TV: One Plot, Two Different Series
Warning: This post contains explicit SPOILERS about the plots of British television series and if you don’t want them ruined then I recommend that you look away now… Right now… Because not so long ago I spotted that two high-profile series had ended up using the same plot.
The First Series: An episode in the second series of E4’s Misfits generated a long-term story arc when the gang of delinquents come across a crazed comic villain stalking the streets whilst playing out his life to the rules of a computer game and hell-bent on achieving his mission which will see him completing each new level.
The Second Series: The opening episode of Steven Moffat’s second series of Doctor Who sees the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is reunited with Amy, Rory and River Song on the banks of Lake Silencio in America – with the cover of Doctor Who Magazine declaring One Of Them Will Die! – when out of the water an impossible astronaut appears to break up the picnic.
In Misfits the “Super-Hoody”, revealed to be Simon from the future, sacrifices himself to save Alisha by jumping in front of the villain’s bullet. He knew events were leading to this and left instructions that his body is to be burnt with a to-hand can of petrol so that the future can eventually work itself out to something approximating a happy ending.
In Doctor Who the Doctor goes to confront the Spaceman, which with his knowledge of the future he was expecting, before being shot and killed by the astronaut and thus setting out the story strand of how the lead character can escape the death traumatised children have just witnessed. Then whilst his friends are taking this in an old man called Canton Delaware III turns up with pre-arranged instructions that his body is to be burned with a to-hand can of petrol… Or gas: It was America.
But before any accusations of copying: episode 2.4 of Misfits was broadcast on the 2nd December 2010, whereas the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut was broadcast on the 23rd April 2011 and knowing the length of time of planning that goes into these things the few months gap is nothing.
As the Doctor Who story arc was resolved at the end of the same series in the episode The Wedding of River Song broadcast on the 1st October 2011, with the Doctor using his fore-knowledge of impeding doom to turn up in a, previously introduce, shape-shifting avenging robot staffed my miniaturised people, he’s now got the drop on Misfits where we still wait for a resolution after a convoluted navel-scratching third series, which fumbled towards joining up the dots to give us some sort of answer, and with knowledge that two further actors (those who play Simon and Alisha) are said not to be returning for the fourth series then for a series which was sublime at it’s height of the climax of the second series it’s fast becoming comparable to the ridiculous devil-may-care disposable plotting of Primeval.
But then… Then almost a year after this plot was initiated in Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who it similarly turned up again in Steven Moffat’s (and Mark Gatiss’s) Sherlock on 15th January 2012 when in the second series finale The Reichenbach Fall Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, has to sacrifice himself to save his friends by committing suicide off the roof of St Bartholomew’s Hospital whilst Doctor Watson looks on in horror from below…
As a resolution is eagerly awaited, as to how he escaped inevitable death, it’s interesting to note that The Guardian printed a list of reader’s suggestions which included the notion that Sherlock had changed places with a shape-shifting robot piloted by a crew of tiny miniaturised people.
I’m guessing a lot of people missed the reference.
And whilst we’re asking for further Who-Sherlock transgressions to be taken into account it’s interesting to note that the high-profile nudity scene in A Scandal in Belgravia where Irene Adler, played by Lara Pulver, trying to unsettle Sherlock by confronting him naked before the UK viewing watershed sending many a disturbed child to bed with a destiny of animal-abusing malcontents laid out before them… Came a long, long time after the revelation of the nudity scene with River Song, played by Alex Kingston, which now exists as a much talked about deleted scene hidden in the BBC vaults.
I’m thinking that there’s enough foreknowledge for a plagiarism case and that that man Steven Moffat should take legal proceedings… Against himself?!?