Tag Archives: Billie Piper

Review – Doctor Who: The End of Time, The End of Tennant

The End of Time, The End of Tennant

January 2nd, 2010

Watching Doctor Who: The End of Time, for me personally, is a bit of a strange exercise for two reason (one exclusive to me, the other general).

First, I don’t watch the show on a regular basis, so while watching a few of the recent specials (Specifically the quite enjoyable “The Next Doctor” and the thrilling “The Waters of Mars”) has given me some sense of what’s going on – the Doctor (David Tennant) without a companion on a self-destructive journey to confront his impending death (I think?) – I’m still left out of the loop in terms of both the show’s larger mythology and the intricacies of Tennant’s run on the series.

However, even considering my ignorance to the broader mythology at play, the two-part event (which airs in its entirety tonight at 8pm on SPACE in Canada, with the second part (Part One aired in Boxing Day) airing on BBC America) is unique in its clear purpose: the death of the Doctor, and the departure of David Tennant from the series to make way for newcomer Matt Smith. And while you could argue that Law & Order or CSI, with their revolving door casting policy, offer something similar (in terms of transitioning from one actor to another), Doctor Who is unique in the fact that Smith will effectively be playing a new character…except that he won’t.

The single greatest accomplishment of The End of Time, which is at times a mixed bag in terms of its effectiveness, is that despite my lack of knowledge of the show’s history, and despite the lack of suspense surrounding an inevitable conclusion that has been known for over a year, I was emotionally affected by Russell T. Davies saying goodbye to the Doctor, and the Doctor saying goodbye to the people he cares about. Built on a foundation of David Tennant’s fantastic performance, the movie overcomes a bit of a muddled first part (which is tied up in a lot of exposition) in order to deliver a conclusion which demonstrates the combination of whimsy and pathos that has made the show, with its low budget special effects and its quirky sense of humour, so enduring.

And it feels like just the right kind of note on which to head into the reign of the new Doctor, which based on what I’ve seen in these specials is something that I might be willing to spend some time with in the years to come.

[Spoilers for both parts of the Miniseries after the break, where we’ll discuss the special in more detail]

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Short Form Reviews: Plain Sight, Call Girl, Dance

Short Form Reviews

June 26th, 2008

Considering that a majority of my television watching has been spent finishing up one HBO show (Six Feet Under) and digging into another in earnest (The Wire), all in conjunction with regular TV viewing and some repeat viewings of some of the season’s best episodes (I’ll be getting to that maybe next week), some shows are either sitting on the DVR for longer and longer periods of time or, in some cases, just not grabbing my attention enough to warrant a blog post. So, we have short form reviews.

What’s there to say? Like my relationship with most USA Network shows, I enjoy my 42 minutes with these characters but never seem to really rush to watch them as soon as they air. I was the same way with both Monk and Psych before they got kicked from my rotation, and I might end up in the same position with this show. I enjoy Mary McCormack, and there’s some decent action/comedy hybrid stuff going on, but both of the most recent episodes (“Never the Bride” and “Trojan Horst”) have done little to make this must see TV.

I’d argue that both episodes had their issues – “Bride” was a bit too tacky in terms of the getup that Mary let her sister put her in, but otherwise featured a good mix of the series’ witness protection drama. “Horst,” which aired on Sunday, was stronger in action and tension, but literally stopped cold every time the storyline jumped to the mother/sister characters. There’s just literally nothing interesting about them, and I’d hate to think the show isn’t aware of it. I saw a comment over at Alan Sepinwall’s blog that the show had better be leading up to these two getting put in Witness Protection, and that’s right on: unless they’re part of Mary’s life, they serve no tangible purpose in the series’ narrative.

But if the show irons that out, it enters USA’s stable of watchable dramas – I’m more excited for Burn Notice’s return, let’s put it that way.

Having now been able to go through all eight episodes sent to critics, I’ll have to say that I have no interest whatsoever in continuing to discuss this Showtime series, even if I had interest in finishing the short season’s run. Yes, the show remains charming due to Billie Piper’s continued on-screen radiance, but each episode deals with such a small amount of plot or situation that it never amounts to anything. With only three “regular” characters (If we’re even willing to define her agent as a character), the show is such a small universe that its pacing does little to help me feel connected to anything beyond a very attractive female lead.

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Series Premiere: Secret Diary of a Call Girl – “Pilot”

“Pilot”

June 16th, 2008

Billie Piper, best known to audiences as the Doctor’s first companion Rose on the rebooted Doctor Who, took her time away from that series to take on a very different role. Secret Diary of a Call Girl, a British series, is airing on Showtime after their acquisition of the show’s first eight episodes. As the story of an upscale female prostitute, one could draw a number of similarities with its lead-in Weeds, where a mother is forced into the drug trade to support her family. Of course, those similarities would be seemingly off-base, but only at first glance and if we take the narrator’s word for it.

What sets Hannah (or “Belle”) apart from Nancy (at first) is that she likes what she does: she did it by choice, certainly seems to relish in the life she has before her, and as we’re introduced to the character she seems to have everything figured out. Of course, that’s a rather blatant simplification: while the show’s pilot is admittedly quite slight, it does turn around our whole notion of her character by at the very least letting us know that her self-defined lifestyle is not quite as sustainable as she makes it out to be. And the pilot, and the series it launches, is better off for it.

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