Friday, November 18, 2011

Doctor Who: The Movie

So, in the world of the nation's favourite Time Lord, we've had some big news this week - namely, that some chap who has done some stuff with the Harry Potter franchise (a film series that leaves me utterly cold) is going to spend the next three years or so creating a Doctor Who film with a former producer of the show. Great news, right?

My response would be a very circumspect "hmmmmm". Now, it is true that Doctor Who has had two feature films that stand outside of what some people call the Whoniverse (terrible word, obviously) and they work rather well. They are fast-moving, they are exciting and they have a certain charm. But they aren't demanding, and they are simply rehashes of TV stories. It seems that the movie proposed this week will be a rather different proposition.

Which is my big problem with it. It seems to be trying to reboot the whole of the Doctor Who universe. Now, reboots can and do work. But they tend to work best when the original show/franchise has run out of steam. When it has ceased to be popular. When a fresh burst of creative energy is needed to make the whole thing a viable proposition again. And Doctor Who does not need that. Quite fundamentally, it has been firing on all cylinders since it returned in 2005. Arguably, it has never been as consistently involving and striking as the last season. So there is absolutely no need to reboot it and, let's be honest, it doesn't seem likely that there will be a need within the next three years. So a movie completely detached from the ongoing and growing continuity of the show is completely unnecessary. In fact, it is arguably going to damage the TV show as people might see the movie as more important than that lil ol' show on Saturday evenings. If it happens, it could come to dominate and overpower a TV show in its prime. Which would be a crushing shame.

But that's the other point to make here - if the movie happens. There have been numerous talks about Doctor Who films over the years, especially during the wilderness years between 1989 and the TV movie of 1996. And they all came to nothing. So you'll have to forgive me if I question whether this movie will even take place. But if it does, then I really worry about the impact it will have on a TV show that is going from strength to strength. When I see the director talking about how the show needs a radical change, I can't help but this that he is completely and totally wrong. And probably needs to bugger off and actually watch the show he's doing to start mauling for no reason.

But we'll see. As a wise man once said, time will tell. It always does.

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