Saturday, May 11, 2013

Media Musings: Doctor Who

So sometime in the past year, I kept hearing all this stuff on blogs and other social media about this TV show called "Doctor Who".  Several bloggers who had similar tastes to mine in movies and TV shows talked about how wonderful the show was and how much they loved it.  So one of the times we had Netflix, I decided to try it for myself.  I got about 3 episodes into the first season and decided I just couldn't do it.  The creepy aliens, the outrageous storyline...it just wasn't for me.  I did skip to the last episode of Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2, just so I could see David Tennant as the Doctor, but even then, I wasn't ready to dive in.  Besides, I already knew from the reviews I'd read that the Doctor and his first companion had a horrendously sad parting in the second series of the show, and I wasn't sure I wanted to invest in characters that wouldn't end up together. :}

Then a little over a month ago, my aunt, who had really gotten into Doctor Who, played me parts of a few of her favorite episodes starring the Eleventh Doctor (basically because I told her I just wasn't sure I wanted to see Matt Smith as the Doctor...David Tennant was the Doctor I liked best...even though I hadn't seen much of his portrayal), and I really enjoyed them.  And one night, when I didn't have anything else to do, I noticed that my brother had a few of the Season 7 episodes uploaded.  I watched those and really enjoyed them.  When my aunt bought Season 2 on DVD and let me borrow it, I decided I should give the series another chance.  And now, a little over a month later, I've watched all seven seasons.  What did I think?  You can probably guess a little bit from some of my previous posts.  But to find out all the nitty gritty details, you'll have to keep reading. ;)

Disclaimer:  I am by no means an expert on this series, and I'm trying to cram my memories of 7 seasons (watched rather hastily, I might add) into one blog post, so all you Whovians out there are welcome to correct me if I get something wrong. ;)

Disclaimer #2:  I will try to keep this as major spoiler-free as possible, but if you're someone who doesn't like knowing anything at all about a TV show you haven't watched yet, you should probably skip this post. I'll be giving an overview of the characters which will involve some information about their part in the story...which kind of has to include the basics of why they left. :}

So what is Doctor Who?   In a nutshell, Doctor Who is a Syfy, time travel-themed adventure through space and time.  A 900-something year old alien called "The Doctor" travels around in a blue police box time machine (also known as a Tardis, and bigger on the inside) saving the world from all sorts of horrific alien creatures and inviting humans to join in his adventures along the way.  Trying to sum up anything else about the show just gets too confusing. ;)


Characters:

The Doctor
The Doctor is an alien creature known as a Time Lord.  He can travel through time and space and, in certain instances, is able to affect the things that happen.  At this point, his name is unknown.  He simply goes by "The Doctor".  He is a strange mixture of hilarity and solemnity, joy and sadness.  He can be the most kind and loving "person" in the universe one minute, and terrifyingly fierce in the next.  He shows mercy when he can, but again and again is faced with the horrible choice of taking the lives of those with nefarious schemes to spare the lives of the helpless and less fortunate.

Fun Fact:  I only recently discovered that the Doctor himself is not called "Doctor Who", as I first assumed.  The title of the series refers to the fact that no one knows who the Doctor is, so they're always asking "Doctor Who?" ;)

When mortally wounded, the Doctor can "regenerate", changing every cell in his body to avoid death.  This very clever story element allows for the Doctor's character to continue on even when the actor portraying him decides to leave the show.  In the newer series (not including the original series beginning in the 60s), there have been three "incarnations" of the Doctor portrayed by three different actors.

The Ninth Doctor
The Ninth incarnation of the Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston in Season 1.  I have to admit, Eccleston is not my favorite of the Doctors.  I think he's an excellent actor, but he played the role in a darker, more vengeful way than the others that I did not care for.  However, he was good at what he did and had some "fantastic" moments. :)  If it were not in part for his performance and the positive reception it received, Doctor Who might not have gone on to be the successful series it is today.  I did appreciate his sacrifice at the end of Season 1 that led to his regeneration, too.



The Tenth Doctor
The Tenth Doctor (and my personal favorite) was played by the Scottish actor David Tennant, who donned a British accent for the role.  David watched Doctor Who as a child and at a young age decided to become an actor so he could play the Doctor someday.  That dream came true in the second season of Doctor Who when he took over the role.  He played the Doctor for just over three seasons.

Tennant's Tenth Doctor is a quirky, adorable, talk-60-miles-a-minute, just all around lovable guy.  I found myself rooting for Ten and Rose (his first companion) almost immediately.  Tennant also brought a lot of emotional depth to the role as well, especially as the seasons wore on.  I thought he did an excellent job of revealing the deep sense of loss and the intensity and wrath of a powerful alien being underneath the seemingly light-hearted exterior.  Plus, he has great hair. ;) 



The Eleventh Doctor
The Eleventh (and current) Doctor is played by Matt Smith.  He took over in Season 5 and is just about done with Season 7.  I have to admit, it took me a while to warm up to Smith as the Doctor.  I was so sad when Tennant gave up the role, and the hard thing about the way the show works is you hardly have time to grieve for the former Doctor before you're thrown into the storyline of the next.  However, as I mentioned before, it was actually some clips my aunt played for me starring Matt Smith in the role that got me interested in trying Doctor Who again.  I'm so glad I gave him a chance.  

Smith's portrayal reminds me of a sweet, friendly, yet rather bumbling science geek.  His performance really does grow on you.  I especially love his relationship with his first two companions, Amy and Rory, and the way all three play off of each other.  I think it takes at least a season to really become acquainted with a new Doctor and to begin to understand his take on the character.  In some ways, I think that's one of the reasons why I had a hard appreciating the Ninth Doctor as much.  I was just getting to know who he was when he had to leave.  The longer a Doctor is on the show, the more the writers have a chance to show us who he really is.  




Companions:
The Doctor always chooses human companions to travel with him on his adventures.  The brilliance of this element is it gives us a chance to see him through a human's skeptical, ignorant eyes.  It also gives a logical reason for the writers to explain certain elements of his character to those of us who are unfamiliar with the original series:  his companions are wondering the same things we are.

Rose Tyler
The first of the new Doctor's companions was Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper.  Rose was a teenaged girl from London whom the Ninth Doctor rescued from an invasion of department store mannequins.  (Don't even ask!) ;)  She accompanied the Ninth Doctor on all of his adventures, watched him regenerate into the Tenth Doctor, and (after spending an episode getting used to the change) continued on with him for the rest of Season 2, until tragedy separated them.  Their relationship grew from friendship to love, which was what made the episode "Doomsday" one of the saddest moments of television EVER.

Rose was one of my very favorite companions, although there are things I liked about all of them.  She was spunky and adventurous, willing to follow the Doctor wherever he went.  At the same time, she had a soft, compassionate side that often complemented the Doctor's impulsiveness and relentlessness.  She also helped him recognize when he was unknowingly being socially unacceptable (rude and not ginger). ;)  I loved the development of their relationship.  Her loyalty to him no matter what and his fierce protectiveness of her both appealed to me.

Of course, a relationship between an ageless Time Lord and a mortal human was never going to work, so I can understand why the writers decided to do what they did.  If you're going to have a beautifully sad scene, there had better be an important reason for it story-wise!



Martha Jones
The Doctor's second companion was Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman.  Martha was kind of the Doctor's "rebound girl".  She ended up helping the Doctor save a whole hospital full of people in her first episode, and was promised a trip as a thank you.  One trip led to another until finally she was officially invited to travel with the Doctor.  She was his companion for all of Season 3.  At the end of the season, she decided to leave.  She had fallen in love with the Doctor and realized that he would never care for her in the same way.

I really liked Martha, too.  She was just as loyal to the Doctor as Rose was, and was always willing to do what needed to be done to help save the world, even when she was scared.  I thought it was cute how she kept referring to movies and books during their adventures. :)  She fell fast and hard for the Doctor, but he spent most of this season still pining for Rose, often acting as if he didn't even notice Martha was there.  I think that's what makes Martha's character so relatable.  We've all been in a situation where we were "in love" or at least "in like" with someone who wasn't interested in us.  I loved the fact that in the end she was able to walk away, rather than wasting her life longing for someone who would never return her feelings.  Way to go, Martha!   



Donna Noble
Ah, Donna...perhaps one of the most hilarious companions ever!  Donna, played by Catherine Tate, first made her appearance in the Christmas special just before Season 3, "The Runaway Bride", when she was somehow transported to the Tardis in the middle of her wedding.  After sharing an adventure together, Donna returned to her normal life (sans groom...long story) and Martha came into the picture.  Some time after Martha left, Donna and the Doctor found each other again while both were investigating a suspicious weight loss company.  Their initial reuniting was, in my opinion, one of the most hilarious moments in all of Doctor Who. :)  Donna accompanied the Doctor for all of Season 4, but due to a series of events that would take waaayyy to long to explain here, lost all memory of her time with the Doctor and returned to her normal life once more, never knowing all that she had done for the universe.

Donna was outspoken, feisty, and not afraid to tell the Doctor exactly what she thought.  This made for a hilarious dynamic between the two of them.  Rose was a love interest, Martha was a fan, but Donna was the first that came across as a friend, the Doctor's good buddy.  While she could be absolutely hilarious, she could also pull off the deeply emotional scenes needed for her part, a huge accomplishment for an actress primarily known for her comedy.  



Amy Pond
The Eleventh Doctor's first companion was Amelia "Amy" Pond, played by Karen Gillan.  The audience first met Amelia as a little girl (played by Karen's real life younger cousin, Caitlin Blackwood), who had the difficult task of feeding the Doctor just after his regeneration. ;)  (Fish fingers and custard, anyone?)    

Little Amelia 

After "helping" Amelia with a scary crack on her bedroom wall, the Doctor had to work on the Tardis before it was safe to travel.  He invited Amelia to travel with him when he came back, promising to return in just 5 minutes.  Unfortunately, he didn't end up getting there until 12 years later...and so began the adventures of Amelia (now known as "Amy") and the Eleventh Doctor. :)  

Amy stayed with the Doctor for 2 and a half seasons until tragedy struck the Doctor once again (are you sensing the pattern here?) in an episode that is right up there with "Doomsday" in epic sadness: "The Angels Take Manhattan".

I found Amy quite enjoyable as well.  She reminded me a bit of Donna with her strong, self-assured personality, although Donna's was more an outspokenness due to insecurity, while Amy seemed much more sure of herself.  Amy and the Doctor grew very close, and even though at first she was quite enamored with him, their relationship grew into more of a strong friendship than a romantic one.



Rory Williams
Rory, played by Arthur Darvill, was another companion of the Eleventh Doctor.  He was Amy's fiance, and for the first part of the series seemed to be the third wheel for many of the adventures.  He and Amy eventually married and continued to travel with the Doctor as a married couple until "The Angels Take Manhattan".  

I really enjoyed the development of Rory's character.  He went from being the lovable yet rather goofy boy next door to a true man and a true hero.  I loved the beautiful friendship that developed between Rory, Amy, and the Doctor throughout the series.


I'd like to take a not-so-quick rabbit trail here and talk about Amy and Rory's relationship.  I loved the fact that Amy chose Rory over the Doctor as a romantic interest.  I was a little concerned at the beginning of her meeting the Doctor when she really struggled with her relationship with Rory, but I appreciated the way they resolved it.

  While Rose Tyler was one of my favorite characters, I always felt there was a rather reckless, "I love him and I don't care about the facts or the consequences," attitude about her.  And there were some pretty big obstacles there, as I've already mentioned.  Is it better to love with no care for tomorrow and deal with consequences when they come, or to love realistically?  Don't get me wrong.  I adored the relationship between the Doctor and Rose as much as anyone.  But I also loved the fact that Amy chose her sweet, childhood friend over the seemingly ageless hero.  It was so wonderful watching Rory grow from a boy to a man as the series progressed.  By the 6th and 7th Seasons, he was a true hero.  Not because he was fearless, but because he loved his wife and would do what was best for her (and for their marriage) no matter how frightening it might be.  


Our men can be heroes if we let them.  And when we stop trying to compare them to the endless fictional characters that seem so much better than our own normal, everyday husbands and boyfriends, we might start to see just how wonderful they are.  

I have to share Amy's quote about Rory, because I think it's so true to life, and a good one for all of us girls to remember:

"You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're as dull as a brick?  Then there's other people, when you meet them you think, "Not bad.  They're okay."  And then you get to know them and...their face just sort of becomes them.  Like their personality's written all over it.  And they just turn into something so beautiful.  Rory's the most beautiful man I've ever met."

I also appreciated how much the Doctor cared about their relationship, as proved in "Asylum of the Daleks", when he was worried about the fact that they were headed for a divorce.  Their reconciliation scene in this episode was so touching.

And how adorable that he can be such a little boy when it comes to them kissing and being romantic. ;)

Okay, now back to the rest of the post! ;)



Clara Oswald
The newest and still-current companion of the Eleventh Doctor is Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Louise-Coleman, whose past is somewhat of a mystery.  At least some of this mystery should be revealed in the final episode of Season 7, according to the online summary that has recently been released.

The Doctor first met Clara under another name (Oswin Oswald) in the future in the episode "Asylum of the Daleks".  Oswin helped the Doctor, Amy, and Rory escape, but SPOILER (wow, that word takes on a whole new meaning now after meeting River Song...I'll talk about her in a bit) ended up dying at the end of the episode.

Oswin Oswald

He next met her in Victorian London, this time as Clara Oswin Oswald.  They shared a Christmas adventure together but once again, SPOILER she lost her life at the end of the episode.

Clara Oswin Oswald

The Doctor then met Clara Oswald in the present day.  Now, he is not only determined to keep her alive this time around, but is also determined to discover the mystery behind this woman who keeps showing up in every time period, especially since Clara has no memory of Oswin Oswald or Clara Oswin Oswald. 

Clara is cute and a bit adventurous, but she's not my favorite companion so far.  I actually liked her better as Oswin (aka Souffle Girl) or even Clara Oswin.  Her previous characters seemed a little more interesting than her present character.  And let's be honest, Donna, Amy and Rory are hard acts to follow.  It is only her first season, so I want to give her more of a chance before I judge.  At this point, though, her personality doesn't seem very distinct from the others.  Rose, Martha, Donna, and Amy were all very unique from each other.  Clara just doesn't seem as interesting compared to the others.  Sorry, Clara...no offense. ;)




Other Friends of the Doctor's:
During his travels, the Doctor encounters many other friends who don't travel with him as regularly as his companions, but show up enough to be mentioned.  I could have made this section much longer, but since this post is already way too long, I figured I'd stick with the characters that have major recurring roles.  Sorry if I left out one of your favorites. :)

Captain Jack Harkness
Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, appeared in 11 episodes of Doctor Who and also starred in the spin-off series, Torchwood (which I have not seen).  If I remember correctly, he was in Seasons 1, 3, and 4 (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).  He first came on the scene in Season 1, where it was revealed that he was a time-traveling con man and flirt.  He ended up helping the Ninth Doctor and Rose and fought to the death to help the Doctor save the world in the first season.  Through a series of events too difficult to explain, Rose ended up bringing him back to life and making him immortal, but he was left behind when the Doctor and Rose left the battle scene.  He appeared off and on throughout the later series and came to the Tenth Doctor's aide.  

I have to admit that Captain Jack was not my favorite character.  I've never been a fan of the over-confident, flirty charmer, no matter what the movie.  Captain Jack could be a sweetie, but he also was rather conceited and flirted with anything that moved, male or female.  I could have done without the suggestive humor that surrounded his character.



River Song
River Song, played by Alex Kingston, is a rather mysterious character who is still currently on the show.  When she first appeared in the series, she knew the Doctor but he hadn't met her yet.  She had a journal that looked like the Tardis, and at the end of the first episode she appeared in, she revealed to the Doctor that she knew his real name.  All of these things intrigued the Doctor, but he didn't find out who she actually was until much later.  

River Song also travels through time, but she and the Doctor don't always meet each other in the right order.  She has interacted primarily with the Eleventh Doctor and has a very surprising identity...which I'd rather not spoil for you here.  One of her favorite things she likes to say to the Doctor is "Spoilers" instead of giving him direct answers when he asks her about who she is and what she knows.  

River Song was another character that I had to warm up to.  For one thing, I was a huge fan of the Tenth Doctor and Rose, so I had a hard time when she was talking to Ten in such a loving way.  Ten belongs to Rose in my mind.  I found it easier to get into her character when the Eleventh Doctor took over the role.  I know it's rather silly, since they're supposed to be the same person, but I think of Rose as belonging to Ten and River belonging to Eleven. ;)  River's story really is intriguing, too.  Completely impossible to fully understand for a simple person like me, but still cool. :}

One of the saddest moments of River's life.

River and the Doctor during the episode "Silence in the Library", which is River's first appearance in the series.

Mickey Smith
Mickey Smith, played by Noel Clarke, first appeared in Season 1.  He was Rose's boyfriend and interacted with the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.  Mickey didn't stand a chance at holding Rose's affections after she met the Doctor (he wasn't as fortunate as Rory).  He traveled with them a for a short time and then ended up staying in a parallel universe for much of the series, partially because he knew Rose could never care for him the way he cared for her.

I really felt sorry for Mickey.  He was just an average guy, perhaps a little boring, young and inexperienced.  The Doctor referred to him as "Mickey the Idiot", which had to hurt coming from the guy who dropped his space box into Mickey's neighborhood and proceeded to sweep Mickey's girlfriend off her feet (albeit unintentionally).  I wish Rose would have handled the situation a little more delicately, but in her defense, the whole thing had to be a bit confusing and weird.

I appreciated the development of Mickey's character throughout the series, though.  Much like Rory, he grew from a boy to a man as the series progressed, and often had an important part to play in saving the world.  And of course, I love the added bonus that SPOILER he and Martha ended up together.  I'm sure they had a lot of empathy for each other, since he loved Rose and Martha loved the Doctor.  They both knew the sting of unrequited love.  Plus they're absolutely adorable together. :)


Jackie Tyler
Rose's mother Jackie, played by Camille Coduri, was another character that changed and grew as the series progressed.  She started out as a rather shallow, flirty and immature woman.  She also mistrusted the Doctor at the beginning of the series.  (In all fairness to her, one of the Doctor and Rose's trips took a year, so she thought Rose was kidnapped.)  As Jackie was exposed to more of the threats the world faced and saw how the Doctor helped, she began to trust him more and worked hard to protect him and Rose from others who would betray them.

Jackie's not my favorite character from this series either, but I thought her character was very believable and added a lot to the dynamic of Seasons 1 and 2.  I did appreciate how she and Rose started to understand one another better through the things they experienced with the Doctor.


Wilfred Mott
Sweet Wilf, played by Bernard Cribbins, was Donna's grandfather.  He had several interactions with the Tenth Doctor and encouraged Donna to travel with the Doctor and follow her dreams.  Donna's mother was always very negative, but Wilf always built Donna up and showed her how much he loved her.  He had a huge amount of respect for the Doctor and traveled with him during his final episode as the Tenth Doctor, "The End of Time".  Sadly, Wilf was also unintentionally responsible for the Tenth Doctor's regeneration.  

I really loved Wilf's character.  I thought he was a big sweetheart, and I loved his interactions with Donna and the Doctor.  Some of his scenes in "The End of Time" were so lovely but sad.  Between Wilf and the Doctor, I needed my Kleenex close at hand!


So now that I've spent waaaayyyy too much time giving you a summary of the characters, it's time to get to my actual thoughts on the series itself.  I'd like to take a moment to remind you, as I always do, that I am a follower of Christ, and this affects my worldview and opinions.  I realize that not all of you will have the same views or come to the same conclusions that I do, but I have an obligation to stick with my convictions as I discuss the positive and negative elements.

I also would like to point out that it would be next to impossible to point out every single thing from 7 whole seasons of content, so this will be more of a basic overview. :}

Positive Elements:  Themes of love, friendship, sacrifice, and doing what's right even when it's scary or difficult; beautifully acted; well-written; the Doctor does everything he can to keep his friends and companions from harm;  the humans in the Doctor's life often give him the balance he needs when in the middle of a tense situation

Negative Elements:  Some suggestive humor; numerous references to homosexuality; references to Evolution; mild swearing throughout the 7 series; God's name misused; frightening, disgusting, and/or disturbing "bad guys" (aliens and monsters), especially for a children's show; dresses with low bodices and/or short skirts, especially as worn by Amy and River; one episode features a Satanic creature; often times religious individuals or organizations are viewed as hypocritical or evil; violence

Would I Recommend it?

This is another tough one.  There are some absolutely wonderful things about Doctor Who.  The writing is gripping and leaves you desperate to find out what happens next.  As you watch the series, you grow to genuinely love and care for the characters.  Part of this is the screenplay and part of this is the incredible acting put forth by each of the actors.  There are scenes that are so amazingly heartfelt that you have to remind yourself that these are just actors and it's all just pretend (as you sob into your hands and search for a Kleenex). ;)

Doctor Who Hint:  This series has a way of ripping your heart out as you watch until you're sitting in front of your TV, bawling your eyes out as your relatives look on, wondering what on earth is the matter with you. :}  If you are already feeling sad or just want to have a happy day, do NOT watch:

-Doomsday
-Journey's End
-The End of Time
-The Angels Take Manhattan

I know there are other sad episodes, but those are the ones I can think of at this point that are so tragically sad that by the time you add the incredible acting and the beautiful score in the background, you're done for!

However, if you're acting in a play or something and need to think of sad things, or if you're writing a sad part in your blog or book, sit down, stock up on ice cream and tissue, and pop these episodes in. ;)  You'll definitely be in the right frame of mind.

As I mentioned in the positive elements, the show is full of examples of bravery, sacrifice, love, friendship, and putting others' needs first.  There are memorable characters and wonderful moments of happiness and triumph.  The relationships that develop between the characters are beautifully and realistically portrayed.

The show is not without its flaws, however.  I think the biggest bone I have to pick with Doctor Who is the fact that it's supposed to be a kids show.  Now, I realize that not every child is as sensitive as I was or as my children are now.  Still, if I had seen this show as a kid, I would probably still be in therapy.  Either that, or I'd have an extreme case of omniphobia (the fear of everything). ;)  I mean, this show addresses just about every childhood fear that you can think of:  the dark, monsters, aliens, werewolves and more.  As if that wasn't enough, it also makes normal, everyday objects scary, things I would have never thought to be afraid of as a child, such as department store mannequins, statues, a child's drawings, snowmen, and dolls.  I don't know about you other parents out there, but I don't need to give my girls a completely unnecessary fear of everyday objects that they will come in contact with constantly.  I have a hard enough time getting them to sleep at night as it is. ;)

As an adult, most of the creatures came across to me as more disgusting or disturbing than scary, partially because I hate slimy, gross things, and partially because the special effects aren't the most convincing.  There were some that were just creepy, too, like the weird clock people from "The Girl in the Fireplace".  The Doctor Who villains that I found truly frightening, even as an adult, were the Weeping Angels.  Great special effects weren't needed to portray how terrifying they were.  However, I thought "Blink" was brilliantly written and it remains one of my favorite episodes.  I was also relieved to find that I was able to walk past the statues in Walmart the next day without freaking out.  Apparently I've grown up a bit. :}

Along with the creatures comes some violence which is a bit much for a kid's show, in my opinion at least.  People are changed into aliens against their will, people and aliens are shot, disintegrated, eaten...and the list goes on.  Most of it is done off-camera or "tastefully", but it's still a bit traumatic.

Aside from the creatures and violence, there is also some mild swearing and suggestive humor sprinkled throughout the series.  In some ways, it's a lot cleaner and subtler than most shows since it's made for kids, but it's still there.    Along with the swearing, God's name is frequently misused.  There is also one episode where the characters are obviously misusing an imaginary god's name, as they often say "Oh my vot."  Not sure if this will bother anyone else, but I found it rather distracting.  I know I won't be able to remember all of the suggestive humor, but there are at least a few episodes that come to mind that had things I didn't appreciate, especially those involving Captain Jack.  Oh, and that one episode where Ten and Rose went to New New New New...New York ;) and Cassandra inhabited their bodies for a while.  I was not thrilled with Amy's decision to passionately kiss the Eleventh Doctor at the beginning of Season 5 either, and her implied statement that she wanted to do more.  Thankfully, the Doctor put a stop to it, but I wish they'd done without that scene.  River Song tends to be flirty to the point of suggestive in all her interactions with the Doctor as well, but at least for part of it MAJOR SPOILER........... she's married to him.

Another thing I noticed that does not seem to be brought up very often was the numerous subtle references to homosexuality.  This is a subject I try to avoid for the most part because I know it is a sensitive one, especially among the doll community.  I don't want to offend anyone, but I also feel that I can't in good conscience talk about this series without bringing this up, especially in light of my many sisters in Christ who rely on my reviews.  As a believer, my standard for truth is God's Word, and God's Word teaches that marriage is to be between one man and one woman for life.  I realize that many of you do not hold this view, and I understand that.  However, for those of you who do, you need to be aware that there are many positive comments made about homosexual marriage and homosexual relationships throughout the series.  It usually involves the secondary characters, and as I said before, it is very subtle, but it is still there.  I would say it's about the same level as similar comments made in the BBC "Sherlock" series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which makes sense, since the two shows have a common author (Steven Moffat).

I will say that the swearing, innuendo, and homosexual content varied from season to season, and some seasons had less in them than than others.

I should also mention that the show assumes that the world began through Evolution, which didn't surprise me but I felt I should point it out.  The evolutionary references are brief and don't come up constantly, but they are there.  I also noticed that any references to religion usually were viewed as negative.  They did not appear to be targeting any specific religion, so I didn't find this necessarily offensive.  It does make me wonder about the writers' religious backgrounds, though.

Because of these things I've mentioned, I wouldn't recommend this show for everyone, especially my younger readers.  However, if you're older and you can get past the yucky monsters and aliens and be aware that there are some content issues, there are some great things about this series.

I think it's safe to say that I probably enjoy this show on a much shallower level than some of the hard-core fans.  I detest the icky villains (although I realize that for this type of story to work you have to have "bad guys"), and I don't have any interest in watching the older series or the spin-offs.  I also don't even try to understand the whole time travel/parallel universe/alternate reality/people being younger than their kids/people meeting people on different timelines stuff.  It makes my head hurt. ;)

I'm glad I watched Doctor Who, though.  I laughed, I cried, and I enjoyed getting to know the memorable characters.  I don't think it's the type of show I'd want to watch over and over again because of some of the worldviews and just because I'm way too obsessive.  I would be lost in Doctor Who land. ;)

I had more I wanted to share with you, but this post is ridiculously long already, so I think I'll save my extra goodies for my next post. :)  Stay tuned!




30 comments:

Spicemuffin said...

Welcome to the 'Who'niverse! :)

Natasha Marie said...

I loved reading this! Very, very well written and thorough review. If I were to comment on everything you said, I would leave a novel here instead of a comment. Basically, I agree with everything you said, both the pluses and negatives of this show. The writing and acting is so brilliant! I start crying just thinking about Doomsday and Journey's End. And Blink! is one of my absolute favorite episodes, too! The Weeping Angels totally creep me out!! Okay, reining in my fangirling here...;D
One last thing...that quote of Amy's? About Rory being the most beautiful man she's ever met? That is my absolute favorite quote from the series. It's so true!
Thanks for taking the time to review the series - if anyone asks me for a Christian review of Doctor Who, I'll know where to send them:)
Blessings,
~Tasha~

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Spicemuffin. :)

Tasha, you, Alexandra and Kellie were the ones who first got me thinking about the series, so thanks! :)

Lol...I've left plenty of "novels" in the comments on other people's blogs. Don't every worry about leaving too long of a comment. I know what you mean, though. ;) I'm glad you enjoyed the review. It was so difficult to sum up 7 seasons in one post!

I really love Amy's quote about Rory, too (obviously, since I used it). ;) There are so many other quotable quotes from the series, but that one really stood out to me. :)

I was so impressed with "Blink", but I don't think I'd ever watch it alone in the dark. ;)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was great to hear from you. :)

Claire said...

Be prepared for a long comment! :)

I know I said this earlier but I will say it again - I'm really grateful that you took the time to make this post after I asked if you could. :) So first of all, thank you! :)

I've seen the entire 'new Who' series (with the exceptions of "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit" and "The God Complex" because I found them a bit too morally challenging than I would have preferred, and "The Waters of Mars" because I thought the antagonists were super creepy)...and I've gotta say, I really, really love it - and I'm so excited that you enjoyed it too! :)

I agree with what you said about "Blink" - creepy but brilliantly written. It is probably my all-time favorite episode. I loved it so much I bought it for my iPod the day after I first watched it...which is what I did after I saw "A Good Man Goes to War" (some of my favorite season 6 moments are in that episode). What can I say? I loved both of those episodes. :)

As for my favorite Doctor, as much as I LOVE Nine and Ten, my favorite is Eleven (I started with Eleven's episodes...long story). :) I will be sobbing buckets when Eleven regenerates.

I find it funny that you've been watching Doctor Who around the same time as my mom (she started the show four weeks ago and now she's halfway through "The Snowmen"). She's nearly finished and she LOVES it. Today she watched "The Angels Take Manhattan" (I'd seen it but she hadn't) and I hadn't told her that Amy and Rory left in this episode because I knew they were her favorite companions and I wanted it to catch her by surprise. (Mean of me, I know!) Needless to say, while I was quietly sobbing at the end she was pouring buckets...I don't think she stopped crying until ten minutes after the episode ended. ;)

Out of curiosity - do you think you'll continue watching the show as it goes on?

Thanks so much for the post (and sorry again for the long comment :})! :)

All AG said...

I still seriously think that the mystery behind Clara Oswald is that she's Jenny. (shhh...spoilers) XD

Nina said...

I absolutely LOVE Doctor Who! It's one of my favorite shows. I've only seen the 11th doctor, though. And you're right, "The Angels Take Manhattin" is so sad!

Cindybin said...

Great review! We have been watching this series for years on PBS, so we are a bit behind--our local station hasn't started showing the ones with Clara yet. I agree with what you said about the doctors and their companions. Another character I thought of was Rose's dad Pete; I loved the episode Father's Day where she saved him from dying which messed up the whole "time thing". That was a great episode and didn't really have any scary, horrible monsters. And then on a later episode, it was so touching that he saved her when she slipped away, even though he wasn't her real father in that "alternate universe" (or whatever it was, lol).

The horrible, slimy monsters don't bother me too much. I can always convince myself they're just actors. But I do agree about those weeping angels--they are the scariest of all, and they don't even DO anything! I think that's what makes them so creepy! lol. My daughter-in-law feels the same way. She and her mother are huge fans, too.

I've liked all the companions, too. I'd forgotten about Rose and the department store mannequins rescue (loved your line about "don't even ask", lol). It's always so sad when they have to go--they've all done such a wonderful job. It will be interesting to see how we feel about Clara.

I remember when we finished up watching that first season, I felt like I'd been on some kind of wild ride adventure of a lifetime. After projecting myself into billions of years in the future and/or past, and imagining all sorts of possible events that could happen in the universe, I think this show opens our minds to new possibilities and really makes us think.

Anonymous said...

WOW, sounds like a confusing series ;) lol, I saw a video on weeping angels in a game called "minecraft" where a mod brings weeping angels into the game. Lol, the game is actually PIXALATED (lol, totally spelt that wrong) Andy I was still WICKED freaked out. I can never look at statues the same way again ;)
~Ari

beastsbelle said...

Wow, thanks for all of the comments, everyone. :)

Claire, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. As I said before, writing review posts really helps me think through what I like and don't like about a series, so I enjoyed writing this post a lot. I should be thanking you for requesting it. ;)

I feel bad for your poor mom. "The Angels Take Manhattan" was a big surprise for me, too, but since I kind of started with Season 7 and then went back to Season 2, it wasn't quite as gripping for me. I rewatched it later after seeing everything Rory, Amy, and Eleven had been through and it was much more meaningful. :{ I was sobbing buckets too. ;)

At this point, I plan on continuing to watch Doctor Who, but it will depend a lot on how the series progresses. So that's a tentative yes. ;)

Ooh, All AG, that's a great theory! I won't say any more. ;)

Hi Nina! I'm glad you're enjoying the show. If you get a chance, I would highly recommend watching some of the other seasons, too. You miss out on so much without all the back story. :) Eleven is a great Doctor, though. :)

Hi Cindybin, great to hear from you! :) I didn't realize that they played Doctor Who on PBS. I've either watched it on Netflix, DVD, or get the online recordings from my brother. :)

I enjoyed the "Father's Day" episode, too, as well as the "alternate universe father" storyline. :) I did think about mentioning him, but as I said in the post, I was trying to only mention those who had major recurring roles. The post was long enough as it was. ;)

Weeping Angels...shudder. It's not surprising that I'm not the only one creeped out by them. ;)

I'd be interested to find out what you think of Clara once you watch her episodes.

I actually came away from the series thankful that the stories were fictional. As much as I love the Doctor's character, I'd rather have him STAY a character if having him exist meant having all the "baddies" exist too. ;)

Ari, it's a completely confusing series. There's really no way to explain it to a newcomer without making it sound super complicated. ;) And I could see how even pixelated Weeping Angels would be scary. ;)

beastsbelle said...

By the way, Claire, I meant to say that you never have to apologize for leaving a long comment on my blog. I love them! :)

Hayden said...

haha. I'm a new Whovian, but I knew most of the spoilers (Pinterest, yeah). But I am ECSTATIC because clearplay finally got a filter for season 1, so I'm hoping the other seasons will be forthcoming :)

Good review :)

Alexandra said...

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!!!!!!!!!

Ok, I really, really LOVED this review. :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the series.

I don't need to go into how I agree with everything...since you've read my blog, LOL.

Haha, I've seen Blink twice this week...I've been going through the series with my brother and sister and they had to show that episode to my two other brothers, even though Nick and Jon weren't at that point yet in the series (joys of trying to go through a series while in college ;)). And yes, no matter how many times you see it it's still so creepy. That's definitely the best episode. My brother Alex really liked the two-part Silence in the Library one...even if River's in it. :) Those are the other "really, really creepy" villains...yeah. Love it.

OH. That reminds me...I had to laugh because I TOTALLY agreed about River...I knew going into the episode "who" she was, and it was just like, NOOOOO!!!! Rose is your girl!!! :D So yeah, I have to totally think of Ten and Eleven as completely different people to accept River's relationship with the Doctor.

Anyway! Long story short...squee!!! So glad you enjoyed it! :)

Jordy said...

OMG! I love Matt Smith! So glad they haven't changed him yet! So sad they changed Amy! This is an awesome post!

Anonymous said...

I didn't have time to read the whole post- but I've noticed this series has become quite popular. Is there anything bad in these movies?

beastsbelle said...

Hi Hayden! :) Glad you enjoyed the post...sorry if I gave too much away. ;)

That's so great that Clearplay did Season 1! I agree...it would be great if they did the rest of the seasons. :)

Alexandra, I was hoping I would hear from you. :) I'm glad you liked the post.

I've been hoping to play "Blink" for my parents, too. They haven't watched any of Doctor Who, but I think they'd enjoy that particular episode just for the way it's written. The nice thing is you don't really have to know a lot about Doctor Who to watch Blink. :)

Ooh, "Silence in the Library" was really creepy too! "Who turned out the lights?" *Shudder*

I figured you'd feel the same way about River since you're such a Ten and Rose fan. It's funny the games we play with our minds to allow us to accept plot changes. ;)

Thanks, Jordy...glad you liked it. :) I'll be sad when Eleven regenerates too, but I have to admit I'm rather curious to see who will play the Doctor next.

Anonymous, if you'd like a quick list of objectionable content, scroll down past all the pictures. I have two paragraphs labeled "Positive Elements" and "Negative Elements" which will give you the basics without making you read the whole post. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that awesome, Christian-worldview-based review! I'd been hearing about Doctor Who for a while and had looked up Plugged In's review, but they didn't have as much detail as I wanted. After reading your review, I'll definitely give it a try!

I am slightly confused about one thing, though. You mentioned not watching "the original series" but referred to seasons 1 through the most recent one (7?). If I look it up on Netflix, how can I tell the difference between the original show and the more recent seasons? Do I have to know anything from the original series to understand the more recent shows?

Thank you again!

--Kate :)

P.S. My Merida doll is absolutely FUMING over the "makeover" that Disney gave her. She's begging me for a chance to leave a rant comment on your earlier post. I told her I'd have to think about it. :)

beastsbelle said...

You're very welcome, Kate. I'm glad it was helpful. :)

When they started the series up again in 2005, they started with "Season 1", so your confusion is understandable. ;) If you look it up on Netflix, it's labeled as "Doctor Who". The older series is labeled "Classic Doctor Who". :) The years of production are listed after the title, too. The one you're looking for says "2005-2011".

I personally have not seen the classic series. I'm sure there are references I'm missing and that many Classic Who fans are able to enjoy the new series even more. However, I didn't find it too confusing without watching the older stuff. Most of the things that might be confusing are explained in the first series since Rose is just as new to all of this as we are. ;)

I hope you enjoy it. I had a hard time with Season 1 myself; I much preferred Seasons 2 and following. However, there's a lot of important backstory in Season 1 that you don't want to miss. Everything makes so much more sense when it's watched in order.

Oh, and Merida is free to add her two cents in the comments if you let her. I figured there might be a few of them with plenty to say. ;)

Jen said...

I have to admit, the only reason it's taken me so long to comment is that I have to contain ALL THE FEELS I have about this show and condense them into a coherent comment. :D I started watching back in 2006, when I (like Rose) was stuck in a terrible service-industry job that was going nowhere, and what wouldn't I have given to have a Mysterious Stranger show up and whisk me off to a life of adventure? So, emotional investment ahoy.

Unlike most of the fandom, I actually prefer the relationship between Rose and Nine over that of Rose and Ten. With the former, I loved the contrast between young, pretty, flirty Rose and older, emotionally repressed, post-traumatic Nine - and I loved that, over the season, their personalities started to change and grow because of their relationship. Rose started to see the bigger picture beyond the life she had been leading (her speech to Jackie in the restaurant in The Parting of the Ways is one of my favorite Rose moments), and Nine started to open up and live again after the Time War. Then, of course, Nine became Ten...and then we had young, pretty, flirty Rose with young, pretty, flirty Ten, and the lovely contrast and character growth just wasn't there.

I also think you make a great point about Rose's "I love him and I don't care about the facts or the consequences" view of their relationship. It's a nice sentiment, but when the show gives you the reality of how that view affects the other characters, it's hard to really feel sympathetic toward her. By the time "Doomsday" rolled around, I was actually liking Mickey and Jackie more than Rose. (And I do love both Mickey and Jackie - they started out as such terrible stereotypes, but then they were given depth and character growth!) And, on Ten's side, his besottedness had the side effect of making him - well, kind of unlikeable with Martha in parts of Season Three. I don't like not-liking the Doctor!

I love all the points you made about Amy and Rory, though I have to be shallow and disappointed that there are no pictures of Rory in his centurion costume. :D

I have to say that my favorite companions of the new series are probably Donna and River. I love companions that don't hesitate to take the Doctor down a few pegs, because he really can be smug and condescending when he's in the mood. I love that Donna was never afraid to tell Ten exactly what she was thinking, and River just winds Eleven up until he's tripping over himself. (I also love that Doctor Who is a show where the main character's love interest is played by a wild-haired, not-conventionally-beautiful 50-year-old woman, and the age difference between the actors is never played for cheap "cougar" jokes.)

And that is a very short version of my FEELS. :D

beastsbelle said...

Thanks so much for the lovely, long comment, Jen. :) I loved hearing your thoughts on the series.

I'm in the middle of my writer's meeting right now, so I can't devote the time I'd like for a good response. I'll come back later tonight and say more.

But I do humbly apologize for the lack of a Rory centurion picture. ;) Any man who waits for the woman he loves for 2,000 years is a worthy hero. :)

beastsbelle said...

Okay, I didn't make it back last night, but I'm here today. :)

I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on the series, especially on the Ninth Doctor. I think part of the reason why he didn't appeal to me as much is that I started with Season 2 and ended with Season 1 (I know, weird and not recommended for continuity). :} You made excellent points about Nine and Rose's relationship and how they each grew better through knowing each other. However, it was a bit difficult coming off of Ten and Rose's more bubbly, cutesy relationship and adjusting to a more serious and (as you said) PTSD Doctor. I definitely can see the appeal of the character development in Season 1, though.

I also loved the progression of Mickey and Jackie's characters, especially Mickey's. And I know Rose was being rather selfish in the Doomsday episode, but I still cried buckets at the outcome. :}

I did feel sorry for Martha in Season 3. The Doctor was pretty clueless. For me, though, it was another reminder that he wasn't human, no matter how human he looked. The episodes "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" did an excellent job of showing this, when it didn't even occur to the Doctor that he might fall in love as a human. There were some areas where he just didn't get it. Of course, in the Doctor's defense, Martha developed feelings for him pretty quickly, so even if he had been more sensitive, he might not have picked up on her feelings right away. I mean, it was pretty much one episode and she was "in love".

I really love Donna and River, too. Donna just cracks me up. I think it's hilarious how she usually yells at her captors...or the Doctor...or whoever she feels like yelling at. ;)

It took me a while to appreciate River, but her character really grew on me. It's funny that you mentioned the age difference. When River first started interacting with Eleven, I found their age gap very distracting. As the series wore on, though, I didn't even think about it. I just thought of them as their characters. Their ages didn't matter. I think that's a testimony to how great the writing is. And like you, I appreciate the lack of crude humor surrounding their relationship, because they definitely could have played that card.

I also think it's great that she's not super young and what you would think of as "attractive" by the typical standards of today. We've got enough of that on TV. :} The interesting thing is that she's one of those characters that becomes more attractive as you get to know her (another sign of good writing), much like Amy's quote about Rory.

And yes, the way she affects the Doctor is hilarious. :) I love the way they react to one another.

Thanks again for stopping by! :)

Casey said...

I never got into Doctor Who, but I watched Torchwood a bit. If you are ever tempted to watch Torchwood because it is a spin-off, I don't recommended it for you or for anyone who is uncomfortable with innuendo and bisexuality.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for the tip. I kind of figured it would be that way since Captain Jack is the most prone to innuendo in Doctor Who.

Good to hear from you. :)

Tamsykens said...

Sad episodes? I find the two parter Family of Blood/Human Nature to be absolutely heartbreaking.David Tennant's performance as he's trying to fight what he's being told he needs to do, return to being what he's been told is a man who must ALWAYS end up alone,it's great! But SOO sad. I think one of Katherine Tate's best performances as Donna is the Pompeii episode. That's a heart ripper too. "Just one person." Ahh! You already covered Doomsday thoroughly, but Billie Piper's final goodbye to the Doctor leaves me blubbering too.

beastsbelle said...

Oh, goodness yes! "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" were very emotional to watch! And hats off to David Tennant for an outstanding performance. The part where he is still John Smith and then starts talking like the Doctor...pulling off two characters without changing costume or looks is impressive. The part that gets me every time is when he and Joan hold the watch and see a vision of all their future could be if he stayed. Sob! :(

The Pompeii episode was very moving, too. It really made me appreciate Donna.

And yes, of course Doomsday...

Thanks for mentioning those episodes! I knew it would be impossible to remember them all. ;)

Tamsykens said...

Oh, that part where they see what could have been! That set me off thinking a whole story of my own (I don't write as often as I used to, but now and then I find some time and go with an idea.)from the point of view of a character who finds themselves in a life that never happened, where everything is different from what they know. I have the whole thing from beginning to end.Someday I'll flesh it out.But that is just about my favourite moment in that 2 part story!

beastsbelle said...

That would make for a very interesting story. :) Have fun working on it!

I think one of the things that makes that scene so special is that both actors play it so beautifully. It's another scene that feels very genuine.

All AG said...

Don't get me wrong, I love Doctor Who. While I definitely agree with they are some creepy monsters (The Flood and The Are You My Mummy Zombies especially), I don't necessarily think that homosexuality brings a con in the series. Yes, Captain Jack was annoying and flirted with anyone and everyone but Jenny, Madame Vastra and Strax bring insight to the series about the Doctor's pain of endings: as seen in the snowmen. I think the three characters do play off brilliantly next to each other and can't wait to see what's next. I do love Clara also, but I would have much preferred Oswin. She was funny, brave and selfless (!) which I really adore. Jenny also is that sword swinging girl that has the strength to defeat evil. Vastra is the brains, bringing her millions of years in the Earth to use. Strax is the comic relief, trying to get used to being with them.

But thank you again on a lovely review! I hope you have a great day.


-All AG ^.^

beastsbelle said...

Hi All AG. I do think that the characters of Strax, Madame Vastra, and Jenny are well-written characters. Captain Jack has his fun moments, but mostly I just find him annoying. As I said before, I've never been into the overly-flirty type. ;) However, because I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, I had a hard time fully enjoying some of the comments and content in the episodes featuring those characters.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Aimee said...

I just can't. I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH! I watched the regeneration ofMatt Smith and I feel stupid for saying this, but I cryed :'(

beastsbelle said...

I came close to crying myself. ;)