Variety is the spice of life and status quo
is the starch. The star that shines brightest is all the more glorious for its brevity. Or, to bring the metaphor down to a broader cultural level, The Simpsons
has been running for 21 seasons and hasn't been good since the fifth!
I should also, I suppose, briefly disclaim regarding the Colin Baker
era, given that it is possibly the most contentious era of Doctor Who
there is, save possibly the Sylvester Mccoy
era. Actually, it's not even particularly contentious — almost everybody finds massive fault with it. It's more that there's an elaborate blame game
, with all of the primary sources having massive axes to grind with the other primary sources and generally suggesting that the era would have been great if it weren't for X. (Generally X is either John Nathan-Turner
or Eric Saward.) I tend to agree with the assessment that the Colin Baker years are deeply, deeply flawed. I think the problems are far, far deeper than what can be laid at the feet of one or even two particular creative forces.
Timelash is on the short list of serials broadly agreed to be 'the worst Doctor Who
stories ever.' Given how prone science-fiction fans are to bickering about absolutely everything, and how impossible it is to find consensus, thatís really saying something
. More than that, it ranks with quite a few Colin Baker stories among that list. I canít help but wonder if part of the problem with Bakerís tenure isnít a lack of classic episodes (Revelation of the Daleks
and Vengeance on Varos
surely count), but the batting average skewed by so many truly terrible stories... Whatís really weird about Bakerís terrible episodes is the fact that they all seem to suffer from the same problems. Thereís no attempt to learn from past mistakes or to rectify those problems
Promoters have rarely been able to bring themselves to replace their bread-and-butter before it's too late. They see him making extraordinary amounts of money for the company, and they cannot fathom tinkering with the formula in any way. Wrestling promoters are notoriously shortsighted...They don't have the long-term vision to see that unless things stay fresh, the decline in fortunes can be just as swift, and sometimes even faster, than the ascent.
There is an old saying, popularized by Bret Hart
in Paul Jay's excellent documentary Wrestling with Shadows
, that promoters ride a wrestler like a horse until he can't go any more; then they put a bullet in his head. Inevitably, they ride that horse until he's long past the point of drawing big money, and then, when things start to decline, they panic. The panic breeds inept and hotshot booking
, the decline speeds up, and it finally gets to the point where the company is so cold that, in the eyes of the fans, it can do nothing right.
Isnít this the season where Brannon Braga took a backseat so he could start planning Enterprise
? I never thought I would say this but bring him back!
Seasons five and six under his supervision might have had more bad episodes than you can shake a stick at but at least there were some good episodes tossed in just to make a change. Season seven to this point has literally been one underwritten nightmare after another and should give the audience a warning 'Abandon hope all ye that enter hereÖ
: I hope an Xbox Achievement pops up when Clark finally flies in the finale. Chris
: I think we
should get the achievement for making it all the way through to the end of the season. Or at least hazard pay.
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Smallville
Itís becoming clearer to me that Mad Men
probably should have ended with the final episode of last season, with Don Draper fired and, at long last, willing to live permanently with the truth. At the end of that episode, Draper was ready to stop living as an image of a man, and to begin living as Dick Whitman, an actual human being.
But instead, the show threw away that endgame and, at least for the first three hours of this season, weíve seen Don Draper do the shit Don Draper always does. I spent an hour last week watching him argue with Megan and wondering to myself, ďWait, didnít they already have this fight? Wasnít this marriage over already? Why am I watching this shit again?Ē
Thereís been a whole lot of again this season. Peggy feeling underappreciated, again. Don smoothly pulling off a shrewd boardroom maneuver, again. Pete being a cock, again. Betty being a shitty mom and feeling kinda bad about it, again. Megan crying, again.
One season of how to make a successful comic book-style television show, followed by three seasons of monstrous fuck ups.
They can't just cancel a show like Alphas. They have to help the viewers let go. Firefly did a movie to wrap things up, Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued on as a comic book, Heroes gradually lowered the quality season by season, 'til we were grateful it ended.