Genre: SF
Series: Doctor Who

Reviewed by Kathryn A 22-05-2005

But who ARE you?

(Originally posted at

Yes, this is my New Who squee. Saw "Rose" last night. I rang up aizain afterwards to squee with him, but he hadn't seen it because he didn't know it was on (oops!). Well at least he'll be watching next week. But, anyway, we started talking about Doctor Who in general, and it was amazing how I kept on mentally going yep, tick, tick, tick during the discussion of what "Doctor Who" is.

Here were some of the points which were made: * The Doctor is Merlin, is Gandalf -- that powerful mysterious Unknown, who is Good, not Evil. * When you're with Gandalf, you know that he's leading you -- not quite into certain death, but close -- to save the world, and he'll do his best to make sure that you survive. With the Doctor, it is the same; but he'll also lead you into beautiful alien pleasant places, though you don't always know which will be which, and of course they only tend to make stories about the dangerous ones. * The Doctor is very dangerous. But "dangerous" does not mean "evil", even though people tend to unthinkingly assume that -- until they ask the question "Dangerous to whom?" * But even though The Doctor might be dangerous, he's not the sort to just go and kill the "bad guys" (though some incarnations may be more peacable than others). * There are three "levels" of Hero # The immature Hero: a decent sort, who rushes in and does what he thinks is right, succeeding more often than not by luck rather than judgement.\ Examples: early Buffy, Flash Gordon # The mature Hero: more wise and knowing, this one plans and is aware of the consequences of his actions, learns from his mistakes.\ Examples: Blake, later Buffy # The transcendent Hero: not only is he wise, but he has special knowledge in the realm of the Other, he is aware of the Big Picture, and thus may do things which make no sense to his less knowledgable peers.\ Examples: Hanz Zarkof, The Doctor * The Doctor is alien -- even the most approachable incarnations behave oddly, eccentricly, because he isn't human.

In "Rose", the Doctor was all of the above -- the mysterious Other, with the Big Picture, eccentric, dangerous (ah, I loved that bit with the conspiracy theorist -- the phrase "Gandalf, storm crow" springs to mind), trying to negotiate with the Nestine Consciousness (and falling foul of the "dangerous to whom?" question), telling Rose that, yes, if she comes with him, things are likely to be just as dangerous as they were with him this time.

One of the intriguing things was that I was expecting Rose's mother and boyfriend to be killed, and that she would go with the Doctor because she had nothing left, but what actually happened was much more positive. And, heh, her boyfriend freaking out, that was so ironic!

Hats off to the BBC, for being able to convey the "Whoness" of the Doctor, all in one break-neck-paced hour. We got the required things: "Police Call box, is a disguise", "It's bigger on the inside than the outside", "Time And Relative Dimensions In Space", the fact that he's a time-travelling alien, with chaos in his wake, saves people a lot (and lots of people die anyway). Ahhhhh.

Loved that bit where Rose goes into the TARDIS, and runs straight back out again, looks at the rampaging alien thing bashing its way through the steel door, and goes back in again. Nice to see her freaking out and then overcoming it, rather than just having staid acceptance; that's a nice change from the usual Companion.

I'm amazed they managed to fit all that in to one hour, but then as I said, it was fast-paced. Not your usual leisurely Who, but I'm not complaining.