Continuing my catch up with Who and the second post of the day so far…say welcome back for Doctor’s 9,10,11 and 12…so far.
After much manic – and probably dangerous to people in a ten foot radius – bouncing around, my first thoughts of the new Who was that it was all over a bit to quickly, gone were the days of the cliff hanger episode endings to, instead we were ‘treated to’ inclusions of previews for the following episode. the whole feel of the show was different and it worried and dare I say it disappointed me…for a while that is.
After focussing on what seemed like a whole lot of negatives (although not deal breakers in any way) I started to re watch more closely and think more deeply, as is my way, about Who and the present generation of children with short attention spans and all those e-numbers rolling around their systems. Time has moved on and so had my favourite sci-fi show.
Change always encounters opposition but thinking about how the original incarnation grew too familiar, this jolt became more pleasant as I witnessed of the new run. Some episodes did and still do take time to grow on me but I have decided that the new format, whilst initially off-putting to me as a veteran of the old Who way of life, became a richer experience as I began to look at the positives and then it all clicked for me and I welcomed the Doctor back.
(you know the scene, I see the Doctor at the other side of a hilly meadow, eye contact is made, we run towards each other – my floaty white dress amazingly not impeding me – until we rush into each others arms…which is really well-timed because the orchestra hidden just out of camera shot reaches its crescendo and then all is right with the world again and I whisper in his ear that “we are not in the least bit cliché.”)
The 45 minute episodes do give a quickness to a story but the trade off for long stories is a rollercoaster ride of emotions…the humour feels more pronounced than ever, there are emotional bits and lots of running and things seem to slide into each other in almost seamless ways. Usually it’s only afterwards that I realise a comedy episode turned serious at some point and then emotional but where exactly these changes occurred are always very subtle and well defined.
This time around the show is more sophisticated, not just special effects wise, although they still have a pleasingly ‘hokey’ feel to them, but with contained storylines as well as story arcs which run through the season. Boundaries are pushed more (for the family show that this is) but the essence of the original remains.
There is still that scare factor that unerringly taps into the innermost fears of kids and sometimes adults too. The existentialist and adult themes that the show has always tackled remain, as does the inventive juggling of the criminally low budget it receives. Happily, the occasional literary reference still remain scattered throughout, such as the black spot which comes from Treasure Island and is integral in the Matt Smith episode which features….pirates!
The best change for me though are the companions who are not just there to ask the questions the audience want to know and to be saved from certain death far to frequently. They are more integral to the plot than before, they are capable of teaching the doctor things and are given their own stories and allowed to develop in an almost symbiotic way with the Doctor. Who incidentally doesn’t use weapons these days and always advocates the peaceful solution first. How times have changed and stayed the same…or remained relative, if you will.