The TARDIS Changes (And I Don’t Like It)

tardisorangeinsideYesterday was a dark day for this DOCTOR WHO fan, because there has been a change in the series that I really do not like at all. Not one bit, actually. Such occurrences have been few and far between since the series relaunched in 2005, but now is one of those times. I do not like the new TARDIS interior.

I can see what was intended – a shout-out to the olden days of the classic series, and that’s admirable, but it reminds me of one the (negative) hallmarks of the classic series: It looks cheap.

Now, I’m sure that was at least part of the intention – to make the new console room remind folks of the old, low-tech-future version of the control room, but it just… makes me cringe. The bare floor especially cries out cheap (looking like the floor of the studio), as does the dinged-up gray “metal” of the main console, looking like the pieces were salvaged from some BBC junk room. The simplified allotment of oversized controls is very “Tom Baker,” isn’t it?

I’ve hidden the new image beyond the jump in case you don’t want it to be ruined spoiled…

Well, here it is, the retro- ’70s control room. (Some folks may call it retro-‘60s, but it reads as the ’70s to me.)  I guess the best way for me to describe my feelings about the new console room is that it tries too hard. It’s just calling attention to itself, shouting, “Look how retro and classic I am,” when people should be describing the design that way on their own. The console looks like wood painted to look like metal. It looks cheap, cheap, cheap! This is not how I was hoping DOCTOR WHO would celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013.

newinsideAs I mentioned in an earlier teaser piece, the new set was designed by Michael Pickwoad, and show-runner Steven Moffat really likes it:

“When you have a genius designer like Michael Pickwoad and an opportunity like the TARDIS, you’d be mad not to bring the two together.”

Matt Smith has also given the new interior his stamp of approval, calling the set “fantastic.”

BTW, Matt’s new costume is nice, but it also feels like it’s trying too hard to remind people of the past. I really, really enjoyed his tweedy nutty-professor look; it really set him off from the other 10 incarnations, but I guess the point of the new costume is to bring him closer in line with the past.

I look forward to giving both the new TARDIS interior and Matt’s new costume a fair shake on Christmas Day – not to mention the new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman! We will try to have a merry Christmas, even if we don’t care for the wrapping on the present.

Judging by online comments, I am in a tiny minority of WHO fans. What do you think of the revamp?

9 thoughts on “The TARDIS Changes (And I Don’t Like It)

  1. The new series mindfreaks me. I’ve only just seen the new interior (like literally just then) and i do not like it. At all. and the whole series is really confusing to me. I don’t really know what to think… The TARDIS just looks too empty and there arent enough thingajiggies for the Doctor to play with…


    • I agree that the TARDIS looks empty, and having seen the subsequent stories, there definitely are not enough thingamajiggies and whatsis for the Doctor to play with. I derive a lot of joy from watching the Doctor flail wildly around the console, pounding buttons and throwing levers and pretending he knows what he’s doing. I remember Matt Smith saying that he worked out specific elaborate routines for taking off and landing the TARDIS, and tried to stick to them every time so it would look like the Doctor was following specific “official” procedures.

      The series can sometimes be confounding, but I’m pretty sure I understand it at this point, so if you have any particular questions, I can try to help!


  2. i don’t think it’s full enough if you know what i mean? but i do like the way they have reminded us that that the TARDIS isn’t a “magical wonderland” and is a machine, although i think that the new vortex, the new costume the Doctor is suited in, combined with the new TARDIS design is a tad retro overkill…


    • I know exactly what you mean about feeling empty. I missed the friendly, welcoming clutter like the umbrella stand and coat rack. The previous orange console room was so busy that to the viewer’s eye it looked cozy even if it was way bigger than the 10th Doctor’s “coral” control room. But now my eye is drawn to the empty spaces on the floor and the relative lack of dials, switches and doodads on the console itself. I think the Doctor loves throwing all those switches so much that he flicks some extra ones just for dramatic effect!


  3. The lighting is off putting. It feels much more like a machine and less like a home. Who know, though. I didn’t like Matt when he first showed up. But he kinda grows on you. Maybe the new TARDIS will, too.


    • Perhaps it may surprise you to learn that Steven Moffat deliberately asked the production designer to give the TARDIS a more machine-like feel because he felt like it had gotten a bit too visually elaborate and was losing its sense of being a machine.

      Having lived with the new interior for a while now, it’s starting to (very slowly) grow on me — mostly because it’s well-lighted in the stories, and doesn’t look so… cheap.


  4. Not a fan of the new TARDIS. Also not a fan of the Doctor forgetting he’s got a wife “back at home” while he’s out brooding and junk. They’re not dealbreakers, by any means, but it’s like sand in my shoes. I need something schnazzy to take my mind off it.


Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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