It has finally happened. The gnomes on the Internet and I agree on something; namely that the last two Doctor Who episodes (The Pandorica Opens and Big Bang) were one of the biggest pile of steaming turdburgers ever created for television. Despite having legions of Pepperpot-Daleks, Cybermen, limp-wristed Romulans, Rhino Creatures, Flying Cubes, Stonehenge, Magical Time Travelling Bracelets, an exploding Tardis and probably hundreds more things that I missed; Steven Moffat, once one of British children’s TV’s best writers back in his more drunken days, managed to create something that was ludicrous, pointless, confusing and utterly boring in more or less equal measures. Come on Steven. You wrote Press Gang and Coupling. Even Chalk had a few good moments. What’s happened?
Now the Internet Gnomes are mostly teenagers who have very little concept of what Doctor Who used to be so I can forgive them for expecting low standards. They’ll acknowledge that there was a show before the 2005 pantomime remake but they probably haven’t actually watched any episoses. I mean hell it’s been going nearly 50 years now, that’s a lot to watch and fuck man! Some of them are in Black and White; didn’t people know how to encode AVIs properly in those days? Having said that, even the most die-hard fans of the new drivel will have trouble justifying a reason to look forward to the Christmas episode except maybe in the vague hope that the Doctor will finally die. We have hope yet! Remember Lynda Day? That’s all I have to say!
It’s not even that I don’t like Matt Smith as The Doctor; I do. I would go as far as saying that he’s pretty similar to Tom Baker in many ways and I’d class that as a compliment. With some good writing, he’d be great. For one single moment in Big Bang I had hope. He said something like “Do you really think the life of one girl is more important than the future of everything?” – Hell no! That’s the Doctor we know and love! Welcome back Hartnell and Troughton. Halleluiah! Finally us humans are back to being nothing much better than shaved apes. Unfortunately, it seems he was only joking; a brief moment of teasing taunting fantasy for those of us who remember a proper Doctor. Obviously the life of one human girl is more important than the whole of … Well whatever the fuck was going on.
It’s a terrible ending to a terrible show. Russell T. “If you can’t write it Camp, it’s not worth writing” Davies started it by dragging in his old mate David Tennant. Now Tennant isn’t a bad actor as such but he’s no Doctor Who. The whole thing is akin to getting Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe to play James Bond. Talking of Harry Potter, what’s with all the new gadgets? Time travelling wristbands, notepads that show magical identity badges, every flavour jelly-beans, telephones that cross time and space and a Sonic Screwdriver that doubles as a magic wand when it is waved and the spell “deus ex machina” is muttered. One of the major plot-devices about Doctor Who was that a lot was unexplained but the pantomime version seems obsessive about explaining everything. There was an amusing part in the Matt Smith series when one of the ever-present C-List British TV celebrities they roll in said “Oh you are that Doctor”. Yep, he is indeed just that Doctor.
Back in the olden days of Doctor Who the format was pretty solid. Each story was 4 or 5 parts, with a cliff-hanger between the middle episodes and with the exception of John Pertwee’s exile years, they were very rarely set on Earth. It’s tempting to use this entry to have a dig at Americans and say that the new one hour neatly wrapped shows are made for export to the US where attention spans are shorter but this doesn’t really fly. American television is getting a lot more sophisticated than this these days and it seems to be the British who are falling well behind by adopting this somewhat tedious format. As for the writing – Well yea, all I can say is that even the old Tannith Lee episodes were better than any since Tennant became The Doctor. There were a few good Eccleston episodes but then we had false hopes once, for a short time.
Another thing I am curious about is why, when there is the whole of time and space to zip around in; does The Doctor insist on coming back to Earth. More specifically, Britain – In fact more specifically again, London or Wales in the early 21st Century. It’s not like the BBC is short of money for this series; each episode must cost more to make than than one of the older whole seasons. The whole thing seems kind of akin to Star Trek or Blakes 7 spending their entire time travelling back in time to 20th Century Earth. And what’s with his obsession with Human assistants? I don’t want weedy and somewhat useless British girls, I want half naked primitive girls, in skimpy leather loincloths who carry big knives and gut the baddies when nobody is watching. I’d say I want metal dogs with guns in their nose too; but I don’t. I can live without that. The show has two spinoffs; Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures – Let them deal with Earth in the 20th Century since that’s where they are set. It’s boring… Ok! I want Robots of Death, I want Yetis in space, I want Daleks on Sarko, I want The Doctor shagging green aliens. On second thoughts no; I have seen Casanova, I am not sure I want to see any more Russell T Davis sex-scenes.
I WANT SPACEMEN – IN SPACE AND IN THE FUTURE – DAMMIT!
(Oh, and I want Lynda Day back please.)