Red Right Hand: THE DOCTOR WHO POST THAT ISN'T ABOUT DOCTOR WHO BUT MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PERFUME
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

THE DOCTOR WHO POST THAT ISN'T ABOUT DOCTOR WHO BUT MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PERFUME

Seriously, there's a point being made here, it's just Doctor Who that made me think of it.

This past weekend was the season finale of Doctor Who (and a bloody fantastic one, something I never thought I'd say about something with a musical number featuring a Scissor Sisters song (I can't decide/whether you should live or die...), which will actually feed into my point).

Following the events of that, on Monday the Beeb announced a newish companion for next season in the form of Catherine Tate as Donna (her character in last year's Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride"). In it, she was annoying and abrasive and at the end, when she is asked by the Doctor if she would like to join him in his travels, most viewers breathed a sigh of relief when she said "No." It's not to say I hated her or the episode. It was a different kind of character mix and I enjoyed seeing a different chemistry in the show, it's just...every episode. Could be a problem.

This seems to have elicited a response along the lines of "What the fuck is wrong with Russell Davies?" Davies, being the show runner.

I admit, I'm not entirely looking forward to that particular development, but here's the thing. It could turn out really good. Why?

There's this theory of perfume making that suggests adding an offsetting element, something that might be regarded as a negative in the overall make up of the fragrance. Something ugh in there that stings you just as you begin taking in the top notes, but is washed away just as quickly by the sweetness, or the musk, or whatever. That sting grabs you. Gets your attention. Cheap perfumes, don't have this. They're just pure sweet. That's why they suck and you don't remember them five minutes later.

I think of this theory whenever I read about some showrunner or writer doing something that sounds cringe-worthy. Sometimes what they do is gonna suck outright, but sometimes the mix comes out just right. It's that one character that you hate in that show that you love but don't realize how they're presence affects...everything.

Or maybe that negative element that you hate makes something possible in the future what will be just the bestest thing ever.

The one criticism I hate to hear more than anything about anything is "It's not what I would've done" or "not what I wanted."

"Thanks be to Farnsworth you didn't get what you wanted!" I think to myself. It would be fanfic. It'd be wanking off. It would lose the unique flavor that has you watching the show at all. If those that make that particular complaint got what they wanted, all you'd hear would be "It was too predictable."

I think a writer's job is not to give the audience what it wants. It's to give them what he or she wants (within reason, I mean...try to keep an eye on that shark (and let's not get into notes or anything right now, eh?)). It's the writer's story to tell. Hopefully other people will like it and keeping liking it. When you start trying to feed their need, you get stagnant and you will run out of good ideas.

I like digging something unexpected. Were I running Doctor Who, I would never have put it a musical number based on a group that I don't listen to. It's not the way my brain functions (at least before I saw it), but that number so perfectly illuminated the glee the Master gets from being unrepentantly evil. I got the song because I like the lyrics and the memory of that scene.

There's always risk though. Spider-Man 3's musical number(s) blew radioactive chunks.

So when I see something like Catherine Tate's Donna being the new companion, I see it as an opportunity to go new places that I haven't thought of. Maybe Davies will use her to sting me and draw my attention in to something grand.

I just hope Davies is being mindful of that shark.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan