When drama works
And I’m not talking about the bloggy kind of drama. It’s weird for me dealing in forms that aren’t abstract, since drama in abstract music is far removed from drama in other arts. There was a post over on Paul Cornell’s blog about drama and the audience. He makes the point that in mutli-faceted drama:
That’s the contract I make with it. It’s not there to console me, comfort me, make me feel better right now, although it may end up doing that in the end. The comfort it finally affords me is that of the blues. It’s actually there to make me feel alive and connected with the rest of human experience, hopefully extreme human experience that I’d prefer to do like this rather than first hand, thanks very much.
I think when drama works, I’d rather have the kind he’s discussing (Found in BSG, Studio 60, et al) than the cheap kind. If I wanted feel goods and warm fuzzy, there’s Lifetime or whatever made-for-TV movie is out there. If an author is going to play with my emotions, I’d hope that there’s something to show for the investment I make in the show.
For instance–and here be spoilers for Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica–when Kat dies in “The Passage,” her death meant something. She was far from a sympathetic character–if anything she was one of the characters I think the audience had a hard time identifying with because of her failings. But, if anything, this also endeared her to characters, because we all know people like her, even if we wouldn’t want to have a social event with her.
I like it when characters do something that makes me wonder what the hell they were thinking, because when a character is perfect all the time, it makes me wonder what he or she (or it in sci-fi) is hiding. Cornell brings up the passage in “Human Nature” when John Smith allows Tim to be beaten. Certainly I think at that point, more than any other, the audience fully realizes that our hero isn’t there anymore. Or Joan’s comment at the end, that a whim got people killed. Our hero screwed up.
The end of Season 3/29 of Doctor Who was about as dark as the show gets. Once again the consequence of genocide is front and center, and there’s absolutely no escaping it, or the damage that’s been done to certain of the characters over the course of the last three episodes. It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes from there. I’m hoping that it isn’t a cheap kind of catharsis afterwards–it would be too easy to hide behind the facade of “wacky alien in space,” ignoring the dramatic fallout. (I think that’s why I didn’t mind the Rose angst, even if I didn’t like her character much. If someone you’re close to leaves suddenly and not as part of some kind of breakup, then odds are any intelligent being is going to deal with it. Or not.)
So long as “All Along the Watchtower” isn’t used as a plot point, I’ll be happy.