Friday, April 6, 2007


I've seen the season premiere for 'Doctor Who', "Smith And Jones". And I have to say that it was one of the fastest forty minutes or so of Television I've seen in a long time. For two characters who were just meeting for the first time (although the actors have worked together before on the series), the Doctor and Martha seemed to mesh straight from the start. This looks to be a very comfortable companionship over the next year or so (hopefully!)....

So here are a few Toobworld points about the episode.....

Martha Jones - You should know that I'm not too keen on boring last names (And you can't get more mundane than Jones!), but considering that Martha will soon be thrust into exciting, alien worlds and experiences, perhaps it's good to have her anchored to her Terran background with such an unassuming name.

I'm glad they decided to address the fact that she appeared in "Army of Ghosts", the first half of last season's two-part finale. True, it was quite some time ago; but when these shows go into the endless syndication they deserve, there will be only two episodes separating Martha from Adeola.

So they fell back on a tried and true Toobworld staple - the identical cousin. And I think it works. It gives the show a link to its own past, and besides, Adeola wasn't onscreen for very long.

I just wonder if the Doctor will ever confess to Martha that in a way, he contributed to Adeola's death....

Well, that's all I have to say about Adeola, if only for the fact that I'm finding it very hard to refrain from being naughty with her name.

Ben Franklin - We found out that the Doctor was present at the famous kite-flying/electricity experiment conducted by Ben Franklin. And that he got serious rope burns from it.

I think that this was an offscreen adventure for the First Incarnation of the Doctor, as he was the one most interested in exploring Earth to learn more about its history.

As to who should be seen in the mind's eye as Ben Franklin, the "jury" is still out as to who best represents the image of this Founding Father in Toobworld. Tom Bosley? Fredd Wayne? Richard Easton?

Emmeline Pankhurst - the other historical reference during this adventure. Apparently, the founder of the women's suffragette movement in England stole the Doctor's sonic spanner, for which he branded her a "cheeky woman".

The following mini-bio for Mrs. Pankhurst comes from TVHeaven, which does give it a Toobworld spin by focusing on her as seen in the mini-series 'Shoulder To Shoulder'.

"Emmeline Pankhurst, who forms the Women's Social and Political Union, the driving power behind the women's movement.

Portrayed by Sian Phillips she is shown as a sensitive, caring, charismatic woman who was also responsible for an increasing militancy in the campaign, prompted by an occasion in 1905 when her daughter:

Christabel (Patricia Quinn), was ejected from a Liberal meeting in Manchester and then arrested and imprisoned for assaulting the police because she had dared ask the meeting about votes for women."

'Shoulder To Shoulder' came out in 1974 in the UK and in 1975 here in America. It was a project championed by one of its stars, Georgia Brown, who made certain that the mostly male writers of the mini-series threw out their preconceived notions of who these women were. There were six episodes and seems to have been highly praised for the role it played in remembrance of their work and in keeping the flame alive. (I don't think it's available on DVD however.)

Emmeline Pankhurst was portrayed in this mini-series by that great actress Sian Phillips (so memorable as the venomous Livia of 'I, Claudius'). Wendy Williams played Mrs. Pankhurst as well, in a mini-series look at the life of David Lloyd-George, but since 'Shoulder To Shoulder' focused on the woman, I think it only right that Ms. Phillips' performance be given preference in Earthe Prime-Time.

Not that it should be of concern for Toobworld, but there are two connections to 'Doctor Who' through the mention of Mrs. Pankhurst. One, she was a Mancunian, which producer Russell T. Davies must have learned while working for the BBC there in Manchester.

And that mini-series, 'Shoulder To Shoulder' was produced by Verity Lambert, who was an integral force behind the earlier era of 'Doctor Who'......

Sycorax ship over London - this was a reference back to "The Christmas Invasion" which featured Harriet Jones as the Prime Minister. However, that doesn't have to mean that this new season must be still relegated to that alternate TV dimension where all the previous adventures of Doctors Nine and Ten have taken place; we could be back in the main Toobworld universe, just so long as there is no mention again of Harriet Jones.

(The Sycorax invasion more than likely happened in almost all variations of the TV dimensions.)

Plasmavores - Ah, space vampires! I'll have to check TV Acres, but I'm sure that this must be a staple among extraterrestrial life found in sci-fi shows. When they first started talking about Ms. Finnegan and her salt deficiency, my heart raced that we might be seeing one of the last of the salt vampires in disguise. (This episode was set far enough back in Time so that there may still have been more than one of that dying race as seen in the 'Star Trek' episode "The Man-Trap".)

But no, Ms. Finnegan was a blood-sucker. And so neat about it too - she brought her own straw. I'm not sure what they may have looked like originally, but plasmavores had the capacity to assume the basic genetic structure of whomever was their host after they drained the victim of their blood. (Apparently they can't tell as they sup er, sip, what type of blood they're consuming and absorbing. Otherwise, Ms. Finnegan might have noticed the taste difference between human and Gallifreyan.)

That "taste" of the Doctor's blood might trigger a renewed discussion of a plot point from the 1996 TV movie - that the Doctor's mother was from Earth and he was only half-Gallifreyan....
Florence Finnegan - I like it when nasty old ladies get what's coming to them. But it's a shame they couldn't have let her escape to bedevil the Doctor another day.

Mr. Stoker - I was surprised Roy Marsden didn't get to be in the episode longer, and found it hard to think of him as just a red-shirt. As for his name, I've already contacted David Bianculli of the New York Daily News to tell him of the in-joke for use in one of his future columns about such "Extras".

The hospital's crater - Whatever the technology was that the Judoon used to transport the hospital complex to the Moon, they must have "borrowed" it from the Luminosians as seen in "Feasibility Study" from the first series of 'The Outer Limits'.

At least they brought the hospital back and reattached it in its original placement....

The Judoon - The basic humanoid form can be found throughout the universe thanks to "seeding" by a sect of the First Ones known as "The Preservers". I'm thinking that there might have been a separatist faction among the Preservers who took native life from whichever planets they visited to seed and then blended its DNA with that of the humanoid strain to create a new race of sentient beings.

As such, they apparently took rhinoceros DNA from Earth and created a humanoid form that retained that basic rhino visage. However, it was mounted on a humanoid skeletal system that doesn't look at first glance to be strong enough to support such a massive skull. In order to do so, the musculature must be incredibly dense and the bones would have to be the equivalent to adamantium steel.

I don't think these same Preservers can be held responsible for the creation of Gomez Addams' business partner. (He can be seen in the background of 'The Addams Family' house in a painting. He's a giraffe in a business suit.) No, I think he can claim the tele-version of Dr. Moreau as his "father".

(This will bleep off a lot of creationists, but humans are not native to Earth due to God's design, but rhinos are. Ionesco was onto something!)

By the way - Judoon: great name!

Martha's Family - I had no problems in meeting them; I'm glad they exist. But I don't want the show running back every other episode to get them mixed up in some of the adventures, as was the case with Rose Tyler. From what I'm hearing, somebody has stepped in to keep RTD from doing that again. Good.

The Blue Suit - I thought I would like it once I saw David Tennant in it, but it just didn't feel "right". I was glad he was back in the brown one by the end of the episode. I did like the red sneaks though!

And Finally.....

The Doctor's Brother - Martha asked the Doctor if he had a brother, and he responded "Not any more....." And he also made reference to "we" when talking about being in the nursery.

This has led to much speculation that the Doctor had a falling out with his brother and that could splain the enmity between him and the Master - they were brothers! Classic Cain and Abel!

But there are others who say that RTD is not fond of the idea for bringing back the Master; that maybe the brother (and the title for the last episode this season - "Last Of The Time Lords") are references to the Meddling Monk.

I'm not sure I like the idea of the Master being the Doctor's brother. I much prefer that the Master was first seen in "War Games" with Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. And it's from that point on the Doctor has gained the Master's enmity.

There's also a pretty strong rumor that John Simm will be appearing in the series by the end of this new season. Could he be the Master? Could he be the Meddling Monk? Or is he the mysterious Mr. Saxon, who could still turn out to be either one of those two options?

Well, that's my take on this first episode of the new season. (PLEASE don't get me to come down on either side of the "what number season?" argument!)


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