's really noticeable between the two eras is the companions, and how much time the Doctor spends on Earth. I got told an interesting fact that Ten and Eleven spent more time on Earth then Three, and he was exiled here and has more screen time then either of them. I know that's not going to change any time soon, but I hope it starts to slide a bit more towards the alien.

Speaking of modern times on Earth, the start of final two parter, Bad Wolf, has not aged well. It might even not have aged well as something as far back Pertwee. It's just so 2005. The Doctor, Rose and Jack are dumped into Big Brother, The Weakest Link and Trinny and Susannah. Not some clever take, just those shows but with deadly consequences. It's a weird thing of plugging into current zeitgeist that just doesn't stand the passing of eight years, never mind the fifty the show is currently celebrating.

Once they break out of the shows things get moving however. Rose's apparent death is brilliant, and the Doctor's reaction is some fantastic acting by Eccleston. Special mention to the death of Lynda as well. You can hear the silent EX-TER-MIN-ATE as the Dalek in space fires. Wonderfully done.

However, the return of the Daleks is something that doesn't quite sit well with me. Mainly because I know what's coming. New Who for a long time kept reintroducing them and killing them with regular abundance. Here we're shown an insane race after one survivor has recreated the race with human DNA, which has had a profound effect on their mental capacities. Which is cool. However, when Rose goes full Bad Wolf she erases them completely and utterly. We then have about three or four more stories of Dalek resurrections and it's only until Smith is the Doctor that something sticks, and Moffat takes the clever decision to give them a rest.
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