Who • 9 May 2010 • The SnowBlog
Last night's Doctor Who. My verdict. Meh.
Update: I've got two other things to say but one is tangential and dull and the other is scurrilous.
First off, to kind of address Wayne's question in the comments, take a look at this picture:
Now ignore the colours because it's very artificial lighting. And the unflattering angle. What caught my eye were the dark areas under Mr Smith's eyes and the depth of the lines. He's twenty-seven. He does not look well to me. Of course I'm now no better than Heat Magazine for making wild speculations about celebrity health. I'm just saying he looks seriously peaky to me.
Now the reason I was looking at close-ups of Matt Smith leads me onto my second, and duller point. The Who team did a bit of shooting in the actual Venice for this episode and the rest was in the unspoilt Medieval town of Trogir in Croatia. Which was a surprise to me because I assumed from the dull skies and flat colours that the whole thing was filmed in some Welsh castle. So I took a look at the footage, and really, it wouldn't have been that difficult to brighten the whole thing up and remove the magenta tint that seemed to pervade the whole thing (and yes, I did calibrate my monitor before saying that). It just seemed such a waste to go all the way to Venice and Croatia and to bring back dull, overcast, flat footage with none of the sun and golden highlights we might have expected. And the problem of course is that they went in December. And December in Croatia recreates almost exactly the magical dullness of Cardiff light. The Christmas Specials suffer with that same six-month lead time: they're trying to shoot snow-covered, frosty externals in July. So it seems to me their choices are 1) shorten those lead times (bad idea; the show's scrappy enough without adding more time pressure) 2) lengthen them to nearly a year (which would be great if they spent the extra time on pickups to fix the stories and color-timing to fix the lighting*, etc;) or 3) just accept that we're so used to American shows giving us Christmas in June that we really don't care, especially on an escapist show based around a time machine.
*If you have enough time, you can do 'color-timing' (i.e. fix the lighting and colouring of footage) to a Hollywood standard with just a good home computer and a couple of hundred pounds worth of software. And it really makes a difference.