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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Relatively Serious TV Reviews

Good evening gentlemen and gentlewimmins, it is the first post of what I'd like to call my "Non-Procrastinatory Period." I just got finished watching the new episode of the BBC's Doctor Who, and I have to say that "Blink" is the best episode of the series since the first season's "The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances." And by odd happenstance, they were both written by Steven Moffat. Hm.

This ep was part of the new tradition (started in season 2, last year, with the embarrassing "Love and Monsters") of having one episode which could legitimately be called "Doctor Who Lite," which has half the tar and 70 percent less Doctor + 1 (one) companion than a usual episode in the series. I think these are done to save money and to ensure that they get all 13 episodes done on time, since they allow shooting to go on even while the big D, David Tennant, and Martha Jones, what's-her-face, are busy. They could also be done because it's cheaper and easier to take the pilot episode of a failed show, throw a TARDIS into a few scenes at the beginning and the end, and call it a day - sort of a "Plan 9 From Gallifrey" type deal.

"Blink" deals with a bunch of aliens who turn to stone whenever people look at them, but who come to life and send people back into the past (described as a method of eating the energy of "all the days they never got a chance to live" in a bit of pseudoscience that strains credulity, even for a Doctor Who villain), to where they're forced to "live to death." The explanation is glossed over as "timey-wimey" stuff, but it really doesn't effect the enjoyment of this episode - unless, of course, you were a big fan of Star Trek TNG. In that case, then, you're going to want to get the technical manual when it comes out.

This whole "statue" dealy is really effective, both as a means of scaring the crap out of you, and as a means for the SFX crew to take a breather and just cast a few plastic statues to scare the viewers with. Hey, what can I say? It's effective as all hell. Which surprised me as all hell, too - I figured that this "Doctor Who Lite" would bring back memories of last season's "Love and Monsters," an absolutely horrible, unfunny mess that was only made worse by the fact that it was followed up by "Fear Her," whose monster consisted of crudely drawn vandalism. Of course, we can't forget that "Love and Monsters" was written by Russel T. Davies, who, even though he deserves respect for reviving the old series and casting Christopher Eccleston for Season 1, is a terrible hack who finds a way to make dialogue torturous, and has an uncanny knack for making the viewer sexually uncomfortable. For "Blink," someone must've made a call to the Big Guy Upstairs (BBC's head of drama) and gotten Russ occupied with ruining yet another season finale by Deus Ex Machina-ing it to death, because his grubby little mitts are kept far clear of this episode - and it really is all the better for it.

"Blink" had all the makings of a disaster for a big-timey television show: low budget, very little presence of the show's stars, and yet it's a well-written, solid episode that doesn't end cheaply, and actually managed to creep me the fuck out. Now, compare this to the big-time flashy episodes of "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks," which we're supposed to await with bated breath just because "OMG DALEKS!!11!," and you can which person the BBC should put all their chips behind when it comes time for the big Russ to step down as producer.

To be put succinctly: "Blink" is awesome, and you should watch it and name all of your future pets "Steven Moffat."

Tommorow? I might review a comic or something. Stay tuned.

UPDATICUS: There seems to be a cool little "Chicken Soup for the Doctor Who Fan's Soul" coming out, "Views from behind the Sofa" by David May. You knows I likes me my books, so check it out.

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