Doctor Woke

From the Centre For Independent Studies, an article I am in complete agreement with. Political preaching killed Dr Who the first time around, and it’s likely to do it again.

Monica Wilkie

17 JANUARY 2020 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

Fiction has become a medium for writers and actors to treat their audience as morally inferior dolts in need of re-education.

This week’s episode of Doctor Who was an excellent example.

The Doctor and her companions land on a possible future in which the Earth was destroyed by food shortages, mass migration, war, and because — she claims — we “ignored every scientist on Earth.”

The big scary monsters who evolved from the humans left behind are subtlety called ‘The Dregs’… and just in case you missed all that, there is a montage of the Earth being destroyed, and a tedious monologue urging us to change to avoid destruction.

All that was missing was for the Doctor to fall to her knees and scream “you blew it up!”

Fiction has always borrowed from real-world events and anxieties. The problem is when writers and actors hubristically sacrifice good story-telling to ensure they are on ‘the right side of history’.

This thinking was admonished as lazy by author Jessa Crispin in a fantastic piece for The Guardian “…if you insist that a movie is important, you don’t really have to deal with whether or not it’s good.”

Reviews will often sport headlines like ‘X is the show we need right now’. The show is apparently needed to “keep the momentum of change moving forward” or because it is has a diverse cast, or has the ‘correct’ political slant.

The plot, character development, costuming, lighting, score, or anything else relevant gets little to no attention.

But unfortunately, politics over substance is a trend set to continue.

Patrick Stewart – who will reprise his role as Captain Picard – has promised us the newest iteration of Star Trek “was [Stewart] responding to the world of Brexit and Trump”.

Apparently, the world is so chaotic we need a fictional captain with a penchant for “tea, earl-grey … hot” to save us.

As an alien in the first Star Trek series warned: “wrong thinking is punishable.” And we are certainly being punished with nauseatingly preachy fiction.

Doctor Who: Never Fails To Disappoint

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”

Doctor Who Episode 3

rosa

After what I though was a very ordinary episode last week- I actually used the word “boring”- this week’s episode was very good.

The Doctor and her team arrive in Montgomery just prior to the Rosa Parks incident that launched the civil rights movement in the United States. A new character is introduced who has travelled from the distant future to prevent Rosa Parks from getting on the bus. For some reason this incident is a turning point in the history of the universe so the stakes are high on both sides.

I thought the story was good and a bit of a different twist on the usual time travellers trying to change history theme. I found the ending just a little unsatisfying and would have liked a bit more of an explanation about why this particular moment was so important to the whole universe. Maybe that will come later in the series. Maybe it was a sop to the American audience.

I think it was a good portrayal of what real racism looks like and how evil it is. It is disturbing that these segregation laws were in place almost in my life time, and that Australian towns had similar policies in place not so long ago.

So this week was good enough to keep me coming back, but I still have reservations.

 

 

Doctor Who Season 11

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I finally caught up with the new Doctor Who this afternoon on iview. My experience was somewhat spoilt by our media computer freezing from time to time. Maybe it had problems  adjusting to a female Doctor too.

ecclestonMy first impression was that it was really good. In fact Jodie Whittaker in this role reminded me a lot of Christopher Eccleston, the first doctor in the revived series. Eccleston’s Doctor had a Manchester accent, leading to the classic exchange with Rose where she says, “You can’t be an alien; you’ve got a northern accent” and he replies “Lots of planets have a north.”

So Whittaker’s Doctor has what I’m guessing is a Sheffield accent, given that the episode is set in Sheffield and she sounds pretty similar to the other characters.

jodieMy biggest fear in casting the Doctor as a woman in this season is that it’s going to go political on us. That is what really killed the program the first time around when script writers turned it into an anti-Thatcher propaganda show and people just turned off.

If they keep it all laughter and irony it will be glorious: classic Doctor Who with no axe to grind, message to sell, virtue to signal or awareness to raise.

But did you notice that the strong characters were all women? The male characters were all weak and needed rescuing by the women. There is lots of ethnic diversity so the white patriarchy is kept in its place.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. I just hope they can keep the SJWs away from it or they will kill it again.

I don’t suppose anyone from the ABC reads my rants, but in case they do. 6 pm on Monday. Really? Does the ABC have so little faith in Doctor Who- with a female lead at that- that they can’t find space at a time when adults are watching? Is it really on a par with Antiques Road Show” and “Pointless” and the other rubbish that fills in the space while we are all watching the news on commercial stations?