Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Preview of DVD release of "Doctor Who: The Complete Second Season" published at News of Delaware County

“Everything happens once, just once, and it’s gone, it’s finished and will never happen again.” Except for Doctor Who, the time-and-space traveling hero of one of BBC’s most popular programs and the longest running Sci-Fi show in television history. And the show continues, as Jan. 16th will see the release of the Season Two Box set on DVD, with David Tennant playing the role of the series 10th Doctor.

In Season One, the Doctor battled aliens with Charles Dickens, listened in on the first phone call, and fought (sort of) in WWII. Season Two begins with “New Earth,” witnesses the “Rise of the Cybermen,” and culminates, quite aptly, on “Doomsday.” Each episode brings a new adventure, as the Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler (British pop star Billie Piper) travel haphazardly through time and space, encountering and solving the problems of the universe, both human and otherwise.

A bit of back history: BBC ran Doctor Who for 26 consecutive years from 1963-89, then restarted with “Season One” in 2005, so “Season Two” is slightly misleading. However while paying homage to the old series, gone are the cardboard sets and cheesy special effects, these replaced by Hollywood style technology and CGI created aliens.

Also abandoned, the producer’s long-standing ban against any physical relationship between the doctors and their companions, bringing a welcome change for many viewers. Indeed, for many, Season Two represents both the continuation and culmination of the Doctor’s (and fans) two-year love affair with Rose Tyler, as half the fun of each episode lies in watching them flirt, waiting for one of them to finally drop their guard.

What doesn’t change is the sense of adventure. Virtually indestructible (he’s capable of regenerating when near death), the Doctor’s levity in danger’s midst gives the true image of a knight-errant with a strong sense of justice, but no personal stake or concern. In this, there’s a pure vicarious joy in watching him gallivant through history and the universe, interjecting himself into cosmic struggles, yet traveling only for the benefit of seeing history “happen right in front of his eyes,” knowing that he will survive whatever happens. Or as Rose tells him, “you can go back and see days that are dead and gone a hundred thousand sunsets ago. No wonder you never stay still.” I wouldn’t either.

Moreover, the new series continues the deeply philosophic writing and themes of past eras (alluding to Star Trek at it’s Roddenberry peak). While all of his companions are human, the Doctor is not, and he often solves problems in a way that causes Rose to balk, forcing him to instruct, “it’s a new morality, get used to it,” as he employs principles that in his mind transcend mere earth-bound provincial concerns.

And the sense of humor remains, ranging from slapstick in how he occasionally exits from danger, to highly witty in the banter of the aliens and humans he encounters. “He’s not human,” one character says of him, complaining, “but he’s got a Northern accent.” Rose shrugs her off, replying, “Lots of planets have a North.”

No matter what they encounter, the Doctor and Rose dish out a humorous response to the life-and-death situations faced by others, keeping you laughing while perched fully on the edge of your seat. January 16th—see the Doctor.

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