Thursday, February 26, 2009

Davies steps down

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a bit like one of Russel T Davies's Doctor Who scripts, without the wit. And of course, not a Tardis in sight.

I'm not especially sad to see him step down from the helm of the series. He plays to the stalls rather too obviously for my tastes, his plotting is occasionally jarringly smartarsey, and his season finales were always a touch too histrionic. The German-speaking Daleks at the end of season 4 were inspired though. (And provide further pointers to the Holocaust obsession that Davies has brought to the Timelord's adventures. )

His replacement Stephen Moffat is, if anything, being wasted on populist Saturday evening television. A specialist in the 'everyone lives' sub-genre, each episode he has scripted almost a masterclass in the manipulation of fantastical conceits. Blink, The Girl in the Fireplace and The Empty Child are three of the most memorable storylines in the revived series, whose underlying ideas could easily have been deployed in more ambitious, feature-length narratives.

Silence in the Library/The Forest of the Dead, in which dying consciousnesses are caught in the wi-fi and auto-uploaded into the VR core of a supercomputer, and in which we learn that all creatures are right to be afraid of creeping shadows, was another mini-classic.

There's something of Lynch and Murakami in Moffat's imagination and I look forward immensely to his tenure as Whovian-in-chief. Meanwhile, here's Charlie Brooker's take on Torchwood:

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