Sunday, 24 November 2013

HAS THE DOCTOR HAD HIS DAY?



So - the much trumpeted The DAY Of The DOCTORS - any good,
 or the usual pile of old pants that STEVEN MOFFAT has delivered since
he took charge of the programme?  Some nice bits - especially at the end,
where WILLIAM HARTNELL's Doctor stood behind and above the
line of other incarnations - but, overall, it failed to deliver.

It's interesting that Moffat, who wrote some of the better scripts
when RUSSELL T. DAVIES was the main man, has been unable to
attain his former heights since he's been at the helm.  The trouble is (in my
opinion) that - as the ultimate example of a Doctor Who fan-boy geek him-
self, his self-indulgent revelling in his own vision of what the programme is
about - while doubtless leaving other geeks in convulsions of ecstasy at the
pseudo-scientific gobbledygook and non-coherent nonsense presented on-
screen - tends to leave more sensible, level-headed viewers feeling alien-
ated (apt word, considering the topic) by the lack of clear, linear
storytelling presented in an intriguing and compelling way.

As I've said before, the impression given is that he starts from an
idea of what he imagines will be an 'in your face' series of images - and
then tries to weave a story through them in order to tie them all together in
some way - rather than have an idea for a story first and then work out the
best way to tell it.  I could well be wrong of course, but there has to be some
explanation as to why a more mainstream audience remains unimpressed
by his efforts, while viewers who love the show don't have any pals who
aren't Doctor Who fans and have never had a girlfriend.

JOHN HURT gave a stellar performance of how the Doctor should
be portrayed, while the smug comedy double-act of MATT SMITH and
DAVID TENNANT reminded me of why I'm glad to be seeing the back of
Smith.  This was meant to be drama, remember, but at no time was there any
real sense of menace or danger;  instead we were subjected to Moffat's limited
repertoire of cliched, by-the-numbers, well-worn nods in the vague direction
of something slightly resembling (but not too much) suspense.  Yawn.  And,
nice as it was to see TOM BAKER subsidising his pension, his cameo
appearance made absolutely no damn sense.

A wasted opportunity in my view, and the fact that Moffat reportedly
wrote extra-tough, convoluted dialogue for PETER CAPALDI's audition
doesn't bode well for those who'd hoped to have seen the end of confusing,
illogical stories where the Doctor breathlessly explains what's been happen-
ing and how he's going to solve it in a panting paragraph of dreary and un-
convincing exposition before pressing a button on his sonic screwdriver
in the last five minutes and making everything right again.

Personally, I'd rather see DAVID BRADLEY given the chance to
revive Hartnell's Doctor in a series of 'untold tales' TV specials - now
that would be worth watching.  Who's with me?  (Pun intended.)

Agree or disagree, folks?  The comments section
is open for business - don't disappoint me!

14 comments:

John Pitt said...

In a word - YES! If I can't unterstand SM's programmes, how the heck are kids supposed to? and the new Daleks! and, I mean, Dalek parliament & prime minister? Really!? I think Russel T. took it ad far as it could go. After that, there was nothing left to do.

John Pitt said...

P.S. Don't forget the Xmas DW vs. a shark........

Christopher Nevell said...

This was a special evening for me personally as it was my 6 year old daughter's first modern Doctor Who. She loved it (so maybe she can explain to me all the bits I didn't get).

George Shiers said...

Perhaps you'll like this:

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-11-24/peter-davison-colin-baker-and-sylvester-mccoy-unite-for-doctor-who-spoof-the-fiveish-doctors

Kid said...

Needs to get back to good, solid storytelling in my view, JP.

******

Funnily enough, Chris, I got it - but I could see where non-Whovian viewers might be confused. It was just too 'internal' I thought.

******

Ta, George - I'll take a look.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Loved it myself, and that's as someone with only the vaguest interest in Doctor Who - I've only seen one Smith episode besides this one, and the last one I saw before that was the Xmas special on the Titanic (with Kylie Minogue).

I DO, however, have an understanding of who's who (pun!). Much in the same way as I am towards Marvel and Batman stuff - I don't pursue it but have enough of an understanding of it to get excited about the odd thing. And that bit with ALL the doctors DID get me excited.

So excited I made an effort to watch Daleks Earth Invasion 2150 on Channel 5 this morning, which I haven't seen since I was 8.

Kid said...

There were parts I did enjoy, THB, but, overall, I just didn't think that it lived up to expectations. I've got both the Peter Cushing movies on DVD - must watch them again sometime.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I watched it for the first time today, as I have previously said I'm not a big Doctor Who fan, but thought this was written by a fanboy for fanboys ( a bit like a lot of todays comics) and I didn't quite get it all (why was the Tom Baker Doctor Who there?)but yeah it was entertaining enough for me a non fan. I don't think the character has had his day, in fact I can only see it getting stronger but only if they get back to writing stories for the kids (that adults can enjoy also) and not trying to be clever all the time - also enjoyed the ending nice touch - McScotty

Kid said...

I think that's the problem, McScotty - they're trying to be clever all the time and have the characters spouting 'witty' one-liners. It gets a bit wearisome after a while. Verity Lambert herself said, long after she'd left the programme, that the characters all looked as if they were having a great time being chased by aliens and that there was no longer any real, palpable sense of menace. I think she was spot-on, and that aspect has reared its tedious head again since Moffat took over.

Christopher Nevell said...

Happy to see that the ret-conned doctor wasn't ret-conned out.

mlp said...

It didn't make much sense to me, but I'll watch anything with John Hurt in it, he elevates everything he's in. And it was nice to see Tom Baker as well. Nice to see he's still around...he's basically who I picture as the good doctor.

Kid said...

Not yet anyway, Chris. Sort of rendered Paul McGann's Doc's choice of a 'warrior' regeneration redundant.

******

William Hartnell for me, Mlp.

Dougie said...

I saw the special in the local cinema, which is an old-fashioned, Art Deco place, with great charm.

It was abolutely stowed- so much so, a second showing was scheduled for Sunday. The audience were predominantly teens and children, many dressed in variations of Matt Smith's costume ( 3 fezzes in one row).

To my mind, there wasn't much to enjoy for that audience in the first half-hour but the "trailers" from comedy Sonataran Strax and the Doctors were playful and amusing.

I agree with everything you say about Moffat's weaknesses. However, I thought the coda with Tom Baker wasn't meant to be literal - this wasn't the Fourth Doctor as much as a collective memory of him. I think a lot of the more literal-minded, concrete thinkers find that kind of allusive, poetic touch frustrating.

BTW,this was the first time I'd ever seen a 3D presentation at the cinema- except it wasn't because I seemed to be the only person who didn't have or get the glasses!

Kid said...

Without the glasses, Dougie, didn't everything look a bit blurred - or were there only occasional bits in 3D?

As for the poetic touches, I do get that, but the trouble is that Moffat jumps between 'literal' and 'poetic' too damn much for the viewer to be always sure which is which. Whenever I watch an episode of Doctor Who, I try and place myself in the position of someone seeing the programme for the very first time, and - on that level - I think the storylines are very often disappointing, despite some nice touches every now and again.

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