Doctor Who and The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel

You may have already seen this, but in the event that it passed you by, here is the prequel for next week’s new episode The Bells of Saint John.

The Doctor takes a break on Earth, despondent that he can’t find Clara.

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So the Doctor is mooning over someone he barely knows yet has some deeper meaning because he keeps bumping into her… so he spends some time at a public park on a swing (like any self-respecting guy would) and has a random conversation with a little girl who… wait for it… IS THE PERSON HE’S LOOKING FOR! A doughnut has more of a twist than that, Mr. ‘Hugo Award Recipient’ Moffat.

I hate to review something as silly as a prequel but… this was just rubbish and also perfectly captures my opinions of New Who in general. It relies on cute kids, it’s self-referential, it has nothing to do with the Doctor and everything to do with the companion and/or the writer’s ‘clever idea’ that is actually not clever at all.

And Matt Smith is fab. I mean he really is.

The first genuine eccentric in the part in decades, he exudes charm and drips with personality, so much so that he can make a dippy little scene like this that adds nothing to the series aside from ‘oooooooh, there’s more to the Souffle girl than we thought!’ nonsense that he has already done twice before. If I have anything nice to say at all, it is to once more shout my praise for Smith to the hills.
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I am not looking forward to the second half of the new series as we have finally lost two plot threads (The Ponds) that took over the program for two and a half years only to get a new one with Clara Oswin Oswald.

What precisely is the problem with just writing a solid adventure that stands on its own, uses the Doctor well and is not built on the back of a gimmick (we’ve already been told that this one is meant to make viewers scared of WiFi… adding it to the list of things to be afraid of; statues, the dark, shadows, meet-up groups, cupboards, running water, getting fat, school dinners and marriage)?

Does anyone have anything positive to add? I’d really like to be in good spirits for this series but as it stands I think we are in for more of the Mary Sue phenomenon that we have endured since 2005.

Bleach…. I hate sounding like such a grouch.

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11 thoughts on “Doctor Who and The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel

  1. Do you think it’s a bit creepy that the Doctor keeps meeting little girls who later became sexualised adults?

    It doesen’t show much critical reflection on the worrying trend for girls to become sexualised at the earlier ages.

    • I’m more irked that nearly every female the Doctor travels with isn’t just sexualized, bit ‘mad for it.’ The fact that he then meets them as little girls (River, Amelia and now Clara) is just bizarre.

  2. I liked it! Can’t wait for the eppz! It is kinda similar to the meeting of Amelia but whatevz, it’s a 5 min webisode prequel, basically a commercial. A good bit of fun.

    • People forget… it is also the same as “The Girl in the Fireplace”… It is a recurring theme of Moffat’s to write a story where the Doctor meets a little girl who grows up around him and becomes infatuated with him.

      Some seem to be saying “the third time’s the charm” but I subscribe to “three strikes and you’re out” myself.

      • If we really really wanted to stretch things in modern Doctor Who…

        He also went back in time and met Rose when she was a baby :) But that was more coincidence than trend, since it wasn’t a Moffat story… though perhaps it served as his inspiration?

  3. I agree with your review. I’m sick of these series arcs and in this case its not a very interesting one. I really don’t care who Clara is. I had a dislike for her as soon she started mouthing off what a genius she was in Asylum.

    What a coincidence that Doctor has met yet another companion who has some abnormality about them.
    Oh and Mr. Moffat, going on about the Doctor’s name doesn’t make the Doctor mysterious again. He hasn’t been mysterious since the late 1980s. If you’re going to delve into the Doctor’s past, leave it to Marc Platt.
    Anyway, here’s hoping that Mark Gatiss and Neil Gaiman can pull off something entertaining for Series 7 Part II: Electric Boogaloo.

  4. Here’s my advance guess to a clever plot for the 50th anniversary special that we are told will not “look back” but instead will start a new chapter…

    We have for 50 years had Doctor Who… and people have asked Doctor Who?

    BUT

    A bigger question has been right there under your noses…

    Nobody has ever asked about the rest of the Doctors Quintet!

    What, When, Where, and Why!

    The truth shall be revealed…
    :)

  5. FYI… I was on iTunes earlier, and they had a new prequel-trailer. This is a way-back one, though… it takes place 2 days after the end of “A Good Man Goes to War” and basically serves to explain why Strax was still alive and in the 1800s for that last Christmas special.

  6. Couple of interesting Moffat quotes from a longer interview: http://collider.com/steven-moffat-doctor-who-season-7-interview/

    “STEVEN MOFFAT: Well, in a way, Doctor Who is almost more the story of the companion. It’s her take on the Doctor. It’s the adventure that she goes on with the Doctor. That’s the story that we tell.”

    “MOFFAT: I don’t think it’s impossible, but I’m going to put my cards on the table and say that I didn’t think those historical adventures were very good. I didn’t like them. I thought they were dull. Insofar as I remember them as a kid, I couldn’t wait for them to be over, so we could get back to proper sci-fi. I’m just being honest. They weren’t my favorite.”

    The first quote pretty much confirms what many of us have felt was wrong with the direction of the series, making the Doctor a bit-player in his own show!

    The 2nd quote was in response to asking about the classic series and historical stories… you know, stories where the Doctor goes back in time and interacts with known history… Moffat doesn’t like those. IF I apply his usual response to criticism of his plots… I might conclude that perhaps Moffat is not clever enough to follow historical plots, and that maybe those shows were written for intelligent viewers :)

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