Saturday, July 2, 2005

WISH-CRAFT: THE EIGHTH MAN

[Thought it was going to be about the Japanese hero? Well, surprise! This is yet ANOTHER essay about the new 'Doctor Who'. If you're a reader from the United States, chances are good that you haven't seen the series at all - it has yet to find a market here. So there will be spoilers a-plenty within and you may want to skip reading altogether.

You have been warned.....]

With the second 'Doctor Who' episode for the Ninth Doctor, "The End Of The World", we learned that Gallifrey has been destroyed and that he is the last of its people, the Time Lords. (The Doctor will be proven wrong about one of the other major combatants being all dead later in the series, so he may be wrong about this as well.)

But we learned a little more about this apparently all-encompassing war in the first episode as well. The villain of "Rose" was a segment of the Nestene Consciousness, which was planning a new invasion of the Earth (having tried twice before in the original series). In order to survive, the Nestene Consciousness needed the rich toxins in the Earth's atmosphere which had been churned out by the humans.

During the war fought by the Time Lords, all of the protein planets harvested by the Nestene had been destroyed - sort of a "scorched Earth" policy on a galactic scale. Villains though they may be to the Terran point of view, it's not clear whether or not the Nestene were a part of this all-out war. As we will learn in the next episode, many inhabitants of other star systems were caught in the crossfire as it were. And the destruction of the Nestene's protein planets may have been just a side skirmish that had nothing to do with the Nestene themselves.

It's hard to think of that uni-mind energy source as being an innocent bystander, but there you are.......

The Nestene must have realized the far-reaching consequences and outcome of that war; otherwise it might have respected the Doctor's invocation of Convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamations when he requested a parley. But if the major adherents to that treaty had been all wiped out, why bother honoring the old covenants yourself?

So with the first two episodes, that's all we know about this Great War. But it seems to me that if the Doctor is the only Time Lord left, he must have been somehow at the heart of the last conflagration; more than likely he caused it. And to do so, he had to remain outside the influence of whatever doomsday device was used, in order to insure that all of the enemy was destroyed as well. That would splain how he survived.

But the activation of that ultimate weapon must have taken its toll on him as well. I think it triggered his regeneration from his eighth incarnation to his latest bodily form. (And I think it couldn't have been too long before we first met him as played by Christopher Eccleston either. There's just something totally off about his personality - almost manic, crazed, even deranged! - that suggests the after-effects we've seen in the past from a regeneration.)

And that would mean this Great War was waged by the Eighth Doctor as portrayed by Paul McGann.

From a logical, outside-the-Box viewpoint, this has to be. Christopher Eccleston only did this one season of 'Doctor Who' and walked away. (I'm still a bit confoozled by the details - I don't always stay up to date on behind the scenes details - but I think that was always the original plan. Eccleston was just going to help get the series relaunched and then move on. However, once the press found out, the BBC tried to cover their bureaucratic butts by claiming he was walking away to avoid being typecast.)

At any rate, he's left the series and David Tennant has assumed the role. And I think it's going to be a long time before they can lure Eccleston back for any kind of "Multiple Doctors" storylines. So it doesn't seem likely that he'd come back for the War prequel either.

But that story would be the perfect showcase for Paul McGann, who (through no fault of his own, really) got screwed out of the chance to continue with the role on TV, after he did the pilot movie in 1996. (He's done radio serials as the Doctor and even a webcast resolution to the "Shada" storyline, but for the TV Universe, he's been shut out of the loop.)

This would make for either a fantastic TV movie, or a mini-series, and would give McGann the closure he deserves for his contributions towards reviving the series.

And it doesn't have to pick up exactly where the TV movie left off. Many years could have passed as he and Grace continued their journeys in the TARDIS, which could help splain away any signs of aging that McGann might now be displaying.

As for Grace, I don't think you'd even have to worry about rehiring Daphne Ashbrook to play the role. What if she stayed with him for decades (even though only ten years have passed for us here on Earth)? The producers could always hire a much older actress to then play Grace. (Personally, I'm thinking along the lines of the actress from 'Waiting For God', Stephanie Cole, who played Diana.)

I would think the Doctor, having proclaimed his love for her in the TV movie, would have remained true, despite her aging. And it could be worked into the main plot of the War - perhaps she gets killed early on in the story by the main antagonists. Not only would that provide a driving motivation for the Doctor to seek ultimate revenge, but it would help remove the character of Grace from the storyline in the most dramatic fashion for a companion since Adric bit... the dust.

And the removal of Grace from the story would make a lot of fanboys happy. Not that it bothered me, but they didn't like the idea of the Doctor snogging his companion. Still, it's not like it's without precedent for the Doctor to fall in love with a human. Aside from the fact he revealed that his mother was from Earth, there's also the matter that he has (had?) a grand-daughter out there in the Universe named Susan Foreman. The way she was played by Carol Ann Ford, it seems obvious that she was part human.

At any rate, sooner or later this War should be a storyline for the series. Obsessive fans are going to demand it after awhile. And as such, Paul McGann deserves the chance to be involved in that story. It would also give him the chance to have his grace note: the regeneration scene. For this, it might be nice to get Eccleston back for a cameo to complete the transformation, but with the wonders of CGI, you might not even need him! They didn't need Colin Baker to start a regeneration scene (He refused to do it.), and the special effects weren't as advanced as they are now. All they'd need do is find an appropriate shot of Eccleston and then blend McGann into it.

So there it is. My proposal. I'm sure I'm not the first one to suggest it. And who knows? I throw it out there to be considered, and perchance someone with the clout happens upon it while googling and Runcible's your uncle! It ends up getting made and added to the official canon.

Until then, I suppose it will have to remain just this fanboy's fantasy.

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

3 comments:

Mark said...

Great idea Toob - and here's a couple of points:

In the first episode of the new series: "Rose", it's made known that the doctor just regenerated. When he first appears in Roses' apartment, after making the comments about the tabloid magazine and the book with the 'sad ending', he looks into a mirror and says: "Oh well, it could have been worse, but look at the ears, though!" Unless in some Douglas Adams scenario Earth is the only planet with mirrors (owing to our excessive vanity), we can safely assume that the Doctor probably had the ability to pass reflective surfaces in his travels, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that he had JUST regenerated before the start of Episode One. Perhaps we can further theorize that his tracking down the Nestene was the first act in cleaning up the damages from the Time War. If we accept this as fact, then your scenario for Paul fits in quite well with the facts.

Now as to strict adherence to the Fox movie plotline - I as a rabid Whovian didn't have a problem at all with "~The Kiss~". I see the backlash as a rather lame attempt by Sci-fi geeks to expect the Doctor to voluntarily choose to be as celibate as they are forced to be in real life. HOWEVER...

I have a HUGE issue with the 'half-human" theory. I see this as a seedy American plot to homogenize the Doctor, due to a stunning lack of faith in American viewers to accept a completely 'alien' Time Lord. I mean - granted he looks like us, and speaks in English, and wears our clothes and visits Earth FAR more than any other planet (taking a rather eerie fascination in our gravel quarries btw), Oh No - we need to make him Half Human like Spock and Worf or American audiences won't 'empathize' with him. This idea needs to be abandoned as expeditiously as possible. That people freaked on "~The Kiss~" and largely accepted this baffles me. I would rather the Doctor nailed Romana on the Tardis console while K-9 electrically stimulated his prostate than have him half human.

Sean Shoe-Hand said...

LOL, good point, but it's there, and unless the doctor was half mad at the time, we gotta deal with it. I can't let go of the movie, if only for the regeneration sequence. So he's half human? how else explain how the TARDIS (which is linked to him, what? Castrovalva or something?) going to Earth all the time? He was always popping in when it was in trouble, and it was always in trouble. Disproportionately, he once said. And his exile was on Earth, fitting, I'll bet the Time Lords thought...

I can take the kiss pretty easily. I can also take the half human thing. It even adds a trait of rebelliousness to his family lineage. Plus, I agree with Toby-- Susan always did seem a little too human. Not at all haughty and self centered! lol Damn time lords!!!

Mark said...

I agree it's out there and it is what it is. I just need for it to be
verified through the BBC series - that way it wouldn't be some American
abortion hoisted upon us by Murdoch and company. I guess when you consider
it was on Fox, I guess we're lucky that his mother wasn't a ex-con who left
him and his father to join a vampire cult or a lesbian biker gang!

Mark