Who, Tintin, and the changing of the seasons

It’s been widely reported that BAFTA- and Hugo-winning Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat will be taking over from Russell T. Davies as full-time Who showrunner when the series resumes in 2010. Yesterday’s Daily Mail adds a detail I hadn’t known, which is that in order to take this on, Moffat walked away from his deal to write two Tintin movies planned by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, leaving only the first script completed.

Of course, the Mail, being the Mail, plays it as a story of plucky little England cocking its snoot at big dumb Hollywood.

One Hollywood insider said: ‘No one walks away from Spielberg and all that money for a show no one has heard of. I mean, what is this doctor show about? It sounds a little silly.’

“What is this doctor show”? Please. Of course “Hollywood insiders” are capable of thinking and saying all kinds of silly things, but surely that sounds more like what a Mail reader would imagine a “Hollywood insider” saying. Not that a newspaper as dedicated to journalistic probity as the Daily Mail would ever invent a quote, of course.

Actually, for that tiny number of us Americans who grew up reading the Tintin comics, usually in British editions, the real cognitive dissonance comes from the idea of Tintin as the mighty project bestriding Hollywood. I mean, I keep a copy of Destination Moon–the Tintin comic album, not the George Pal movie–in my office as a reminder of some of my earliest experiences of skiffy wonder. But I’m used to that being an eccentricity, not a mass-market taste.


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