Friday, February 05, 2010

Doctor Who - Voyage of the Damned & Season 4 - David Tennant

And we come to the last of Tennant's seasons as The Doctor. The Christmas Special is the episode named "Voyage of the Damned", with Kylie Minogue guest starring, and surprisingly, she was good in her role! It's not one of the best episodes of Doctor Who, and could be a lot better. However, there is one very important reason to see this episode: David Tennant's portrayal of The Doctor. You can have a bad script, a bad director or all of those put together, and still Tennant's performance will make a difference. In this Christmas episode, he finds someone named Alonso, so he finally gets to say "Allons-y Alonso!"

Fourth season and Catherine Tate returns to the role of Donna Noble. We had seen her in the previous Christmas Special, the Runaway Bride, and I am really glad she joined the cast this season. There is good chemistry between Tennant and Tate; from the first moment they are together, you know it's going to be good. They are opposite characters or is Donna just hiding more than she shows? Maybe something she isn't even aware of?

Throughout the season, Tate's performance is one of the best of the series. She has strength, she is impetuous, and her character ties very well with Tennant's Doctor. Donna has a very human side, and one of the scenes where this is evident, is in the second episode, when she asks the Doctor, maybe more like a demand, to save just one person from the destruction of Pompeii.

Martha Jones phones the Doctor, because UNIT has an alien problem. Something's not quite right in the ATMOS factories, and the Doctor goes to Earth once more to help. The Sontarans, old enemies of the Doctor, are behind everything, and it is up to the Doctor and some unexpected help to save the day. I liked Martha Jones in this double episode much more than in Season 3.

Two of the best episodes of the season are Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. Guest starring Alex Kingston as Professor River Song, who is an old companion of the Doctor from... his future! And maybe the only person we've seen so far that knows his real name...

I really liked the character of River Song; she is a strong character, someone who related well to The Doctor, and who had a dynamic relationship with him, I would say. A big part of this double episode, was based on the relationship between the two, and yet again, the performances by the actors were what made it work. The script was also good, but I have seen good scripts being ruined by incompetent actors... But here we have strong performances and a good, solid script.

This is the best episode of the season: Turn Left. What would have happened if Donna did not have a job at HC Clemens? What would have happened if The Doctor had died before being able to regenerate in the events that took place in the Runaway Bride, exactly because Donna was not there?

Rose Tyler returns to help Donna, and through Donna sends The Doctor a very important message: Bad Wolf.

In the last double episode of the season, we have the return of almost all the characters that at one time or another have been companions to the Doctor, and a few more surprises: Rose Tyler comes back, along with her mother Jackie, and Mickey; we have the return of Captain Jack Harkness, and Martha Jones; Sarah Jane Smith, and an enemy from the past: Davros. This episode though has left me with tears and bitterness at the end.

Due to a metastatic crisis, Donna becomes a human/timelord hybrid, and acquires all the knowledge of a timelord. The Doctor:s hand, due to the same metastatic crisis, regenerates into a human Doctor, with all the knowledge and memories of The Doctor. The Donna-Doctor hybrid, along with the human Doctor, are the ones who will get the rest of the gang out of trouble.

However, it is the Human Doctor, that will give a permanent solution; a solution which our beloved Timelord does not like. But is this the reason he leaves Rose and the Human Doctor together in the parallel world? Or is he really thinking of Rose's feelings and happiness, because the Human Doctor has one heart, will grow old with Rose and will not regenerate? And he harbors the same feelings towards Rose as the Timelord?

In the final scene, he has to wipe out Donna's memory, otherwise the knowledge of a Timelord, will kill her. If she ever remembers him again, Donna will die. He has to say goodbye to her, forever. The rest of the gang proceeds with their own lives, leaving the Doctor alone once more.The hard words spoken by Davros have left a deep scar, a mark on the Doctor, and this will influence his behaviour in the specials, that mark the last appearance of David Tennant as the Doctor.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Religion and Free Expression II

A few days ago I had written the first part of this post. But there are new developments which happened just today, and I am really angry and sad at the same time. But let me first explain what happened.

About 3 months ago, my niece's teacher gave them various small projects to do. My niece's project was about the myths of Italy. Along with my sister, they sat down, and found three beautiful myths from Italy. Today was the day that my niece would present the project. The school owner, though, does not want my niece to present her project, on religious grounds yet again, because, in the myths, there were witches, ghosts and the devil! She now wants to look and read through the projects so she can "religiously" approve them!

I really don:t know what to say about this person, who is trying to make children into dogmatic soldiers for Jeebus, who is trying to impose her own dogmatism into children, who is forbidding every expression of imagination and inventiveness...

I do not care what that fundie believes. She can believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster for all I care! But she has no right to impose her own religious views, her own ideology, her own fantasies to anyone, not to my niece, let alone any other child!

She has no right to hurt not just my niece but any child in this way, she has no right to terrorize children in this way, she has no right to treat children in this manner, as if they are non-existent, as if they are nothing. And all the above because of religion! Children have their own characters, their own personalities, and they must be respected.

And yet again, my niece does not fully comprehend why. How can anyone explain to a 9-year old girl about people having attitudes like the fundies, and are trying to impose those on others without any respect for the individual? How can anyone explain to her what dogmatism and fundamentalism are? And what they do to people? How can anyone explain to her that this person is living in a fantasy world, one very much removed from reality?

I never understood, and still do not understand, why the Abrahamic religions need to impose their views, their ways to others. Why you are considered a sinner or whatever if you use your own logic, your empathy, your sensibility. your critical thinking skills, and find your own way in this world. I don:t want your religious views or your ideology; I don:t want to be preached at; I do not want you to judge me before you get to know me in person; I am not a soldier for Jeebus or Allah or whatever deity you believe in, and don:t want to be. I want to be free to choose and decide for myself; I want to be free to think for myself!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Doctor Who - The Runaway Bride & Season 3 - David Tennant

 The third season starts with a Christmas Special episode, "The Runaway Bride" starring David Tennant as the Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble or the Bride! Suddenly, a bride named Donna Noble materializes on board the TARDIS, chaos ensues, and the Doctor returns to Earth and tries to get Donna on time for her wedding. What the episode has is excellent performances from both David Tennant and Catherine Tate. Catherine was wonderful, and she had a very good chemistry with Tennant. I was sorry she did not continue for the rest of the season.

I am going to say it again and again: I love David Tennant! I think that he is the best Doctor up to now, and I have watched episodes from all his predecessors. I have even the movie with Paul McGann, the 8th Doctor. But Tennant portrays a very different Doctor; he may seem hard at times, but this a humanist Doctor, a Doctor that hates guns and weapons, a Doctor that prefers to use his head and find a solution, he wants to give everyone a second chance, he smiles, he laughs, but he knows when to be serious and when to use humour.

In this third season, we have a new companion for the Doctor, Martha Jones, who is a doctor. Freema Agyeman, who portrays Martha, and the character of Martha are fine, but there was no chemistry between Agyeman and Tennant. It would have been much better if Catherine Tate stayed with the third season. 

Maybe this third season had to do more with the Doctor and his emotions, with what it meant for the Doctor to lose Rose, although they are not the centerpiece of the season. However, they did play their role in the Doctor's behaviour, and choices.

The loss of Rose Tyler is obvious since the events in runaway Bride, and throughout the third season, you can see how it has affected the Doctor. It plays a role especially in my favorite episodes, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, where the Doctor, using the Chameleon Arch, to become fully human, to escape some aliens. Even though he is human, and his consciousness and all that a timelord is, is locked within a pocket watch, in his dreams, there is adventure, there is the TARDIS, and there is Rose! The Doctor falls in love with someone else who is very similar to Rose... This double episode is one of the best moments of the series, and one of the best performances by David Tennant. I was moved and cried with these episodes.

However, the best episode of the season, is Blink. I don't want to make any spoilers for this episode, so I am not going to say much more. I consider it one of the top 5 episodes of any Doctor Who up to now. I cannot talk about this episode without giving something away, but please, while watching it, don't blink!

The last three episodes are memorable, because we have the return of the Master and Captain Jack Harkness. John Simm gives an excellent performance as the Master, and coupled with Tennant's performance, we get a good season ending. It wasn't the best season finale; I consider the second season ending to be the most emotional and strong still.

Season ending, and Martha Jones leaves the Doctor to find a new companion. I did not mind her leaving the series at this point, and wish that Billie Piper had stayed with the show. Captain Jack has to go back to Torchwood [good series, just started it], and we get a little hint about the Face of Boe. We have seen the Face of Boe at least three times up to now, and, at the start of this season, told the Doctor "You are not alone..."

Monday, February 01, 2010

How to call the police when you're old...

I receive various e-mails from friends in my inbox. This one made me laugh, and was forwarded to me by my good friend Helen. It says it is a true story, but it could be another urban myth, like so many others that are circulating.


George Phillips , an elderly man, from Meridian, Mississippi,was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were   people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?"
He said "No," but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me.

Then the police dispatcher said "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available.."

George said, "Okay."

He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again.

"Hello,I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed.. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both, the dogs are eating them right now." and he hung up.

Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a  SWAT Team,a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the Policemen said to George , "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"
George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"