I watched Russell T.Davies’ 2003 TV mini-series (very mini – only 2 episodes) THE SECOND COMING the other day. It stars Chris Eccleston and tells the story of an ordinary man who realizes one day (after his first kiss from the woman he’s loved since his schooldays) that he’s the Messiah returned for one last shot at redeeming the human race.
The story starts out wonderfully, Eccleston exactly the kind of Son of God I’d want any real son of God to be, but the second half gets bogged down in self-contradictory theology illustrated by humans who just don’t react the way the humans I hang around with would. (Although the demons are very much like the devils I know all too well.)
In the end, I was disappointed by the film…but it doesn’t really matter thanks to a fascinating aspect of the production that I can only think of as the most Glorious Subtext Ever – if you’re a DOCTOR WHO fan.
If you are, you know that in 2005 DOCTOR WHO returned from a decade-long “hiatus,” written and produced by Davies and starring Eccleston as the Doctor. And the Glorious Subtext thing here is that if, as a Whovian, you watch THE SECOND COMING you’ll see, quite clearly, the foundation for everything the New WHO has given us, from casting to characterization to themes to plot arcs used not only by RTD but by his successor as series showrunner Steven Moffat as well.
It all makes great sense to me because I’ve always looked at the character of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors as, well, God…and, guess what? He is. Which is to say that he’s identical to Eccleston’s God in THE SECOND COMING.
Last time I looked, there still were a couple of copies of THE SECOND COMING DVD at Amazon.Com for like, $4.95.
Oh, and if you watch, look out for the best, most timey-wimey shoutout ever. A homage to Rory Williams AKA the Centurian Who Waited, years before there was a Rory Williams character to wait. (And the Son of God’s sacrifice may – just may – remind y’all a bit of the sacrifice made by a certain Doctor many years later…and for precisely the same reason.