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Dickens!

Not much to say about the 3rd Doctor Who episode. It was good, better than I expected of a time-travel-into-the-past episode. It stayed interesting and non-cheesy throughout, and the use of Charles Dickens was much more subtle than I had any right to expect, given what I wrote last week. If it had been Star Trek, Dickens would have been inspired to write A Christmas Carol by something Spock or Data said, but here, he has his meeting with the strange people from another time so late in life that he will die before accomplishing much on the basis of his new insight. I think this exemplifies a major difference between English and American Science Fiction, and is a big part of why I like English SF better. It's also telling that Dickens is presented as being a bit over the hill and not sparkling with wit and genius all the time like Mark Twain in that Trek:TNG episode. When the writer appears, he's touring the recital circuit, making a decent living, but drinking too much as a reaction to his disillusionment with the daily grind.

Rose was much better this time. I'm still disappointed that contrary to assertions by the BBC before the series started, her role in the plot consists mostly of getting into trouble and screaming helplessly, but characterisation is developing a bit more. She really likes this Doctor, she prefers the company of the serving folk over the nobby characters, she's not easily phazed until the real trouble begins, that sort of thing.
The Doctor was himself only more so.

There's an überstory emerging relating to the Time Wars. I don't know enough about the franchise to be able to tell if the Time Wars had a major place in the canon. I'll proceed very carefully in the future lest I spoil something at the series level for the die-hard fan.

8 out of 10. Best so far, without anything jumping out at me. However, I don't think this one would have grabbed me if it had been broadcast first. It was solid, but maybe a little too solid to get under my skin.

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