I just watched the “New Year Special” of Doctor Who. Like the rest of the season, it was a disappointment.
The plot had potential, I would give it that. But as we have come to expect, the story just fizzes out.
There are two things that science fiction is about:
- Awe at the vastness of the universe, the potential for huge threat and huge opportunities, all at a scale we can only imagine. It all has to be “scientifically” plausible and in some ways consistent with the laws of nature.
- Action. Lots of running and things exploding.
And for “Doctor Who” there has to be a sense of humour.
I think just about every episode of Doctor Who this year has failed in the “awe” department. the aliens have seemed mostly pretty poor imitations of people with a few extra physical powers. Most have also failed in the “Action” department also with far too much group therapy and way too little running.
The New Year special, called “Resolution” goes for a full hour, but would have done better in 30 minutes.
The story begins with a prologue about humans defeating a powerful for 700 years ago then cutting it into 3 parts and taking them to separate parts of the world and guarded in perpetuity to prevent it being revived. Unfortunately the guardian of the piece sent to Sheffield is killed and unable to bury his bit. So when archaeologists dig up the site, they manage to inadvertently revive the thing, which summons its other bits and ends up being a disembodied Dalek scout, which takes over the female archaeologist, and eventually the Doctor saves the day.
Great potential in that story, but…
- The way the Dalek took over the body of the archaeologist was so predictable it was, well, a cliche.
- The Dalek looked pretty pathetic after it rebuilt its shell. Sure it exterminated a few people, but nothing there to inspire terror.
- Nobody watches Doctor Who to marvel at characters’ skills in counselling and family reconciliation. We didn’t need to see Ryan and his dad get together and resolve a life time of parental neglect.
- The ending just didn’t make sense.
Other people have pointed out the leftist virtue signalling in various episodes. To my mind that is incidental. The real issue is the crap stories they have been dishing up. You can put up with a little bit of socialist identity politics as long as there is an awesome story being told.
For some reason that I don’t understand the current team can’t make a season every year, so we won’t see a new episode of Doctor Who until 2020. So it would be a very good thing if some executives from the BBC had a chat with Chris Chibnall, and possibly Jodie Whittaker, and said, “Look it’s not working. Goodbye.”