So, Ten Years Ago Today, This Happened…

…and we’ve been running ever since.

After too long away, Doctor Who returned, with a new generation of actors, directors, and writers to bring sci-fi’s most unique hero-of-sorts on his way. And generations new and old were swept up in the terror and wonder of all of time and space, all over again.

Today, the adventure shows no end in sight. And I’d like to think we’re all a little better for it – at least I believe I am.

(h/t to that FX genius “John Smith,” whoever he may be…)

Thank you for coming back, Doctor. Here’s to many more ahead…

The Thing About Paddington

There’s a moment in the film Paddington that you should recognize from your typical modern family film. You should recognize it, but it’s not quite what you’re used to.

The Umbrella Chase

Early in the film, there’s a chase scene in which Paddington crosses paths with a thief. Many live-action “kids’ movies” have similar set pieces, but few handle them the way this film does. The chase doesn’t rush. It unfolds. It takes its time to reveal its delights. It trusts its audience. It’s not built on mayhem, but on something we don’t see as often as I’d like: a sense of surprise and wonder and charm and joy.

And that’s the beauty of the film.

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Yes, Clara, There Is A Doctor

We don’t believe in Santa Claus because he’s real. He’s real because we believe in him.

There’s that kind of power in our fantasies, our fairy tales, our heroes. They don’t have to exist in our world. And it might be far better that they don’t. Reality can be a mess sometimes, maybe most times. And it’s a comfort to know that there’s something outside of it. Something better. Something impossible and incredible and great.

And so we create these heroes and vest our faith in them. Like Santa Claus.

Like the Doctor.

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Old Friends Die Hard

“Clara, be my pal. Tell me… am I a good man?”
“I… don’t know.”
“Neither do I.”

– from “Into the Dalek,” by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat

They were the central questions of Series 8 of Doctor Who. What kind of man is this new Doctor? Is he a hero? Does he still care? Is he even capable of caring anymore?

It’s to the show’s credit that it dared to ask those questions, to explore the darker sides of life with, and as, the last Time Lord. Asking those questions gave us stories like “Listen” and “Flatline.”

And it’s to the show’s credit that in the end, it found a way to answer them.

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If This Is Paradise, I Wish I Had A Sonic Lawnmower

Since I’ve committed to life as a Doctor Who blogger, I’ve often surprised myself with the connections I’ve made. Not so much within the show itself – it’s easy to find traces of a past story or a past Doctor in the current series. It’s Doctor Who – there’s always going to be at least a piece of its past in its present.

No, the surprise comes from the connections I find outside of the series, the things an episode reminds me of as I’m watching it. Last week’s episode is a perfect example. I didn’t go into “Flatline” looking for a Bourne Identity parallel, but once I found it, it just made perfect sense to explore that.

With all that in mind, you really have to wonder about the kind of mind that goes from Doctor Who to Talking Heads…
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Look At What They Make You Give

One of the many assets of Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity (spoilers ahead) is Clive Owen’s character, called the Professor. Like Jason Bourne, the Professor’s one of the Treadstone program’s assassins, a laconic piece of work who says nary a syllable until he finally catches up with his quarry. And once Bourne has gunned him down, he uses his dying words to reflect on the terrible bond they share:

Look at us. Look at what they make you give.

Bourne himself will repeat those words in The Bourne Ultimatum. It’s a commentary on the way Treadstone has leached the good from them both, in the name of a supposed higher purpose.

And after seeing the latest Doctor Who, the road from the Professor to the Doctor might not be as far as you’d think. Or hope.

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