Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A series-ful of plots series two: War Story

Happy birthday Christopher Eccleston!

DWAITAS mostly concerns itself with the Tenth Doctor and his era, with an Eleventh Doctor version out soon, but RTD brought the show back with the slightly more low-key Ninth. Pained but doing his best to hide it, a joker and a threat by turns, a romantic but not a heartbroken one. Plain dark clothes, short cropped hair, "trying to fit in" unlike most of his other selves.

Considering the two-parters we only got ten stories with him, and that doesn't feel like enough.

Every Doctor brings something new to the story, and carries his era with him in return appearances.

Of course, the Ninth Doctor is also associated with the Time War (although he might have been the Eighth for quite a lot of it) so this suggests that travellers might meet him again performing great and terrible deeds, losing those he loves to the Daleks, avenging them, setting a million ships on fire...

The Time War allows for major changes in continuity, overshadows the Davies era, and is full of hinted-at wonders and horrors.

War in general showcases great adventures, terrible tragedies, courageous last stands against overwhelming odds, painful moral questions, monstrosity and heroism in equal measure.

7: What did you do in the war, daddy?

Doctor Who discourages violent solutions, but there's the odd stand-up gunfight with one of the heroes among the combatants fighting, even while most of them are Talking, Running and Doing instead. These rarely solve very much, though, and are at best useful distractions and delaying tactics before the rest of the heroes do something clever.

War as a backdrop raises questions of whether the war is worth fighting. Even when war is utterly justified, it means sending good people out to do terrible things and possibly die doing them. Like any historical tragedy, a war is something time travellers should leave well alone, but when they're there it's easier said than done...

Example: On The Bridge

Tracking an alien signal, the travellers land in Russia during Napoleon's winter campaign. The Doctor knows that the siege is futile and wants to concentrate on the reason for their presence, but Emily goes to the camp and talks with some of the staff anyway, getting to know them well enough to want to warn them of how the battle will end...

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