Thursday 12 June 2008

And the nation's libraries were empty...

Oh so often in television, cliffhangers are abused. Cruelly used to drag viewers back against their better instincts to watch the next installment of whatever it is they're watching. And often, this is a complete let-down. Imagine sitting back to watch the new episode of Eastenders because the end of last night's has intrigued you - only to find out that its still a soap opera of negligable merit about depressing people and their petty little existences. Nothing is ever discussed - always dismissed as either "it's family" or in fisticuffs. Or a bottling. It is London, after all.

Where are the Krays when you need them, eh?

Well, I'm always worried that a cliffhanger in Doctor Who was just such a hook to drag you into a mediocre fishing net, filled with slippery little bores that rumble on endlessly about continuity, mythology and characters. Incidentally, I'd like to set up a forum for people to discuss and enjoy the good doctor's universe - but it would have a strict policy - the rules of Just A Minute would apply. Say continuity twice and you're out of here!

But why was I worried at the end of the Silence In The Library? Why did I even entertain the idea that the next part would be anything other than magnificent? I'm not sure. But I'm glad I was worried, if only that it meant I enjoyed The Forest of the Dead even more.

I think I'm pretty clear that this was "nu-who" all the way. It was involved, and emotional to levels that really didn't even register as an option in the 80s. I particularly liked the dream-time sequences - and Catherine Tate is starting to become impressive, even... Who'd have thought after Partners In Crime that we'd see this sort of performance from her. Stunning. And considering my views at the start of the series, I don't use the word lightly.

There were moments that brought a lump to my throat (but no, I didn't cry, in case you're wondering). And I sat grinning like the sad little fool that I am for the last ten minutes. You know the feeling when you see David Tennant sprint with such purpose, vault over things to get to what he needs to do, and slowly spread his Tom-Baker-esque grin out for all to admire, that something brilliant is happening. And in this case, I don't see how people couldn't have enjoyed this - it was a very Doctor Who ending - he couldn't let everyone die. No matter what happened, everyone still had to be saved.

I LOVED the double bluff in the mystery of what CAL was. Everyone I talked to and listened to in the intervening week assumed that the girl being CAL would be too obvious - after all, this was Steven Moffatt - it had to be more complicated, and more chilling than that. But it wasn't. And that was brilliant, somehow. It does prove that the writing doesn't have to be complex to work.

The completely bloodless confrontation with the Vashta Nerada is fabulous - a real harkening back to the old-school... Threatening an alien predator with an entry in a book could only be done by the Doctor, couldn't it?!

But I do have questions about the end... For one thing - they said that the planet was cracking apart - and yet he "saved" them in the Library's core. They're not safe for very long then...?

Also, he brought the others back from the hard-drive, so why not them?

But oh, this was great. Anyone else? We seem to have gone oddly quiet...


Andrew said...

Wasn't it GOOD?!

And part of it was the Moff's manifesto, surely. 'My Doctor will make armies turn and run'. Doesn't just whet the appetite? Hoooopppefully the 'relationship' yet to come between the Doctor and River Song, whatever it turns out to be, wll be with David Tennant's Doctor, and we get to see him play this 'new' Doctor.

The one thing that jarred for me was the assumption that you have to 'save' someone to a computer to enable them to have an afterlife. The most explicit the series has got with a view to matters spiritual and I feel that it shouldn't have crossed that line. I don't think the series should hold such views, as it is so inclusive and liberal.

Chris said...

You just wait till Richard Dawkins makes his appearance (I kid you not, I'm afraid)! That's not a spoiler, as I don't think its to do with the plot in any way, and also people have been banging on about it...