Monday, March 20, 2006

"Rose" and "The End of the World"

Hi all:

First impressions of the new "Doctor Who." It was better than I dreaded, but than low expectations have a way of helping the cause. :) Plus, they prepare one for what to expect. There was way too much Rose in "Rose," but then I knew that would be the case so, okay.

What bothered me most about "Rose" was the obvious writer's trick of manipulating the audience into liking the character the writer wants us to like by writing everyone around the character poorly.

Rose's mum, for example. Rose is clearly the more mature one here, which we get by the immature writing of her mum. And just in case we don't get that, RTD has Rose call her mum 2 or 3 times and act all calm as her mother freaks out. Cringe.

And Mickey, goodness gracious, Mickey! He's written as a schoolboy of 18 in the romantic montages, constantly jumping around, only kissing Rose with an innocent schoolboy peck. But then he actually gets younger, he looks about 12 years old, when oh my goodness, he actually grabs Rose around the waist from his knees to beg her to stay. He is inexcusably made to look like an idiot IMO just to make the audience like Rose and see her as the mature, compassionate character with the crap life, so hey, of course, she wants to go with the doctor!! Get it!! Slam dunk. . .

My knee jerk reaction to this kind of writing is to dislike on principle the character I'm being manipulated to like. Truly great characters, like truly great leaders or truly great athletes or truly great actors, for that matter, make the people around them look better, not worse. And then the manipulative slo-mo of Rose running to escape the idiotic Mickey and run into the Doctor's Tardis!! Way too OTP for me!

Thank goodness, "The End of the World" was eons better for me. I'm one of the "get the doctor out in space or travelling in time since that's what's so unique about him" fans, so right away the concept of this ep is right up my alley. And the execution was pretty good, too.

Of course, much better special effects than classic "Who." And the gathered aliens were fun and inventive. Cassandra is a well-executed high concept idea of taking plastic surgery, etc., to the nth degree. Neat.

But Rose wandering around on her own was quite unmotivated. Again, it seemed a writer's gimmick to get her to encounter some aliens and have a chat. I guess I'm used to classic SJS, who often wandered off, but it was always to investigate something or other and gather information, and then she encountered the baddie and got caught. But at least it was motivated.

Rose was obviously upset and left out and lonely and out of place when she left the meeting room. If it was made clear that she was searching for the TARDIS, for example, to go back to something that was familiar, that would have made it work for me. Maybe it's the acting, but she just looked like she was wandering for no reason, which left me not with her.

OTOH, two minor characters were drawn well enough in a short space of time that I cared about what happened to them, i.e. the plumber and the tree. I was upset when they each were in danger. When Rose wandered back to the observation room and ended up in danger, I didn't feel much at all.

This makes it sound like I don't like Rose, which isn't true. I don't dislike her. Right now, I just don't feel anything for her, no empathy, I don't want to be her. So far I think it's mostly the manipulative and/or unmotivated writing I'm responding to. Maybe a bit of the acting, too. If Piper "rose" above the writing to make me care about her. But so far she's read lines AFAIC.

I am liking Christoper Eccleston so far in the role. Again, the writing has him begging Rose too much, because I don't see what she's done at the point when he begs her that would make him want to take her so much. But still, his doctor has layers of depth that the tree started to bring out in him. Rose hasn't IMO, but I loved the scene with him and the tree.

In my completely arbitrary ratings, then, I give:
"Rose" 4 out of 10
"The End of the World" 7 out of 10


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