Seriously though, Mad Larry had quite a few suggestions to improve/change Doctor Who (the only really bad idea was that he be allowed in it), so I thought, "Since I also have a blogger ID, why shouldn't I also shout my mouth off in the strange belief I have a better idea of how to run a TV show than a highly-respected BAFTA-nominated comedy genius who at no point made me an alcoholic?"
The main difference, of course, is that I am not going to say the silent majority supports me. Or the vocal majority. Or that Moff is an inbred redneck for not listening to me. At least this way, I'll know which ideas they'll be ripping off (anyone else remember those episodes I wrote where the Doctor met Donna over an alien scam involving innocent punters consuming aliens? Or the one where the Doctor meets up with Rose for one last time and gets over her? The one where Donna has to cope in a world when the Doctor's dead? The one where an alien parasite tries to lure her to its bachelor pad and use her as a host? The one with Sontarans?)
So, what would I do now that the show is a success and we can get away with stuff like Journey's End...
The Title Sequence
The Theme Music
Change it. Not too much, I stress. The version done at the Proms or by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (the one that seems to use gun-SFX from B7 in lieu of musical instruments) would work.
What do you think? Even the idea of "Doctor Who" all on one level, one size, one font, was done better with the ABC adds. It's a stupid taxi-sign with a rubbish font that isn't used ANYWHERE else in the show and has lead to the crime-against-humanity covers for the 10DAs. The time has come for something more imaginative than Doctor growing out of logo over crude CGI picture. It was rubbish when they tried it with the Fifth Doctor in 1983, and it's even worse now, because at least there was a different picture.
Nice picture, huh? Pre-Credit Sequence
Always after the end credits. In case of cliffhangers? Not there at all.
Only if given material is worth it. Certainly not mandatory. And you damn well know what I'm talking about.
For a start, we can ditch the following pattern adhered to rigidly by RTD...
1. Contemporary, light hearted alien invasion from POV of new companion
2. Historical with B-Movie Monster
3. Cynical Future of Mankind Space Opera
4. Emo-fueled two-parter on contemporary Earth with a very uncomplicated alien invasion
5. Companion rethinks position, returns home, totally irrelevent storyline
6. Lighthearted historical with B-Movie Monsters
7. Heavy two-parter, very dark, with completely new monster and threat
8. Hastily-written cheapo Doc Lite ep foreshadowing season finale
9. Season Finale involving unheard of mass alien invasion, massive cast changes, companion leaves.
Instead of two parters, it'd be better to tackle similarly-themed episodes, like the way Turn Left is standalone, yet vital for the next story. For genuine two parters, niether Steven Moffat or Helen Raynor are to be allowed more than casual character bits. As we have established the series, we can also NOT freak out when we leave the orbit of the Earth or say visit a non-human place. Historicals do not NEED monsters. The Unicorn and the Wasp would NOT have turned to complete crap sans wasp. Would Love & Monsters been irrideemably awful had Victor Kennedy just been a psychopath and didn't turn into a Northern green monster? Apart from anything else, it'd save a few quid.
No more "What? What?! WHAT?!", comprehende?
On no account are the following endings to be on offer:
- The Doctor and companions are split up but both facing an unstoppable army of zombies with a lethal touch
- The Daleks appear at the end of the twelfth episode
- The Doctor looks around with a stunned mullet expression while everyone shouts at him to do something
- Something totally random bursts into the console room, causing the lone Doctor to freak out.
- The Living Plastic Creations of some scientist nutter
- The origin of the Extrapolator
- Van Statten - whatever happened to him?
- Adam (if only to prove beyond doubt he's not Davros - they still think he'll turn out to be the big bad)
- What happened to Earth post Parting of the Ways?
- The Werewolf Aliens
- The Krillitanes (they don't even have to look like bats)
- The Skasis Paradigm
- The Second Bountiful Human Empire - what does it do without fuel or Ood? (The return of Ida script would be worth checking out too)
- The Abzorbaloffs (there's a whole story about them I deduced from watching the ep)
- The Cyberman Invasion - a historical event the Doctor can get caught up with... in New Zealand
- The aftermath of Doomsday (since Torchwood did fuck all with it)
- The Pilot Fish Santa Zombie Roboforms
- Elizabeth R
- The Lazarus Scorpion Monster (an explanation would be nice...)
- Riley Vashtee
- The Family of Blood (if only to find out why the Doctor doesn't defeat EVERY villain this way)
- Sparrow and Nightingale
- The Toclafane
- Mr Copper and his Institute
- Caecillius and his family
- Colonel Mace
- The Hath
- Not every story NEEDS to be rooted in contemporary Earth. Or even take place there.
- No more Rose. If Billie has time for another episode betwixt whoring and ante-natal classes, sure - as long as it's that story where she's a hallucination. She should not get a mention every week. The Doctor is over her. Any angst should be about Donna, preferably involving a cure.
- No more Tyler Clan.
- No more Torchwood. It can get the odd mention (very odd, since it's considered the stupid cousin of all anti-ET organizations). Since Mickey and Martha have thrown their hats into the ring, no more of them either.
- If Jack reappears, it should be Old Jack During The Two Missing Years.
- No more Harriet Jones.
- No more public not believing in aliens. The 21st century has, methinks, fucking changed already.
- No more Sarah Jane Smith. She has her own show.
- Cut back on the Time War. We've got it. It was heavy. Let us move on.
- No more burning bridges. Let monsters/villains/potential companions get out alive.
It doesn't have to be an unfulfilled contemporary girl who sees the Doctor as a father substitute/potential lover/demigod or all three. Captain Jack worked, and he's not from round there here parts. They could be from the future. Or the past. Or not even human (though they'd look human, obviously). There can be a well fit girl in the gang, allowing a more interesting older companion like Wilf, Copper or (on good days) Evelyn. Someone who DOESN'T want to be explore the cosmos would be a tad refreshing. Not a Lucie Miller bitch, but someone happy with their life and doesn't need to be improved by time travel. Kinda like Martha in Doctor's Daughter, an unwilling traveller if not an unlikeable one.
Something subtler than recent events. No buzzword per story. More like a vibe, or a theme (like season three's 'what it means to be human' repeated meme). The season finale does not have to be Earth of next Tuesday threatened with utter annihilation, and nor does it have to send shockwaves throughout the series so that the Doctor is getting warned about it last year.
I really prefer this design. And since there's as much chance of anyone paying attention to this as actually doing a thing about it, here it is. (It's not mine, BTW).
And my puny and pathetic attempts to map out a season
Based entirely on ideas from Who annuals, comic strips and the odd fan audio (coz I have few ideas left for you bastards to steal)
1. New Assistant
"Well, it was either this or somewhere touristy in London..."
The Doctor lands the TARDIS, talking to someone we do not see, talking about an amazingly exotic and impressive strange world. They leave and find... Cardiff, 2000-whatever. We see the new assistant, blown out of their mind. Flashback for the rest of the story, where the Doctor met new assistant. Yes, it might seem kind of predictable but oddly enough I don't know anyone who watched Rose, Smith and Jones or Partners in Crime complaining that the girl was obviously going to be a new companion. It's freaking obvious, and we can cut to the chase. The main story can be set anywhere that isn't contemporary Earth.
2. Wonder in Ordinary Land
Continuing on from the first episode, the Doctor and new assistant wander around contemporary Earth with new eyes. No aliens. No monsters. The sort of stuff that could happen in real life, seen from a different POV. A plot, though, not just wandering about Perivale being bored. Stuff happens, it's just stuff that could happen to anyone in the real world. At first...
3. The Diagrams of Power
The Doctor pilots the TARDIS somewhere totally freaky and mind-expanding. Whole new world, new culture, divorced from what we know as possible. Dave Stone insanity. Clockwork solar systems, alien beings, mind-blowing. The Web Planet on acid. A race of being where cloning got out of hand and broke their genome so they keep mutating into different creatures, or maybe humanity living as downloads or something. The Doctor tries to help, but fails. Assistant twigs that they'll actually be happier like this (coz she's looked at their culture, etc.) Don't think outside the box, throw the box away.
4. Napoleonic Historical Drama
Swashbuckle, Hornblower, Sharpe, can't change history, get over it. The Doctor and Pals are caught up in this famous sea battle, as well as getting in the middle of an attempt to perfect the first submarine for France to use in the battle. Who is the Emperor's Spy? Dylan Moran as Napoleon Bonaparte.
5. Davros Remake
Much as I am loathe to take up a suggestion from Thomas "I Hate Everything" Cookson, this idea has legs. Unlike Davros. But the suit and the chair are there, the actor's brilliant and the basic concept has been used THREE TIMES by Big Finish alone. So, Davros survives the exploding crucible and finds himself alone on a (comparitably) primitive world where an unscrupulous body think they can use his skills for the greater good. Davros agrees and promises not to simply abuse their trust and create a new Dalek army. The Doctor arrives and has to try and defeat the new scientific advisor. The story focusses on Davros as a person, and the assistant is the one privy to his life on Skaro. A line like, "he's managed to do this before" will cover any canon problems. At the end, Davros is killed off-screen. The Doctor, when asked if he thinks Davros is dead, laughs his ass off at the idea, and knows the bastard is still out there... somewhere...
6. Who's Who?
Lighthearted comedy story. UNIT need the Doctor. They call for him... but he doesn't turn up. Then, in Cardiff, egads, they find a doctor called John Smith (David Tennant) working in a neighborhood of creepy alien stuff. Is it the Doctor undercover? John Smith seems to have no idea who UNIT are! The idea becomes floated that the Doctor's used his chameleon arch again and the search is on for the watch... except, he's not the Doctor. Just a bloke who looks like David Tennant. Very awkward. The problem UNIT faces gets worse but at the last minute, the TARDIS lands and... a woman comes out and introduces herself as the Doctor!
7. In Whom We Trust
No, she's not played by Keeley Hawes...
A sequel to the previous. The woman (India Fisher) explains she is the Eleventh Doctor after a nasty regeneration sex change, and starts helping UNIT with the alien menace or whatever. We discover the Tenth Doctor, alive and well and tied up with the assistant in the TARDIS. The woman is in fact part of a plan to let the aliens conquer Earth without resistance by having its Defender surrender on their behalf. No bloodshed, just a lot of lies and strip-mining and the Galactic Police can't do a thing! The Doctor and John Smith team up to defeat the imposter, who escapes and is last seen in a newspaper claiming to be Charlotte Church.
8. From Dusk Till Dawn
Nightfall? Never heard of it...
An alien planet where the sun never sets... is now going dark. Huge panic, chaos, etc. Yeah, it's a rip off of Asimov, give me a chance. The Doctor discovers that during the dark, a whole new civilization sets itself up on the planet while the natives go underground. Turns out the planet is time-shared, literally, with one day being stretched for millennia, and the civilizations swapping ownership. Not that THEY know this...
I love this picture and just needed an excuse...
Doctor Who finally tackles the UFO phenomenon. Alien spaceships, visitations, abductions, all dealt with and the main plot is the Doctor trying to help a crashed ship of friendly aliens get off Earth before the now quite-reasonably-xenophobic humans lynch the poor bastards. Also deals with the curious coincidence of yeti/bigfoot-sightings near flying saucers.
10. Live By The Sword, Die By The Photon Laser
Set in medieval times on another planet. The Doctor and assistants get caught between two warring kingdoms, but one side has found an alien weapon. Lots of castles being stormed, hunts through forests At the heart of it, the Doctor meets an unscrupulous time traveller who has got control of a TARDIS. Cue massive culture shock.
A story set in 1980s America during the freaky time space chaos and huge owl-monster being rampage. This is the Doctor Lite episode, which means this whole thing is a Blair Witch style doco reconstruction with someone else playing the Doctor. The usual misunderstandings occur in these things, with it not clear if the Doctor is the good guy or the bad one. Everything is seen from a distorted POV so to speak.
12. Operation: Werewolf
That unscrupulous time traveller (must find a name for him) has ended up marooned in World War II and forced to work for the Nazis to build a transmat to aide the war effort. Instead, he builds a crude time machine which leads to the assistant being caught. What will happen if the Nazis find out they have access to time travel? Meanwhile, the Doctor travels back to 1944 to find his assistant, but is in the wrong part of occupied France and finds himself busy trying to help the resistance, leaving the assistant to fend for herself.
13. Unknown (no, that's the proper title)
Generic Unscrupulous Time Traveller. Do NOT Feed.
A distant planet there the air is poisonous and prolonged exposure wipes the mind clear. Our unscrupulous time traveler is drawing spacecraft here, letting the crews turn into zombies and then selling them off as slaves. The TARDIS ends up here and the Doctor and the assistant race against time to find a way to beat it all. The Doctor becomes convinced that some Time Lords have survived the Time War and are in hiding, but his enemy is defeated (or escapes) before he can escape. The build up to the truth doesn't happen, and the series ends with the Doctor vowing to find out once for all. The assistant stays with him.
14. Children In Need Special
Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor faints and wakes up in a swamp where he is chased by someone who repeatedly taunts him... it is the Valeyard! Eventually, the problem is unwittingly solved by the assistant and the Doctor wakes up before the Valeyard can take him over. (It doesn't HAVE to be the evil learned court prosecutor... just an evil Doctor would do.)
15. Christmas Special
The Doctor and the assistant discover a hidden army of Daleks on Earth. On December 24th, Davros arrives and attempts to revive them. He manages to get a few, not all, of them working and flees in such a way as to cause a snow storm. Usual Dalek runaround and Davros is using the robo-santas in such a way we finally discover what the hell they really are.
Right. Now that's out of my system, I get on with my life. What's for lunch?