Since there is a new Doctor, viewers of the show would assume that the series would take a new direction or at least create a distinct quality that would differentiate it from the previous season. However, it is quite noticeable that three episodes in with David Tennant as the Doctor, there is already some sort of familiarity going on, especially with the setting. In Series One, the show followed a present-future-past pattern in its first three episodes: “Rose”, “The End of the World” and “The Unquiet Dead”. In Series Two, it is very apparent that the show made use of this arrangement again. “The Christmas Invasion” happens in present time. “New Earth” takes us into the future, and lastly, “Tooth and Claw” brings us back to the past. Considering they had new material on their hands, it was surprising that the writers chose to go down the same road. To be honest, I think it was rather disappointing that Ten ended up resorting to his old tricks. From the audience’s point of view, it is all been there, done that. Given this different persona and material like that of Doctor Who, the possibilities are limitless. So, why follow the same pattern? Did the people behind the show do this on purpose? As a follower of many TV shows, I have one theory:

The series creators are playing it safe.

After mounting a booming first season, it seems very tempting for Doctor Who creators to stick to the same formula that made the show such a hit to its audience. This particular circumstance is not entirely new in TV land. In reality, there are shows that do not stray away from its winning format, assuming that going for what already worked before would ensure stability in ratings.

The best and most recent example I can think of for this strategy is Glee. This TV show is currently on the latter half of its second season. Following the massive success of Season One, trying to top it – or at least keeping the same standards – proved to be a challenge. So, what did the writers do? They followed the episode themes used in the first season. Was it effective? To certain extent, yes. The familiarity was there, and the audience recognized that. However, viewers, especially avid fans of the show, do not want to settle for this since it gets boring and predictable at times. They obviously want to experience something refreshing every now and then.

So, is it advisable for series creators to maintain the quality of the show by modeling it after the success of the first season? The irony here is that playing safe is actually a risk more than anything else. You cannot really guarantee that your audience would still buy your show if you follow what worked before. Probably the best thing to do is to keep the foundation of the show but add new elements as well. There always needs to be just the right balance between the fresh and the familiar.

Advertisements