Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Category


A little late, but…

May 16, 2011

It’s taken me until now to start formulating adequately my reservations about the current series of “Doctor Who”.  By that I mean the run from 2005 to the present (in t’ old days we used t’ call t’ series a season eeeee, it were grand!).  For the sake of some clarity (if not brevity), I shall from here refer to Classic Who (meaning 1963 – 1989) and New Who (meaning the 2005 + seasons).

The New Who has tried hard to connect itself with Classic Who via a multitude of flashbacks, visual references and continuity a go-go, frankly enough to have kept the older fanbase squeeing with delight (which appears to be largely successful, but this may not be the case – I’m open to conjecture).  Old enemies and acquaintances have appeared frequently, but there’s a catch:  Some of it just doesn’t feel right.

Let’s look at the overall show, first.  There was a time (well, let’s face it – it was 1996) when suddenly the series I thought I knew took a turn for the odd in its journey.  The TV movie.  McGann’s only outing to date as the Eighth Doctor.  I had a feeling that it was going to be iffy mostly due to the US influence in its construction.  American TV networks don’t do UK originated stuff well and, to be fair vice versa more often than not (“Married for Life”:  Exhibit A).  When I said this once, I was reassured that it was only to be made for a US network, not by a US network.  The target audience was obvious and the result was predictable (in more ways than one).  The TV movie’s failure was, in a lot of ways, the catharsis I needed to accept the end of the show I’d watched and cared about for a long time.  After all, I still had my Classic Who videos.

Then came the new series, within less than a decade of the TV movie.  At least this was to be made by the Beeb and, therefore, couldn’t be as dubious in content and execution.  Could it?

This is a bit of a problematic area.  New Who is made for a modern audience.

There seems to be the general conceit (and again, here I’m open to argument) that the “old guard” of fandom that stuck with the series through until its 1989 demise would mostly remain loyal.  They would remain in situ for the duration and, if the modern series was linked via the aforementioned flashbacks and continuity references, would readily accept New Who.  That equates to some merchandising and viewers before a product hits the screen.

New Who, though, has to be reshaped from Classic Who roots to fit the mores and sensibilities of the current potentially viewing public.  That’s a public that has had very little programming of a similar nature to Classic Who and of UK origin in 15+ years.  The shows that have been broadcast have all been from the US and, frankly, lack the relevant scope and format to be completely comparable.  Add to this the number of films that go for spectacle and run-shout-shoot sequences and there’s going to have to be a change in order to survive.

The series we’ve got currently is a product of both the producers and the audience.  There’s more run-shout-shoot in New Who than in Classic Who, yet this was something that was a source of derision “way back when”.

With that thought, I’ll bring this post to a temporary stop.  More to follow…