[NetBehaviour] The New Who vs Oldskool Timey-Wimey Whovians

Mark Hancock mark.r.hancock at gmail.com
Sat Jan 4 01:11:44 CET 2014


I'm yet to watch the new Sherlock. I've been 'kind of' off-grid(ish) for a few days. I'm not sure that I'm going to be as enamoured of the new one as I was the previous episodes. But we'll see. Sometimes I'm just happy there's an alternative to X Factor and the like (more of which below).

One thing I'm trying to explore more in my own [creative/fiction] writing this year is the idea of jeopardy for characters. What are they risking, what is at stake for them within the given options. And more importantly how do those decisions drive them on to either succeed or fail (with elegance). I think that Breaking Bad did this very well, for those that watched it. Jeopardy has to mount and be layered, if you're going to create a narrative arc across a whole series or two. Jeopardy can be anything from falling in love to... deciding to fight the Daleks (Oh to fall in love with a Dalek!)

I recall an interview with Russell T Davies where he said that even X Factor and the like, had great narrative arcs and the directors/producers fully understood how to create that gripping drama in each fractal of each episode. This started with each performance, covered the whole episode and then of course built across the whole series. There are good guys and bad guys. Heroes we love and heroes we hate. I always regard these shows with respect since seeing that interview. There's a lot to be learnt from them (I hope this doesn't come across as ironic, I really mean it).

To me, this is one of the things that differentiates the two showrunners from each other. I'm not sure Moffat really believes that bad guys are all that bad (I bet he's mates with Simon Cowell (I knew i'd get ironic eventually)). And he probably believes that everyone should be a winner in the end.

Not that I've been thinking about all this or anything....

M



On 3 Jan 2014, at 20:59, mez breeze <netwurker at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 4, 2014 at 6:27 AM, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
> 
> And then you saw the first episode of the new Sherlock? :-)
> 
> 
> Too busy with the launch of wishforyouand.me [begins today] to watch the new Sherlock...;) Mark, have you watched it?
>  
> Mez you're much more generous to Moffat than I would be. He's
> misunderstood the very basis of the show (to the extent that fairytales
> and SF both take place in a strange and distant land yes they share some
> aesthetics and affordances, but he's thrown out Who's techno/social
> ethic in favour of an aesthetic of robes and staffs) and is worshiping
> at the altar of the "story arc" without being willing or able to do any
> of the planning or resolution that involves.
> 
> I'm still [constantly] oscillating as to Moffat's overall take: it could be unintentional part-wonder-crafting, part-new-Whovian-pandering, but it also could just be slopping work overall. 
> 
> I prefer the old American commentator's description of "that crazy space
> bum" to the aging British fanboy's "that wonderful man[.......]who is
> watching over us".
> 
> I think I like both?
>  
> 
> I'm not the only one. This article describes the schmaltz, cowardice and
> nastiness of Moffat's storytelling well:
> 
> http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/12/the-captain-kirk-problem-how-em-doctor-who-em-betrayed-matt-smith/282690/
> 
> [Don't forget "potential/possible misogyny":)] And thanks for the article link: will read when less "Wish4[0]"-ing.
>  
> 
> "Smith’s approach to the character, and the obvious on-screen chemistry
> he had with co-stars Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill as Rory
> Williams, and Alex Kingston as River Song helped the whole ensemble sell
> the entire ridiculous package that is Doctor Who. His first season had
> its problems, but the individual episodes and the season-long arc had
> enough momentum that—along with the slicker direction and more polished
> production values compared to the previous rebooted Who—the whole thing
> hung together well.
> 
> I was absolutely gobsmacked by the lack of finesse of the Ep involving the exit of the Darvills. 
> 
> 
> The problem was never with Smith’s performance. It was with Steven
> Moffat’s conception of the character."
> 
> 
> Nice point: looking forward to reading the article.
> 
> Chunks,
> Mez
> 
>  
> - Rob.
> 
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