Monday, 10 November 2014

Review of Doctor Who Series 8 - 2014

*
I have watched all the new series of Doctor Who featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth incarnation of The Doctor.

I am very pleased to report that I found Capaldi to be a great Doctor, one of my top three with the Second and the Fourth. Whenever he was on screen and given decent things to speak and do, I was enthralled.

But the series as a whole was only partially-good. The problem was in the writing: specifically the emphasis, and the story arc of the series as a whole.

*

Three episodes were excellent: Listen, Mummy on the Orient Express, and The Caretaker; several others were very good: Robot of Sherwood, Time Heist and Flatline. So that is half the episodes as good to excellent - a decent hit rate!

But some episodes were bad: the opener - Deep Breath was a very unsatisfactory introduction; Into the Dalek was the waste of a good idea, and the rest, including the Finale, just didn't work.

Plus, of course, Kill the Moon was The Worst. Doctor Who. Episode. Ever.

*

The problem was, as so often in the revived Doctor Who: The Companion.

Structurally the series as a whole was a Chick-Lit Soap Opera with SciFi interludes. Several episodes were actually framed by Clara's tedious 'relationship', especially her annoyingly frequent phone calls. And when we weren't being tormented by relationship issues; we were much too often subjected to Clara's sophomoric and cliched analyses of what kind of person The Doctor really is...

The ratio of discussing The Doctor to actually seeing him in action was way too high (especially in the first episode).

I wanted to shout the old script-writing principle - Don't Tell Us: Show Us .

*

Actually I liked Danny Pink - and would have been happy to see him as a Companion - the actor has a charm about him, and his interchanges with the Doctor in The Caretaker were very enjoyable - but he was pretty much wasted on Clara; being the butt of her off-the-peg 'feistiness'.

*

In general, taking the story arc of the whole series - I think the basic problem is that the head screen writer Steven Moffat has caved-in to feminist critics, pandered to (real or imaginary) prime-time viewers; and focused on 'building-up' female-interest - to remake Doctor Who as The Clara and Doctor Show.

All this at the expense of showing us this brilliant new Doctor doing Doctor-type things.

*

Well, plot-wise it seems we will at last be rid of this smug and pedestrian young woman companion - but unless the weaknesses of this series have been recognized, and the correct lessons have been learned, then the next series will be different but not better.

*