Is Doctor Who really in trouble?

News James T 31 Jul 2011 - 13:21

James takes a look at the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who to date, and wonders quite why it's getting so much criticism...

We're just over a year into Steven Moffat's reign as Doctor Who's head writer, and both the tabloids and a small group of so-called fans are still complaining about how he's driven Doctor Who into the ground, and making stuff up about the programme's future being in jeopardy.

Generally, these opinions usually contain phrases similar to 'bring back David Tennant and Russell T. Davies', or complain about things of no consequence, like 'Matt Smith is wrong' and 'they changed the Tardis'.

Since I absolutely love Moffat's era of Doctor Who so far, I'm going to fight his corner and address some of the criticisms of series 5 and part one of series 6...

It's changed too much.

What you have to bear in mind is that change is the essence of the programme. From the First Doctor's regeneration in 1966 to the series' revival in 2005, Doctor Who has never clung to a particular lead actor, tone, or production team for too long.

In 1970, Doctor Who was given a radical overhaul. It was in colour, the producers and script editors had changed, and the Doctor was stuck on Earth helping UNIT. From then on, the series went from strength to strength.

Doctor Who's success is rooted in how freely it can change. One of the things that did Doctor Who serious harm in its 1980s' decline was producer John Nathan Turner's decision to stay on for as long as possible.

One of the best things about Doctor Who is that it changes before it becomes stale. And in my opinion, Russell T Davies had certainly begun to wear out his time a little by the time he left.

Viewing figures have decreased.

This argument carries no weight whatsoever. Times have changed and so have people's television viewing habits. People now have cheaper and wider access to the Internet, and cheaper recording machinery is now available, meaning that people are no longer dependant on watching a programme's original broadcast. Especially since every episode of Doctor Who is available on BBC iPlayer until a week after the broadcast of the current series' final episode.

If you look at the final viewing figures released ten days after the episode's broadcast, you'll see that the overall viewing figures have barely changed from the Russell T Davies years. And anyway, this argument is a moot point, as viewing figures are not indicative of quality.

Journey's End had a final viewing figure of around thirteen million, but I can't say I was a fan. And The Jeremy Kyle Show is regularly getting viewing figures of two million, while the brilliant Psychoville ended its second series with viewing figures of less than one million.

The programme is no longer winning awards.

See my above argument. The amount of awards a programme wins does not necessarily mean it's of good quality. For example, The Only Way Is Essex recently won a BAFTA, competing against Sherlock, The Killing, and Downton Abbey. And I'd like to point out that Matt Smith is, in fact, the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA for his role as the Doctor.

Doctor Who has become too sexual.

Another weapon in the arsenal of the anti-Moffat brigade is the view that, under Moffat, Doctor Who has become too sexual, referencing, in particular, Amy's attempted seduction of the Doctor in Flesh And Stone, the fact that she is a kissogram worker, and that she wears short skirts.

There's been a pseudo-sexual element to Doctor Who since the 1960s. It's there to keep the dads and teenage boys watching. Why else do you think the costume designers put Wendy Padbury (the Second Doctor's companion, Zoe) in such short skirts?

In addition to that, the Fourth Doctor's companion, Leela, wore a skimpy animal skin outfit, and the Fifth and Sixth Doctors' companion, Peri (Nicola Bryant), spent most of her debut story Planet Of Fire in a bikini and was frequently seen in hot pants or figure-hugging costumes.

Also, there was a lot of snogging during the Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who, not to mention the oral sex joke at the end of Love And Monsters.

So, if you are going to accuse Doctor Who of being overtly sexual, you'll have to level that accusation at the entire programme, and not just the Moffat era.

Doctor Who has become too dark.

Another flimsy criticism is that the series has become too dark. Doctor Who has always had a dark streak running through it, right from the very first episode.

In Genesis Of The Daleks we saw Davros commit genocide on his own people. At the end of The Waters Of Mars, Adelaide Brooke commits suicide. Terminus largely took place on an intergalactic leper colony. In The Daleks' Masterplan, Sara Kingdom was aged by the Daleks' Time Destructor until she turned to dust. And The Two Doctors sees an alien chef start eating a rat, and later tenderising the Second Doctor's companion, Jamie, in preparation to eat him. Not to mention the Master's penchant for eating the homeless in The End Of Time.

And if you don't think Midnight is dark, then you're made of sterner stuff than most people.

Matt Smith is a bad actor.

This is all down to opinion. Personally, I think that, like all ten of his predecessors, he's put his own stamp on the role, being delightfully quirky (such as his first scene in A Christmas Carol) and brilliantly emotional (his goodbye to Amelia in The Big Bang).

And when needed, Matt Smith can pull off the Doctor's flashes of anger with aplomb. (His "Colonel Runaway" speech in A Good Man Goes To War springs to mind.)

And, as previously mentioned, he's the first Doctor to be nominated for a BAFTA, which speaks volumes about his acting ability.

The writing is bad.

Again, this is a matter of opinion, but I'd argue that Steven Moffat has been working as a television writer for twenty-two years and has written a number of hugely successful series such as Press Gang, Coupling, and Sherlock. He's also written some of Doctor Who's most acclaimed episodes since its revival, including The Empty Child, The Girl In The Fireplace, and Blink.

His plots are consistently inventive and he doesn't fall back on the soap opera-esque stuff that dragged down some of the earlier years. Also he never fails to use the writers that are best for the job, such as Mark Gatiss, Neil Gaiman, and Richard Curtis.

And to those who complain that his stories make no sense and are full of plot holes, I suggest you pay more attention, as nine times out of ten, all of the details you need are there.

It's boring.

This is something else that is subjective, but a more cerebral plot doesn't make the programme boring. Doctor Who is about so much more than guns, aliens and screaming. The crux of it is an intelligent plot.

The Big Bang may not have been as overblown as the finales of previous years, but it had a good story at its core, rather than being all style and no substance. Also, some of these more sedate episodes are there to develop the characters, such as Amy's Choice and Vincent And The Doctor. Although the monster in Vincent And The Doctor was a bit naff, the episode was primarily a character study, delving deep into Van Gogh's psyche, as well as re-establishing Amy's character since Rory had been erased from time.

I couldn't write this without commenting on the recent press reports about Doctor Who, claiming that there are budget problems, behind the scenes difficulties, and that Steven Moffat has overreached himself by overseeing both Doctor Who and Sherlock.

I think I can safely say that the past one and a half series have shown that Doctor Who is in safe hands. And it's not as if production problems are something unprecedented for Doctor Who. The 2009 Easter episode Planet Of The Dead experienced some significant production problems, such as the double decker bus used for filming in Dubai being damaged when it was being unloaded at the harbour. Other problems led to the final cut of this episode being finished less than a week before it was broadcast.

So, I say ignore Private Eye and the tabloids and have a little faith in the production team. And as for the announcement about a diminished episode count next year, for now, I'm assuming that it's to let the cast and crew gear up for the 2013 series, which will, hopefully, be something very special, indeed.

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l have gave it a chance but cant get used to the change in the show,hate it and have never liked it for more then a few say that the essence of the show changes i disagree though,the doctor should change,not that they have a choice there,the show should stay close to original or whats the point.matt smith is great but id like the old format of the show kept,moffat ruined that for me.

thank you for writing this! i love moffats era, and i love russell t davies era as well! as you said, the nature of the show is change! :)

Why not go for prime time network across the US, dumb down the writing even more if that's possible. Then for real appeal, use actors with US accents like south Texas.

I so agree. How anyone can prefer Moffat over RTD astounds me. The only memorable Moffat episodes are "Blink" and "Amy's Choice"

I may send this to my Dad. His criticism is it has become too silly and is not dark at all. I know that he hasnt even bothered watching it for some years. I like and dislike certain episodes and last series became completely irritated with Amy but will still tune in. The Angels are my favourite baddie. So scary and yet they do not actually kill anyone!

Canary in the Coal Mine - I am a lifelong Dr. Who fan. I attended conventions in the 80's with Tom Baker. And I have loved the new series starting with Eccleston. However, these last few seasons with Matt Smith, my interest has steadily tapered off. I barely muster enthusiasm to even watch new episodes. And I write this while drinking from my disappearing TARDIS Dr. Who mug! It's not Matt Smith or the production - it's story and writing. Moffat and others are talking down to viewers, and thinking any old silly nonsense will fly. A wave of the sonic, and the universe is saved. Please.

Yes, who is in trouble - because die-hard fans like me are losing interest, hoping and praying that the show starts hooking us in with interesting, compelling, and emotionally engaging story lines.

Matt Smith may oversee the next dormancy of Dr. Who until the next reboot. How tragic would that be?

Are you listening BBC? It's all about STORY and WRITING.

My deepest hope is that this last batch of episodes is biding time, wrapping up Amy and Rory, and that the new companion will bring with it a renewal of rich story telling and well crafted writing.

I really is very easy to prefer the Moffat produced stories, Amy& Rory are far better characters than Rose and Martha, Matt Smith is a far better Doctor than Tennant, and
Vincent And The Doctor,
The Doctor's Wife & The Girl Who Waited are far better than anything in the previous 4 seasons.

It is a fantastic episodes and has just won a Hugo award and from memory had pretty much universally excellent reviews, I googled the Daily Telegraph review:
"On top of that Michael Sheen’s powerful voicing of House added another
impressive layer to a very well-realised story all round. Hugely enjoyable,
and I hope Gaiman can be persuaded to make a return on the strength of this
excellent episode.

More than likely, the Dr Who series will endure as it is an enormous worldwide cash-cow for the cash-strapped BBC. Whether as a full blown or a series of specials only the future knows. But, this latest series, has in my own opinion and that of many others, been the weakest to date since the regeneration of the Doctor seven series ago.

Personally, I thought episode 3 set in an old western town was, by far and away, the worst episode under the Matt Smith mantle. As usual, he was very good but, rather surprisingly, frustratingly stupid and slow in this episode. And, compared to the way the Doctor has worked things out previously, quite out of character.

Then there was the Krytonesque killer cyborg. Oh dear. Much has been said about this already so I won't add to it. Other then to say, the entire episode felt more like a wrap party with a fancy dress costume thrown in. Surely, with the technology that was used to create all of the assassins, it came with the ability to hide such fundamental things such as massively round electronic eyes ?

Onto episode 4 with acting, or performance plaudits, going equally to Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill. And a really nice and subtle moment from Karen Gillan. Otherwise it was a rather rushed and illogical affair covering a timescale of 13 years (If you go by Amy's claim that they had been together for 10 years and adding all of the June-June jumps together) and the villain was a sub-standard Emperor Palpatine clone who was wanting to wipe out all carbon based units on Earth (Oops! Sorry, that as Star Trek-TMP. But you see what I mean).

But, does this mean that the "Angels Take Manhattan" episode, due this weekend, is nothing more than a ruse where the "final appearance" of the Ponds is concerned? As, in our timeline, we have been with the Ponds for three years. So, that means, that last weeks episode does not take place for another 10 years. And if, as reports suggest, this final episode before this awfully conceived US orientated mid-season break takes place in any other time than now or earlier, the Pond's will still be alive for another 10 years ?

Sorry, but Dr Who is becoming less cohesive and intelligent and it appears that the claim that anything can happen where science fiction is concerned is being used as a lame excuses for poor stroytelling and plotting.

I am a huge Dr Who fan. Especially, where the latest seasons have all been going. But,I actually found myself channel hopping last week and the week before and that is something that I have never done before.

In my opinion, the very fact that this argument is going on shows why the show is not in trouble.
To me, one of the most remarkable things about Doctor Who is that while, yes, it is about a 900 year old Time Lord who is amazing and a genius and all, it brings out such an importance in humanity. It tells us that no two humans are alike, but there is a spark of brilliance in every one of us, if we're only brave enough to find it. Doctor Who shouldn't be something made for a specific group of people. It has something for everyone. If it never changes, it never grows. I freely admit I want to cry every time something ends- a companion's time on the TARDIS, a regeneration, a style of the show- but I love it anyway. If you don't like Moffat's style, you don't have to watch it. But some of us love it, and some love it more than any other. So our favorite show's fan base- though some may leave- might very well grow from this. Is that so bad?

Anything Moffat (a fan writing for fans) does will never be as terrible as the idiotic storyline's and tripe RT Davies added to the show. Fat monsters? come on guys you clearly cant be fans of all the good things about dr who.

"he's the first Doctor to be nominated for a BAFTA, which speaks volumes about his acting ability."
You said mere lines earlier that such awards were not indicitive of quality because TOWIE won one.
I stopped reading there as there are clear contradictions that make you appear to be a cornered fanboy rather than a writer (I dont know if you are either)

I just don't get all the Moff-love. Have you seen Jekyl?. It was good, but only because of James Nesbitt's performance. The rest of it was very poorly written. I'm a fan of Sherlock, but I'm putting that down to Gatiss, as opposed to Moff's fanboi writing. Didn't Moff say he was more interested in doing that instead of Who? I'm sure he did. Moff just can't do character development, Only on Sherlock because he co writes it with Gatiss, who in my humble opinion, should have been Who forerunner. I can't wait to get rid of the Pond's or MS for that matter. Everybody seems to think he is the best thing since sliced bread but the guy as the personality of a frozen sausage! The Beeb went with him because he was the cheap option who had floppy hair and looked the part, That doesn't mean he can play the part, as he has demonstrated time and time again, Oh way to go Matt, you managed to show a bit of anger in The Power of three. Moff's character development is not natural, it's shoe horned in, episode by episode when he needs them to do such and such. Rose was a genuinely heartfelt character, her development across the series' felt "real" not changed episode by episode to suit Moff's spaghetti junction of plot threads that lead absolutely nowhere, River Song anyone? I've waited a very long time to say this: so I'm going to get it all off my chest. Moffet has killed the show. I feel nothing for the Doctor, whereas with DT and CE i the Davies era, I hung on every word, cried when they showed pain etc. With MS and the Pond's I feel nothing. MS as not had one decent line since his tenure began, I'm sure he is an outstanding actor, though I just said otherwise, but what he has to work with is awful at best! What happened to all the great lines DT and CE had in every episode? Moff's Who has none! Say what you like about Dalek Sek, a corny character for sure, but he had some great lines that had feelings and meaning, not one villain in the Moff's era have felt real, or deep, or even emotionally attaching. There is just nothing there apart from good production values. The Who of now is empty, vague, meaningless, churned out by a fanboi for a US audience. Where is the education? The science? The depth of characters? Say what you like about RTD, but he made you believe what you were watching and feel something for it, the Moff is all flash and no substance. Like Alex Kingston, nice to look at, but shallow:)
Steven Moffet, worst show runner ever!
Matt Smith, poorest portrayal of the Doctor Ever!
Current era of my beloved Doctor, worst ever!!!!
Ps. I'm a long time fan. I found something to like in every Doctor, but not in Smith, Why is that?
Lastly, I apologise for my poor grammar, but I am British and only have poor tv shows written by Steven Moffet to learn from:)

I stopped watching at the start of the last season. No sense of danger, the Dr is always joking about every situation. Rory and Amy very annoying.

"It's changed too much"?

Since RTD's glossy maudlin soap opera or since 1963 back when the show was about cool adventure?

The show has always been about change.

"And audiences have changed too" - which is the usual line other people put out to justify modern WHO over the last seven years... :) Audiences will not accept what made WHO work in the past... even one of the modern WHO producers went so bold as to be openly ageist and say nobody would accept an older actor (so the lazy guy could have fought the stereotype rather than being so cheap and playing into it for cheap ratings... people think he's a great writer, so was fighting a stereotype too hard? Apparently so... there were a few articles that came out after that infamous line, and I don't know if it's allowed to post article links around here, but it's easy enough to find... using keywords in tandem such as "Exterminate ageism Doctor Who" should reveal all...)

And given Doc11's character was not too different from Doc10's, even repeating the sort of Nickelodeon dialogue that "timey-wimey" and "humany-wumany" represent... even the Moff was more scared of driving away viewers... he added a lot to the show, but he too is shackled by the suits...

More like "fart monsters"...

Though, while writing a different response, I suddenly remembered the nadir: "Love and Monsters" (formerly and surely known as a discarded script from the (thankfully) never-made third Scooby-Doo live action theatrical series...) You had the fat monster there, and one of the crudest jokes of all time... yes, kids won't understand and most won't ask mommy and daddy what it's about... as if WHO has to borrow crudity from "South Park" in order to be popular... that's sad...

The average viewer prefers glitz and brief summaries. They cannot afford to think.

The camp value (value?) of the modern era was found to be appealing as well... pity Verity Lambert, who praised RTD in 2003 for knowing he was a good drama writer while lambasting previous eras for being too camp (!!!), didn't realize how RTD would take the campiness to a whole new level... or two...

If series 1 wasn't as campy and overtly-comedic, it might have held up better...

JJ Abrams? His rehash of Star Trek was pathetic, especially regarding the characters...

Whedon was great as script editor for "Roseanne" (Season 2) and for "Firefly", but I never got into "Buffy" or "Angel"... But then, the movie followup called "Serenity" throws in a lot of hollywood braingarbage as well ("Mr Universe" subplot? Coming from Whedon?! Come on...)

There's more to sci-fi, or tv in general, than just "characters". Yes, characters are important, but the genre also has to have its own vision. Verity Lambert knew that; her era of WHO is far more watchable than everything I've just mentioned in this post, despite it being nigh on 50 years old.

Doc7 lied to Ace on more than one occasion (that supposed tough love stuff...)

The first Doctor stole ("The Crusades")... he also kidnapped, and tried to murder a caveman so he and he alone (with granddaughter only) could escape ("an Unearthly Child").... he wasn't always a role model, either...

You're so wrong about so many things.

You're never going to win over people biased just because they loved a previous take on the show or adore David Tennant or whatever. I think Who is better written, produced and acted now than it has ever been, even in its glory days. I had to be persuaded - after three years of enduring the idolised Tennant I was sceptical about Smith (too young, I decided on picture alone) but I stuck with it and was completely won over (even though I have never liked Amy). The show has a daring and ambition now that is enthralling.

i don't dislike it, i just don't like amy pond or the new story lines as much as the tennant ones. just a matter of opinion. would've preffered this director to do a second series of jekyll to be honest

The first doctor was and always will be among the best!

As an American I have been watching Dr. Who since 1980 on PBS, (Pertwee era) I think the show has progressed as we have changed. Dr. Who is a reflection of mores and our ever changing tastes. There is nothing wrong with it.

It has not become too dark. It's become too over-humorous, in fact way more than in the 80s. And the timeline gets way too complicated, thanks RTD for the idea of Time Lords going almost extinct, and Moffat relies way too much on shock deaths and shock resurrections. Doctor Who was never designed to be a British Lost, it was supposed to be a good old adventure.

Q: Is Doctor Who really in trouble?
A: Catergorically, no.

Oh, piss off.

Whoever wrote this is a homer.

Midnight was dark, but Jethro made up for it ;D
I still love Doctor Who whatever happens. :3

I love the Moffat and the Smith era but the truth of the matter is I grew up with Russell and Chris and David... For me their stories were magical fairytales. Moffat on the others hand seems to be trying to achieve to much with complex story lines which holds no interest for the kids of our generation what so ever. Ilike this new scifi era but Im afraid it will eventually loose its Magic.

In my opinion, I find that Matt Smith's doctor - whether it is him, or the writing - is a mary-sue, AKA, he's a perfect character. He doesn't REALLY have any flaws, and he always manages to save the day. In the Russell T Davies era, people died left right and centre, whereas in Moffat's era it seems to me as though nobody ever dies - not because the Doctor couldn't save them, anyway. And the Asylum of the Daleks - really? The DALEKS asking for the Doctor's help? REALLY?!

I have been watching the show since 1973. I feel that the Matt Smith years have been by far the worst, due to poor acting by Smith and his assistants, very weak plotlines and story arcs that are uninteresting. With Amy and Rory gone I hope things will improve; at present the show is at rock-bottom and can only improve.. I would like to see Smith leave the TARDIS at the end of this season.

glad to see its not all one sided on this site.

moffat has been bad for who matt smith is awful hes really funny looking a terrible actor and David tenant didn't even want to leave he got rid of the second best doctor for the worst one ever .retcons a load of stuff rtd did and continues to drive the show into the ground.

changes dont bother me if there GOOD no such out cry occurred when ecllestone left apart from within the beeb at the fact he hadnt been given a gold handcuff deal.No awards, no ratings well colour me shocked it must be the viewers that are wrong RIGHT GUYS cant possibly be the guy making the show

we should find out soon tonight if the new companion is a success with the audience, the new theme tune, the new titles and the new tardis. the majority of new who since Tennant has only been watchable once, I think that was the goal of the writer to achive that other than give some fan a delight in their bedsit!.

I don't like a few of the points on this article, i.e.
Moffat doesn't use soap-opera-esque stuff...well, um, yes he does. Basically the entire plot of 'The Wedding of River Song' was soap-opera-esque, even the very title. Not to say I didn't like it.
Overall, good point well made James, but some were not quite as credible as the others, which is a shame. I love Moffat's writing and the current Who, but if an argument is not well made then I'll be on the haters' side, I'm afraid.

Which is an important point, because Doctor Who is a family show. Let's ask the kids what they think of it before we shoot it down in flames - it's meant for them too, remember?

Exactly. I'm going to audition for Who (probably a companion, since I'm a girl and I don't think there's going to be a female Doctor any time soon) hopefully to get into the acting profession, and that's what makes Who great; it's a great chance for fantastic actors to get out there (not saying I'm the greatest actor in the entire world, or anything. But I think I'm pretty decent.)

couldn't agree more, honestly i've loved almost everything about Moffat's run...except doctor, widow and wardrobe. I really do prefer it to russell's run and series 6 ranks up with McCoy's final series as one of my all time favorite series of doctor who

Ignore Private Eye? I read Private Eye religiously every fortnight, and I can't even remember the last time Doctor Who was a subject for discussion within its pages. Leave Private Eye out of the misdirected disparagement. Other than that, good article. I disagree on almost every point and can't stomach Matt Smith, but that is neither here nor there. Keep up the good work, DoG.

plot holes are explanable? Ok well think about this. The weeping angels turn into pure stone when you look at them YET the statue of liberty being an angel makes no sense. It's made of metal!

New Dr Who came in with a bang in 2005 and ended the day Moffat took over (2010). For everyone i know. My boy my ex, my friends. It went from an intelligent witty moving, thoughtful and socially and humanly critical show with excitement humour and energy and turned into the dreadful tweeny Amy self obsessed *Downtown Abbey' in a Tardis show of Cameronian amorality and tiresome bores like the too self sacrificing drip Rory who anyway, along with Matt Smith, were the least awful parts
of the show.
The greatest irony was I was actually excited by the idea that Moffat would take over because; being honest, he was one of the very best writers of the infinitly superior RTD series. SO his appalling production and childish whiny shows actually shocked in their shoddiness and shallowness.
The Tele tubby Daleks were the last straw along with the appalling acting of the worst Churchill ever. Its already reached the rot of the Colin Baker years and McCoy and needs to die again hopefully to be reborn sometime in the future again (perhaps). Just watched the David Tennant comedy sketch with Catherine Tate as Lauren and he as the 'scttish teacher'. The good old days of inteligence, wit, social
criticism and real excitement. ('Waters of Mars')
Not one episode of the new crap Dr can compare to the many brilliant ageless classics of the best of ther RTD era (yes of course there were the odd real turkeys) ,
including Moffats ; 'silence in the Library' ; the last time he was great.
The Unquiet Dead '
The Empty Child/Dr Dances,
Bad Wolf.

Thats just Ecclestones one season. Then there's the too many to mention them all Tennant classics; so her's just a few.
Tooth and claw,
Girl in the fireplace,
The rise of the cybermen/Age of Steel,
Human Nature, Family of blood,
Utopia/Sound of drums (Harold 'Bliar' Saxon; Master) etc etc.

I challenge you Moffat lovers to watch these again and wake up to the loss. Just as Camerons UK also descends into the stench of mindless hell that RTD's Dr was attempting to warn us about but that Moffats embraces! Weep and think of Verity Lamberts original moral idea of a serious show for intelligent 15+ year old teens, not 4-10 year old girls the new Dr seems to be aimed at. t

There are many who feel like I do (that is everyone I know personally
in my family and friends even in the States, In Sweden and the USA).
(the one exception being my young cousin and she is a young girl who
loves the Amy stuff unlike us)
And I feel the loss is a terrible one. Only a tv show?. No it was far better than that. A important social commentary of the highest order AND entertaining for all as it was under Troughton, Pertwee and the early good Tom Baker and as it was intended by it's creator Verity Lambert! (notice todays shows have NO women writers and then think of her And Delia: yes Psyche Delia whose vision and inspiration made her a massive influence on the Beatles!

You people who can't see how much better it was before under the adult show orientated RTD simply don't get it! ANy more than the peope of England understand what Cameron is doing to the UK. And yes RTD's Dr Who tried to warn us about it numerous times (aline controled media; Age of Steel and Harold *Saxon Blair's Police State. Moffat doesn't even care and it shows!

Here are the problems with the current Doctor Who. By the way, I would consider myself a fairly avid Who fan and have seen some of the Tom Baker era as well as all of the "modern" series.

The Doctor spends way too much of his time on Earth. Sure he wishes to defend humanity and there's the whole thing with UNIT (which was never fully explained) and yada yada yada, but now it seems like 70% of the episodes happen on Earth involving extremely boring elements like extended sequences of Rory and Amy's house, their personal lives (the Power of Three), and suburban UK. Ugh. Nobody cares about their personal lives or mundane elements of human life.

Similarly the whole love drama between the Doctor, Amy and Rory shouldn't exist or at least in not such a central way. This isn't a soap opera. Why does every tv/movie writer of late NEED to include a love drama? Maybe I'm being a cynic, but that appears to attract the highest viewership that can appeal to both genders. Why is Rory's and Amy's foundering relationship so central? I don't care that much. Furthermore, Amy's pregnancy shouldn't be a main feature either. We watch a sci-fi show to see creative story lines, the unknown, and most importantly outer space. There needs to be some way for the Doctor to leave Earth for multiple episodes in a row so we can see other planets, alien home worlds and the like. This would bring back the uniqueness to the show. In the Baker era, the Doctor would constantly need to solve riddles and mysteries and he rarely visited Earth (and when he did, you could tell it was because the writers were out of ideas). We have a whole universe to work with, why stick so much to Earth?

The lack of overall story arcs. Personally, I think that instead of having a rough shell of an arc with random storylines created by different writers in the middle, the seasons should consist entirely of overarcing storylines. That way the character development wouldn't seem so rushed and the story lines wouldn't seem so disposable. I mean the way it is now, the guest writers essentially have to write resets. Perhaps there is a galatic war elsewhere in the universe. We have also never seen the homeworlds or colonies of many of the creatures in Doctor Who. That way the arcs can actually be planned out instead of thrown at you from the blue (which makes them feel inadequate).

There needs to be more reinforcement of plot elements from previous episodes. Now it seems like a lot gets introduced and then is never used or heard of again. We need a little bit of repetition to instill it in our minds. Otherwise, the acronyms of organizations and previous plot points lose their meaning, even when they are referenced again. I have watched whole strings of episodes and some only a few months ago and I find I have a lot of trouble recalling what certain references are supposed to mean.

Bringing back the angels, the Daleks, and the Cybermen has gotten (and has been) repetitive. Use other villains, there are so many out there and more that need inventing.

Everyone involved generally exhibit good acting, they just need better
stories and more character development to work with. The Doctor needs to
be given more freedom to be his own character, one that is much deeper
and more realistic, instead of the one-dimensional guy who always either
extremely exuberant or deeply sad. Tennant did this perfectly. Smith, whether of his own volition,
or due to the lack of leeway given by the directors, seems to have become a copy
of Tennant, one that IMO is good but not quite as good as Tennant. Smith should have been given more room to create his own style instead of been forced to out-Tennant Tennant.

Be WAY more careful with altering major characters, plot elements, and naming things, unless you are SURE it will awesome. River Song being married to the Doctor and the TARDIS being named Sexy are just stupid. Now you've locked us into these traps we can never get out of.

Go back to Russell T Davies and Tennant-like stuff. They BUILT the modern Who into what it is now. Ever since the Smith and Moffat era, Doctor Who has been morphed into something it's not. There have been great moments, but they are becoming fewer and farther between.

The special effects have are fine even great at some points, yet are still lacking or
feel cheesy at others. Rory rolling under the closing door comes
to mind, although I can't remember the episode.

River Song is an interesting character, but she needs to be explained more. She just sort of appears in certain episodes and I never feel like I get to know much her.

This is not to say there aren't positives. Matt Smith can be incredibly funny. So can Rory's dad. And I believe that all the actors, set designers, etc. involved have potential if given the right direction and space to work in, but that hasn't been there of late.

Moffat's stories have made DW into a space soap opera, not an action/adventure series. He's also irretrievably messing with the main characters. Naming the TARDIS Sexy? Seriously? Now he's married to River Song who is Amy's daughter? Where the heck did he get the right to do that? Also, Matt Smith is pretty good, but he is essentially just a slightly worse (IMO) copy of Tennant. I wish they would've given him more room to inhabit his own character.

Do you make a show to be creative or to sell to viewers? If the latter, go right ahead and destroy what made DW great by getting rid of the core elements you call "hardcore" and turning it into a soap opera. People don't become fans of a sci-fi show set mostly on Earth with run of the mill plots and family grandma approved monsters, etc. People want action, the strange and exciting, which almost certainly requires leaving your comfort zone and Earth. I agree with about creating plots that are too esoteric (using time warping, time line manipulation, and paradoxes which don't make sense, etc.). There needs to be a balance between exciting and understandable, but that doesn't mean we should get extended scenes of Rose bickering with her mother or Rory and Amy dealing with their personal lives. That's not what the show is about. That's why soaps and the like were created for the mind-dulled grannies and soccer moms who can't appreciate creativity.

Moffat turned DW into a soap?!?!? did you even watch DW prior to The Eleventh Hour? don't you remember the on/off/on Micky and Rose? or the soppy crush Martha had on The Doctor and her jealously of Rose? the continual re-appearances of Jack Harkness and Rose's mum? The fanwank to top all fanwank that was Journeys End?

I liked RTDs time in charge but Moffats era has been a real step up in quality, there is nothing as bad in Moffats era as Aliens of London, New Earth, Daleks in Manhatten, and no series in RTDs time as consistently good as S6.

As a Yankee, I was thrilled when in 2005 Who returned with Eccleston, an edgy and not typecast Doctor. Tennant did a fine job. Now, I don't know if It's Matt Smith or the writing, but after watching the most recent Cold War episode, I'm done. The last 2 have been so bad I stopped watching them. Linear single plot lines, nothing edgy, no controversy, just a Scooby Doo mystery with some scifi thrown in. Good luck BBC, I wonder how this'll go long term, but I won't be watching.

It was those moments of jealousy and on/off parts that made DW feel REAL!! The new Moffatt era is just too unrealistic in the whole 'flirty' sense. If we wanted complicated love stories that no one can follow, we'd watch a stupid soap. But the realistic heartache that RTD brings to the screen is moving and magical.
I also like the old aliens but bringing them back time and time again is just getting boring now. Moffatt obviously has no imagination and just has to steal RTD's brilliant screenplays and hijack them as his own.

Its just the stories are terrible. Its particularly bad when Moffat is capable of such greatness. Its such a crying shame. The doc for me died in the 70s straight after The Talons Of Weng Chiang, the last good story before John Nathan Turner turned the show into an abomination. From the reboot, I can really only count the stories that matter (to me) on one hand. Most of them have been abysmal. Come on BBC, there are lots of clever original writers around - use 'em!

I loved seasons 5 and 6, and the first half of this season was great too, but this second half has not been the usual level of greatness that i think most of us have come to expect (and i guess take for granted). I always loved Moff's episodes but this second half has had a few real stinkers. Personally 'The Rings of Whatever' was where it started, and it had nothing to do with the singing, i like a good song. The sentimental drivel about the leaf, that kind of thing i don't normally mind, but it was beyond cheese (and again no issue with cheese normally, either).
Since then the episodes seemed to be on a gradual incline, with 'The Crimson Horror' being more on the level i'd expect, but then the Cybermen episode was possibly worse than episode 2. It was a dreadful episode in my opinion (brace for barking). The kids, Tamzin, Warwick all awful characters that were pointless, and i'm all for complicated hard to follow plots, but this particular one really made no sense, and i agree with comments read elsewhere that it was rushed. And please don't make the one episode argument, that the writer had a lot to cram into only 45 minutes. Other great stories have been one off's with lots included without feeling rushed. Thats called good writing. This was not.
For me i am unsure if it's the new companion who is hard to warm to, i really don't care at this point who she is. I really hope there is a great twist with her story, i really do, but we will see. The only other change to the format has been the more episodic run, which i didn't like the sound of initially as i have loved the season long plots of other seasons, yes each season has still been episodic to an extent, but the writers even made a point of mentioning this for season 7. If not one or both of those things i'm not sure what it is? It is a real shame because Smith is a fantastic Doctor, but for me and some others something just isn't working anymore. I really do hope this changes.

There are elements of both writers stories I like so far. When Russel T Davies was a writer I give him credit that he revamped Doctor Who and attracted a different generation of fans which include my children.

Steven Moffet came up with concepts which incuded the Blink story line which was actually scary.

The characters play a big part in each series and I liked all the actors which have played the Doctor and his assistants during Russel T Davies era.
I give both writers credit for putting Doctor Who back on the map as it started to get boring after Tom Baker's departure.

I like Matt Smith's Doctor, but few of the latest stories. Too much "magic" winning the day such as a man loving his baby defeating cybermen (so no previous victim ever cared about any one) or psychic this and psychic that wins the day!

You have your opinion, the disgruntled fans theirs and I agree with some from both parties. However, you can't use the argument 'The amount of awards a programme wins does not necessarily mean it's of good quality' and 'Matt Smith is, in fact, the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA for his role as the Doctor' for awards can't only be worthwhile if it aids your argument.

"And to those who complain that his stories make no sense and are full of plot holes, I suggest you pay more attention, as nine times out of ten, all of the details you need are there."

Oh, right, I'm only noticing plot holes because I'm not paying enough attention. Come off it. Moffat's solutions to problems facing the Doctor often seem as if they're made up as he goes along (Moffat may have explanations for what happens, but there's no consistency there - the rules about what can and can't happen can and do change at the drop of a hat in order to provide resolutions), which, considering he deals in big story arcs, is actually pretty amazing.

Yeah, the first episode for the first doctor was SURE full of shits and giggles, what with cavemen trying to kill them, nigh on zero humour, and a grumpy old man playing the part of The Doctor

The show has some comedy and some seriousness. And it has such a long run that there is something for almost everybody

It's a Britain tradition, I bet It has nothing to fear.

I'm Greek. When I was 7 I watched a few episodes and it was mysterious and fun, but I can't believe adults are watching this show. It's a show for kids, isn't it?

The style has degraded beyond recognition, it's like an American series now with all the usual cliches. I might watch it again if they make it more British.

Wow, the negativity on here is amazing :) I personally enjoy Moffat's here, and can't see what the problem is with it :) I think people you should stop being so negative :)

My problem with Moffat is not that Davies or Tennant left. I enjoyed it with them, but knew that it is normal in doctor who for the doctor to change, and if you keep the same writer for several doctors you might risk getting repetitive. Under that same argument I hope Moffat gets replaced during or after the 12th doctor.

Before Moffat took over I did enjoy some of his episodes, but others made little sense to the going story. People might not have enjoy the devolping Romance between the doctor and Rose, but it was there and the girl in the fire place felt like the doctor was acting out of character. This episode would have been brilliant if only the doctor had acted different or if this episode happend AFTER Rose was gone. Or Moffat simply didn't like Rose...whatever.

But I could live with that because it didn't hurt Rose and the 10th story in the end. So when he took over and Matt Smith became the new doctor I was perfectly ok with it.

I loved 9 10 and their companions, I loved most of Davies episodes, and no matter what would happen that would always stay like that. And I even felt it would be better for the show if things changed to keep it fresh. I was ready for doctor 11 and Moffat, excited even.

But then season 5 started. At first I still enjoyed it, Except for Amy. I hated her. Not because I didn't like having new companion (I always enjoy having new companions for the same reason I like new doctors and new writers, freshness) But Amy just Rubbed me the wrong way. Fair enough this is just personal. To some people other companions rubbed them the wrong way. I'm not here to start a ''which companions are better'' argument because we all have our own favorites.

So I simply focused on the doctor (and later Rory who I loved). I don't think at all that Matt SMith is a bad actor or that his doctor is a copy or a bad doctor. I loved the 11th doctor. He was not my fave but that has more to do with how 11 behaves and not so much the actual plots or the actor.

So so far I use non of the arguments anti moffat people have.
- I love Matt Smith his portrayal. I think 11 is a great doctor.
- I do mis 10 and Davies but in a good way. I would not ever want a new season with them. (With the other human 10 and Rose going all indiana jones on the world is perfectly fine though :P) Their era has ended and made a lot of fans happy but in the spirit of doctor who we need to move on. There isn't one docor who can stick around forever. They all have to go at some point so lets just accept this.
- I love the smaller stories of Moffar Era. As much as I loved Davies his run, MOffat tends to have better smaller plots but Davies is better in writing people.
- I'm not fond of Amy, (hated her in season 5, got annoyed by her in season 6, but I grew to like her in season 7 when she had matured and wasn't making moon eyes at the doctor anymore :P I loved that she really loved Rory.) But me being not fond of Amy is taste I guess. I actually loved Rory, Rory's dad and Craig.
- I used to love River ( I still do as a person, but I hate her story)

So I am not on the anti Moffat train because I'm a blind fan girl who can't accept change and want the pretty doctor back.. (and to be honest I never preferd ten because of his looks, but because I loved how he could go from puppy eyes to creepy maniac (mad man in a box) in a second.. His acting was awesome and I loved that.)

My problem is indeed plot holes, over complicated writing at times and that Moffat is contradicting himself. I can understand and even live with it if some things he made up are different then what former writers did. But a writer should not contradict himself...

I enjoyed season 5 (minus Amy) for the most part, but season 6 was dreadfull to me (despite Rory Craig and a few really good episodes).
I hated that Moffat doesn't show us what is importand, and only tells us. he tells us we need to believe some thing instead of showing us what to believe in. Example River and the doctor. Their on screen devolpment was way to little to really feel a believable bond. I would have liked to see a few of their adventures, I'd like to see a special all about Rivers life (how she grew up how she met the doctor how she was trained and brainwashed how she fell in love exactly etc. Show us.) Also the whole Rory Amy thing went to far. Rory died to many times to have an impact on me. I loved Rory and cried the first 2 times, after that I just rolled my eyes annoyed thinking...again? really? He'll be back anyway. yawn.

The whole baby thing, kidnapping thing and Rivers story/life as a whole felt weird and awkward and uncompleet and not fitting of the doctor universe. Also at times it didn't feel like I was watching a show called Doctor who, I was watching a show called the Ponds. Which might be a great show, but it's not the one I came to watch

Amy and Rory overstayed their welcome even if during the end of their stay they where at their most pleasant.

The episode that really made me an active ''please leave Moffat'' person was however the episode they finally did leave... Angels take manhattan

Why? Several reasons.
- Moffat killed his own creation, the wheeping angels. They where BRILLIANT in Blink. But Moffat went to far in this episode, he made them to different from the first set of rules they had and because of that, instead of them becomming scarier I ended up not being scared of them at all anymore. Another YAWN effect.
- Amy and Rory where getting a life. For once we got a chance to see a realistic goodbye with the doctor. (Not being trapped in paralel world like Rose, not Memory whiped like Donna, not leaving to turn into some gun slinger bad ass fighter like Mickey and Martha. Martha had a normal departure, but then got a not normal life afterwards) A couple growing up, setteling and getting ready for a normal life. they where talking about giving up traveling. They where building to it, and it would have been perfect if that had happend.Their story ending with 2 people in love setteling down and livinga normal life with normal jobs etc. Instead they get a crappy last minute send off. I don't even love Amy and I felt she got the raw end of the deal.
- The whole ''time can not be rewritten once you have read it'' crap. It has been done SEVERAL times already. All of season 6 was basicly about rewriting time, even a fixed a point. The rule felt rushed/last minute and completely unlogical when looking at the other episodes (like for example the girl who waited, The wedding of River Song and a bunch of others.) Also in episodes before that, and after that he does things to change what he already saw or read to avoid it from happening. So why pray tell is he so obsessed in this episode to do everything as it was written down knowing full well what that would mean... He could have smashed the angel's Arm instead of letting River break her wrist. He would have activly changed the events that would have taken the ponds away perhaps. In other episodes he does this on purpose, now he suddenly sticks to it? Makes no sense.

Another thing, why did the doctor not just pick them up? Time paradox? That was only a problem with the city at that specifick time (which is also rather silly and makes no sense compared to other episoded written by Moffat himself. There where also plenty of Times the doctor actually risked paradox or was able to avoid them despite them having to supposed to happen.)
But to avoid being difficult, lets say he really can't go to Manhattan at that year. How about 5 years later? Or same time but go elsewhere on the world and travel the last part by human transport...or let River pick them up, She could go there.

...There is really no excuse for the inconsitencies compared to former episodes, and no excuse to leave the ponds trapped in the past for that same reason. None at all. Seeing what the doctor has been capable off and what River is capable off they should have been able to get them home and rewrite time. (The doctor has rewritten time for Amy before after all. And for himself too.)

They didn't give a proper explenation as to why it is impossible (when rebooting the univers is possible, or avoiding your own death is, etc.)

To me it felt more like the doctor wouldn't opposed to couldn't. And I would have liked it if that was how it was portrayed because then the weak excuses would make sense.

Yeah it was sad the way Amy and Rory left, and I know people cried during that episode, even I wasn't able to keep it completely dry.

However I still think it was sloppy writing. Moffat has shown and proved he could do much better then that and the send off of Amy and Rory made no sense and was terrible random and rushed with weak reasons as to why...

I'm going to ignore that the doctor said that you can't change what you read, because the doctor has done that already..several times actually... so yeah there is that.

My brain has tried for hours to make sence of this episode, to make it fit with the reast of who universe (Moffats version that is) I had seen so far and it failed.

I had a lot of daubts during season 6, but asumed that once season 6 was over that dreadfull story telling would be over, the pond show would end and we could get the doctor again with new companions.
When the ponds sticked around I got botherd but could live with it if it meant they would have normal doctor who adventures again. With the ponds being real companions and not show stealers with to much drama (baby being kidnapped and brainwashed, Rory dying several times, that goddamn wating all the time etc.). And then they a super badly written dramatic for no good reason way..... I felt cheated.

Moffat should have made the ponds leave earlyer, better, and should have explained more/shown more of Rivers life. Its for this that I want Moffat gone.

I liked Clara, what I didn't like is that Clara is a puzzle. I'm also getting Tired of Moffar having female puzzles on board instead of just companions. I'm ok with them doing one special thing AFTER traveling with him, but I don't want them to be puzzels or interesting from the start. (Amy and her cracks, Clara and her other selves, River and her...wel everything) I want the doc to pic up a normal girl again. Or a normal person. I have hopes for Danny Pink. Including he won't be a Clara companion but a doctor companion.

So yeah, Lots of love to Moffat for some things, lots of love to Davies for others. But Moffat ruined a few things for me so for me needs to go OR really change how he does certain things.

I hope Moffat has learned from the mistakes he made with the Ponds and his female characters and will not make them again. I hope Moffat will not be main writer after the 12th doctor is gone. (I'm fine with him sticking around to write singular or 2 part episodes, that he does well.)

And I hope that if Moffat does stick around, we will get a normal woman/girl companion again at some point who does not kiss the doctor.

(It was fun with Rose, because then it was something new, not the kissing but the romance thing. I know old who had romance as well but not so much comming from the doctor himself. 9 and 10 really seemed to return the affections of Rose. But then Rose left, and we got Martha which proved that people wanted something non romantic again, so Donna came which was a succes. And then we get Amy River and Clara all kissing the doctor...In the end Amy chose Rory but it was still annoying. Clara also was no need too. (Hope dynamic changed with 12th doctor) I could have Lived with river is she was properly writtem. I loved the Rose doctor romance, however facts are that you move on. Rose is in another paralel world doing exactly that. So Unlike some Rose doctor shippers I am not against the doctor finding new love again. He deserves it I think. But only when written well. River was a missed chance..(unless she comes back with 12 with a proper story arc...)So I hope that after the relation flop that was River The doctor will not love anyone romanticly (or hint towards it) for at least a season or 4. Give a new writer a new crack at the romance. Moffat should stick to friend like companions for now.)

Sorry for grammar or spelling mistakes. I am dyslexic.

Final note: no hate on everything Moffat did, no love for everything Davies did. No obsessing over the 10th doctor. I just don't like how Moffat ruind some of his own things, and how he has written some parts of the girls. If Moffat however does not make these mistakes in season 8 I am fine with him staying. If he does make similar mistakes again I say it's time for a new main writer and let Moffat focus on sherlock where complicating plot lines and puzzels fit and belong. Sherlock is about deducing after all. Doctor who is not and I don't want Doctor who to become a second sherlock. I've got Sherlock for my Sherlock needs ;)

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