My friend Pat and I were chatting on the telephone the other day like we always do and the subject of Doctor Who came up in our conversation. I’d asked her if she had watched any more of the current season to which she replied that she hadn’t since watching the very first episode. I wondered why and asked her and she basically explained that while she had downloaded all the episodes, it was partly because she hadn’t had anytime to sit down and watch them, but it was primarily because she just wasn’t that enthused about watching them. I found that a bit odd cause both of us are long time fans and had always enjoyed the exploits of our favorite Time Lord. But her comment that she wasn’t that enthused about watching them really made me think. I wondered why?
It’s funny Pat saying that about the show cause I have to admit I’ve kind of been feeling the same way too of late. Interesting that. I mean, I can remember a time when I would go to great lengths to get a copy of the latest episode; and then when I did get the episode, all hell would break loose if you even tried to interrupt me during the course of watching a new episode. So what’s changed?
Well, partly I think it’s because I’ve gotten older. I’m not that young, enthusiastic, twenty-something fan I was when I first started watching Doctor Who. That’s not to say that I’m still not enthusiastic or, as youthful despite now being in my early fifties, but I have to be honest in saying that I’m not as enthusiastic about the new series as I was for the original series.
Don’t get me wrong. I still like Doctor Who. I wouldn’t bother watching it if I didn’t. I can only talk for myself, but for me personally, I’m not that overly crazy about the new series, (and I’m sure some of you reading this are getting ready to lynch me for saying that, but hear me out). I’ll admit I’m very much more a fan of the original series. While on the whole I have enjoyed the new series, I don’t think it holds a candle to the original. I sometimes find it hard to explain it to people when they ask why I don’t like the new series as much, but all I can tell you, I don’t think the new series is anything special. It seems to be lacking something.
And before you say anything, yeah, I know the series is not being made for me, or the original fans. It’s been made for the young, British, youthful audience of today, and for the general British television viewing audience. The program makers are aiming the series at a completely different audience now. I realize that and hey, you know, I can accept that. But even saying that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to enjoy it, (and just because someone might say something negative about it, doesn’t mean they still aren’t a fan). And, as I’ve said, on the whole, I don’t dislike the show. If I didn’t like Doctor Who, I wouldn’t bother watching it. But that still doesn’t answer why I’m not as enthused about the show as I use to be.
I think part of the problem for me is the new series is missing that certain charm and uniqueness that the original series had. It’s funny, but I was thinking about this the other day, and I find the new series comes across as very un-British and much more like every other American SF series out there. It’s become rather homogenized. I think it’s lost the qualities that made it that unique British television series. For example, if you go back and look at the original series on the whole, there was something very unique about Doctor Who. There wasn’t anything on television like it at the time. It was different. The look of the show was different, the quality was different, and the stories were different. There just wasn’t a program on the air like Doctor Who, and it didn’t matter whether it was in Britain, or Canada, or the USA. There just wasn’t a show on the air like Doctor Who.
Take a look at the series today and I really do feel that it’s lost all those qualities that made it unique. It’s become very generic and if you put it up against shows like Stargate SG1, or Battlestar Galactica, or Eureka, Doctor Who really isn’t that dissimilar to all of these shows. In fact, it’s become very North American in its whole look and style.
Oh I love the fact that the show now has a big budget and that loads of time and energy and love is paid on it. It deserves it. But Doctor Who is very much homogenized now. It’s generic. It’s not unique. Or if it still is, it just doesn’t seem like it to me anymore.
I’ve not seen any of the current season, so I can’t comment on the current season, but I honestly do like Matt Smith. I think he makes a brilliant Doctor and I liked him the moment he stepped out of the TARDIS. I also thought Tennant was good, but I really felt Eccleston was horribly miscast.
With regard to the series show runner, I appreciate the fact that RTD was the force behind making the new series the success it was, but RTD to me was the new JNT. If you take a serious look at him and his overall style, RTD and JNT share an awful lot of similar traits. Plus, I really do feel that as a writer, RTD is horribly over-rated. RTD relies far too much on cop-out endings, fan-wank scenarios and the “press the reset button” syndrome, all hallmarks in my opinion of a weak writer. As to Moffat, he is a very good writer, he’s written some of the best scripts for the series, but as the new show runner, I hate to say it, but I don’t think his era of the show has been anything special. I think his attention is not one-hundred percent devoted to Doctor Who, especially now that he is also overseeing Sherlock as well.
I don’t know what to tell you beyond this. Throughout this post, I’ve just tried to illustrate why I don’t go out of my way to watch Doctor Who anymore. I’m sure there are some of you reading this that are ready to lynch me and are calling for my title as a fan to be stripped from me, but I’m not trying to bash the show or the people who make it. I’m just offering up some reasons for why I’m not as in love with the series as I use to be. I do like watching the show, but the last year or two I’ve just not been as hyped over it as I use to be. Hmmmm, interesting that.