Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Doctor and the Pirate

Yow. It's a little soon to be sure, but I think I have a new favorite Doctor Who episode ever. "The Family of Blood" picked up from "Human Nature" to deliver a whole new level of pathos, as John Smith confronts the awful truth about himself. David Tennant's performance was his best ever, and that's saying a lot. I've been trying to decide whether Tennant is the best actor ever to play the Doctor, or whether it's just that he's had better acting opportunities due to the quality and emotional range and depth of the scripts, or both. I think it's both. I've interviewed Jon Pertwee and Sylvester McCoy, my two favorite Doctors before this. I've interviewed Peter Davison and done Q&As with Colin Baker and attended convention panels with Paul McGann. I respect and admire them all. But David Tennant, oh, my. He's magnificent.

And it's not because he's cute (although he is); it has nothing at all to do with his being younger and sexier than his predecessors. It's just that Tennant's Tenth Doctor can be frightened or elated, merciless or compassionate, friendly or remote, emotionally vulnerable or masking his emotions behind an obvious, fast-talking facade. Amazing. If you haven't seen the Tenth Doctor in action, or have only seen a few of his episodes, I recommend that you give him a shot when Doctor Who returns to SciFi this summer. The show isn't for everyone, but if you like science fiction, and shows with emotional heart, you'll probably appreciate this.

I should also mention that Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones is terrific too, particularly in this story. I don't think it's possible for her to top Billie Piper's work as Rose, but she comes darn close. She has a really interesting dynamic in the show, and Martha is a strong character in her own right.

I don't really want to do a full review and analysis of this story at this point. It hasn't aired in the States, after all, and I don't want to get into the whole spoiler thing. I will say, however, that at least one highly memorable scene from the previews (and a few other shots) didn't make it into the episode itself. On my fourth or fifth time through, I'm trying to figure out where that bit of dialogue would fit in the story. I suspect that it's probably better without it, but it does make me wonder!

Aside from sleeping in and grocery shopping, the only other thing I accomplished today was to do some work on the fiction blog, and to a lesser extent this one. I copied four of the five most recent entries that involve Black Rose Kate and Ariel Allegra into Messages from Mâvarin. Then I added Blogger labels to all my entries in that blog, and a a display by label link for each section of the sidebar, thus:

Black Rose Katie Specks
An 18th Century pirate looks at the modern world.
(also featuring Ariel Allegra, pandimensional student!) Before I did all that, I tried to upgrade Messages to the newer version of the Blogger Rounders template, the one with the handy-dandy modules; but it was hopeless. Not one thing from my existing layout was retained except for the About Me box, and that in the wrong width. It would take days to figure out how to force the animated gifs back into the header and the sky picture into the background, rebuild the links menus from scratch and so on. So I reverted to the other version and updated and customized from there.

I still owe you the bit in which King Jor announces his choice of heirs, but I haven't written it yet. And I've thought further about the Darsuma and Fayubi scene in Mages, the unfinished one that's currently too similar to a later scene. Maybe tomorrow I'll tear myself away from Doctor Who long enough to actually work on it.


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