Saturday, March 25, 2006

Is it possible to eat so much sushi that you have an out-of-body experience?

Okay, so here’s this week’s Magic Moments from Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead:

To tell the truth, before seeing this episode again last night, I was having trouble remembering specific moments that stood out. I mean, come on! The Doctor! Rose! Charles Dickens! Victorian zombies! Any individual moments would just be drowned out by all that wonderfulness, in theory.

But, great as the whole thing was, here are the bits that really stood out on viewing it again, plus one other...

The conversation between Rose and the Doctor, about how moments pass and then they’re gone, except for him. About how it’s no wonder he never stands still if he can relive any moment in history. Once again, too many other shows--including classic Doctor Who just take it for granted, the idea of traveling through time. This show takes the time to talk about the wonder and magic. (Compare that to either Stargate, where stepping through the gate and onto another planet is treated with all the excitement of taking the bus across town.)

Sadly, another great moment was lost in this broadcast, to make room for more commercials. (The show was originally 45 minutes, including an extended “next week” trailer because they were running short. Just how much more does SciFi need?) It’s the moment when Rose first steps out of the TARDIS into the past. Yes, we did get to see her taking her first tentative step out into the snow of history. But in the full version, we get to her her tell the Doctor that he has to wait for her to go out first. “This one’s mine,” she tells him, and again, there’s the magic and wonder.

And as much as I love the Doctor’s coach ride with Dickens--and love it I do--it hardly holds a candle to their farewell scene. I feel a lump in my heart every time I see it, when Dickens asks how long his work survives, and the Doctor tells him, “Forever!” There’s nothing I can say, really, except again, fantastic.

(And, again, compare this with the Doctor meeting HG Wells in the 1985 episode, Timelash. Or, you know, don’t, because it’s not any good compared to The Unquiet Dead.)

Thankfully, Mark Gatiss has another episode in Series Two. And in the meantime, while completely different in tone, I recommend his novel, The Vesuvius Club. More Victorian madness, but much more tongue-in-cheek. But not quite as mad as League of Gentlemen. So there you go.

And I have a new favorite CD and musical crush: Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner. Yes, it’s a kid’s album, but it’s like a kid’s album by Suzanne Vega. Totally in love.

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