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So, SJA. I really wish I'd written this post yesterday when I was full of unreserved squee, while now I have to say I found the second half of S3 rather generic and something of a letdown after the first. I can't quite put my finger on it, but a certain something that made the other episodes so charming, details, the way the relationships between the characters are written, seem to be lacking. (Also, where have Rani's parents disappeared to? I was hoping they'd find out more about the whole alien business after their run-in with the Judoon in ep.1...) On the other hand The Mad Woman in the Attic and The Marriage of Sarah Jane Smith were brilliant, and the first episode wasn't bad either.

This said, though, I've been enjoying the show a lot, and I'm only sorry it took me so long to finally watch it. It's so warm, funny, quirky, occasionally heartbreaking... Charmed me completely. I thought I'd miss Maria because I really liked her a lot, but there was Rani, different, but just as brilliant. So far, I think S2 was the best overall. The first and last episode are maybe not all that special, but the clowns are... stolen from Stephen King, obviously, but genuinely scary, Luke saving the world because he's different and doesn't have a birthday or a star-sign... just lovely, the episode with Clyde and his father is both tragic and incredibly touching, and The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith is simply very, very good. On average, to me S3 is a bit of a step down from that high level.

It's kind of ironic too, I really only started to watch the show for meta writing purposes, because I thought I should watch it for completeness's sake, but to be honest, I thought I wouldn't get a lot of material out of it. It's a children's show, how much death was there going to be in it. I suppose I should have known better.

What's starting to irritate me a a bit at this point, though, is... I guess I'd have to say the nature of TV shows and how they are being written. How does this all even work? RTD is credited as a writer only for 1.1 and 4.4, but at the same time the Trickster as a recurring villain for the central episodes (messing with death means opening the door to chaos), or the end of 3.1 has RTD written all over it, at least if you look at the later DW stories, or MD, or the sudden shift in themes when SM took over. At the same time... who exactly writes what? Whose are the ideas? What about (e.g.) TW S2? Authorial intent isn't something fandom usually concerns itself with, but personally speaking I find it increasingly hard to write meta on such a detailed level when I can't even say with any certainty who wrote a certain line, whether it's deliberate or just happens to be there. I do try to pay attention to overreaching themes rather than single lines or scenes, but still... When you analyse a novel you can at least say that it all comes from one person's brain, whether it's being fed by their conscious mind or subconsciousness, or both. I know this is a stupid thing to worry about, but there are simply too many variables here for my taste.


(And while I'm already busy whining, I wish I knew where this meta (not that I've actually started to write it) is going. There are so many (too many?) different threads, and maybe it'd be better to disentangle them and treat them separately, but I'm not sure I wouldn't end up constantly repeating myself. I've been wanting to write something about the religious themes in RTD's writing for a while now, but in the end they're almost always so closely linked to the mortality theme that I'm not sure it makes sense to separate the two, or, worse, if something wouldn't get lost in the process of doing that. Would it be better to analyse the structure and themes of MD separately? It might be worth it, but then again I feel MD ties up more than its own story, and the stories that precede it throw a different, or maybe rather additional, light on some of its aspects.

I do think the results would be more interesting looking at everything RTD has written since The Second Coming as (essentially) one story, and to look at the both the mortality and religious themes together; but to be perfectly honest, I'm just not sure if I'm up to that. It's all such a mess in my head. Damn it.)

 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
topaz_eyes
Jan. 1st, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
I don't know how much influence RTD had over stories as the executive producer of TW or SJA. (Though he kept lamenting how he believed he neglected them in The Writer's Tale.) Chris Chibnall was head writer for TW seasons 1 and 2, and Phil Ford was head writer for at least SJA season 1, but maybe RTD set the direction for them. Or at least the tone?

Gareth Roberts wrote all the SJA Trickster episodes, as well as "The Shakespeare Code", "The Unicorn and the Wasp" and "Planet of the Dead" for DW, so there must have been cross-talk, at least. The Trickster episodes certainly wouldn't have been out of place on the main show (and the Trickster Brigade was the villain of "Turn Left"). The Trickster in SJA is heavy stuff, when those episodes involve characters who should have died but didn't.
solitary_summer
Jan. 1st, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know how much influence RTD had over stories as the executive producer of TW or SJA. (Though he kept lamenting how he believed he neglected them in The Writer's Tale.) Chris Chibnall was head writer for TW seasons 1 and 2, and Phil Ford was head writer for at least SJA season 1, but maybe RTD set the direction for them. Or at least the tone?

The fact that it was his decision to switch Ianto and Owen (as well as the fact that he came up with the resurrection glove in the first place) vaguely suggested to me that he might have been responsible for this arc, but it's impossible to say, really.

The Trickster in SJA is heavy stuff, when those episodes involve characters who should have died but didn't.

Definitely. I loved The Temptation..., but it isn't a lightweight episode. I'd have said that maybe children notice this kind of thing less than adults, or maybe it doesn't have the same weight to them, but then again it's all about a parents/child relationship, even if there's time travel involved, so I'm sure if that is true.

I forgot about Turn Left, but now that you mention it, didn't Jack say the Trickster Brigade was the force behind the brain-infecting parasite in MD ep.7?
topaz_eyes
Jan. 1st, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, the Trickster Brigade was behind the brain parasite in MD. Apparently the Trickster Brigade is the only villain to have appeared/been implicated in all 3 shows. And in all 3 shows the Trickster Brigade is linked with death--death always seems to be aligned against chaos.
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solitary_summer
Jan. 3rd, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
and especially the relationship between Sarah Jane and Maria

That really stood out for me. Maybe I'm watching the wrong things, or perhaps I'd have to watch more children-orientated shows, but I can't remember seeing such a close female/female relationship on TV that wasn't mother/daughter.

I would love it if you did that...but only if it's something you really want to do...

Oh, I want to. It's just that at least at the moment I have severe doubts about whether I'm good enough. I do believe that it's definitely worth looking at it from that angle, but it feels like... too many entangled threads, too many ideas too juggle... it's still all so unclear in my mind.
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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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