3/29/2017 0 Comments
Only a couple of weeks ago there were a few ripples of trouble. A disturbance in the Doctor Who universe.
For starters a fantastic actor, Sir John Hurt, passed away after a long battle with cancer. He had done such a fantastic job of taking on such a challenging role in Doctor Who, I think it's a very under-rated performance. He had to play the Doctor between the 90's Doctor we left all those years ago and Christopher Eccleston's Doctor. The one we were all re-introduced to in 2005. He had to play a version of the doctor that we hadn't known existed but at the same time, had built up an idea of. Both in attitude and personality. It's not an easy task taking on the role of the Doctor. Just ask the seventh 6th Doctor, Colin Baker, he was panned by both fans and critics (To be honest, I liked him. His stories were just poorly written) Doctor Who fans know what they like and have expectations that need filling. So to take the already hard role of 'The Doctor' and make it even more complex, well...I can't imagine how Steven Moffat pitched this idea to Sir John Hurt nor can I picture what he must have been thinking to take it on. Yet we all saw THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR in cinemas and were pleasantly, blown away. What a talented actor and fantastic human being, well done to you sir.
The second ripple was the news I had been expecting since Jenna Coleman said she was leaving the series as Clara Oswald. Albeit has taken a while for it to happen, nevertheless, Peter Capaldi announced that he was to be leaving the show. It always hurts when an actor says he's leaving Doctor Who, it tugs at our heartstrings. And we were all left feeling gutted, right? Well... I can't help but feel a lot less people showed emotion than they normally do. To be honest, the show itself has been just as lacklustre as the fan reaction to Capaldi's departure. Is that Peter's fault though? Is that why he has to leave? What about the guy running the whole bloody thing? Funny you mention that actually...long time showrunner, Steven Moffat, also handed in his resignation. How did it come to this?
You see, ever since Capaldi announced his resignation, I have had friends message and text me asking, "Who do you think should play the next Doctor?" But to answer that I think we need to truly understand the question. Because, let's be honest, the past two series/Capaldi's run hasn't fared that well to both fans and critics. And in all honesty I see the problem not being the player but the manager.
The next issue was Moffat started doing two part episodes again. Something he knew didn't work! When he was asked about series seven, prior to its release in 2012, he said "...this time we're moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we're not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie," This format worked brilliantly in both developing our characters, telling thought provoking, exciting stories and being regarded as being on of the strongest series to date. And that one also culminated with us saying bye to not 1 but 2 beloved companions. So why when this series ended, we didn't feel like we've been left with Carl?
What also didn't help his two part stories was that the second part was always muddled tosh. He would write us a magnificent, mystery filled first half, leave us gasping for the next part; The Doctor left in an impossible, cruel predicament. Oh, how we cannot wait to see how he gets out of this! Then we would watch the next episode annnnnd it turns out he saved the day with a guitar or he left Clara to deal with it. It was all a bit underwhelming when compared to series before.
The costumes and makeup (especially in the last series) REALLY took me out of the show. It became as realistic as a child's depiction of the nativity scene.
Truth be told, it's not been ALL bad. I did enjoy series 8 despite the constant need to go "LOOK!....LOOK AT CLARA!!". It had some great episodes, like the Robin Hood episode. And some legendary moments, like Capaldi's speech about war (The Zygon Inversion). But then as I type this, I remember that the speech was part of a large, drawn out two parter, made up of scenes and story from the cutting room floor of 24. And the Robin Hood episode ended with The Doctor using a 13th century bow to shoot a solid gold...I'll say that again...SOLID GOLD arrow, 100's of feet into the sky...because SCIENCE!
In fact it's all become quite odd. We have Steven Moffat. A longtime showrunner, who took the reins of this well oiled machine back in 2010. He had worked and written some episodes in the years beforehand (Forest of the Dead being one of them, a personal favourite of mine) and was more or less handed a show in the same state it is now.
Back in 2010, Doctor Who changed hands with a final episode for David Tennant. That episode saw us say goodbye to a Doctor, who'd captured the hearts of an entirely new generation of fans and reignited the flame for all the classic Whovians out there. An episode that also saw him tie up every loose end with every companion from every series thus far. Moffat couldn't really use anything really in the years prior to start his new series. Did he see this as a problem? No, he saw a blank canvas and he painted. He gave us brilliant, awe inspiring stories. They were complex and mad, like the Doctor himself. Go watch Season 7, it's brilliant! So, how does he end up going from that to thinking it's acceptable for the Doctor to be trapped for 4 BILLION YEARS in one episode, escaping a bad guy that we never see, via a wall, into his home planet THAT'S BEEN GONE SINCE 2005!!?? And the only reason we're told he's "THERE" is to do with his confession dial (if anyone can actually explain that episode to me, there's a shiny gold donkey in it for you).
Honestly, it's become a headache. These same convoluted cracks are also showing on Moffat's other project with Mark Gatiss, 'SHERLOCK'...
"Who do you think should play the next Doctor?", I've mused over this question for the past 2 weeks and I think I have the answer. In fact I know how we can save the whole show! For starters no more 2 parters. Stick with epic, one shots. If you can't tell your story in an hour, then it's probably no good. And your story can be completely impossible and ridiculous and still work in an hour if it's good enough, just look at Series 6 THE DOCTORS WIFE.
Keep it as just the Doctor and his companion. Stop actively trying to thicken up the cast, that's a process you can slowly and naturally do series by series. Make the people and creatures he meets on the way important and memorable by making his time with them more finite. You'll find that you'll have to make every minute on screen with them count and long, episodic monologues won't be filled with unnecessary dross.
So now, the big question: Who should play the Doctor? It's simple. A quality actor that NO ONE has heard of. No recommendations from me, I want them to announce an actor I've never heard of.
When Moffat introduced us to Matt Smith's Doctor, we had no prior thoughts about his work. We didn't see 'Malcolm' from THE THICK OF IT. Just like Tennant before him, this was our first time seeing him. Our first impression of both of those actors was, "They're the Doctor", whether we liked it or not. That's half the battle right there. Now all's they needed was to win us over, and that's easy because we're watching! We were as interested in the actor as we were the character. How was David Tennant going to play him? What little mannerisms was Matt Smith going to bring to the Whovian table? For the actor it's a tremendous journey, one that we feel we're taking with him, making us all much more invested in his adventures.
We need to go back to bare bones, simple one shot episodes with an actor that we only know as the Doctor. Will I get my wish? I'm not sure. As it stands, we're not even sure what gender the Doctor may be yet...
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