Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doctor! Doctor! It Hurts When I Do THIS!

As a long-time Doctor Who fan who never saw any past about halfway through Peter Davidson, I've always been a bit curious as to how they managed to kill the series off despite a near-legendary cadre of devoted followers. Now I know. I've been watching the Sylvester McCoy episodes lately, and McCoy isn't, as I've always been told, terrible. Not great mind, but not terrible either. But the writing is quite possibly the worst science fiction I've ever had the misfortune to see - and I sat through almost all of Screamers in the theater, so I know bad when I see it.

In the latest story they finished the first episode with the usual - and in this case literal - cliffhanger. The Doctor is hanging from the end of his umbrella over the brink of a bottomless gulf. *gasp!* What calamity has befallen him to leave him in such peril? Well I'll tell you; he walks up to the railing at the edge of the cliff, looks over the edge, then slowly and carefully climbs over the safety rail til hes hanging by his hands, then deliberately lets go to grab onto his umbrella. No monsters chasing him. No one prodding him at gunpoint. He just climbs over the edge. The whole thing is so obviously purposeful that you don't even realise that he's supposed to be in danger until they play the dramatic music and roll the credits.

...which is just as well, because the next episode starts with one of his companions stumbling across him there and coming to his rescue... by casually strolling around to the bottom of the "bottomless" cliff, and letting the Doctor climb down his shoulders. Thus revealing that the cliff was never any taller than 6ft high.

I'm picking on this one point, but its only because I don't want to try to list all of the other faults with a storyline where the Doctor and his companions basically wander around aimlessly, the nemesis of the evil bad guy gets killed almost accidentally by some bit characters, leaving said evil bad guy powerful and free... to commit suicide at the end, for no apparent reason. The plot was lame, but it would have at least been better paced had you removed the Doctor and his latest squeakily annoying companion altogether; they didn't _do_ anything anyways. And the rest of this season so far has been just as badly written.

So McCoy may not have been brilliant, but next time you hear someone berating him for killing Doctor Who, cut him a little slack; they didn't give him much to work with.