Saturday, 10 January 2015

Doctor Who: Deep Breath

The first adventure I've seen of the new Doctor. Technically I suppose 'my' doctor ought to be Tom Baker or Peter Davison, as being respectively the first I remember & the one I saw most of growing up. And that encapsulates my difficulty with Doctor Who - I love that different actors play the role & bring a new personality to it, but the fact that of course the actor playing the doctor is always going to be older than a child presupposes for me that the Doctor must be older than me. Matt Smith blew this preconception out of the water for me. I don't agree with the rumblings in the criticism that he was *too* young - in fact I thought he was a refreshing doctor, partly through being so young. However I feel Smith lacked a certaain depth of characterisation that all of the other Doctors have had.
For this reason Capaldi is a welcome change for me. The mood is much more brooding, pensive, what have you.
That said, my first impressions of the episode were completely mixed. The new theme music bears a welcome similarity to the heavy music of the early series. The impression the titles gave me was almost completely bad, though. This is a totally personal point of view, but obviously the majority of the TV I watch is forty or fifty years old (although I've now gone out of my mind for Sherlock). When you're used to the jarringly unsubtle special effects used in, say, Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, CGI comes as a disappointment. I don't like CGI. CGI does nothing for me. It lacks the theatricality of 1960s & 1970s TV - not forgetting that one of the reasons so much of the TV of the time was wiped was that it was approached very much as a one-off 'performance', which would not be given again. Whereas in the case of this Doctor Who it was even leaked in advance because the dear old BBC kept it on a drive that wasn't secure, bless them.
Of course my distaste for CGI has coloured my take on the rest of the adventure. I'm obliged to admit that while I have watched this episode twice with a view to blogging about it, I've been sitting looking at the disc for a week, thinking that I ought to watch it again to mug up the plot. Today I realised I just plain didn't want to watch it again. I also seem to have the most negative view on the internet of Deep Breath.
As for the plot - I don't remember any of it. Nothing. Except for a restaurant full of mechanical people. Here the effects have spoiled the plot. I've noticed how it looks, but not registered what has gone on. It's become merely background, in the way a lot of contemporary TV is. While writing this I'm actually watching an episode of Bergerac & have registered much more of what's going on - it's about morbid jealousy in a fencing club.
This one is otherwise notable for the BBC getting six complaints over the lesbian kiss. The only thing I personally find objecctionable there is that the marriage motif is anachronistic, unnecessary to the story, & gratuitous. The scene then created more controversy when it was cut to comply with Singapore's broadcasting standards.
So to sum up - great music, over-effective visuals which are not to my taste, pleasing steampunk genre (although how it can be a literary genre escapes me), pleasing new Doctor, unmemorable plot. This is one I'll be selling. I've got Spearhead from Space up on the shelf & hope to blog about that sometime soon, since I've now watched it through several times with great enjoyment.
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