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Foyle's War:An Overview

"Foyle's War" is one of the few successful British shows that the Americans never even try to remake. Okay, maybe in some dark corner in a Hollywood studio there was a few writers who may have pitched the series to some network executive only to meet with yawns. Let's face it, there had been successful World War II series on US television, but all of them had to do with the war front. Homefront America was actually not the most exciting place. The only thing that we even got close to invasion was Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor.

Now let's go back to "Foyle's War". Wartme Britain was both the homefront and the war front. For several months in the years 1940 and 1941, German planes rain bombs on British towns and cities. Food was difficult to get, and crime was more subverted. It was a situation ripe for a fine detective series.

There are three main characters in "Foyle's War" and various recurring characters. Each character has a sketchy background. For one thing, we only get a glimpse of what the character was like before the war. Even the title character, Christopher Foyle gets hints throughout the series on what he was like in the past especially when he fought the First World War. The characters' past is not what's important in this series, but how the war is changing them and the society they live in.

Let us start with Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. Of all the characters except perhaps Andrew Foyle, DCS Foyle had a more rounded background. A widower who still is devoted to the memory of his late wife, Foyle is a man who still has a sense of honor. At a time when a country was mass murdering groups of people all because of racial purity, Foyle treats people the way they deserve to be treated. He shows compassion to a young gay pilot, treats African-American soldiers as human beings while their own compatriots treat them like worthless animals, but its his pro-Jewish stance that makes his character stand out, and it is something that is going to be explored when that subject comes up.

With that, Foyle is viewed as a rebel. Though his position in the police is nothing to scoff at, he is probably far more capable of heading the entire British police than the syncopants who occupy the highest office. Instead while the heads have their own agenda, Foyle's agenda is justice and the right course of action to achieve justice. In the complicated world, that became increasingly difficult for him to do.

Another interesting aspect of Foyle was the ability to move on. Unlike many in his generation, he seemed to be unaffected by the First World War or maybe was the fact he was able to move on from that experience. He wants to view the Second War as a fight between good and evil, and he doesn't really like it when his side shows a sinister streak. There was a mention in one of the episodes he visited Nazi Germany once, and he was probably horrified on what he saw. When his own countrymen showed Nazi inclinations, that is an automatic black mark on Mr. Foyle's book.

He has only one child, a son named Andrew who I would like to discuss later. He is still devoted to his wife's memory, but there was also some girlfriends in the past who come back to him (one physically and the other in a particularly haunting way).

There are two people who Foyle work closely with one is his driver and the other is his sergeant. They, too, also give the series a rich flavor.

Samantha Stewart is often the comic relief of the episodes. She comes from a family who seemed to make the Church of England their career goal. While Sam like to think she is escaping her daddy and uncles' occupation by living away in Hastings, it's not unusual to see her attending a service or wincing when someone mentioning they're getting married in the registry office. She also doesn't sleep around like some of the young girls in the show do probably because Foyle keeps a watchful eye on her. Besides even if he wasn't there, Sam probably could handle herself in any situation.

Sam's great talent seems to be driving and eating. She is a lousy mechanic and typist. While she mentions at being a bad cook, she does cook one dish very well. She had three boyfriends through the course of the series, and the third one seemed to be the charm. While there seemed to be fans who wanted Sam to end up with Foyle Senior, nothing in the series indicate they had more than father/daughter relationship. In fact, there were some hints in the first few seasons of "Foyle's War that the writers may fancy an idea about Sam ending up with another member of Team Foyle.

Detective Sergeant Paul Milner is the one character that people had to look closely to get an idea what he was like before the war. The first episode you get the first idea. For most of the series Milner is a loyal puppy dog to Foyle's bulldog drive for truth and justice until the last series and the fans despise him thinking him out of character, but lets go back and explore a little bit.

By what Edith Ashford said in "Bad Blood" and some hints, Milner was a bit of a mischievious little boy who probably got into scrapes in his overzealous love for anything police. He join the police at a young age and quickly went up to Detective Sergeant. He refused a job from Foyle before the war for reasons unknown.

Than the war came, and he lost his leg. Thinking that his life as he knew it was over, he is shocked when Foyle offered him a job to be his sergeant. When Milner proved he could help Foyle solve a difficult case, he took the job. While Foyle and Milner's working relationship got off to a very bad start in the next episode, on the whole the two men got on great to the point where Milner became almost extremely loyal to his boss. That is until the last series, but than Milner did redeem himself.

We will get into the personal lives of our beloved characters as we move on. So begins our journey to the world of "Foyle's War".
 


Aug. 10th, 2009

I am starting a series of reviews of favorite period dramas that I watch over the years. This entry I am going to review what I would call the "Gaskell Trilogy": "Cranford", "North and South", and "Wives and Daughters". These three BBC adaptations are based on the novels of Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell who lived during the early to mid Victorian period. Mrs. Gaskell was a friend and collegue of both Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte yet only recently has she been noticed due in large part of these three television miniseries. She actually wrote both the social novel and the domestic novel, and some Jane Austen fans call her the Victorian Jane Austen. In my opinion she's more of a cross between Dickens and Austen though her characters seem to be far more real than the Dickens' gallary of characters.

Cranford

Starring a gallery of Britain's greatest actors, this is actually a sweet, quiet old fashioned BBC drama put in the High Definition age. While the screenwriter put in some modern elements to the story, this is basically a true to life look at small town life in early Victorian England(in fact each episode gives you the month and year this episode takes place).

Mary Smith, a young woman in her early twenties, leaves her Manchester home to stay with her late mother's friends the spinster sisters the Jenkyns. Miss Deborah Jenkyns is the oldest sister, a very correct and stern woman who could have a surprising heart of gold at times. Miss Mattie Jenkyns is a very sweet though rather befuddled woman with a rather tragic romantic past.

Most of Cranford's residence are woman either spinster or widowed. When a young doctor comes to town, it raises eyebrows among the female population. The young doctor did eventually get himself in romantic entaglements when he falls for the Vicar's daughter, but two older women also have their eyes on him.

Another subplot involves Lady Ludlow and her clashes with her agent Mr. Carter. Lady Ludlow is a woman stuck in the eighteenth century who believes the lower classes should not read nor write. Mr. Carter is a liberal man who believes everyone should have a chance for an education. A young boy Harry Gregson comes under the notice of Mr. Carter. Harry's family live in horrible poverty, and they live by poaching. Mr. Carter takes the boy under his wings by making him a message boy and secretly teaching him to read. When Lady Ludlow discovers that Harry is learning to read, she seperates the teacher and student.

With its many characters and twisting plot, the idea that Cranford is a teatime show is a false one. With its gentle humor comes some rather dark undercurrent that keeps the drama interesting from its first episode to its last. For one thing many of the characters experience great sadness and tragedy. Miss Matty though a gentle soul would go through many trials. She loses both a sister and an old flame. She also comes very close to total financial ruin and only with the help of her friends does she find a new lease in life. She does however get a warm reunion with her long lost brother at the end of the miniseries.

Lady Ludlow is a tragic figure. Though she lives in a very fine house, she is also close to financial ruin. She had many children, but almost all but one died and the survivor is living in Italy "for his health" wasting his mother's money, and has no intention of coming back to his inheritance. She lives in the past and refuse to accept that times are changing. She has to mortgage her estate and sell some of her land to the railroad an action that disgust her to her very core.

The ladies Mrs. Jamieson, Mrs. Forrester, the Tomkinson sisters, and Miss Pole provide much comic relief to the show. None of them had major problems though their petty ones are source of great catastrophe in their own little world.

Romance comes in all direction. There is the sad late in life romance between Miss Matty and her old boyfriend Mr. Holbrook. There is Dr. Harrison and Sophy Hudson's innocent love. There is the beginning romance between Mary Smith and Dr. Marshland. The long delayed love between Jessie Brown and Major Gordan is very poignant. Of course the on and off again relationship between Jem and Martha provided some frustration for the viewer.

There are three major deaths in Cranford(one involving a child). All had major consequences for the character some positive some negative.

The cast of Cranford features the cream of the British acting crop. Judi Dench in particular is a wonder. As Mattie Jenkyns, the usually brittle Dench come across as the sweetest, warmest person who you want to be friends with. The others more than enough hold their own even the younger cast members. Eileen Atkins as Deborah is also a highlight showing some warmth in an otherwise cold character.  There is so many wonderful performances that it will take another day just to describe it.

Cranford is coming back as a two part Christmas special, and with David Tennant last outing as the Doctor BBC is going to have a record holiday season.

North and South (2004)

This is the most popular of the Gaskell adaptations, and its largely due to its leading man Richard Armitage. The darkest and the grittiest of the three, North and South is in fact an adaptation of one of Gaskell's social novels.

Margaret Hale grew up in London Society and the pleasant country parsonage of her father. When her cousin married, Margaret has every intention of living the rest of her life in her father's parsonage Helstone despite receiving a proposal of marriage from her cousin's brother-in-law.

Suddenly, her father announces he's leaving the Church of England and has taken a position as tutor in the North England town of Milton(based on Manchester). The Hale family used to clean country air or beautiful London houses found themselves in a rapidly growing town with most of society being Mill owners, and their workers. Margaret found herself going into one of the mills seeing the appalling work condition, and the owner beating up a worker for smoking.

The owner turns out to be John Thornton a tall, dark, and handsome gentleman. He becomes her father's favorite pupil, but Margaret takes a disliking for him. She becomes aquainted with a family of Mill workers the Higgins. Nicholas Higgins is a leader of the local union, and his daughter Betsy is also a worker.

Margaret becomes on the side of the workers especially during a strike which will have far reaching consequences for all the characters. She is both attracted and repelled by John Thornton even though he is perhaps the only Mill worker who tries to give his workers better conditions.

John Thornton tries his best to forget about Margaret, but he also cannot deny his attraction to her.

Margaret goes through many personal problems during the miniseries. Her long lost brother comes to visit the family and his leaving will cause Margaret to almost lose her reputation(Thornton saw her embracing her brother goodbye and immediately thought he was a lover). Both her parents died, but luck had it that Margaret becomes the ward and heiress to a wealthy friend of her father's.

Thornton, on the other, begins to lose his luck. He never recover financially from the strike. Slowly he has to shut down his mill, a place where he had built up ground up. It will take an unexpected business proposition from the now wealthy Margaret that will bring the two finally together.

"North and South" is perhaps the most popular of the Gaskell adaptations. It has a huge following, and its the favorite among costume drama fanatics. Surprisingly enough, its American premiere was not on "Masterpiece Theatre" but on BBC America.

Personally, its not one of my favorites. Without the chemistry between Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, I believe this would be more of a depressing Catherine Cookson clone production than anything else. There's very little humor and very little joy. This whole production heavily relies on its two stars which thankfully succeed brillantly. The ending is perhaps the most romantic endings in the history of BBC costume dramas(though the Ross and Demelza kiss on the beach at the end of Poldark I comes extremely close). That enough gives its current popularity. That and some similarities to the ever popular "Pride and Prejudice".

Wives and Daughters

The first of the recent Gaskell productions to be made but based on her final almost completed novel, "Wives and Daughters" is also a much loved miniseries. With the same screenwriter and producer as the legendary 1995 Pride and Prejudice, "Wives and Daughters" is also a treat to see in High Definition despite being made in 1999.

Taking place in the 1820s, Wives and Daughters is a tale of Molly Gibson and her coming of age. Molly is motherless at a young age, and her surgeon father tries to do what he can to raise her as a proper young woman. When one of his apprentices takes a fancy to Molly, Mr. Gibson decides to send her to Mrs. Hamley the wife of the local squire. Molly soon endears herself to the Hamley family. Their sons Osbourne and Roger are at Cambridge, and Molly though only seeing a picture of the boys,began prefering the oldest son Osbourne because both his parents expect great things of him being the heir to Hamley Hall.

Meanwhile Mr. Gibson falls for Hyacinth Kirkpatrick, a former governess to the local Aristocratic family the Cumnors. At Hamley Hall, Roger comes home with news that Osbourne did not do so well at school. Molly takes a somewhat dislike at Roger for ruining her image of Osbourne. She than gets the news that her father is going to marry Mrs. Kirkpatrick(Molly, as a child, met Mrs. Kirkpatrick who let Molly rest in her room but forgot about her when Molly's chaperones left). Upset by the news, she tells her feelings to a sympathetic Roger who than shows her his interest--science.

During Mr. Gibson's honeymoon, Molly finally meets Osbourne who is a very poetic man and attentive. She, however, is starting to have feelings for Roger though she becomes a good friend to Osbourne. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson return from their honeymoon, and Molly finds her rather selfish stepmother hard to bear though she is looking forward to the arrival of her stepsister Cynthia Kirkpatrick, a beautiful young lady about Molly's age.

Before Cynthia's arrival, Mrs. Hamley falls gravely ill due to the fact Osbourne not only disappointed his family with his poor marks but is mysteriously in debt. Only Roger knows the truth, but he is honor bound not to tell his parents.

Cynthia finally comes to the Gibson household, and she and Molly become very good friends. However, Mrs. Hamley dies and Osbourne is a disgrace to his father. We than find out that Osbourne is secretly married to a French servant girl(his father hates the French and wants his sons to marry girls of fortune). Roger is now a star at Cambridge and gets a fellowship. He than falls for the lovely Cynthia much to the dismay of Molly.

Roger gets a position as head of an expedition to Africa. He and Cynthia become engaged, but Cynthia begins to lose interest in him as soon as he step into the boat. Also the relationship between Cynthia and the rogish Mr. Preston is revealed, and Molly almost loses her reputation because of it.

"Wives and Daughters" is one of my favorite miniseries though one has to watch it many times in order to appreciate it.  For one thing even when Molly gets her man, their romance continues to be more subtle though do share a passionate exchange of words at the end. One does want to slap some of the characters once in awhile though not too hard.

Ironically this would mark the peak of Justine Wadell's(Molly) career as a rising star of the costume drama. Unless someone get list me anything she has done since than, I haven't seen her in anything new. On the other hand the other young actors in the production would go on to other successful things.

New Doctor

In my last entry, I did a review of the two Sally Lockhart series. Now lo and behold they cast an actor who had a significant role in the movies.

Matt Smith played Jim Taylor in both "Ruby in the Smoke" and "The Shadow in the North". Now to the fanatical Rose/Doctor shippers, those movies are only a must watch to see the eleventh Doctor and Rose together(even if its a brother/sister type relationship in those films). They tend to make a big deal out of an episode "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" that MS did with BP(which involve them having more than friendly relations).

Now since I am proud to say that I haven't seen that show(and no intention to), I will evaluate our brand new Doctor's performance in "Sally Lockhart Mysteries".

To be honest, I didn't give much thought on Jim. His looks are not my type. If I have to cast any actor in the Sally Lockhart series, it would be JJ Feild. I have seen him in both those and "Northanger Abbey", and I think he would make an excellent if a more traditional Doctor. On the plus side, Mr. Feild has a cult following(and it has been mention in the boards of Outpost Galifrey) with the ladies. I think if he would have been the Doctor, Steven Moffat wouldn't worry about losing David Tennant's army of female fans.

Okay, so when I heard the news that Matt Smith is going to be the next Doctor, I believe it was time to think about his performance as Jim. Now I haven't looked at Youtube in awhile, but the last time I look there wasn't many if at all Jim/Sally videos. For one thing those two didn't have a romance or anything near a romance. Their interaction though many, was one of mutual friendship. One has to have a great skill in editing to make them look like they only have eyes for each other.

If Billie Piper and Matt Smith had chemistry at all like the Rose/Doctor shippers think they do, it must have been in that one little episode of SDOACG because they didn't have it in the Sally Lockhart movies. Now its not to say that they didn't work well together. On the contrary, they were rather convincing as friends in "Ruby in the Smoke". "The Shadow in the North" unfortunately did not have Jim and Sally together very often. While Jim was a driving character in "RITS", he was very much a secondary character in "TSITN" which focus more on the relationship between Sally and Fred.

Now what I heard from online about Matt Smith's portrayal of Jim, some people wished that they would recast the character for "The Tin Princess". I have never read the books so I couldn't judge, but I heard people saying that both Jim and Fred were somewhat miscast. Than again the most criticisms was directed toward Billie Piper despite the fact she actually fits the description of Sally Lockhart(okay, she didn't have period correct hair in "Mansfield Park" and she probably should not have a dye job when she does a period piece, but she is far better in costume movies than Kiera "too emancipated" Knightley).

I have to say Matt Smith may perhaps convince me as the Doctor based on his performance as Jim, but I would have been happier if he was cast as a companion instead. Though Doctorish in areas, Jim struck me as more of a companion than the Doctor probably because it was more of a supporting role. Jim had the tendacy to go off on his own and get into situations that seem to happen to companions than to the Doctor. Fred, on the other hand, seemed much more the Doctor type. Fred was eccentric, dressed in more flamboyant clothing, and was more analytical than the impetuous Jim. Plus, Fred was the romantic lead while Jim was the juvenile role.

Time will tell, but I do look forward to the Matt Smith era.
Masterpiece Mystery recently repeated "Ruby in the Smoke", and just this Sunday premiered "The Shadow in the North". Both movies stars Billie Piper as the intrepid Victorian accountant Sally Lockheart.

"Ruby in the Smoke" introduces Sally Lockheart as a teenage girl living with a harsh aunt she barely knows. She discovers that her late father was involved in some sinister stuff and was murdered for it. She suddenly found herself hunted by an evil woman named Mrs. Holland. Along the way she befriends Jim Taylor and the bohemian Garland siblings Frederick and Rosa who help her on her quest to unravel the dark mystery.

"Shadow in the North" takes place a few years later. Sally is now grown up and has her own business. Her relationship with Fred has turned more complex because she wants them still be friends but he wants something more. They both found themselves investigating another sinister mystery involving an industialist making an ultimate weapon.

The mystery in "Ruby in the Smoke" is much more complex than "The Shadow in the North" probably because it is the main plot. Still "Ruby in the Smoke" is at its heart a teenage Scooby-doo version of Sherlock Holmes. Mrs. Holland may be evil, but she is surrounded by darkly humorous henchmen. At the end there is something we can sympathise with Mrs. Holland as she tries to get her ruby.

"The Shadow in the North" is more of a study of love and what people can do for love. There is actually several couple in this one. There's the scarred girl who is willing to betray her love so she can save the letters he wrote to her(though it turns out he is really a selfish prick who married another girl for money). The main villian as sinister as he is actually does admire Sally. Than we have Sally and Fred who are now one of my favorite BBC costume drama couple.

Many people complain about Billie Piper in a costume drama saying she has too modern face(whatever that means). Actually she is quite attractive in Victorian fashions, and at least they did her hair in period friendly way unlike "Mansfield Park".

Sally's character is a bit modern, but than she is not a conventional upper middle class Victorian girl. She doesn't have any accomplishments other than the fact she is real good at math. Though she isn't really artistic minded she nevertheless befriends the artistic Garlands who like her escape their more conventional parents(though you later meet their uncle who is just as freethinking as they are).

Sally's unconvetionality is a theme in both movies. While in Ruby in the Smoke she is on her way to live a drudgery life as a ladies companion because of her lack of piano playing, in Shadow in the North her very virtue is attack.

At the beginning of Shadow, Sally though a successful career woman is still a virgin but she does receive men alone though only for business reasons, and she has her big dog to protect her from any unsavory advances. Still in Victorian London that alone could damage a woman's reputation. She believes in marriage, but not for herself.

The Garlands turned out to be more conventional than they would admit. Rosa marries a clergyman while Fred despite his dandy clothes is all male.

In the end, Sally gives herself to Fred though tragically he dies in the fire afterwards. The movie ends with Sally carrying his baby though it fails to mention that the baby is going to face hardship as he or she is illigitimate.

The acting in these movies are marvelous. The villians are played with exact amount of creepiness and a hint of sympothy. Billie Piper is actually quite wonderful as Sally playing her from a teenage girl to a woman on the brink of motherhood.  She actually has chemistry with her leading man JJ Field.

PBS for some reason cut out the love scene between Sally and Frederick. I had to see it in the site that remains nameless. Okay usually I'm a prude, but this was an important scene that actually drove the story. They certainly did not cut the bodice ripping opening scene in the more recent Sense and Sensibility. That scene was actually very uncomfortable to watch because A. its Jane Austen. B. that Willoughby is too much of a slimeball on the outside unlike the the handsome Greg Wise in the 1995 version who can disguise his moral failings.

The love scene in The Shadow in the North is where Fred proposed to Sally making the next scene where he dies in the fire all more tragic. If Fred lived, the movie would end happily with him and Sally married with their baby legitimate. Instead it is a bittersweet ending with Sally alone and despite her happiness of having something that is Fred's she will have to face a society that is hostile towards unwed mothers and their children(even though she does have the support of Fred's uncle and Jim).

I do recommend the movies to anyone who likes Billie Piper, The Victorian era, and mysteries.

First of all I want to address some of the speculation that is going on in some quarters in "Time and Chip".  A couple of R/D shippers wrote in either their own journal or "Time and Chips" that Donna may be in fact the Doctor and Rose's daughter. The sad fact is that I think they might be on to something. 

One thing that struck me was Donna appearing at the TARDIS almost the exact moment after the Doctor was cut off from Rose, and why did she appear in the TARDIS? The explaination was that she was pulled into the TARDIS because of the Huon particles, but the Doctor really doesn't know exactly why. 

Why I am at it, seems to me that Donna is something special than all the companions. Rose is the Doctor plus one, but she never gets an eternal Ood song nor was she a Household goddess. Donna was both. She is part of the legend of the Doctor.

Outpost Galifrey boards are full of Donna is either the Rani or Romana. The thing is I don't believe it for a second. For one thing there is absolutely no proof that Donna is either of these Time Ladies. These are a bunch of fanboy wishes. 

What is more likely is that Donna is someway connected to Rose and the TARDIS and the Doctor. Yes there is the infamous "No Shagging in the TARDIS" line, but come on I bet they say it so to ease the snobby Rose haters mind that there was no hanky panky going on between the Doctor and that "chav". Of course, these are the same guys who said they weren't going to bring back the Master. I mean really after all this can we really trust Russell T. Davies or even David Tennant?

I am beginning to think the Unicorn and the Wasp wasn't just a silly episode to showcase Catherine Tate's comedic talents. I wonder if its a foreshadowing of what is to come. Instead of a forty year old man discovering his true identity as a son of a alien wasp and a young twenty year old girl, we have a forty year old woman discovering she is the daughter of a 900 year old alien and a young twenty year old girl. Hmmm.

Another thing was that I was a bit amused to see Rose a bit jealous of Martha. We all know that Rose is "made of awesome" no matter what, but it is interesting that she isn't a bit jealous of Donna traveling with the Doctor.

Okay now the most important thing: Who is going to rescue Sarah Jane? I can only tell you is that one of the persons is a man she knows, and the other is the Queen of the Mothers. That is what I believe that is going to happen. I will save any more thoughts until next week.

Right, the regeneration. I think Rose is going to have a shock. Its not going to be Colin Firth as the 11th Doctor. Okay he's not even on the list of potential Doctors. Its going to be David Tennant and David Tennant. The split Doctor rumor is too strong to ignore completely. 

Series 4 Finale Speculations "Spoilers"


The following story is only my speculation of what I want to happen at the end of Journey's End. I can't guarentee its going to happened. I don't own Doctor Who.




She looked out into the gleaming white sands of the all too familiar beach. The hated beach where her life collapse all those years ago no longer posed a threat to her. In her heart, she knew that her life will change for the better. After the most hellish week she was put through, and there had been plenty of those in her lifetime, it no longer matter. 

Her future was now sealed. She was no longer the cold Defender of the Earth. She was going to fulfill her purpose set by the Time Lords and feared by the Daleks ages ago. She was Bad Wolf the mother of a new Galifreyan/Human race. Her sons and daughters to be born in many passages of time are going to be the first generation of this race. 

Slowly the familiar sound rang deafening the sound of even the biggest wave. The lovely blue box appeared. The Doctor came out in his blue suit. The anticipation was over. Rose Tyler found herself being hugged and kissed even though her mother and Pete were close behind waiting for them to come back so they go home. 

The Doctor stopped for a minute. He looked back at the TARDIS as it disappeared once again to its own proper world. He knew that the other Doctor, the Doctor that grew from him would take care of the universe while he stayed in Pete's World to help it out. Still the TARDIS was home to him for many centuries, and now he will have a proper home with doors and carpets. Soon, there will be children and not just a few children but hundreds. Rose was practically rendered into being a Galifreyan since her joining with the TARDIS. She could pretty much have children with him for centuries. 

The Doctor smiled in that thought. He took Rose's hand, and they went back to their family.

That is how I want Series 4 to end. I got it from various sources. 

This Series I have to say it is the best so far. I know there are people whose only highlight of the season was the return of Martha(by the way it must stink being a big Martha fan. She gets some press, but Rose "truly Made of Awesome" Tyler overshadows her by far).  

Donna is utterly fantastic. She was what Martha was supposed to be: Only with the Doctor to see the Universe. Martha wanted to be with the Doctor to be with the Doctor. Traveling with him was just an added bonus.

Donna, on the other hand, wants to know more. She realized how little she knows the world around her, and she knows the Doctor could show her more. To her the Doctor was a pal who already has a love whom he lost. Donna is very understanding to that unlike Martha who made it her mission to be jealous of Rose though when she found out how the Doctor lost her she began her journey away from the Doctor.

I can't predict whats going to happen in the next three episodes, but I hope Donna would not get a terrible end like all the pundits are predicting(and no Rose is going to have a happy ending even if I have to travel across the ocean and beat it out of RTD).

My Review of VOTD(Spoilers)

 

Thanks to the Writer's Strike in Hollywood, Sci-Fi Channel actually needed Doctor Who to fill in its programming. So in consequence, we get to see Series 4 (or as we Yanks call it Season 4) a little early this year.  As always we get to see last year's Christmas Special first, but disappointedly I have to watch Partners in Crime next week.

Since I had to work Friday night, I didn't see VOTD until today. I have seen it in a site that needs not to mention, but it looks better on the HD TV. In fact, this was a full, lavish episode that makes the other Christmas episodes look rather cheap, but unfortuantely it was an underwelming episode that puts Christmas Invasion and Runaway Bride in terms of story and characters.

Here is the thoughts and comparison:

1. The story is rather depressing. Christmas Invasion was an excellent episode in the fact it dealt on Rose acceptance of the "New" Doctor, and the Doctor proving himself he is indeed the same man. It also ended in a high note with Rose taking the Doctor's hand and they are looking at the sky. Runaway Bride had a sober ending, but it was a great fun with the Doctor and Donna banter. In VOTD:
EVERYONE DIES!!! Even the leading lady!

Okay not everyone, but it was like watching the Poseiden Adventure in space.

2. The leading lady is dull. Kylie Minogue is not unknown to us Americans. She had some hits here in the Colonies and does get some press coverage. As an actress though, she is no Billie Piper. She is not terrible, but her chemistry with David Tennant seemed forced unlike the fun yet beautiful repore that Billie Piper had with David Tennant or the witty banter between DT and Catherine Tate. I do have to say that I like the character Astrid better than Martha. A tad bit more likable.

3. The characters are uneven. They are really stock characters. I do like Mr. Copper, Midshipman Frame, and the married couple, but the others not as well. On a note, Bernard Cribbens Wilf is definitely a great character, and I will enjoy every moment when he comes back.

There is so many things I would like to talk about, but a lot of the stuff has been covered already. It is not the worst episode, but it certainly is not the best.

 

Series 4 Casting News (Spoilers!)

The Mother of mothers is back in Doctor Who. Jaqueline Andrea Suzette Tyler will once again grace the television screen as the only person who makes the Doctor's converse quake at the mere presence of her greatness. Okay he did come to begrungingly like her, but she is more of a mother-in-law in the eyes of the Doctor than a good friend.

Now Jackie is not the only one making her comeback. Mickey also is going to pay us a visit, and there is sources that says Pete is too. The Tyler family is back! Well we never really warm up to Martha's family(heck even Martha fans don't like her family).

There is also a character known as "Little Red Riding Hood". Of course, there is speculation about who this is. Some said is the code name for Dravos the villian who is persistantly rumored as the main villian.

Of course, some people have caught on the connection to Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. Is Little Red Riding Hood the sister of Bad Wolf(Rose) or is she the offspring of Bad Wolf and the Oncoming Storm?

 We all know that Series 4 is bound to be the best of the lot. With Donna, Martha, and Rose coming back, the poor Doctor doesn't know what to do. This year, there is a lot of hush, hush about this season. With Jack and Sarah Jane rumored to be in the mix, its going to be epic.

I am a faithful lurker and poster in Outpost Galifrey. There has been very little news coming out about Series 4. The most interesting news is about Georgia Moffatt. Apprently my suspicions proved to be somewhat correct.

In a previous entry, I thought that Georgia was going to be the Doctor's Daughter(after all technically she is the Doctor's daughter. 5th Doctor that is).  Now it is reported that she is a clone or grown from the Doctor's DNA. That could be true, but I am a bit suspicious. The stealing of the Doctor's DNA has been done once before with the Master using it to age the Doctor. Besides usually when there is cloning, it is an exact copy of the person being clone. Since Georgia looks nothing like David Tennant and is of a different gender, I really don't think this daughter is a science experiment. 

I am in the camp that Georgia's character is the daughter of the Doctor and Rose from the future (yes, there are some in OG that is starting to believe this).  Her episode is before Rose's return, and it could be that this daughter somehow knows how to travel through time and universes to tell her father that something big is going to happen. If the little news we have so far about the finale is any indication, its going to be a doozy.

Now, Martha is on Torchwood. I will not see this episode for another week or two, but as a spoiler hog I wanted to see if Martha's appearance will give any clues to what Series 4 is going to be. Apprently there is an interesting little item. Martha has a great immune system thanks to being in the TARDIS for long periods of time. I don't think she is immortal, but it might cause her to age less. Jack, of course is immortal. What about Rose?

Well, as we all know that the lovely Miss Tyler took the whole Time Vortex. Could it be that Rose's DNA is such that she is able to carry a Time Lord's child? It wouldn't surprise me that the reason she is going back to her family is because she needs to protect herself from the Doctor's enemies and also their child's life. The Master if he ever comes back(believe me he probably will sooner or later), would love to get hold of Rose to start his own empire of the Time Lords, and so would evil scientists. 

Rose leaves the Doctor once again, but not as the broken girl. She will be a woman with the purpose of protecting the future of the new Galifreyan race. 

It might not happen this way, but that is how I would love it to end.

Doctor Who actors in other roles

Yesterday I have watched Mansfield Park that was recorded from Masterpiece. It was a good production though at 90 minutes it was far too short and only the basics of the novel were covered (what is with ITV anyway? They used to make some very good dramas that rivaled the BBC, but now they all look cheap while the BBC is actually better looking than American television). Luckily, the acting is top notch despite the shortcomings, and yes I was impressed by Billie's performance.

No, Billie's Fanny Price was not exactly like the book, but than Fanny isn't exactly the favorite of Austen's heroines. It is still terrible that some Jane Austen fans did not like Billie's performance because she played her as a robust girl(oh yes her hair isn't exactly period either but at least it was clean). Still Billie captured Fanny's sweetness, and one can see why Henry Crawford might be interested in her. I also felt for her when Edmund falls for Mary Crawford, and she always looked like she would burst into tears. 

It was refreshing to see Billie in something other than Rose. 

It led me to think about other Doctor Who actors and their other roles.

Lets start with David Tennant.

I have to admit I have not seen Casanova nor Blackpool two of the roles that made DT a star in Britain(sorry but DT is largely unknown in the States except for Doctor Who). Those two series are not widely available in the States, but a Masterpiece Theatre production he did about the same time as Blackpool is.

"He Knew He was Right" is actually a rather depressing story about the breakup of a marriage. The only thing that made it very watchable is the many subplots around it. One of the character who make up the subplots is Mr. Gibson. Mr. Gibson is not really connected to the main story, but his story provides much of the comic relief it needed.

Mr. Gibson is of course a vicar who cares more about making a good impression on society than his duties as pastor. He wants to marry the niece of the wealthiest woman in the villiage, but the niece won't have him and the aunt realizes his shortcomings. He than finds himself at the mercy of the French sisters. Both girls are plain, and the only thing that goes for them is their blonde hair. Mr. Gibson is basically forced to marry one of them though he chose the wrong one Arabella. Arabella is a bit of a psycho, and Mr. Gibson realizes that her sister Camilla is the lesser of the two evils. After much ado, Mr. Gibson is at least somewhat happily married to Camilla.

Mr. Gibson was of course played by DT. If the Doctor is cute nerdy, than Mr. Gibson is Victorian nerdy. DT played Mr. Gibson as a rather unattractive oily person. His hair is longer and slicked back. It is period correct, but it isn't attractive especially on DT.

Yet, DT was probably the best of the three young male leads. The main character was a rather unsympathetic nutso who put a lie above the truthfulness of his wife and died needlessly. His two friends were good men, but they are rather bland romantic characters. Mr. Gibson could have been a rather silly vicar instead Tennant managed to put complexities in the character where a lesser actor would never do. Gibson becomes a man trapped in what society expects him to be. 

As a vicar, Gibson is expected to marry. He wanted to marry into wealth, but he was basically tricked into getting engaged to Arabella who showed herself a bit crazy (okay threatening to kill him and her sister with a butcher knife is a bit extreme). Though he was able to escape a horrid marriage and his fate was better than the two main characters, Gibson could only hope to be somewhat happy with his life.

The only other thing I saw DT in was an episode of Foyle's War with his future ex-girlfriend Sophia Myles. Unlike the Doctor and Reinette, their two characters never meet. Myles actually had a large role as a daughter of a corrupt judge. DT had a small role as a pacifist whose friend committed suicide after being imprisoned by the corrupt judge.  DT's character was a committed pacifist until he tries to murder the judge. He ends up joining the army realizing that he would be a hypocrite if he said he was conscientious objector when he knows he's capable of murder. Myles' character has to live with the fact that her parents are cold blooded killers (Ah the wonderful complex world of Foyle's War).

Of the other main actors, I have never seen Freema in anything else (though I heard she was awful in that one British soap opera she was in).  I tried to watch "Elizabeth" with CE but never watched it all the way through. I saw Catherine Tate in "Bleak House"(which featured many Who and Torchwood actors). 

If you have any suggestions of what I should see to get more of the range of the Who actors, please feel free.