Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Let the poison in the TARDIS hatch out.

Russell T. Davies ended his tenure as executive producer of "Doctor Who" at the end of 2009. Davies deserves a lot of credit for successfully bringing the show back to life, but his tenure on "Doctor Who" will be notorious for off-screen politics sneaking their way into the on-screen story.

The two-part story arc that represents Davies' final episodes, titled "The End of Time", is a rather blatant example of Davies deciding to eat his successor's lunch. Like a lame-duck American president desperately trying to put as much of the government off-limits to the opposition party as possible, Davies used "The End of Time" as an eleventh-hour "info dump" to define the new show's biggest lacuna: the fate of the Time Lords. The sheer magnitude of the "info dump" is so stunning in its scope that even io9.com is essentially conceeding that only a theological explanation is possible:
Let's see if we can't put all of this together. There's an entire race whose development is being massively accelerated, perhaps with the purpose of making the Ood the new Time Lords. (Even if that's too much of a stretch, they clearly have an incredibly strong connection to time, perhaps second only to that of the Doctor.) There's an unimportant old man whose life keeps intersecting with the Doctor's in ways that far too improbable to be the result of mere coincidence. There's a mysterious but benevolent woman in completely white clothing that keeps showing up to steer events towards the best possible conclusion for the Doctor and, indeed, all existence. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is all the work of the White Guardian.

For those who haven't memorized every detail of the classic series, the White Guardian was an almost omnipotent figure who first appeared in Tom Baker's fifth season on Doctor Who.
Steven Moffat will get to have a little fun creating new mythology for "Doctor Who" despite the invisible hand of Davies keeping a grip on the overall back-story. In the story "The Waters of Mars" -- which immediately preceeds "The End of Time" -- Davies has the Doctor decide to become a Time Meddler. In "Doctor Who" mythology, a Time Meddler is someone who makes changes to the established timeline of events. In meta-fictional terms, a Time Meddler is a character that gives its authors an excuse to ignore continuity, which is to say that as long as Moffat decides to play in his little sandbox of a show, he has a free hand to do what he likes.


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6:07 AM  

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