Saturday, April 7, 2018

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.

None the less I enjoyed the revival episodes more than I care to least until recently.

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 and 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 in the show.  The vastness of time being one the most persistent of these tropes.  American science fiction always seems to hang up at the 25th century 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, oh, 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 clearly and obviously wasn't one of us and in a lot ways he simply didn't get us.  Baker 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."

Heck, 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.  He also Shada, the unfinished episode.  In some ways looking at these episodes are kind of sad because it becomes obvious that Douglas Adams either ran completely out of creative juice in his twenties or somebody else came up with the ideas and he took credit for them.  Adams spent the rest of his life mining these episodes. You can see them in both the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but most especially in Dirk Gentley's Holotistic Detective Agency.

The original run was good but it had annoying elements. It always had a Lefty slant for instance.
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.  Some of them since day one in 1962. 

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 spent the next fifteen years wandering in the wilderness with occasional demi-revivals here and there.  Radio shows were pretty common.  And there was that godawful American TV movie that was supposed to serve as a pilot.  Thankfully that one was stillborn because it was ghastly.  Americans just don't get Doctor Who creatively (they aren't the only ones at this point.)

There was also a Comic Relief appearance around the year 2000 that was tragically prescient.  At the end of the skit Doctor Who turns into a woman.

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.

Christopher Eccelston had a go handle on the part but David Tennet is the one that really took the show forward.  The audience of the new show was established, young sexy English Doctor Who left emo girls panting.   After a good run Tennent stepped aside along with the producer.  Matt Smith took over.  A bit more geeky but still young, English and sexy.  And to the temporary delight of fans, Stephen Moffat who had penned some of the new Doctor Who's best episodes was now the show driver.

However as the new show progressed it became exceptionally Progressive. This is probably a reflection of the BBC going further and further off the deepend.  As the show sank into the SJW swamp a second problem emerged.

I've like Moffat's work in the past and his first three seasons of Doctor Who were great. But the last two were catastrophic and it's because of the decisions that he made. There is no putting this failure on anyone else's shoulders. This one is on him.

As I said, the show has always been Lefty as hell but the eighth season in particular turned into an SJW trope factory. Almost every episode was geared towards the preservation of the social justice delusion bubble. It became an unwatchable propaganda mill. I don't know if that was Moffat himself, it may well be that he was pressured by the BBC to produce this crap.

But one thing is clear; Moffat lost his passion for the property and was trying to find inspiration anywhere that he can.   Hence Doctor Who turning into the Adventures of Clara Oswald. 

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

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 makes 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.

However, Jenna Coleman had the brains to bale before anyone started blaming her for killing Doctor Who.  Which left the comedy team of Moffat and Capaldi to be the target of all the rotten tomatoes.

Capaldi was out at the end of the ninth season. The first Doctor since William Hartnell to be fired. He couldn't get a handle on the part even after two years. Naturally he got a third year because SJWs always double down but there appears to be a limit even for a converged organization.  Although there is no limit to convergence in Doctor Who.  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.

On top of all that the plots became completely repetitive.

MacGuffin 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

Then the Doctor has an 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.

I will grant there were two things that I liked in season eight but two weren't enough.  Missy as the new arch enemy.  And the episode Heaven Sent which was actual science fiction.  I was done.  I had no intention of watching another episode.

Then I recently discovered that my TIVO had recorded this last season of Doctor Who because I forgot to tell it not to (hell, I only use the damn thing for Phineas and Ferb reruns at this point). Out masochistic curiosity I decided to watch whatever episodes "Missy" was in because I thought they would be the most tolerable.

I got to find out about the Doctor's new companion, Bill the Black Lesbian (not kidding about any of that). She made friends with a Black Cockney solider in Queen Victoria's army. As well as a Black Gay Roman Legionnaire (because the Roman's were totes progressive and cool with being Gay and stuff... Except they weren't.)
While I came to loath Moffat's trudging along on the treadmill he did resist one disastrous demand of the SJWs.  The one that he knew would finish the show completely.  

Moffat got to cast the title character twice and both times he resisted the suicidal SJW demand that he turn Doctor Who into a woman.

Yeah, the TIVO has it's marching orders.  I'm out.  


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.

Chris Lutz said...

I never could get into the new episodes. I watched a few and have to admit that there were a few really good ones. However, most of it just seemed off. Too many episodes of Dr. Who saving the world with the dramatic music. The Tom Baker years seemed more clever. Also, they were smaller problems.

owlish said...

Never really got into it, although I watched some Tom Baker back in the day. Parts of Torchwood was interesting, although the politics kept bugging me. Quit after the last episode of season 1, in which a giant death monster was coming to eat London, so the vitally important job for the police was to go door to door and make sure everyone stayed calm and at home.

Cataline Sergius said...

You can tell when the SJWs get their hooks into anything. There is a constant stream of emotional validation and support directed at the main character.

You can see that in the new Star Trek series and SJW Marvel comics.

But it was much worse with Doctor Who. Moffat started having various characters giving long passionate sermons about how important and special the Doctor is in the universe around his third season as show runner. I remember yelling, "when did the Doctor Who become Space Jesus?"

As bad as it got with Moffat, I predict with complete confidence that the fire hose spray of emotional validation during the Capaldi years will become Noah's flood when Jodie Whittaker takes over.

Emmett Fitz-Hume said...

"Then I recently discovered that my TIVO had recorded this last season of Doctor Who because I forgot to tell it not to (hell, I only use the damn thing for Phineas and Ferb reruns at this point)."

Phineas and Ferb. Now that was a great show! I still love Doofenschmirtz and his "Lies" song.

You look good in that hat. Lies!
I don't think you have too many cats. Lies!
Your hair looks nice when its up like that. Lies!
You haven't put on any weight. Lies!

Nominee for one of the youngest dose of the Red Pill?

My son still sings that song to his twin sister frequently. Good stuff.

owlish said...

I think you've got something with the constant stream of emotional validation. I seem to remember an episode in which they fought off an alien invasion by the black female companion going around telling stories of The Doctor, and how if everyone thought of him at a particular time he'd save us.

And on the flipside, if anything Mal was constantly put down on Firefly.

Cataline Sergius said...


There is no way in hell Firefly could be made today.

Chris Lutz said...

@CS - I don't think Whedon would make it the same way anyways. It sounds like Minnear was the force behind the things that people actually liked about the show. You know though that if Whedon had gotten another couple of seasons it would have devolved into SJW nonsense.

Ja D said...

The tragedy is it was a fun show when it first came back.

Starboard said...

Phineas and Ferb, my favorite Doofensmirtz song by far.

As far as Tivo fodder goes, try Gravity Falls (Disney XD)