Thursday, 18 April 2013

Doctor What (TF)?

I have watched a few of this (and the last) series of Doctor Who and, so far, I've enjoyed it but been a bit underwhelmed.

Now that's fine because it's not for me, it is for kids and that's cool. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy watching it with the boy when he's a bit older. I did -love- it when Christopher Eccleston was the Doctor though. I thought he nailed it and brought a sense of real danger to the role that's been much lacking since. But, a twitter conversation with the always rather 'establishment*' thinker @Ruthlesscult had me thinking of what I'd do if put in charge of Doctor Who's scripting^. And in time honoured tradition I have done a blog post about it without properly thinking anything through.

It also involves a list. DOUBLE WIN.

1)  I would smash the sonic screwdriver with a sonic hammer and then smash that.

Locked in a room? Sonic screwdriver. On a crashing spaceship and can't get into the controls? Sonic screwdriver. Being attacked by evil badgers controlled with space collars? Sonic screwdriver. It's vastly overpowered and an easy get out for scriptwriters. On a more logical 'in world' level as it seems to act on anything electronic then any Dalek or Cyberman invasion should be easily ended with a quick sonic blast.

Smash it. Get rid of it. The Doctor needs nothing but his wits.

And some pants. Obviously.

2) More Daleks.

3)  Stop the Tardis working properly. Oh I know, no more Tardis chases or ending the episode watching a star explode or something. But it's also a get out clause and the writers use it in the same way they use the sonic screwdriver. It is far too reliable.

'But it's sentient cos in ep...'

Shut up. I am not listening.

Instil in the Tardis (again) the sense of the same (unknown-but-not-God) force that seemed to be controlling Sam in Quantum Leap^*. Is the Tardis completely randomly dropping him in places or is there some force behind it? OH LOOK. POTENTIAL STORY ARC.

4)More Daleks.

5) Make him older. The Doctor is not humanity's cool uncle. He is our Dad. Even better, our crazy Grandad.

Would you write in a snogging with your Dad? No. Not before the watershed and serving a long apprenticeship writing plays for Radio 4 you wouldn't. Don't get me wrong, I like Matt Smith. I think he's quirky and enjoy watching him but (and this is a casting error not an acting one) last survivor of a species wiped out in a war throughout all space and time? No. Neither was Tenant.

Eccleston? Yes.

Be quirky, Doctor, oh please, please be quirky, but also be intense and haunted and above all: it doesn't matter how scary the bad guys are you should be scarier. That's why Tom Baker worked.

And I don't care if he's male or female, really don't**. Helen Mirren as the Doctor? Sign me up now. But make the Doctor frighten me.

Make it plain about those companion's, oh he's fond of them, but he would sacrifice them in a second if he needed to. For the greater good and all but he'd still do it. And make him slower, less energetic. Look at the Master, he's chaos, he's energy: the Doctor's trickster God oppsite. The Doctor might be considered chaotic to his own people, but they were basically space fascists.

You want energy, you say? Companions, the flickering lights in the Doctor's long darkness. Make him odd, make him dark, make him frighten us.

6)  More Daleks.

7)  Bring back Gallifrey. Who does the Doctor answer to? Oh no one. He's like a space Littlest Hobo except not a dog*^ and we know he's not actually going to die because his name is on the titles. He's caught in the Superman dilemma. There is, in essence, no real consequence for the Doctor apart from losing one of his favourite amusements.

But if you bring back the Timelords they can reign him in. They can stop him or imprison him. Also, great uniforms but as we all know that's one of the few positives about being a fascist. I bet they make great boots too, though I don't remember seeing any.

8)  More Daleks.

9)  Take more risks. Doctor Who has a massive fan base who will follow it no matter what.


There's a lot of goodwill for you to use up. Two Doctors played by different actors in different time streams? Go for it. The Doctor regenerates as the Master with both sets of memories? CGI our Doctor into old adventures? Ace. I'm making this up on the fly, if you're being paid for it you should be able to BLOW MY TINY MIND. You have all of space and time to play with. Use it.

10)  More Daleks.

You think I've been using this as a bit of a comedy beat don't you? Oh no, my Whovian friend, not in the least.

The killing off of the Dalek race? Just stop it. Are they faintly ridiculous pepperpots gliding in only for a bit of post modern amusement? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think so. They are faceless, they are remorseless, they are the ultimate product of unthinking mechanisation. They are what Hitler would have invented -Panzer Mann- if he'd had the tech. And they scare us. They should scare us more now because of our relentless advancement and reliance on machines.

But Cybermen, Rj!

Oh yes, but they, at least, still look vaguely human. Not so the Daleks.

And 'in world'? The Doctor's civilization died fighting the Daleks. Lets not forget the Timelords were the most advanced civilization ever. One that had control of space and time. But the Daleks are STILL here.

I'd have them everywhere. A universe wide plague. They've lost central command so star systems are being devastated by Dalek on Dalek action as they argue -with weaponry- about who's the purest. Cloning centres spewing out millions of them. Stamp out one lot, another will spring up. They are like wasps.

They are also the antithesis of everything our good Doctor stands for. He's about individuality (within reason, of course) and a largely pacifistic way of sorting stuff out. Daleks? Well, they're not are they?

11)  Oh lastly my own little conceit, why not. Using the galaxy as still infested with Daleks model.

What if the Supreme Dalek survived the time war? What if the the Doctor, after all the killing, the millions, upon billions, upon trillions of deaths on his hands; could not bare to land that final blow. So, instead of killing it. He trapped it. Somewhere he had easy access to because they trusted him.

Somewhere like, oh I don't know, Earth?

And if it got free all the Daleks busy with killing each other would be united and swarm the universe.

Handily, this also gives you a cut off point where the Doctor goes from being trusted by the military (the Pertwee era?) to someone who they don't trust but need.

More importantly, then our Doctor would have a real reason to protect us, wouldn't he?

Feel free to flame me below.

*This is a lie.

**But I'll continue using 'he' because grammar is inherently sexist. Awkward.
^*. I know they said/implied it was God but they're American, it's what they do. I choose to ignore it
*^OR IS HE? See point 9.

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