Just As I Thought

Are they blind or just more perceptive?

“Amazing Grace,” “Bella,” “I Am Legend,” “In the Shadow of the Moon,” “Spider-Man 3,” “The Ten Commandments” and “The Ultimate Gift” vie in the inspiring movie category as Movieguide has named nominees for its 2007 Epiphany prizes.
The awards presented by the family and religion-oriented org honor projects that promote traditional family and biblical values.

The nominated films will compete for a $50,000 prize.

“Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story,” “Saving Sarah Cain,” “The Valley of Light” and episodes of “Doctor Who” and “Friends and Heroes” are the nominees in the corresponding TV category, with another $50,000 at stake.

Awards will be presented at the 16th annual Faith & Values Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 12. [Variety]

The episode of “Doctor Who” that they’ve nominated is “Gridlock,” which features hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of drivers trapped on a future motorway and driving in circles for what could be eternity. I am amused by this conservative group’s nomination as there are two subtexts in this show: first, and obviously what they were going for, there is an element of “faith” in the episode. Despite their dire situation, the drivers sing, en masse, “The Old Rugged Cross.” But second, and far more interesting in this context, is the subtext provided by the Cassini “Sisters,” two elderly women caught in the traffic who remind one of the characters that they are not sisters. The senior lesbians make this clear as they hold hands while singing the hymn.
Did the Movieguide people miss this? Or the scene with the naked drivers? Or the scene with the weird wolf-like monster and the two Vestal virgins? Family? You mean the human who has a litter of kittens with a cat named Brannigan? Heck, what about the drug use in the first few scenes?
Or could this be evidence of a new trend among conservative religious watchdog groups — looking past the surface and seeing the real point of the show, which in this case was anti-drugs, pro-tolerance, and pro-faith?
I have to say, I find it hard to believe that such a group is looking that deeply; I’ve been trained by this sort of organization to expect witch hunts and finger pointing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
(By the way, Movieguide folks… it’s probably not a great idea to put every word on your website in graphics. Not only does it eliminate that pesky dial-up audience, but also means that blind users can’t read your site. And neither can Google. Enjoy that traffic, guys.)


  • Of course, it’s by no means clear that the episode is intended to carry a pro-faith message per se. Russell T Davies and David Tennant point out on the commentary they did for the episode that whilst faith keeps all the people on the motorway sane, it also makes them accept their situation. It is the Doctor’s unease at watching them all being placated by singing a hymn despite their hopeless outlook that goads him into taking action to break them out of their situation.

    But yes, I too was pretty surprised that they nominated the episode.

  • I agree that the message about faith was muddy at best — after rewatching it last night, I still think that faith was the central element, but you’re right: it both sustained them and kept them from moving on.
    Martha’s faith in the Doctor was put right out there for us: a man who she didn’t even know, and in whom she had complete faith. And as the city above sang yet another hymn, the Doctor began to tell his story of loneliness. I think in the end it just reinforced the blasphemous thread that went right through the whole series last year: the Doctor as Christ figure, reborn and living forever.
    Wonder how the religious group missed that.

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