Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Space" and "Time"

These two short parts form the 2011 Comic Relief Special and are nothing more than about seven minutes in total of TARDIS funsies. The Moffat time loop conceit you could argue is starting to wear a little thin but the fact that he keeps changing the scenario keeps it interesting for the time being. Amy's thing about it getting complicated seems a bit catch-phrasey too and it'd be nice if Moffat maybe toned down Amy's one-liners a little because after the Pandorica thing and the "It's Christmas" thing it just feels a bit worn and silly. I get that it's just a Comic Relief episode but it's still a tiny bit annoying; I'm merely voicing a concern that I don't wish for Moffat's writing to descend into referential self-parody or anything. I'm sure he'll avoid that in the series proper. That being said Matt Smith is top notch as the Doctor, it's nice to see Rory's character being more fleshed out as his screen/companion time accumulates, performed with the usual mastery by Arthur Darvill, and Karen Gillan's Amy Pond is as watchable as ever. As some people have noted, the Doctor having his hand through the door reminds me of Portal which is a nice thing to think and I think something could have been done more with the space loop instead of the time loop because that would have been a bit different. I don't know how that could possibly matter in a trans-dimensional vehicle with moveable insides but there you go.
I was going to make some remarks about sexuality in Doctor Who in regards to this special but I don't think there's really that much to say. I suppose I just think that while there is definitely a cheekiness to some of the dialogue and character action here it's altogether more, I suppose, plausible when it's a Rory-Amy thing. They're married, for heaven's sake, and Amy's quite a looker. Sexuality in Doctor Who is always a divisive issue; I believe Moffat once claimed to have sexualised the Doctor (and the show in general) more than ever and that's probably true. I've never thought of the Doctor as asexual, just alien and distracted from those kinds of concerns, and I think having a married couple in the TARDIS is a rather elegant way for Moffat to incorporate these kinds of elements without having to compromise the Doctor. He has an almost child-like moment of 'disgust' at the notion that Rory was distracted by looking up at Amy through the glass floor and I think that's appropriate. If the previous era's needless romance taught us anything, it's that the Doctor's leanings are more towards the romantic and transcendental aspects of a sexual life rather than the physical. It's just that this era has rather solidified that position by giving the Doctor a more reluctant approach. He remarked "Let's not go there," in "The Vampires of Venice" when Rory noted that the Doctor's glowstick was larger, for instance, he refused the advances of Amy Pond after a moment's hesitation and now he's almost disbelieving that a pretty girl could cause her husband to make a mistake while trying to effect repairs on a time machine. It's moved on somewhat from the juvenile attitude of the previous era, spearheaded by Captain Jack most notably, which painted sexuality in an incredibly faux-risque manner, cloaked in euphemism and double entendre and cheap laughs. I realise this is reading way too much into a simple Comic Relief special but it seemed like an appropriate juncture.
It's not long now until the Sixth Series of New Doctor Who begins with a trailer recently released, obviously designed to drum up hype with a few tantalising images. I rather hope that it doesn't become a melodrama, but I suppose the pacing and chosen segments of a trailer are bound to give that impression. The one thing I think is that even if it does then at least it will probably have more integrity than what Series 1-4 offered.

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