Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Christmas Invasion"

The new season of Doctor Who begins airing tomorrow night on the BBC. It bugs me that we get the Spice girls immediately, but the Brits keep the good Doctor to themselves and the Commonwealth. Maybe get him, too, and maybe we don’t. I think it is God’s way of making up for the Blitz. The good news for us in the former colonies is that the Sci Fi Channel airings of last season’s episodes are getting comparable ratings to new episodes of the Stargates. The odds Sci Fi will pick up the second season are pretty decent assuming no peculiar demands are made by the BBC as they were the first time around when Sci Fi threw its hands up in the air and gave up. Will we have to wait an entire year is the question.

Though the magic of the internet, I have seen “The Christmas Invasion,” a 60 minute preview episode featuring the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. I knew nothing about Tennant beyond the promotional photo I used in this post. He struck me as bearing a resemblance to a young Jim Carrey. After viewing the episode, I think he looks and acts more like a young Eric Idle instead. Bear in mind I am half bad in one eye and can’t see out the other, so what do I know?

The episode begins right after the Doctor’s regeneration. The TARDIS crashes in London right in front of Mickey and Jackie. The Doctor fumbles out, wishes them a marry Christmas, then collapses. No one understands what’s wrong with him, but become desperate to revie him as a space probe shows aliens are about to invade Earth and enslave the population. The Sycorax encountered the probe. The probe was carrying a number of “Greetings From Earth” items, including a vial of A+ blood. The aliens use the blood to control everyone on Earth with that type. About one-third of Earth’s population marches like zombies to the highest structures they can find and are ready to jump if Earth does not surrender.

Prime Minister Harriet Jones is taken aboard the mother ship as a representative of Earth and given the surrender or the people jump ultimatum. In the interim, Rose and Mickey take the unconscious Doctor into the TARDIS. They figure if they can’t save the world, at least they can protect themselves. (Hey, you and I would do the same thing.) When Mickey fiddles with the TARDIS view screen, the aliens detect it and beam the TARDIS aboard the mothership. Rose tries to convince the aliens to leave, but they laugh her off. In the meantime, the Doctor catches a spot of tea--exactly what he needed to recover.

The Doctor deal with the aliens first in witty banter and finally in an actualy duel after freeing the mind controlled humans by pushing the entirely too obvious “Don Not Press” button prominently displayed. After a sword fight reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back,--right down to the Doctor getting his right hand chopped off but getting a new one, a la Luke Skywalker, the alien leader promises to leave Earth forever. He has one more trick up his sleeve, but the doctor defeats and kills hi without even turning around. The aliens then keep their promise to leave.

However, the Prime Minister uses a doomsday weapon to destrot their ship. In retaliation for violating his word, he spreads the rumor that she is in poor health. Despite the call last season that she would serve three terms and lead the UK into a golden age, her political future seems in doubt. Meanwhile, the Doctor decides on his new style of dress and celebrates Christmas with Rose and her mom. He fears Rose will no longer be his companion now that he has regenerated, but she heartily agrees to go anyway.

Save for one major plot hole (the military determines that every zombie person seems to have a relation with one another, but never husband and wife. Why not? Surely two A+ people have married each other somewhere in the world.) I quite like it and the new Doctor. I didn’t much like the fact that I have A+ blood and would be on the verge of a suicidal leap, but what can you do? Tennant has a certain Fourth Doctor goofy sense of humor about him as he goes about his work. He doesn’t seem as intense at times as the Ninth Doctor did. Maybe I haven’t earned my Who stripes enough to question that sort of thing, so why don’t we just leave it at that?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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