Thursday, December 26, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is Stephen Fry for Doctor!

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Boxing Day!

When I started writing this post I had only recently found out that Matt Smith is ending his stint as the Doctor on Doctor Who at the end of this current "series" (in US parlance it's called a season).  Last night I watched several episodes of Doctor Who and a special regarding Matt Smith's tenure on the show.  I saw most of "The Time of the Doctor" which is Matt Smith's last episode.

This begs me to finally finish this post and put it up.

Peter Capaldi is the next Doctor, but I want to go on record as strongly endorsing Stephen Fry as the Doctor.  I think he would be a brilliant choice.
Mr. Fry has criticized Doctor Who as being a children's program, which it is.  I have no problem with that and he said he thinks it is fine as much as occasional fast food is.

This very attitude goes very far to explaining why I think Steven Fry would be the best Doctor, and what I think is wrong with New Who.

With Steven Fry you always get the feeling that there is something more, something behind and above what you see; what he is presenting.  I get a feeling of a much larger world when I listen to or watch Steven Fry.

Steven Fry has taken up the colors of techno-champion and knight of the endangered from the fallen Douglas Adams, and I find his approach more subtle and light hearted.

I have three problems with New Who.  The most prominent is how flashy, polished, expensive, orchestral and grandiose it is.  At first I thought that was my problem, that I was just pining for the old, campy, synthesizer, cheap Who of my youth.

In fact I've realized that it is not glitz vs camp, but see vs imagine.  The thing that made those old campy, cheap episodes so great was that it was very clear that there was much more out there in the universe than you saw, there had to be.

I'm a big fan of Old Time Radio and audio dramas in general.  I love how you have to bring something to it yourself.  It challenges the audience to "see" what is happening in the story.

I think the cheapness of old Who did that in many ways.  It almost made you want to close your eyes and imagine the universe, or at least try to understand what they were trying to represent by the quarry or the abandoned hotel.  The way the show was, it challenged you to pretend with it that they weren't running back and forth down the same hallway.

They've taken that away for the most part with New Who.  They've committed to trying to show you exactly what things are supposed to look like.  Once you start doing that then you have told the audience to sit back and watch because you are going to do everything for them.

I get the feeling when I listen or watch Stephen Fry that he is challenging us in some way.

The second problem I have is probably the smallest one: the phone.  New Who bends to our current need for constant instantaneous connection.  The companions can call and talk to the Doctor in real time, with no delays no matter where or WHEN he is.

This is just pure magic and bursts the suspension of disbelief faster than a poorly made costume or badly build TARDIS wall.  I don't know how Fry could fix that.  Maybe they should just get rid of it.

My final objection to New Who is that he has saved the universe, how can they top that?  In old Who he would land somewhere random (mostly), find a local problem, help them fix it and gallivant off again.  The whole of New Who starts off with the notion that he destroyed Gallifrey and the Time Lords to save all of time and space.  They left themselves no room to go up.

I think that was somewhat okay with Christopher Eccleston because he seemed a bit of an outlaw and almost seemed on the lam at that time.  Tenant took that feeling away.  I'm not sure Smith brought it back, but the threats to the Doctor's life did make it seem a bit more focused and less hyperbole (maybe why I like Smith better than Tenant).

I get the feeling that Fry could really do that in spades.  Even if the grand gestures and the universal saves continue I would get the feeling that the small stuff mattered, that those pockets of problems are out there and they need to be dealt with as well.  Fry is capable of showing you the improvements in technology but never letting you forget the environmental and social struggles that are still out there and very real.

I know he won't be the next Doctor.  I know Peter Capaldi has already started, but I can still wish can't I?  Isn't it the season for that?

PS:  Every time I watch Doctor Who I want to write a Doctor Who type story.  Stop it!  Stop flirting with my muse Doctor, she's supposed to be helping me finish my horror novel; leave her alone.

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