Sunday, May 20, 2007

Caution: "42" May Cause A Burning Sensation

This episode is evidence that my fears are being confirmed. I said before the start of Series 3 how I was concerned RTD was spreading himself too thinly over too many Doctor Who-related projects, and the likely outcome was they'd ALL suffer. I'm sorry, but this season just can't seem to get it's legs. When you title an episode of a BBC show "42" you should at least have a passing reference to the late, great Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe." Nope, the number in this case refers to a "real time" episode where they have 42 minutes to save their butts before the cargo frieghter spaceship they're on crashes into a star. While that may sound like an exciting set-up for a good show, this episode has its problems for sure. First of all it is WAY too similar to last season's spectacularly done "Impossible Planet/Satan Pit" two-parter, but is nowhere near as good. It's not only that this one doesn't have the time to do decent character development, they don't even bother to try. When the "possessed" guys start killing off the crew there's really no reason the audience should care whether any (or all) of them are killed off. As you might recall in last season's "firey" episode it was the Ood who got possessed by the entity. This time it was just a couple of space-faring idiot humans. Possessed by what, you ask? Well, the star they're falling into of course! Why didn't I see it before? OBVIOUSLY the star is really a living, sentient being. Jeez, think the writers were watching re-runs of "Andromeda" when they came up with that? Too bad for them "Andromeda" did the concept better (with Avatars). Saying "Andromeda" did something better is, well, um, that's not good. Then the Doctor gets possessed by the star shortly after realizing it's alive - that leads to a particular line the truly rubbed me the wrong way. The Doctor says he's scared. The Doctor isn't supposed to be afraid, he's the frickin' DOCTOR. Well, I'll just hope that this season will get better, but it's pretty clear to me that the quality of the show isn't up to the same level it was for Series One or Two.

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