June 16, 2006

Welcome to Hell

Just caught the two-episode Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit arc from the new Doctor Who...and it rocked my socks off. This is the Series Two highlight, much as The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances was Series One's. This has to be the coolest episode of DW to date.

We're talking mad crazy cool. Wildcat-level cool. Good enough to be Doctor Who: The Motion Picture kinda cool. My mind has officially been blown, ladies and gentlemen.

If anything reflects DW for the 21st century, this is it - a little old school DW (a Troughton-esque "base under siege" plot, as well as liberal amounts of The Daemons and Pyramids of Mars, right down to the voices) with equal parts 2001, Alien, H.P. Lovecraft, Indiana Jones,...and you have the next best thing to illicit drugs.

Plot in a nutshell - the TARDIS finds itself materializing on a planet orbiting a black hole. On this planet are the remains of a valiant starship crew, digging its way into the core, with a "slave race" that seems a little too willing to serve its human masters. Gradually, the nature of what's in "The Impossible Planet" is spoiled by the title of part two...or is it? Ultimately, the question is never really answered...but that's not the point, is it? The point is entertainment (and, of course, to get David Tennant in a space suit), and this accomplished both goals big time.

What's so great about this adventure? It combines slam-bang action, some excellent performances, and some close-to-breaking-your-heart meditations on fear, faith, and belief. It also continues the trend that Series One began - making smart nods to past continuity without unnecessarily retconning itself. It's the episode that The Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel should have been. It also shows Rose in a slightly more Doctor-ish light, working with the crew of the station and demonstrating a level of character growth in a companion since...er....you name it. I can't think of anyone right now.

Speaking of which, there's news that Billie Piper is leaving at the end of this season. There were also some hints that her end might be a little...terminal. Now, I don't think Russell T Davies would be so cliche as to kill off a companion who demonstrates character growth. Nah, I would like to think that she'll tire of travelling and realize that her place is home, and that she, in her own way, can be the Doctor. I doubt RTD would stoop as to suggest that, if a woman becomes independent and competent, she'll die young.

But enough of my ranting - here's a cartoon about intellectual property rights!

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