Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Life, the Whoniverse and not much else

Now some fans take their Who very seriously. They get upset when stories conflict with one another (continuity errors) and come up with all sorts of explanations of how this could happen (parrallel universes being the most popular). One example is the varying explanations for the destruction of Atlantis which have popped up in the series over the years.

This is particularly a problem when you start looking at "spin-off" stories in books, comics and audio stories, and try to weave them into one big whoniverse of continuity. Fans are also the first to pick plot holes in stories and ask questions that usually have the words "if", "then" and "but" in them. I have a little way of looking at things which helps me get over this and prevent my headaches getting worse.

For me, I prefer to accept the fact that Who is a TV series, written and produced by people. But I also like to pretend that Who is real, and therefore accept that what we see on TV (or read in book and comic versions, and hear in audio stories) is a translation of these events. Just as the Bible is not the word of God, written by him and sent down from above, but was instead written by various people at various times with different perspectives, the Who we watch and read is a translation, made by human hands. And as we know, one of the things humans do best is make mistakes and cock things up.

So sorry boys and girls, David Tennant is not the 10th Doctor, he´s just an actor portraying him, although admittedly a very good one. I like this way of looking at Who as it opens the door to oneday having different actors portraying the varying reincarnations of the Doctor without everyone getting their knickers in a twist. So we can have a whole new 6th Doctor if we want, perhaps even with a tasteful costume. Well, maybe (I said I was delusional!)

And when we have different explanations of the same event, or plot holes or generally anything which we feel is silly or not quite Who enough for our liking, we can just put it down to translation error. This is particularly handy when we have to explain away bad special effects and scientific errors (explosions and fire in space for example, or frequent problems with gravity).

For example the last episode, Waters of Mars, has caused some discussion in fan forums regarding contamination of the robot called Gadget and bringing back the water-bourne infection to Earth. For me this wasn´t an issue - there are many ways to get round that (please think of your own!). What was a bit more worrying to me were the burning flames on the surface or Mars (however I am reliably told that rocket fuel would do this), and as a dramatic tool I always like a big explosion, so I can ignore this without much problem.

What made me cringe most of all was the really silly scene when the Doctor and Adilade whiz down a corridor on Gadget, with flames trailing behind and leaving tracks along the way. WTF?! However you see the reason why our storytellers did this at the end, when Gadget goes zooming off over the surface of Mars, and is shown in long-shot as a dot of flame shooting off to his destination. Without the flames and fire we wouldn´t have seen him, and our producers and directors would have had to come up with some other way of illustrating this, probably not as quickly, costing more money and with an overall loss of dramatic effect. So I´ll sort of let them off - this time.

One image I cant get out of my mind however is from the last season finale, with an abducted planet Earth being towed across space by the TARDIS. Now that really did make me cringe. In fact, thinking about it, the finale of season 3 was just as bad, if not worse, for its cringe factor. It´s so bad I haven´t been able to watch it since... for me that season ends with Utopia!

Let´s hope the two part special which we eagerly await at the end of this year have a lower cringe factor...

No comments:

Post a Comment