“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.” This is what Amy said at her wedding when she tried to remember the Doctor and brought him to reality after he vanished and rebooting the earth.
This post is that this writing wasn’t triggered by Doctor Who episode, but a blog review about Bond’s latest movie: Skyfall. The writer, @newsplatter used the catchphrase (was it a catchphrase? idk) as his title for his Skyfall review: Something old, something new, something…. Bond?
While I read the review, so many connecting lines appear in my head between James Bond and Doctor Who: Both series from UK, they’ve been around more than 20-30 years, legendary characters. A lot in common, but one similarity that I want to point out in this post is about important changes in plot.
The plot thickens, so people said. They didn’t talking about the plot, actually. Unlike me, now.
After eleven reincarnation, Doctor Who finally had the best, most glorious story in his life. One line from his wife, River Song was: “It is the darkest hour of the Doctor. He‘ll rise higher than ever before and then fall so much further.” In this story, the writer pictured him as the Doctor who grew so bigger than ever after years of adventures, wars and fights. That behind his silly smile under the fez, he could be a frightening man when it comes to disturbance or threats to people he loved. The story no longer about alien/invasion of the week or merely a wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuffs, but there were ‘arc’, bigger plot in each season that made the audience thinking seriously on the story (I thank Steven Moffats for that).
James Bond too. In Skyfall, we watched about Bond being human. The villain’s motives become more powerful and deeper than before. Personal motive. Something that old bond don’t really get much. We also has new Q (Cute Q! Love him!) with much too simple gadget, a microradio. Old days, we had exploding pen and awesome-yet- not-so-impossible-but-somehow-I-think-now-will-be-silly cars. No more advanced techno James! You can do everything on your own and MI6 kinda short on budget! Also, at the end of the story M died. Big change in the story. Never thought it could happened, but it happened anyway. All thank to the writer too of course.
The thing with old running series is that the writers come and go to the point fanboy/fangirl become the writer them self in the end. Writers now realized that they are basically god. And these gods changes things. Canon things and this happened mostly now, in this era. It always controversial when the writer decided to change, erase or explain the canon stuff. Some old fans can’t deal with the change if the writer couldn’t provide logical explanation + eternal bashing (critics, review).
Because of this, writer tend to be more serious in story building. They tried to write the story realistically (at least in their universe), scientifically approved, and with lots of humanity values. There was this time when batman movie were so silly. But now we have Nolan with his grim script in Dark Knight Trilogy. And the best fan-but-professional writer script is Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife in Doctor Who. It is not a secret that his all time favorite series since he was a kid is Doctor Who and he had been dreaming to write its script since forever.
Not all good things happened. We can look at Supernatural series that used to be so epic. Then, rating happened. The series according to Kripke should have ended in season 5, but it was forced to go on. Kripke’s arc ended, he quit and it becomes Sera Gamble fan fiction arc era with weak foundation for a long running series. She sacrificed Castiel to as a villain 😦 So many fans complaints about it.
And this gets bigger. They realized that its them who run the show, so everything is up to them. Including making major changes that will later be praised by everyone or regretted by later writer and fans for ruining a good franchise. Like killing M, Mighty Warrior Who, less adorable and too dreamy Castiel and The So Serious Batman.
Is it good? Do we really want our beloved long running series to be change by them or it’s best as what it is before? For me as long as it logical I won’t mind. But if it’s not necessary, I don’t think it should be changed.
Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who so I will write more example from that series. The River Song case for example, old fans knew that she always the doctor’s wife but never any explanation about that until the Tenth Doctor. Moffat took his charge for the Eleventh Doctor and voila, we get background stories about Doctor’s future wife in the whole season 6 arc. PLUS we also get bonus from Gaiman about the soul of the TARDIS in The Doctor’s Wife (still in the same season).
My comment: I prefer TARDIS as Doctor’s wife. It’s always the two of them, mad man with a box, stolen box that now we knew stole the the Doctor too (I want to see the universe, so I steal a Time Lord, TARDIS said). What fans knew for the past decades is: The Doctor stole the TARDIS (muttering that he only borrowed it to avoid any guilty feeling on his crime). The hanging sensation about that crime relieved now after this episode came to the show. The TARDIS stole the doctor and don’t have any intention in returning him. So, basically perfect couple!
While at the same time, we also knew that River song already in the shows too since god knows when. But then the connection turned out to be not so strong between Doctor and River. It was a haste marriage in the middle of disintegrating time before the doctor’s fixed point of death.
I can’t catch any sign of love or affection from the Doctor to River. It is River who fall head over heel to the Doctor, just like the rest of us, and I still can’t understand why she become the one that deserve Doctor’s extra attention? I will blow up the universe just to be Doctor’s wife you know, the same thing River did. Why not me? Because she’s his companions’ lost daughter whom accidentally a Time Lord and abducted because of him? That’s not enough extra fun fact to begin a marriage life!
That is one kind of complain and praise that could happened. This doesn’t really happened to book adaptation series.The basic rule is set by the original book writer then scriptwriter. Scriptwriter must agree with the rule or he’d be making a whole new story. Game of Thrones, for example. Until season 3 it was solely based on the book but at season 4 has TV version with major probability of plot changes. Many believe that this change is excusable.
The writer decide now, whether to turn a canon as a big success or a lifetime failure. As fan, we only hope that our shows in the best hands.