DOCTOR WHO (2005) - Saisons 1-13

Nouvel aperçu :

On y croit.

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Comme un parfum de Dark Crystal.


Tom Brevoort à propos du relaunch de 2005 :

« We’re not far off now from the return of DOCTOR WHO to our screens, this time with a big-deal arrangement with Disney+ to help fund the series and distribute it worldwide, and with the program once again under the guiding hand of Russell T. Davies, the man who brought it back from extinction almost two decades ago. »

« And what they’ve reminded me of is just how strong and virtually note-perfect that first season is. So I want to take a few minutes here to talk about my thoughts. I don’t know that anything I’m about to say is revelatory or anything, but I feel like it’s worth expressing my admiration for the manner in which Davies brought the series back. Because he made it exactly the same series it had been in the 20th Century, yet he made three adjustments to the concept that, while they appear minor, immediately updated the show and make it function as a contemporary program. »

« There’s a really good example of the opposite, of course. The 1996 DOCTOR WHO television movie was intended to be the pilot for a series, but it crashed and burned almost instantly, despite a winning performance from Paul McGann in the lead role. And the reason for that instantaneous demise is pretty clear if you look back at it. While the 1996 movie had a much greater budget than any DOCTOR WHO project apart from perhaps the 1960s Dalek movies, it put its emphasis in the entirely wrong place, front-loading the film with byzantine mythology and showcasing both the outgoing actor from seven years earlier, the always-wonderful Sylvester McCoy by having him shot and regenerated within the initial thirty minutes. That regeneration was lauded by the hardcore fans of the day, but it’s a terrible place to open a program intended to win over a new audience. Modern viewers were wrong-footed almost from the start. »

"So getting back to what Russell did, he first treated the show as though it was a new thing, even though he laid it out in such a way that there wasn’t anything that contradicted the original series. There’d be small callbacks to it during this first season, but nothing so overt that the new audience who had come to DOCTOR WHO for the first time would feel as though they were missing out. It isn’t until Season Two, when the new program is a hit, that Russell begins to make the connections to the older version more tangible, with the return of Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, bringing her robot dog companion K-9 along with her.

But for all that Russell crafted the new series in the image of the old, he made a number of significant alterations to the format. Primary among them, he did away with the long serials that had been a hallmark of it in its prior incarnation and instead made each episode an hour long–46 minutes, give-or-take, without commercials. The idea of DOCTOR WHO not having traumatic cliffhangers set many old fans’ teeth on edge a bit, but Russell had a cure for that, too. He’d do three legitimate two-part stories during the course of this first series of 13 episodes, allowing the show to have three killer cliffhangers along the way. Problem solved.

But none of this yet touches on the three key changes, which I’ll get into now. I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing a lot as I move into position to launch a new era of X-MEN, trying to bring the same sort of analysis into play about what works and what doesn’t and what things could be better calibrated with just a slight change in emphasis. The reboot of DOCTOR WHO is about the very best updating of an old property that I can think of, so it’s the gold standard for this kind of thing as far as I’m concerned."

All right. Russell mounted the same show, but with three changes:

« LAST OF THE TIME LORDS: The reveal of the Doctor’s origins and past had become something of a millstone around the show’s neck even by the end of the original series’ run, with showrunner Andrew Cartmel beginning to drop fresh hints that all was not as it appeared to be concerning the Doctor’s history. The Time Lords were frankly never that interesting, and they somehow diminished the Doctor by making him a bit redundant. But recasting the Doctor as the last survivor of a great war that had wiped out the rest of his people, in a conflagration that he had set off, gave the character’s lonely wanderings a specificity. As the Doctor tells Rose when he finally reveals enough about himself to let her know that his home planet is gone, he’s left traveling on his own because there is nobody else, and no home to go back to. That’s a far more immediate and affecting status quo than simply jaunting around the universe because one is restless or bored, and it bakes in a rationale for why the Doctor takes others along with him: he’s profoundly lonely, and so even though he knows than any personal relationship he has with a human being will eventually end in tragedy for him, because he will simply outlive his companions, he cannot stop himself from reaching out and forming bonds to alleviate his crushing solitude. This move creates a palpable sense of loss within the Doctor that serves to accentuate his moments of frenzy and joy and abandon–those emotions are all valid, but they are all informed by his great loss. I think perhaps the biggest error that Davies’ successor Steven Moffat made was to bring the Time Lords back, even if he attempted to put up a bit of a wall between them by placing them at the end of time. It’s one of Moffat’s own successor’s great accomplishments that he wiped them all out again, even f it was done off-camera and a bit ham-fistedly. The Time Lords are better as an idea than as a reality. »

« THE SHOW IS ABOUT THE COMPANION: It’s such a simple idea, but it’s a complete 180 degree shift from the original, where the companions–assistants as they were often called back then–were usually there to scream and get into trouble and give the Doctor somebody to explain the plot to. They didn’t have a whole lot in terms of interior lives, and even their exterior lives were often carried by the charisma of the performers more than the quality of the writing. But right from the start, while the series is called DOCTOR WHO, the lead character in this first season is Rose Tyler. There virtually isn’t a scene in the pilot that Billie Piper isn’t in, and the arc of the season is about how traveling with the Doctor impacts on her and her life. It’s likely no small thing that Billie was likely more popular than either Christopher Eccleston or David Tenant while they worked together. And while the Doctor does steadily become more prominent as time goes on, the stories remain focused on the companions–they’re the ones whose lives are affected by them. The Doctor pretty much remains in a solid state situation, never really growing or changing all that much regardless of what he’s been through. The exact opposite is true of Rose, or Martha Jones, or Donna Noble, or the many who followed them. What’s more, the companions have lives apart from simply being adventuring passengers–they have friends and families and loved ones who are impacted by their long absences. So while any individual story is primarily about the situation of the week, the long-form serialized threads tend to revolve around the lives of the companions and how they grow along the journey. »

"THE SHOW IS ABOUT FEELINGS: This is often expressed by Old Who fans as the popular aphorism, “No Kissing in the TARDIS!” but it’s broader than that. The original series was centered on being an adventure program, so every story was primarily driven by plot. The events of the story were the important thing, and how anybody felt about what was going on, the choices they had to make in order to survive and the wonders that they got to experience in their travels was secondary, if it was raised as a concern at all. But Russell’s new version swapped this emphasis around as well. Now, the fact that the Doctor and Rose were Five Billion Years in the Future or in the 1800s wasn’t the important bit, the important bit was how they felt about what they were going through. Emotion, rather than cold intellect, was the barometer that measured the success of every episode. And that included the relationship between the Doctor and the people he was traveling with. It’s no coincidence that the final plot turn in “The Parting Of The Ways” turns on a first kiss between the Doctor and Rose, one that is necessary if he’s going to save her life by absorbing the energy of the Time Vortex into himself. But it’s also an emotional moment that feels like a payoff after thirteen episodes, even if it is simultaneously plot-driven.

The structure of the season is immaculate as well. “Rose”, the pilot, is set in the here-and-now and lets the viewer come along with Rose Tyler on her adventure as she peels back the onion layers of the mysterious Doctor who has entered her sphere. From there, “The End of the World” displays the science fiction end of the show’s spectrum (while also underlining its focus on emotion, its big takeaway being the revelation that the Doctor’s homeworld is gone, burned.) whlie “The Unquiet Dead” gives us a modern day historical adventure to outline the opposite end of the spectrum. From there, it’s back to the present day for the two-part “Aliens of London” and “World War Three”. All of the fart jokes in this two-parter have maybe not aged great, but its master stroke is in having the Doctor louse up their return and bring Rose back a year late. This immediately underscores the impact of her departure on those around her, especially her mom Jackie and her boyfriend Mickey. (I’m especially fond of the fact that, for the duration of this lost year, Mickey was hassled by the police, who figured that he must have murdered Rose. Nobody ever dealt with consequences such as this one on the original series.) Then “Dalek” reintroduces the series’ most popular enemy and makes them scary again by showing how unstoppable just one single Dalek can be. This one also showcases the Doctor’s scars from the Time War and emphasizes Rose’s essential decency. “The Long Game” is the weak link in this first year, being a perfectly fine entry that’s really there to set up elements for other episodes. But I do like the idea of exploring the notion of a potential companion who behaves badly and pays the price for it. “Father’s Day is perhaps the best single outing for this freshman season, a small story that turns on familial relationships more than science fiction tropes. Given the opportunity, who wouldn’t use a time machine to try to save a lost love one, or to simply see them again? “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” are both wonderfully scary little Steven Moffat puzzle-boxes that showcase the strengths he’ll bring to the program under his later stewardship. This is the story that most fans prefer, and it’s great though a hair generic–you can tell that Moffat hadn’t gotten to see a whole lot of Eccleston and Piper in action before he had to pen this script, so they lose just a little bit of specificity. “Boomtown” is a bit underrated, I think, the last present day story before the end of this year and an examination of the unexamined portion of the Doctor’s way of life–what happens to those left behind following his departure. And then the final two-parter “Bad Wolf” and “The Parting Of The Ways” brings all of the themes of the season together in a wonderfully thrilling climax that is at one tense and spectacular and also incredibly affecting at multiple moments across its run time."

« Also, it must be said that Christopher Eccleston is a superb Doctor. He took a lot of crap at the time for not quite fitting the quasi-Victorian aesthetic of his predecessors in the role, and he’s become overshadowed by the popular Doctors who came after him. But Eccleston is an absolute delight in every scene throughout this series. He’s at once stern, silly, empathic, vengeful, damaged, kind and funny in an effortless way. I tend to think that a more overtly outrageous Doctor wouldn’t have worked for a 2005 audience–the viewers wouldn’t have been able to take him seriously. I know that Eccleston also didn’t have the greatest time working on the series due to conflicts with Russell and with management, but he was amazing on he regular despite these problems. »

« In more recent years, the specific ethos of these early episodes has been, if not abandoned, then moved away from. There have been more stories about the mythos of the show, more episodes concerned with science fiction ideas than emotions and less of an emphasis on the characters having regular lives that traveling with the Doctor pulls them away from. And as much as anything, I suspect that’s all part of why the series hasn’t been connecting as well with its viewership. So my hope is that Russell’s return can help to refocus the series back towards First Principles a little bit–even if that largely waits for Ncuti Gatwa’s tenure as the Doctor, the three David Tennant specials already looking like they’re going to be more centered on being a sort of anniversary victor lap for the current iteration, and so perhaps not the most welcoming on-ramp to new viewers. I’m definitely ready for DOCTOR WHO to connect with me in the feels again. »

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Ah, ça rappelle de chouettes souvenirs…

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Je suis toujours étonné par les réactions des fans qui trouvent que la décision d’avoir fait du Docteur un génocidaire était excellente mais celle d’en avoir fait un sauveur était mauvaise. En oubliant que Moffat n’a pas ramené les Time Lord, il a ramené le peuple de Gallifrey soit des milliards de personnes innocentes pour une poignée de dirigeants corrompus.

C’est évoqué dans The Writer’s Tale (Davies a l’air d’avoir pas mal hésité/tergiversé à ce sujet).

Et au final il en ramène un pour les 60 ans :grin: