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Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Doctor's Wife

So, this was it. The Big One - the one most of us were waiting for, for one reason or another! The Doctor's Wife written by fantasy supremo Neil Gaiman. 

Very little was known about this one by the general public until the preview disks went out to the papers - and for good reason! This was a big one - in terms of the Doctor Who legend anyway. This was all about the TARDIS. It was partially set in the TARDIS, it featured the TARDIS in human form, it was about TARDISes! And although some have grumbled about it, even giving it a meagre 1/10 on Gallifrey Base's Rate and Review thread, it instantly became a favourite of mine - certainly the best of series six, up there as the best of Moffat's run (along-side Vincent and the Doctor as the only episodes I've given perfect 10's to) and probably the most meaningful and enjoyable "small personal story" since the show came back in 2005. 

The standard of acting throughout series six has reached new heights, far beyond the quality of series five, with both Karen and Arthur bouncing off the screen with an honesty and believability that was sometimes lacking in their earlier stories. They are simply wonderful in this, employing heart and meaning to what could have been "just another running down corridors bit". 

Matt, too, is on top form recently - Only the most cold-hearted, hard-hearted bastards could say they didn't share his tears in the Idris "Hello Doctor" scenes at the episode's close. There wasn't a poor performance in the entire 45+ minutes. But it was the TARDIS herself - Suranne Jones - who shone through as the most important and most loveable character this show has ever had! If you think about it, it's the TARDIS that the star of this show, as much as the Doctor is. And there was plenty of TARDIS in this! And plenty of TARDISes! For example, we finally got to see that Blue Peter winner's console design and what a beauty it was, too!

And then there was the old console room - 'Tennant's TARDIS' as everyone seems to be calling it, despite it belonging to Eccleston for a whole year before Tennant cockney-walked in and took over. - as seen in the trailers. 

It was nice seeing it again, but only as a means of expanding the TARDIS. I don't get the whole "wow, that makes me want to cry boo hoo" mentality over previous Doctors and console rooms. Surely it's the change that keeps the show purely what it is? Without change the show would have died 45 years ago! Instead of that, the show has lived, strong and full of energy, even at its worst!

Neil Gaiman's The Doctor's Wife was a love letter - not to the fans, but to the show itself. Almost 50 years of adventures with a sentient being and we've never had a chance to see how she feels about it all. Well, now we have - and it turns out she wanted just what the Doctor wanted. Adventures Through Time And Space. Seeing her interact with the Doctor, her thief, her 'stolen goods', was something special. 

The adventurousness of the whole piece was a wonder to sit through, a pleasure, but that "hello" scene at the end? Wow. That brought tears to my eyes and brought the whole Doctor/TARDIS partnership to the forefront. David Tennant's Tenth Doctor travelled alone for the specials, acquiring companions for individual adventures, but there was no indication that he was ever thinking about the TARDIS. 

Seeing Matt speak to the TARDIS, ask if she was still there, after House had been vanquished, was beautiful. From this point on, no matter who he has on-board, the Doctor will never be travelling truly alone. Not in my eyes. In 45 minutes Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones, Matt Smith, Steven Moffat and everyone else who had a hand in crafting this masterpiece have changed the way we see this lonely travelling man. He's not going to be lonely anymore. He's more than aware that the TARDIS isn't unreliable, but taking care of him. She isn't broken, she's beautiful - a museum piece, on adventures with another museum piece, through time and space. And who wouldn't want to travel with them <3