The End of Time
In 1978 I remember reading an interview with (I assume) Richard Donner, director of Superman: The Movie, who pointed to the new superhero shows then popular on TV—things like The Six Million-Dollar Man—and said something like, “We can’t have Superman just picking up a car to save someone: Steve Austin does that every week.”
This was by way of justification for the film’s climax, in which Superman turns back time by spinning the Earth backwards on its axis—one of the most cringe-worthy pieces of anti-science cinema I’ve ever seen. The argument was that everything had to be bigger, better, and more spectacular than anything that had gone before. I think I preferred the end of Superman II, where the denouement was at a much more human level.
This interview dredged itself out of the depths of my memory last week when I watched the second part of “The End of Time,” the final Doctor Who episode for the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Writer/producer Russell T Davies has a bad habit of wanting everything bigger and bolder than last time, and with the climax of season four involving whole planets teleporting across the galaxy (with bizarrely few negative consequences to the atmospheres or structures of the planets), I guess we all knew we were in for a challenge to our abilities to willingly suspend our disbelief.
The comments thread at Circulating Library live blog of the episode indicates the level of disapproval from even hard-core fans. I won’t rehearse the objections here, so go and have a look.
Such a pity for Tennant’s send-off, when he has been one of the most popular Doctors (I thought he was great, but Tom Baker will forever be my Doctor).
Anyway, we’ve got that young Matt Smith and scripts by Stephen Moffat to look forward to, so let’s hope the series regains a little sense.