Friday, January 21, 2011

Postclassical Who - "Bad Wolf"

It's astounding that something could make an episode show its age more than a title like "Delta and the Bannermen" or the presence of Hale and Pace in "Survival"... that is until you make an episode which directly references Big Brother and The Weakest Link. These references are so pathetic and the satire they suggest so unbelievably cack-handed and incompetent that I can't believe anyone ever let these ideas make the air. For a start, it is completely absurd to think that the Daleks would ever have a scheme to control humanity involving the media - that's not how they operate. But clearly RTD and his crew were sniggering to themselves with their own cleverness by this point and to hell with character consistency or the show's legacy. I'm surprised that Barrowman didn't suddenly belt a number from Sunset Boulevard or something; that's how trashy and pleb-pandering this episode's setting is. It's astonishing that RTD had the nerve to criticise mass TV entertainment and how it is "fed" to mindless viewers considering that this episode practically reduces Doctor Who to the same point - simply throwing in idiotic modern-day references which were starting to become outdated in 2005 upon first broadcast let alone now to drum up hype and appeal to the very brainless yobs this attempts to deride. It's pathetic and juvenile, and it's disgusting to think that same show that brought us, say, William Hartnell in "The Time Meddler", Patrick Troughton in "The War Games" or Jon Pertwee in "Inferno" is meant to be the same show we're seeing now. People criticise the show in the 80s for being cheesy, naff and camp but it's got nothing on the absolute pit into which this episode degrades the show, and at least the stories from Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's era, whatever their faults (which were fewer than you might think), didn't descend into the kind of smug, hitting-you-over-the-head satirical crudity which "Bad Wolf" imparts as a final insult to Christopher Eccleston's unfortunately short and sadly underutilised role as the Ninth Doctor.
Of course Eccly's on good form here, and it's nice to see him no longer taking any crap from anybody. He beats up guards, runs around with a huge gun, destroys public property and generally shows that he's not taking any more of this rubbish, and so he shouldn't. He's an angry Doctor, and I can accept that because he's stuck in a crap story and there's no way out. Rose is barely in it so there's not much to say about her and Captain Jack really only appears so that RTD can get him to take his kit off and really the best companion is Lynda with a Y. Sure, she's "sweet" but at least it proves the Doctor still has room for new friendships in his life and I wish she'd been given a chance. The Controller looks like Tilda Swinton playing Jadis and is basically just an excuse to have a freaky woman plugged into something and then the Daleks get revealed for a boom-crash finale. That's the problem with all of these episodes: the reality TV, the mind control, the mass conformity, the children plugged into computers are all just throwaway ideas, never developed in a meaningful sense because the writers can't wait to rush off to a giant climactic finale, full of piss and vinegar and absolutely sod all else.
Oh, and the 'Bad Wolf' arc phrase thing is revealed finally. This seemed fresh and original at the time but after five years of RTD doing the same damn thing it certainly became tired by the end. Again, more pandering to stupids - little clues for people to follow and gossip on forums about like the kind of mindless drones who think Lost is intelligent television. If he wanted a story arc, couldn't he have just incorporated it through plot elements and characters? That was probably too much work.
I don't want to talk about this anymore.

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