New Who Earthbound

Disappointing news – Russell T Davies has announced that the third season of the new Doctor Who will remain resolutely Earthbound. He says this is mostly for budgetary reasons, with alien world sets being so expensive and refusing to do as the old show did and simply use a quarry pit as an alien world. I can understand not wanting to use the old quarry locations because, frankly, they are crap. But I refuse to believe they can’t figure something else out on a reasonable budget. After all the BBC, several years ago, created an incredibly realistic ‘documentary’ of prehistoric life in Walking With Dinosaurs. If that can be done then surely we can have a few scenes in a couple of episodes of alien worlds???

Russell went on to say that the few episodes which did use alien settings were ones which didn’t do so well and got poorer reviews. Hmmm, I don’t think it is fair to blame a location for the poor reviews of an episode, more likely the story and dialogue methinks. And much as I enjoyed the new Who I have found, especially in season two, was very hit and miss with a few clunkers in there and one real stinker of an episode. And even in the episodes I enjoyed I found when they were over and I thought about them several were quite lacking in any real substance but I hadn’t noticed while it was running because the pace was so snappy. But a show needs more than snappy pacing – on repeat viewings I’ve found several just don’t stand up, which isn’t good.

Russell also claims that alien-set stories are ‘not prime time’. Sorry, Russell – appreciate what you have done with resurrecting the series, but in that respect you are talking rubbish. If it is well written an alien episode can be just as good as an Earth set one as a number of high-rated SF shows illustrate (and so did the old Who despite poorer effects, quarry location and cheap budget). From these comments I’m getting a strong vibe that the main reasons we are going to be stuck on Earth for most tales yet again is because he has no real desire to do otherwise, simple as that. And frankly that annoys the hell out of me, because by the third season the show should be evolving and changing – yet another story set in bloody London (even if most of the time it is Cardiff made to look like a London street – for god’s sake if we must be stuck on one planet can’t we see more of the place?) is a bit dull and shows a certain lack of imagination. If he’s going to do that then it really isn’t Doctor Who and they might as well have created a new show from scratch rather than reviving Who. I’m starting to think they are frightened of having too many aliens or other worlds because then mainstream viewers might realise that – gasp! – it is a science fiction show.