I'm beginning to view the automobile as a weekend extravagance. I have saved a lot of money this way, and I've fed a lot of ducks.
I finished off the episodes of Christopher Eccleston's tenure on Doctor Who
last night. His final three episodes are not exactly the best written of the series, though they're not totally awful. I loved the action with the Daleks and the Dalek war fleet--and it's a good thing the show looks so good, because the special effects have to do a lot more heavy lifting for some unprecedentedly limp scripts. Even the old episodes that weren't hard science fiction at least gave you the impression the writer was interested in science. Discussions about physics or biology are replaced by genuine
technobabble--connecting wires for some kind of "delta wave" in the last episode, just another of a series of uninteresting deus ex machinas that include the TARDIS's soul and the sonic screwdriver that apparently just does anything now. I mean, I said before I thought it was silly when the device was taken away because it made it too easy for the Doctor to unlock doors. But there was at least a logic to it before--from time to time, you'd see him use it as a screwdriver, where it applied a remote force on a screw, drawing it out or screwing it into a socket. It made sense that a deft hand could use it to manipulate a lock mechanism--even when the third Doctor used it to detonate land mines, it made sense because it's a device used to apply pressure or pull from a distance. It doesn't make sense for it to be used to interfere with a teleporter or for it to be a remote control for the TARDIS. It's particularly annoying when it's used in the former instance for a cheap gag that wasn't especially funny.
With the exception of the eighth Doctor, the ninth Doctor is the first Doctor we never see set foot on an alien planet. Every episode of Eccleston's tenure either takes place on Earth or in Earth's orbit. They talk
about seeing things in other parts of the galaxy and on other planets but we never get to see any of it ourselves. It's frustrating in the last few episodes when the show concentrates on strikingly superficial relationship material. Jack Harkness appears to be overcome with love for both the Doctor and Rose, but we never see how this love developed. The Doctor and Rose do have nice chemistry, and the stuff between them is good in the early part of the season, but it's reduced to wailing and declarations in the final episodes without much substance. If they're really interested in toning down the science fiction elements in favour of interpersonal relationships, I wish it could have been a little more cerebral. It starts off good with Rose having issues with becoming an adult and the Doctor trying to reclaim himself after a horrible experience, but all this is trampled under the pyrotechnics of the final three episodes.
And just weeks after I first identified the "type" of Doctor Who
episode--the Deadly Game Show type, let's call it--there's already an example of it in the new series with "Bad Wolf", only this one has the potential to become much more dated for its use of actual modern game shows. Though it's certainly better than Vengeance on Varos
--the business with Jack Harkness getting a makeover is funny, and the Doctor's easy affection for Lynda is sweet. It wasn't as good as the Dalek stuff later on except we just had
to make the Daleks half human, didn't we? Half human Doctor, half human Daleks, really, people, do you so need that to identify with characters on screen nowadays?
Oh, and I didn't even mention the whole season-long Bad Wolf gimmick which not only didn't make sense but was also totally pointless.
So I guess my final verdict on the ninth Doctor's tenure--mostly better than the sixth Doctor's tenure.