Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Little Bang

What a beautiful morning! Only, I'm not allowed to go into my garden because a girl blackbird keeps having a go at me because her chicks have hatched in my bush. Sheesh. So I've trimmed all my bushes but one.
Her aside, one of the first things I noticed when moving to Cambridgeshire was how tame the birds are. I have a bird bath which I keep replenished with water, and most days I scatter breadcrumbs about it, and the birds will happily feast just feet away from where I'm sitting. It's one of those lovely observations that I've logged away in case I ever have a character relocate. Which, if I think about it, happens in pretty much everything I've written.

And so to Doctor Who.
I'll confess that I was deeply disappointed with lead writer Mr. Moffat.
And here's why:
He forgot the kids.
From my pov, there were a few stand out episodes. I shed a couple of tears when the Doctor hung out with Vincent Van Gogh. The Rory auton concept used my favourite of emotive plot devices: the Jekyll and Hyde device! And the wonderfully romantic device of Rory loyally sacrificing everything to protect his loved one for thousands of years was topper.
But I can't see how any of this means much to a kid. Indeed, my son would often complain: 'Where's the monster?'
Because that's what I remember from my childhood: I remember amazing reveals where a person would take off their face and I'd recoil at their true ophidian identity; or those fat puckered suckers like columns of buttons on the Zygons' wet flesh. I remember giant maggots and the hooded monster Master with his eyeballs and their tributaries of blood vessels popping from his face.What I have no memories of at all are the more adult emotive interfaces of romance and duty and all those things that now have great meaning in my life.
I guess the die was cast from that opening episode in which Amy scurried about in her police woman strippergram outfit. (Well, yes, I have a vague recollection of Leela shadowing Tom's Doctor in an animal hide bikini, but I'm quite sure she didn't carry a pair of handcuffs with her.)
The BBC received many complaints. How is this suitable for my child/ren?
(Curiously, the BBC also received many complaints about the rejigged theme music.)

I guess the problem is that the diverse desires of a dual audience must be quite hard to marry. It's something that The Simpsons has nailed over the years: I watch it with my son and we both enjoy it; sometimes our responses are unified; other times they're disparate - notably, any pathotic strike drifts over my son's head - but there's something in there for us both, and we'll wet our pants as one whenever Moleman falls off his bicycle.
So Mr. Moffat: do continue with your brilliantly refined emotional topographies! But please remember the scary monsters ... lots of evil, angry monsters erupting with weeping pustules and bloodied stumps. At the heart of your demographic is that double entity: the boy sat on the sofa with his father. And if they have nothing worth sharing in their post mortem, then you've missed a trick: you've neglected to electrify that magical link between two generations.

Oh, and one last observation: You're gonna need a 'what's going on?' companion even dumber than Rory if you want us to understand what the heck was going on in that denouement.

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