What’s Gone Wrong with Who

When Russel T. Davies was running Doctor Who there was no doubt in my mind that the best writer on the team was some guy named Steven Moffat. And everyone else knew it too. So when Davies announced he was leaving Who, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind of which writer should take over as showrunner. And it’s a really hard job. And it wasn’t a total mess from the beginning. And he’s busy doing another massively popular show too…oh, I just have to come out and say it. Doctor Who has not been very good as of late.

I liked Neil Gaiman’s episode and “Hide” was kind of cool, heck I was even content with the anniversary, but the second half of season 7 and the Christmas special with Smith’s regeneration where a big mess. And it’s heartbreaking because it’s my favorite show and I want it to succeed. And there’s no reason it can’t go on for another 50 years, but it’s coming apart at the seams.

And not just cause this guy left long ago

Here’s the problem. At the end of season 6, Dorian’s head warns the Doctor that shit’s about to get real. He makes about a dozen prophecies to the Doctor’s retreating back and when they roll end credits on season 6 we’re pumped.

Now by this point Karen Gillan announced that she wanted to leave the show. And she wanted proper out. Not like what happened with Rose. And we can’t have Rory if there’s no Amy; that’s just too damn sad. So both had to go. Amy and Rory left us 5 episodes into season 7, which was hard enough on the audience as it was. But I think this was possibly the start of the problem.

Rather than them working out their contracts so Gillan and Darvill could bow out either first thing in the season or stick around for the  entire season (which would have helped the writer’s out) to tie up all the plot lines they were a part of, they give them an odd midseason send off. AND NONE OF THEIR EPISODES HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE END OF SEASON 6. They’re all one offs except for you could argue “Asylum of the Daleks” because a version of Clara (I’m getting to that too) shows up and, of course, “The Angels Take Manhattan,” when they die. But even there deaths were unrelated.

Then the show took a little break and they did their Christmas special with the Great Intelligence and the Snowmen. Still had nothing to do with the end season 6. Then we get introduced to Clara (several times). Blah, blah, blah, impossible girl, run you clever boy and remember, was there an overarching plot to any of this? Then season 7 ends and we find out who Clara is and we never addressed any of the crap Dorian was going on about, EXCEPT that we know what Trenzalore is and why it’s bad for the Doctor to go there.

Then the anniversary happened. That was sort of fun. Had nothing to do with anything, but it needed to be a bit separate from the regular show. But then BAM! Gallifrey may still be out there! A plot! At last. I mean, sure, we’re still just pretending all that Dorian stuff never happened, but now we have a story to follow.

Then came “The Time of the Doctor.” Oh dear Time Lord. What? What?! WHAT?!

Not only did Moffat decide that he was going to incorporate everything Dorian prophesied in this episode, he also needed a cute Christmas side story for Clara, the Doctor needed to live centuries until he was basically dying of old age, defending this town that we know nothing about and there for don’t really care about. Maybe I’m a bit bratty child on this point, but where are you Doctor? I thought Earth was your favorite and you’d want to live out your last life there? Oh, also every monster ever had to be attacking (the Daleks don’t seem to know exactly who the Doctor is…wait what was the point of “Asylum” again?). Plus it’s a regeneration episode. All stuffed into one Christmas special. It was too damn much.

*Side note: the regeneration did not get the time it deserved. Too many false stops (oh, it’s happened…no, wait not yet. Oh here he goes…nope, just kidding), so that the actual change into Capaldi took place in the space of less than 2 seconds. A first on the show. I was expecting, and deserving to have a good cry when he went, but all I managed was a quick tear when the bow tie came off, because I couldn’t tell what was going on anymore.

And to top it all off, that crack in Amy’s wall back in season 5? That’s made a reappearance so now we’re actually working backwards on plots we were supposed to have covered already.

And a part of me hates to even think this, but maybe it’s time to switch show runners? And again, he was the best writer when he wasn’t running the show. And apparently there’s a nice l o n g break before Doctor Who comes back in autumn 2014 and there’s a new Doctor, which is to a certain extent a fresh start. Moffat’s even said he isn’t really happy with the show recently and is going to go in a different direction. Maybe it will all sort itself out, and we can chock it all up to Moffat being busy with Sherlock. But that means Sherlock had better be damn good.

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About Risa Romano

Writer type thing. I work on stories for kids when I'm on the clock and screenplays quite a bit less for kids when I'm not. I have a blog: rambleonnerdyponderings.wordpress.com I'm also the creator and moderator of the Doctor Who vodcast/podcast A Disused Yeti: https://adisusedyeti.wordpress.com/
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