We are. That is, those of us lucky enough to be within broadcast reception range of BBC1 television at 7:10 on Saturday evening.
I've waxed ecstatic previously on this blog about the spin-off series Torchwood, and now I can do the same about its 'parent', Doctor Who.
Who? Kid's programme, innit? Maybe so, but it has all the ingredients
of ideal family viewing -- something for the kids, something for the
grown-ups. The latest series (number three of the 'reincarnated'
version), with David Tennant really getting into his stride as the Doctor, and Freema Agyeman in her first series as his not-so-ditsy companion, has shown us some impressive spectacles, including the strangely art deco Daleks in a decidedly art deco New York, as well as the Bard of Avon in mischievous mode.
But the zenith of series three so far for me has been the two-parter that concluded last week: "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood". Scripted by novelist Paul Cornell (who adapted his Doctor Who book Human Nature),
these two episodes reveal characterization to a much greater depth than
previously seen, and reinforce the notion that I've always felt about
great science fiction -- that it tells us more about how we live our
lives in the present, than how we might live in the future. Not that
this particular story was about the future, despite the tantalizing
glimpses of times that might have come to pass for some of the
The Doctor is being pursued by the Family
of Blood -- a group in search of a Time Lord for its own nefarious
purposes -- and the only way he can evade detection is to become
completely human. And he does so in a pre-First-World-War English public
school, leaving Martha to look after not only herself, but his own
Time-Lordly essence. When, at the beginning, he asks her if she trusts
him, he's really asking himself if he trusts her.
its historical setting, this story exhibits well-known SF tropes, such
as an invisible space-ship, time travel (of course) and (hooray!) ray
guns. (Or should that be hooray guns...?)
I'll not risk
spoilers here, as I know that there are people not as lucky as those of
us in the British Isles; impoverished souls who have yet to relish
these episodes, condemned to wait until their local TV networks deign to
show the latest series, and therefore reduced to squinting disjointedly
at blocky YouTube fragments, or ploughing through online directories
purporting not actually to host anything at all (apart from dubious
thumbnail images that predominate in an excess of exposed skin).
those less fortunate, but willing to search, may I suggest that
entering such terms as "Doctor Who Human Nature Family of Blood" will
harvest a veritable torrent of results.
Oh my, you have a treat in store.
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