2 comments for “The Family Blood

  1. Kevin J. Loria
    November 14, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Don’t turn away….Don’t even BLINK!…… The strength of DOCTOR WHO, the new series and the original, has always been change, and change it has. Over forty-years ago the show began with one actor and now we have 10 actors who have portrayed the 900+ Timelord. The first season of the new series ended by changing leads through regeneration, as the 2nd season ended with the “lost” of not only the companion / love interest, but the whole “point-of-view” for the new series: Rose Tyler. Since the PILOT or “ROSE” episode the series has been through her eyes. The viewers could relate to the Human perspective more readily than the sometimes alien POV of the title character. In fact, the series gave up not only Rose, but her family, Mickey Smith, Jackie Tyler; Mum, Pete Tyler ( deceased, sort of) ,all of the anchor characters that added so much emotion to the new series.Can the series, even one a clever and cool as Dr. Who, survive such change.The answer is yes, definitely, yes. Although, there is a loss, infact the sense of loss that the viewer feels, is surely an undercurrent of the entire season, starting with the Christmas special or THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, the precursor to the true first episode of the season. Opening right after series two leaves off, the Bride a.k.a Donna Noble played by U.K. comedian Catherine Tate appears in the TARDIS, the Doctor has little time to contemplate his loss before he is literally running for his life again. Like the Christmas Invasion, the special is light-hearted, and introduces a “one-shot” temporary companion (although Donna will be a major-part of season 4). One highlight of the “BRIDE” would be the glorious soundtrack provided by composer Murray Gold, a truly cinematic fully orchestral backdrop that sells some fanboy innovative moments like a CAR CHASE WITH THE TARDIS ( I kid u not, the iconic Call-box is zipping though traffic like something from a 70′s cop-show) . Donna sums up the subtle theme as she declines the role of companion, stating that the Doctor needs someone to “stop him from going to far” as he coldly sticks to his assertion of the previous Christmas: “No second chances” while dispatching the Empress and her brood.In the second story in this set, but the actual season opener, new regular companion MARTHA JONES is introduced in a satisfying start to 2007 in “SMITH and JONES” ( a goof reference to the Doctor’s sometimes alias of Dr. John Smith which shows up again in the season, too). An all too different character than Rose, Martha is Medical Student, so she doesn’t need the Doctor to rescue her from her life as slacker Rose did, she’s smart in a less pop culture way than Rose, more analytical like the Doctor. Like Rose, we meet her family in the episodes opening over several rapid-fire conversations via cellphone. Strange things are afoot at her hospital which eventually ends up on the Moon. More as window dressing, the Jadoon Stormtroopers, beautifully realized alien police are searching for an vampiric alien among the human patients and doctors. Martha and the Doctor immediately develop an enjoyable on screen chemistry, while storytellers cut to the chase and give us two instances of Doctor/Companion kisses, the throwaway nature establishes the preoccupied (with love-lost) tone that the Doctor will regard Martha (unfortunately more like a traditional Dr. Who relationship). The Doctor spells this out saying, “this doesn’t mean anything,” sadly for Martha, this feeling isn’t mutual and leads to choices made by the end of the season. So the Doctor sacrifices himself to flush out the fugitive, while Martha literally breaths her final breath in an attempt to save the Doctor’s life, earning herself a non-committal invite to the TARDIS.The major part of the first half of the 13 show season, 14 with the “Bride” Special (#0) is weak. Smith & Jones (#1) is strong, the Shakespeare Code (#2) is frankly BRILLIANT!GRIDLOCK (#3) is very good, but the Dalek 2 parter: “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks (#4-5)”, NOT SO BRILLIANT, nor is “Lazarius Experiment (#6)” or “42 (#7)” But the final HALF of the season (#8-13) is GOLDEN, leading up to a 3 part finale re-introducing a classic character that will blow you away!!! Away !!!”SHAKESPEARE CODE”, Martha’s first trip back in time, they meet the Bard himself and learn the secret of Shakespeare’s famous lost play. This was film partly in the real rebuild Globe Theater, so it looks great. As is Dean Kelly’s rock-n-roll performance as the renown playwright. This contains some of the best dialogue the series has EVER had, so much so that you much watch it repeatedly to truly appreciate this one ( I played this one to high-schoolers as a follow-up to Hamlet).”GRIDLOCK,” is a great sci-fi story, in which people are living their lives stuck decades and decades on a skyway traffic jam. The is the 3rd story in the new series history to go to the far-future “New Earth” and the Doctor…

  2. Crazy Fox
    November 14, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    “I dream I’m this…adventurer. This daredevil. A madman.” Third time’s a charm–that’s the inevitable cliche that pops to mind. If the first series (season) of Doctor Who was good with some hiccups and the second quite fine overall, the show’s creators seem to have really hit their stride with the third series here and brought forth an excellent range of science fiction adventures at once interesting, inventive, and exciting–innovative and unusual but very true to the show’s spirit over the decades. Oh, and loads of fun, of course.By now David Tennant has a totally surefire grasp of the Doctor’s character and has contributed much to its portrayal–and convincingly developed it in the bargain, especially in light of the events of series two. Eccentric as always, frenetic and off the wall but silently nursing a deep melancholy, open and friendly and yet with a certain emotional distance and brusqueness. The Doctor we all know and love, but a little more complex. You will never get me to say that he’s better than Tom Baker as some have, but my sense is that Tennant may very well end up putting as definitive a stamp on the renegade Time Lord for this generation as Baker did for us old-timers. As for the Doctor’s companion, it’s clear that the writers were wisely avoiding a repeat of Rose (whom we all miss, yes) and going instead for a somewhat more mature and intelligent foil in up-and-coming med student Martha (as played by Freema Agyeman)–a doctor in training, as it were, a bit of cleverness that the writers thankfully capitalize on in her first episode. The chemistry strains a bit to spark at first and the one-sided romance angle is brought in a bit too abruptly perhaps, but still The Doctor and Martha make a nice, believable team overall.The storytelling for this series is excellence itself. Not perfection, mind you, which is humanly impossible anyway, but even the lesser episodes are better than most of what you’ll find on TV nowadays–especially when it comes to sci-fi. “The Runaway Bride” is good if slightly twisted holiday fun in the way a Christmas special should be, “Smith and Jones” has a hint of Douglas Adams influence in its satirically-edged motifs of galactic bureaucracies and absurd situations, “The Shakespeare Code” is a highly memorable pseudo-historical starring the Bard himself in a manner totally cohesive with the plot, and “Gridlock” is a claustrophobic return to New New York with an edgier angle. The “Daleks in Manhattan”/”Evolution of the Daleks” two-parter is kind of like comfort food for older Doctor Who fans–a very typical Dalek tale of invasion and mutation, but with a few fresh ingredients like the human/dalek hybrid and the 1930′s New York setting. “The Lazarus Experiment” and “42″ likewise conform to tried-and-true Doctor Who formulas but successfully so, “42″ being something of an cocktail mix of “Ark in Space” and “Inferno” complete with a not overplayed ecological theme.On the other hand, “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood” and “Blink” are unlike anything ever before seen really in Doctor Who and really showcase the creativity and never-ending potential of the show. And then finally the three-part epic series conclusion, “Utopia”/”The Sound of Drums”/”The Last of the Time Lords” first takes the Doctor to the Big Crunch and then builds on countless clues scattered throughout all the season’s prior episodes to expertly spring quite a surprise on the unsuspecting viewer, the return of…well, if you don’t know I won’t give it away, but I haven’t seen this particular character so masterfully portrayed since the original in the early 1970′s. It must be admitted that the climax in part three is just a tad fanciful and will induce a sense of deja vu in anyone who in their childhood attested their belief in magic and clapped their hands accordingly so as to revive Tinkerbell, but this didn’t really bother me consciously till well afterwards, meaning that the writers succeeded in getting me to suspend my disbelief long enough for them to get away with their forgivable little cheat.All in all then, the show’s creators have struck a fine balance throughout between the futuristic and the pseudo-historical, the cozily familiar and the out-on-a-limb unusual, the thoughtfully speculative and the chills & thrills adventurous. Of course tastes will differ, but my impression anyway is that “Doctor Who” has now really come into its own again as a wonderfully excellent science fiction TV program with this compelling variety of storylines in series three, all of which can be watched and enjoyed again and again (along with all the usual extras and behind-the-scenes programs) on this attractively packaged DVD set–a bit sturdier in design than the last two, thankfully. Only beware, once you start watching you won’t even want to blink!

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