The seventh series of Doctor Who, seventh at least since the British fantasy/sci-fi classic programme’s 2005 revival, began last Saturday. (Yes, here there will be only a few slight spoilers.) I have a few observations after I viewed the first episode in glorious HD, thanks to Amazon video-on-demand. You likely have even more thoughts and/or praises.
- Amy’s and Rory’s relationship is central to series 7’s opener “Asylum of the Daleks.” Who knew helping their marriage could be as vital as saving the universe? What does that say about stories’ big, huge, epic battles versus personal ones?
- After the end of series 6, the Doctor does seem less famous throughout the universe. Somehow despite being outside of time, many believe he’s in the “past,” having died in the year 2012. But as this episode proves, there’s one notable exception. How do you feel about the Doctor being more “underground,” like Batman, rather than flying about all shiny and colorful in broad daylight, such as Superman?
- Did you catch the surprise guest? He/she is certainly earlier than expected, and announced. “Rule number one: the [showrunner, i.e., Steven Moffat] lies.” Did you find that storyline similar to River Song’s in “Forests of the Dead”? How does that lead you to expect this character’s inevitable (p)re-appearance later?
- Note the not-so-subtle fan-service. For years cosplayers have dressed as Daleks, with various interpretations. Now humans-as-Daleks are “canon.” Check out those Dalek-ish costumes. What did you think? Ever do any Doctor Who cosplay?
- This series is actually half a series, this year. Last year’s midseason break was a few months; this time it’s a whole year. Negative: much longer to wait until more new episodes. Positive: they seem to be using up a whole year’s effects budget on half a year’s stories, each one of which intentionally resembles a blockbuster film. What do you think of this approach, and the more-independent and less arc-based stories?
Finally, one crucial truth about Doctor Who seems to refer to all stories’ reflections of love.
I noticed this upon recently reviewing series 1’s two-part story “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances.” That’s the one with the creepy little boy in the gas mask, and secondly with the introduction of “omnisexual” character Captain Jack Harkness. Ha ha! That Captain Jack. He’ll shag anything carbon-based. Regardless of gender. Ha, ha ha. Funny Captain Jack!
But ask yourself: on what kinds of love is the actual and fantastic story based?
Meanwhile, “Asylum of the Daleks” is about not only Daleks, but Amy’s and Rory’s love for one another. By contrast, another infamous Doctor Who throwaway-suggestive line hints that one new character has experimented with “bisexuality” or lesbianism. But that’s all. One throwaway line, for a cheap, agenda-laden laugh. Compare that to the whole story being about “traditional,” that is God-created, marriage and love, being worth preserving.
“Different” sexuality: good for cheap agenda-smacking laughs. Real love powers the story.
Captain Jack is comic relief. But his crushing on Rose, while comedic, adds emotional pull to his divided loyalties. And a mother’s love for her child is what reduced audiences to tears.
Viewers may chuckle at hints of “bisexuality.” But they will only cheer for Rory and Amy.
So gayness/whatever can apparently function only as comic relief. You can’t build the story around such an imposter “love.” Not a great story. Not a story people will love. Shouldn’t this say something about how we see love in reality? If it’s not a beautiful thing worth celebrating in imagined worlds, why do we try to trick ourselves in the real world?