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Sci-Fi Television Entertainment

The New Series of Doctor Who: Fleeing From Format? 170

An anonymous reader sends in this thoughtful article about the format of Doctor Who: "The New Series has given itself two basic tasks. One, to put back and keep on our screens a program by the name of Doctor Who that maintains substantial visible continuity with the classic series in many ways. Two, and this is where conflicting elements start to come in, to seek to define this resurrected program against many aspects of the classic series, even fundamental aspects, in pursuit of task one. In itself this is neither good nor bad. If anything it is on balance probably a good thing to seek to redress the shortcomings of the classic series, but what matters, ultimately, is the choices involved and their execution."
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The New Series of Doctor Who: Fleeing From Format?

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  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:37PM (#42007857) Homepage

    I'm a long-time Doctor Who fan. I like the new series, but maybe not as much as the classic series. The actors are good, but I think the writing and stories aren't as strong. I've heard Lalla Ward mention in classic episode commentaries, for example, that it would do a world of good in the new series to cut their budget in half, so they learn to focus on making the stories tight (and not rely on special effects as much). The linked blog also mentions that some stories in the new series did really well because they had small budgets and had to keep the story tight and within that budget.

    Now that we're coming up on the 50th anniversary season, I'd really like to see some hard references to the classic series. I came up with a great idea a few weeks ago that I'd love to see. With 7 Doctors in the original series, you can have 7 episodes to use as references. (Or 8 if you include McGann.) Imagine a series arc like this:

    Story 1 : The episode starts with the Doctor, Clara (the new companion they'll introduce at the Christmas episode), and "Colin" (new companion .. see later) discovering a strangely quiet space museum on the planet Xeros. Exploring the museum, they discover themselves on display in the museum, with the TARDIS nearby! The Doctor realizes the TARDIS must have jumped a time track when they materalised. Thus they temporarily occupy a fourth dimension. This lets them be simultaneously in the cases in one reality and standing, looking at themselves in the fourth dimension. The Doctor adds that is why everything seems familiar, yet unfamiliar - for example, why he can remember meeting Clara but is fuzzy on meeting Colin - they're experiencing time out of order and things are all mixed up.

    From there, the rest of the story is a one-hour version of 'The Space Museum' (1st Doctor). It was a good story, and would translate well to the current series, but needs editing down.

    (The "Next Time on Doctor Who" trailer is not actually from the following story, but a re-cut trailer from a classic story. Same for the rest of the season.)

    Story 2 : The TARDIS arrives on Earth in the year 3000 and the travellers quickly discover a base where scientists commanded by Leader Clent are using an ioniser device to combat the advance of a new Ice Age. The scientists uncover Martians (Ice Warriors) frozen in the glacier ice. The Doctor warns that the Ice Warriors are dangerous enemies. He also comments how similar this is to the first time he met them, also in Earth's future, but Colin suggests this is deja vu from jumping time tracks from the earlier episode.

    This story re-introduces the Ice Warriors from the classic series, and in fact is a one-hour version of 'The Ice Warriors' (2nd Doctor).

    Story 3 : The Doctor and his companions make a test flight in the TARDIS, trying to jump back to their original time track, and arrive on the planet Peladon. Seeking shelter, they enter the citadel of the soon-to-be-crowned King Peladon, where the Doctor is mistaken for an Earth dignitary (Clara and Colin as his aids) summoned to act as Chairman of a committee assessing an application by the planet to join the Galactic Federation.

    The rest of the episode plays out similarly to 'Curse of Peladon' (3rd Doctor) but edited down to one hour. Sort of a cheesy episode, but can be improved through editing and some minor re-writes. I'd change the antagonist to one of the delegates, probably Alpha Centauri. The Doctor believes he knows who was causing trouble, but would end up being wrong. Instead, Colin and Clara ferret out the bad guys. The Doctor is really confused by now, especially since things seem familiar, yet unfamiliar (a theme repeated throughout this season).

    Story 4 : The Doctor, Clara and Colin arrive on a desolate and apparently deserted Earth in our far future. They soon find a group of shipwrecked astronauts from a human colony in the Galactic Federation, lured there by a fake distress call. The astronauts suspect the Doctor of luring them. One of

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:20AM (#42011327) Journal
    OK, just a few tiny points. Firstly, the Time Lords are not extinct. The Doctor is a Time Lord, therefore there is at least one. Plus The Master's fate is uncertain (as in "Heisenberg" uncertain), plus there are several part-time-lords (the "Doctor's Daughter", River Song etc etc) and Rassilon et al may still be out there.

    Secondly, "just going back in time to kill all the Daleks" is the definition of a time war - both sides did this continuously, trying to outdo the other, until The Doctor did *something* which wiped pretty much all of both sides out. As the exchange recently went:

    House: "Fear me, I've killed hundreds of Time Lords."
    Doctor: "Fear me, I've killed all of them."

    So he did *something* which resulted in the annihilation of both sides - there must have been a good reason - he had the chance to wipe out all the Daleks back in the Tom Baker days and he decided he didn't have the moral authority.

    This is the big mystery of the modern series - what happened between McGann and Ecclestone? What did he do and why?

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.