Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Dr. Who...Memo to the Writing Room.

I'm a big TV nerd and one of my favourite genres is sci fi, so imagine my disappointment when Doctor Who started going off the boil again. I say again because, for those of us who recall it, the series was originally cancelled back in the days of yore because of such appalling examples of terrible taste as the giant killer liquorice allsort in what was supposed to be a satire upon Margaret Thatcher (don't ask!).

While it might not be in quite the same league, the totally unnecessary voice-over in a Southern accent in last week's episode (you remember, the one with the cute guy from Farscape in it, albeit occluded behind facial fur) seemed to me a harbinger. It was what people suffering from Gareth Evans syndrome (and who have been watching far too much To Kill a Mockingbird) call a good idea.

In the golden age of Hollywood they often used to lock recalcitrant writers up to get them to finish screen-plays (I heard one where the studio locked them in a train carriage) and while this may have worked with talented but difficult Continental artistic types, for Doctor Who writers it seems to cause a strange sort of brain malaise which can be described in the following terms:
(a) inability to tell a "good idea" from a good idea (see above);
(b) inability to remember that you've told a story before (see the episode following, which should have been titled "Yet Another Alien Invasion Involving a Hospital");
(c) inability to see that a story is too confused to follow (that first one with the Daleks and the undead).

You guys in the writing room need to watch the episodes from the eighties which display these syndromes... This a show that is so easy to write badly. It's meant to be eccentric, not unnecessarily wacky.


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