Last night, while pulling out movies I own to suggest that moonlightalice watch with her sister and mother this weekend, I pulled Stardust, which is adapted from a Gaiman work. I find the movie, though completely ludicrous, entirely charming. It's silly, it's fun, it's an adventure story with a happy ending. The book it's based on...is none of those things. It's very Gaiman-y. Things are Serious Business, Usually Involving Magic. The ending is the one that The Story Deserves, Not The Ones That Coddle The Reader. It gets credit for being different, but for something so insubstantial, book or movie, I prefer the confectioner's sugar. He is very much a fantascist who believes in the old school Grimm's fairy tale.
Given my assessment of him so far, you might be surprised to learn that I found the episode of Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife," written by Gaiman, to be utterly endearing and really heart-warming. Though there is some of the pervasive, persistent melancholy about it that I associate with all of Gaiman's works, "The Doctor's Wife" threw in a lot of screwball romance that was genuine and sweet and funny. It helped that the episode confirmed some of my own opinions about the relationship between two characters that had, heretofore, never been able to be voiced on the show itself. (Though fanfiction, in what little I've read in Who-fandom, has covered.) So I was predisposed to like it as it agreed with the way I see things, but what I really loved was the setting placing the Doctor at the center of the story. New-Who, more than classic-Who, focuses on the companions, which is fine since that's the audience entry into the fantastic journey. The Doctor moves through most episodes on the periphery of the plot (despite always being in front of the actual action), showing up to poke at things and deliver exposition about why he can/cannot defeat whatever the monsters are. "The Doctor's Wife," on the other hand, manages to get rather close to the Doctor himself, his life, his choices, while simultaneously revealing nothing about him. (This is also a very good summary of the season as a whole.) The episode flirts with exposing secrets without really ever doing so, and it is one of the best teases ever because you really don't care. What matters is the relationship at the center, and it's adorable. Gaiman. Wrote. Something. A. Goddamned. Dorable. I tell you, the world, she is topsy-turvy!
it was one of the most charming episodes of Doctor Who I've seen in a good long while. It was an episode that managed to focus on the Doctor versus his companions. Instead of his moving through a story and mucking about in it, he was the story. Well, he and someone else.