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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doctor Who-athon 2008-2009, Series 3

Just wrapped up my rewatch of Doctor Who series 3, and upon reflection, I think this may be my favorite series, on the strength of a couple of stellar episodes.

"Blink" may just be my favorite episode of new-Who. I almost hate to say that, since it barely features the Doctor or his current companion, but their use in the episode is inspired, and the absolutely creepy overtones in a story where statues come to life, but only when you're not looking at them, is pure perfection. This episode perfectly demonstrates why I'm so excited that Steven Moffat will be taking over the Who-helm. His episodes are consistently my favorites, and I can't wait to see the direction he'll take the show.

I also really enjoy the "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" two-parter. In the story, the Doctor has to hide himself away as a human, locking away his Time Lord persona even from himself. Martha's the only one who knows what he really is, and finds it increasingly difficult to keep him safe, both from a band of alien hunters, and from falling in love. I particularly enjoy the end of this story. Watching John Smith agonize over the decision to make himself back into a person he doesn't know, and who will probably lose everything that Smith holds dear, is one of my favorite examples of David Tennant's acting skills. And his final punishments for the Family of Blood are chilling.

FoB also gave me what I consider the best explanation of exactly who the Doctor is: “He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. And … he’s wonderful.”

And finally, I really love the three part ending of this series. The sudden wrap up of a number of running clues from the entire season (some of which you would never have expected to be important outside of a brief appearance in another episode) was so incredibly satisfying. I loved John Simm's performance as the Master. The ending was a little too pat for my tastes, but did make sense in the over all story. And I have to give props to Martha for managing to leave on her own terms.

On a side note, "The Last of the Time Lords" was my first introduction to how much American tv stations cut from the episodes to fit them into an hour time slot. There's a great sequence in the beginning of TLofTL where the Master is dancing around the Valiant that does a neat wrap up of what has happened to the people trapped on board with him over the past year that was skipped between episodes, and it was completely cut from American feeds. I was terribly annoyed by this (though it seems minor now in the face of some of the things they cut from last year's series finale), and I really hope American audiences aren't relying on seeing the episodes on tv. The networks are fine for a quick fix, but you're only going to get the full experience if you either surf the bit torrents or buy the DVDs.

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