Is it time? Can I, dare I, admit it? Yes, I have to.
I don’t like the new series of Doctor Who.
There, I’ve said it. I know I should love it. I know it is wrong of me but I just don’t like it. Before I get into it, here’s a disclaimer:
This is just my opinion. I am not claiming to be a better writer/director/producer/whatever than anyone involved in the new Doctor Who. They all have mountains of awards and I’ve got . . . well not much, frankly. This is purely an expression of my feelings and opinions, please do not mistake it for fact.
Now, you have to understand what it means when I say I don’t like the current series of Doctor Who. I have been watching Doctor Who since before I can remember, I have been told I was watching it before my first memories of anything. It was my favourite TV show when I was three, it was my favourite TV show when I was twelve, it was my favourite show when I was eighteen and it wasn’t even on the air then. At any point in my life if you asked me my favourite TV show the answer has been the same, Doctor Who. I’m thirty-nine now.
In the dark days after the TV show got cancelled I watched the videos, I read the books (both the Virgin and BBC ones) and I listened to the audios (official and unofficial). I have bought fanzines, queued for autographs and embarassed myself with long, intricate rants about very minor issues from the show on more occassions than I can count. I ranted about the ridiculous decision not to make a proper series with Paul McGann and debated every actor who has ever been considered for the role.
So when I say I don’t like the new series it is a big thing. I can even see the good points in the Twin Dilema so I know a thing or two about bad Doctor Who.
Lets start at the beginning with the new Doctor Who has a whole. The first series with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper – genius! I love every minute of it and have watched it over and over again. Then on to David Tennant – a bit of a wobble with his first season (good but not a patch on the series before) but from then onwards, brilliant. When David Tennant and Russel T Davies chose to leave I have to admit it seemed like time, any longer for either of them and they’d never be able to leave. They’d given us some amazing stories but they wanted to move on and we were all ready to see what might come next. That’s when we got Matt Smith. I admit it, I was sceptical. He was too young. Except he wasn’t. He was great. However, that’s when the cracks started to show.
Don’t get me wrong, Matt Smith himself was great from his first scene to his last. But I started having problems with the stories. I’m not sure I have understood a single one of the season ending stories starring Matt Smith for example. I bet they are all really clever and really deep and meaningful but they just don’t make sense to me. And I’m not dumb. I have a Master’s degree, read and understand Shakespeare and can put together Ikea furniture. All that stuff from the Alex Kingston episodes with the pyramids and stuff? No clue.
Then the companions stopped travelling with the doctor. Why? No clue. Now we have Peter Capaldi, an actor I have always thought is outstanding , as the Doctor. This should be great. But it isn’t. Why? For a start there is Clara Oswald. I do not know if Jenna Coleman has deliberately chosen to play her as the most smug, irritating character ever created or if it is the fault of the writers but either way, she is still smug and irritating. Everyone fancies Clara, Clara always knows best. Clara is always vitally important. Clara is basically responsible for the very existence of the Doctor. Clara is the dominant character in the show. Seriously. The Doctor is a supporting cast member at the moment. Why? No clue.
Next up we have the stories. ‘Deep Breath’ – the beginning of the Clara oswald show. I think the Doctor made an appearance but it was pretty incidental. ‘Into the Dalek’ – ok, hands up who didn’t spot that if you fix a damaged Dalek that seems to have turned good it will turn evil again . . . no-one? Yep. Predictable does not even begin to cover it. ‘Robots of Sherwood’ – Fluff. Practically a cartoon. Once again, everyone fancies Clara. ‘Listen’ – a story with no actual monster and even less of a point. Should really be called ‘Clara goes on a date’ as that is mostly what it is about. ‘Time Heist’ – so caught up with being clever about time travel it forgot to be a good story. In exactly none of these episodes is there any serious hint of danger toward any of the characters. Really. If you didn’t spot the two characters in Time Heist were going to pop up again having teleported when you thought they’d died then you really need to go back to school.
When Steven Moffat first took over he tried too hard to be like Russel T Davies, but he didn’t have the same skill with charming characters, witty dialogue and fun stories. Then he decided to be himself. I respect the decision but it has changed Doctor Who into a show I just don’t like. I really wish the BBC would get in someone new, someone with a new vision, someone who will change things up and make it fun again. Either that or bring back Russel T Davies.
Rant over. And don’t get me started on Sherlock.