Dec. 29th, 2011

aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)
(Disclaimer: I've not watched any eps of the new Who in quite some time, despite the fact that my desktop can handle Youtube etc. fine. I just have been into other things... but I wanted to get this down anyway.)

I've titled this "things that bother me about the current Doctor Who" but I'm not sure "bother" is the right word. And I don't know if it means anything or if I'm just weird. I haven't seen anyone else make this observation so maybe it's the latter. But: one thing that makes the Steven Moffat episodes different from the RTD episodes is the dreamlike atmosphere. Even when RTD was still in charge, there was something slightly unreal about the episodes Moffat penned (that would be: The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink, and Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead). Then he took over and even though I haven't seen every single Eleven episode the ones I have seen all made me think "Is this really happening?"

Let me clarify what I mean. I realize I am accusing a science fantasy show of being "unreal" but I don't mean "unreal" in the context of real life, I mean "unreal" in the context of the show itself. In other words, are we supposed to take what's happening in the episode at face value as actually happening in the fictional "real" lives of the fictional characters, or are they actually supposed to be taking place in some sort of virtual existence the breaking of which will be the climax of the next series? Because I get the feeling that this is what's going on.

The show isn't exactly a stranger to this. There was the Second Doctor episode where they were all trapped in the "Land of Fiction." There was the Fourth Doctor episode Deadly Assassin where the Doctor had to go into a virtual reality world. And there was that whole Trial of a Time Lord series with the Sixth Doctor that I think was meant to be entirely unreal -- including the trial itself. (At least that's my take on it. I mean, supposedly all the things the Time Lords were showing the Doctor via Matrix were actual things he'd done recorded Somehow by Time Lord magic-tech, but it seems more plausible to me that the events were just faked up "virtual reality" what-if scenarios to fuck with the Doctor's head, to see how he'd react or to influence him in some way. Such subterfuge seems to me to be characteristic Time Lord fuckery, but maybe I'm giving the writers back then too much credit and they meant us to take the Trial itself at face value.) My point is, messing with the Doctor's head via virtual reality is a plot the show has used before.

Anyway, the thing about the Moffat episodes written for Ten is the way they are just so slightly skewed from the standard Ten eps that you -- or at least I -- wonder if we were meant to think they actually happened or were they fantasies Ten had or dreams and when he woke up did he forget them. Now there is the fact that in the flashback scenes in Journey's End during Davros's Hannibal Lecture speech we do see scenes of River Song, so I could be wrong, at least about the Ten episodes. (I mean, in that they really happened to Ten, they aren't just dreams of some future Doctor stuck in a virtual reality world.)

But then Moffat took over the show and Eleven came on the scene and there is just something consistently off about all the episodes that I have seen that makes me wonder if, even after the revelation of "yes, goo-Amy was the fake Amy and real Amy was trapped pregnant in a tube" is that actually the only "trapped in a dreamworld" thing going on, and was that whole thing just a dream-within-a-dream? (I sure hope so because the pregnant-in-a-tube baby-forcing scenario really squicks me out.) That could explain why Eleven is apparently so freaked out about revealing his Real!Name. Which -- note -- Moffat originally brought up in Girl in the Fireplace ("there is no name"). Before the idea was just that the Doctor's real name was unpronounceable or a mathematical formula or some goofy alien thing like that, but there was nothing particularly weird about it. I don't know if in any of the Classic Who episodes there was a big deal made about his name being a big deal mystery (there was some gaming with his origin -- "how many lives have you lived?" in The Brain of Morbius and some bits about him being some sort of mysterious "Other" they came up with in one of the Seventh Doctor serials that I can't remember because the Seventh Doctor serials were incoherent). But the Doctor's name being some sort of mysterious important thing seems to be Moffat's thing, and RTD went along with (in Journey's End there's all this stuff about the Medusa Cascade and the Doctor's name and it was all sort of stupidly overdramatic as I recall).

Anyway, the whole Doctor's name being sooper sekret thing could be because saying the Doctor's Real!Name is the trigger that will break the virtual reality world he's in by waking him up. At least, that's how I would write it. Otherwise it just sounds like more "oh noes, the Doctor is a super powerful being that if you say his Real!Name starts DOOM!" Which makes no sense in the scenario we've been given so far that the Doctor is tired of having people treat him like a scary god-demon, so tired of it that he's arranged for the entire universe (except for three people and... anyone else he encounters, let's not think about that right now) to think he is dead. So I'm going with virtual reality trap, which is what Moffat could have meant by his latest fan-trolling where he's been saying he'll lose his companions Amy and Rory in a "heartbreaking" way -- that is, he'll find out they weren't even real, just creations of the dream world he's been in.

Think about it: Amy's village being somehow centered around her and lacking ducks and all the other weird vibes it was giving off were put down to it being an effect of the Pandorica's fake world that was slowly imploding. But even after that had all been settled and the universe "rebooted," the dreamy state didn't stop. In fact, it got worse. And that was the effect, supposedly, of Amy not being Amy, but a goo-Amy. (I can't remember right now what those copy things were called.) But there is the whole issue of Rory dying over and over again. Then there was the way, at the end of last season, that the whole universe was imploding yet again -- this supposedly due to River not killing the Doctor like she was supposed to because it was for some reason one of those "fixed points in time" that I am getting really tired of hearing about. But then the Doctor arranged for the entire universe to think he was actually dead, which supposedly restored it... but hold on.

What "reboots"?

Computers, that's what. I really think that everything we've seen -- the unlikely coincidences of the Doctor being able to just run about collecting random characters from previous episodes, like Danny in his Spitfire, as well as characters we haven't heard of but who are there because of the Rule of Cool -- like Jenny and Madame Vashtra -- for his raid on the place where Amy was being held, and for the weird way that rather insignificant failure (to rescue Amy and her baby) was somehow supposed to be the Worst Thing In The Whole World The Doctor Failed At, and the way there are all these rewrites of time/space where new characters keep appearing, and how River Song seems to be able to escape her "impregnable" impressively-named prison whenever she wants (though that could be explained by the Doctor's time travel -- he could have gone back in time and brought her the magic hallucinatory lipstick and told her "you'll need this in the future"), and so on, could all be explained by everyone -- or at least the Doctor -- being held prisoner in some sort of virtual reality. Because otherwise these dumb details (a WW2 pilot is just okay with being brought across time and space? Really?) just don't make any sense even in a show that's more fantasy than science fiction.

Or maybe it's just that I still don't like the idea that River Song isn't a character he met as an independent adult, but instead was basically born for him. I want that more than anything to be part of the dream-trap, and if we have to lose Amy and Rory to get that taken care of, I'm okay with it.
 





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