Last night, I watched the Grammys live instead of Doctor Who. But before you start demanding I should somehow turn in my fandom card, I’d like to share with a hypothesis with you. A commonality. And a dual TV Review of sorts if this trick works.
Both the Grammys and Doctor Who have been part of the TV landscape for a while. Both have struggled in recent years as platforms, audience, genres, viewing/listening delivery methods have seen dramatic shifts.
What once was cult and underground is now mainstream. What once was the mainstream is now relegated to the streaming pre-show awards and Big Finish. It’s the circle of life. You’ll be old too, someday. And then the cool things won’t be for you.
Complaints abound. Why all the hip hop? Why all the Pop music? What’s the deal with all the women? Where’s the Rock bands? Why’s it so political? Why don’t they just make this like they used to when I liked it?
Any of this sound familiar?
Change is scary. And television would prefer to lull you into it. Slowly, over years. To the point where a thing is so normal, so part of the fabric-that you don’t even remember when that very thing was an oddity. And if they could sell you a few products along the way, bonus.
What both the Grammys and Doctor Who try to do in its best installments is deliver new things by way of your rose colored glasses. Luring you in with nostalgia, with a hint of the familiar- maybe you’ll stick around for Tyler the Creator, Plot swerves, or Female Protagonists.
Last series, Doctor Who went ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT. No Cameos, no easter eggs, no callbacks, no old monsters, no nostalgia, no hits. All new tracks. And we all know what happens when bands start playing from the new album….
Fugitive of the Judoon is the midpoint of the series, and the distilled synthesis of this approach. It’s also the most knowingly ridiculous episode title this show’s ever had. And that’s saying something.
As predicted, Judoon continues this DoctorWho Greatest Hits tour’s Russell T Davies residency into a second episode of the content you loved from 2005-2009.
Not kidding here. This episode is a compilation of everything else from the RTD era that was not utilized in last week’s breezy Tesla installment. And plays on the very fact that you know all of these references. And then uses all of it against you, nostalgic fool.
Because that twist is even a callback. BUT it sets the groundwork for some really interesting possibilities going forward- possibly beyond the current version of the show- if they can play this right.
And I’m not even terribly sure what “playing this right” might actually be. But I get the feeling over the break Chibnall really thought about out how batshit crazy he could go and get away with it-as long as he played the hits too
I loved it. Every stupid minute of it. I am the target audience for exactly *this*. No, don’t bother putting continuity into my time traveling space alien show. The continuity will eat itself. It will become sentient. Knock over buildings. And piss off Twitter. It’s Glorious.
No, they don’t make records like they used to. Or television shows. And nostalgia on it’s own- while comfortable and recognizable-is not sustainable. It’ll be nice for a while. But you’ll get bored soon enough.
Life is short. Keep your memories, but also let new things happen. You might even like some of it.
But Seriously, Let Aerosmith Go.
And that was Sunday. Glad we talked.