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Author Topic: How Would You Bring It Back?  (Read 3291 times)

Adrian Bamforth

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How Would You Bring It Back?
« on: 21 April, 2008, 11:43:52 AM »
This isn't a thread about what's wrong with the new Doctor Who, there are other thread for that, but I was wondering what others would do if they had been handed the somewhat poison chalice of bringing back the show. Y'know, just for a laugh. It's actually more about what was wrong with the old show. Here's my ideas:

1. Start again with An Unearthly Child: Let's face it, old Doctor Who was never the most consistent of sci-fi stories, yet the first episodes made perfect  sense as a simple variant on HG Welles' The Time Machine. Start all over again and you don't have to somehow serve 40 years of often contradictory and unlikely backstory. Purists can always suppose that he's simply lost his memory if they like, while everyone else can enjoy watching The Doctor encounter enemies old and new for the first rather than the 100th time.

2. Give The Doctor a motivation or purpose: This is essential to most drama, yet The Doctor usually seems to often flit with no explanation. The purpose may be missions given to him by the Time Lords, or attempts to fix problems created by others' time travel.

3. Use Galifreyan mythology and politics: We know hardly anything about them, yet they can help make sense of the main character much like Krypton defines Superman.

4. Give The Doctor an Earth connection: He's from another planet yet is just like a human being - logically, he must have spent very long time here or really like the place as he keeps coming back. He could be appointed the role of defender, be stuck or exiled here or just have some other big secret. A disproportionate number of stories are bound to be set on Earth, you may as well come up with a reason.

5. Give the assistants a reason for being there: Often, assistants (nearly always female) seem to be there just because it's the formula.

6. Keep the (inside of the) Tardis a bit weird and alien: Okay, this is a criticism of the new show and that's that the new Tardis looks good, but like a spaceship from Earth, post 'Alien'. If it's made from Earth bits and pieces, make it look like that, if it's alien make it look alien. Itâ??s not a spacecraft. If the Tardis can change it's outer form, have fun with that even if it regularly returns to the iconic Police Box form.

7. Play down paradoxical timeline stuff or work out some rules: The Doctor seems to alter history every episode yet often refers to protecting the timeline. What is and isn't true history seems completely random. The Time Lords could be guardians of the true 'timeline' (though understandably knowledge of the future is kept entirely secret) with The Doctor sent by them to fix problems. Keep The Doctor in the dark about the big picture as it doesn't help the drama or make sense that he should know how everything is always going to turn out. Otherwise, keep it very light and never mention time paradoxes. Keep Earthbound stories in the past (in line with the original remit of it being an educational programme) and invasions limited so The Doctor can â??nip it in the budâ??. Primeval works a lot better in this respect.

8. Keep the show fantasy rather than sci-fi: Avoid the temptation of going the route of sci-fi movies and using sets that look like Alien movies, space suits etc. This limits the possibilities of stories set on other planets. The Doctor should never be seen in a space suit - to try to compete with movies and make it realistic makes the whole thing come apart and isn't playing to the show's strengths.

Any other thoughts?

Bongo Jack

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?...
« Reply #1 on: 21 April, 2008, 01:24:00 PM »
The Doctor is a member of an alien agency (the Time Lords) who created time travel and opened a Pandora's Box that let rogue elements pollute the timestream and threaten to unravel the very fabric of blah-de-blah, and now they have to police time itself to undo their fubar.  The Tardis is attuned to glitches in the timestream that make it materialise at key events in time and space, like aliens invading medieval England kind of thing, as we all know that didn't happen, so the Doctor has to show up and muck about, either changing things directly, or facilitating change by allowing others to act.  Whenever the Doctor shows up somewhere, he explains to someone (who may or may not be his assistant) what's supposed to happen in the timeline, therefore justifying the 'educational' tag.
The Earth Connection: The Doctor is assigned to police Earth and it's future colonies in space, meaning alien worlds are a possibility for episodes, but always with humans in them so the audience can relate.  Apart from the amount of moons in the sky, all human space-colonies look like Cardiff.
The Earth Connection If We're Being Utterly Desperate: perhaps the Doctor can be looking for his daughter, hence his subconscious tendency towards female companions - I know it's a bloody terrible idea from the off, but at least hear me out on this one: the 'old' Doctor Who series was when the Gallifreyans had a more blase attitude towards flouncing around the cosmos, but now they're taking responsibility for things, including making the slightly-aloof Doctor take responsibility for laying pipe in an assistant.  Anyway, it's a metaphor for growing up or something.  Maybe the daughter hasn't actually been born yet, and she's the child of the thirteenth Doctor and he's been exiled to patrol Earth because of something she does in the future, and that way we literally have a 'will they, won't they' thing going on with The Doctor and his assistants, because at some point you know he's going to get some, you just don't know who with. Hence the tension.
Of course, the main problem with the Doctor having a child is that it suggests he might be heterosexual, which might be controversial in some circles of fandom.
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Richmond Clements

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #2 on: 21 April, 2008, 01:26:08 PM »
Of course, the main problem with the Doctor having a child is that it suggests he might be heterosexual, which might be controversial in some circles of fandom.


Of course, his first companion being his grand daughter kind of makes any rubbish about him being 'asexual' redundant.

Bongo Jack

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #3 on: 21 April, 2008, 02:37:37 PM »
The asexuality seems to be a major thing with some parts of the fandom, though.  I think what gets them hot under the collar isn't the suggestion he might be gay, it's the suggestion that he might have any kind of preference at all.

I never watched the old show, so you'll have to fill me in - was his granddaughter biological?  By which I mean, did he have a daughter/son in the usual manner and the granddaughter was the end result, or did he just adopt someone and then hang around Earth to see how it all turned out?
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TordelBack

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #4 on: 21 April, 2008, 02:45:14 PM »
You seek answers where there are only questions.  What?  How?  When?  Who.

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #5 on: 21 April, 2008, 02:45:32 PM »
She was definitely from Gallifrey. Not sure if she was ever confirmed as his granddaughter in the conventional sense.

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #6 on: 21 April, 2008, 02:47:18 PM »
It was never explicitly stated that the Doctor and his granddaughter were blood-related. I think we were supposed to suppose that they were adoptive family. Perhaps she had been left in his care. Whether she was human or Timelord I don't know, but I think the title 'An Unearthly Child' suggests she's an alien like the Doctor.
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Floyd-the-k

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?...
« Reply #7 on: 22 April, 2008, 12:22:48 PM »
I quite agree with you about giving the Dr a reason - most of the time he just bobs around the place

If I were given the job of restarting Who, I'd do what they've done so far. I think it's fantastic. Not perfect, but very very good.

If I were given the job and didn't know what they'd done with Ecclestone and afterwards, I'd aim to have it not be as bloody awful as the last season with McCoy was. So there would have to be stories that made sense and  special effects that didn't look like they'd been knocked up by a high school media class over lunchtime.  

If Alan Moore were available, I'd get him to do a genius retcon on the series

Oh and I'd bring back the proper historical stories - I liked those

SamuelAWilkinson

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #8 on: 22 April, 2008, 12:39:00 PM »
I'd aim to have it not be as bloody awful as the last season with McCoy was.

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Roger Godpleton

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #9 on: 22 April, 2008, 12:49:18 PM »
Have Hulk Hogan in it.
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Eric Plumrose

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #10 on: 22 April, 2008, 02:00:47 PM »
>> She was definitely from Gallifrey. Not sure if she was ever confirmed as his granddaughter in the conventional sense.

IIRC, it was only decided that Susan should be Doctor Who's granddaughter to avoid any implication that he might be banging her over the TARDIS console.

And if I'm not mistaken, Susan claimed originally to be from the Forty-First Century or something, although I don't think she specified that it was necessarily Earth's.
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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #11 on: 22 April, 2008, 02:05:08 PM »
Susan says she was born in the 49th century in the untransmitted pilot version of the first episode, but they changed it later on. She says something like 'I was born in another time, on another world' I think.

Adrian Bamforth

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #12 on: 22 April, 2008, 02:22:21 PM »
"I quite agree with you about giving the Dr a reason - most of the time he just bobs around the place. If I were given the job of restarting Who, I'd do what they've done so far".

Though one of the disappointments for me is that the new version not only hasn't given him a purpose, wiping out his home planet and race, the things with the most potential to drive him. I don't think in any other drama the idea of having a motivation for the main character would ever been seen as so unimportant.

Proudhuff

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #13 on: 22 April, 2008, 02:31:52 PM »
yeah, an overall story arc that gave him a goal would be fine and that was stated at the start rather than the end would be great too.

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Eric Plumrose

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Re: How Would You Bring It Back?.....
« Reply #14 on: 22 April, 2008, 03:35:46 PM »
>> Susan says she was born in the 49th century . . .

The untransmitted pilot, that would be it.

How would I bring back Who? In all likelihood, without success but:

1. Create a sense of mystery surrounding the Doctor. Keep any reference of the Time Lords to a minimum and NEVER have the Doctor mention that he is one. Ditto Gallifrey and his being Gallifreyan.

2. Time Lords. Boring as fuck. Reintroduce them as something that truly embodies the nature of time rather than the myrmidons of the snore they are. Stories featuring Time Lords should also be used sparingly and, again, NEVER have the Doctor refer to himself as being such. His simply not denying it should suffice.

3. No changing history. The occasional apparent temporal paradox is fine but, when it comes to sci-fi/fantasy, resetting the timeline is far too often lazy and/or anti-dramatic.

4. The Doctor's sexuality? Shurely you jest. He's too busy exploring the universe to care for anything so mundane.

5. The Doctor's TARDIS. Make it spooky, not weird. Candelabra. Shadows of otherwise invisible cats and moths. Dust and cobwebs. This is somewhere people should be only be if they truly have to. And again, the Doctor has neither the time nor the inclination for housework or full repairs.

6. The stories. Bonkers ideas, yet with internal logic. Develop character arcs as a complement to self-contained and ongoing plotlines. Make it family-orientated, fun for kids, shit-scaring for adults. Sci-fi. Fantasy. Horror. Maybe throw in an occasional episode of kitchen-sink drama. Make the Historicals a regular indulgence. Use not only established genre writers but try out those who aren't necessarilly associated with cult television.

7. Take it seriously. Especially the comedy.
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