Sunday, 18 April 2010

Oh well. Can't win 'em all...

Last week, I turned to the Resident Fan Boy after viewing the second episode of Matt Smith's Doctor (illegally on the computer -- it started legally in Canada yesterday on Space and you can watch it online) and said, "You don't suppose they're all going to be this good, do you?"

Apparently not. I won't go into too much detail for those who won't see this episode for a couple of weeks, but it's written by Mark Gatiss and I wasn't that crazy about The Idiot's Lantern in the New Who Season Two. Although that was better than this.

Maybe I don't like Daleks. I was watching this with elder daughter who had just downloaded it and I asked her: "Do you think I'm just a faux-Who-fan?"
"Yep," she said.
Well, she's seventeen. What does she know? Of the Dalek-episodes so far, I disliked The Daleks in Manhatten double feature and mostly loathed The Stolen Earth double finale (except for the Donna bit). I wasn't crazy about Dalek, but quite liked Doomsday and The Parting of the Ways, so maybe it wasn't the Daleks.

Just maybe it was the awkward, clunky, stupid story. The major thing I notice about the Steven Moffat stories (and the Paul Cornell stories Father's Day and Human Nature, the latter of which gets my vote of Best Doctor Who Story Ever) is that the narrative is all. You're safe to get as scared as all get-out, because you're in the hands of a master story-teller and don't need to waste energy on worrying about ridiculous details.

Last night, I spent the entire episode going: "Whaaaah?" or "Hang on a minute.." or "Excuse me?" There was one clumsy attempt to demonstrate that the Doctor knows all about Loss, but that Amy, being human, understands Love. It came across as an ham-handed amateur psychological encounter group kneeling on a laboratory floor. Amy, to be frank, just ended up sounding a wee bit tawdry and creepy. In short, the whole plot flowed with all the grace of a graphic novel. The only graphic novel I've been able to stand is Maus.

It didn't help that I'd just come in from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's version of Moulin Rouge. I didn't like the movie, but I figured this wouldn't have Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor warbling Come What May. It didn't, but once again it was the insipid story that had me dozing off in the second act. Pretty sets and costumes and competent dancing simply can't save a limp plot, even in the ballet.

That night, I kept dreaming I had made fatal errors in judgment and awoke several times with overwhelming feelings of doom, futility and a sense that someone else was in the room, aside from the Resident Fan Boy. I blame noxious narratives.

Oh well, as others have said: "Bad Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who", and less-than-wonderful art helps us recognise and appreciate what wonderful art is. Thank goodness it will be another Steven Moffat story on Doctor Who next week, complete with Weeping Angels and River Song. That should get the bad taste out of my mouth.


JoeinVegas said...

Finally got to see the new Doctor on TV (no teen agers in this house unfortunately (or fortunately)). I thought they both were tremendous and am looking forward to more.

Persephone said...

Well, this was the third episode I was talking about. I loved the first two. Out there on the internet, some people hated the second episode and some people loved the third. There are even people (all fellas of a certain age I notice) who are griping about the special effects in the first.

Looks like Doctor Who is continuing to please all of the people some of the time. I fully expect to be pleased by episode four next week.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Hee, well, I wasn't wild but didn't totally dislike ep 3 which appears the most divisive so far (definitely irking a large proportion of fandom, not least for making the Daleks too comfy for the operators).

Jane Henry said...

Well I'm like Lisa, I actually quite enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good as the first two. We have to worry when people don't care about Dr Who and then a 21st Michael Grade will take it off air again.

Anyway I mainly dropped by to say have a lovely day, Persephone!! Hope it's spring round your way by now!

Persephone said...

Bless you, Jane/Jules! It's one of those "at least I've got my health" days, but I'm hoping to defer the celebration to Saturday, because we have to go to a damn reception for elder daughter's new university this evening.

Also, on Saturday, I hope we'll have a real celebration with River Song and the Weeping Angels, depending on how long it takes elder daughter to illegally upload the episode...