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Series: Who’s Weeping Angels

When I was fifteen I saw Back to the Future for the first time and have been transfixed by time travel shenanigans ever since. Marty McFly’s paradoxical adventures weren’t my first introduction to the time travel sci-fi sub-genre, but they were the most influential. I have recollections of scratching out a complete linear timeline of the events of all three films and have often toyed with the idea of re-editing the dvds so that they play out in chronological order. Ironically it’s a lack of time which has prevented me from seeing that idea to fruition.

My affection for time travel stories also lead me to eventually read a brilliant novel by Gregory Benford — with the unfortunately lame title of ‘Timescape’ — Like with the Back to the Future trilogy I found the events of Timescape stuck in my head for ages and, to me, these two stories represent examples of a unique understanding of time and how to think outside of it: An idea that Gale and Zemeckis took it a step further by wrapping the plot of the second Back to the Future movie around the events of the first.

Time travel is one of those deep and meaningful subjects that even the least nerdy person has contemplated. Amongst the nerdy though, it can be a hot topic of debate, especially when you start throwing paradoxes and causality into the mix… And of course, no discussion about time bending adventures is complete until someone (probably one of those nerdy people I warned you about) steers the subject in the direction of Doctor Who.

Being one of those aforementioned nerdy people, I’ve really been enjoying the new series of Doctor Who. But until this latest episode I’d not been hit with that same spell that Gale, Zemeckis and Benford had managed to put over me.

Despite the using the vehicle of time travel as a plot device, Doctor Who tends, to the most part, stay clear of mucking about with time travel stories. While the Doctor and his latest companion, Martha Jones, have adventures in all manner of eras and on all manner of worlds, the stories tend not to crack the bonnet open and show us the inner workings of time space… it does happen from time to time, but never has it been done as brilliantly as it was in the latest episode, simply titled: Blink.

Not only did Blink contain one of the most enthralling views of time travel — as seen from an outsiders perspective — that I’ve seen in a long time, but it managed to fashion a couple of really strong characters in the space of a single episode. On top of that it added some really freakin’ creepy elements as well.

Blink is a strong episode. I don’t just mean for Doctor Who, but for ANY show. It bravely casts it’s usual stars in little more than a supporting role (which it’s done before, but never this well) and manages to take a story worthy of it’s own series and tell it in a single sitting.

This is a stand alone story too, so if you’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who, or even if you’re not particularly fond of the show, it’s worth checking out… if only so that the title of this post makes some kind of sense! [source]

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    From a fellow geeky fan who also… ahem…procured it, the second it was available online… i agree, inspired writing, white-knuckle creepy. Best ep yet.

  • Glad you enjoyed it Skewer Girl. The direction and cinematography of the episode are also worth noting, particularly some of the scenes shot in the abandoned house in the first half of the episode.

    Steven Moffat wrote a really strong script and Hettie MacDonald (the director) was able to use it to build full, well developed, characters — who you actually cared about — in a matter of a few short scenes and with just a few lines of dialogue, which is something that many directors can’t do across the course of a whole film (kudos to the actors too).

    My only complaint about the episode is that the strobe effect towards the end felt a little gratuitous and the angels overly posed (Come on, Vogue!) – But aside from that it’s probably one of my top 10 favourite episodes of Sci-Fi ever.

  • I really need to catch up on the new Doctor Who. I’m still living in the late eighties with episodes like The Curse of Fenric. Also looking forward to Torchwood. I never thought I’d say this but the exploits of a sexually ambiguous time agent from the 51st century is an intriguing premise for a television show.

  • Oh please! Who are you trying to kid!!! It’s all you ever talk about!

    If I hear you say “Sure LOST is ok, but it’ll only be really great when they start dealing with the exploits of a sexually ambiguous time agent from the 51st century!” one more time… well, I don’t know what I’ll do.

    Seriously though, I’ve avoided Torchwood (which is an anagram of ‘Doctor Who’, by the way) because I thought that it looked pretty lame – now that it’s about to hit free2air here in Australia I’ll give it a look though.

  • Guess what? Torchwood is lame.

    Basically, some nerdy Dr Who fanboy writers got together, shuddering in delight that they could finally write their stories with nude girls, swearing, nude girls, sex, girl-on-girl action (not that there’s anything wrong with that), nude girls…but in an effort to satisfy their urges, the stories often suffer.

    Look, i love Captain Jack (indeed, it was the promise of his 51stC style sexually ambiguous exploits that lured me to the show), and he is a fantastic support character, i just don’t think there’s enough there to base a lead role on…i just don’t think the character can support they weight of an entire show. It also takes a while to warm to the other characters…sadly, the co-lead female Gwen (Eve Myles) is a smidge weak too.

    Over the course of the season there were a smattering of very good eps (including a superbly handled love story between Jack and another airforce chappy (delighted fangirl shudder)), but too many weak ones left me feeling a little disinclined to follow it to second season.

    Mind you, some great sci-fi shows do take a season to really heat up…Battlestar Galactica is one i am glad i stuck out. Maybe Torchwood will continue to warm up (girl-on-girl action not withstanding).

    OK, back in my nerdy fangirl box now.