Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This is the End of Doctor Who as we know it...

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

We have come to an end of an era!

The Doctor was always a male character; it was an essential and foundational part of who the character was and the story of Doctor Who followed certain patterns because of this. Now, because they have fundamentally altered the character it is no longer Doctor Who as we knew it. It will become something... different. It can never be what it was even if after this iteration they go back to a male character.

I look at it this way: For a character to have genuine value, that character has to have a few consistent core characteristics. When those core characteristics are fundamentally changed, the character is irrevocably changed. So all of this talk about the Doctor being a man or a woman changes the essence of the character. What was once reliable and understood now becomes unrecognizable and distracting. Granted there are revelations and secrets revealed over the course of a character’s story arc that alters them, but without the core foundation fans have come to recognize, the story becomes convoluted. Also, if gender change was so easily manipulated in this character's race, why hasn't this been addressed in any serious way before? I know some will mention the last season or two as a fact that supports this change, but really, that shoehorned in bit of reconning seems disingenuous. That’s another thing that makes this move so jarring and unsettling.

Why does a character, who for 50 plus years being presented one way now has to change so radically? Why do you think Captain America fans were outraged when he turned out to be a Hydra agent? True fans feel betrayed on a fundamental level. Not because they are gender biased or bigoted, but because they were devoted to a character that was presented in a way they identified with. Then the rug was pulled out from under them and the character they cherished and loved for so long, because they had the core characteristics they loved, was essentially dead. That's what has happened here.

I have no ill will toward female centered stories. EllenRipley is
one bad-ass you do not want to mess with, partly because of her gender. And no one I know of has suggested rebooting Aliens with Eric Ripley or worse yet making another Aliens movie in the same cinematic universe and just cloning the now dead character as a man, because 'it's about time' as it's been said for Doctor Who.

Wonder Woman is an extreme example of female power that has dominated comics for years. One of the defining, and endearing characteristics of Wonder Woman is that she IS a woman. Her battle for righeousness and justice is in part framed and influenced by her feminity and there is nothing wrong with that. But there's no clamor to alter her gender. 

What really bothers me is the fact that those in power at the BBC and Doctor Who felt it necessary to usurp an already established character to implant a new paradigm. That to me is lazy writing. Why not introduce a new strong, dominant female character that has a chance to become a full-fledged independent character all on her own without a crutch of 50 years of character lore? Hmm? Or perhaps reintroduce a strong, well-liked character that is already established, like Romana? Is that some kind of subconscious admission that a female character can’t or couldn’t hold their own in a male centered Whovian universe? I think Ellen and Diana would disagree.

I remember a long time ago when Tom Baker jokingly suggested the idea of a female Doctor. I found the quip trit and silly then, and now I find the actual change irritating for more than just what some people might call gender bias (the aforementioned lazy writing for one). We could talk about this ad nauseam but it really comes down to established norms and character expectations. If this gender bending was a mainstay of the character from the beginning, or introduced or even hinted at long ago, it would be easier to identify with that aspect of the character. 

Doctor Who as we've known it is forever gone. Whatever comes next will be new, a variation, an alteration, some perhaps would say an aberration, but not a continuation.

Thanks for reading.
Comments are always welcome. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let's Watch Some TV!

By Douglas Clark

So, being a TV fanatic as I am, I'm always looking for the next great television show. Personally, Sci Fi is my favorite (and we're completely lacking in that regard right now), but I also have an interest in stories that focus on power, or lack of power, man's struggle against society, or vice versa. Lo and behold, I've found a couple. 

At the risk of sounding like a billboard, I'll give each show a plug. Not because I'm getting a kickback or anything, but because I think they are great shows. For me, each instills a sort of amazement. 

The first show is House of Cards. You might have heard of it. It's one of Netflix's first original productions, and I'd say they've created a masterpiece. It's based on a British original focusing on English politics, only restructured to fit the American political system. Besides the great casting, settings, writing, pacing, story lines, amazing and despicable characters, and intrigue, the introduction is amazing. 

The following clip is of the theme music only (you'll have to join Netfix to actually see the visuals that accompany it). But for me, this music alone sets the mood and tone for the show. It seems foreboding, haunting, and just a bit ominous, which is probably what the producers where going for. And I'd say they hit their mark.   

The second show on my list is Breaking Bad. Now I know this show is almost at the end of it's run, but that's all the more reason to bring it up. If you're interested in stories where a good guy falls from grace and allows the world to corrupt him, this is your story. I think it speaks to how easy it is to allow negativity and deceit to overpower you in times of crisis and need. For the main character, Walter White, life as he's lived it just becomes too much to bear, and he simple stops caring. The entire series follows his dissent into darkness. And it's an incredible ride. 

For me, only a few individual episodes stand out, but it's more the story as a whole that really makes an impact. What's cool about that is, you can sit and watch three or four episodes in a row (if you have the time) and really absorb what's going on. Now that it's on Netflix and DVD you don't have to endure the week long wait in between episodes. The opening is short and sweet, but it is distinct and engaging. 

Each of these shows has made an impact on me. I love story telling and any time I get to see a new perspective driving a story line, I'm interested. Most of the time with television, I think to myself, I could write a better episode. But with these two shows, I find myself thinking, I don't think I could do it better. Now that's awesome because it makes me feel challenged. And when that happens I get back to writing and push myself even harder. It also reminds me that others have followed their dream of writing and made it a success, so there's hope for me yet. I'm reminded of the times where I did nothing but daydream about writing, instead of actually putting pen to paper. All that combined focuses my energy to get something done.  

If you can find motivation and inspiration from things that challenge you, I think it provides a special sort of incentive to excel. What do you think? 

Thanks for reading.

Questions and comments are welcome.

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...