Overall I’ve enjoyed the current series of Doctor Who far more than I did last year’s run.
Most of the episodes have felt better plotted and the direction and design has also seemed better.
Matt Smith remains fantastic and even the two companions (the characters, not the actors who I’m sure are lovely in real life) have been less annoying.
But though I’m happy to praise what I see as improvements, I’ve long suspected the ‘timey wimey’ story arc of the current run would eventually repel casual audiences.
I hope not, but it’s hard to understand how any audience could prefer All Star Family Fortunes to an original drama series.
Let’s be clear, anecdotes and the opinions of friends and family do not mean a particular viewpoint is ‘fact’.
With that said and accepted, I hear a lot of rumblings that the current run is hard to understand – especially Amy and Rory’s apparent loss of interest in the Doctor rescuing their child.
Again, just because some people I know have found it hard to follow, that doesn’t mean the BBC isn’t receiving lots of letters telling them the show is wonderful.
But if they are, why aren’t the senders of those letters sitting down and watching the show in preference to a lazy quiz that can’t even assemble entire teams of ‘stars’ ?
Sure, in a few days time the combined ratings figures – which include recorded viewings – will put Doctor Who in front, but it’s still right to ask why the Saturday night audience is looking elsewhere for their casual, no-thought fun.
Much as I liked the majority of what Russell T Davies did with Doctor Who, I’m not sure you could suggest it really put the little grey cells to work. In fact I’d suggest that RTD’s Who often fell slightly apart when watched with too active a brain.
But even with – or is that because of? – the odd bit of silliness and plot holes, it was relentlessly fun. I don’t find that the case with the current series.
I can’t remember what the last ‘fun’ – as opposed to ‘good’ – episode of Doctor Who was but I’m sure it was somewhere back in Series 4. Or maybe it was one of the specials?
The two most recent batches of episodes have tended to take themselves very seriously, leaving little room for any moments of light relief.
Gloomy Sci-Fi is great for 9pm but is it really what people want at teatime on a Saturday?
This Saturday the answer was clearly ‘no’.
When the show returns next year I’m hoping the production team will take the opportunity to lighten up just a tad.
It’d also be nice if they could find a little more space for the stories and characters who made the first four seasons such a success.
The use of some overly familiar publicity shots as TARDIS holograms a few weeks back aside, there’s been an unsatisfactorily low amount of back referencing to the previous production team’s output.
Improbably but true, the US/UK co-produced Torchwood: Miracle Day had more continuity references to earlier seasons Torchwood and the parent show than Doctor Who seasons 5 and 6!