Sure, it’s easy to just say “Steven Moffat” and leave it at that, but as time has gone on, both under the control of Russell T. Davies and Moffat, I have been increasingly dissatisfied with what they were doing with the Doctor and I think I’ve figured out a couple of things. So read on and see what I think the franchise has done wrong and why I doubt it can ever be fixed.
First off, don’t get me wrong, the BBC can do whatever they want with the property, they own it and I have no official say, but lots of people are unhappy with the show and lots are giving up because there’s no sign that things will get back on track any time soon.
This has been a problem ever since the show came back in 2005 so we’re a decade into the failing, but the first major thing I think they’re doing wrong is they’ve made the Doctor far, far too powerful. He used to be a crazy guy in a blue box having adventures across time and space. Now he’s almost a god. Sure, at various times in his history, he’s been powerful, but today, he’s the de facto shadow President of Earth, he is completely in charge of Gallifrey, he is the scariest person in the universe for just about every alien race out there. Everyone knows who he is and everyone is afraid of his wrath. This is just stupid.
Now sure, for a character with a 50 year history, obviously he’s going to be powerful, but even worse, they’ve given him an ego to match and that makes the Doctor insufferable. He no longer has to solve problems, he no longer has to earn respect, he just threatens his enemies and they fall over. “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the Doctor!”
Who the hell cares? I would love to see an alien say that. Big deal? Just because you have a Tardis and experience doesn’t make you bulletproof. It doesn’t make you immune to being blown to bits. Regenerating requires something to regenerate. Reduce him to component atoms. He loses.
But what about the companions? They have suffered from the same kind of overpowered nonsense. Companions are supposed to be the character the audience identifies with so we can go on the journey with the Doctor. Unfortunately, none of the recent companions, going all the way back to Rose, are identifiable at all. They are gods in human bodies, often literally. You no longer get “hey, this is cool!” You get Bad Wolf and Impossible Girl and Tardis surrogate. The only one this wasn’t true of was Martha and she’s my favorite companion, by default. I don’t want them in competition with the Doctor, I sure don’t want them in bed with the Doctor, I want them to be experiencing the wonder of time travel and when it stops being wondrous, thy can go away and someone else can come along. That’s not how modern Who works though, all of the companions are special and often not in a good way. I pass.
Now while it is entirely Moffat that caused me to drop Doctor Who, it really has been a growing dissatisfaction with the overall character over a long time that has made it unbearable. If there is one character out there in desperate need of a complete reboot, it’s Doctor Who and I probably won’t watch again until he gets one. But I have no reason to think that he’ll ever get that desperately needed reset, even though ratings continue to drop, because there really seems to be no one at the BBC holding the reins. They let whatever showrunner is currently active go crazy and if they drive the property into the ground, so be it. Doctor Who could be really good. We finally have the technology to make the outlandish look good, no more hanging out in quarries, no more paper mache monsters, you can make the visuals as good as the vision, but if the vision doesn’t include good story telling and a return to the roots of Who, I can’t see this being a good show anymore.