Time for a new Doctor Who

Aractus 26, June, 2017

And I don’t mean the actor. I mean the show runner. There were some things about Russell T that I didn’t like, but overall he did a much better job than Steven Moffat. And I’m going to explain in detail why Moffat goes wrong.

Firstly, he fails time and time again to build genuine mystery into the shows. Think about the cliff hanger at the end of “Empty Child” for example. Moffat perfers to have a stronger focus on single-episode stories, and that’s fine, but we shouldn’t know what’s going on until the third act of the story. Yet how many times does he give the game away right from the very start?

Secondly, and this is very closely tied to the first point, he has Doctor Who explaining way too much to his companions. For example, in the penultimate episode for Series 10, he has them encounter the genesis of the Mondasian Cybermen. Okay, that’s fine. But why did he have to give the game away right from the very fucking start? We knew that the Cyberman and two versions of the Master would be in the final episodes. Think about this, he already made the same mistake with Dark Water. Dark Water’s reveal would have worked brilliantly if we didn’t expect Cyberman at the end of the episode. And worse still, the second part was completely lacklustre.

No one would have known what the proto-Mondasian Cybermen were if we didn’t expect the Mondasian Cybermen. No one would have expected that Razor was really John Simm’s Master in disguise. Instead I easily recognised Simm early in the episode during one of Razor’s conversations with Bill.

Instead Jorj shoots a hole in Bill’s chest. That is followed by an annoying and unnecessary flashback. Why is there a flashback? Well because Moffat didn’t built the story into the series properly – had he done that he could have dropped all the subtle hints he wanted along the way and not need to do any flashbacks. I also suspect he did it because he thinks it mirrors The Tenth Planet somehow (even though there are no flashbacks in that episode).

One of the biggest flaws in this episode is the time dilation. It could have worked brilliantly. But it just doesn’t work. For one thing, they must have waited several years before sending men up to bring Bill down to the hospital – according to how long it takes for time to move at the top of the ship compared to the bottom. Also, it means Bill has waited for years – yet her hair stays in exactly the same style, and she only ever meets three human characters? It just doesn’t feel like she’s been there for years, it feels forced – just like Matt Smith’s supposed 300 years on Trenzalore. Not only that, but Cybermen are supposed to be emotionless creatures – stop toying with them and bring them back to their basics.

Finally, I’m not looking forward to the final. I think if Moffat had stuck to the basics it could have made for a great episode, but there will just be way too much going on. We essentially know at this point that Capaldi’s Doctor begins regenerating at the end of the series. The working theory, well mine anyway, is that he “degenerates” back to the first Doctor, at least for the duration of the Christmas special, before taking on his 14th Doctor form. Now again, that would be a great way to mirror Romana’s regeneration way back in season 17, if we didn’t expect it. But I think at this point that’s what we’re expecting to see in the Christmas special.

And this is all down to Maffat. All these problems are avoidable. He went ahead and told everyone that “this regeneration will be different” – WHY?? Why not just wait until the show airs and let people discover it for themselves, this is the show runner himself running the series reveals well in advance of them happening! I look forward to what Chibnall will bring, hopefully he will learn from the mistakes that Moffat made, and bring us a series more in line with RTD’s tenure.

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