Friday, January 15, 2010

Dr Who - A Dissent

The Russell T Davies era of Dr Who ended on New Year's Day with the "death" of David Tennant's incarnation of the Doctor and Davies's retirement from the show. What Davies has done with the franchise has been universally praised by fanboys and critics alike and the ratings for the new Who have been huge. Late Review critic Mark Lawson compared Dr Who to Hamlet and even fearless monkey killer and TV reviewing bad boy AA Gill dared not lift a pen against the last Dr. Who. But I haven't loved the new series, in fact for much of the time I haven't even liked it. I've been ransacking my brain to figure out why I'm out of step with the rest of humanity. Here are some possible reasons:
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1. Its the special effects: Dr Who is a cheap little show with cheesy special effects and dreary location shoots in and around Cardiff. Its hard to suspend ones disbelief when everything looks so rickety and Cardiffy.
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2. Its the camp: I've never liked high camp and the new Who is very campy. The English have a higher toleration for camp than any other people on the planet and certainly more than the Irish. Done well its fine (Kenneth Williams) done badly its just silly.
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3. Its the magic feathers: Almost every story ends with a deus ex machina or magic feather. There's usually a big build up and then a rushed technobabble or hand of God ending. This kind of scripting annoys me.
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4 Its the corridors: Even in the Star Trek universe having people run down corridors as filler went out of favour sometime during the third season of Next Generation.
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5. Its the fantasy. The old Who was a sci-fi show, this one is essentially a fantasy show with the rules of physics frequently violated. (Oh matron!) Science fiction is harder to do and needs an understanding of, er, science. Davies went for the easy option instead.
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6. Its the kids: Unlike say Battlestar Galactica, Dr Who is essentially a children's TV programme (there were no fart jokes on Galactica) which is not really meant to be watched by adults. True, a lot of adults do watch and like Who, but I feel that they are the same people who liked Avatar.
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7. Its the acting: Actually I think the acting's been rather good. (Except, obviously, for Billie Piper.)