I know, I know, I said I was off the Doctor Who train until Steven Moffat was gone, but when my wife wanted to watch some episodes on Mother’s Day, what can you do? So I relented and sat down with her to see the first five and, to be honest, it wasn’t as awful as the last couple of seasons had been, so it returned to our regular rotation. Now that it’s done, it’s time to weigh in on what I thought of the end of the Moffat era and the last of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Strap in, this is going to be bumpy.
Now I will admit that, at least at the beginning of the season, this wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as awful as the last couple of Moffat seasons have been. One reason, I think, is Bill. Here, they took an openly gay character that had absolutely no interest whatsoever in the Doctor, who acted as a stand-in for the audience, where she could ask questions that the viewer wanted answered and it made sense. That was fine.
Then it started to go sideways. See, I never really liked Missy. I haven’t been a huge fan of the Master in recent incarnations, give me Roger Delgado or Anthony Ainley any day, but Missy never really resonated with me. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, although clearly they used that to make the Master emotional, but she never had the same kind of vibe. When she goes evil, it’s never believable. I don’t think Michelle Gomez has it in her.
And then there was Nardole, who, while I like the actor, never gave a damn about the character. He’s an alien, and keeps saying he’s an alien, but never does anything the least bit alien-like. We know very little about his past, in fact, he doesn’t remember much of it himself, he’s just a guy hanging around trying to make up for an unspecified criminal past.
And, of course, there are cybermen. There are always cybermen or daleks. I’ve said before that I’ve grown to hate both of them with a passion. They are ludicrously overused. I honestly want to see a 10-year moratorium on both of them, they cannot be used for any reason in any episode for a decade. Let’s see some original baddies for once.
Frankly, Moffat’s reign will go down as a complete disaster, but he’s not alone. Russell T. Davies was almost as bad. And the one thing both of them forgot was that the companions are supposed to ground the show in “reality”. They are supposed to be focus characters for the audience to live vicariously through. The Doctor is supposed to be amazing and we’re all supposed to be along for the ride. But both show runners have had their Clara Oswalds, the idiot girl who just won’t go the hell away, and their Rose Tylers and Donna Nobles, who became virtual gods in their own rights. In that, Bill was certainly a step in the right direction, right up until they made her a cyberman that, for some reason, retained all of her human characteristics. Why? Because Bill is special! Stop making special companions! I would much rather have seen Bill die, spurring the Doctor to fight against the cyberman scourge.
Honestly, I think the biggest problem with Moffat is that while he’s a good writer, he’s a really bad show-runner. He’s a fanboy and fanboys don’t tend to make good television. Plus, both Moffat and Davies were more interested in making their mark on Doctor Who history than in just telling the best stories they could, that it all became a disaster by the end. Both of them used a very limited stable of writers who eventually started falling back on a limited number of concepts. It all got stale. It all got boring. And that’s not what you want to see in a TV show.
So I guess we get to see what Chris Chibnall can do in season 11. He gets a new Doctor, he gets new companions, and I hope he wipes the slate clean and does something original. Hopefully, he doesn’t fall into the SJW routine that a lot of people have been begging for, a female Doctor, just for the sake of having a female Doctor, or a black Doctor, just for the sake of having a black Doctor. Pick the best actor or actress you can, regardless of their gender or race, and go with it. Don’t make Identity Doctor Who. Make good Doctor Who. We certainly deserve that more than what we’ve been getting. Stop using old villains for nostalgia sake. Stop revisiting old stories because it’s easier than coming up with something original. Write consistently good stories, hire consistently good actors and stop pretending that Doctor Who can only be what it’s been in the past. Let it be it’s own thing. That would really be something worth watching.