Is Dr. Who getting too American?
Before getting started on this post I would just like to point out that I do not dislike American TV, some of my favourite shows are American (Lost, Once Upon a Time, The Mentalist, The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead). This post is simply about the way that British and American TV does different things. Whilst I think some shows over here could do with the big budget American twist, some shows are decidedly less because of it. Dr. Who, in my opinion, is one of those shows. I understand that it is now extremely popular with our cousins across the sea but it is a British institution. There are some slight annoyances with the American way of doing things that I feel do not fit with Dr. Who. Firstly is the idea of splitting a series (yes it is a series, not a season!). It frustrates us Brits, we don’t mind a series finishing on a cliff hanger but to stop it half way through for no apparent reason seems silly. I understand that Amy and Rory going was a big thing, but to stop there was not right in my opinion. We did not need a Christmas special then, surely Clara could have been woven into other stories. That may have added more mystery and you could have had many adventures where she turned up before becoming the Doctor’s assistant thus building more intrigue into her character. The thing, however, that I find American TV shows like to do is create self-contained stories with a nice start, middle and end in one forty-five minute show. As you can see from the American shows I love, these break from the mould and have more of a continuing saga feel about them. Dr. Who was always a saga type of affair, the classic series had stories in parts and the new series had some one-off stories and some multi-part tales. Quite often there would be a strand that wove them together. Whilst I do think these strands have become a bit shoe-horned in these days and I like some one-off stories, too many pass quickly without being noticed. Many classic American shows build up the tension and drama then in the last five minutes of the show everything resolves itself and is back to normal ready for the next episode. This is one reason I fell out of love with shows like Star Trek and The X-Files. Dr. Who seems to have fallen into that bracket a lot, a bit of peril, the story starts to get going then suddenly there is something that solves the problem and in a few minutes we are back to normal. I am not saying this is always bad but it does start to make things predictable. Episodes such as Cold War, The Crimson Terror, Hide and Nightmare in Silver all seem to end just as they were getting good. Why did we not have any two-part stories? Whilst I still love Dr. Who I am starting to grow a little discontented and am concerned it may end up being one of those shows I lose interest with. The good news is that the last episode of series seven was a cracker and I am looking forward to finding out who John Hurt’s character really is. Let’s just hope for some more of this in the 50th Anniversary special and beyond.