Wednesday, January 02, 2008

That Sinking Feeling

There’s always the chance that some good things may come from bad situations. Christmas in Devon may have sucked big time, but it meant that I missed the Doctor Who episode.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. Thankfully back from my sister’s on the day, I flipped on the set and caught a couple of minutes. It looked a little bit cheap and a lot of stupid. And allowed little stunt-cast-Kylie to prove that she still can’t act. I switched it off.

There didn’t seem to be a point to carry on watching it. I could have, and then spewed on about just how fucking awful it most probably was. But why make the day worse, right?

I’d started getting riled once the first trailers showed that the Titanic that crashes into the TARDIS wasn’t the White Star Line’s RMS Titanic, built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Instead of the passenger liner that set sail from Southampton on April 10th, 1912 on her maiden voyage to New York, it was a spaceship in the shape of the Titanic.

Maybe there was a decent explanation somewhere in the show as to why the spaceship was in the form of the Titanic – though frankly even I doubt it. As soon as the first brief clip appeared on television, all I could think of was Douglas Adams’ Spaceship Titanic.

So already it began with a stolen idea. Then came the indication that it was a disaster movie in the vein of The Poseidon Adventure in space. Would it really be too much trouble for Russell T. Davies to try and come up with... oh, maybe an original idea for a change rather than pinch other people’s material?

Then, with the transmission date inching ever nearer, came this article in The Times magazine by Cackling Moron, one of the worst offenders amongst the hacks who furiously wank off over how utterly fucking brilliant Doctor Who is.

Is there a complete blind spot to this programme or do I simply not get it? Yesterday evening I was watching Untitled on DVD, Cameron Crowe’s extended cut of Almost Famous. In one scene, toward the end of the movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Lester Bangs says to the young journalist William Miller, regarding the article he has to write on the band Stillwater: “But if you want to be a real friend to them -- Be honest and unmerciful.”

Nobody seems to want to be honest with Doctor Who, let alone unmerciful. The default setting on what comes out of the mouths of the show’s producers is pure, undiluted hyperbole and everyone else appears to go along with it without question.

Obviously the genre magazines suck up with unstoppable fervour because, in all practicality, they need access, or just simply want to be friends and invited to the party. Worse, the more mainstream magazines and broadsheets have joined in to fawn unreservedly rather than cast a critical eye.

Can people really call it the best of British drama and still keep a straight face?


At 10:14 pm, Blogger Ian said...

Nostalgia has a lot to answer for. Although The Times link you posted is disappointing they had a much better report from Tim Teeman a few days later, which started off with the unfashionable "Doctor Who sucks" - and attracted the usual name calling and whinging from its saddo fans who can't discern quality from pap. That article is here:

I made a point of avoiding it on Christmas Day as soon as I heard Russel T Davies was writing it. It was quite amusing to read blog entries from friends the next morning complaining about it being "disappointing".

But the toys sell and people keep tuning in so we're stuck with the dross for some time to come, I fear. News that Moffat, the only consistently good writer on the show, is busy doing Tin Tin for Spielberg and Jackson offers little hope that things will improve.

At 10:17 pm, Blogger Clair said...

I think your point about everyone wanting to be in on it, so as not to look uncool, is spot-on. Let's see what happens when Russell T Davies and David Tennant leave, shall we? I suspect the next Doctor may not be a sexy one (frankly, the only reason I watch. Sad, ain't it?), so the cool factor may go a bit tepid once Stanley Baxter is the new one.

At 11:06 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Ian, thanks for the link fella. Reading the comments was great. Oh, the little fuckers really get upset don't they. Although I'd prefer they were rounded up and stabbed repeatedly in the face.

Interesting that according to the review by Tim Teeman Astrid sacrificed herself for the good of the world, the Doctor howled and Astrid was transformed into myriad pretty blue stars. “She’s stardust,” said the Doctor breathily.

Obviously I didn't get that far. Still, it sounds suspiciously like they episode from The X-Files where they tried to put the story of Mulder's sister to rest. Something else the Welsh story thief has blatantly pilfered.

Clair, when Davies and Tennant piss off... Oh, time for a party, eh?

At 2:20 pm, Blogger Clair said...

As long as you can act vaguely heroic, you're on!


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