Monday, July 07, 2008

Doctor Who: The Donna Noble Years

Readers with photographic memories will recall that I was always, shall we say, dubious about Catherine Tate returning to the TARDIS. At season's end though, I can pretty safely say that it wasn't her fault this year's Doctor Who wasn't as good as some.

So here's a quick recap of the year (may contain spoilers for those in other time zones):

Slimming pills that turn your beer belly into some kind of alien Furby. That's just silly.
Aliens were responsible for 'volcano day' in Pompeii. That's very Doctor Who.
SatNav is evil - not that we needed the Doctor to tell us that.

Best episodes of the season: probably Donna's first alien planet, the Ood-Sphere, where she discovers some pretty unpleasant things about the human race; and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, by lead writer in waiting Steven Moffat.

And the finale? Well, Doctor-light episode Turn left serves as a sort of prelude to what is to come (and in itself is also a high point of the series), with the Doctor's former companions, Torchwood and UNIT together struggling to save the world without the Doctor's intervention.

Rose (presumably) manages to sprinkle the 'Bad Wolf' message all over alien Chinatown to warn the Doctor, and then he joins Torchwood and UNIT to save the world. The big cross-over with Torchwood and Sarah Jane makes the whole thing a bit crowded, and most of them don't do very much, but this is Donna's destiny. Rose Tyler striding between dimensions with a big gun like soem kind of inter-galactic Billie the Vampire Slayer was always going to be a welcome return, although Mickey and Jackie didn't do a lot other than follow her onto the set. Actually, K-9 would have been a more useful ally, I suspect, but even he had his bit part.

There's a few nods back to 'classic' Who, another blatant Hitch-hiker's moment (replacing aquatic mammals with honey-producing insects doesn't stop it being plagiarism!), and, of course, those supposedly extinct Daleks.

Sure, some of it was silly, but this is Doctor Who - it's entertainment, not hard sf. If you look past the end of term party RTD was obviously throwing for himself, dodge the obvious plot-holes, and just settle down to enjoy the ride, well, what's not to enjoy?

I could draw out plenty of spiritual lessons from it all, but it's entertainment, not Sunday School. Having said that, destiny, or God's plan, or whatever else you want to call it, is something I'm a great believer in. And that, for me, was the Big Theme of the finale, from Donna's alternate history through Dalek Caan's prophecies to the Doctor returning to his usual status as 'lonely god'.

Finale aside, not the best DW season, but still way ahead of anything else on telly. And, as it turned out, I was pretty sorry to see Donna go - not least because of the way she had to go. She deserved better.


James F. McGrath said...

I couldn't resist reflecting theologically on the episode. Here's what I came up with...

UKSteve said...

You see, that's why I didn't bother. I knew I could rely on the blogosphere for someone to actually put some effort into it.

Thanks for sharing!