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David Tennant calls it quits October 29, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Doctor Who.
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Huge news:

David Tennant quits as Doctor Who

He’ll be missed, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t count him as my favorite Doctor of all time, but he’s been pretty good in the role. I get annoyed when he talks so fast sometimes. Other than that, he’s been very cool.

He has some appearances left yet, so we’ll all have time to get used to this idea of him leaving. They’re doing another Christmas special, and then the four special episodes in lieu of a regular season next year.

Russell Davies has promised that Tennant’s final appearances will be “spectacular”, “spectacular” (yes, he said it twice) and “enormous”. Actually, that kind of scares me. I admit I haven’t been too happy with some of what Davies has come up with in recent seasons. His thing is maximization of drama, and hang all other considerations. So, for instance, we end up with that travesty double episode season-ender back in 2007, where the Doctor was shrunk down into a living voodoo doll and all sorts of other ridiculous things happened.

That whole story was just awful, although it did manage to avoid my main beef with what has happened over the past several seasons: Historically, Doctor Who has always kept the teeming masses of Earth sheltered from the direct impact of alien plots and machinations. The Daleks may plan to destroy the earth, for instance, but we never find out about it. This allows us happy fans the delusion that the Doctor is actually out there somewhere, we just don’t know about it because he, and the UNIT people, have been doing such a good job of keeping things out of the public awareness. However, in Russell Davies’ Doctor Who, that is no longer true. In some instances, the general public has become aware of what’s actually been going on. This, sadly, relegates Doctor Who into the less desireable category of “actual fiction.” Any fantasies of us being companions someday, of perhaps running happily towards the TARDIS like Rose Tyler, are forever gone.

Don’t get me wrong: None of us are actually dumb enough to have believed that the Doctor was really real. But there can sometimes be a slight gray area between pure fantasy and reality, where one can temporarily, for one’s own amusement, imagine what might happen if the fantasy wasn’t really a fantasy. One can feel, just for a little while, what it might be like if it was all really happening. This is possible because the tale has respected the boundaries of our own day-to-day realities. We can allow our own reality and the story to meld, just a little bit.

This melding, this little side-trip we take into the fantasy world, it may not even be a conscious thing. But it definitely adds a certain element, giving the fantasy a little extra zing of excitement. That element is now gone from Doctor Who, forever. It was the Slitheen who started it, by the way. You and I, all of us, we know full well that there have never been Slitheen smashing into Big Ben. This puts a permanent wall between our world and the world where the Doctor lives.*

But I digress. David Tennant is leaving, after next year. I wonder who they’ll come up with to replace him? Whoever it is, I find myself hoping the choice isn’t made until after Davies leaves the picture.

The other issue that’s going to have to be dealt with sooner or later is the question of the Doctor’s 12 regenrations. He’s only got three left. (Yes, three, not two. William Hartnell’s Doctor was not regenerated, which makes Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor the first regeneration, and so on. That means Tennant’s Doctor is the 9th regeneration, leaving three more. This is confirmed in “The Five Doctors”, where Peter Davison’s Doctor identifies himself as the fourth regeneration.) Three may seem like plenty, but it’s really not. How are they going to get around this? Does it matter that the Time Lords are no longer in existence? Does the elimination of Gallifrey from the Universe somehow negate the limit on regenerations? Furthermore, didn’t David Tennant’s Doctor already regenerate back into himself or something like that, back at the end of the last season? I admit, I can’t remember all the absurd details of that little farce. But if he did, then maybe that really does leave us with two, which makes the question even more urgent. So, would someone at BBC Wales please start paying attention to this problem? Thanks. :)


*Honestly, there were some pretty big gaps in my viewings of the original series, so perhaps I am wrong about all of this. But for me, at least, that incursion by the Slitheen right near the beginning of Davies’ tenure as producer of the show, that was where the line was crossed.

Zap! You’re gone! Or, be careful not to get seperated while time-travelling into the future, and other matters. September 22, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Heroes.
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Let’s say you travel a year or so into the future. You take someone with you. While the two of you are there, you get separated. You come back to the present, but your friend is still stuck in the future. Then you do something which eliminates the possibility of that future you visited ever happening. What happens to your friend, who didn’t come back with you, who is stuck in that no-longer-existent future?

It’s an interesting question, one I’ve never thought of before. Typically when we think of issues with time travel, we think of paradoxes which might happen due to travelling into the past. Travelling into the future seems so much more straightforward, doesn’t it? Except when you come back, because then you are travelling into the past again.

This situation is precisely what happened with Peter Petrelli and his new Irish girlfriend Caitlin, late in season two of Heroes. While in the future, they discover a plague has wiped out almost all of the world’s population. They get separated and Peter accidentally comes back to the present, without her. Once he’s back, he realizes the plague needs to be stopped. Does he realize that, by doing so, he may never be able to see Caitlin again? The story doesn’t deal with this question, other than by making it clear that he really does want to get her back.

Anyway, a few nights ago, I ended up watching those next three episodes of Heroes which I had mentioned in my last post, plus two more, for a total of five. That brought me right through to the end of season two, so I’m all caught up now. Sylar’s got his power back, Niki is presumed dead in a fire/explosion, Nathan has been shot, Adam buried alive, HRG was dead and brought back to life (and is once again making deals with the Company to protect his family), and Peter and Hiro save the day, with a big assist from Matt Parkman.

These five episodes turned out to be significantly better than the previous six, which is why I ended up being dumb and watching all five of them in one night, leaving me with no more to watch over the weekend. :) A lot of my complaints about the earlier half of the season were addressed, too. Peter and Nathan were reunited, as were Hiro and Ando. And there’s a lot of other good stuff. For instance, Hiro got to say goodbye to his father. I wasn’t expecting that, because of the small detail of his father already being dead. But Hiro, being a time traveler, obviously wouldn’t be constrained by that. The scenes between the two of them were really wonderful.

One thing I got totally wrong was my cutesy theory about Peter’s head being blown off and regrown. I was mostly kidding about that anyway. :) Turns out the Haitian wiped his memory. I should have known that was what happened, except I must have been having trouble remembering if the Haitian was actually alive anymore. Recall there was an alternate future where the Haitian was killed, by Mohinder, if I remember right. But that future was averted, so nothing in it actually happened, meaning the Haitian would still be alive. This stuff can be hard to keep track of!

So Peter’s problem was actually induced amnesia, and it turns out that regenerators like Peter can recover from that, simply by repairing the brain damage that’s causing the memory loss. This leads to an intriguing theory. Regenerative characters, we now know, also have the ability to temporarily transfer that ability to others with a brief transfusion of their blood. So it follows that anyone could use that method to recall their memories, provided they had access to some of that blood. Right? I wonder if the writers have realized this. Perhaps a better question would be, if they have realized it, are they going to be able to make any use of it in the story?

Another thing that occurs to me is, how does Peter know if he’s recovered all of his memories? He’s not a computer, so it’s not like he can run a checksum on his brain, is it?

And I’m still wondering how he got the ability to walk through walls. I keep thinking that this is a continuity error, because I recall Peter meeting up with DL in that alternate future where the Haitian was killed. But since that didn’t end up happening, that means Peter didn’t actually meet up with DL, or else the meeting happened somewhere else. Perhaps it happened towards the end, when all sorts of characters were showing up prior to the big explosion. That’s possible.

Anyway, there’s a lot more that could be said about this season, such as how my initial antipathy towards West ended up fading quite a bit once him and HRG teamed up. I’m completely glossing over some other, equally important stuff, too, but I don’t want to drag this out any longer, since the season premier is tonight!!! :)

The Big question: What happens to Niki Sanders and Nathan Petrelli? One of them has been shot, the other presumably burned alive in a fire. I’m thinking Nathan is probably safe, but I’m not so sure about Niki, unless she managed to superpower her way out of that fire somehow.

Other question: Will we see Caitlin again? I’m thinking no, it’s not even possible.