I’m about to geek out all fan boy style here. You have been warned.
Dr. Who, for those that don’t know, is perhaps THE greatest SciFi TV show ever made. It originally began in 1963, ran to 1989 (or so), took a few years off (about 15), and now has been resurrected by Russel T. Davies in a new format. The series, or season, four finale was broadcast here in the USA last night on the SciFi channel. The past two seasons have simply been incredible. And this from a 30+ year fan.
That said, the series 4 finale was good, but missed being truly great IMO. The hour and half was promising, as the show usually runs for an hour here in the States. The first hour was an intense roller coaster ride, carrying over from the excellent previous lead in episode. But the last half hour, missed the boat.
I didn’t like the whole Donna Noble saves the universe bit. To my mind, it was too much of a justification for what was a generally weak companion for the Doctor. Things jumped too quickly, too far, with out any previous set up in the series. Even with the whole Donna’s alternate universe episode, it just didn’t work for me. I liked the alternate Doctor idea, regenerated from his hand, and being part human, but the whole Donna thing just left me flat. As I was not “invested” in the Donna character, the whole dragged out “loss” of Donna, through a mind wipe, was not emotional, was not a capstone to an otherwise excellent story arc. The Rose bit, with the alternate semi-human Doctor was a good end to that arc though.
Another complaint. This time a continuity and story one. Captain Jack and Mickey. Where did they meet before? Mickey wasn’t involved in the WW2 and follow on Dalek story (where Rose goes cosmic). Jack wasn’t involved in the Cyberman invasion/Dalek War (at least not on screen). Nor was Mickey involved in the Master story line from series 3. So where did these two meet, and develop a relationship? My guess is that it will be from the Dalek-Cyberman war in series 2, as Mickey was able to infiltrate Torchwood London. But that is not mentioned anywhere, and was a bit of major incongruity in the series 4 finale.
UPDATE and Correction:
OK, I erred. Jack and Mickey did meet in a episode, “Boomtown.” For some reason, I had completely blanked this from my memory. Once it was pointed out to me, I suddenly remembered all of it. The scene where they trap the Slitheen in the alley, with Mickey’s foot in a bucket came rushing back to me.
The bringing back of past companions was a brilliant idea from Russ Davies and the creative team. But they missed a golden opportunity to bring back some others for a cameo in the series 4 finale. Like a UNIT reunion of sorts. I could see the Brigadier, Sgt.Benton, Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, Mike Yates, and Lt. Harry Sullivan sitting in a pub, watching the Dalek plan unfold on TV. They talk a bit about how it used to be them that would be out there, but they’re all too old for that “adventure nonsense anymore.” Then someone tosses a tan beret with a blue UNIT badge on it on the table, and we cut away to another scene. Or perhaps a real throw back, where Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright are sitting at home (or a retirement home), and reminiscing about their first encounter with the Daleks. They didn’t need to be directly involved in the story, but such a cameo scenes could have been a nice bit of “fan porn” to long time fans. The UNIT bit could also have been done with the “Last of the Time Lords” finale from season 3.
In addition, I’ve been on a spree of late, picking up classic stories on DVD. I now have 14 of those released so far. After watching “Journey’s End” last night, I watched the original three stories from the 1963 debut of Dr.Who. “An Uneartly Child,” “The Daleks,” and “Edge of Destruction.” I had previously been watching the Patrick Troughton serials “Tomb of the Cybermen,” “The Mind Robber,” and “The Seeds of Destruction.” While the production values of these older episodes are not up to modern, or even period standards (the BBC was extremely cheap), they are remarkably well written, and the performances are above par.
A fan boy fantasy of mine, is to remake some of those old stories with modern effects and production values. The scripts wouldn;t need any changing, just updated and improved production. I came to this realization while watching “Seeds of Death.” I think it would be a wondeful way of introducing a new generation to these older stories. The only real problem would be in casting, and trying to recreate the chemistry in the cast, and maintaining the characters.