Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Come /on/, Big Finish:

Let me start out with a compliment: Big Finish does a lot, and it does a lot well. The stories you think are going to be quite cracking ("Time of the Daleks" and "Bloodtide" spring to my mind) almost inevitably are, but -- more impressively -- the ones that sound awfully dull and quite possibly a waste of time ("Assassin in the Limelight" and "The Boy That Time Forgot") almost invariably aren't.

And no, I don't know why the former examples above are so old and the latter so new. And there are some that counts as both in the middle.


I just finished listening to "The Haunting of Thomas Brewster". It counts more as the latter than the former (although me just happening to read "The Cloud Exiles" in the Doctor Who Annual 1967 removes a little of its originality).

The ending of part three. Victorian ragamuffin Pickens dies saving the boy he loves, choked off by the baddies whilst crying out "I lov--".


It might have been edgy 15 years ago, but now it just seems gratuitously melodramatic. Their (pointedly one-sided) relationship wasn't worth overtly developing in the preceding episode(s), apparently, and subsequently throwing that element to the death scene is an emotionally false way to raise the stakes.

In fact, it sort of falls back old images of the poor gay getting what's coming to him for daring to be out of the social norm. Giving him a little dignity is just a way to appease the straight audience's potential reservations before they can let situation effectively carry out their judgment.

It's why AIDS tragedies are such a popular thing for teh straight people. They can pity the poor fag before he gets exactly what he has coming to him for having all that gay sex. It flatters their egos /and/ their prejudice.

And it's why Tony Kushner and his awful Angels in America, 8-hour-foray into his own ego that it is*, should occupy roughly the same place in the gay noosphere that Vidkun Quisling does for the Norwegians.

[Nor does it help that his pointless complexities are gleefully confused for meaningfulness by audiences too lazy to do the sort of thinking that would recognise it for what it is. But this isn't a slam-Kushner post. It's just hard to get around how much he sucks.]

Anyway, you can't blame just the writer, Jonathan Morris, who generally does wonderful stuff, and in toto "Haunting" counts as that; this, I think, is just a freak of collective something (Laziness? I'm not sure... ) Somewhere, there was an editor or a dramaturg or a director who should have caught this and seen it for what it was.

Of course, I could just be full of myself. ;)

*Angels in America is in exactly the same category as Almost Famous. It's fine if people want to masturbate, and it's fine to watch someone masturbate, if that's what you and them want to do. But it's not okay to /make/ people watch you masturbate by calling that jacking-off a film or a play.

And you deserve a special place in hell if you con people into thinking it's art while you do it.

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