An Update on Doctor Who

Despite my initial impressions and expectations of Doctor Who, I really enjoy the show after watching the episodes that we were assigned. This show is very unique in that it can pretty much make an episode about anything one could possibly imagine. Anything is possible because the Doctor can travel anywhere in space and anywhere in time, which makes any situation possible. This is what makes the show very interesting and intriguing.

One of my favorite episodes is “Gridlock.” The whole plot line is very different and is something very “out there”. It is amazing that someone thought up something like being in a line of millions of cars where you only travel 10 miles in 6 years. Of course, it is not anything that would happen today, but it was interesting learning about that alternate world and how and why the motor way came to be. It was also interesting because it could be possible in the far future. Although the circumstances were very extreme, the idea of pollution and over population were very eminent in this episode. Whenever one is out in the motor way, they were exposed to a poisonous amount of pollution, which sounds very similar to the pollution issues of our world today. In addition, the idea of there being so many people that traffic is backed up for years is like the population issue of today. The world’s population has been growing over time and someday the earth might not be big enough to hold us anymore. Although this episode is science fiction, it was fascinating because it could become reality in our future.

Not only did I enjoy “Gridlock,” but I also enjoyed “Blink.” I love time travel movies and shows, and trying to understand time, so this episode was fun for me to watch. I thought it was crazy that the woman was sent back to the past and was forced to spend the rest of her life living in a different decade. I loved all the different time jumps and changes that were made to time, like when the main character runs into the Doctor before he meets her. It is complex to understand but very thought-provoking. Also, the idea of the angels was clever. The way they functioned was cool. It made it intense when the characters were trying not to look away from them. It reminded me of a horror movie and it kept me hooked.

The more Doctor Who I watch, the more I like the show and I always look forward to watching more episodes. I especially enjoyed the episode where they travel through time and hope there are more episodes like these to come.

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Gridlock review

With a more critical mind, I watched the third episode “Gridlock” of season 3, Doctor Who for the second time, this pass weekend. Although enjoying it the first time around, rewatching it made me question the basics set ups of this tv series.

As expected, the episode started with a messed up world in need of the Doctor’s saving. Except this time, Russell T. Davies takes on the challenge to combine the following elements: “a women giving birth to a basket of kittens”, “mood(drug) merchant with no moral baseline”, “an environment so polluted yet the people are too keen on carpooling that it involves kidnapping strangers”, and lastly, “a decade long traffic jam”. Looking at this set up logically, there is no logic whatsoever. The entire episode plays out in an absurd way, with the Doctor jumping from carriage to carriage in deadly fumes, Martha driving through giant killer crabs, and the Face of Boe explain his ingenious plan at the end to clean up the mess and end the 45 minutes madness.

The amount of obvious flaws and plot holes made me think maybe that was the intent of the show runner. No human would ever wait for decade long traffic, a police that never reply, and a monster underground without question the reality. We would never be fooled by such ridiculous set up. But the very fact that human did accept all of the above as a society norm should rings us like an alarm. With the right setting and context, we can accept something as bleak as a never ending traffic jam.

Maybe the story Russell T Davies laid out for us in this episode were supposed to be understood on the metaphorical grounds. We as human are so adaptive to abnormality, we can always find strength in other people who’s also sharing the same harsh condition, build community, and establish an illusion of comfort zone in order to maintain our sanity. When in reality, we are all stuck in our separate tin pod, on a long road of poisonous fume, waiting for the future that might never be here.

When we live in a society where poverty, hunger, war, inequality and so many others are accepted as inevitable parts of our society. When our leaders find reasons to justify racism, sexism, inequality. When we have normalized these madness, who are we to question the eternal traffic jam?

Are We Gridlocked Today?

 

The premise of season three, episode three of New Who was particularly interesting to me since it was based in a dystopian future on a planet called New Earth. Apparently, five billion years in the future humanity has not only survived but has moved to a planet many light years away.

Early in the episode we see the underground world that most of the people on New Earth live in. It’s like the “slums” of a bigger city and we find out there is a superhighway that people drive on for years at a time (some for their whole lives). As us viewers watching this episode here on “current” Earth, we see this New Earth scenario as ridiculous and far beyond anything conceivable in our lives today. However, are some of our lives really that different from the citizens of New Earth?

Most scenarios presented in Doctor Who should be taken for something more than their surface value. Even though it seems preposterous that anyone would drive for years on end, wasting their life, how many of us are guilty of simply going through the motions everyday and not truly seizing everyday as an opportunity for something new and exciting. Much like the people driving on the superhighway, it is all too easy to get comfortable in living the same way we have been for so long.

I think anyone can find himself or herself living this kind of life, but we, here on Current Earth, are at a disadvantage compared to the people of New Earth. We cannot wait for the arrival of the Doctor (or some other outside source) to enlighten our lives. We should all learn from the people of New Earth and break free of our own superhighways we might be stuck on.