Saturday, March 31, 2007
Dr Who: rhinos in space
I am currently in a Zen like state of mind as programmes such as House and The Sopranos are back on terrestrial telly (my Zen existence disintegrates when I remind myself that I don’t have cable….). And now to complete things Dr Who is back. The Xmas episode was kinda sub-standard but I am willing to forgive Russell T. Davies as he usually is on top form…..most of the time. Now we have a brand spanking series with a new woman assistant. Well, guess what, I just had to review the first episode. And as Simply Red once crooned, if you don’t know me by now, pop pickers, then you will never never never know me.
We meet Martha Jones, who as a medical student encounters a rather "sick" looking “mister Smith” who inexplicably has two heart beats, during the ward round. She thinks stomach problems while the consultant thinks psychiatric!
There are strange meteorological problems afoot and I am not talking global warming either. There’s a build up of static electricity, raging storm clouds and pouring rain only hitting the hospital and nowhere else.
And before you can say cost cutting exercise, the hospital lands on the moon (honestly, they go to extraordinary lengths to impose PFI schemes nowadays). In defiance of science and the laws of physics (hey, this is fiction) the moon has air and before you know it a cluster of space ships hits the surface and enter the Judoon. A bunch of inter-galactic shock storm troopers who look remarkably like rhinos. These thuggish cops are on a mission to find a plasmavore, who is in the guise of a sweet innocent pensioner, who assimilates blood, rather quaintly, through a straw as opposed to using fangs (look, jokes about the blood transfusion service are tempting). The Judoon probe the “humans” in this hospital and in a British state kinda way indulge in shoot-to-kill tactics and ask questions later.
Anyway, the Doctor and the medical doctor have to find this pesky little plasmavore before the Judoon decide to execute everyone and to save the hospital staff and patients from lack of oxygen all in a matter of 45 minutes…..oh and return to earth. There’s lots of running around and Martha trying to elicit information from this enigmatic character known as the Doctor. And the gorgeous Martha gets to indulge in some 'genetic transfer' with him (Tut! before the watershed as well...).
Martha, in a similar way to Rose, has “emotional baggage” in regards to her family. Rose was brought up by her mum in a council flat while Martha’s parents are divorced yet affluent. Different social class, race and backgrounds yet both are asserting their independence and are strong women but feel there’s more to life. I am sure as the series progresses Martha’s character will be fleshed out and evolve (rather like Rose).
Martha can hold her own against the vile Judoon (critics say these critters are a rip-off from Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). And no bloody screaming either (ah, the golden olden days of the average one-dimensional weak woman assistant in Dr. Who)….Thank-you Russell T. Davies. The one thing I like about Russell T. Davies he does create good strong women characters.
I give it 8 out of 10 (but I am biased). It looks like the BBC spent a couple quid more on special effects than ITV on their piss-poor but hilariously-funny-but-for-the-wrong-reasons, Primeval. Oh well, Torchwood is now a distant memory since Dr Who is back…
Rumour has it that the final episode stars the excellent John Simm playing a Blairesque prime minister who is really the Doctor’s arch-nemesis the Master in disguise. So that’s what is up with Tony Blair then…..