Friday 22 November 2013

Special concerns

It is reasonable to soon begin measuring that temporal distance until airing in hours. I'm excited for the approach, as I always am these days. It's odd now to think of the wait between the end of the original series, and first airings of the revived series, because I gave up. I didn't watch the first episode, instead preferring to remember those Doctors who'd populated my youth, rather than risk what could have possibly come out of whatever the BBC had become.

There are expectations this time. Not that we have experienced the hiatus that came before, but it would be fair to say that most of the truly exceptional episodes of the revived series have been the regular series episodes, and not the specials, which for the most part seem to suffer under the weight of the belaboured spectacle. There is the expectation that the 50th anniversary will somehow be immune to this. I'm not sure how or why, given the track record.

There is this whole other thing that concerns me. Traditionally the format of lots of crazy nonsense going on requires the establishing of a setting, usually all supporting characters, and whatever you need for the plot to get going, which generally takes some time. In the past stories that have gone down the ensemble route, have ended up a little light on plot points and actual story, in order to let everyone involved get enough screen time and dialogue to justify their presence. This issue plagued the early adventures of the 5th Doctor who wheeled about with three whole companions, and is most apparent in the "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" two-parter, which is possibly the most plot-lite story to appear in the revived series, with the possible exception of "Planet of the Dead", in which they run out of time for anything of any substance to actually happen. In defence of the latter, it struck me as an incredibly half-arsed backdoor pilot for a show about the two-dimensional walking cliche-monster, Lady Christina de Souza. Did you like how I said it was a defence an then it clearly wasn't? I did. I enjoyed that. It is hands down the worst Doctor Who story that has ever been televised, bar none. Bar none.

Those are my concerns, and in some ways this has left me more excited about An Adventure in Space and Time, which I have mentioned before as some sort of prolific box ticking monster. I also feel like it might have a little more going on in the story department. Plus the box thing. I like it when boxes are ticked.

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