Well, I watched episode 4 of Matt Smith as the new doctor last night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really an improvement on the previous episodes, even though there were a few interesting ideas in there.
I discussed the underlying problem with my mate Matt (a scriptwriter) in the pub last week. He pointed out that unless a character is defined by some sort of moral dilemma/inner conflict that drives them, then they really aren’t very interesting or very meaningful. I think that hits the nail on the head really – Matt Smith plays Dr Who in two ways (nerdy v. cool), but that just doesn’t represent a philosophical conflict of character. And the storyline of The Time of Angels didn’t provide any wider moral conflict to keep the audience interested.
The main storyline was about angels chasing the Dr and his coterie through some catacombs. It would have been exciting if we gave a damn about any of the characters. In an attempt to make all the soldiers fighting with the Dr of any interest, we were introduced to one called Bob. Bob had no character, so the audience didn’t identify with him, and then he was promptly killed in the next scene. What, is that meant to make us think the angels are a real threat and really scary? Absolute hokum!!!
Bad acting and bad script-writing. On the acting front, Matt Smith needs to have a moody and brooding dimension to his character to show that the Dr is not some vapid idiot. He needs to master the art of frowning more – the closest he gets, however, is lowering his head and looking up at the camera while doing so, as if he were Robert Pattison in Twilight (or James Dean), as if he were a sex symbol. Matt, news for you: that is not a frown and you are not a sex symbol. Try acting instead of posing.
And then the lame script! The original Angels episode with Tennant was interesting because it subverted the Christian concept of the angel. It played on ‘out of the corner of the eye’ scariness. It played on childhood stories about statues coming to life. It was proper scary. This new episode, however, was on another planet. Suddenly, all the cultural context that made the angels interesting was gone!!!!!!! Suddenly, we have a dud story and irrelevant concept with the angels.
Bring back Russell T Davies before it’s too late BBC. We all know he did an editing job on the first Angels episode anyway. Face it: Gattis as a writer isn’t a patch on Davies.
I really think I might be washing my hair next week when they show the concluding episode of the angels story. Shame.