danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
The last episode of Doctor Who featured a Bootstrap Paradox. It was a pretty good two-parter and I enjoyed it.


But I can never forget that there lurks, deep in space and time and unimaginable evil. Well, a prosaic script-writer who's gotten a little over excited.

Fuelled by Moff-hate I've got a bootstrap paradox for you.

In the near future humanity invents a time machine. A secret society of disgruntled fans, calling themselves The Daughters of Romana, discover the location of the time machine and steal it with hilarious consequences.

Lost in time they eventually find themselves in the early sixties where they meet Sydney Newman. He's in a pub near Television Centre mulling over how to fulfil the BBC's aims of bringing entertainment and education to the masses. The Daughters of Romana bumble in the pub, full of their own excitement and legacy rightous indignation. The spill Newman's pint. Buying him another they fall into conversation and tell of their adventures. Fascinated but disbelieving Newman buys them all pint after pint in a determined effort to keep the unbelievable stories of their rambling through space-time from the dawn of their Moff-hate to the current day coming.

Now drunk and enraged by the fresh memory of what Moffat has done they take their time machine to the 2003 British Comedy Awards. Coupling, perhaps the best thing Moffat has done receives an award. Moffat has been quaffing the celebratory champers. He's already a little tipsy before the award. By the end of the awards ceremony he's fully cut and singing. The Daughters of Romana confront a drunk Moffat. Demanding an apology for a crime he has not yet committed they confuse Moffat who become beligerant. The beligerant Moffat hits every hot button of our Time Travelling Whovian Ultras. Moffat knows and he's not even sorry. Fear turns to Hate. Hate Turns to Anger. Anger leads to a Five Star Kicking. Punctuating each outrage with a kick or a punch or slap they give vent to their fury with a full list of EVERYTHING he has done.

Moffat, already drunk and now badly beaten slips into unconsciousness. Horrified by what they have done the Daughters of Romana load take their time machine into an ambulance and set of to The Borders Royal Infirmary A&E UNIT with a semi-conscious Moffat.

Moffat comes too in the recovery room with nothing but a vague, drug fuelled but utterly incomprehensible memory of a box with a siren and a very very very important list of timey-wimey wibbley- wobbley, Daleks in every episode, impossible girl astronauts, sonic Sunglasses, Galashiels Burning, nymphomaniac space archaeologists.

That's a bootstrap paradox.
danieldwilliam: (acting)
In honour of the retirement of Matt Smith from the role of Doctor Who I have scoured the internet to bring you the least accurate rumours about his successor.  Here, presented for your information and entertainment is my list of the most unlikely candidates for the last, penulitimate, twelth, next Doctor Who?

You can read more if you like, Moffat will never know. )
danieldwilliam: (Default)
Didn’t hate the Doctor Who season 7.2 final. Didn’t love it.

Spoilers but it was 2 weeks ago )
I still think the whole thing is rushed and compensates for the rushing narrative with more soliloquy and sonic screwdriver waving then I’m happy with.

I was going to post a longer piece on it but I’m not sure I can be bothered. Does the world need another disgruntled former fan summoning up the courage to stop watching the programme?  Probably not. Probably not.
danieldwilliam: (acting)
Rumours on the internet about the New Who abound but I can exclusively reveal that they are all as wrong as a bow-tie and fez.

Rather than replacing Matt Smith in Doctor Who a new spin-off series is planned for the Doctor.  The replacement for  Matt Smith will have his, or her, or their own spin-off series where an eccentric, wise and fundamentally good time traveller uses science, their skills and experience and the help of some assistants or companions to save various worlds from new and imaginative threats on a weekly basis. The name for this series is not decided yet. Options include Travels in Space with Science, A Plot, A Problem and a Professor, and Holes in the Space Time Continuity.

The part of the Doctor will be played by a blacked-up Helen Mirren. This is a fantastic step forward for both feminism and a multi-cultural Britain reflecting a nation at ease with itself. In a welcome return to the franchise Freema Agyeman will reprise her role as Martha Jones, the talented, brave, intellegent medical doctor and scientific advisor to UNIT. The lesbian sexual tension between Mirren and Agyeman’s characters will provide something to keep the dads (and a few mums!!!!) watching. Nigel Farage will play himself as a new companion to the time travelling adventurer. Farage’s character is believed to be called Nigel. Dowing Street was rocked by the news and a stunned David Cameron was said to have realised his political agenda would be in tatters if the Doctor and Dr Jones had ever will have been going to have will be snogged.

Villians planned for the new spin-off include Dinosaurs from Mars, Robots from Mars, Aliens from Mars, Spiders from Mars, a self aware Snickers bar, Austerity, a general feeling that things are not as good as they used to be, the EU and the institution of marriage.

The main series, Doctor Who will continue with Stephen Moffat and the existing star telling the long running tale of a glowing magic wand opening up Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarons like a tin opener. The hand holding the much loved Sonic Screwdriver will be played by a blurry Joey Tribbiani.

There are no plans to take forward a second spin-off series where Alan Rickman plays the Name of the Doctor.

Spoilers )
danieldwilliam: (Default)
I really didn’t much care for last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, The Rings of Somewhere Or Other.

I didn’t much understand what was going on and by the time I did I realised I didn’t care.

I think the root cause of the problem with this episode and I think with much of recent Doctor Who, is that too much story was compressed into too few minutes.

We get about 15 minutes of why the Leaf is important.  15 minutes of meeting the little girl, Merry or Mary or Merv or whatever. I didn’t have long enough to work out how to pronounce her name. Then 15 minutes of the Doctor break dancing in front of the Giant Pumpkin.   Mixed in with this is a bit of wandering about (or wondering aloud), a bit where the owner of the most useful space and time ship in the Universe hires a space pedalo, a Coldplay concert and some bits of persuading Clara Osama Oswald the Wonderful Woman of Oz to come for a ride in the TARDIS. Then the Leaf is deployed and the Giant Pumpkin chokes on its own petard. And for the first time since we met Ozzy the bastards haven’t killed her. Stay awake at the back, this may be Significant. Or a Continuity Error.  Or Both.

I think it would have worked better as part of a series made up of 26 episodes divided into 6-8 stories of 3-4 episodes each.  The way it used to be done.

So how would I have handled this.

I’d have shifted this story further back into the current series.  I’ve only just met Orville and most of the times I’ve met her she’s ended up dead and been someone else (or was she?) So a story that turns on her emotional connection to an artefact of her past needs to build up that past. Then place the past firmly in the context of the present of someone I care about. Then succeed in making the artefact emblematic of something important. Admirable features of Clara are influenced by the loss of her mother at young age and the Leaf is a solid connection to her family and the lost promise of that family. It reminds her to nurture those less fortunate than herself. Then I’d care about a Leaf. Otherwise, it’s just a leaf.

By shifting this story further back in episode list I’d have had time to get to know Clarissa at my own pace instead of having her importance and the back story of the Leaf thrust in my face.  A few stories where she seems like a decent person with some particular interests.  A bit more time to let her fondness for work where she cares for small motherless children flow across the screen. But also, some more time for her not just to be an orphan who likes orphans except when she’s dead. Or when her being dead isn’t important enough to keep happening.

This is the most important Leaf in the Universe.  Is it? Show me don’t tell me and all that.  So perhaps a situation in a previous story where Miss Bow makes what appears to be an irrational decision to preserve the book and the Leaf from a fire or a Dalek. (About time we had a Dalek, not enough of them in my opinion.) A scene a few episode later where Beau Peep is uncharacteristically distracted whilst looking at the Leaf.  Generally, big up the leaf so it becomes the Leaf.

Then I’d start on the back story.  There would have been some space and time to show the history that makes the Leaf important. Probably some relatives. Not sure how I’d have woven this in but I’ve given myself plenty of room with perhaps 4 mini-story arcs and about 15 45-minute episodes to go at.  I’d find a way.  It would be Amazing!

So I arrive at episode 1 of the Rings of Mos Eisely with the audience already thinking “I like that Betty Boo lass. She does seem inordinately fond of that Leaf. Still I suppose her poor dead mum and all that.“  Bit of an extended opening shot of the Rings. They are Amazing. We’ve paid for the SFX team to go on the CGI course, might as well get the benefit and it’ll save having to pay Matt Smith to say “Wow, isn’t it Amazing!” if I show you how amazing it is.  He charges extra for that and quite rightly too. Then I can spend a good half an episode wondering around the market place (which was very enjoyable) with a red herring plot, a sub-plot or part of a longer story arc plot as a driver for being there. Perhaps the Silence or the Silents or Silus or whoever they were could be involved.   I could have shown the peaceful nature of the civilisation. Built up the social structures. Enjoyed a bit of the genuinely lovely singing. Introduced the quirks of paying for things with things of emotional value and left the audience to mull that over at their own pace. A little hint that all is not well in the Land of Oz. Then introduce the Merry Hobbit, sorry the little girl (just a little girl, not The Little Girl ™ , or indeed A Little Girl, don’t you know you can get them in six-packs now.)  Oh, I wonder why that little girl is so agitated in what appears to be such a peaceful yet vibrant civilisation. Add in a little bit of apprehension about the Elder God. End on a cliff hanger when the quite scary Black Guards corner Betty Page and Merv.

  1. Episode 2 – the running about episode.  Clare and Jolly spend quite a bit of time running away from the Black Guards. A bit of rather nice singing. They seek refuge with some figure of authority, who being a figure of authority in a peaceful, vibrant culture much like our own but with more singing is certainly duty bound to take a keen interest in the suffering of a defenceless young person seeking sanctuary and someone to believe that she really is in danger.  Que Surprise and Dismay when said authority figure just hands her over to the Black Guards. Nice singing. Nice Singing. Doctor Cox and Claire Oiseau get to do some running about trying to find Marvin. Perhaps Smudger could use his sonic screwdriver to open a stubborn door or maybe not. He probably needs to save the battery so he can use it re-light ITER or repair the oxygen system on Apollo 13. There could be some singing behind the door. Acquire Space Pedalo, if you insist, and ride off through the Olympic Rings to the MacGuffin Asteroid to the Rescue (Gee, those CGI courses were really money well spent. ) End on a cliff hanger when the Doctor and What’s Her Name find their way to the centre of temple complex to find Mhari about to be force fed to an alarm clock.
Episode 3. Quick recap. We’re on an asteroid in Space full of aliens. It’s Amazing but because we can’t afford to pay Matt Smith to tell you we’ve used some CGI and rubber to show you. Here’s one we made earlier. Peter Purvis, I thank you.  Doctor Zhiviago, Clare Balding and Mike from Mike and Mechanics are in Deadly Peril ™ with at least one of them about to be fed to some soul eating Elder God that in no way resembles the Giant Pumpkin. A sound track by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen with additional music by Tenacious D fills our ears and souls. Those of us who still have souls that is.  Doctor Che Guevara gives a speech about how you shouldn’t eat little girls, even if you are Maurice Chevalier, it’s just not good enough, can’t you hear the signing (que Scotland giving it “Can you hear the Elder God of Darkness sing? No! NO! Can you hear the Elder God of Darkness Sing No! NO!” )  The Elder God of Darkness gets its tax affairs sorted out and basically swats Smith to the ground.  Smith changes into a fez but it’s no good. The Giant Pumpkin has him on the ropes and it looks bad for the Boy Wonder. He counters with a lot of memories that are somehow, don’t ask me how, turned into food or possibly Euros (no really, please don’t ask me how). It’s not enough. The Pumpkin just licks its lips. It’s going to eat everything.  Eliza steps right up to the plate and holds up the Leaf. She explains to the Dark Pumpkin that seeing as her mum only lived about as long as most people in recorded history lived and that’s a bit unfair could it go away now thanks. The Giant Pumpkin is Stunned, Staggered and Amazed. We realise, with a cheeky shuggle of the Bow Tie of Ironic Awesome that Herr Doctor Professor was just stalling for time whilst Thingamyjig found the right page in her book and produced the Leaf.  The Giant Pumpkin retires, wounded.  As it does so its features briefly resemble Withnail. Or Do They?

Dum de dum, dum de dum dewooooooo!

I’d have arrived at the end of that last episode feeling that a niggle that I’d been worried about for a few months – what’s going to happen with this Leaf you keep showing me -  has been resolved.  I’d have had time to learn how to pronounce Merry’s name and remember Clara’s.  Good, which I have seen try to be good, would have triumphed over Evil, which I had seen refuse to turn from the Dark Side. Moral Ambiguity would have been seen from both sides too and people would have made choices.
Instead I got to follow Matt Smith at jogging pace whilst he shouted “Look. Leaf. Mother. Look There. Amazing. Leaf. Over There!” at me.
Perhaps the Giant Pumpkin is a metaphor for a script team too greedy to digest their stories properly.
danieldwilliam: (Default)

[livejournal.com profile] strange_complex has written a better review of Doctor Who than I’ll manage. I endorse her message and I’m grateful for her sharing her anger about the treatment of LGBT people in this episode.

So this isn’t meant to be a review of Doctor Who but a post about where I am emotionally with the new series.

Kind of Meh. Which is about where I expected to be. I wasn’t disappointed by Asylum of the Daleks. I was expecting a strategic mis-use of the Daleks, a plot more full of holes than an Edinburgh street and to find myself thinking at the end, well that didn’t suck, much.

And that’s sad. I feel sad. Generally, I’m sad about the whole thing.  It’s not great science fiction. It doesn’t feel as brave as it has been in the past. I don’t feel I’m being treated with much respect. 

This episode was pretty much everything I dislike about the current franchise.  It’s full of plot-holes. Big plot holes (if all the Daleks were killed in the Time War where did the retro Daleks come from?). Little plot holes (who posts the key for an insane asylum back through the letter box? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?)  The science fiction is poor to the point of being science fantasy. There are too many Daleks. So many Daleks I feel like an extra in Zulu. The Daleks are Epic. It’s a triumph of cool over substance.

I keep tripping over the plot holes – what is the point of chaining up an insane Dalek in a locked room, if you leave their internet connection switched on?

Dammit another one – if you have nanomachines that can turn your enemies into Dalek stooges why not just send some in the post to every planet you want to destroy?

At some point I’d expect to start watching Doctor Who with the Captain and at some point he’s going to spot a plot hole and I’m going to have to choice to become complicit in Moffat’s lazy plotting or admit that I tolerate it from Doctor Who but not from other programmes because I’m still coming to terms with the emotional fall out of being 10.

I wonder what I’m going to say to him. I don’t want to spend my hard earned fatherly reputation for not fudging when I don’t know by fudging the plot hole on Moffat’s behalf and I’m not sure I’m happy with the alternative response which is – when I was your age this programme meant such a lot to me that I’m prepared to tolerate nonsense like X because I want to love this programme now as much as I loved it when I was a boy and I want you to love it too, so please don’t pay much attention, and, um Look, a Dalek.

I’ve set the series to record on my new PVR.  Partly, because I can do that with a  button now and partly because if I didn’t I might not remember to watch Doctor Who and that would be admitting that I just didn’t care as much as I used to.

danieldwilliam: (Default)
I’m not enjoying the current series of Doctor Who at all.  I’m getting pretty close to giving up watching it. The two most recent episodes have not helped.
 
Let’s Kill Hitler was rushed and a bit jumbled and involved the death of a major character (again) who was revived with a magic trick we’ve seen before.
 
Night Terrors also felt rushed. Plenty of time spent establishing the premise and the characters and then problem solved in a minute by
 
  1. The Doctor’s huge charisma and empathy creating a profound emotional link which encourages a small scared boy to trust the Doctor, his own father and himself
  2. A stranger who has pushed his way into a small scared boy’s bedroom in the middle of the night shouting platitudes at said boy from inside a wardrobe.
 
    I think the main plot is moving far too quickly. I think it would be better done over two or three seasons. This would also allow more room for better, better paced episodes.
     
    The whole thing feels a little incoherent.
     
    I also think the main plot is being done in a way that treats me as if I were an idiot. I don’t need to be constantly reminded that the Doctor dies in some mysterious way. It was the first thing I was shown. The references to the Doctor’s date of death (replacing the references to Amy’s state of pregnancy) don’t help. The Doctor is a time traveller and the date of a particular event seen from my point of view is pretty irrelevant to a bunch of time travellers. This is particularly the case when the characters are engaged in a story where one is travelling through their relationship in a different direction from the other.
     
    Underpinning all of this is my unease about lazy solutions to problems and lazy story telling. There are some many deus ex machine kicking about that they are beginning to look like Russian dolls
     
     
    I’ll watch the rest of the current series but I can see myself not bothering with the next one.
    danieldwilliam: (Default)

    I’ve been feeling some disquiet about Doctor Who. It began towards the end of the last series and has been growing ever since. Parts of my disquiet are about the bankruptcy of  narrative if there is no continuity or consequence. Reading some of the critism of recent episodes I think I’ve found another part of the disquiet. It’s about role models.

    Read more... )

     When I was growing up the Doctor was a strange role model. He was a hero but outside of the paradigm of the other heroes I was offered. He wasn’t a John Wayne, a Grail Knight, or Dirty Harry or even Luke Skywalker. He solved problems with his brain and often through other people. He was ecentric. He liked ecentrics. He liked people who stood up to authority, including him. He circumvented hierarchy and he wanted you to come with him.

     He didn’t want to be in opposition to the people he encountered. He tried not to use violence. He tried to offer those behaving badly who were in a position of authority a chance to understand the needs of the other side and turn away from a violent confrontation. He looked towards the future and a better state of affairs rather than focus on the immediate conflict.

     He had an ethical code. You could see him wrestling with it when it prevented an easy fix to a problem he had encountered.

     There was lots of action, lots of running up and down corridors. The running up and down corridors was usually a way to buy time to work out the solution to the problem.

     As a boy I think I found it useful to see someone who was odd being respected and respectful. He solved problems with his brain. He treated different people with respect. He took time to understand the problem and the context. The world rarely divided into Good Guys and Bad Guys. There were differing opinions and priorities and usually someone who was behaving badly but there was usually some grey shading in the moral positions of all the characters.

     If I were couching this in Jungian leadership archetypes I would suggest that the Doctor was a Magician rather than the usual fair of Warriors or Sovereigns

     Crucially, he solved problems with his brain and not with weapons. He would agree with Asimov that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

     He didn’t swagger about with a gun in one hand and a hot chick in the other, smirking or grimancing at the camera and talking in simple and simplistic one-liners.

     Until now.

     When I was a boy I wanted to be like Luke Skywalker but I also wanted to be like the Doctor. I’m not sure I see much difference any more.

    I fear that violence is the last refuge of the
    incompentent Steven Moffat.


    danieldwilliam: (Default)

    I’m not much given to speculating about the future of Doctor Who (except that I fear that if Steven Moffat doesn’t stop pissing about with it soon it will be cancelled by 2014). 

    It’s not my job to second guess the writers. I pay them to make up stories for me. If they want me to make up stories for them the Improbables are doing a show in October, tickets will probably be a fiver. 

    However, I stumbled on this on the Fermi Paradox and was thinking there might be a connection with the enigmatic Silence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

    Is the reason we haven't heard from anyone else because the Silence keep erasing the memory?

    danieldwilliam: (Default)
    I’m a sad man today. Yesterday it occurred to me that I didn’t much mind that the wait for the next Doctor Who episode was three months. I wasn’t much fussed about whether I ever saw another episode of Doctor Who again.

    This is why.

    EPIC!!!

    Rushed

    Careless.

    Lack of continuity

    A good story has the hearer asking questions that you then answer. A bad story has dead time in which the hearer tries to answer questions that haven’t been asked. Every episode I watch I have questions that I wasn’t meant to ask left unanswered.

    Spoilers and so on, and swearing. )

    Questions that are about specific niggles in the story arc of an individual episode. (Why doesn’t the medical computer in Pirates episode learn English?)
    Questions that are about the series story arc (Why will the Doctor pull out all the stops to rescue Amy and her baby but not rescue River Song from purgatory?)
    Questions about the cynicism of the writers (Do they think abandoning any pretence of continuity is necessary because they can make it more AWESOME if they don’t have to stick to the rules or because they are too careless to do a proper job and think I’m too stupid or too much of a seven year old to notice?)


    Does everything have to be EPIC!!! ? Does everything have to be the end of the Universe or the Utter, Total Death of the Daleks**** (and this time we really mean it, until the complaints letters reach the DG, in which case “Ha ha, there is no cannon, there is no continuity and I have a get out of jail free card.”) Even in a story arc that could be described as non-Epic, a simple kidnapping, has to involve the destruction of a whole Cyberman fleet.


    This is an intriguing story line (or it could be if I had any confidence that that writers won’t get board of it and decide it was all a dream). There is a lot going on. A murder mystery, a romance, a big back story and a double kidnapping. All of which may or may not be connected. Why try and cram it into one series? It all seems rushed. There is plenty of time. Plenty of time to let the story mature. Plenty of time to let the characters have a good mull over what they are doing and why? Plenty of time to tuck in some other adventures to break up the pacing a little.


    If it weren’t so rushed there would be time to properly enjoy some of the characters who reappeared in Demons Run. There would be time to slip in some decent single or double stories that didn’t have to contribute in a cackhanded way to the major story arc. If it weren’t so rushed we would have time to enjoy one of the more interesting aspects of the major, major story arc, that the Doctor and River Song are moving through their love affair in opposite directions. There is enough material for two series, perhaps three. I’ve waited several years to see more of River Song, I can wait 18 months more. We see glimpses of how River Song feels about her love affair but only glimpses. We don’t seem to pick up much from the Doctor about her very sad demise and what, if anything, he intends to do about it.

    Careless. The script writers don’t appear to be paying attention to what they are doing or to the characters they have in front of them. The brief and rather pointless appearance of the Cybermen is a case in point. Leaving aside the continuity issues of their re-appearance and the unasked questions such as “How did they get there?” “What are they doing there?” “How would they know where Amy was?” there was no need to massacre them. You kill people to make a point if a) they are being wilfully intransigent b) you are short of time. Given that Rory pops up in their control room and gives them all of ten seconds to think things over one can hardly accuse the Cybermen of wilful intransigence. The Doctor is not short of time. He is effectively immortal and owns a time machine. He’s got time to leave a note for the Cybermen asking for a sit down. He’s got time to have a discussion with them. He’s got time to do a deal and then complete on the deal.* There is no need to murder thousands of individuals unless you want lots of people to say “Cool”.

    There are other bits and bobs of carelessness too. How nice to see a gay married couple.** Now, I’m a married man. If My Lovely Wife told me that she had been transferred to some strange religious order*** and one to whom I am not allowed to talk I’d be more than a little upset. If, a few days later, I found out that she had been decapitated and rendered a soulless automata I may be tempted to do a little more than gulp. Given that, when I found out I am armed with a machine gun, things might go hard for the people who did this awful thing to my life partner and the wellspring of my family. If I were the manager of this couple I might have thought it prudent to remove the surviving spouse’s gun before surprising him in the middle of a parade.

    Either, don’t make them married or spend some time on a proper reaction to the surprising and horrific death of a spouse.

    The Silence, how is that they elude the Doctor for thousands of years but he’s able to stumble over them by chance? If the Silence can avoid detection by a Time Lord on pretty much his home turf why aren’t they running Gallifrey?

    Spitfires in space. Cool. What makes them go? How come the pilot can see past the vomit stuck by centrifugal forces to the inside of cockpit from him throwing up as a result of motion sickness caused as the body of the plane rotates the other way to the propeller? And whilst we’re asking questions about the spitfires, didn’t the Doctor remove all of the good stuff from the 1940’s? Did this or did this not include the laser firing spitfires? I want to know because… … because River Song is going to ask me a question with an arched eyebrow that is going to make me think about Moll Flanders and post watershed conversations with MLW.

    I’m left with the impression that things are being rushed and not being properly thought out.

    The reason for the lack of care, I think, is that it must be EPIC!!! and the writers don’t have to worry about continuity or think they don’t. If they can just get the audience quickly enough to the next cliff hanger and then drop someone off it spectacularly enough we’ll all forget or forgive that we’ve been presented with half drawn caricatures rather than characters and a series of loosely connected explosions rather than a plot.


    I think it’s the lack of continuity that is really making me not care about the series. Anything that happens can and will be written out again. I first lost faith when the Daleks returned for the third time. The real kicker was the not-death and not-erasure-from-history of Rory. Why should I care if anyone dies if they can be written back in by fiat of the writer? Why should I care that the last of the Daleks are being sucked down some EPIC!!! plughole in the sky again? When the Daleks first returned I actually felt some sympathy for the last Dalek. Now, that sympathy has been proven to have been practised on. When next the Daleks are the victim of genocide I won’t care. Neither a cheer nor a tear will be my reaction. I don’t believe that it that is the final end of the Daleks. They’ll be back, ready to be sucked down some other plughole in the sky. It’s all very Voltron.

    Without continuity or some consistency or genuine cause and effect whatever happens doesn’t mean anything. If what happens doesn’t mean anything why should I care if it happens or not. Why should I care about any emotional response to what has happened? The chances are that anything big enough to make me have a significant emotional response to the characters emotional response is big enough to have to be undone. I’ve seen stories that dealt with the lack of continuity caused by time paradoxes well. John Crowley’s Great Work of Time for example. This current series is far from up to that mark.

    How did Rory as the Last Centurion become so famous that non-Earth people would recognise him. He spent all his time in a box that no longer exists.  Perhaps Rory could explain. Oh No! Those bastards have killed Rory. Bastards.

    I don’t feel like shouting at Bastards at the TV. I did the first few times this trick was played on me but..Oh, Hello Rory… I was just explaining to the nice boys and girls that you aren’t dead, again. Or rather, at some point in the future your past will be changed so you won’t be deaded (cut to a long shot of Karen Gillan’s legs). It’s all timey wimey.

    I know Rose won’t be back because Billy Piper is making more money playing Belle du Jour but that’s about the only thing I can depend on. *****. This is the thing that most upsets me about the lack of continuity. It’s not just that the continuity is poor and means that I can’t become emotionally connected to anything or anyone in the story. The thing that gets me is that the lack of continuity is cynically driven. I think the production team think they have to be more EPIC!!! than anyone before but they don’t have the courage to stick with the decisions they have made and then follow them through. So they over use the ability of their central character to create and then untangle time paradoxes as a way to eat their cake and have it too. The bastards who are killing Rory are no longer the bastards on the screen but the bastards behind it and I can see them.

    I think you can do EPIC!!! and continuity but you can’t do EPIC!!! without continuity, because unless the EPIC!!! sticks it isn’t really EPIC!!! It’s just a big bang.

    When I watch a family programme with lots of turns and twists in it I want to be able to help my children work out what has happened and guess what is going to come next by talking about character, by reminding them of a clue they’ve seen or by drawing on my decades of fan-based knowledge. I don’t want to have explain what is going on by referring to the cynicism of the production team.

    “Where did the spitfires come from daddy, I thought the fat man had been made to give them all back?”

    “Ah, well Captain, my boy, the producers were rather hoping that you would be too busy thinking “Cool” to ask that question and that your mum and I would be too busy enjoying the bondage joke to comment on the continuity error.”

    I just don’t think Doctor Who is very good at the moment. I find it lazy, rushed, too satisfied with its own cleverness to realise it’s not clever enough. I don’t care about the characters. When I wake up all of Series Six will have just been a dream.


    Doctor Who used to be the thing around which my household built our weekend. At the moment I couldn’t ask the other members of my family to indulge me by arranging their lives around my desire to be sitting in front of the television with a cold beer as soon as the programme starts. I just don’t care enough. I’ll catch it on iPlayer, or maybe I won’t.

    *In my view a series of Herculean quests like the Key of Time story arc with Tom Baker’s Doctor and Romana in which the Doctor attempts to track down Amy and work out what her abductors are up to would have made a decent series. The Christmas special with the Lovely Katherine Jenkins shows the Doctor taking the time to use time to change the mind of one key individual. Not cool enough for the Cybermen.
    ** but a little sad that they were a touch mincing.
    *** or gone to work for a large bank.
    **** Cynical Spoiler Warning, they aren’t all dead, they are alive somewhere you’ve not heard of yet and will make an EPIC!!! return when the ratings start to dip and the BBC refuses to allow the show to move to after the watershed thus excluded the possibility of an Amy, River, Green Thing with the “hilariously lesbian”****** tongue threesome.
    *****John Barrowman’s earnings appear marginal enough that he might return
    ****** Following the joke about the tongue I am now waiting for the next black man in the programme to be greeted with jokes about the size of his cock. Perhaps Colonel Run Away is really called that because he is so well endowed that he tripped over his own penis.

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    danieldwilliam

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