I won’t be watching next weeks, that’s for certain. My main problem is that the writing seems to have degenerated into the following;
It’s probably slipped off IPlayer by now, but BBC2’s “Marvellous” last week was the sort of thing that would have even the most cynical amongst us complaining about having something in their eye. A sort of quite man’s Forrest Gump (but without the naked republicanism that I’ve always detested in the film) it focussed on a single man rather than having him interact fictionally with the events of the world around him. That it was based upon a real life was obvious, this sort of gentle humour doesn’t exist outside of real life.
If you didn’t watch it (and like strange, almost noodling conspiracy thrillers) then the second series of the black comedy Utopia has just started on Channel 4 (episode two tonight). As an indication of its intent to pull no punches, the series opened with a thirty year flashback that lasted the entire episode and confirmed just about every fan theory that was left dangling at the end of the first series. Yes, we’ve got answers – but clearly there are still a lot of questions left.
I commented about The Shadow Line after the first episode was broadcast, noting that many were remarking that it was a British version of The Wire. Seven weeks later and following that comment it seems right to return to what’s likely to be a highlight for the BBC this year.
The BBC does The Wire! Huzzah, one week in and there’s already questions.
Why does the Senior Officer want a quiet investigation?
Why were the brothers given a Royal Pardon?
Who were the (Turkish?) men in the car park who were after money?
Where did all of the money in the suitcase come from?
Six weeks left and I’m not even expecting to have all the answers come the end of the series. And how refreshing is it to have a programme that isn’t afraid of awkward silence (the wait for the lift being a particularly chilling moment).
Impressed so far.
Back here I ended by saying “Now if they can keep this up for the next three months I’ll be a happy man” – and so thirteen weeks later we look back on Moffat / Smith’s first run.
And what a first run, everything about it has just continued to get better and better until we finally got a season finale that didn’t disappoint, didn’t rely (too much) on dues ex machina and showed just how much Moffat has got planned for us in the future. We still don’t know who exactly River is, what the silence is or why the Tardis was exploding, but given the strength of what we’ve just seen it’s likely that Moffat already has answers to these questions but needs to continue building up the tension. This was a first for New Who, a season finale that was about the season rather than just trotting out “the universe ends – and then doesn’t”. Clearly something’s been going on since day one, and given that the Doctor has now revisited his own timeline I wouldn’t rule out the team revisiting parts of this season again before the end of their run.
So farewell Gene Hunt, you magnificent bastard! Forty episodes after you first appeared – and in a far clearer fashion than many of your television counterparts – you left are screens not with a bang (nor can it be said with a whimper) but in a way that was far more moving than we had a right to expect. Had the writers planned such an exit from the start? Looking back it seems hard to think that this hadn’t all been planned out beforehand.
Have the BBC pulled off one of the biggest tricks in television history with Doctor Who? I really do hope so.