The Rings of Akhaten, and the importance of clarification in writing…

Major Spoilers below the cut for The Rings of Akhaten, as I complain about how people miss the stuff that is spelled out clearly, and talk about the importance of clarity with regards to a story’s finale, and how modern Doctor Who seems unconcerned with such things. No major spoilers for Citizen Kane, though there are a couple of minor thematic ones.

Let me start by stating one thing very, very clearly – I really liked The Rings of Akhaten.

People talk about Doctor Who having a sense of wonder, but seldom is that evoked as clearly and beautifully as it is in this story.  Forget the visuals, there are some conceptual ideas within this tale that are wonderful and lovely, and the main story does justice to them. I think this is another Dinosaurs on a Spaceship[1], where people get so caught up in one or two details, they cheat themselves out of appreciating just how beautiful the core of the story is.

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New Doctor Who – Forgetting the Boys

This is going to be a crazed, foamy-mouthed, only slightly coherent rant. There will be much swearing. You have been warned.

I think one of the issues I have with New Who, other than I sometimes find the writing lazy [1], is the emphasis on the female companions. This emphasis is not from the production team, I’m assuming, but from the marketing.

Now, you’re probably sitting there going, “Um… Danny, you poor misguided slut, the old series was chock full o’ female companions.” Yes it was, but for most of the series’ history, it often had a male companion travelling with the Doctor, or not far off i.e. the Brigadier was right there for most of the Pertwee era. From 1963 through to 1975 there was at least one story a season featuring a recurring male companion. Leaving out K9, who was introduced in 1977, the next run of male companions went from 1980 through until 1984.

All these guys have been considered companions. You wouldn’t produce say, a Best of the Companions of Original Doctor Who Special and not mention Ian, or Jamie, or the Brigadier.

But that’s what happened with the New Series Special on the Companions a few years back. No mention of Mickey or Captain Jack. At all. It was all Rose, Martha, and Donna.  This despite the fact that the New Series had a reasonable stable of semi-regular male companions. Continue reading