It’s my all time favorite word. Look how lovely it looks all spelled out with that classy british looking U. The way it just rolls off the tongue. Tenebrous, of course, means ‘seething with tene’.
Just kidding. It means dark. Shadowy. Gloomy. It’s right up there with turn of the century classics like ‘eldritch’ or ‘phantasmal’.
I’ve recently become a (very) late convert to Doctor Who. I’ve been working my way through the new run. Not in order, but I think the Doctor would approve of that. Also of the wise decision to choose him for my viewing pleasure over the misanthrope with a cane. Seriously, Doctor Who lost his whole planet and loves pretty much everyone. Doctor House had a motorcycle wreck and works at alienating anyone in line of sight. If you want to know if someone is an optimist or a pessimist, don’t waste time on the glass half full or half empty malarkey. Just ask- Doctor Who or Doctor House?
What’s that? Yes I know Doctor Who has a way higher death rate. I still maintain it’s the sunny one. Look… I think you’re missing the point.
Where was I?
I just watched the first half of “The Silence in the Library”- didn’t know it was a two parter. Don’t tell me how it ends. You know…. spoilers and all. But it’s so far one of my absolute faves, because it’s so very spooky and y’know… tenebrous. I mean, it has killer shadows.
Seriously, lookit that. Why wouldn’t you be scared of it? Everything you’ve ever been even slightly spooked by could be in there.
Or it could have a puppy. Shadows are unpredictable like that. Unpredictable like the good Doctor.
One of the things that has made me fall into absolute adoration with this show is how it seems to combine the beloved tropes of classic science fiction and horror without retreading familiar ground. It’s like the best of the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, Tales from either the Crypt or the Dark Side and Dark Shadows all rolled up in one where Rod Serling/the Crypt Keeper steps out of the elusive narrator post and becomes the catalyst for all the action. It’s so… anthological. And I know that’s not a word, but I’m making it one now.
I was rejoicing over what a great and novel concept killer shadows was when it reminded me that I own a six issue miniseries published by Vertigo comics in the mid-90s wherein a man’s shadow becomes a serial killer. It’s written by John Ney Rieber (who also wrote the best of my beloved Books of Magic series) and just thinking of it made me want to read it again.
And that’s the magic of Doctor Who. This episode wasn’t as amazingly mind blowing as I first thought it would be, but it turned out to be associated with only the best in my mind. Being creative is a fine thing, but being good is oh so much better.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Doctor, there’s nothing new under the sun, but it just might be in the shadows.