Dr Who

December 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Andrew at Commentarama Films had a great post and comments about Time Travel movies.  As usual, after the discussion had continued long enough, it turned to the BBC series Dr Who.

If you’ve never seen Dr Who, I’ll give a (very) brief overview.

The Doctor, as he’s referred to in the show, is a Time Lord from the planet of Gallifrey.  He travels through time and space in his time machine, called a TARDIS, which is bigger inside than outside and appears as an old fashioned British police call box.  Whenever the Doctor is fatally injured, he is able to completely regenerate into a new physical body, coincidentally appearing as an entirely new actor takes over the series.  He has wonderful adventures, typically while being accompanied by a rather pedestrian sidekick to whom he can explain everything.  The show originated in the 1960’s with a very limited budget, but with excellent writing to compensate.  The show was eventually cancelled sometime in the 80’s, but was rebooted 6-8 years ago with modern special effects and new actors.

My one problem with Dr Who, which I added to the discussion at Commentarama was this:

Dr Who is a great show, but can also be grating after awhile. It bothers me how he often carries on like Hamlet as he sermonizes about refusing to kill the beast of the week (giant invisible chicken, etc…), but by the end of the episode the dozens of dead humans are long forgotten and no longer matter.
Still the show is entertaining enough to be worthwhile.
My first Doctor was Jon Pertwee, whom I always thought of as an engineering sort.
Tom Baker was wonderful, and more like a brilliant physicist.
The one after Baker left me cold and I quit watching until the US movie, but it was bleh.
The new series are very entertaining, though with the caveat mentioned earlier.

This snobbish pacifism carried over to a spinoff series which I couldn’t stand:  Torchwood.

Torchwood is a top secret agency put together by the British government to protect the earth whenever Dr Who isn’t around.  The main character was introduced in a two part Dr Who episode as a fellow time traveler, but not a Time Lord.  The character was brought back for his own series with his own team of sidekicks.  I’d had high hopes for Torchwood, but in the end I was only able to force myself to watch a single episode.

The episode had one of the group hiding a former teammate that was partially converted into a Cyberman (historic Dr Who villains).  When everyone else is out of the base, he brings in a Japanese robotics expert to fix her.  She promptly kills the expert and a pizza delivery person, and tries very hard to kill the rest of the team.

By the end of the episode (after they do destroy her) Captain Jack just smugly tells the instigator, “I hope you’ve learned your lesson.” or something similar with no further repercussions.
Even though 2 innocent people had died.

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