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Tony Grist

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The End Of The Russell Davies Era [Jan. 2nd, 2010|10:13 am]
Tony Grist
The first thing to be said is that Russell Davies is a very fine writer- and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for reviving Dr Who.

On his watch the show has been notable for three things:  emotional delicacy, humour and spectacle.

He has brought great intelligence to everything about the show- except the SF. If you like your SF to be about ideas- as I do-  this is a big problem.

Russell favours storylines involving the imminent destruction of the whole universe (have you paused to think how BIG the whole universe actually is, Russell?)- a fate that is then averted by the Doctor or his belle de jour getting to push the right button or pull the right lever. I've never been able to square myself to the idea that this is proper drama.

The individual shows we will remember have all been written by someone else- usually Stephen Moffat.  Davies has a wide range but it doesn't encompass weirdness, mystery, the uncanny.  Moffat, on the other hand,  is a master of the twilight zone.
 
The three best stories of the Davies era, in no particular order of merit have been; The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (Moffat), The Girl in the Fireplace (Moffat) and Human Nature/Family of Blood (Cornell)

Russell's swansong was the usual dog's breakfast: a couple of quite beautiful, highly charged scenes between David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins, John Simm largely wasted in a role that called for nothing but cackling loooniness, a great chase sequence involving nuclear misiles and a rust-bucket space ship- with Cribbins (oh joy) manning a gun turret- and the rubbishest villain yet in the form of Timothy Dalton thesping away whilst dressed as Ming the Merciless.

The coda- with the dying doctor dropping in on old lovers and companions was lovely.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-02 01:22 pm (UTC)
Blink was mindbendingly clever- but it didn't move me the way the other two did.

River Song was a Moffat creation. I wonder if he's holding her in reserve for the next season.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-02 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was neat. An elegant- and rather cheeky-tying up of loose ends.

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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-01-02 01:15 pm (UTC)
I have not followed the series as closely as I could have done. And last night I was baffled. Where did all the other Time Lords come from like a great big college of dodgy Cardinals? I thought DW was the last - apart from the Master? And why did DW have to go in to the radiation area before Wilf Mott could come out?

I wish we had not lost Tennant although I am comforted by the fact that you think Moffatt could be a better guardian of the oeuvre than even Russell Davies.

Nice touch that Barrowman appeared to be in that bar out of Star Wars!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-02 01:28 pm (UTC)
God knows where the Time Lords all came from. Wherever it was they were crap.

Russell doesn't take the science stuff seriously. He doesn't even bother to give the impression that he takes it seriously. It's a major flaw.

I love Tennant, but we're probably ready for a change- and Smith looks promising.

The bar scene was brilliant.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-02 05:50 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing the last of the Daleks. They're good for a laugh, but is anyone scared by them any more?

The new show has a life of its own. It doesn't need to recycle old monsters.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2010-01-03 03:12 am (UTC)
I admit every time I see a Dalek I giggle, because something about the arrangement of their eye-stalks and the two lights on top of their heads looks like a fox to me. The eye-stalk is the little fox muzzle and the two lights on top the pointed ears.

They look like furries. I am delighted by them whenever they appear. I want to hug them. And then I think, "No, wait, villains!"

Fortunately as villains they tend to be written in a fashion rather silly so I am free to think of them as the fox-robots with delusions of competent evil. -_-
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-03 10:27 am (UTC)
I don't believe I was ever scared of the Daleks. People talk about hiding behind the sofa when they came on, but I never did.

I like your characterisation of them as fox robots. I may never be able to look at them in quite the same way again.

Russell Davies has kept on wiping them out completely- then bringing them back through rifts in Time- or whatever. It's becoming lame. I'd like to see them finally consigned to history.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2010-01-03 12:29 pm (UTC)
It would be nice, wouldn't it? Somehow I doubt the possibility though. The Daleks are too iconic.

Nevertheless, there's probably something wrong when every time some terrible mysterious happening began unraveling on the show, my husband and I would look at one another and say, "Daleks."

And lo, a Dalek would appear! Even in the middle of mobster-infested 1920s-ish New York!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-03 04:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to have to report that I've seen the advance publicity for the next season- and there were Daleks in it.

At least the Daleks are considerably more amusing than the Cybermen. If Stephen Moffat brings them back I shall be cross.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2010-01-03 04:39 pm (UTC)
*covers face* Oh, the Cybermen. Nooooo.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2010-01-02 06:09 pm (UTC)
The three best stories of the Davies era, in no particular order of merit have been; The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (Moffatt), The Girl in the Fireplace (Moffatt) and Human Nature/Family of Blood (Cornell)

Whoever wrote "Blink"—the statues that move only when you aren't looking—I liked that one very much.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-01-03 10:31 am (UTC)
That was Moffat too. Ingenious guy! I believe he has plans to bring those stone angels back in the next series.

If Blink didn't make my final cut it's because it didn't move me the way those other stories did- but it's probably the cleverest script of the Davies era.
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