[Ed: I apologize for the initial post’s typographical errors. I’m sure that’s never happened in a blog before.]
I just re-watched the pilot for the 2005 version the BBC’s Doctor Who, and I’m a lot more impressed the second time (as it were) around. The complaints I had after watching initially were centered around the department store dummies that came to life, and that was just a little too campy for a show this recent. And I’m a little surprised by the pilot’s success going up against character-driven masterpieces like the new Battlestar Galactica and the incomparable LOST.
But this episode, simply titled “Rose,” does have its moments, especially as Billie Piper’s character comes to realize her quasi-love-at-first-sight tickle. And I applaud her prodding The Doctor and the Internet conspiracy theorist about the life, the universe, and, well, everything.
The show takes some nice swipes at British culture (the eyesore of London, the VW beetle parked on the curb) and uses some subtle satire here and there that might be lost, especially on American audiences, when they see it the first time.
The downside of the episode is that Rose’s boyfriend — after getting eaten by a trash can — comes back as a man made of consciousness-infused plastic, tears up a restaurant, and proceeds to get melted inside the TARDIS. I dunno what’s wrong with me, but I had trouble suspending disbelief in that part of the show. I don’t know whether it was Rose’s “culture shock” to the TARDIS itself, or simply bad acting/directing, but her emotional reaction to the death of her boyfriend was a tad underwhelming.
However, the encounter with the consciousness being itself was much more subtly creative than I first gave it credit for. Watching in a dimly lit room, I realized this was an homage to The Outer Limits. The gooey monster in the pit had every characteristic, sans black-and-white film, of monsters that creeped me out as a kid.
I have to admit I’m quite jealous of Doctor Who now that I’ve gotten into it. It has the traits that I’ve always wanted to put into a series of stories or novels: contemporary settings, time travel, interesting characters, real human drama, and an immortal. Of course there’s no reason why I can’t create this all on my own. I think we science fiction and fantasy writers are a little too self-conscious about “stealing” ideas, when, in actuality, ideas cannot be copyrighted or stolen. If I were to concoct my own story arc about an immortal time traveller and his sexy companion the result would be so different from Doctor Who that it’d only be recognized by its genre.
So keep that in mind as you work on your own writing. Everything is derivative, even Homer (the Greek, not the Simpson).
Until next time,
Peace from Keith
Copyright © 2012 Alan Keith Parker