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19 May 2011 @ 06:36 pm
The Doctor's Wife  
There was an interesting discussion on the Jade Pagoda about whether The Doctor's Wife was an idea or story and, if so, whether or not this was a bad thing.

To cut through a lot of literary theory a story, for the sake of this discussion, is something with a beginning, a middle and an end. At this level "the TARDIS gets put into the body of a woman and talks to the Doctor" clearly isn't a story and there isn't an obvious story to tell with it. This is even more true when the set up (TARDIS in body of woman) was in place before the opening credits and we spent the first 20 minutes waiting for the Doctor to catch up.

The story we got, of a malevolent force hijacking the TARDIS and making Rory and Amy run down surreal corridors was, well, OK. I've seen some people claim that the whole episode is about relationships (though I feel that it isn't really, any more so than the whole of NuWho is about relationships) and that the mind-tricks are thematically linked to the Doctor and the TARDIS but, I have to admit, I'm not buying that argument. So broadly speaking I felt all the corridor-running was padding, entertaining padding (which is more than can be said for most of The Curse of the Black Spot), but padding none-the-less.

On the other hand clearly the Doctor and the TARDIS were at the heart of this episode. I've seen The Doctor's Wife described as fanfic, and that's quite a good description in a way. It's the kind of off-the-wall vignette that the best fanfic delivers fairly regularly, with the kind of character and dialogue touches that have fueled Gaiman's success. It's not a story, but I was entertained and surprised and it pleases me that Doctor Who now has room for this kind of thing, as well as for more traditional tales.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/43103.html.
daniel_saunders: Medaniel_saunders on May 23rd, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this at the time, but you are on to something when you say it isn't really a story. It is perhaps a comic strip translated to television (not that comic strips don't have stories, but that they need less complex stories) - I can imagine a somewhat simplified version over two issues of Doctor Who Magazine.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 25th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC)
It doesn't feel to me like a classic story in the way, at moments, it promises to be and I think that's because there really isn't enough of it. The conversations between the Doctor and the TARDIS are great but everything else is merely good and it doesn't tie together well enough to seem coherent. Ultimately it gives the impression of being charming but slight, as you say, the sort of thing the comic strip used to put out when it was feeling quirky and experimental.

Reading that back it makes it sound like the Black Orchid, of which I am very fond, but it's never going to be in anyone's top ten Doctor Who stories*.

*There's a statement that is simply tempting fate!
daniel_saunders: Medaniel_saunders on May 25th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
There's a statement that is simply tempting fate!

I've found that pretty much every story is in someone's top ten!