Despite my dislike in the direction that Doctor Who is currently going (immature jokes, nonsensical plots), I found Russell T Davies’ remarks on why Doctor Who never seems to leave Earth very refreshing:
“People will say, ‘Why doesn’t he visit alien planets more often?’” he said. “But that’s because they are expensive. They’re hugely expensive.”
Davies also told Doctor Who magazine that these episodes gained the lowest viewing figures of the series.
“The programmes that do show alien planets are not prime-time programmes,” he said. “Star Trek and Stargate are subscription-based programmes for a dedicated audience.”
The writer added that he would not be using forests and quarries as stand-ins for alien landscapes, as was often the case in classic Doctor Who episodes.
“The mockery we would get walking into a forest and saying that we’re on the planet Zagfon! If you think we had one or two bad reviews in the second series, they would become like a machine gun the moment we started doing that.”
It’s not that I wish Doctor Who went away from Earth more – I think there are plenty of good stories to be told on it – but at least he has a reasonable excuse. Having said that, I still think that the show either takes the easy option (recycle old enemies/visit famous Victorian people) or the startlingly weird option. How about some interesting new enemies, eh? How about getting some new music other than the two tracks that the show always uses – namely, upbeat excited, and slow depressed? How about at least attempting to make the stories consistent and logical?
There’s nothing worse than a show that has unquestioned support and no competition. The Matrix was a fine movie, and so successful that the studio apparently left the Wachowski brothers alone to direct the two sequels without much interference. The result? Disastrous. I won’t pretend that Season 2 of Doctor Who was that bad, but I didn’t feel it improved much. And the news that there are not one, but two Doctor Who spinoffs now in production – Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures – simply confirms to me that the BBC lacks balls and imagination. There are surely other good ideas and directors out there – why not give them a chance? Doctor Who won’t be popular forever…