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Sarah Jane Squee! - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Sarah Jane Squee!
This series of Doctor Who is turning out to be somewhat derivative rather than original, but nevertheless it's fun. If New Earth was borrowing from The End of the World and Boom Town, then Tooth and Claw borrows from The Unquiet Dead, Horror of Fang Rock and The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

In Tooth and Claw, RTD finally gets to write a story with a reasonable plot at a reasonable pace. The opening scene, of the empty grassland, really made me think "Welcome to Royston Vasey - You'll Never Leave" - of course Mark Gatiss is part of the established Doctor Who Mafia these days. I would have lived without the "not amused" subplot, but maybe it's necessary to keep the younger audience with ADHD attuned to the programme. Pauline Collins turned in a splendid Queen Victoria, stern but not stuffy, though Crichton Wheeler must have done some of the editing, for the soundtrack over the rewarding of Rose just isn't a coherent sentence, it smacks of Splicer's Disease, perhaps it will be fixed in the DVD version. Unlike some, I though the Torchwood elements were neatly inserted into this story.

To be honest I didn't see a great story in School Reunion, but it was such fun anyway, it didn't matter. The moment when Sarah Jane sees the TARDIS is definitely the best of the series so far. Perhaps the equation-solving theme is a little reminiscent of the rarified Logopolis, but in a dumbed-down squeeze-it-into-45-minutes noughties way. Antony Head was an excellent villain; there seemed to be hints in Confidential that we may not have seen the last of him. (Speculates that the Face of Boe, Brother Lassa(?) and others will return for the season finale). I wasn't too fussed about the Sarah Jane - Rose thing; any fan of the old series knows who the winner will be there, but I suppose it will be interesting to find out how new fans reacted to this episode.

By writing in a boyfriend and a family, RTD has tied the series to Rose infinitely more than it ever was tied to the companion; no wonder the BBC want Billie Piper to stay. But that was never the way the series worked. It's a great strength to be able to replace your leading actor, but you lose that if you are tied by another role. It's not a particularly interesting plot line for me, but having had Mickey's comment about "the missus and the ex" during the episode, it was clever to twist that around at the end, by Rose's reaction to Mickey joining them in the TARDIS.


4 comments or Leave a comment
poliphilo From: poliphilo Date: April 30th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really don't want Mickey on board the Tardis. I felt the same about Captain Jack. To put it simply, three's a crowd.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: May 1st, 2006 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I have concerns, but I don't have a problem with it in principle. As Sarah Jane observed, the Doctor travels with an entourage. Sometimes (and maybe most often) one, sometimes two, sometimes even three. There hasn't been anything fundamental about the Doctor and one assistant companion fellow-traveller. The format was flexible enough to handle it; my concern is that, by making Rose so special, they've lost some of that flexibility.
brixtonbrood From: brixtonbrood Date: April 30th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you're right about Rose - by making her relationship with the Doctor so "special" they're making short term gains at the expense of the longer term when BP leaves - which is outstandingly shortsighted given that the show has run for several decades.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: May 1st, 2006 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I suppose (and it's from a position of ignorance) that it's just another aspect of the way RTD has lifted things from the Buffy format. Hopefully they will muddle through somehow, when the time comes.
4 comments or Leave a comment