Dec. 28th, 2012

aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)
 I think I've figured out what the difference is between the original version of Doctor Who, Doctors 1 through 7 (possibly 8 though I haven't seen the movie or listened to any of the audio episodes with 8), and the new one. It's this: the original show was just another show on British television, with its own quirks and special attitudes, I am sure, but still it was put together by (more or less, I don't know the credentials of anyone on the old show) television professionals who probably didn't think of themselves as doing anything particularly "special" or different than anyone involved in any of the other British television productions at the time. Of course, I'm sure they thought of their output as "special" as in it was their thing, as opposed to someone else's thing. But they weren't fans of their own show -- how could they be, it was a job, they were the creators, and while things they had admiration and interest in (history, science fiction, Buddhism, etc.) were part of the show, I don't think that this extended to the show itself. 

The creators of the new show, starting of course with Russell T Davies himself, were obviously and openly fans of Doctor Who. They'd grown up watching it, it meant something more to them than a job and something they created out of other aspects of their culture. Instead, Doctor Who was also an "aspect of their culture," the one they'd grown up under, as much as if not more so than things like Shakespeare and the Church of England and monarchy and so on. So in a sense no one involved in creating the new show is as in charge of it as the writers and directors and so on of the Classic one were -- they're almost approaching it the way you'd approach a religious faith. The old Doctor Who had applied to it (sometimes badly) whatever the writers and directors at the time were into -- feminism, environmentalism, Eastern mysticism, and so on. The new Doctor Who has Doctor Who applied to it. 

This is why so many aspects of the new show, as much as I enjoy it, frustrate and irritate me. For one thing, I'm not British, so there is that remove (though American culture is very little different than British culture). But more importantly I did not "grow up" on the thing, I did not "hide behind the couch" (though we did have a couch in the middle of our living room I could have hidden behind, i was in junior high by the time I saw an episode and would have felt ridiculous, and I didn't find any of its "monsters" really scary). So I didn't have this television show shaping (and distorting) my childhood. Also on a merely personal level I've never been into recreating my childhood, so I can't really get completely into the new crew's apparent desire to do so for theirs. Like, yeah the Daleks scared you as a kid but we're not all five years old now, so can we get back to exploring the political and cultural concepts they embodied in the old show, not just the monsters from your ids?

That's one thing that is refreshing about Matt Smith's Doctor, by the way, and also oddly enough why he's so much more a "Doctory" Doctor than David Tennant was (though Tennant was a great Doctor, there was something off about him at times which a lesser actor would not have been able to overcome): he didn't grow up on the show, he was too young, it was cancelled when he was a small child and didn't come back until he was an adult. So Smith came to it more or less untouched by the fannishness, and it shows in his performances (when the scripts let him anyway, sometimes I only get this "ah, that's the Doctor I knew" feeling by inference because he still has to follow Stephen Moffat's often problematic direction.

Anyway, that was sort of bothering me and I needed to get it off my chest. I may be developing this further, who knows. But as for now, I have toast, jam, and tea, and the rest of the internet.


aerdnasarrih: Located on the way to Disney World (Default)

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