Okay, so it’s not exactly a virgin subject on this blog, but I’ve been watching Doctor Who.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched anything but the Matt Smith ones, so I thought – in preparation for the regeneration special – that I’d watch the whole of the reboot from Christopher Eccleston’s run right up to the end of the last season. I’m currently in the middle of Tennants 2nd Season.
I think the thing that surprises me most of all about re-watching the first two seasons is how Mickey develops. Starting off as a pretty ineffectual coward, his character builds into something quite magnificent and when he leaves at the end of the Cyberman story, it is a genuine wrench. Mickey-with-a-purpose is a fantastic character and on his return, he comes across as a completely different person; someone who has lived and grown. It’s actually, for my money, a better performance than either Tennant or Pipers.
I’d always given him pretty short shrift, probably because “Mickey The Idiot” was so lamentable (as a character, no reflection on Noel Clarke or the writing). Despite the bluster, it’s a very quiet understated performance. I was actually more sorry that Mickey wouldn’t be around than at the loss of Rose. Essentially, she just followed the Doctor around and, despite her attitude, was actually a very traditional “assistant”. Nothing wrong with that, but isn’t it great when one of the supporting cast eclipses the leads? Another example is Amy Farrar Fowler in The Big Bang Theory who quite simply owns that show now.
So, yeah. Ecclestons Who is the most ‘complete’ season in that it has a confined story arc that is resolved at the end of the season leaving no dangling threads. it’s obvious that the production team had no idea if it would be successful enough to go to season two, so made it as self contained as possible and it works spectacularly well.
Seasons one and two together are essentially Roses Story and again, it’s very well contained.
As much as I am no fan of Tennant (my 10th favourite Doctor, fact fans!) he actual vindicates himself rather well in his first season. The rot sets in on Season three. It’s all very well having a lead that you feel indifferent about if the supporting cast is as strong as Rose/Mickey; you’re still on solid ground. Unfortunately, I really dislike the character of Martha Jones and I seriously dislike her family. So, with the two leads being less than stellar, you concentrate a lot more on the stories. And they are, frankly a bit thin. Yes, there are some amazing stories in there (Blink, Family of Blood, Shakespeare Code) but a lot of it is pretty fluffy. I know they were going for a different tone for this season, but that tone was beige.
Getting through the rest of this season will be tough.
Still. Donna soon!
As I speak, it is with mounting horror that I realise the next story to watch in “Daleks in Manhatten”)
So what we can take from this is Mickey rocked, right?