My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 2)

Author: Jay-Rey (@jay_rey)

(Via Sciencefiction.com)

I am back, and sooner than I thought I would be. After my first piece about the 2005 Doctor Who revival, I knew I was gonna keep pushing forward. I actually wrote that first article after I was about two episodes into the Series 2 of Doctor Who. I finished the finale 2 days ago and I am ready to dive right in. Clearly, spoilers will be rampant.

Since I am an American, I am just gonna say “season” instead of “series”. Sorry to my friends in the UK. You gotta write what you know. At the end of Season one, we found many revelations: Rose controls (or rather utilizes) the power of the TARDIS and wipes out the fleet of the Daleks, Captain Jack dies AND comes back to life, and the Doctor kisses Rose, removing the effects of the TARDIS on her (and thus, saving her life) at the cost of his own. He explodes in a large ray of light and whats left is David Tennant. Younger, a little more frantic, and from what the ladies tell me, much hotter. This new regeneration of the Doctor quickly makes a get away in the TARDIS.

So here we are for Season 2. It was as up and down as Season 1 was. For starters, I was getting used to Chris Eccleston. Now I am thrown into a world with a new Doctor, and I am left mimicking Rose’s struggle to understand what happened. And to add insult to injury, the first episode of the season didn’t do much for me. The Doctor is asleep for most of it, Rose is left to lead her mum and Mickey to save the world, and the Doctor just kind of saves the day. It does do something interesting, in that it shows how Earth is changing the future with the introduction of Torchwood. This institution gets quick glimpses for most of the season until the end, where it is showcased in full.

Torchwood, from my understanding and Wikipedia research, is a covert organization that specializes in ET encounters. Not working with the government, or with knowledge of the public, Torchwood seems to be focused on keeping Earth safe after the many invasions from the first two seasons. It has its own show, and if you love Captain Jack, you should go check it out!

(Via Fanpop.com)

Anywho, episodes where Rose and the Doctor and back seeing eye to eye are the best ones. And as with the previous seasons, episodes that go back in time just bore me. They try, for sure, but I just don’t really have an interest in seeing Old England and scientifically explained monsters. I guess, trying to explain folk lore and legend through the use of Whovian logic isn’t my cup of tea (Boom! Tea jokes!). The science fiction aspect works much better for me in present day or in the straight future.

As with the previous season, a couple of episodes hit a heart string, including a loose romance with Madame de Pompadour, another story line involving Rose’s father, and the finale. The relationship between Rose and the Doctor is definitely at its best here, as Rose is a useful asset to his travels, and can often help solve issues when separated from him. Along with this relationship, the love aspect gets introduced again, and is a bit more clear here, as Mr. Tennant his a little more charming than Eccleston.

To be fair, Eccleston’s doctor is coming from the Time War, and has a lot of demon’s he is dealing with. By the time Tennant takes over, he has a new lease on life, a new focus, and a great companion. While Rose is more openly attached to the Doctor, it is apparent he feels similarly, often catching his second wind if Rose is in trouble. Its not bad, though I can’t help but feel a pattern emerging. After years of new Doctors and new companions, it seems like this is a cycle of heart ache sadness in the Doctor’s life. The companion leaves him, or he regenerates and leaves them.

On that note, there is a fun episode early on where the Doctor, Rose, and Mickey set off to save a school where teachers are eating the kids, or something. But the important part is that the gang runs into Sara Jane Smith, the longest serving companion to date. Originally introduced as the companion for the 3rd Doctor, she goes on to work with the 4th Doctor, and appears in a story line for the 5th Doctor. From what I can tell, she pops up a few more times in the revival series as well as her own spin off show.

It is interesting to see the interaction between Rose and Sara Jane. Both in love with the Doctor, both experienced companions, but both from totally different times, different experiences, and different spirits. Over the course of the story, there is a little head bumping between the two, but they ultimately see eye to eye. Kind of like how you figure an ex would talk to your current significant other. Its a nice moment of levity in the hectic school.

(Via Eyeofhorus.org)

And on the topic of this episode, the series continues to be full of great make up or horrible CG effects. At this point I have accepted it as scripture. It is what makes the series special. The flying monsters from the Sara Jane episode look horrible, and the reintroduction of the Cybermen as well as the appearance of the Daleks shows this weird dedication to the classic look of Doctor Who. These are the villains created decades ago, and they are iconic. The show displays the fact that Daleks are the most dangerous species in the universe, and despite their appearance, the heroes act accordingly.

At this point, I am a fan of the show. It wasn’t necessarily easy, and that means the show isn’t for everyone. I’m still not a full blown Whovian. But I like it. Its fun, zany, and it there are enough good episodes in a season for me to keep pressing on. Every once in a while we get a sneak at the mysterious of the Doctor. The effects of the Time War on his psyche as well as his own mysterious past. The ending of Season 2 was pretty big, effecting the Doctor Who universe in a way that I’ve never seen before. As I go through season 3, the 50th Anniversary episode will have aired. An episode that got so much internet buzz, it inspired this foray into british sci-fi television.

I’ll probably do a Series 3 article. But for the uninitiated who are looking at watching Doctor Who, the only thing I can tell you is to take that leap. If you want to like it, you probably will. You wouldn’t be interested in it if you weren’t slightly prepared for whats in store. When its good, its great, and when it falters, its easy to abandon ship if you aren’t invested yet. But the Doctor Who community is a tight group of loyal fans. And those fans make the series seem fantastic to outsiders.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am actually almost done with Series 3 at the time of the posting. And I can now for sure say I thoroughly enjoy the show. I don’t know if its getting better, or if I am getting more accustomed to story and flow of British Drama/Comedy. But if you stick it out till series 3, you’ll probably be a fan of the show too.)

Be sure to check out the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary tomorrow on BBC One or a participating Fathom Event Theater! 

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8 Comments

Filed under Rant

8 responses to “My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 2)

  1. chorenn

    Great article! Glad to see that you’re enjoying the show. I think that it can be a difficult show to get into, especially if you don’t know what to expect. In some ways, I think it’s better to start with Series 2 than Series 1, because I think the writing is better and Ten is a lot easier to understand than Nine.

    One thing I’ve found is that many episodes are better on second viewing, possibly because you know the general story and can pay more attention to the details. You might find “The Christmas Invasion” to be better the next time. While the Doctor doesn’t act for much of it, during the last 20 minutes of the show, it defines his character fully and shows you what to expect from him.

    The companions definitely have that cycle of heartache for the Doctor, but they also define him. While he isn’t truly romantically involved with any of them except for maybe Rose, he cares deeply about them, even when he’s in conflict with them (see Adric), and threats against any of them spurs him to action. They also make sure that he stays grounded – but that’s something for later series.

    Anyway, take care! I’m definitely enjoying reading your insights.

    • You definitely make some really good points. I kind of look forward to going back to rewatch what I’ve seen so far. While I was proofreading, I felt bad that I was being a bit harsher than I truly felt.

      Mickey became pretty cool by the end of the Series. Not for nothing, but he was a little annoying for a while, but it was good to see him come into his own for a while. And the overall dynamic between all the characters was really good.

      I am almost done with Series 3 already, and it feels like it is getting really good. At this point, I am just enjoying watching the show. But I think its something you gotta go outta your way to try to get into, like Firefly or older Sci-Fi shows.

      • chorenn

        Completely agree on Mickey! He really got the short end of the character/personality stick early on. Great character growth.

        And… mmmmm Firefly! 🙂

      • Firefly indeed! I should write up an article just talking about the greatness that is Firefly. It might be a nice way to introduce people the same way I am doing Doctor Who.

      • chorenn

        Please do! I look forward to it!

        I actually got introduced to it backwards. My company took all the employees, including me and my husband, to see Serenity when it came out. I didn’t know the first thing about it – I didn’t even know it was science fiction. We came out of the theater and went out to buy the Firefly DVD set, and watched the whole thing that weekend. It was that good.

      • Thats the order I got into it, hahah. I saw Serenity after the trailer made it look super action packed. But the movie hit me really hard, especially with Wash. So I had to know how the crew got their. I wasn’t disappointed at all. It is definitely my favorite series now.

  2. Pingback: My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 3 and Beyond) | For The Blog

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