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19 October 2014 @ 09:30 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Fathers' Day  
I think most people consider Fathers' Day and Dalek to be the two best stories of this season. Fathers' Day notably pipped Dalek to the Hugo but I was a little concerned that on a second watch it would be too schmaltzy and the sentimentality would be too obviously manipulative.

NLSS Child and I wept copiously through most of Fathers' Day. It's very much a tale that sets out to pull at the heartstrings and is pretty focused on doing exactly that and is equally shameless about it. So, yeah, it is pretty blatantly manipulative with several heartfelt speeches which would probably never occur in reality. It's pretty good as well though. It's especially pleasing to see the thought that has gone into the Pete Tyler character. He's clearly not without his flaws, but you can also see the traits which the writers want us to feel he shares with Rose and, the ones that, next season allow his alternative version to become a successful entrepreneur.

"Does Rose's Dad stay dead?" NLSS Child asked halfway through, continuing her habit of asking difficult questions.

"Well..." I began.

"In this episode! When I ask about survival in future I mean just in this episode!"

She's learning.

A not so obvious comparison to draw is between Fathers' Day and The Aztecs. They both occur at the point where the show has established its basic premise and now needs to come up with some kind of an answer to explain why the characters can not just run around changing history. I'm actually in a tiny minority (possibly of one) of people who don't much like The Aztecs so I obviously prefer Fathers' Day. It is interesting that the two versions of the show come up with fundamentally different answers though. Fathers' Day basically claims that hugely powerful monsters will appear out of nowhere and kill everyone, while The Aztecs opts for the idea that actually changing history is really far, far more difficult than it appears. Of course, The Aztecs, has the benefit of a Doctor who can not steer the Tardis and so the opportunities for the characters to change history are a lot fewer and further between.


Where Fathers' Day clearly wins over Dalek, I suspect, is that it is dealing with a far more accessible situation. Most people have lost someone close to them, so the question of how you would feel and react if given the opportunity to save them, or meet them again, is much more directly relevant than the question posed in Dalek which is about how similar someone very powerful can become to their arch-nemesis. It's a much more human story and for all its blatant sentimentality I think it, at the end of the day, is a better piece of television as a result.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/130521.html.