dr who

Warren Ellis has seen the new Doctor Who, and has reviewed it. He’s a hard man to please, and he likes it.

It is, in fact, DOCTOR WHO, as it was, complete with fake jeopardy for the kids and laughs for the adults. It will probably disappoint old fans – and anyone looking for a BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-style treatment – because it resolutely refuses to take itself too seriously. It’s not afraid of doing gags like having a kid eaten by a marauding plastic rubbish bin because that’s all part of the ride, all part of the style. In Michael Moorcock’s phrase, it obeys and enjoys the genre.

And so you get that nice little counterpoint between strange comedy bits and straight dramatic moments that is the hallmark of a certain strain of British fiction. Showroom dummies (yes) coming to life and shooting people might look funny, and it is – but the bodies are just as dead. And that – the placing of an alien element into a naturalistic contemporary British context – is the signature of the old British sf style, from WAR OF THE WORLDS to DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, from QUATERMASS AND THE PIT to, especially, DOCTOR WHO.

Definitely agree with that first paragraph – “taking itself too seriously” was the key mistake made by the Paul McGann abomination.

Oh, and read the next article, in which Warren talks about James Bond. Good stuff. Oh bugger – and the next article on Holmes.

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