Speaking of my highly-backed-up queue, however, we're in New Who land at the moment, where we haven't been since September 21st. I was irrationally nervous about finally breaking the seal on what's been shelved so long. I may or may not have stayed up until 4 in the morning putting off watching the first episode until I finally shut down the one computer, stretched out next to my extremely warm dog log (as I like to call her when she lies down with her back to me) on the bed, fired up the other computer, and snapped on the great big headphones.
(my non-network-TV viewing is An Experience. Some people go to midnight movie premieres; I create nigh-ceremonial set-staging in my own bedroom)
And lo, it was good.
4x01, "Partners in Crime"
Awwww, the little adipose babies are ADORABLE! Lookit their little pudgy marshmallow tummies, and giggles, and shy smiles! No wonder there are plushies of them. I figured an alien that cute on Doctor Who probably grew twelve feet tall and sported fangs, fire-breathing abilities, and/or a giant stinger with a grudge against humanity when threatened, to make it properly frightening. But no! The worst they do is accidentally kill people in emergencies. And if there are none, then they really are a magical way to lose weight! This is the best symbiotic relationship ever. "Side effects include being split up into nothingness" is a risk I am totally willing to take.
Although I could have done without watching them struggle to get out of the bodies in the first place, complete with gurgling sounds.
D'you like how my first thought was for the adipose babies, rather than Donna?
So: I adored Donna in "The Runaway Bride." I am pretty sure I still adore Donna, yet somehow not with the same feverish enthusiasm I had before? *ducks for cover* I still like her! Very much, and more than Martha, just...disappointingly without the same wild enthusiasm as everyone else, which I was sure I would experience. I fully expect that there is room for my adoration to grow, because they do have hilarious banter, but I think maybe I got worn down by the "whoops, you missed me!" segment that went on way longer than it needed to, and crossed the line from "amusing" to "annoying" well before it was over. Same for the pantomimed conversation itself, actually.
Plus, I found myself cringing in horrified embarrassment far more often that I should have to do for Doctor Who, namely Donna's sudden willingness to throw herself into TARDIS life, oblivious to his obvious reticence. The masses of bags were a bit much, for example. Way too much entitlement in there. Oh, I've got it! That sense of entitlement bothers me because...she's too ordinary.
Not ordinary like shopgirl Rose, who was extraordinary by virtue of her sheer youth and adorableness, but ordinary in that she seems so tragically like someone I am or would be: drifting, single in her 30's, unemployed after being employed in generic office jobs, and waiting to leap at the chance that any average fangirl would. You know, when he set his sights on Martha in spite of himself, I saw it through his eyes and thus understood why she'd be a good companion, even if I wasn't that fond of her. There's something about Donna choosing the Doctor that renders the partnership embarrassingly close to home, and harder for me to accept as a result.
But enough about that! It's not a bad (re)introduction, really, and I was thinking while watching it that this would be a good episode to introduce someone to the show with. It has all the trappings and fun of the Doctor's adventures, without the emotional baggage of season three or the deceptively sweet, soon-to-break-your-heart quality of Rose. If I wasn't hell bent on turning every episode viewing into the equivalent of a day trip*, I would have jumped straight into the next episode or two without delay, so much fun was I having.
* = seriously, in addition to my writings, for me, a full "episode experience" consists of reading the old review from at least two LJ friends, Googling for a few more random ones if that's not enough, Spy's recap, hippiebanana132's Story of the Week, and going through all the macros from ihasatardis that I've been forced to stay away from since April. Shut up, I'm savoring what little Tennant Time I have left.
...OK, two more complaints and then I'll switch to good things:
1) So apparently Donna's mum gives Martha's a run for her money in terms of unpleasantness. Lucky thing DW doesn't focus too much on family...oh, crap.
2) The extent to which I can't stand her grandfather surprises me. I mean, I tend not to be enthused by grandfather-type figures, but the eccentricness that I'm sure endears many people to him has exactly the opposite effect on me. It's weird, and I don't like weird.
The only reason I sat through their first conversation, really, was because I'm very fond of "After the Chase" and I liked listening to it permeate the scene.
-Donna's ability to go from happy partner-in-crime to "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" will never cease to amuse me
-"You're not mating with me, sunshine!" Also fantastic. Although, Doctor, if a friend is really your #1 priority, and you insist on humans, you might try traveling with a guy. A guy less flamboyant than Jack, I mean. Or at least stop picking up beautiful young girls. Donna's a step in the right direction on that count, at least. Not that she's not lovely, but she's also a good deal more grown up, and that's what I've been so looking forward to after Martha - someone who could match him step for step, as well as lend support, without any particular undercurrent. As I said in a comment reply, like Catherine and Grissom.
-I like that while the emotional side didn't weigh it down, it was still THERE. The heart-twingy moment when he starts babbling and then cuts himself off, looking around the empty TARDIS. The first mention of Martha ("ruined her life" - well, that's not entirely true; still with the self-blaming, then?), and Rose "still lost" (briskly answered, but still gutting), and the second mention of Martha, "that was all my fault..."
-Donna's mention that Martha must have had a positive effect on him. Because oh, she did. When she wasn't whining about how in love with him she was.
-"She fancied me, you know." *snert*
-Happy hug time! I like Doctor/Donna hugs. I like them more when the Doctor's enthusiasm isn't cut short by Donna's stopping short and remember car keys at the most inopportune moment, but surely there will be time to get it right. (I hate when things are awkward like that, the way they might be in real life. Rose managed to hug in the middle of a darn werewolf attack, and it still didn't feel awkward or out of place at all.)
-I did like her waving goodbye from the TARDIS door, though. For some reason.
-YAY ROSE! Ever since the promo photo of her toting a Big Damn Gun, ppart of me has sort of been dreading her return, because I never really liked it when Rose was a Big Damn Hero on her own. But even though I'd already seen this shot several times over in macro form - OK, I maaaay have clicked on all the "minor spoiler" links for this episode before I banned myself - somehow seeing in video form bowled me over with memories of how sweet Rose was. The terribly sad, solemn look on her face didn't help matters much. (The accompanying story did, though!
CONCLUSION: Doctor Who always does an excellent job with its premieres, and this was no exception. Although the music could stand to be vastly improved. Still not in favor of theme song remix, and you already know I hate the plucky, investigative sound of "Donna's Theme," so...