Doctor Who The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008)

Minority Report

A reader suggested that I watch this. So I engaged with a few episodes, enough to find the most appealing ones to me.

The supposed attraction is the extended magical journey, sort of a cross between “Doctor Strange,” the best Marvel comic character and “Hitchhiker’s guide,” with a plucky, admiring redheaded sidekick.

I am commenting on this episode because the idea is clever. But the overall judgement is that TeeVee is short form, period. The constraints placed on the narrative are just too much in the way of allowing anything to have power. You get shifted into the narrative equivalent of posters on bus station kiosks. I see that they experimented with the girl, Rose. Initially she was a blond teenager, daft but gymnastic. This evolved into a sort of plain, redheaded Emma Peel.

What finally made me decide to chance this mess was the fact that the redhead here is about to become famous. She is playing Miranda in the forthcoming “The Tempest” staged by the amazing Julie Taymor and featuring Helen Mirren as Prospero. Wow! I say Wow!

Well, this episode.

You have a clever notion here:

The story about the battle between “good” and evil X-file cartoonish aliens, which provides the story continuity.

The idea of encountering known historical events and referencing them in the “retelling.”

Here, the exploitation of the mystery genre, including Agatha Christie and her genre as characters. There is a magical gem that allows the thoughts in Agatha’s mind to become the shape of the story in which Agatha and others find themselves. Folding, folks. In this, you have some of the things that would become standard: at least one major red herring (the jewel thief), one external agent with a missing history (the Indian servant), one internal agent (the minister) and a gathering at the end where everyone is collected and all is revealed.

This sort of writing is worthy of elevation to “Singing Detective” status. But it is just too junked up with TeeVee nonsense.

(The title, cleverly, comes from a famous “missing chapter“ in Lewis Carrolls’ Alice stories.)

Posted in 2010

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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