I don’t like to nitpick, but I was watching the first episode of the new Dr Who series last night and… well, it was awful, yes, but that’s not my issue, I mean I rather expected it to be lousy, the last series was such a disaster that I only managed to get through four or five episodes before giving up (and I can tell it’ll be just two or three eps this time around before I bail)… but anyway, the bit that really annoyed me…
To be frank, a lot of it annoyed me. But the bit that annoyed me the most, more than the homicidal car or Jodie Whittaker’s astonishingly ham-fisted impression of David Tennant that continues to annoy, and yes even more than the endlessly lazy script-writing that keeps putting the Doctor into increasingly convoluted emergencies and then writing itself out of it by her switching on her bloody sonic screwdriver (one size fits all emergencies, apparently), yes more than that and more than the increasingly inept companions, it was the Aussies.
What about the Aussies!? The Doctor tracks down an ex-MI6 colleague of hers, ‘O’ (Sacha Dhawan), who MI6 sacked and who went into hiding and even MI6 have no idea where he is… but of course the Doctor knows how to find him in just a jiffy, and when she gets there, the guy is waiting with two Aussie Secret Agents guarding him. But hang on, if nobody including MI6 know where this guy ‘O’ is then how come the Aussie Secret Service know where he is? But that’s not what bugged me about the Aussies, even if it did irritate me that the script’s internal logic was broken again and we’re expected to be too stupid/distracted (hello 100 star destroyer planet killers! oh wait wrong franchise) to notice.
No, what bugged me was that during an attack on the isolated hideout somewhere in the Australian desert, and yeah, how convenient it happened to be just after the good Doctor showed up, but anyway, whilst the Doctors frowning her most serious-looking frown, the two Aussie agents are killed during the alien attack and after it has been repelled by our good heroes, NO-ONE ASKS ABOUT THE AUSSIE AGENTS, NOBODY LOOKS FOR THE BODIES, NOBODY THINKS TO INFORM THE AUSSIE SECRET SERVICE… maybe I blinked and missed it, but it was like they were never there, never existed. Whats the point of writing two secret service agents into a plot if you drop them into what approximates a really tense sequence for New Who and then kill them (to demonstrate how relentless and evil the bad guys are) if you immediately afterwards ignore/forget them?
I hate scripts like that. Its a little thing I know. But its the kind of thing that gets under my skin. I don’t mind all the other stupid stuff (explaining why the companions never seem to be doing their real jobs or are never around, or all the daft Bond references/homages/send-ups, or the daft bike chase or the MIB (sorry, MI6) agents picking up all the companions in seperate cars and then putting them all in one car with just a single MIB (sorry MI6) agent for protection and then someone turning the car into a Homicidal SUV); the quality ship has sailed as far as New Who is concerned but its the little things that wind me up.
But of course its only Dr Who and its only sci-fi entertainment… which is rather like people saying ‘its only Star Wars and its only fantasy entertainment’… I’ll stop now. Its clearly going to be a very long year.
Welcome to 2020, eh?