TV Apr 25, 2013 at 11:25 am


"Has Steven Moffat's tenure as showrunner become so convoluted, complex, and clever above all other things, that people simply stopped having fun with Doctor Who?" - that, and the few sentences that come after it, is definitely applicable to me.

I'm not breaking up with it, but we're definitely on a break until Moffat's gone.
I'm still interested, but probably less invested. Moffat can knock a story out of the park, and when he does it's great. The first half of this season seemed a bit too much like a rush to be rid of the Pond problem he himself is responsible for, and the second half has been a letdown where Clara is concerned because while her first two incarnations were great characters, this one's been relegated to just being a puzzle and hasn't really been drawn as much of a person the way the previous two were.

It's tough to be emotionally invested in characters that are only there as something for the Doctor to solve and not as people on their own, and I'm not entirely sure why Moffat and his team could make the first two Claras interesting and the third one not much of anything at all.
I stopped watching when Season 5 premiered. I actually thought Eccleston was a fantastic(!) reboot and wish he had stuck around a bit longer. I thought David Tennant was good, a little more of a traditional Doctor. But I just can't into Matt Smith and the New Kids. I feel like the show keeps skewing younger and it isn't interesting to me anymore.

That said, I prefer "classic" old Dr Who anyways, so my opinion doesn't matter.
Moffat was great when his episodes were the super clever blips in RTD's Rose-obsessed, this-doesn't-make-much-sense-but-fuck-it-I'm-on-a-roll! reign. Those years weren't without flaws (like, how Rose totally sucks and how they pissed all over Donna's entire story arc), but they had greater sense of fun behind them. Moffat takes himself VERY seriously, and I'm just going to say it: shoehorning River Song into every storyline just. didn't. work.

I wish he'd allow his team to write some strong plotlines instead of trying to build up random episodic mysteries that are completely undone by some random deus ex machina at the end (I just finished "The Power of Three" and the story wrap-up there happens in a solid minute with a flick of the damn sonic screwdriver).
Adding to that: Moffat seemed like the dream showrunner when I first saw "Blink" or "Girl in the Fireplace" -- until I realized that those were one-off episodes using mostly his own self-invented characters -- not entire seasons with established canon.
I still watch every episode and enjoy every episode. I find the small revelations entertaining and I can't deny that Matt Smith is not just a little captivating as the Doctor. His small speech in Rings of Akhaten, with the tear rolling down his cheek? Stellar. Loved it.

But it does feel like something's missing. I'm working through Series 1 with my wife and there's almost a measure of wonder that's just not there now. Maybe it's that they're trying too hard with this series. Every episode is being treated like a feature film, with the multiple trailers and Photoshop-heavy posters. Maybe it's losing a bit of that intimacy I felt from the Tennant run (and even the early Smith episodes), that feeling that I was on the adventure with them rather than watching it happen.

One thing's for sure, though: I will keep watching. Cause even though it doesn't feel the same all the time it keeps hitting most of the beats that Doctor Who always has hit- mysteries solved, humor shown, people saved, and more running.
Melogna: I didn't even mention River up there, did I? Huh. I probably should have. The way I feel about Martha Jones seems to be how MOST people feel about River Song once she became essentially the main supporting character aside from the Ponds.

Heavy Meaning: I wonder if maybe that "every episode is a feature film" focus is leading to some level of exhaustion with some viewers? If EVERY episode gets the major-motion-picture treatment, does that lessen the ability to just sit down and have fun with the show?

That said: Yeah, the close of "Rings of Ahkaten" was really, really solid. I enjoyed that quite a bit.
I host a Doctor Who weekly 35 question trivia session, and am still madly in love with the show, but I myself have found that in this most recent season (both the first half, as well as the season 7B run with Jenna-Louise Coleman) have been a on the plots and a bit phoned in on the story wrap-ups. I am not even close to abandoning ship, as I am a fairly die-hard fan, but I am curious to see how Moffat repairs this as the season comes to a close.
Haven't given a shit since the end of Tennant.
+1 Miranda. Also the original River Song episodes (Silence in the Library) were awesome and I would have been fine with letting them stand alone and never bringing her back ever. New regime is overwrought and melodramatic, and for Doctor Who that's really saying something.
I freely admit to not caring about the good doctor until the series starring Eccleston, I know that makes me a neophyte, a newbie, don't care. I absolutely adored tje show all the way through Tennant's run. Even when Rose got annoying and Martha was well Martha. I fumed and complained when Matt Smith took over but settled in after a time like we all do.
I think the issue is Moffat, yes the stories are well written bit something isn't making it to the screen. As show runner he should not only notice that, he should fix it.
So I guess lole everyone else I'm just hanging on, waiting for the next inevitable change, hoping and hoping the magic comes back.
I'd tend to agree: it's become a sort-of chore that I just want to stay caught-up on, even though I still find it marginally enjoyable.

To me, the Ponds and Matt Smith's iteration were a low-point; although it was part of her backstory, Amy was too "familiar" with everything around her, and the importance of the companion isn't just as a dialog piece/method of exposition, but rather, a protagonist; a noob; a pair of wide-open eyes that know nothing about the worlds they're about to see or all the secrets of the universe they're going to be exposed to. Amelia Pond just jumped in to things that were completely dangerous, or foreign, with gusto and fearlessness, but also a carelessness that left me yawning; it was like Obi-wan jumping out the window in Episode II to cling to the droid as it wove it's way through Coruscant — how do you know that can hold your weight, or that you won't plummet to your death? Everything seemed so familiar to Pond that it made it boring for the watcher.

I miss Rose and Tennant; there was a chemistry here that will go uneclipsed for some time. Tennant was a more composed and passionate doctor that didn't seem to need ritalin, and Rose seemed to really be experiencing things with the viewer for the first time. A protagonist for the viewers, she really made the universe seem vast and scary, and like she could die at any point in time or space and never make it back home. And the two, together, were unstoppable. Donna, Martha, etc., were good, but Rose and Tennant made the show great. It's been downhill since then (Daleks? Amy yawns/does something that would usually get her killed/is so unstoppable that audience doesn't care). Smith seems just like "OMGGGGG IMA THE WACKY DOCTOR", Amy and Rory's love feels largely like they're acting (there's no chemistry there, and often I wonder, "What does she see in this bland, boring guy? Oh, right, backstory — he waited for her for two millennia), and Amy is so familiar with everything it's boring.

I'd say I want Tennant and Rose back, but then again, it's probably better that they leave it how it ended: wonderfully. Not sure if the British are as bad with this stuff, but on American TV they'd bring it back and it'd wind up sucking, so I guess I'd rather just be left with fond memories of Doctor Who (and I used to watch/tape all the PBS stuff -- Tom Baker is still my favorite Doctor).
I haven't gotten to the 2nd half of season 7 yet, but I'm experiencing Who fatigue. I rewatched seasons 1-6, and maybe 2/3 of the episodes hold up. There is a lot of lazy reliance on fan buy-in, lots of pointless fast talk, lots of unearned glorification, and sacrifice of good established mythology in the service of new big flashy twisty SHOCK! After awhile it wears on me. Full disclosure: Martha was my favorite companion, because she had skillz yo.
Moffat writes the most convoluted,tedious and least memorable characters and stories. I suspect Matt Smith would be amazing under Russell T. Davies. I stopped caring when the story threads stopped making sense. And don't get me started on River.
Neal: Finally! Someone! She wasn't my absolute fav, but I also think she's been pretty unfairly judged by fans. Martha was smart as a whip and could have been a really interesting character if RTD had had any respect for her. Instead, she became the first doctor to fall in love with the Doctor -- and a constant reminder that his dumb-as-a-fucking-rock girlfriend was in another dimension or whatever. Zzz.
Neal: Part of the reason Martha's so disappointing, to me, is precisely because of her skills - she should have been one of the best companions ever, and she spends almost the entirety of her run as "The Rebound" for the Tenth to knock around, emotionally. I really liked Martha when she'd show up on Torchwood, because she wasn't there to fruitlessly pine after anyone, that wasn't the main component of her character there.
@Bobby: There was some victory there in her marrying one of the more mistreated characters in RTD's canon though. Wish we'd gotten more of that show.
Back the fuck up, Martha haters.
I started watching The Doctor in series 1 2005, and only has gotten better.

Matt Smith as the doctor, fucking un believable. You see him out of the show, say, bowling with nerdist, and you believe he is the Doctor.

The thing now hanging in the air is how or what is happening with Clara and the milk and is she or not a D or how she got there, is very clever, and working for me. Cuz is not as in much as in your face all the shows, but still lingers on. And why she is on different ages kills me.

Her appearance on the show came exactly in time (because her personality, pun not intended) and she's a natural progression of Doctor Who companions. Love her.
I never much liked Amy & Rory. I'm intrigued by the current half-season, but I have to say, if I'd started watching this year, I would have turned it off by now.

To me, one of the hallmarks of great TV writing (and great comics writing, I'll add) is that the episodic nature of the format allows really great writers to invite new audience members in at the start of each episode. For the whole of Moffatt's tenure, actually, the show has felt too heavy on what I think of as "inside jokes" - references that make the fans snicker and make newbies feel alienated (fish fingers and custard, anyone?) Without the Ponds around, all the wink-and-a-nod quips fall from the Doctor's mouth, and the trope starts to feel more than a little transparent.

Has anyone else noticed that the 45-minute episodes just don't feel good pacing-wise? I think many of us geeks agree that the show's pacing hit its peak towards the end of Russell Davies' tenure - coincidentally around the time every episode was a 60+ minute "special". Has the transition to American TV schedule compatibility (no doubt a result of its boom in US popularity) hurt the show?
I hadn't realized the show was 45 min, I think it needs one (1) hour to make use if the full effect the writers of the show had for all the different formulas (because it seems like they have a million ways of surprising us), to make effect, but I guess for expansion purposes it's alright to air 45 mins, and am pretty sure that the writers can make magic happen in that time span. But very good point Myrrh Larsen.

I really miss the specials...

- I started watching Doctor Who (series 1) 2005, but in 2010, a clarifier -
Bobby, I'm glad you mentioned Moffat's super weird (and occasionally mildly insulting) way of writing ladies. Between that and the nearly complete lack of the Doctor outsmarting anything at all, but instead murdering monsters with his ANGST (and yet somehow not being terribly conflicted about said murders), I'm just marking time till the show changes up again. That's the one super great bonus about Doctor Who; if it gets shitty, you know the whole thing will change completely at some point and there's a pretty good chance of the next bit not sucking quite so hard.

And for the record, I liked Martha just fine.
23 comments and counting, and yet nary a mention of fluoride or guns?

This can only mean one thing: Nerds.
Google trends disagrees with your hypothesis:…

Also, since you are now number two on this site for thread activity, I'd call that a second data point against your theory. My conclusion is that you are mistaken but entertainingly so.
I stopped watching at the end of the astronaut season. I like Rory a lot, but Amy is... a horrible person? And not entertaining for me to watch? And I would probably still watch the show if it was Dr Who and Rory?

So, yeah, I didn't like Amy, and that was part of it. But also, shit didn't make sense. I know that Dr Who never holds up especially well to scrutiny, but if you are going to base a season around having some incredibly convoluted time travel and causality tangles, make sure it is rewarding for the viewer to pay attention.

Also also, I am sick of the Daleks, I am sick of the cybermen, and the Ood, and them just rehashing the same villains over and over again.

Also also also, every single week shit boils down to saving all of humanity if it's a small episode, and all of space and time usually. Which is boring. There are no stakes anymore. There are no times where I feel like "HOLY BALLS SHIT JUST GOT REAL." Have some actual small episodes. Have half a season where it is just the doctor getting cats out of trees so we can cleanse our palette.
I liked the old one actually. Sorry if this comment is under 500 words, but it's a tv show. Good one though
Loved it then; love it now. Loved the Ponds (and miss them still); love Moffat; love Matt Smith (and loved Tennant, and Eccleston, and McGann, and McCoy, etc. etc.); growing comfortable with Clara. And I'm not a non-critical viewer. I've been watching Doctor Who for a long time - for the first 25 years on and off, then very much on, and I'm doing my best to watch back through all 60+ seasons because the more I learn, the more I want to know!

Fandom is not monolithic. Those of us who are simply content with the program get easily drowned out by people who have problems with it, and are eager to talk about it. If I don't shout my joy as loudly as I once did, it's because I don't feel like getting into a pointless debate about opinions. Other people are welcome to theirs. As for mine, I love it as much as I always did, and I look forward to every episode with excitement.
I have to be honest, Jeremiah, it's nice to see someone being vocal about being an unabashed fan about anything. Thanks for that.
I enjoyed the reboot, and I particularly enjoyed the storybook feeling the show had with 11, Amy and Rory. I haven't quite warmed up to Clara, the development of whom as a character has been dreadfully lacking. Yeah yeah, big puzzle, whatever.
Been a fan since the 80's, seen all the Classic stories still in existence. Absolutely love what they've done with the Revival, both Davies and Moffat. Probably love Moffat's tenure the most, and still do -- there's so much metaphor and symbolism.

The big difference, I think, is how the characters now don't always wear their emotions on their sleeves. There's a lot more repression, a lot more deceit and secrets, and not just from each other but themselves. Me, I find that all terribly fascinating, but I can see how it might not resonate with fans of Davies' work, where we're always privy to what people are feeling, or Classic fans who are more interested in a base-under-siege, monsters, and SF flights of fancy.

Because of this shift to stories that take more thought to process, and characters who take more observation to understand -- on all this "mystery" -- one might think the show has become more conceptual and less viscerally emotional, but I don't think that's entirely true. Rings of Akhaten, Angels in Manhatten, The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex, all were oriented towards catharsis. But it *is* true that Clara's been presented much more opaquely, and it's a risk to do that with a character -- for as much as the Doctor struggles to understand who she "is", that struggle is mirrored in the audience. It's a reversal of the Doctor/Companion dynamic we got back in '05; we now know the Doctor so well it might behoove us to see *him* as the "audience identification" character.

The other thing that's changed is the show's aesthetic. Since Moffat's taken over it's become much more visually dense, fast-paced, self-conscious, and chaotic. Again, all this means we have to be a more "active" audience, with many stories taking more than one viewing to really digest. The idea that this might be "fatiguing" makes sense.
I do agree with you. I think my love affair with Who started to fizzle out after the first season with Matt. I only noticed because I used to watch every episode more than once, some even often enough to learn the dialogue. Then, suddenly, the original run was more than enough for me. I can think of dozens of episodes from Tennant's and Eccleston's runs that I have rewatched obsessively, and only three from Smith's tenure as the Doctor (the first episode he was in, the Van Gogh one and the ghost one from last week, which I thought was fun.) Heck, I don't even know the episode titles anymore!

I think Moffat's plots are convoluted and idiotic at best, full of holes we could spot from Pluto and they rarely grab me emotionally. He plays with the canon in a way that annoys me (all this stuff about the Doctor's name, who cares really, can't that be left well alone?) I never gave a rat's ass about the River Song storyline and tought Rory was way more interesting than Amy ever was.

I guess that sums it up for me. Can't wait for Moffat to go. He's fab at Sherlock but is not doing many favours to Who!
Eh. What you're saying about how people feel about Doctor Who resonates with me...right around the time the Big Bang happened. That's when I felt blah about Doctor Who. I liked Amy and Rory, but watching things get so convoluted and messy...I was glad to see their stories come to an end so new elements could be introduced. (The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe gave me a little hope that things could be awesome again with Rory and Amy)

I'm actually excited about Season 7B in a way I wasn't very excited about Season 7A. This new companion's got enough differences and mystery to maybe shake things up a little. What makes it even more exciting is that Ten's coming back.

I think that's part of it too. Ten's my favorite. I'm not as keen on Eleven. When I started watching Doctor Who, all of it was immediately available. I didn't have to wait for the next episode to come out. I didn't enjoy that suspense with Eleven, Amy, and Rory. But I'm beginning to learn to enjoy it with Eleven and Clara.
I'm glad I read this, because I thought I was alone in my less than enthusiastic opinion of the current season. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed to admit it to fellow Doctor Who fans.

But I find that my interest in the show has waned since the end of season 5. Admittedly, I am a huge Tennant fan, but I've been watching in hopes that Matt Smith rises to expectations. I think he's a good actor, if lacking the range that Tennant possessed. I think he's doing the best he can with the material given to him.

And that material is pretty lackluster in my opinion. Here's my own anecdotal example: being an American, I also use netflix to watch Doctor Who. Since season 7 is not on there yet, I bought a season pass for both parts. Immediately after watching new episodes, I find myself deleting them off my iPad. This isn't done out of a concern for storage space, but rather because I don't feel like rewatching them. The episodes were interesting, but seemed to lack a spark about them. This is not the case for seasons 1-4; I rewatch them regularly on Netflix.

I'm not sure what the exact cause of this is. Moffatt is a capable writer: his work on Sherlock and earlier episodes of Doctor Who confirm this. But I feel like the show has lost some of its sparkle since he took over, and I'm not sure he can bring that back.

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