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09 October 2011 @ 02:01 pm
Closing Time  
There are a lot of fathers and sons in this year's Doctor Who.

We had Henry Avery being redeemed (sort of) by his son Toby back The Curse of the Black Spot, we had Jimmy's son acting as a tipping point for the side his Ganger ultimately picked in The Almost People and then in both Night Terrors and now Closing Time we've had the day being saved by a father's love for his son. Obviously, given the whole season arc is about Amy and Rory's daughter, it's a fair bet that parenthood is supposed to be a theme, though at this level of pegging major story beats to parent/child relationships it seems a little facile. It would also be nice to see a few mothers and daughters aside from Amy and River who, let's face it, don't exactly have a typical mother/daughter relationship.

Leaving aside the whole father and son thing, I'm quite glad that I haven't the faintest clue who James Corden is. I think he worked well here, better than in The Lodger, where his rivalry with the Doctor and his hopelessness with Sophie edged the Craig character towards dislikable. Here, with a friendship established, the slightly screwball `two men and a baby take on the cybermen' had the necessary lightness of touch to trip along nicely for the requisite forty-five minutes of entertainment. It's never going to be one of the great classics of the show but it never had any pretensions to be and it delivered its own story with a good deal of success. The cybermen were perhaps a little underused and almost entirely without menace, but the story wasn't about them. I can see very little to criticise here unless you believe that this sort of light comedy has no place in Doctor Who.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/55211.html.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on October 9th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
I think it's one of the strengths of Doctor Who that it can accommodate this kind of light comedy; I suspect that we won't see a full appearance by the Cybermen until the budget can accommodate a full redesign and jettisoning of the Cybus-suits to history.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 9th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
I thought it worked very well as a Who story but I'd seen vague rumblings (though nothing specific since I was trying to avoid spoilers) that suggested people weren't happy with Corden's reappearance.

It is awkward that New Who's cybermen are from another world, though I'm surprised they are that worried about it from a suit point of view.
daniel_saunders: Medaniel_saunders on October 17th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the emphasis on father/son relationships is because we had a number of mother/daughter relationships under Russell T Davies: Rose/Jackie, Martha/Francine, Donna/Sylvia, Fear Her. Although we also had mother/son (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances), father/daughter (all the stories with Pete Tyler plus, I suppose, The Doctor's Daughter) and father/son (The Idiot's Lantern) for variety.

Then again, it could just be because the writers this year have all been men! (The tiny number of female Doctor Who writers, new and old, is quite staggering and while I'm not usually someone to see misogyny everywhere, it is hard to think of another explanation.)
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 19th, 2011 07:53 am (UTC)
It's interesting that I'm more inclined to think of Davies' obsession with mothers and daughters as something subconscious while I'm more likely to think of Moffat's as a deliberate theme - possibly because Moffat seems a lot more guarded about allowing his own personality to show in his writing. Of course, assuming there was a theme, I suspect it was `parenthood' and the prevalence of fathers and sons within that theme may well have been, as you point out, a reflection of the gender of the writers.

There are lots of cultural reasons why you would expected Doctor Who to be fairly male dominated (not that that necessarily excuses it) but the absence of female voices has always been particularly striking in Who (e.g. in the original novels as well, though interestingly it got better (maybe not a lot better but going up from 1 to, I think, 4 female writers was definitely progress) once the BBC took over). Similarly NuWho has had a lot of women on the production side, it's just the writing that seems to have become something of a men-only club.