Dear Doctor Who please can you learn some self-discipline

Like many geeks, Doctor Who is a staple of my Sci-fi diet  And like any adult fan of a show targeted at children I am prone to over analysing and possibly expecting a little too much. Still with this in mind, I finished the latest installment (series 7) frustrated. Wishing for the days when our Doctor Who wasn’t being treated like clingy, emotionally stunted excuse for a time lord.

Coming at Doctor Who as one of the few generation of people who neither grew up with it in its first incarnation till the BBC gave up on Sylvester McCoy or with the Ecclestone reboot. My entry into the tardis came with the advantages of older brothers’ video collection and the reruns on UK Gold. In fact, I am the original hipster of classic doctor who loving, I was in to the Doctor and his companions before it was cool (again). Even going so far as to remember doing a presentation on the tardis for an english GCSE course. Popularity was all too easily compensated with the knowledge the 4th Doctor off screen got to marry one of my earlier crushes Romana.

It is fair to say I am fairly up on my Doctor enough to name them all chronologically but not enough to know all the episodes name. That’s’ healthy right? The reboot of Doctor Who would always face problems, it never truly hark back to its nostalgic roots whilst being targeted at a new generation.

But why oh why can the Doctor not learn some bloody self discipline? And I mean discipline with his companions. The final good bye to Amy and Rory compounded this issue. For the last series we have had it hammered into us that this ancient time lord needs someone to be with him, to keep him grounded. A disconnected genus needs to connect and off course humanity is all about being connected.

Apparently after 29 companions, many of which he had close bonds with like Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith and lets’ not forget his granddaughter travelled with him. He is now incapable of tearing himself apart from them. To have that discipline, maybe selfishness to say enough is enough I am not looking back. To just accept that if you are a time lord, mortals with finite life spans cannot stay with you forever.

The result is repetition, 4 out the 5 recent companions have had to have insurmountable  barriers to be put up to stop him seeing them again. Rose has been flung into a parallel universe, Donna’s head will explode if she sees him, and now Rory and Amy are in a convenient paradox. The exception is Martha, quite frankly after she broke the fourth wall whilst driving the Tardis I can understand the Doctor’s reluctance to give her his new number.

Sadly so much energy is spent in to making the story arcs epic, the relationship dynamic so intense but predictable. That the simple joy of exploring spaces and battling new foes (a statue of liberty angel is still an angel just a ridiculously big one). For the most part we can argue this doesn’t matter, its children’s tv, that maybe patronisingly we can say this goes over their heads and that predictability is a good thing.

But repetition and predictability does sadden me. We do children a disservice to allow it to happen in their shows. To foster the idea that sticking to formula is the best approach. Schools don’t as a general rule encourage enough creativity or freedom to think. Schools are the product of an industrial age, to have us come out the factory line of education ready to be productive for society. We should encourage creativity in children, supposed grown ups like ourselves and fiction has big role to play. Now I feel the need to simply say….

Come on Doctor regenerate some balls and get back to leaving your companions behind to get on with their lives.


One thought on “Dear Doctor Who please can you learn some self-discipline

  1. I kind of half-agree with you and half-not. As an old-Whovian myself, I do think the Doctor needs to go back more to a “Sorry guys, this is it” approach. I also agree that the various 10th Doctor companion goodbyes were massively overplayed, mostly because RTD seemed to have a serious emo streak.

    Rose’s initial goodbye was fine, parallel universe, bit of emotion – BAM! Goodbye. Then they ruined it by bringing her back over and over again. Martha’s goodbye was the only strong character moment she had for an otherwise appallingly soppy character. The Donna thing was completely over-the-top, and so awkward that they had to clumsily work around it for the grand Tennant finale.

    All that said, I thought the Ponds deserved to get some gravitas to their send-off. Their involvement in the 11th’s life has been much more emotionally complex than any other previous companions, so having it be mroe difficult for him made sense. I also like the fact that 11 very much seems like an older, more damaged Doctor and so I can see him struggling to let go. However, dragging it out for a whole half-season was too much. Angels in Manhattan did a perfectly good job, we didn’t need the phase out. I would much rather have spent the last few episodes getting to know Oswin/Clara/who-is-she-I’m-so-confused?

    Anyways, good post 🙂

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