Sunday, 20 December 2015

Daleks in Manhattan

Following the bolder but otherwise safe format of Series 2, Doctor Who’s third series shows Russell T Davies near his peak in confidence as a showrunner: delivering a very experimental and genre-bending set of stories. We have the first and arguably only three-part finale, the real-time format of 42, the overtly thematic and plain weird story that is Gridlock, Blink, and the intentionally alienating Human Nature two-parter. Even the core relationship dynamic is unusual: throwing a companion and doctor so obviously ill-suited for each other, and the absence of Rose exposes how unpleasant and alien the main character is in a way which was present, but cheerfully ignored in Series 2. Martha can’t relate to him, for even up to the finale she still views him as a saviour, and that gives rise to the best parts of Series 3: beautiful, bleak, and messy examinations of what comes after the end of the halcyon days.