Doctor Who: The RTD Years Vol. 1 - Revisiting LOVE & MONSTERS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: The RTD Years Vol. 1 - Revisiting LOVE & MONSTERS

Ah, "Love & Monsters", an episode of 'Doctor Who' that – like Marmite – you either love or you really, really don’t. Perhaps it’s time to whip out the magnifying glass and take another closer look.

For those who've been dwelling in some timey-wimey abyss, "Love & Monsters" aired during the 10th Doctor’s era, and was the first attempt at what became known as the “Doctor-lite” episodes. It gave our principal actors a slight break from the frenzied filming schedule, while still delivering a Doctor Who story to the masses.

If you're scratching your head and wondering, “Didn’t that one have the… erm… Absorbaloff?” – Yes, dear reader, it did. Now before you start racking your brains about the potential lunacy of the RTD (Russell T Davies) years, let’s dive deep into the mechanics and emotions that made "Love & Monsters" what it is. And who knows? By the end, you might just have a fresh appreciation for this infamous episode.

Narrative – More than a Sideshow

Russell T Davies was known for taking risks. He rebooted a beloved show after a 16-year hiatus (barring the Eighth Doctor's cinematic stint). But "Love & Monsters" was, arguably, one of his most daring ventures. While the Doctor and Rose Tyler feature in the episode, it's Elton Pope, a character unique to this story, who occupies the narrative centre.

This shift of focus was a brave move. 'Doctor Who' has been, and always will be, about the Time Lord from Gallifrey and his TARDIS. But by choosing to focus on the perspective of someone on the periphery of the Doctor's world, RTD added a layer to the Whoniverse – showing the impact of the Doctor on the lives of ordinary people.

Characters – Real and Relatable

Elton Pope, played by the endlessly charming Marc Warren, gave us a glimpse into what it's like to be someone who's been touched by the Doctor’s adventures, but not whisked away in the TARDIS. He, and his ragtag group L.I.N.D.A., are fans in the truest sense - much like those who've been following the show for decades. It’s meta-commentary, done RTD style.

Through L.I.N.D.A., we see a genuine love and camaraderie that develops around a shared passion – not too dissimilar from 'Doctor Who' fan clubs that sprouted in the real world. But, as in life, good things often come with challenges, or in this case, with a monstrous entity that has its own agenda.

The Absorbaloff – A Monster's Tale

Let's address the alien in the room – the Absorbaloff. Birthed from the imagination of a young 'Doctor Who' fan as part of a competition, this creature has often been cited as the episode's weak point. But is it really? The Absorbaloff is both comically ridiculous and disturbing. A monster that absorbs people, holding their faces on its body, is the stuff of nightmares. But it also carries a metaphorical weight: the idea of being consumed by obsessions or desires, something many a fan might relate to.

Music – A Touch of ELO

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) features prominently in this episode. “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Don't Bring Me Down” serve as background anthems for Elton’s life and memories. It's a bold musical choice, giving the episode a distinct nostalgic flavor, while reminding us of the ever-present blue box in the sky.

In Conclusion – A Mirror to Fandom

"Love & Monsters" has its critics, and yes, it has its flaws. But it also has a heart, and that heart beats in sync with the fandom it reflects. RTD gave us an episode that wasn't just about the Doctor, but about us – the fans who gather, share stories, and celebrate our shared passion.

Revisiting "Love & Monsters" means understanding its ambition: to celebrate the broader world of 'Doctor Who', beyond the confines of the TARDIS. It’s a love letter, a testament, and a gentle tease, all wrapped in one.

Perhaps it's time we give Elton, L.I.N.D.A., and even the Absorbaloff another chance. After all, in the world of the Doctor, isn’t everyone worth saving?

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