Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Top Three Doctor Who Stories: Blink

Clearly March is the month of telly birthdays. The other week I celebrated the eighteenth birthday of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and now, on 26th March, 21st century Doctor Who reaches double figures. To celebrate - with this, my 100th Doctor Who post on this blog - I'm looking back at one of my favourite stories of the modern Who era. But first, I have a confession to make.
In Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary year, I wrote a post entitled 'My Top Three Doctor Who Stories: The Doctor's Wife' and then promised to write the next two soon after. Well, finally, I'm making good on that promise and am finally giving you Part Two of my top three Doctor Who episodes. Expect Part Three in the summer of 2017...

'People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more of a big ball of  wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff.'

What more can be said about 'Blink' that hasn't been said before? Casual viewers and hardcore fans alike seem to hail this one above all other Whos. Myself, although I don't think its quality is quite as above the rest of the show as some do (every episode of Doctor Who is brilliant in its own way), it is one of my all-time favourites. But just why is 'Blink' so popular?

The big reason why I think it stands as such an impressive piece of work - even after multiple, multiple viewings - is because of how everything feels necessary and perfectly pitched. Usually when you endlessly rewatch old favourites, you start to notice things that could be done better or bits that don't make sense. 'Blink', however, manages to withstand such weary eyes and survive intact. One thing, even if it is not a fault, that does leap out now though is all the intrigue surrounding DVD easter eggs. It might have occurred to some already but you can imagine watching this in a few years time and thinking 'aw bless, I remember 'easter eggs.'' Hopefully, due to the precision of everything else this won't date the episode too much. 

Understandably, as they are perhaps the TV series' scariest monster (though for my personal creepiest creature in Who I point you to Steven Moffat's Floofs from his short story 'The Corner of the Eye') the Weeping Angels are generally the most praised aspect of the story. For me, however, Carey Mulligan's Sally Sparrow is just as integral to its success - as in her capable hands we remarkably never miss the Doctor, who is reduced to a fleeting guiding presence here. Without any offence to Amy and Clara, it is a shame neither of Moffat's companions share the maturity and strong-headedness of Sally.

After their breakout success, it was a no-brainer that the aforementioned Angels would return (and, for what it's worth, I really like their next two appearances, though popular opinion says they are far inferior) but I wish other elements of this episode had been repeated as well. Because of how well it works here, 'Blink' makes me wish there were more of these Doctor/companion-less adventures. Not only do they free up the main actors' schedules they also make the Whoniverse feel more expansive and it reminds you that the Doctor can't solve all of the alien shenanigans going on in the universe. Personally, I'd love one of these self-contained mini-movies every year!

Like, say, 'Genesis of the Daleks' before it, 'Blink' has proven itself to be one of Doctor Who's most fiercely acclaimed stories. Thanks to the Weeping Angels, Steven Moffat's tightest script and a glittering lead, 'Blink' certainly isn't a disposable episode that disappears when you stop watching it - rather it's a veritable stone-cold classic. The perfect reminder for fans, or the perfect convincer for a newcomer, of why modern Doctor Who is so blinking brilliant.*

Stone circle - The Angels are trapped staring at each other at the end of Blink. But I've always wondered what will happen when the light bulb goes off?

Fancy a Doctor Who marathon on this special day but don't know which ones to watch? Then read my list of the 30 Greatest Doctor Who Episodes of the Revived Series over on Whatculture!

*Even I think I might have overstepped my pun quota in that last paragraph.

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