Tuesday, 15 March 2011

some favourite Dr Who episodes at our house

After writing my post last night, I thought, what a plethora of sad news I've been writing about since Christmas.
So I thought I'd share with you something fun that has happened at our house:  The Doctor has taken over.  With the exception of my husband, who falls asleep during most tv shows, we all have favourite Dr Who episodes. 
This came about because our daughter, Holly-Anne, who you will remember from this post a few years ago, has developed a serious crush on Matt Smith as the current incarnation of Dr Who. 

This week, we have watched/listened to " The Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang" many, many times.  "I have to watch this every day!" she says, when asked why we are watching it for the 12th time in a weekend.  It's Spring Break for us, so this has meant that last weekend, "The Pandorica Opens" and " The Big Bang" played over and over for a whole day.  We finally,  after many hours of listening to these same two episodes, insisted she watch something else.  So she put on the episode before it, "The Lodger".  Now, "The Lodger" happens to contain a soccer game.  Graham is a tiny ball of soccer fever, at age 6.  We are even playing Monopoly because my in-laws sent us a version of Monopoly from England that featured the current English Premier League teams (in 2002) as the properties we could buy.  So for the past two days when it hasn't been"The Pandorica Opens" and " The Big Bang", it has been  "The Lodger".  (This just finished playing recently this evening.)  We turned on the tv to find Space Channel playing the very first Dr Who episode of the recent series, the one featuring Rose and The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston).  This one, "Rose", with the mannequins, is my youngest's oldest favourite, that we also have had to watch over and over, through the past year.  He also made us watch
"The Empty Child" and  "The Doctor Dances" , and  "Midnight"
over and over.  There is something about Dr Who episodes that makes them stand up very well under repeat viewings.

Along the way of watching Dr Who in this household, we have had to discuss so many things the show brings up:  time travel, history, how the doctor comes back, where Rose currently is (in a different dimension sealed off from ours), why the doctor never dies, extraterrestrial life, who Van Gogh was, how important memory is (Amy recreates the world because she has such a powerful memory, stronger than even the Doctor guesses). We've met Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, the Titanic, Romans in early Britain, how dangerous angel statues really are (I like to scare the children too), and all through the 5 glorious years of Dr Who so far, seen so many examples of love, and faith, triumph.    We've seen Rose try to save her father from his early death, and how it nearly wipes the world out.  Loss, and grief, are part of Dr Who too.  He can't save his family, or his world that was destroyed in the Time Wars, even though he is a time lord.  We've met his mother, and we've met another Time Lord who went mad - the Master.  Dangerous, these time lords are.  It might be only science fiction, but I think it's the best kind of science fiction.

And, we've met the Angels.  The stone angels, the lonely assassins.  Those are my favourite episodes:  Season 3/ 10, "Blink", and  Season 5: "The Time of the Angels" and "Flesh and Stone", a two-part series.  Here is a link to a page about the Weeping Angels on the BBC Dr Who site.
  I love "Blink" because it is about so much.  There are the names - Sally Sparrow, Kathy and Larry Nightingale.  There are the angels who steal your life energy, but at the same time send you backwards, where love is still found - Kathy marries the first man she happens to meet in Wales, and Billy marries her daughter, if I'm not mistaken (one thing with the Doctor is you have to be on your toes and listen to every piece of dialogue - it all matters.  Another reason I love this show.  No wasted space or energy.)  There is the old creepy house, and the statues that you can't look away from, or they move.
Now tell me, haven't you had the feeling sometimes that things were moving at the corner of your eyes?  That things were happening just there, where you couldn't see, and if you turned your head fast enough, you could see it?  I have, though thankfully not often!  There's also movies, and seeing her friend's brother accidentally naked, and a grown over garden, and statues that move.
I love this episode because the ordinary is taken, and turned inside out.   Sally and Larry fall in love because when the angels threaten them, at the very last moment Larry throws himself over Sally to protect her.  It's romantic.  At it's heart, Dr Who is a romantic show, in the old fashioned sense that gallantry and rescue in the face of danger and braving terror for knowledge and adventure are romantic.  All the companions are allowed to be heroines, to have strengths and sensitivity and make errors and cry, and be open.  How could I not let my children watch this show?  They've seen me cry over and over during "The Parting of the Ways", when Rose looks into the heart of the Tardis,

and we see the power of time, space and knowledge pour through her as she is momentarily like a Goddess, like a Time Lord, looking into all of time and space simultaneously.  I love the powerful imagination let loose in this series, and the story telling  is glorious adventures in time and space.

Here is another link to the "10 Scariest Moments in Dr Who".  Do you agree?  Do you have a favourite Dr Who episode that you return to again and again? 


Gavin said...

I am sorry about you knee, and the snow, and the unplowed streets, and the damn clock moving forward and all that. You know what? The Doctor always saves me from being down in the dumps.

I was worried about Matt Smith, wasn't sure it would work what with David Tennent being so much of who I know The Doctor to be. He pulls it off just fine, I love it, he's grabbed me and reeled me in. My favorite episodes? Can't say, there are too many of them. But I want to learn much, much more about Dr. River Song:)

Susan said...

Gavin: thank you! lol I know, the Doctor is just what we all needed, isn't he? :-D

I was worried too about Matt Smith, but from the second episode on he grew into a fabulous doctor. I've enjoyed all of them - Tom Baker is also one of my favourites.

My daughter too, as well as you and me, wants to learn about Dr River Song. She wants to know if they are married! or if it's another incarnation - though she can't conceive of this doctor going either....it was hard enough when David tennant left the role, it devastated her. I'm fascinated by who Dr Song might be, and how she is able to travel in time too. The new season starts in the UK soon! more reason to smile :-)

Eva said...

I just got into Dr Who this past summer, so Matt Smith was the first Doctor I saw! Then I went back and watched the David Tennant episodes, which was fun. I have yet to try the first (new) season, since I find Rose incredibly annoying (heresy, I know) and the few minutes I spent on the first one didn't convince me that the actor playing the doctor was any better. I'm sure I'll give it a go eventually! ;)

It's hard to choose favourites, but for David Tennant I lurved the library episode, the first one with the stone angels, the two-part one with his 'daughter' in which Martha Jones comes back (I loved her as a companion!), the two-part one where he's become a normal man teaching at a boarding school, and the one that echoes Twelve Angry Men (where he's stuck on the spaceship w the weird alien and all of the passengers trying to throw people out).

I have to say, I loved pretty much every one of the Matt Smith episodes; I especially love how it doesn't have as militaristic a feel to it; watching the David Tennant seasons second I was surprised by how much violence there was. I'm rewatching the season now via dvd on Netflix (it's the only season that isn't available to watch instantly) and having such fun.

Now I just have to convert the rest of my family! ;)

Susan said...

Eva: Thank you so much! I love that you have discovered Dr Who, and like Matt Smith and David Tennant so much. It's hard to tell which one is better as the doctor, they are all so good. So is Christopher Eccles. Rose grew on me; she does get better - you have to remember she is 19!

Oh, and the library episode is amazing! I love how he tries not to use weapons or kill - despite the violence, he doesn't want it. It's interesting. I'll have to compare if there is more violence in season two - I know that at one point, it always seemed to be war, or the threat of it, which gets boring after a while (even with the Doctor) so thankfully it went back to more interesting stories.

Cath said...

Seems like I've been a Dr. Who fan all my life and in fact I have been since I was about 10 I think. David Tennant is my favourite doctor, with Donna as my favourite companion. I hated what happened to her at the end. Of course, the character I love the most, connected to Dr. Who, is Jack. I don't have particular favourite episodes, although the library one sticks out and the Pompeii ep. But really, they're all superb.

Susan, I don't suppose there's any chance you could send me the links to your Fringe posts is there? Would love to read what your thoughts were.

Susan said...

Cath: That is wonderful! I know the show is from the 60's, though I don't know when they were first shown over here, I remember I caught the first one in the early 1980's late at night. One of our channels showed all 6 episodes, and I kept waiting for it to end, thinking it was a regular movie (it was 3 am I think before I got to bed!). I did and do really love David Tennant's Dr Who, though Matt Smith is just as good, which is amazing to me that they each caught a bit of the essential doctor so well. Gee, I could go on! lol

I'll send you the links to my Fringe posts through email :-) There's not more than 4 at most, I think.

Eva said...

I don't think it's Rose the character so much as the way the actress plays her that just rubs me the wrong way. ;) But I will have to give season one a go one of these times!

I love how the Doctor doesn't want to kill anything too! I guess by violence I meant more the war aspect: the robot things in S2 finale, the rebel-with-a-cause aspect of the S3 finale, and the dystopian alterative England of the S4 finale. I think my squeamishness towards dystopia must extend to television as well as books! Compared to the 'theme' running through the Matt Smith season, which was much more about individuals, I guess it took me a bit aback. Lurve David Tennant though: the special w Mars was soooo good! And then his final episode, omg it tore out my heart.

Also, it seems like I need to get into Fringe, hehe.

Susan said...

Eva: The Mars special with David Tennant was really good, too, and a fitting way to build towards his ending as a Doctor, which in the next special tore out my heart too. I couldn't believe he was gone, and every time I hear the Ood sing it I start crying! So he won't be alone....

I really like that in the Matt Smith series so far it has been more individualistic, you are so right in that. It's been smaller adventures, and at the same time, gripping because it turned out to not be so small after all, but the end of everything. It's a truly amazing 2-part ending, and I can hardly wait for the new episodes to begin. Who exploded the Tardis? and why? And did River kill a incarnation of the Doctor? Mostly, I love how The Doctor addresses all the ways in which we can be human, and better - be the best, strive to be the best. I didn't like the reappearance of the Daleks this past season - not again! I thought - but by the end, when all the foes are together, it made sense.

I think if you keep in mind that Rose is 19 and very, very English, it might help you look at her a little more kindly.

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