Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who Dunnit

Worst blog title ever. Acknowledged, accepted, moving on.

Let me just start by saying the Ames Public Library is awesome. Not big on study materials, that's what the Parks Library is for, but if you're looking for fun stuff that you weren't actually looking for in the first place, this is where you want to be. I've spent way too much time in the cookbooks section, the foreign films selection always leaves me impressed, and then there are the TV series.

Don't let me near the TV series.

Every other day when I get off from work, I go straight to the TV section and see if there's anything that catches my eye. There are a lot of popular BBC programs, as well as popular American series, miniseries, and vast amounts of titles I'm pretty sure most people (myself included) have never heard of.

I have about six TV stations, so this little browsing session is how I ended up watching Life on Mars, Psych, Dexter, Little Britain, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Wonderfalls, and the miniseries Fortysomething, Alice, Lost in Austen, Tin Man and Rose Red. I've also looked back on old faves like Veronica Mars, Friends, Quantum Leap and Star Trek. I watch a lot of television.

Most recently, I stumbled across series one of the 2005 version of Dr. Who. I knew shamefully little about the show other than that it involved a sonic screwdriver and a phantom tollbooth - eh, I mean police box. I'll mention now that I only ended up watching through series 2. It's one of those shows you have to take a break from between sittings or else you get overly-upset about changes.

Series one had me pleasantly surprised. It didn't look particularly polished, and I wasn't a huge fan of Rose (her character never did quite grow on me like the others), but it hardly mattered. From the scene with the historic "iPod" in The End of the World, I was pretty much hooked. I hadn't really expected a funny show, but there it was. It was quite a pity when it became clear that there would be no more Doctor #9 in subsequent series, and I wasn't quite sure about David Tennant at first, but goodness - now there's an actor who can just shout nonsense at the screen and still be worth watching. He has just shouted nonsense at the screen, for that matter, and those have been some of the best scenes.

The whole show could just shout nonsense, really - it's one of those lovely programs that runs off pure energy and enthusiasm much of the time. From Eccleston's impossibly ear-splitting grin to Tennant's hectic exuberance and everything in-between (even K-9 sounds impressively cheery for a tin dog), I found it hard to watch without smiling. It looks as if Billie Piper has the same trouble sometimes. And it's not just the purely humorous moments: I can watch the ninth Doctor's triumphant "Just this once - everybody lives!" and the tenth's rather one-sided conversation with Satan over and over, and it puts a grin on my face every time. It's quite possible that I'm easily amused like that, but I do love to be amused.

I don't like quite so much to be saddened, but there has to be a counterbalance for all that mad bouncing around. Doomsday ... ah, Doomsday, that was some acting there. Tennant makes some odd faces, but in my opinion he's best at that sort of glassy-eyed shock and sorrow, and unfortunately he got to show it off quite a bit throughout his run as the tenth Doctor.

Of course, what I love is that just when a series is about to end on a note that might bum you out for the rest of the year, something's thrown in to offset it. Series one's "something," for me, was the new Doctor remarking on his new teeth. Series two had a brilliant little 14-second conversation in which the Doctor's contribution was saying "what?!" four different ways.

It'll be a while before I return to this show, and with the way I get attached to characters I may just skip straight to series 5 before finishing 3 and 4 (I think I'll be able to enjoy the newest Doctor more if I don't follow the tenth too long). It's one of the most enjoyable shows I've stumbled on in a while though, and I'm going to be making annoying references to it for some time now.

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