Doctor Who: Tooth and Claw

“You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have – arm yourselves!”

Doctor Who

Disclaimer: This is going to be a short post, because all I really want to do at the moment is curl up with some Earl Grey and The Haunter of the Dark (WHY DID NO-ONE TELL ME ABOUT LOVECRAFT BEFORE? WHY? YOU HAVE FAILED ME, INTERNET). So it might also be a bit vague and stream-of-consciousness-y. Sorry about that.

I’ve been saying, blithely, for years that the Tenth Doctor was better on his worse days than Eleven and Twelve are on their best, but now I’ve actually gone back and watched some new-to-me Ten episodes I find myself wondering if that’s actually true; or, rather, why that’s true. Because, actually, as far as I could tell, Tooth and Claw was every bit as cheesy and plot-holey as Stephen Moffat’s writing is.

Oh, right, this is where I do the Plot Synopsis. Well, the plot is actually a bit thin. The Doctor and Rose (yep, it’s still Rose-era) rock up in Scotland, 1879, where they handily meet, in the middle of nowhere…Queen Victoria.

Of course.

Given the fact that this isn’t actually any less likely than a madman in a blue box spinning through the universe, and the fact that the TARDIS tends to land the Doctor wherever he needs to be, I’ll give Russell T. Davies a pass on this one.

Anyway, Queenie is heading for Torchwood House (NOT A COINCIDENCE) for a sleepover, only it turns out that there is something weird going on there to do with orange kung-fu monks and the full moon and okay there’s a werewolf there who wants to eat the Queen so it can get control of the throne? Or something.

This being Doctor Who, a lot of unlikely stuff happens, including but not limited to dodgy science, snogging at inappropriate moments (PRIORITIES, PEOPLE), heroic but ultimately meaningless self-sacrifice, and a very cool scene in a library where everyone reads books frantically in the hope that they’ll magically stumble across the exact solution to their problem. And then they do. Oh, and made-up werewolf mythology.

Although Ten is, as always, wonderful, it has to be said that it was all a bit silly.

But – and this is not a fully-formed thought, so bear with me – I think what makes it different from Moffat’s writing is that Davies isn’t afraid for it to be silly. There’s a rather charming sort of thrown-together aesthetic about the whole thing, which might have more to do with the fact that it was made about ten years ago than with actual production design, but I think it brings it rather closer to the feel of classic Who than Eleven or Twelve, with their glossy, high-spec, made-for-American-audiences feel. There’s somehow more character to Ten’s performance; an awareness that this time-and-space lark is all a bit of a farce, and isn’t it fun just to go along with it because OMG, werewolves and Queen Victoria, right?

I think that’s all the analysis there is going to be tonight, because the Evil Monsters from the Dungeon Dimensions are calling (OK, that sounds kind of creepy) and I am tired. Stay tuned for more Who-related ramblings in the near future, though.

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