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05 July 2015 @ 07:00 pm
NuWho Rewatch: The Lodger  
I'm tempted to say that Doctor Who had never attempted anything like The Lodger before, but I don't think that's strictly true. The specifics of The Lodger: that the Doctor attempts to pass as a human while renting someone's spare room and, in the process, becomes embroiled in a soft-focus version of "Men Behaving Badly", are new to the show. However, the constraints of Doctor/Companion-lite episodes meant we had, over the course of NuWho, seen a number of these episodes that were fairly tightly focused character studies, operating on a limited budget and turning that into a virtue. While Love and Monsters and Turn Left (to pick two) were very different in content, stylistically they belong to the same strand as The Lodger.

Is it any good though?

I don't particularly want to like The Lodger, I don't particularly like sitcoms, nor male-buddy stories and The Lodger has firm roots in both. On the other hand, it is so very gently good-humoured and, to be frank, kind of cute, that it is difficult to take exception to it. NLSS Child completely bought into the slightly awkward relationship between Craig and Sophie (in between shouting "has no one ever watched a horror movie?!?" at the screen), so much so that I had to assure her that there was going to be a "happy and fluffy" ending to the tale. Mind you, her confusion when Craig tried to explain to the Doctor about going out for the evening when the other was entertaining a member of the opposite sex, was a comical mirror of the Doctor's own confusion.

In some ways, I wish Doctor Who did this sort of thing more often than once every other season or so. One of NuWho's strengths has been the discovery that Doctor Who can do "domestic" and, indeed, that a threat that works primarily on the level of the domestic can be as gripping as a threat to the universe. The change in pace and tone enriches the show which can otherwise get a little carried away with bombastic grandeur.

metanews coding: <a href=http://louisedennis.livejournal.com/302234.html>NuWho Rewatch: The Lodger</a> (LJ) <i>Discussion of the fifth series episode</i>

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/163266.html.
parrot_knight: DavidIconparrot_knight on July 5th, 2015 06:22 pm (UTC)
Agreed, particularly in the idea that the claims for The Lodger breaking entirely new ground are somewhat exaggerated. The story's origins in a DWM comic strip set on the Powell estate in the Ten/Rose/Mickey/Jackie era are themselves telling.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on July 5th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
I've not seen the DWM strip, but I do particularly like the outsider viewpoint of The Lodger which I imagine is missing from the original. And the Doctor was never so fond of Mickey as he seems to be of Craig.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on July 5th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
I really liked this, although I think there's been diminishing returns with Closing Time and The Caretaker. It's not the first time non-TV Doctor Who has done this type of story, though: the story started as a one-off comic strip in DWM with the tenth Doctor and Mickey in the Craig role.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on July 5th, 2015 06:38 pm (UTC)
I think Power of Three is coming from the same place as well. Of the three, I agree that Closing Time is probably a case of diminishing returns, but both The Caretaker and Power of Three bring things that make them nice contrasts to the stories around them. The Caretaker is probably the best of three.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on July 5th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
I actually found The Caretaker my least favourite! Partly through diminishing returns, partly through other things, like the unpleasantness of the Doctor and my dislike of Courtney. I do like The Power of Three, though.
athene: doctor elevendeinonychus_1 on July 5th, 2015 08:25 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that my intense dislike of James Cordon on a general level ruins this episode for me. If they'd had any other actor playing Craig I suspect I would have enjoyed seeing Matt Smith goofing around and trying to fit in as a human. As it is, I tend to avoid this ep entirely unless I'm having a *complete* series rewatch from beginning to end. Same goes for the one in the next series when he comes back.

It's a shame, really, because apart from the presence of James Cordon, I have no real complaint about this episode. :-( And also, the technology appears to be Silence tech, so it's quietly seeding plot for the next series.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on July 8th, 2015 09:55 am (UTC)
I suspect not really watching sitcoms means I have no opinions on people like James Corden (or Ricky Gervais, who also seems to elicit strong reactions). He was perfectly good here, I thought.