xerinmichellex: (tv: Doctor Who)
[personal profile] xerinmichellex
I'm posting this today to give anyone who wants to join in the chance to do so.

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of "Rose", the beginning of the Doctor Who era known as "New Who", and the introduction of new fans to a show that's span 50 years. I didn't start watching Doctor Who until 2009, when I caught the last 15 minutes of "Doomsday" on TV. Over the years, my relationship with Doctor Who has gone up and down; but it still remains an important TV show. And ONE DAY I will complete that DW Re-Watch.

For the past week, fans on Tumblr have participated in "Celebrating New Who" week with each day devoted to a different theme. I've combined the meme into one, very long post. Obviously, I couldn't capture all my favorite stuff so here's my Doctor Who tag on Tumblr which has even MORE Doctor Who goodies.

Favorite Series: Series/Season 2

Honestly, this was hard to choose, as each season continues episodes I love. . .and then a multitude of episodes I don't enjoy. Yet, even with the episodes I don't care for in Season 2 (the fewest out of all the seasons, tbh), I do like Ten and Rose together, and often just watching them together is enough for me. A lot of my fondness for S2 is because it was the first, full season I watched, and officially got be invested in the show. It has the episode that caused a visceral reaction within 10 minutes of me watching it ("Doomsday"). I love Rose and her growth in this season into her own leader: From her fumbling attempts to act like the Doctor in "The Christmas Invasion" to saving the day WITHOUT the Doctor in "Fear Her". It is just a great season through and through.

Favorite Episode:

Again, this was hard, so I'm going to list favorite episode per season.

Season 1: "The Parting of the Ways"
Season 2: "The Impossible Planet"
Season 3: "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood"
Season 4: "Midnight"
Season 5: uhhh. . . "The Pandorica Opens" . . .?
Season 6: "The Girl Who Waited"
Season 7: "Hide"
Season 8: "The Caretaker"
Doctor Who Specials (the one-offs): "The Waters of Mars"

Looking at them broken down like this, the two-parter from S3 may be my absolute favorite from the series. It's such a turning point for Martha's character (which I'll talk about later). It really scrutinizes the Doctor's "character" and shows that as much hope and joy the Doctor can bring, with that also comes sacrifice and destruction. Latimer's speech about the Doctor being "like fire, and ice, and rage" remains one of the best speeches about the Doctor. Likewise, Brother's speech about the Doctor is chilling and the idea of immortality being a curse speaks to me on a personal level. So, yep, "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" is #1.

Favorite Moment: Team TARDIS in "Journey's End"

Again: Super hard to pick just one. (This is why I suck at making favorite/top whatever lists.) I love Rose becoming "Bad Wolf"; Cassandra "body hopping" into Ten and Rose in "New Earth"; Martha's goodbye; the pantomime between Ten and Donna in "Partners in Crime"; The Companion Farewell Tour in "The End of Time, Part II" (fight me, bro!); Clara and Twelve's bickering in "The Caretaker".

But I think the moment where all of the Doctor's past companions and friends gather on the TARDIS in "Journey's End" tops everything. I always enjoyed whenever a past companion or ally appeared and reaffirmed their relationship, not only to the Doctor, but to the show. So all of Team TARDIS--most of whom have never met--standing around the TARDIS console in the S4 finale is the best payoff and so. . . celebratory. I love that once Martha and Rose meet, there is no cat fighting. Instead, both women admire and support each other. It is one of things I miss most in Moffat's run: The collection of friends and allies that weave in and out of the story and other companions meeting each other.

Favorite Character: Ten

LOL is it cheating to say the Tenth Doctor? Whatever, it's my list.

Of all the New Doctors, I find Ten to be the most interesting. He can bounce between maniac giddiness to threatening savior in an instant. He's cruel: He brings down Harriet Jones in "The Christmas Invasion" (which makes way for Harry Saxon/the Master in S3). He's charismatic enough that dozens of people--the Face of Boe, Astrid, River Song, and others--would gladly sacrifice themselves for him/to save the world. He's vengeful when he gives The Family of Blood the chance to be immortal. He celebrates humans and their drive to seek out adventure and explore the universe around them; but he also sees in them the flaws that can be their undoing. He brings both hope and destruction. He is, ultimately, a Tragic Hero.

Then, there's the Time Lord Victorious arc--the culmination of EVERYTHING that has happened up to this point and validates Donna's comment that the Doctor should never, ever travel alone. I've mentioned elsewhere that for a Hero's Story to resonate with me, at some point there needs to be a redemption arc. I am a big fan of the hero(s) failing or hitting rock bottom right before the final act. And, boy, does Ten hit rock bottom at the end of "The Waters of Mars". Becoming the "Time Lord Victorious" is an atrocious act committed by Ten and raises the stakes in his final, two episodes.

But the thing is, no matter how many companions Ten loses, no matter how many people sacrifice themselves in "the name of the Doctor", Ten keeps fighting. He fights to the bitter end, and in the end, when he says "I don't want to go" it's an admirable statement. Because after all that loss, and sacrifice, and death, Ten would still choose to go on fighting.

Favorite Theme: "You know the thing you need most of all? You need a hand to hold."

It's no accident that the first moment Rose (and the audience) meets the Doctor, he grabs her hand and simply says "Run." It's a theme that crops up again and again in the series: When someone holds out their hand, someone else is there to grab it. Nine offers his hand, a sympathetic gesture, to Rose as they watch Earth burn. Ten and Martha run hand in hand towards danger to save a hospital full of people. Donna helps Ten push down the lever that causes Pompeii's destruction so he doesn't have to carry that burden alone. Eleven comforts and gives Amy strength, before she faces her first test in blindly navigating an unfamiliar world without him by her side. Clara's faith in the Doctor makes her reach out her hand in the dark, knowing that he will be there to grab it.

Life's no fun if there isn't anyone to share it with. And it's awfully lonely if there's no one there when you stretch out your hand for someone to grab.

Favorite Arc: Martha in Season 3

I enjoy all the RTD companion arcs for different reasons. (Rose's spoke to me when I was first watching Doctor Who as someone who felt directionless in her own life.) Martha's realization that she is not "second best" is one of the most triumphant moments in a season that deals with the loss of Rose and the simmering darkness in Ten. Martha is not "second best" compared to Rose--she's not a replacement, but an addition. She is her own person and it's really during the "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" that we see Martha come into her own. She's forced to take charge when Ten becomes human. . . and in return forgets how important Martha is to him. She has to battle not only being a women in 1913; but a WOC. (Nothing is more satisfying than when Martha is told to go through the servants' entrance, and she says, "Not on your life.") It's that preparation that makes her year-long journey between "The Sound of Drums" and "The Last of the Time Lords" a success. More impressive, Martha grows more outside of Ten's influence than she does with him. Martha is not "second best" to Rose, the Doctor, or anyone else in the world. As she says in her goodbye, she is "good". No, Martha Jones, you are great.

Final Thoughts:

"We must look like insects to you."
"I think you look like giants."

At first I was going to say this was my "favorite theme" but I think because it's THE universal theme of the series, I decided to end this post with it, and that's that at its core Doctor Who is about humanity. Through all 109 episodes of "New Who" everything about the human condition has been explored, extrapolated, and pieced back together. Curiosity ("The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood"); Fear ("Midnight", "Listen"); Death ("Father's Day", "Death in Heaven"); Love ("The Doctor Dances", "Hide"); Redemption ("The End of Time"); Choice ("Turn Left", "Amy's Choice"); Survival ("42", "Voyage of the Damned"), etc.

"Are all people like this? So much bigger on the inside?"

One thing I noticed during my attempted re-watch is that a lot of the S1 episodes' start with a wide shot of Earth, symbolizing both how large Earth is, and how small it is compared to the entire universe. It is the same for humans: as Ten says, ". . .humans decay. You wither and you die." But in that time between our birth and ultimate death, we contain an infinite capacity to love, to fear, to seek out adventure, to connect with people different from ourselves, to dream, to change, to leave a mark on this world. Everyone and anyone can make a difference or impact in the world. You just need to go out and find it.

"When you're a kid, they tell you it's all... grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better. "

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August 2015


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