There’s only so many times I can get 600 odd words out of absolutely nothing, and I’m increasingly starting to suspect that I’m about to hit the limit on that.
Literally nothing happens in this segment. Well, not literally. There’s a brief shift in scene and a few bits of dialogue, but it’s clear that this is a segment that no one would have found particularly impressive while it was on. If they found any of them that impressive, that is – I’m starting to question what the point of this was at all. Given the structure of these things, they’re always inevitably so throwaway and meaningless, I doubt they were in any way a highlight of Totally Doctor Who at all.
They’re further hampered by the fact that they’re a week apart. I remembered very little of what was happening last week – why do the Doctor and Martha want to rescue Callico? – and I doubt I’ll remember much of this one next week. These instalments are so immaterial as to be irrelevant week on week, and so you can’t maintain any significant attempt at serialised storytelling. And that’s a problem, of course, because the whole conceit of The Infinite Quest is that it unfolds week by week.
Elsewhere, the episode manages to take everything that should be good about animated Doctor Who and does the exact opposite. Blatantly, this is the cheap one – they’re all just standing around, blinking and little bit, and occasionally moving their mouths. It’s not a particularly well animated piece television – understandably, because it was likely made on a shoestring budget. I’m usually less than inclined to criticise something on the basis of its technical standards, but here the technical process is part of the storytelling – it’s the very medium in which it’s conveyed. So, actually, where the medium falls down it is worthy of critique.
Along the same line of though, I think it’s probably worth discussing the peformances. That’s something I’ve been largely avoiding over the past few weeks, but it sticks out here. They aren’t, to be honest, very good. Freema Ageyman – here, at least – isn’t particularly good at voice acting, and while David Tennant manages better, it’s also clear that he’s not putting in a huge amount of effort. They’re passable, and in some ways their performances are more or less appropriate for the animation, but it is rather weak overall.
On the one hand, that feels like a shame. Yes, this is all just a throwaway bit of nonsense that’s “for kids” – but then, why is it that the stuff that’s “for kids” is reduced to being throwaway nonsense of limited quality? You sort of question the point of this at all, and why “Doctor Who for kids” amounts to something that seemed to have been made on a “that’ll do” basis.
But then, on the other hand, it’s a little difficult to hold them to task for this exactly. In some senses, it’s just part of a process of working out what works and what doesn’t. This is, as it exists in 2007, what Doctor Who looks like on CBBC. Eventually, though, they’ll figure out the right way to do a more simplistic story with weekly cliffhangers, and it’ll be fantastic.
So, yeah. For now, it’s the throwaway nonsense of The Infinite Quest. Eventually, though, they work out how to do The Sarah Jane Adventures, so it all turned out fine in the end really.
(588. That’ll do.)