Sunday, June 27, 2010

Doctor Who - "Vincent and the Doctor"

Spoiler Level: Low

Wow. That was really moving.

One of the things that I always loved about the old Hartnell historical stories was they really made the past come alive, and actually made me interested in learning about the Aztecs or the Romans or whatever time period they were set in. And I have to say, this is probably the first of the "new historicals" to recapture that.

Like all the other "new historicals" they've done since the show returned, there's the obligatory monster causing trouble, just like when the Doctor met Dickens and Shakespeare and Queen Victoria. But once Vincent Van Gogh comes on the scene I forgot all about the fact that the Doctor was monster hunting; his character is just that interesting. I really didn't know anything about Van Gogh before seeing this episode besides the fact that he was the artist who cut off his own ear and mailed it to the woman he loved. Well, that and the fact that the British pronounce it "Van Goch" while we pronounce it "Van Go." But if you put any of his paintings in a line-up, I couldn't have picked it out.

But now I find myself wanting to learn more about him and his artwork. I think the description that the art director made about him sums it up-- a man who fought such terrible inner demons yet transformed them into such positive and colorful artwork. That's very inspiring.

Oh, and I also learned that his name can also be pronounced "Van Gothf."

Kudos to Richard Curtis and Tony Curran for doing such a great job on making him feel so true to life and like a real person we could really relate to, and not just another name from some stuffy old history books. This episode is exactly what historical episodes should be.

1 comment:

greatplaidmoose said...

Well, I liked it better with subsequent viewings I must say although I still think its towards the bottom of my list for the series. I've really enjoyed this series and aside from a slight disappointment with "The Hungry Earth" I really haven't been unhappy with an episode.

I think your assessment is spot on and I think you might just have liked the subject matter a bit more than I.

I think as a whole though I've enjoyed this series more than anybody else amongst our group. Actually I'm not sure about Derek he seems pretty happy. But I know you and Steve have expressed disappointment with this series as a whole and have said its the weakest series since its return so far.

I think the writing as far as plots has been much stronger although I think we've lost a bit of an emotional connection with the characters.

I don't think Matt Smith is as good as Eccleston or Tennant. He's mastered the quirky aspects of the Doctor but I think he's struggling with the other aspects of the role a bit. He's sort of a mix between Davison and McCoy to me. He's got the vulnerability of Davison and the quirkiness of McCoy but like McCoy he has a difficult time turning off the quirkiness when its time to be a bit more heroic and take charge. It may be because he's young and a bit inexperienced compared to previous Doctors. I really do like him and I'll be happy as long as he stays but I just don't think he's going to rank among my favourite Doctors.

I also think Karen Gillan has mastered quirky but her performance is at times lacking something I can't quite put my finger on. I want to say its an emotional connection but that's not quite right as I do feel happy for her when she's happy and sad for her when she's sad. Maybe its just my personal bias with how her character treated the character of Rory whom I liked immediately.