Funny, despite having bailed halfway through this season, I still have stuff to say about Doctor Who. This is what comes, I suppose, from still paying enough attention to read recap posts, just to see whether I actually want to rebuild my level of give-a-damn.
But from what I saw in Tor.com’s reaction post over here, one spoiler in particular actually made me go GRR and made Dara promptly announce “Well, darn, so sad that Capaldi’s run GOT CANCELLED HALFWAY THROUGH, isn’t it?”
Here’s the spoiler, now that I’ve found a nice WordPress plugin that lets me hide spoilers inline in text. (Though dammit all, it doesn’t work on Livejournal and Dreamwidth. So if you want to click over from there to see the spoiler, here’s the post’s permalink.)
I’m not a Classic-era fan like Dara and Paul are–but I have watched enough Classic-era Who at this point that I do have a strong affection for the character of the Brigadier and I appreciate why it was significant that his daughter showed up in the new era.
But turning the Brig into a Cyberman? I’m with some of the commenters on Tor.com’s thread–that’s just wrong. 🙁 And it makes me overall happy that I did in fact bail partway through this season, because I seriously would not have wanted to watch that.
Also, editing this post to add this commentary, after an interesting discussion with Facebook friend Angela about this, who quite enjoyed the episode.
Even aside from the various issues I have with Mr. Moffat, the overall grimmer, darker tone of this season by itself probably would have made me bail, unfortunately. Even if a story is technically well written, has compelling action, and is acted well, if it’s unremittingly grim, this is just not something I want to deal with in my entertainment. It’s a matter of my personal taste rather than a question of whether the story is inherently bad.
It is, nonetheless, a thing I consider. And a lot of this is tied very heavily to my medical history–because after several successive years of medical crap repeatedly punching me, I don’t want repeated emotional punchings out of my entertainment. I need to see hopeful things. I need to see optimism. This is why I never watched Torchwood’s Children of Earth either, despite hearing from multiple directions that it was a very strong story. Because it’s also a very grim story, and I’m not in a space in my life where I’d enjoy that kind of thing.
Likewise, I avoid reading a great deal of fantasy (both urban and epic) that goes grim and apocalyptic. I avoid dystopias for similar reasons, and only make periodic exceptions–e.g., the Hunger Games, or Carrie Ryan’s zombie books. (Yet in the case of the latter, despite the grim setting, there is still hope and optimism, and that’s what I need in the end.)
In this season of Doctor Who, while with my Writer Hat on I can see the story arc they’re trying to do and even in some ways respect that they’re trying something different… with my Viewer Hat on, it’s just not a story I’m enjoying. That makes me sad.
But I do respect that other viewers aren’t going to share my opinion, and that’s OKAY. Spoilers of the magnitude that this season has ended with are bound to cause shock waves in the fandom, and wildly varying reactions are inevitable. (See also: the wildly divergent reactions in Tolkien fandom to the Hobbit movies, and in particular to Tauriel.)
I’m going to keep paying enough attention to the show to at least read recap posts and listen to podcast reviews, but for the time being, I am not going to be watching. I’m glad other folks are still enjoying themselves with the show though!