Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I'm Done With Doctor Who

I preferred being the the really annoying old school Whovian.  "You weren't there man!  You weren't there when Tom Baker offered his enemies a Jelly Baby!  You don't care, man!  You don't know what it's all about!"  It's my hobby don't judge me but none the less I've enjoyed the revival episodes more than I care to admit.  Even if the Doctor and I go back a long way.

I first became aware of Doctor Who in preadolescence.  Believe it or not from the non-cannonical Peter Cushing movies.


Don't watch this any other way.



As silly as Grand Moff Doctor's movies were, there was something there that fascinated little Cataline. It had the flavor of Thunderbirds and UFO.  It was science fiction that wasn't Star Trek.  Since there were only 72 episodes of that, Little Cataline was grateful for anything new.

Elder Cataline would have recognized the echos of British Science Fiction reflected on the show.  The vastness of time being one the most persistent of these tropes.  American science fiction always seems to hang up at the four hundred year mark.  Possibly a reflection of the influence of John W. Campbell.  Or possibly it's just something in the American psyche that is different from it's Brit counterpart.   When you live in a towns that are two thousand years old it changes your perspective.

There was no way at all to see the actual BBC episodes in the U.S. until after Star Wars first came out. Then there was frantic rush by content providers to find anything science fictiony that was above all things cheap.

And boy did Doctor Who ever fit that nitch!


Kneel before the codpiece of doom, hoomans!

However as cheap as the costumes and sets were, the show was actual science fiction.  I mean with science and everything.

That was different.

"Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurantist drivel; Star Trek can turn your brains to purée of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!" -- Harlen Ellison

We were kind of lucky in America because we got to skip the shows growing pains.  From it's Quatermass tribute band origins (Hartnell), to it's first painful reboot (Troughton), to it's silly pseudo spy show days (Pertwee).

We got to miss all of that.  We got to start with Tom Baker (AKA the only real Doctor Who).  


Okay, his start was little shaky too.

 The brilliance of Baker's performance was that his Doctor was not a funny looking human.  He liked us but he wasn't one of us.  He brought the alieness of being an alien trapped on Earth to the fore.

The scripting was pretty good too considering the Brit's thought of it as just a kid's show.

Douglas Adams used to write for the show, The Pirate Planet while being profoundly silly was also very interesting from a nuts and bolts science perspective.  City of Death was actually pretty good all around without being silly at all.  Douglas Adams went on mine his Doctor Who episodes for the rest of the his career.

However, all good things must come to an end.  Production costs (even for a kid's show) were rising but the audience wasn't growing.  And the truth was some of it's creative people had been on that treadmill for way too long.

When Doctor Who was canceled in 1989 there was a lot of crying but there was also  a feeling in the air of, maybe it's for the best.  

It was in many ways a daytime kid's soap opera.  One that always had a lefty slant.

When the property was revived in 2005, the lefty slant didn't take long in making itself felt again.

Again, I didn't mind.  I had a childhood friend back,

Kiiind of...
...I guess.

However as the new show progressed it became exceptionally Progressive.  It has become a lot more difficult for me to ignore the politics.

The Doctor has now killed billions and yet remains incredibly self righteous and unbelievably condescending  towards the military. He will unhesitatingly use a Dalak laser arm but freaks out if anyone tries to hand him a pistol.

I suppose, I could learn to live with it, if it wasn't for the fact the plots are now completely repetitive.


MacGuffin problem is presented.
Doctor: I will not interfere for I am a Time Lord and this is not our way

MacGuffin progresses the problem is worsened
Doctor: I shall not interfere for I am a Time Lord and this is not our way

MacGuffin has reached it's endstate and the heroes are at their lowest point. 
Doctor: I must not interfere for I am a Time Lord and this is not our way

EPIPHANY!!!

Doctor:  Now, I can interfere!

A duex ex time machina solution to this week's story line then comes vaulting out of the TARDIS. And this is from Steven Moffat, whose previous work I have loved.  Repetitive character arcs have now replaced actual plotting. Something bad happens to talent when it's owner gets an OBE. Matt Smith was right to bale after only three years.

The problem is that after David Tennent and Matt Smith, the female members of the audiance were used to young and sexy Doctor Who.  Peter Capaldi did not fit that bill.

Then there is the new companion, Clara.  A self satisfied little SJW if ever I saw one and Doctor Who has now effectively become the Clara Oswald show.

The most pointless character was Clara's boyfriend.  A black guy with cuckface. A solider with hilariously great big heaping gobs of PTSD because when he was clearing a room he killed a kid by accident.  Now it would make a certain degree of sense to bring in a young actor to do the action scenes that Capalid simply can't at his age but this bitch cried all the the fucking time.  I really wasn't buying him as a hard bitten man of action.

Last weeks Islamic Zygons episode finished it for me.  It was all the humans fault that the Zygons have gone terrorist.  Bonus, rural Americans started it.

Sorry Doctor.  I can't do this anymore.  This is my break up letter.



1 comment:

Chris Nelson said...

I never adored the show like a lot of others. I guess it was my early exposure to quality written science fiction that made me more critical of what I saw on the screen.