ourlightsinvain replied to your post “ourlightsinvain replied to your post “worst single sentences i have…”i kinda liked rtd’s nine ep with rose and the last dalek but iirc nine came off like a screaming homicidal asshole like more so than he was intended to (i think he was intended to be just being kind of a dick); it was sad. rtd’s run had its moments
i really adore rtd, in my mind the quality is easily equal to a lot of the best of ds9. a lot of the plots are based around looking at what previous seasons or incarnations of the show did, and trying to apply that in a more practical universe, without turning to meaningless grittiness and the darkness-without-depth that’s become so much more common with trope subversion as of late.
which is to say, yes, i agree. i think rtd deals with the spectre of genocide really well, honestly, which is an odd compliment to lob at someone, but there you go. if one must write it — and it’s such a part of scifi that it’s hard to avoid because races and planets exist on such a weirdly small scale — rtd does a very good job making us understand that its inherently evil, and still letting the doctor suggest it because flaws! what a novel concept in a protagonist.
same here — i think rtd’s seasons had a lot more substance than polish, and did some experimentation with characterization and character arcs that didn’t always work OUT, but also weren’t tied to a risk-free by-the-numbers tv formula the way that i think hbo shows (for an example) are increasingly going. (and yeah, i think despite the increasing attempts to be Edgy in a shallow way, hbo is getting more and more risk-averse in what it puts onscreen; i think wider audience = more ambition to $$$ = more formula, unfortunately) moffat’s arc storytelling, among many other things, is both bizarrely over-the-top and transparently trying to hit a bunch of screenwriting outline points without any actual content, but is too wanky to even manage the formula. ’formulaic’ would actually be an improvement with moffat.
with rtd, dw was almost always cheesy, sometimes bad, often good, sometimes surprisingly heartfelt, and not generally soulless; i miss that. i didn’t always agree with what rtd had to say via who or think he said it very well but, umm, at least he was saying things. it was the kind of thing that was rough around the edges but stuck with you rather than superficially shiny and totally hollow.
(joss whedon — as a total tangent — i feel like is capable of both? in the sense that early whedon fucked up a lot but also did some heartfelt things but later whedon has gotten more and more soulless, pandery, and buying-into-own-mythology. or in other words he’s undergone this analogous rtd-to-moffat disheartening transformation imo. but i am a firefly hater, so.)
yeah i would never say rtd was without flaw, but to go back to my ds9 analogy, ds9 has some stinkers too, and some of their episodes enrage me. but both of them are willing to take similar risks, and write about issues in a heartfelt manner. i don;t really mind ‘cheesy’, nor do i think it’s necessarily even a bad thing. as far as i’m concerned, camp is one of the best things for scifi. it keeps you grounded. then again, i grew up on tos as my go-to for quality scifi. that shit is cheesy as hell, both in terms of set design and emotional cheese. if you’re telegraphing emotions too strongly and obviously, they’re still emotions, and hopefully they’re there for a good reason, and that’s what matters to me. and i think with rtd, for most of the time, the emotions made sense.
which leads to my problems with moffat quite handily! it’s totally empty, but god does it look good, and with such gravitas! i’d take cheese over it any day.
nah i never got why people are still burning candles over firefly. i watched a few eps and ended up totally bored and underwhelmed. i’ve not watched more than a handfull of buffy/angel, so i can’t say anything definitive — and, uh, i never found either of those really gripping, either — but i can definitely see how one would become lazy and overconfident after being held up as god’s gift to writing, comedy, feminism, sf/f, television, and female characters for a decade.
i think buying into your own fame and mythology is the downfall of a lot of writers who get popular during their run, tbh. i definitely agree it’s whats happened with hbo. they used to be very competent and thoughtful, but increasingly their shows follow a weird formula. gritty (male, white) morally grey protagonist, his dumb wife, the (male, white) kid character who wants in on his fortune and power. even when it doesn’t fit that formula narratively, it still shoves really unnecessary and simplistic tropes in under the veneer of grit and depth— its showing you how things REALLY are, man! conveniently, how things REALLY are, man, challenges no one and involves a great deal of violence and nudity that serves no purpose beyond showing you wow, violence and nudity. they’re adult enough to put it on film, but not mature enough to know when is appropriate. apprpriate here doesn’t mean tasteful, it means it serves a fucking purpose beyond reminding the viewer that they’re still watching hbo.
agree with all of that, including the bit about camp - i think the thing about campiness is it takes a certain amount of heartfelt fun-having and not taking yourself too seriously and being willing to be made fun of, like, you can see what happens when creators try purposely to capitalize on fake camp — it ends up with kind of cutesy diluted weaksauce nerd-fanservice while still attempting to be shiny and Cool. campiness in media is all about knowing you aren’t cool and not really caring, not aspiring to or capitalizing on coolness. nerd-chic is like, the worst thing to happen to science fiction. i’m not saying it sucked when it Became Mainstream - popularity and accessibility aren’t intrinsically bad, but aspirations to social cachet frequently totally sink genre media imo.
(game of thrones is another good example of something that originated as a story that was fucked-up in several not-good ways, overwrought, convoluted, and ridiculous, underwent polishing for cool factor, and emerged totally charmless and calculated. Fantasy’s Not Just For Nerds Anymore! far be it from me to defend the “niche” incarnation of sci-fi nerd culture - creepy, insular, misogynistic, and worshipful of terrible shit as it was and continues to be - but christ, the cool geek-chic bro-nerd target audience for got may be even worse.)