Sunday, 12 October 2014

Doctor Who Cares?

I used to love Doctor Who as a kid.  It appealed to my sense of fantasy, my sense of escapist adventure .  I remember going to the exhibitions in the early eighties.  Tom Baker was the first Doctor I remember in any real detail.  Boy, does that date me.

Anyway, when it came back a few years ago, it was fun.  The first series, with Christopher Ecclestone, was a bit clunky as it found itself, but at least we had a Doctor.  He was a character.  Not quite human, not quite alien.  He doesn't quite understand people, but he empathises with them enormously.  He cares, but not to the point of syrupy nonsense.  I liked it.  A shame he only last one series.

And then there was David Tennant.  At first he didn't have the gravitas of Ecclestone, but it came. It came by the bucketload.  He did "dark", he did "playful" he did "lingering looks at the camera".  And then he started to fall in love with Rose Tyler, and it all started to go wrong.

For me, the thing about the Doctor is that he's not human. He looks it, but the fact that's he's not quite human is part of the character.  He doesn't fall in love with humans, he just cares for them and protects them.

And then all that silly nonsense about the hand turning into a second Doctor and running off into another universe with Rose Tyler.  What was that all about?

And then there was Catherine Tate.  Twitter hated her. I don't quite understand why.  I didn't find Donna particularly annoying at all.  Certainly no more annoying that the latter days of Rose Tyler.

But then David Tennant left.  Well when I say he left, he did take some time about it.  We knew it was coming but then he found the need to potter around time and space saying goodbye to random people he'd met along the way.  Strangely not all of them.  I guess just the ones for which the actors were happy to put in a final appearance.  But anyway, in a very over-dramatic way he sauntered off into the distance and regenerated into an annoying fool.

I'm sure Matt Smith is a very nice person.  Whenever I've seen him talking out of character he certainly comes across that way.  But in character, he didn't nothing other than annoy me.  I just didn't believe that was the Doctor.  Over his tenure in the Tardis I felt myself drifting away from the series.  There wasn't one particular thing which put me off.  There wasn't a single moment of revulsion.  It was more a sense of growing boredom as the years went by.  There was Amy. And Rory. Then Clara.  We'd seen it all before and I just couldn't connect with it.

And then Peter Capaldi was announced. That was a good thing.  I quite liked him in The Thick of It.  But between finding out that Malcom Tucker as The Doctor was coming, we had the Anniversay Episode.  Well several actually.  Paul McGann was back - briefly.  That was cool.  And then there was John Hurt.  And David Tennant was back.  And Billie Piper was back.  And she was good. Very good.

All looked good again.  I actually really enjoyed the 50th anniversary episode.  I went to see it at the cinema. Very rare for me.  But I actually went to the cinema to see it.

And then we had one final flourish from Matt Smith.  If we thought David Tennant had trouble saying goodbye, it had to dragged out to millennia when Matt Smith came to say goodbye.  But then eventually he shuffled off and came Capaldi.

I went to the cinema again to see the first of the Capaldi years.  And I quite liked it.  The robots were lovely and the scene with Clara having to hold her breath was great.  I loved the fact that this series seemed to be a series of fun romps.  Nothing too serious. Nothing too pretentious.  Just running around chasing aliens and having some sarcastic laughs on the way.  All good fun.

Then it went wrong.  What on earth happened with the "Kill The Moon" episode?  Clara went all moody.  The plot was a little thin.  Riddled with holes.  Unclear what was happening.  And then it turned out that actually not very much at all was happening.  All the good of drawing me back in was pretty much undone with that one episode.

And so I find myself bored with it again.  All this stuff about dead people going to a place run by a lady called Missy - and for some reason Chris Addison is also there - could've been an interesting hook into the finale.  But I find myself not really caring what it's all about.

Peter Capaldi is great.  Jenna Coleman is great.  Even the writing is pretty good.  I just really don't like the overall way the series is going.  I am not one of those fans who walks away indignantly if the showrunner doesn't stick exactly to my desired formula. I'm just bored.

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