Pin It
Favorite

Doctor Who 

In Great Britain, Doctor Who is Harry Potter-huge. And with good reason.

click to enlarge art15054.jpg

BBC America, Saturdays, 9 pm

A blue police box doesn’t mean much to us Americans. But to the Brits, no matter how old, no matter how young, a blue police box is as iconic as the Death Star. As are killer pepperpot robot-aliens screaming “EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!”

In Great Britain, Doctor Who is Harry Potter-huge. And with good reason: There have been 31 seasons, 47 years, and 11 actors playing the title role.

The Doctor — the eccentric Time Lord — is always hurtling through the stars, into the past, into the future, in his little blue police box spaceship. He’s always saving the day, running through corridors, waving his sonic screwdriver all about, and spouting off techno-babble. He’s always got a passenger or two hitching a ride, someone to talk to, someone to show off around.

But this season, the Doctor Who dream team’s in charge. New show-runner Stephen Moffat, currently the world’s best sci-fi TV writer, teamed up with Matt Smith, the best Doctor in Who history.

Moffat’s responsible for Who’s greatest episodes. Like all great sci-fi authors, (Asimov, Bradbury) Moffat takes an inspired idea, say, a stone statue monster that only moves when you blink, and then extrapolates the consequences to fantastic places.

David Tennant, the previous Doctor actor, threw himself into his role with a childlike glee. But you could always see Tennant acting. With Smith, the iconic Doctor quirkiness isn’t something he puts on — it’s like something that’s been bubbling inside him for his entire life that he’s just now letting out. Smith is the eccentric Time Lord.

He’s manic, he’s silly, he’s brilliant, he’s angry, he’s got a craving for fishsticks dipped in custard. He’s in a perpetual gangly and spastic dance on that zig-zag edge of genius and dangerous-weird. He’s Willy Wonka, with all of time and space as his chocolate factory.

Lately, we Americans seem to think creating good sci-fi means splattering it with bleak: Make it dark, make it dirty, make it raspy. But Who, channeling the joy of a Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett story, pursues clever and fun, and stumbles across good sci-fi along the way.

For up-to-date TV commentary follow Daniel Walters on Twitter @danieltwalters.

TIVO-WORTHY

The Boondocks The Spokesman-Review never ran the Boondocks comic strip. Perhaps our fair(-skinned) city isn’t quite the target demographic for Aaron McGruder’s brand of cynical African-American humor. Nevertheless, this cartoon show perfectly captures the politically incorrect acidity of the strip. Also, it says the “N-word.” Of course, the three-year delay between seasons means that we get ripped-from-the-headlines humor based on Barack Obama’s election as president. Oh, and “don’t tase me, bro.” (Sundays, 11 pm, Cartoon Network)

MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge Ah, parkour: the fad that launched a million YouTube-fueled hospitalizations. The world’s best free-runners have to get from point A to point B in the fastest time, by jumping, climbing, sliding and, occasionally, landing very hard on very bad places in very painful ways. (MTV, Thursdays, 10:30 pm)

The Good Guys Old-school washed-up cop paired up with young modern cop isn’t a fresh premise. But two things make this series potentially awesome: The crimes are very minor (a stolen humidifier), and it stars Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) with a killer moustache. (Fox, Wednesdays, 8 pm)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • A Load of Scrat
  • A Load of Scrat

    Ice Age: Collision Course continues a franchise that keeps going only because it can
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Cats and Dogs
  • Cats and Dogs

    The Secret Life of Pets is a pure joy of the imagination
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • Ain't Afraid of 
No Feminism
  • Ain't Afraid of No Feminism

    The Ghostbusters reboot dishes out laughs with a new team of ghoul chasers
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Buffalo Jones, Bryan John Appleby, the Backups

Buffalo Jones, Bryan John Appleby, the Backups @ The Big Dipper

Wed., July 27, 9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Daniel Walters

Most Commented On

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation