October 27th, 2010


The Sarah Jane Adventures, series 4: Death of The Doctor

Hurling logic out the window:

The good, the bad and the Davies

After watching the first half of the "Death of the Doctor" I wrote in a fit of giddy optimism that, "Strong on close interpersonal observation, not so good with dramatic logic, Russel T Davies' return to the Doctor Who universe is a qualified triumph."

If only it were so. Having now seen the follow-up, I need to re-write my lede and reconsider my larger thesis.

"Death of the Doctor" represents the best and the worst of Davies, but unfortunately, while the Good RTD is mostly ascendant in the first half of the diptych, the Bad RTD emerges all-too-typically triumphant in the second.

In Part One, we saw the perfectly-observed character moments, the witty asides that serve both to release dramatic tension and to ratchet it up a level, and the sort of cliff-hanger that can leave a grown man (well, this one) giggling with anticipation for the sequel.

Part One also provided the forced humour that breaks established character; the shameless emotional manipulation that often works but that leaves the sensitive viewer feeling cheap and dirty afterwards; the plot elements the experienced RTD-watcher fears will lead to nonsense when explained in Part Two and dangling plot-threads galore.

RTD needs a plot-oriented collaborator to slap down his Inner Fanboy. (Spoilers ahead; click at your own risk.)

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