Get Rid Of The Sonic Sunglasses (And Maybe The Screwdriver, Too)
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We're three episodes into Series 9, and the new "wearable technology" that the Doctor has acquired already has engraved itself into the fan's minds. Unsurprisingly, the reception of them has been pretty scathing, a sizeable chunk of fans calling them tacky and gimmicky, and quite a ridiculous.
The Sonic Screwdriver has been a staple of the show for ten years, being freely used as pretty much a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for any potential "impossible" situations faced by the Time Lord (Even at one point being used to hold a "really heavy" door up in 2013's The Rings of Akhaten, which would have actually made more sense if The Doctor used his hands to instead hold it up, to be perfectly honest)
However, the show has well and truly proved that it can get by without the device, despite being introduced in 1968's Fury From The Deep, the Sonic Screwdriver didn't really gain motion as a regular plot device until the mid-to-late 70's, having rare appearances in the late 60's, and semi-regular appearances in the early 70's. Even then, by 1982's The Visitation, it was seen to be such a common way to indulge the "impossible situation" scenario, that it was supposedly "killed off", being destroyed and not appearing again in the original Classic Series at all. Even upon it's onscreen reintroduction in 1996, it was used sparingly, as purely a tool, rather than a plot point.
This makes it pretty clear that the writers should be fully capable of creating situations where The Doctor has to go without his trusty device, and upon watching the first episode of Series 9, I was in high hopes that the now clearly worn out screwdriver had seen it's day.
But no, at the end of the second part, we're treated to the singular blight on what I can only describe as an utterly brilliant character driven story, the single tackiest and cheap looking plot device, which not only replaces the screwdriver with something that essentially fills the same role, but just looks plain wrong, out of place. The idea of "wearable technology" is an admirable thought, but replacing the chunky copper and ivory Screwdriver seen since 2010 with what is literally a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers just seems completely, bizarrely out of place.
Back in the 1960's and 1970's, people would have believed a vista made of cardboard and yoghurt pots, combined with some papier mâché and dry ice was an enormous, expansive Dalek city, and a small, wooden replica of the TARDIS falling off a model cliff, combined with some flashing bulbs, was the real thing tumbling off a Peladonian cliff, but this is 2015. Pushing back a pair of glasses further up your nose (a common practise for many, me included), combined with the familiar Sonic SFX doesn't give the impression of wearable tech. It literally looks like exactly what it is. It looks cheap (Admittedly, the glasses aren't, £80+ a pair!), it feels gimmicky, and it just doesn't look impressive whatsoever!
For an example of the lack of impressiveness, if a person who had never seen the show before, decided to watch it as a one-off, which would look more persuasive as a plot device: The clearly alien device that can supposedly do anything, or the painfully obvious sunglasses, which do exactly the same thing, but just get pushed up the nose slightly?
It's almost remarkable in similarity to seeing a young boy running around a playground with an ordinary, 30cm ruler, but upon asking them what they've got, they say they have "The weapon of ages, something for killing Dragons and defeating evil sorcerers and rescuing Princesses." We know full well it's just a ruler. Nothing will change that, but the ordinary Sunglasses as a super-advanced alien device, previously kept in a rather handful-sized, conspicuous case? Even for a show of all ages, it's a stretch of the imagination to not just see them for what they are, they push suspension of disbelief over breaking point.
Geting rid of the Sonic Sunglasses, if not the device altogether, forces writers to go down paths that test their abilities, prevent the format from slipping into the "impossible situation" cliché, as the show seems to be doing just once too often. (Accompanying this is the lack of character death, but that would require a public campaign, marketing and maybe three separate petitions to fully explain) Removal of the device has the potential to completely reinvigorate writing ideas and the show's ability to overcome stagnation with simple solutions for huge problems.
So please, drop the Sonic Sunglasses, maybe even go so far as to kill the Sonic Screwdriver, and let the creative aspect of the show's writers give their full potential to their scripts, without the laziness of the Sonic Screwdriver as a plot device, and without the puerile tackiness of the Sonic Sunglasses.
Just as a quick disclaimer, I'm going to point out I love the show, and I'm a huge fan of it, I apologise for going full Keyboard Warrior, but repeated points of usage of the same plot device is eventually going to lead to negative reception or stagnation in writing development, which should never happen!
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