Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Beast Below

We're around 1300 years in the future. With Earth now uninhabitable, the people of Britain travel through space courtesy of 'Starship UK' - which the Doctor and Amy discover is powered through the torture of a giant alien Starwhale - the last of its kind.

What to do? Do they allow the torture to continue, possibly for centuries, for the benefit of the people - or do they set the creature free at the cost of the lives of the people.

Spoiler alert! The creature is set free, but everyone lives - and the ship travels even faster than before because the Starwhale's purpose is to help people, and works better when not attacked. (Similar to the tendency for society to inflict pain on the environment rather than co-operate with it for the benefit of all ... but that's another story)

Jesus is recorded as saying:
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
and also
What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

This second quote is key to the Doctor's anguish as he was repulsed by the idea of saving one race at the deliberate expense of another.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Describing The Doctor - Verity Lambert

If my Doctor Who nerdiness was ever in question, the next sentence should settle that...

I was watching the DVD of the original 1963 Doctor Who episode An Unearthly Child, and the director's commentary on the unaired 'pilot' episode has Verity Lambert (producer: 1963-65) detailing the character of the Doctor.
Doctor Who, as he was invisaged initially, was somebody who was capable of being quite dangerous and very unpredictable. At the same time he could be very supportive and avunculuar and kind. That was what was interesting about the character - that he had all these different sides to him - and also rather childlike in certain respects. And completely and utterly anti-authoritarian - that was the crucial bit about him.

In response, Gary Russell remarked
He had a kind of rebelliousness in him... He could be anything. He could be gentle. He could be nice. He could also be very angry and dangerous - and that's what made him fascinating.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

Two major things happening in this episode.

The first is Amelia Pond meeting the Doctor. Intriguingly, he arrives at the instant she is praying for help. Being a child, she doesn't fully understand who the Doctor is, but she knows that he is good - and hopes to encounter him again.

Years later (now referring to herself as Amy) she does meet the Doctor again. Now an adult, she is capable of more fully understanding the Doctor, the Tardis and all that involves ... well, at least as capable as any human being can be.

The other big thing is Prisoner Zero. Even the name suggests the epitomy of evil. Not prisoner 35784, or even prisoner 5. This thing has been evil for as long as there has been evil.And though usually unseen, it can disguise itself in the form of earthly things.

And here's where it gets even more Jesusy. Through the brilliance of the Doctor, and the efforts of mere mortals in "spreading the word", the world is saved from the incineration Prisoner Zero would have caused.

Back to Amy. In awe of the Doctor, she abandons her home, her job, and her earthly life in order to follow the Doctor on a far more interesting adventure.

Like many of the Doctor's companions, Amy leaves everything immediately. No concern for telling anyone where she has gone. Even the small matter of a wedding in the morning (her own wedding!) doesn't stop her from instantly taking off on an adventure. Following the Doctor through time and space.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Personal Jesus

I'll be posting commentaries soon, but in the meantime here is some Doctor Who footage to a cover of "You Own Personal Jesus".