This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Daleks In New York

The name of the episode is actually "Daleks In Manhattan" and I've learned that everything one wishes for shouldn't always be given.

So I wanted the Doctor to have a black companion. He got her. I wanted to see how they'd treat a story with taking the black companion into America's past. They did it. And I am not happy.

I did greatly enjoy the acting, though. I don't know how many American actors they got for the roles, but if any of the native New Yorkers were British actors (with the exception of a few construction workers who's accents I could detect below the NY brogue) I say bravo!! Particularly the lead blonde flapper. Good stuff if she was British!

But here's the thing. The Doctor and Martha land in 1930's Manhattan. On Liberty Island. Martha's dressed in jeans and a very nice, tight leather jacket.

Well, not shown is how they get off the island and go to Manhattan, but they do, and they end up in Central Park where they find a shantytown called "Hooverville" because it's The Depression and people (men exclusively, it seemed) are living like hobos (Cool! Doctor Who taught me something new!) And they come upon a black guy and a white guy fighting. The white guy stole the black guy's bread. And this middle-aged black guy gets between them, breaks up the fight, forces the white guy to confess, give up the stolen loaf, then breaks it and gives a half to both the men because along with the confession, the white guy admits that he's starving. Turns out the mid-aged black guy is named "Solomon" and he's the defacto leader of Hooverville.


Now, normally, I'd go to a webplace and rant about this--one tailored to Doctor Who fanship. Preferably one with British contributors. and I did find one, called the Geek Syndicate. and it's a brilliant place because the two podcasters are both black! But they have white visitors to their forums who, when I started my "Yay she's black!!" rah-rah's on their messageboard, I was promptly told from the Mighty White Guy that it wasn't what he watched Doctor Who for and he hoped they didn't make the show a platform for racial equality. I bent to his will because I was merely a visitor anyway, and he had a point. It was "Doctor Who", not "Like It Is".

But at this moment, I can't ignore it, and I will go to see if anyone there has already brought it up so I can chime in.

Because when is a black and white guy going to fight over bread in 1930's America and the black guy win??

Here is what I can extend to the show's writers and producers; they want to show us humanity's best sides in all aspects of world history. When the Doctor went to see Shakespeare with Martha, we saw some broken teeth and emptied nightslop, but ol Willie himself was, yo, no homo, but a cutie. Now we see an instance in the Depression Era when black and white were equal. "We're all starving" said Solomon as he explained to the Doctor his position there. (In which same speech he said "We're all the same, black and white," but I know for a fact that we weren't called "black" in the Thirties. Because in the Nineties, in Missouri, I ran into teenagers, let alone adults, who still thought I was "colored".

And that's the best I can do for them. Because when Martha ran into a young white guy from Tennessee (with an accent, no less) and he flirted with her, my suspension of disbelief exploded with a loud messy pop. Martha gets accepted by the showgirls in a Vaudeville theater, yes, but a young Tennessee white boy?! Oh, I think not. I don't care how fine she is or how hungry he is. (Well, Alan, wait--he was already under Solomon's leadership, and he did willingly go up north to New York--maybe he was one of the more open-minded southern white boys. There were some ...)

Yeah, I guess you're right, conscience. And truth of the matter is, I want to like Doctor Who. I always want to. I've nothing against them for trying to tell a story with a black companion on board. I'm mad grateful in fact, yo! I'm just saying, there's a whole subplot that they are sorely missing. For instance, what if, six shows into the series, Martha, who has familiarized herself with some TARDIS controls (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space machine for the uninitiated) looks at the panel and says,

"Oi, Doctor? There are a few destinations the TARDIS wanted to go and you changed them? 1912, 1930, 1876 --? Why didn't we go there, I'd love to have seen --"

"No, Martha. There are some periods in Earth's history that I'm not ready to take you to. Not just yet."

I dunno. Maybe I'm just looking for trouble, lol.


Blogger Eliel Mamousette said...

Big issues you raise there Childhood Bud.

But my big question is "WTF are the Daleks doing back?" I thought they were banished from the time stream by a hopped up on Tardis-juice companion last season....

1:09 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

That wasn't last season, that was the "first season". They came back in the show of the last season -- they had escaped the whole Time War in an Impossible Ship, or some such. It was a big gold ball from between dimensions, remember? There were four Daleks inside who had names? Cult of Skaro? Big Cyberman War with them in the streets of London and/or Cardiff? Rose got sucked into the Cyberman dimension along with all her family?

5:12 PM  
Blogger Eliel Mamousette said...

Right, but when the Dr chose which of the parallel universes to live in, I thought the deal was that by closing the rift, the Daleks and the cyber-men would take a hike on both fronts.

Or am I mis-remembering it? Was the cyber-man free existence the path chosen for Rose?

It's coming back to me now. I was wrong. Oh well.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Now I'm misremembering. It was all taken over by

"Doctor, I lo--*blubber blubber* lo -- *blubber blubber* love yuuuu--!"

Yeh, instead of Rose perishing into that rift between everything where those Cybermen all ended up, her Dad caught her and used the programmed dimension jumper to take her back where he came from, which was the original home of the Cybermen. But the Daleks just left without all that dimension suckery, and this is where they apparently ended up -- a parallel 1930's Manhattan where the color of skin meant nothing.

So I guess there's no Jazz or The Blues in this Manhattan either, because without discrimination, the black folk wouldn't need to channel all their energy into a new art form ...

(Gosh, I should be a writer!)

6:39 PM  

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