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So long, and thanks for all the fish!
“Yo, Matt Smith, Ima let you finish, but Tennant was the best Doctor of all space and time! OF ALL SPACE AND TIME!”
Okay, so maybe Kanye wouldn’t be the best choice to play everyone’s favorite Time Lord (no, he totally still is), but a report that Doctor Who would be getting a big Hollywood blockbuster reboot treatment last month is still way more intriguing than fans are willing to admit. Yeah, yeah, I get it: it’s a celebrated series with beloved characters and a certain charm all that, fine, great… but there would be some definite advantages to throwing some Weinstein-sized cash at The Doctor. Set your tricked-out Tardises(es?) for “awesome”:
Wait, wait, wait– hear me out on this one, guys. I get that the Doctor is supposed to abhor fisticuffs and defeat his enemies with intelligence and scarves and tea or whatever, but to deny the fact that the series has become distinctly action and thriller oriented is to deny how Doctor Who even rebounded in the first place. So let’s stop beating around the bush and crank it up a bit, shall we? I’m not saying we gotta get all Michael Bay up in this piece, but when we’re supposed to fear for a guy that’s being chased around by statues and talking trashcans, I don’t know, maybe a few good ol’ fashioned explosions and high speed chases courtesy of the US of A will get a few more nails in the audience bitten. Couldn’t hurt.
The BBC has been chasing American quality production since its inception. Granted, they’ve closed a lot of the gap in recent years, but still looks pretty funny to us blokes across the pond. I can’t be the only one who wouldn’t mind getting a convincing look at so many of the Doctor Who monsters, or even the Time War. I know that many will argue that BBC budget restrictions have kept the show inventive and cute; but if the series is moving towards bigger and slicker anyway (and it is, see below), let’s just get the concept across the finish line. More money doesn’t mean you have to change the style. Besides, the Daleks make roombas look like sentient beings – it’s about time someone had pockets deep enough to fix that.
Back-Breaking Back Story
Here’s a fun drinking game: During an episode of Doctor Who, ask some fans what the hell is going on (you’ll probably need to anyway) and chug a beer until you actually understand (or you’re totally out of beers). The latter parenthetical is likely to come first.
I’m not against a story being a dense, cumulative experience, but Doctor Who is a hard pool to jump into. Television graveyards are littered with great concepts that required comprehensive viewing to really “get” (Arrested Development and Carnivàle come to mind). Preparing Doctor Who for a brand new audience could free new plots from the gobbledygook of nearly five decades of retained content and let the real stars of the series shine: the characters. As it stands now, it doesn’t matter if it’s Rose, Martha, Amy, or who the hell ever else is riding the Tardis, the Doctor’s real “plus one” has always been exposition (and she’s not even that hot).
Accountability (for once)
I defy you to name a series more shaped by budget than Doctor Who. Think about it: A main character that be played by anyone. A magical penlight that can do anything. Hoards of invisible enemies. And a sci-fi concept that allows writers to bullshit their way out of every corner. That’s not even me bitching, that’s from series architect Steven Moffat:
“A television series which embraces both the ideas of parallel universes and the concept of changing time can’t have a continuity error – it’s impossible for Doctor Who to get it wrong, because we can just say ‘he changed time – it’s a time ripple from the Time War.’”
So, let’s get real here – Doctor Who is, admittedly, a show without consequences. Do I think average, American Joe Schmoe who enjoys the occasional sci-fi flick could love The Doctor? Yes. Would they put up with all the false death, multiverse, invented loophole jerking around current fans put up with on a weekly basis? Hell no. And they shouldn’t. More eyes on the screen and hearts invested means Doctor Who might actually have to play by the rules a little bit… and that’d be a good thing. Otherwise, what the hell is the theme of this show, anyway? That no matter what any of us ever does, none of it ever really means anything? Well, fuck. Guess this UNICEF donation can wait, then. -hits Play All, hums theme song-
“You called about the clogged toilet?”
Just Do Both?
Consider this: if Hollywood execs officially green lit a Doctor Who movie tomorrow, it’d still take a few years to actually make. So why does it have to be either BBC continuity OR an all-American reboot? Could it be both? If Moffat and crew knew of the impending film, couldn’t they be involved to help set it up just in time for a new actor to portray the Doctor?
I’m just spitballing here, but it’s an idea. Giving a brand new 12th or 13th Doctor a Hollywood debut would allow diehard fans and newcomers alike to welcome and get to know the newest Doctor. And couldn’t a darker, grittier Time Lord tie-in directly with the Doctor running out of his thirteen lives? Hell, he could even be American!
Okay, okay, okay, he doesn’t have to be American… But I’m sure Kanye can learn a spot on British accent.
Rob blogs about film at his website, “Heroes are Boring”. He is an accomplished screenwriter and has worked in the industry for several years. He is currently raising funds for a short film project that he’s written. Please contribute here.