Saturday, 12 September 2009

Where Doctor Who goes wrong

Let's be honest; children with knives and/or other instruments liable to cause injury are scary. Without said items they become merely miniature versions of us, albeit oddly louder and often more insufferable.

So why does Doctor Who, and Torchwood, appear fixated with using the little darlings as plot devices? A playground full of kiddies saying in unison "We are coming", as seen in Torchwood, is NOT frightening, it's not even remotely unnerving (it is, however, worthy of a sly snigger because the script-writers clearly don't bargain on the gutter brain mentality many of us adults have). Far too often these shows resort to using children in the mistaken belief that is will make us go “Oh no, not the children!”. It does, it makes me go “Oh no, not the children again!?”

Doctor Who can get it absolutely right, as with the episode ‘Blink’ which didn’t even resort to copious amounts of CGI to unnerve us, relying on superb storytelling and creepy direction, resulting in one of the best episodes in the revived show’s history. But then they go and spoil it in another show by centring the story about bloody children again. I understand that their target demographic for Doctor Who is youngsters but this does not mean that the plotline has to frequently involve them. Oh, and Doctor Who appeals to older viewers too, the ones that were loyal to it throughout its history – even when the BBC intentionally set out to destroy it with strangled budgets and appalling stories. The Beeb seems to forget we’re out here watching.

Another thing, whilst I’m at it.

Doctor Who’s enemies have become far too choreographed, and far too formulaic in their movements. Doctor Who was always rough around the edges. It was part of the charm. These days, as seen in the behind the scenes shows, they spend so long choreographing the enemies that it somehow looks even less realistic than if they were simply told to ‘march over there and do try not to walk into each other this time’. It’s becoming style over substance, sometimes at the expense of the story.

Neither is a bad show, not by a long way, and I avidly watch. But Doctor Who’s not the show I grew up with and, I don’t know, sometimes it feels like they’re changing a little too much and trying to be a little too clever.
Oh, and BBC, shove the same budget at a remake of Blake’s 7 will you!

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