Thursday, 12 January 2017

information overload

There's a bit of a hoo-ha at the moment because the makers of the DOCTOR WHO - THE COMPLETE HISTORY partwork are offering back issues at half price, including some issues which some subscribers (who of course have bought all the issues at full whack) haven't even received yet.

I had, in a moment of madness, put an order for this series when it started, but cancelled after about four issues. 

It's not that I've anything against behind-the-scenes information. But for me this kind of series is just TOO DETAILED. I realise that complaining about having TOO MUCH information goes against the traditional Who-fan grain! But it's an endless Alice-like labyrynth. I don't believe for one minute that the people subscribing to this publication will stop there. There will always be MORE information, more details round the corner, waiting to be dug up, analysed, researched, brought to light. But it's very much the trend in recent years for ultra-detailed 'completness' in the area of TV production journalism. Star Trek has the weighty Mark Cushman books (effectively he's Trek fandom's Andrew Pixley), Dr Who has the Complete History as well as a number of 'Doctor by Doctor' analytical book series', and even the humble Lost In Space is now receiving the "what were the film crew doing at 3pm on the afternoon of April 2nd when they should have been filming shot one, scene one" treatment (again, by Mark Cushman).

For me, it's all too much. I enjoy the 'single volume' treatment. Depending on the angle of the writer, you can get a workable guide to an entire series painted in broad strokes but which can still have a captivating narrative. (James Chapman's book 'Inside the Tardis' is a cracking production history of Who, stopping circa Eccles/Tennant... Pixley's DWM Yearbook 1996 is a top-hole account of the making of what we now call Classic Who... well, some of us call it that!....But I would love to see Matthew Sweet write a Dr Who volume. His Who journalism is second to none and his overview of Victorian leisure pursuits, 'Inventing the Victorians' is one of my favourite slices of cultural history. And of course he did that fab 50th anniversary documentary. I'd love to read his take on the history of Who.)

And aside from anything else, they're quicker to read!

No comments:

Post a Comment