Saturday, November 23, 2013
The Man Who Regrets and the Man Who Forgets
After the sad anniversary yesterday, the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who presented a considerably more hopeful note. After watching the charming "Adventure in Time and Space", I was delighted to see the 50th anniversary episode begin with the old titles, and a quick-as-a-flash salute to original companion Ian Chesterton (William Russell, who does not appear).
Now is not the time or place for a review, especially as the second airing (not synchronized with the original UK airing, which I watched) is airing now. But I wanted to say something about it: it is a worthy tribute to the five decades of Doctor Who, and, more to the point, a worthy tying-up of the new series' arc, and setting us out on another journey.
The interplay between the three Doctors--Smith, Tennant, and an excellent, peppery, John Hurt, is natural, funny, dramatic--but it worked best, as Moffatt's writing often does, at creating a coherent story out of what seemed to be disparate aspects of the series' past, and, unlike Moffatt's lesser work, didn't feel contrived.
Hurt, the forgotten Doctor, having waived his right to the title in his own and in his successors' minds, shows how worthy of the title his character his. Tennant, the "man who regrets," acknowledges him; Smith, the "man who forgets" resists. But it is only when the three of them combine that the episode truly takes flight. The one must learn to remember, the other to reap the benefit of his repentance, and Hurt, the forgotten man? He is restored by the end.
All this, plus some first rate comedy--Tennant threatening a bunny with all the same gravitas he brought to the series' most bombastic moments, declaring himself the Oncoming Storm as the rabbit placidly munches away was my single favorite comic moment, a perfect self-parody. And, best of all, the classic Doctors--1 through 9--play their part. (Also, watch for the Curator!)
All this, plus a whole new mission for the new series--no longer to run away from the damage he has done, but to run to--well, watch for yourself.
And spare a quick look at the beginning of the legend--because the voyage has been relaunched:
An Unearthly Child Part1 by misterseta