Normally, I find myself agreeing with Heather’s comments on Dr Who, however having been able to watch tonight’s episode on time (not as easy as you would think), this time I don’t. Well, I don’t fully agree…
Basically, I thought both episodes of this two parter were quite good. Dr Who has had a tendency to find it has good plot lines but the squash to make everything fit 40 mins really effects it. The breathing room these two episodes had showed in the plot development and subsequent deliverance. If the BBC had any sense (which, sadly, it doesn’t) then it would give Dr Who a longer run each year and allow every story to have at least two episodes. The pinnacle of Dr Who (Tom Baker, obviously) normally had around four episodes in which to deliver a story line. The difference is startling.
Anyway, some other good points. Despite my initial concerns, Freema Agyeman has turned out to be a competent capable actor and makes a good companion. The general standard of acting, even of the supporting cast, is improving and the story line was quite entertaining. The writing style seemed to make for a “classic” type story, the plot elements and script reminded me of a variety of “quirky” yet classic, 1960s films – it seemed to combine the anti war/anti imperial yet pro-British style of the time. There were some moving references to WWI and it highlighted the casual racism we come to expect from the early years of the twentieth century.
This also highlights what can be seen as the episodes downfall though. Bringing in these elements detracted from the originality of Dr Who. The choir singing during the gun battle was well done, but it has been used in numerous films in the past. Having an old soldier shed a tear at a Remembrance Service could make concrete shed a tear – but likewise it is an easy option. I assume it was meant to be aired later in the month, when it could have coincided with the death of Archduke Ferdinand (28 June), as this seems to be part of the reason behind the sentimental ending. Even this is a rehash of the surprise tear jerker at the end of Blackadder Goes Forth, especially watching it in November…
Despite these qualms, this is still a “Kids” TV programme. In that light it is impressive that the script writers have been able to bring in plot elements like this and my complaints smack of simple pedantry. Yes, I would have liked it if the episode didn’t seem like a mashup of previous films and television programmes but I suspect it’s target audience are not quite into watching them yet. If the target audience are what you would expect for Dr Who, then they need to lose the “romantic” story lines. Even as an adult it is boring and did little to progress the story or the series – unless they really had no other way to bring the woman from Spaced into the episode, but really wanted to….
Overall, this is the best series of Dr Who yet. The script writers should try for more originality, the set designers should learn how to make sets which keep up with the idea of it being Science Fiction, and the BBC really needs to give them more breathing room for each story line.
[tags]Dr Who, Doctor Who, David Tennant, BBC, Television, TV, Freema Agyeman, Blackadder, Anti-War, Jessica Stevenson, Science Fiction, Sci Fi, Spaced, WWI, War, Archduke Ferdinand, Remembrance, Tom Baker[/tags]