Wednesday, 23 June 2010

What Doctor?

The latest series of the British fantasy show Dr Who ends this weekend and as I wrote a review of the first episode I suppose I ought to say something. Although what I can say will be limited as I've given up on the show, possibly forever.

I found the first episode to be fresh and interesting with a new Doctor, new companion and new production team, but my enthusiasm died quickly and after a few episodes I gave up on regular watching. I dipped in occasionally while searching for a channel that wasn't showing a bunch of millionaire fashion models mincing around a field with a round thing. But those flashes always irritated me within minutes and I didn't stay. I've just had a look at the Who forums and it seems the series is popular and the last episode was apparently: Like. The. Best. Episode. Ever. But that tends to happen most weeks so I'm still not sure if it's a weak show, it's me failing to grasp its subtleties, or it's just the sad fact I'm now a lot older than the target demographic. I think it's probably the latter.

My main problem is the new companion of Amy. The character is inconsistent and unappealing, which I gather is deliberate because there's supposed to be something mysterious about her that makes her act oddly. But I found it hard to care as I'd never seen her behaving normally. She reminds me of one of those sitcom characters whose role is to deliver one-liners and do weird things in every episode. I also don't think the actress is any good. I think I could probably get used to the new Doctor Matt Smith with time, but, to me anyhow, he comes over as a weak actor too. I've never, not once, believed in him. He gives a performance as a madcap character in which every nuance, every gesture, every line is delivered to convey that he's madcap while never once inhabiting the role. I get the feeling those two had a great time filming the show, but sadly that didn't translate into something I enjoyed watching.

But I guess it's not their fault and it's more to do with the way the series has been produced to appeal to children rather than to the inner-child in all of us. The stories make less sense than they used to, the sonic screwdriver is now a magic wand, and the bad guys are there mainly to be made into models and toys. I could moan some more, but the show doesn’t deserve criticism. It's a quality show, and it's time for me to accept that the days of quirky sci-fi from thirty odd years ago won't return and leave the children to have their fun.


Nik said...

My wife and I gave up on it, despite the high production values and some good scripts. The greatest Dr Who villain put paid to us: foreground music. There was Ian McNeice doing a worthy Churchill (war leader, not dog) and at the dramatic moment his speech was drowned by music! If I'd been the actor or the scriptwriter, I'd have been furious. And it happened time and again in every show to the point that we gave up on it.

I.J. Parnham said...

Ah, yes, the Who music. This has been a huge bugbear of mine for several years. In fact it's just about the only subject I've spent any time debating with Who fans on forums and suchlike. Apparently it annoys only a small percentage of people and complaining about it usually results in the kids telling you that you're an old deaf duffer who doesn't know how to tune in your tv properly, which could well be right, but I have no problem with any other tv program. And yet for some reason on comes Who and I have to lipread what everyone is saying. Taking surround sound off helps a bit, but still, to me the sound balance is off and again something that's stopped me getting into it.


I agree - the show has gone down hill and is now aimed securely at the younger viewers. My guess is that the next Doc will be a ten year old.And I had such hopes for Steven Moffet