Saturday, 8 February 2014


Not what you think...

The Who Universe is divided between these two men. Some love RTD for bringing back Doctor Who, but dislike his handling of the show. Similarly, people love Moffat for carrying on Doctor Who, but abhor his management of the show. Neither is perfect. Both have made mistakes, some inconspicuous, some unforgivable. Let’s take a look at some of the most ‘What were they thinking’ moments these two have dreamed up while at the helm.

For Russell T. Davies

The Slitheen
Readers can probably save time and skip down to the next mistake or…if you don’t know why these guys are on this list; then you need to keep reading. The Slitheen might’ve been a great villain for Sarah Jane, but here on Doctor Who, they sort of ruined the Ninth Doctor’s series for me. The moment their fake skin was peeled away, my liking for the story went with it. The invasion angle was fresh and an interesting concept for a story which ‘officially’ introduced mankind to the existence of aliens, but the Slitheen themselves were too ridiculous to watch. I’m sure that if it had been any other alien (except the Abzorbalof), then it would’ve worked, but alas, the Slitheen were shipped off to the Sarah Jane Adventures, where their camp schemes could flourish.

Bringing Rose Tyler back
Whether you’re a diehard Tyler fan or diehard Tyler hater, don’t pretend you didn’t break when she was trapped on parallel earth, even if it was just out of sympathy for the Doctor. That my friends; is television magic. That is something that writers work hard and only get right once in a blue moon. Other moments include the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ line from The Big Bang. Those flashes don’t just appear out of thin air. They’re like miracles, except for television. So RTD, why on earth would you want to ruin Rose’s exit and bring her back if you were just going to ship her back to that same place and break the Doctor’s hearts yet again? Does everyone except the Doctor get a happy ending on this show…a show called ‘Doctor’ Who?

Breaking the Doctor’s heart
Briefly touched upon above, but this is why I prefer Moffat’s reign…he likes to hand out happy endings every once in a while. RTD on the other hand, liked to emotionally torture the Doctor, specifically his Tenth incarnation by breaking his heart. But it’s okay; he has a spare. I always felt like I was at someone’s funeral whenever I watch a Series 1-4 finale. I understand that departures are supposed to be emotional and strong and hold a lasting impression, but would it have killed RTD to give the Doctor at least one happy season finale? Just one? 

Making Doctor Who into Casanova
I’ll admit that the 1996 movie opened the door, but there is no need for everyone to barge in all at once. Maybe it was because he worked on Casanova, but if you’ll look real closely, you’ll notice that David Tennant’s Doctor is essentially Casanova without the naughtiness or blue contact lenses. Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Madame de Pompadour (I’ll admit this one is Moffat’s fault), Jack Harkness, Astrid Peth, Christina de Souza, Cassandra (in Rose’s body). I began to feel that if a female companion didn’t kiss the Doctor; then they weren’t really companions.

Ignoring Continuity
I’m pretty sure you have to pass some sort of Doctor Who Quiz before you can be allowed to run the show, so why did RTD enjoy his discontinuity so much. The Fourth Doctor regenerated from a fall off of a radio telescope that had to be five stories high at least, yet the Tenth Doctor is allowed to jump out of a spaceship hundreds of feet off the ground, break through a glass ceiling and survive the hard floor instead of splattering all over it with not a single bone in his body broken. What the hell happened to the earth’s gravity during this scene? Did it decide to go on tea break or something? Does earth’s gravity take tea breaks now? I knew Doctor Who was an out there kind of show, I just didn’t think it was that out there. If you want a neat drinking game (for those of you who are old enough), then watch Series 1 to 4 and take a shot every time RTD ignores previously established continuity. Warning: Have a doctor on speed dial.

Turning Doctor Who into My Family
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE My Family. I have nothing against family drama either. Ace and Nyssa were two companions whose families played a significant part in the Doctor’s life. For Nyssa, it was the Master killing her father and leaving her an orphan in the Doctor’s care. For Ace, it was accepting her past and her family heritage. So even though I’m not a fan of Jackie or Mickey, I understood the angle. It was a mother’s worry over her daughter’s safety – perfectly understandable, if a little predictable. Enter the Jones family. What angles does RTD choose to play with this family: Worried mother over her daughter’s safety? Noble family: Worried mother over daughter’s safety. I sense a pattern (and another drinking game if you survived the last one). The continuous earth settings were often ruined by the companion’s family becoming too involved and turning the Science Fantasy drama into Science Family drama if you know what I mean.

For Steven Moffat

Rushing River Song
Everyone knows that I’m a huge River Song fan. She’s in my top five along with Peri, Romana, the Brigadier and Jack Harkness. I also love Let’s Kill Hitler. Alex Kingston just steals the show. It might as well have been called River Kills Hitler, but I do feel that the regeneration into the Song form was rushed. I’ll admit that you couldn’t have put another incarnation of her in this story without killing it, so it’s a difficult decision really. Do we rush Song and give the fans Let’s Kill Hitler or kill Let’s Kill Hitler and introduce another incarnation of River Song that can guest star in future episodes and keep the character alive for several more seasons? Win-win or Mortan’s Fork?

Series Split
I’m confident that even Moffat supporters will agree that this was a bad move that initiated a chain of events that eventually lead to an enormous gap between Series 6 and 7. The decision to split Series 6 resulted from a request by Steven Moffat who wanted to pen a new Doctor Who story arc which involved a “big plot” twist between episodes A Good Man Goes to War and Let’s Kill Hitler. The idea was to give fans two series finales instead of just one. Although it partially succeeded, the backlash was unwelcomed. The idea to split a series probably originated in America with their shows and it works for them since programs like The Vampire Diaries, Castle and a bunch of others aren’t bound to a 13-episode format. Splitting 13 episodes into 8 and 6 isn’t the same as dividing 24 in half.

Keeping the Ponds
Also called The Rose Equivalent. As grateful as I am for a Series 5 happy ending and as much as I understand the need to involve them in Series 6, the idea to keep the Ponds around after The God Complex is lost on me. Re-watching the episodes that came after it, I can’t help but wonder why the stories couldn’t just have been adjusted to function without them…it sort of felt like Moffat was keeping them around just to write a Weeping Angel exit for them. And also, most of the Series 7 Part 1 stories could’ve worked without the Ponds, instead relying on one-off characters that weren’t necessarily companions, but served as the Doctor’s ‘assistants’. Even the UNIT story could’ve worked if the Doctor was teaming up solely with Kate Stewart. The downside would’ve been that there’d be no Brian Williams.

Too much of a good thing
Personally, I don’t mind this one, but I’ll admit that the more Moffat uses his favorite monsters, the less scary they become and maybe it would have been better to make them one-hit wonders with Blink and left it at that. Most fans tend to follow this thought trail. Although, if the Weeping Angels were utilized another way…say explore their home planet or their origins, then maybe this one can get scratched off the list. Until then…

Disney Death for Everyone
River Song died in the library. She died a heroic death…and then lived happily ever after. Amy and Rory saved New York from the unstoppable Weeping Angels. They died…and lived happily ever after. As a writer myself, I have no trouble killing off my characters, even my main ones. Steven Moffat on the other hand, does. He even created Rory, a character who people, in-universe and out, mock for constantly dying and coming back. Needless to say, the body count during Steven Moffat’s reign is significantly lower than it was during the RTD era. Moffat has defended this by claiming that he doesn’t like killing characters. It’s probably because of this reason that Doctor Who is sliding back into its whimsical nature, albeit darker and edgier. I myself don’t like watching people die left, right and center. If I wanted to do that, I’d just turn on the news. But sometimes, not always, ‘you need a good death at the end.’

Which Arc are we watching?
I’ll be happy to chew every one of these typed words if it turns out every question Moffat has left unanswered is eventually answered in some extraordinary timey-wimey episode, but for now…way to many story arcs, even for me (and I relish in complicated storylines). How did the TARDIS blow up? Who killed the Doctor? River Who, Doctor Who, Clara Who? These are just a few I can remember off the top of my head. Having many arcs is terrific for some viewers like myself, but the world doesn’t revolve around us (or so I’ve been told) and…more importantly, it alienates new viewers who are forced to travel back to the beginning of the library episode at least, in order to understand what’s been going on so far. This is partly the reason why arcs only run for one season at a time.

And there you have it: Proof that both show runners have made their fair share of boo-boos in the past. Neither is perfect. Neither is superior. We are all capable of messing up every once in a while. Do you believe the aforementioned to be mistakes and can you think of any others that really annoyed you?

No comments:

Post a Comment