Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

New New Post!


This time last year, while waiting for "Doctor Who" to return to our screens after an absence of almost sixteen years, no-one knew exactly what to expect. One year on and it's pretty much business as usual! Now we can predict the type of story RTD will deliver with ease. My one cause for optimism this season is that Russell has penned fewer of the thirteen episodes. He wrote eight of Season One's run whereas for Season Two he has written five. Combined, he has written a whole season's worth of material over two years and, if he gives the Christmas episode to another writer this year, Russell has written exactly half of the Doctor's air time.

Maybe the other writers' scripts are stronger because they are only writing one or two episodes a year and, although he claims otherwise, Russell is perhaps spreading himself too thinly. As well as being the chief writer, he is also the Executive Producer of "Doctor Who" and presumably has been busy setting up its spin-off series "Torchwood". Where "Buffy" had her "Angel", the Doctor has his Captain Jack! My gut feeling, however much I try to deny it to myself, is that this most British of shows doesn't work in the American format. "Doctor Who" works best as a series of serials, one of the main reasons for its enduring uniqueness. I miss the time taken to tell a story properly and I miss the cliffhanger...

In the 2003 documentary "The Story of Doctor Who", recently repeated at the end of BBC3's "Doctor Who Night", Colin Baker partly attributes the failure of his Doctor to find mass appeal to the reformatted structure of 1985's Season Twenty-two. In particular, Colin blames the consequential reduction in the number of cliffhangers. This only served to lessen the impact of a story when changing from three, found in the traditional-length story of four twenty-five minute episodes, to one, as seen in the two forty-five minute episode design. Ironically, Colin has subsequently gone on to praise new "Doctor Who" which, under the guidance of RTD, has seen a further reduction in the number of cliffhangers to three per season!

This year we can look forward to mid-story cliffhangers in both Cybermen adventures and in the tale set on the alien planet. Another irony is that the weakest point of Cyber-director Graeme Harper's previous work on "Doctor Who" are his mid-story cliffhangers, specifically the lumbering and wooden Magma beast in "The Caves of Androzani" and the Garden of Fond Memories' falling statue in "Revelation of the Daleks"! His two other cliffhangers, at the end of episodes one and three of "The Caves of Androzani", featuring, firstly, the execution of the robed fifth Doctor and Peri and, latterly, the spacecraft hurtling towards the planet, are both topnotch moments.

"New Earth" was fun, moved at the usual rollicking pace, but ultimately empty. Bite-size "Doctor Who", never mind Tardisodes! It had ideas but was too short to allow them any development. Composer Benjamin Britten said ideas are two-a-penny but turning them into a structured composition in which you evolve an argument to a satisfactory conclusion is another thing altogether.

The Doctor's intention from the outset is to visit the hospital so why materialise so far away? When Colin Baker's Doctor did this in "Revelation" everyone complained. Perhaps the cost of parking at a hospital, so far in the future, has increased astronomically! That might account for so many flying cars which could be seen in longshot but were miraculously absent in closeup! Rose possessed brought to mind the Rani impersonating Mel in Sylvester McCoy's debut. Zoe Wanamaker's Cassandra, reportedly inspired by seeing a very slim Nicole Kidman on the red carpet at some awards ceremony, at the end of the episode reminded me more of Mariah Carey, full of her own self-importance. Chip viewing the opening action in his sphere, through the eyes of the spider, was traditional so why can't we see a return to a season of multi-part stories and, thus, a reinstatement of the time-honoured cliffhanger?

To Be Continued...

3 comments:

karensff said...

I am feeling better thanks. I did watch Doctor Who but had to watch it a second time as I could barely remember it, lol.

I have to agree that the serials being missing was one of my disappointments. It still is. I just think they could do so much more if they had stuck to that format.

I liked Tennant. I thought he was funny and again I surprised myself by liking the character Rose. The episode itself I found disappointing. Loose ends were tied up too easily and I didn't think much of that ending. Cassandra gave up too easily and the Doctor found a cure too easily.

I think the reason the Tardis was parked away this time is because it is the first alien planet since old Doctor Who. They wanted the chance to show that and probably felt that this was the best way.

Look forward to next weeks werewolves.

Stuart Douglas said...

I have to say I loved 'New Earth' and liked it just as much on a second viewing.

I share your concern for RTD's work suffering from his taking on too much of the burden of making the show, but hopefully the fact he's doing fewer episods this time round, will help.

What's most appealing for me though is the fcat that Tennant simply 'feels' like The Doctor from my youth, which Eccleston, great actor though he undoubtedly is, never did.

Stewart M. said...

I'm very surprised to read that you weren't terribly annoyed by the horribly tired 'bodyswapping' throughout!