Let me begin by talking about the new Doctor Who series (as opposed to the classic series). I promise I will bring things back to relate to this song. I think the new series is terrible. I know I am in the minority. Even among fans of the classic series, my view is rare. I can’t see why, though. I don’t feel this way just to be a contrarian. I don’t hate things just because they are popular. In fact, I was very excited about the new series when it was first announced. I grew up watching the classic series on BBC America and fell in love with it. I taped the episodes off TV, I bought the paperback novelizations of the episodes, I bought miniatures, I bought issues of Dr Who Magazine, I bought the role-playing game, and so on. Still today I continue to add to my DVD collection of the classic episodes. I was extremely disappointed when the classic series went off the air, so I was overjoyed when the new series was announced. My joy didn’t last very long, however, once I actually started watching the new episodes. It’s hard for me to decide what my biggest complaint is with the new series, so I’ll just present my concerns in no particular order.
The stories are worse. Part of this is because most of the stories in the new series are a single episode in length. In the classic series, stories would often span several episodes, which allowed for more complex stories. It also allowed for there to be real mysteries that could be explored. In the new series the stories seem so hurried. Something mysterious and interesting happens, but you barely have time to think about it before you know what is going on, and then it’s solved, and then the episode is over. Character development also suffers because of this. Apart from the recurring characters, it’s hard to connect with any characters in the show, because they have no depth to them. I’m not saying that the classic series did in-depth character studies or anything, but you got to know the characters better simply because the stories were significantly longer and less rushed.
Doctor Who is not a love story. It certainly isn’t a love story between the Doctor and his companions. The classic Doctor’s view of humans had always been more avuncular. He looks at them with condescension tinged with fondness. Or fondness tinged with condescension. I think adding in this romantic element has fundamentally changed who the Doctor is. Plus, the Doctor curing Rose with a kiss? Seriously? Was that written by a 14 year old?
The show is supposed to be focused on the Doctor, not his companions. We don’t have to keep involving Rose’s mother and friend. It ends up coming off as more of a soap opera than a sci-fi show.
A Dalek gets feelings and just wants love? Need I say more?
Every single episode doesn’t have to concern the fate of the entire human race. There is far too much melodrama in the new series.
Oh, and the monsters who make farting noises? Really?
Just writing about it makes me want to go watch some classic Jon Pertwee episodes. ANYWAY, so I don’t like the new series. I find it hard to watch. I could understand someone maybe liking it if they’d never seen the original — I have no idea how I’d feel about it if that were the case. But most fans of the classic series also like it. It baffles me.
But back to this song. One of the few things I like about the new series is that it introduced me to the band ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). In the episode “Love & Monsters”, the main character is a huge ELO fan. I’d heard some ELO songs in the past, but didn’t realize it. After that episode I looked into them, and I’m glad I did. One of their hits was “Don’t Bring Me Down”. The song above is a live cover of that song by the New Pornographers. They played it for a French TV show called Taratata. It’s not as good as the original song, but it’s much better than the new Doctor Who series.