Friday, February 3, 2006

New Doctor Who Guide: The Christmas Invasion

This is considerably later than I'd intended, and for that I apologize. I have actually had the bulk of this entry sitting in draft form for a couple of weeks, but debated whether or not to continue with this "Guide" series when the announcement came that the new series of Doctor Who episodes will be featured on the Sci-Fi channel in the US. I haven't quite made up my mind on this, but figure that there will be few people who stumble upon this entry before they've had a chance to see the episode that will be spoiled by the information therein.

If I do decide to continue this series when new episodes appear, it will be standard for all "New Doctor Who Guide" entries to encourage comments regarding any suggestions or corrections in the comments. I will update the entry for any such comments I receive once I've verified the accuracy of the comment by re-watching the episode.

The Christmas Invasion

Roots: H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, Disney's The Lion King, Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Goofs: When the alien ship hits the atmosphere, it causes a sonic wave powerful enough to shatter glass. However, no one seems to be suffering from popped eardrums. Why does Jones' "right hand man" translate the Sycorax term designated "tribal leader" on his translator as "leader of this world"?

Technobabble: The idea that superheated tea helped the Doctor's synapses heal.

Dialogue Disasters: Jackie: (after learning of the Doctor's two hearts) "Anything else he's got two of?"
Jackie: "I'm gonna get killed by a Christmas tree!"
The overly long sequence where the Doctor tries to tell Jackie what he needs, and Jackie interrupts him after every two words before the Doctor finally tells her to shut up.

Dialogue Triumphs: Harriet Jones: "You can tell the President, and please use these exact words: 'He's not my boss, and he's certainly not turning this into a war.'"
Rose: "Someone's got to be the Doctor." Jones: "They'll kill you!" Rose: "Never stopped him!"
Sycorax leader: "You stand as this world's champion?" The Doctor: "Thank you. I have no idea who I am, but you've just summed me up!"

Continuity: Mickey works as an auto mechanic. The TARDIS crash lands by emerging from the vortex in mid-air with considerable velocity, rather than simply appearing in place as is usual. The Sonic Screwdriver is able to cause the remote-controlled "Christmas Tree" to explode. The news reports talk of the original Sycorax broadcast as being absolute proof of alien life. [The crash landing of an alien ship into Big Ben in "Aliens of London" was proven to be a hoax, and few people who knew of the involvement of the Slytheen survived. Jones seems to indicate that her involvement with them is still a secret.] UNIT knows that Martians look completely different from the Sycorax. The fact that Rose cannot understand the Sycorax at first indicates that something is wrong with the Doctor [and his link to the TARDIS]. UNIT has technology capable of translating alien languages, given enough time. A "Code 9" indicates that the Doctor has been sighted. Neither the Prime Minister nor the United Nations are supposed to know about "Torchwood," although Harriet Jones does know about them. The Doctor is able to discern that the blood is not only human, but A-positive, just by tasting it. The Doctor can regrow body parts (such as his hand) within the first 15 hours of his regeneration cycle. The Torchwood weapon was adapted from an alien ship that fell to Earth 10 years ago. The TARDIS wardrobe is on an upper floor, connected by a spiral staircase. The Doctor keeps glasses in his pocket for watching the television.

Links: Harriet Jones is now Prime Minister ("Aliens of London"/"World War III"). The Doctor is still spewing out bits of time vortex (The "Children in Need" Special), but this time the Doctor talks as if it's just a side effect of his regeneration, and that he's "bursting with energy." [Since it was the absorption of the vortex energies that caused the regeneration in the first place, this is not necessarily contradictory.] UNIT is still the organization charged with dealing with alien encounters. Big Ben is shown to still be under reconstruction ("Aliens of London"). Rose name-drops concepts from most of the previous season in her attempt to impress the Sycorax. The Doctor relates the time Harriet Jones was trapped with them in Downing Street ("World War III") to prove to her he is the same man.

Location: Contemporary London, Christmastime; Sycorax spaceship.

The Bottom Line: An entertaining regeneration tale, but some of the resolutions come a bit too easily to be entirely plausible. David Tennant continues (after the 7-minute Children in Need special) to make a promising debut in his first full story.

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