Vintage Sci-Fi

· culture ·

I haven't had so much fun watching a Sci-Fi series since the days of Farscape. And I don't remember the last time when there was actually anything worth watching on the TV on a Saturday night. But Saturday night has become Doctor Who Night chez bsag. In fact, we even try to watch it live if at all possible. That would explain why — when dashing from a hasty shower and hurtling down the stairs on hearing the 'diddle-dee-dee' theme music^1^ — I managed to pull a muscle. The trouble with rampant nostalgia for a childhood TV series is that you aren't young and fit enough to hurtle downstairs to watch it without doing yourself a mischief.

Last night's episode featured a Victorian Cardiff (it was supposed to be Naples, but the Tardis went a bit wrong), and Charles Dickens (played by Simon Callow — hooray!), along with some zombies reanimated by gas creatures. Again, there was some wonderful, playful dialogue. The Doctor asked an undertaker if there was a location in his establishment that was particularly prone to 'ghosts':

Undertaker: That would be the morgue.

Rose: Is there any chance that you were going to say 'the gazebo'?

The Doctor acts like a total fanboy when he finds out that he's sitting next to Charles Dickens:

[Very excited] Go on, do the Death of Little Nell. That always cracks me up!

I love it. They play with every stereotype of Sci-Fi, including 'Shaun of the Dead' style slow zombie walking and giant rotating blades blocking access to a vital switch straight out of 'Galaxy Quest', but they tread the line between drama and pastiche perfectly. Like Dickens' writing, they also switch effortlessly between humour, horror, drama and sentiment, often in the same scene. I have a sneaking suspicion that Russell T. Davies is a bit of a Dickens fan. The very deep and deeply ambiguous relationship between Rose and The Doctor is also developing nicely. Now, if we can only persuade Christopher Eccleston to change his mind and do another series...

^1^I heard Mr. Bsag doing the 'diddle-dee-dee, diddle-dee-dee, wooo-eee-oooo' bit in the garage later on, while he was rummaging in the freezer. We are seriously addicted.