Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tom Baker: The Villains

"I loved the baddies. And I used to try and see their point of view. You know the way to play a baddie, it seems to me .... They weren't playing baddies. They were just playing characters that were misunderstood and I was getting in the way. That's the way to play it."
 
-Tom Baker, Doctor Who Stories, Terror Of The Zygons DVD Extras-



Well, speaking of baddies, I thoroughly enjoyed the baddie from the introductory episode, Deep Breath, of what is sure to be an interesting run for the Peter Capaldi years.

Peter Ferdinando played the Half-Face Man and was exceptional. He also was the lead for a film called Tony (2009), about a serial killer in London. I may need to check that out. Believe it or not Matt Johnson, of The The acclaim, provided the score. Actually Tony is a film by Gerard Johnson, Matt Johnson's brother. Scoring and soundtrack work is fine but I truly miss the music of The The and Matt Johnson complete with his gritty vocals. Soul Mining (1983), Infected (1986), Mind Bomb (1989) and Dusk (1993) are four fantastic recordings by The The. Those are essential. But I digress.





Ferdinando is terrific in his role and the character actually speaks to a good degree to the kind of thing Tom Baker waxes poetic about. Ferdinando will also appear in a film called High Rise (2014), directed by Ben Wheatley, alongside Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Tom Hiddleston. Wheatley directed this first episode, Deep Breath, of Series 8 starring Capaldi with Jenna Coleman.

First, Jenna Coleman continues to really impress as the Doctor's companion. She's a natural and clearly a gifted young actress.

Now I had high hopes for Capaldi and for whatever reason, essentially his look, I have him on this great pedestal. I have little evidence to suggest he would be a great Doctor apart from a small, but strong part in World War Z (2013). Though it was discovered later that Capaldi was cast in one of my very favorite films for a long time, Local Hero (1983), by Scottish director Bill Forsyth. It's a wonderful film and a very young Capaldi is in it.



So taking a deep breath, what were my initial impressions? They may not have been entirely what I expected, but he is a peculiar fellow and there was ample evidence enough to prove that Capaldi was not only a gifted actor but perhaps born to play the role of the Doctor like so many others. Toward the end there is this terrific shot of his eyes looking into the camera and there is this sense of mad genius about the man.

So despite having missed an abundance of episodes I decided to skip ahead and check Deep Breath out for myself. It didn't disappoint. And despite not necessarily knowing everything about the seeds of continuity in play I figured if the Doctor can jump forward in time so can I.

Doctor Who: Into Darkness.




There was a lot in play and there was definitely a good degree of depth worked into this fairly ambitious debut, a debut that seemed to grow more interesting as it headed towards its denouement.

The future of Doctor Who clearly bodes well in the hands of Capaldi and Coleman. Their chemistry was almost immediate and I suspect it will only grow more and more intriguing, unexpected and thrilling as the series progresses.

But speaking of baddies, as much as I like the Daleks as much as the next guy, does anyone else find it a slight bit tiresome that they are always rolling these plunger machines out each and every year? Does that always have to happen? In order for someone to enjoy a baddie, you have to miss them a little. This is why Christopher Eccleston's Dalek was so fantastic to use Eccleston's Doctor's word. We hadn't seen a Dalek in years in Doctor Who and Robert Shearman penned a great story. I for one wouldn't mind at all seeing the Daleks and the Cybermen mothballed for a time. And I don't want to sound pessimistic by suggesting I'm not the target audience, because I do think there is an appeal to Doctor Who that spans the ages, but yes I could take a break from the DAHHHLEKS!



Needless to say, the Steven Moffat-penned Deep Breath had a nice bit of complexity to it, an expertly handled ensemble cast of talent with a direct tie to Moffat's own Series 2, Episode 4, The Girl In The Fireplace.

So fans of Doctor Who should certainly be encouraged by the new developments and some of the new changes which surely keep things fresh and exciting in the world of the longest running science fiction series on the planet.

And speaking of those nasty Daleks, this was a truly knee-slapping story shared by the diabolical Tom Baker regarding the children coming upon one of the supreme baddies in Davros. Watch it and see if he doesn't bring it all back to life using your imagination. It just cracks me up seeing him tell this story about the children. I truly appreciate his humor.

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