It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...
derspatchel

Doctor Who and the Decent Two-Parter

I got a very nice phone call a few weeks back breaking the news to me that Stephen Moffat was stepping up as Doctor Who's show runner once Rusty Davies finally makes his step down. The call was made to me because the caller said of all the people she knew to make this announcement to, she wanted me to know if only to see what I'd eventually write. Then, of course, I didn't write, because it's been dang hard recently trying to actually sit down and type make words on screen without some form of interruption or distraction.

But Moffat taking over Davies' position? This can only be a good thing. This can only be a damned good thing. Even if, in four years' time, we're sitting around complaining of yet another formulaic Moffat script for Whoever-The-Doctor-Is-By-Then, the changeover will still have been a good and welcome one. I mean, at least Mr. M's formulaic tendencies don't run towards flatulent aliens camping it up, one-dimensional supporting characters, endless shots of crowds running outside and pointing at the imminent Threat Of The Week (or hugging with a hoorah once the threat has been neutralized) and "DO YU LIEK ME CHECK ONE [ ] YES [ ] NO [ ] OH GOD ANGST ANGST ANGST" soap opera bushwah.

Case in point: The most recent two-parter involving The Library (with capitals, yes). I'll say right off the bat this is good stuff, man, this is really good stuff. The second part was amazingly well done, and turned many conventions on their ear, conventions which I'd gotten quite tired of. I mean, let's compare what would have happened to this story had Russell T. Davies written it.

Delve? Let's. Don't be too scared.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The Doctor and Donna find themselves in a library containing all the books ever written and a gigantic computer keeping copies in "the biggest hard drive ever."
THE RUSTY WAY: The Doctor and Donna find themselves in a library containing all the books ever written, only a gigantic computer is in the process of transferring everything into e-book format so all you need is a Kindle to read it.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The Library is abandoned, and while the lifeform readout says there's a zillion lifeforms, we only see two... humans, that is.
THE RUSTY WAY: There's people in The Library, only they're all too absorbed with their Kindles to notice anything awry, even when PEOPLE START DISAPPEARING. This is because THE TECHNOLOGY IS EVIL AND THE KINDLES ARE EVIL.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The library is infested with invisible creatures who lurk in the shadows and who can skeletonize a cow in fifteen milliseconds flat.
THE RUSTY WAY: The library is infested with invisible creatures who lurk in the shadows and who can skeletonize a cow in fifteen milliseconds flat, but they also belch every time they eat something for comic hilarity!

THE MOFFAT WAY: Eventually a team of scientists and archaeologist show up to figure out what's gone wrong with the Library. The team is headed and bankrolled by one of the members of the family that built and owns the Library. He appears to be only looking to protect his business interests and his OMG Sekrit Patent on what truly powers the Library.
THE RUSTY WAY: Eventually a team of scientists and an archaeologist show up to figure out what's gone wrong with The Library. The team is headed and bankrolled by one of the members of the family that built and owns the Library. He appears to be only looking to protect his business interests and his OMG Sekrit Patent on what makes The Library so awesome. A cavalcade of suspicious looks and sneers when nobody else is looking at him confirms that yeah, that's what he's only here for.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The corporate dude has a personal assistant who's very pretty but also very stupid. Nobody likes her except Donna, who is nice to her. Quite predictably, the assistant is the first one to die when things start to go all pear-shaped, but her death scene turns into one of the eeriest and most evocative ghost scenes in the history of the show. She later returns as an ghostly figure who helps Donna, since Donna was nice to her.
THE RUSTY WAY: The corporate dude has a personal assistant who's very pretty but also very stupid. Nobody likes her but Donna, who is nice to her. Quite predictably, the assistant is the first one to die when things start to go all pear-shaped, and that's the last we hear of her. However, Donna gets to lecture the others about how they should've been nicer to the assistant when they had the chance.

THE MOFFAT WAY: Two of the teammembers are named Dave for no apparent reason. The team dubs them Proper Dave and Other Dave. This has no real purpose except to show us that the group has some kind of unity.
THE RUSTY WAY: Two of the teammembers are lesbians for no apparent reason. This has no real purpose except to prove that lesbians exist in the future (sorry, Time Chasers already confirmed this for us) yet we're reminded of this at every convenient and not-so-convenient opportunity. In fact, their names are Lesbian Anita and Lesbian Sue.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The whole thing is watched on television by a little girl who has a curious interest in the story as it appears that The Library is all in her head. She turns out to be a virtual reality simulacrum of the actual Library computer.
THE RUSTY WAY: The whole thing is watched on television by a little girl who has a curious interest in the story. She turns out to be a little girl watching the Doctor Who program JUST LIKE US, and her urging them on or warning them to "not go that way" turns out to be MAGICAL COMMAND ECHOES from across time and space, you know, kinda like The Neverending Story. She also spends a great deal of time doing this from behind the sofa. At the end, she claps her hands to show she believes in Time Lords.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The corporate dude turns out to have been trying to protect the little girl in the library computer, because she's family. He ends up helping and all is well.
THE RUSTY WAY: The corporate dude turns out to have been trying to protect his financial interests and after delivering a sneering, campy monologue, meets his demise ironically, probably at the hands of one of those creepy Library helper robots.

THE MOFFAT WAY: The library computer turns out to have been a savior when the shadow creatures first invaded, transferring all the people who were around into its virtual reality banks to keep them safe.
THE RUSTY WAY: The library computer turns out to be a villain, using the EVIL KINDLES to suck people into its memory banks, thus using their knowledge to, uh, get smarter or something.

THE MOFFAT WAY: Donna enters the virtual world and gets married and has kids and learns to play the flute. No, wait, that was Picard.
THE RUSTY WAY: Donna enters the virtual world and oh it's just like home so we get to deal with her mum again. Crazy old granddad is nowhere to be seen, and that's how Donna eventually realizes she's in a simulation.

THE MOFFAT WAY: There's this archaeologist named River Song who appears to know the Doctor very well, only it's all timey-wimey so while he is meeting her for the first time, she's seeing him for the last time. It's pretty clear, however, that the two have some sort of intimate relationship.
THE RUSTY WAY: Oh we don't need this complication, so instead Rose jumps out of a book to help save the day! HOORAY!



dear god I think I hurt something
Tags: doctor who, television
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