You are on Channel 4400

Floor 500

Floor 500, no longer walled with gold
From the BBC’s Doctor Who site.

Please do not swear.

Spoilers ahead. Some random thoughts follow, which sorely need editing.

What a super episode! The long build-up by RTD has really paid off. Great long game! We are reminded at the start that at the end of The Long Game, the Doctor assures Cathica that “the human race should accelerate. All back to normal.” This makes his realisation that his fix-it-and-leave attitude left the Earth in limbo all the more poignant. Instead of the Fourth Great Human Empire, 100 years of hell for humans. “I made this world.”

Jack as the “doer” of the team, making it possible for the Doctor to keep from having to shoot anyone. “Do I look like an out-of-bounds kinda guy?!”

Lots of little in-jokes, like Captain Jack’s transformation into Nice Tim, with clothes that are difficult to keep clean. Ariel, anyone? And as for the opening lines, as much as I hate reality shows, even I knew what they were referring to. Anne Droid? Aimed at small and big kids alike.

We get more social commentary from RTD, with Endemol as the Big Bad Wolf, the implication that reality TV detaches viewers from reality.

This has been a season of many such insights into the Doctor’s psychology, showing his feeling of disjointedness with the death of the other Time Lords and his family. We are also made aware that the Doctor’s many actions, however well-meaning, have consequences, something that previous seasons of Doctor Who did not cover. This is clearly a different Doctor, one that some have called a soap-Doctor. But I have to disagree. This Doctor is much better than previous arrogant incarnations. He is a better role model for the young viewers, and a more rounded character for us non-fanboys to get to know.

Like the previous two-parter, we’re left with so many questions. Could the self-sacrificing Controller and her dexterous transmissions during solar flares be behind the “Bad Wolf” warnings? She’s the one who transported the Doctor onto Satellite 5, but would she also have been able to transmit into the past/future? Highly unlikely, which still leaves wide open the question of who is dropping the references? Is sweet Lynda-with-a-Y leaving the House with the Doctor significant? Will she be the new companion after The Parting of the Ways? What happens to the Transmat-ed humans? Could they be turned into Daleks, hence explaining the vast fleet? And how have the Daleks been manipulating humankind for hundreds of years? Was the Jagafress a Colonel Grievious?

They survived through me.

Update: I’m liking the search results for “bad wolf” on bbc.co.uk’s search engine (great diversion, btw):

What is the mystery that’s haunted the Doctor and Rose? Find absolutely nothing out on this website dedicated to Bad Wolf
http://www.badwolf.org.uk

Also, the Doctor Who pages have a slightly different trailer to what aired after Bad Wolf. Apparently, variations of the trailer will be played everyday until The Parting of the Ways. Oooh. I can’t wait!

13 Jun ’05 update: The Curious Hamster has been making fine pastry confections again, sparked off by the Bad Wolf episode and the shocking scene of the Doctor carrying a gun. In mitigation, not only did he fail to fire it, but even gave it away to the man he was pointing it at. However, if the Curious Hamster is right, the damage may already be done. The point he makes about the use of weapons in Star Trek is a good one. Even liberal Hollywood appears to condone the gun toting, albeit with a “stun” setting. I was not immune to such TV influence in my youth, and have made my fair share of Lego pistols, AK-47s and phasers (possibly influenced by my favourite shows at the time like Starsky and Hutch and Hawaii-Five-O). But something must have gotten through that guns are not the solution. Nowadays, I shake my head when I see unnecessary violence and gun use before the watershed (eg all them cop shows on BBC’s weekend schedule when there’s no sport on), and flinch when I see policemen in London toting rifles. It may seem a different world that we live in now, one where violence is more in your face. But in reality, it was ever so. I like Doctor Who for what it is and was, a show that seeks to inform through entertainment. And the message in Bad Wolf was not a bad one for young minds: guns, though they exist, are not the solution. Slippery slope? I don’t know.

And if you’re the kind of person who hates spoiles, DO NOT go to the BBC’s Doctor Who site this week. For you will be sorely tempted to have a look at the daily sneak previews that may/may not give the story away. As their webmaster suggests, remain pure. You have been warned…

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3 thoughts on “You are on Channel 4400

  1. I was a tad disappointed – I was hoping to find out *what* is Bad Wolf. I bet you next week’s episode won’t tell us either! 😦

    FANTASTIC build-up though. I never thought I’d hear the phrase “Launch missiles” in Doctor Who!

  2. I’ll be disappointed too if it turns out that Bad Wolf is just a TV station. But the question of who put all those references through time still remains, and had better be answered or RTD goes down in my estimation.

  3. He is a better role model for the young viewers, and a more rounded character…
    I totally agree. I probably didn’t really express it very well (it is half baked) but I thought the Doctor picking up the gun and then giving in away actually emphasised the point that the Doctor doesn’t use guns. I think the Doctor will continue to be a good non-violent role model for some time to come.

    I have to add that I can’t wait for Saturday’s episode. I feel like a kid again myself. Must resist the previews, must resist…

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