Doctor Who or Doctor Doom?

Doctor Who or Doctor Doom?

The real problem with Steven Moffat

I fear I'm becoming One of Them, one of those strange and hideous trolls, shuffling about in the dark passageways of fandom, who seem to exist only to tear down that which they claim to love. You know the one: I've watched every episode of New Who and I've hated every bloody one of them!

Well, I'm now one-sixth of the way through Steven Moffat's second series at the helm of this venerable franchise, and I'm coming more and more to resemble that monstrous beast, The Fan Who Hates His (or Her) Fandom.

The accusation's been tossed at me before, but not, I think, with even a smidgeon of truth. So far.

Though it's no secret I haven't been any too pleased with Steven Moffat's reign as Who's show-runner so far, the fact that his was the mind behind episodes like "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" and "Blink" gave me good reason to hope for better things to come.

But now, having viewed the opening story of his second series, and coming after the morally idiotic Christmas special, my hope is dwindling fast.

Like a bungling time-traveller, Moffat seems to be working backwards. Starting as a writer of the morally complex, spiritually uplifting and yet also frightening (and even very funny!) tour de force that was "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances", his decline sees him shedding even the facade of a moral stance in favour of a puzzle. A puzzle whose solution is, er, genocide.

Read more? Spoilers and a hell of a lot of negativity inside.

"You should kill us all on sight"

Gloating like a pulp-fiction villain, the Doctor proclaims,

"You've given the order for your own execution. And the whole planet just heard you. ... You just raised an army against yourself! And now, for a thousand generations, you're going to be ordering them to destroy you every day. How fast can you run?"

That's right folks the Doctor's (our Doctor's!) solution to the alien menace is to make every member of the human race an executioner, with the small consolation that none of us will remember the slaughter. (What becomes of all those alien bodies is a question best left unconsidered.)

Last Christmas, Moffat's Doctor (our Doctor!) ignored the humanity of the "girl in the refrigerator", and now Moffat's Doctor (our Doctor) isn't bothered that the best solution he can find is genocide, he's thrilled about it. Moffat's Doctor positively cackles as he explains his plan, just before River Song goes on a shooting spree right out of Grand Theft Auto.

To Steven Moffat, genocide isn't just painless, it's fun.

Does it matter that Karen Gillan seems to be turning into a real actress? Or that, if there was still any doubt, Matt Smith owns the Doctor as well as any of his predecessors? That Alex Kingston and Mark Sheppard are excellent character actors or that Arthur Darvill has made once-plastic Rory perhaps the most three-dimensional character on the TARDIS?

I think not.

In retrospect, the signs were there as far back as "Blink". There was always something a little false in Kathy's blithe acceptance of her fate; how many young women from the 21st century would really be happy being plunked into the early, pre-feminist 20th?

Still, for one episode, we could accept such a characterization as an individual quirk, unlikely but not implausible. And besides, the rest of the episode was so much mind-blowing and also romantic fun, one nearly had to let it go. But Moffat's weird lack of respect for his own characters kept on manifesting itself.

Think of Rose and Mickey, abandoned to die on a derelict space ship by the Doctor, and rescued only through luck.

Think of River Song, "immortalized" as a computer program, doomed to spend eternity caring for unreal children.

On the one hand, River as we have come to know her, would never choose a false immortality inside a computer over death; and on the other, the Doctor, as generations have known him, would never be so selfish as to abandon two people in his care simply because he had a crush on someone.

Moffat's clever plotting is a cheat, at best an empty shell, with only emptiness beneath the filligree'd surface.

While I'm sure there are some who enjoy puzzles above all else, most of us who love — or who even merely like — Doctor Who, like or love a program that, as Craig Ferguson so delightfully put it, celebrates "the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism".

Not any more. Now, human beings being used as collateral without the Doctor batting an eye, and genocide is a joke.

No wonder the numbers in Britain are dwindling. Those who only like it will tune in to something else. Those of us who love it, well ...

Me, I guess I'll watch next week's pirate spectacle while waiting to see what Neil Gaiman manages to show us the week after — but frankly, I'll be doing so with expectations low and hope only that the ratings will continue to tank, enough so that the BBC starts casting about for another show-runner.

Spread the word!

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After Watching Let's Kill Hitler

So in Let's Kill Hitler we know that the Silence are a political movement, not that it makes the Doctor's actions much better. The biggest thing is that his 'plan' is NOT GOING TO WORK.
I can buy that maybe the Doctor went back in time after knowing who the Silence were, but he could have voiced over a picture of a Silent and gotten the same hypnosis effect (see: telling Canton to adjust his bow tie). He could have made the plan BETTER.
Anyway, what were the companions doing? We know that they were doing this in the right order because of Amy's Mysterious Pregnancy (TM). So far we have no indication that THEY knew the Silence weren't a species. Or that THEY knew the Silence could leave (they were leaching off human tech. humans can't do long term space travel. they'd need space and time and stuff to get their possibly-non-existent spaceships ready while people, both human and Silent get killed). Or that THEY knew EVERY SINGLE SILENT were evil. You don't bomb all of Eurasia because of al Qaeda.

Re: AfterWatching Let's Kill Hitler

I disagree with you that the biggest problem with the Doctor's plan is utilitarian, but thanks for linking to Alex E. Smith's very funny take on it. I read it at one point, but don't mind seeing it again. More to the point, Smith nicely reiterates my own moral and character-related objections.

And also, my structural objections:

Frustratingly I expect that Moffat's going to turn around later and make it all about timey bs where at least one of the Doctors/other characters we saw were crossing their own timeline and therefore had information the audience wasn't privy to that justifies all of this. That's a bad way to tell a story Moffat. This is a clusterfuck.

As for the Silence (Silent?) themselves, I missed the bit that explains they're a movement, rather than a species, but I'll take your word for it, at least for the time being; I simply don't have any interest in revisiting Let's Kill Hitler.

All that said, so what if they're a political movement? That doesn't make the genocide less of a genocide, in my opinion, if not in Wikipedia's. Nor does it make the Doctor's glee less gleeful.

The former is morally bankrupt, the latter is completely out of character.

Same Anon here. Sorry, I

Same Anon here. Sorry, I didn't mean that it was the biggest problem, just that it was the easiest to argue (in a if-you're-going-to-make-a-war-happen-at-least-don't-sail-your-army-into-a-black-hole kind of way), even if you do discount the many moral issues.

'Nor does it make the Doctor's glee less gleeful'

There were some elements of these 2 eps that disturbed me.

Well, after watching ep 2 for about 5 or so minutes I left the room and went to my hubby to complain. The violence and the confusion was too deliberate and I want back my silly Doctor. I have to echo another commentor who posits that Moffat and company seem to be courting new American viewers and they dont think that they can handle the Doctor I love who obsesses over jelly babies and such.... (BTW - I am neither British nor American but I grew up watching 4th on our local TV)

I really love Doctor Who, Eleven and some of the characters introduced by Moffat like Captain Jack and River Song. Of course I like this new FBI guy Canton? BUT I was very disturbed at the gun-fighting scene. For a long minute I thought the Doctor was also firing a gun and my brain froze in what I realised was horror. I was also appalled about the genocide order... yes it was an ultimatum but it was such an overwhelmingly violent one. I am sure another solution could have been found or at least a warning given. It's true though that Captain Jack never shirked from using his guns and the Doctor seemed to accept that but somehow this time it was so much more 'wrong' in DotM.

When the credits came up I felt a bit better bout the eps. than I had in the beginning because I am wondering about the mystery of the regenerating girl BUT I still keep seeing the gun-fight scene and I really did not enjoy the first 2 episodes of the 6th series. I think I might have to stop watching until all the episodes are out and then catch the whole series as a marathon.

I love Dr. Who but I have to agree with you that something was missing and something was added that should not have been.

The one thing that bugged me

The one thing that bugged me most about the genocide wasn't that the Doctor was doing it, but that he was instead essentially brainwashing humanity to do it. He was so disgusted by the Silence brainwashing humanity... that he did the same thing. Hypocrisy? I think so.

Upon reflection

At first, I agreed with you - there is definitely more violence in these latest seasons than ever before. But, consider - this may not be "your father's Doctor," but there has actually been some character development that's stuck (perhaps now that it's a grown-up show rather than a kid's show).

We know that before the show was re-booted the Doctor played an intregal part in his entire planet's destruction, killing all of his own people (retcons beside the point). As reflected in both Eccleston's and Tenant's Doctors, he kind of got bitter. Now, certainly that's not the Doctor we remember from early on, but I, myself, can accept this as character development, for better or for worse. He's lonely, he's angry, and he's looking at things a little differently now (which, for the sake of drama, means he needs the humanity of his companions even more).

Furthermore, upon re-watching the episode, he hasn't actually committed genocide against the Silence; rather, he's given them an untenable situation that they're going to have to re-evaluate. Remember, he pointed out he wasn't stopping an invasion, he was leading the revolution against the occupying forces. By turning their captors against them, he's given them a choice - CHOOSE to stay and allow yourselves to be killed, or CHOOSE to get off Earth and leave humanity alone.

Perhaps your dislike of Moffat is coloring your perceptions of the plotlines?

Yes/but ...

I take your point about the post-hiatus character of the Doctor; and indeed, he was a pretty prickly fellow at the best of times (someone elsewhere pointed out William Hartness Hartwell (ahem. I usually just correct typos when I catch 'em, but that one was kind of cute) nearly caving in someone's head with a rock in a very early episode).

But I counter your point with this. Everything you said about the reconned Doctor's personality comes from Davies' vision, none of it is a result of Moffat's characterizations. Where you see growth since "The End of Time", I see apparently chaotic incidents, designed to fit into whatever tapestry Moffat's weaving.

Perhaps your dislike of Moffat is coloring your perceptions of the plotlines?

Possibly. For sake of argument, I'll accept your supposition that he didn't really commit genocide. But that still leaves River's accompanying bullet-ballet to justify, doesn't it?

(Actually, it's William

(Actually, it's William HartNELL. Just how much old!Who did you watch?)

You have to remember, too, that it's canon that his personality traits change with each regeneration. Crusty grandfather 1, cosmic hobo 2, flashy dandy 3, bohemian trickster 4, all the way through dickhead 6 and Machiavellean 7 and bitter 9 and "oops, sorry, gone over the top with the god thing" 10. Now, at his core he's really not supposed to change (hence your posting this in the first place), but I'm willing to give leeway to the actor taking on the role to mold it into his own. As for 11, I see him as a combination of 2 and 4 and a dash of 9, so some of these things give me pause, but only insomuch as Smith has the right to make the role what he will (and, in turn Moffet to do the same).

Now, as far as River goes, you got me there. He's never liked guns (except, apparently, 6), and he's never liked others using guns or whatnot (poor Leela). I do consider it somewhat poor taste that Moffet has let himself slide into that old gun-toting trope. Of course, an argument could also be made that River's the first companion (and then some) who actually had a personality enough to stand up to the Doctor and say, sorry, I'm using a gun anyway. That might also be why he likes her. Or maybe all his other companions couldn't handle themselves the way River can (although, I dunno, Leela seemed to do ok). And we could also split hairs over whether or not she was doing it in self-defense or not, but that's been hashed out over in the DW LJ community.

Bottom line is that I do see your point and agree with some of the nuances of it, although I do see things a bit differently. Cheers! :)

Strong companions

I think you're giving River far more credit than she deserves and previous companions far less credit than they deserve! All of the Doctor's companions have argued with him. Donna smacked the CRAP out of him, more than once! Mel Bush, who I personally dislike, forced him to exercise and drink carrot juice. Ace used dangerous explosives, though she knew he disapproved. Tegan would get right in the Doctor's face and tell him he was wrong! Martha Jones was perfectly willing to tell Ten when he was being obnoxious. In New Earth, she successfully cornered him and forced him to open up to her!

The Doctor's companions have always been women of strength and personality, even if they expressed it in a quiet, gentle way, like Jo Grant and Barbara Wright. They didn't lack the strength to tell the Doctor they wanted to pack a gun. They weren't the type of women to pack guns, which is exactly the point! Yes, the Doctor changes, in some aspects, from one regeneration to the next, but his core personality remains the same. At least, it always did before.

So, no, the Doctor's tolerance of River Song's violence can't be put down to her being willing to stand up to him. That's been done time after time, without all the bullets.

Re: Actually, it's William

Just how much old!Who did you watch?)

Er, apparently not much when it comes to the credits. Ahem.

I take your point about the range in characterizations of our hero, but I stand by mine that Moffat (not Smith, whose doing fine work with pretty thin lath). But I guess we can agree to disagree at that. And I'll match your toast with my own, in hopes that Moffat surprises the hell out of me this season.

The man who never would

Agreed. Characters are starting to feel more like plot devices than people and I hate that. And as for this recent episode and how The Doctor is acting, I wrote my own rant about that here It makes me sad.

Re: The man who never would

Thanks for the link. I most agree with your points, but I think you're making both a tactical and a factual mistake in characterizing the Doctor as having ever been a pacifist. A "man" of peace, yes, but he has almost always been willing to pick up a sword if he saw no other solution.

Some of the fans who complain

Some of the fans who complain are doing it just because they seem to like to complain, but negativity from fans is not so surprising. We love the show and we want it to be GOOD and it's very annoying when it isn't. I have problems with both New Who show-runners, although different ones. I didn't like RTD's love for massive angst and pathos. With Moffat it's all sleek and shiny, but often very superficial? He doesn't mind ignoring established character if it serves what he wants to do. He also doesn't mind forcing the plot to go where he wants it to go, even if it doesn't go there according to emotional or narrative logic. He's perfecty happy putting in jokes that make no sense on any level (and are often cringeworthy) just because he likes the sound of them.

The thing with the guns really bothers me too. It's not so much that she uses guns: the Doctor has used them on occasion (or allowed UNIT to do it for him); sometimes there is nothing else for it, though it would never be his first choice. What bothers me is the way it's presented in such an iconic fashion. It's COOL now, apperantly. That thing with River shooting the Stetson off the Doctors head: in a western or action film, sure. Doctor Who? Not so much.

I guess the potential genocide didn't bother me as much beacause I've developed an automatic sorting function between things the Doctor does that are really dodgy and just plain bad writing. When my brain classifies it as the latter it chancels any strong reaction. Kill all the aliens? Whatever, I don't care. Didn't really happen. You have no power to destroy the Who universe for me Mr Moffat. Although he does have the power to ruin the actual show, obviously.

Guns are(n't) cool!

What bothers me is the way it's presented in such an iconic fashion. It's COOL now, apperantly.

Yes, exactly.

You have no power to destroy the Who universe for me Mr Moffat. Although he does have the power to ruin the actual show, obviously.

Yes, I'm at the point where I'm starting to at least consider giving it up for the duration.

How long have you been watching DW again?

Just a legitimate question, seriously. Daleks. Cybermen. Gods of Ragnarok. And that's just the McCoy era. There is a chance offered, but the Doctor has NEVER shirked from what needed to be done when it had to be done. Even in Genesis of the Daleks his pause was not "have I the right to commit genocide" but "Have I the right to change a future and erase what good can come of others banding together to oppose this race." You can cite examples right back to Unearthly Child - and in that one, he was just going to bash an actually innocent man's head in with a rock! Macra, Ice Warriors, Daemons, Zygons, Fendahl, Wirrn - he's offed them all. I could go on for hours. He's destabilised governments, ruined lives and guess what? It's not pretty. He can be a right royal bastard, but sometimes? He HAS to be. He offered the option of retreat to the Silence. They refused to take it. So he took whatever steps were required to empower the human race to *fight back* the only way they can.

I'm not interested in watching a show with nothing but an eternal avatar who can do no wrong. And neither are others. There's a reason why Davison's Doctor remains so popular - it's because he so very often got it wrong. Life isn't nice, pretty or perfect, and as Craig Ferguson said (in regards to the Doctor) - he has an *achievable* power. And by showing his frailties at times, it makes it even more so - you can, and will get it wrong. And then you go back and try again. And again. I vastly prefer it to the pseudo-deification of the Doctor in RTD's era, the idea that he is becoming all powerful and all knowing and eternally alone and can do no wrong whatsoever, anything we may disagree with is just handwaved away as being something we couldn't *possibly* understand, being simple, stupid little humans.

Moffat certainly treats his viewers with more respect than RTD ever did. I've found his storylines to be more engaging, certainly funnier, and finally, Doctor Who is back to actually being *clever* with how things are resolved, without descending into pseudo-religious imagery (as in LoTTL) or melodramatic teenaged pining. Moffat also has a tendency of twisting the trope on its head. We are not constantly being saved by the Doctor, like some helpless shrieking damsel, but more often than not it works to a partnership - he becomes an enabling mechanism, or even has the solution being found by a companion. It makes for a far more palatable fare.

Shirked? No. Reveled? No, again

Okay, I haven't watched all of Who, so it's possible he's reveled like a cheap villain before, but I don't remember it.

How long have I been watching? Through videos and youtube and what-have-you, and with gaps, since the beginning.

But as per my subject-line and opening paragraph, I don't ever recall him dishing out death and enjoying it as if lives were video game targets.

As for Davies' pseudo-deification (among other flaws), well, I've had my differences with Davies before and have made no bones about it. But I wasn't talking about Davies here, I was talking about Moffat. Davies is a straw man.

"Revelled in it like a cheap

"Revelled in it like a cheap villain" is a wonderfully emotive phrase. Personally, I found First's response to an outright plea for mercy in The Daleks to be far more chilling.

The gun fight and the accusations of genocide (which I do see as unwarranted, see the post at for further details on that) are different elements in the same scene. People are twining them together, naturally, but they do need to be taken on their own, as they are being performed by different characters (in fact, the Doctor disabling individual members of the Silence with the screwdriver before River can shoot them - and I have no doubt she is shooting to kill - is very much in char.) And the gun fight is an outright spectacle, but no worse than we've seen in other episodes. (PoTW, Doomsday, RoTD, Invasion, Battlefield, etc). But a lot of people are taking that slow-motion action by River, the killing spree she performs to cover their exit and after the Doctor has left to be explicitly approved by him, as if he was sitting there constantly handing her ammunition and cheering her on and giving her points for headshots. Which simply is not true.

The Doctor is enamoured with his own cleverness. It's been seen repeatedly. First, Second, third, fourth, less so with Fifth, but sixth, seventh, on and on throughout. The over the top egoism is more a feature of Nu!Who (even CBaker notwithstanding) but it is still a staple of the Doctor's personality, and has been for decades.

Nemesis and Remembrance are two clean indicators that yes, the Doctor is more than a bit of a bastard. He wipes out the Cybermen and the Daleks with no remorse whatsoever, in fact with a smile and a quip. And then of course there's the "Complete metal breakdown" glee moment in Tomb. Or the gleeful grin and "Now we're in trouble" and smug preening after wiping out the Nestene Consciousness

A lot of races have been wiped out, and the Doctor has shown remorse. Hell, even Cbaker got his moment in Terror of the Vervoids, but with these other races, there has always been a grey area - it's something that Doctor Who is very good at. (The Ice Warriors are a good example) but there have also been a great deal of moments where he has not. There have been moments he has recognised as a hard road to take "for the greater good" and ones where he's outright recognised it to be the right path. The Silence are simply just ones that have fallen into the latter category.

If you like I can retract the name of RTD and simply replace it with "Previous nu!Who writers." it still fits. As a individual script writer, and as the head writer, he has simply treated the audience with far more respect than his predecessors.

Re: "Revelled in it like a cheap

I'm really starting to feel like we're going in circles; at least in part because you and I are discussing this both here and elsewhere.


Personally, I found First's response to an outright plea for mercy in The Daleks to be far more chilling.

Far more chilling that what? I found nothing (except the initial appearance of a Silent, which was nicely creepy) chilling about the final scene under discussion, but only cheaply offensive as a celebration of violence.

You say that the Doctor has sometimes shown remorse or regret for violence, and sometimes not. That's the case, but it's only tangentially relevant. The general sense of Who has been that it is a program that, to some extent at least, acknowledges that morality is involved that it is a question, even when dealing with absolute villainy.

My take on Moffat is that he doesn't bother to address the issues of right and wrong at all, presumably because they don't much interest him.

And it is that lack of interest that I find objectionable, not that the Doctor isn't behaving as a Nice Guy.

Thank you, thank you, a

Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you!

Much of what you have just said rings completely true and I agree 100% that Moffet is not helping Doctor Who. I will contine to watch it but will most likely end up unsatisfied and angry by the end of this series. Honestly I keep hoping that R.T. Davies is watching and regretting leaving and come back to take back his place show runner.

I agree with you on most of

I agree with you on most of your points. River's shooting spree made me cringe, as did the Doctor's solution for the Silence - kill them all without giving them the option to leave (this from the Doctor who travelled to the Sontaran ship to give them the chance to leave before he killed them, knowing that he was going to die himself in the process) but don't kill them himself, get most of the Human Race to do it for him.

I don't agree about the Doctor abandoning Rose and Mickey to die in Girl in the Fireplace. Rose knew about Emergency Program One and knew she could take the TARDIS home if she needed to (though he should have known she wouldn't use it).

Ratings in the UK aren't dwindling. The overnights are lower than previous series, but when they air it at 6pm on a Bank Holiday weekend that's hardly surprising. Once iPlayer and repeats on BBC3 are added the figures were up with previous series.

I'm not sure I agree

While the Doctor does seem a little too pleased with the idea its not as if he hasn't committed genocide on an industrial scale before. He regularly wipes out planets worth of cybermen, traps the Nimon on a dying planet, sends the Vervoids into a black hole, blows up Skaro and Gallifrey (twice), and encourages bloody revolution pretty much wherever he goes. The assorted races that try and trap him in the Pandorica have a point when they say "one day he just drops out of the sky and burns your world".

I think in most of these cases his response is not entirely unreasonable- given a choice between a dozen or so Vervoids and the whole human race, its pretty obvious which you'd have to go for, and I also think its a fair point to ask Davros what he thinks is going to happen when he switches on a "Stellar Manipulator". And I think in this case its interesting because he's turned the rulers methods of control very firmly against them- something he has a habit of doing.

I agree with you

Sorry for the people that are bothered by that, but I agree totally with you.

I love Matt Smith, not as much I loved the 10 but I like him enough. I like Amy, Rory. Not so sure about River.

I didn’t like “Silence in the Library” or “Forest of Dead” at all. (ok the actors were good but I didn’t liked the story at all)

I hated last Xmas special.

I don’t like how Moffat use weapons. I don’t understand why he write scenes. (I.E. the opening scene in “day of the moon”. I mean was it really necessary? As much I love Mark Sheppard on screen that scene was totally useless for me.

I can’t put my finger on what is exactly that I don’t like. It’s two year we seem them (more for River) and still we don’t know them at all. It’s like we didn’t went deep at all. I don’t know. Let me say it again, it’s not the actors, sometimes I feel like we haven’t time to really touch the characters’ emotions.

I don’t know it’s not the same thing anymore. I feel the same difference that I could feel between watching a “Story” or a “Action movie”. I mean I felt something in the episode Vincent and I last year, but that’s the only episode I “felt” real.

Strange eh? I never waited three days to watch a new episode.

And yet I can’t find the courage to let it go. Mostly because I love Doctor Who.
Here my two cents.

On story

I think you've got it, actually. It is the difference between a "story" and an "action movie". A story might contain action, but it isn't about action. In the same way, a (good) Doctor Who story might include a mystery, but it isn't about the mystery, it's about how the characters in the story deal with a mystery.

I think that might help to explain why "Vincent and the Doctor" was last season's best episode, now that you mention it. Though it included a character suffering from depression or bi-polar disorder, and it included a monster, "Vincent" wasn't about mental illness or about fighting monsters.

Instead, it was about the relationship between Vincent, the Doctor and Amy, as the three of them tried to deal with all those factors. And was made particularly meaningful because, despite their best magical efforts, they weren't actually able to "help" Vincent, at least not in the way they (or Amy at least) had hoped they might.

Moffat's clever plotting is a

Moffat's clever plotting is a cheat, at best an empty shell

I think this is my main problem with it. I enjoyed TIA - but DotM was a let down (same thing happened with TPO/TBB in S5; great set up, disappointing conclusion).

I haven't managed to rewatch the episode yet, but I've been seeing a lot of discussions about the gun-toting and the genocide - I'm not comfortable with either, but my main problem is the fact that Moffat is throwing in questions, clues and red-herrings left, right and centre and I know damn well that many of those won't be answered because they're irrelevant. I enjoy his writing, I enjoy his humour, but this seeming need to constantly show us how clever he is is starting to annoy me.

My kids love DW and of course, some of the complexities go over their heads, as they're no doubt meant to. But when it comes to pass that I, someone who grew up watching the show, who likes puzzles and story arcs and who isn't frightened by comples storytelling, is thinking - WTF? then it makes me worry for the show's future.

Viewing figures for TIA were strong and while those for DotM fell (another early start on a Bank Holiday weekend with good weather), I suspect they'll still be pretty good also. What I'm interested is in what they will be like for Ep 3, because I'm sure that dissatisfaction with Ep 2 will mean that a lot of people just don't bother to watch.

Empty shells

Much as I hate to admit it, my tastes don't too often gibe with "most people's". I rather thought my nasty hopes about the viewing figures would come to nothing. After all, a lot of people like shoot-em-ups. To the point that one of the great pleasures inherent in Who was how unlike other adventure programs it was.

Now, not so much.

I suppose I can comfort myself with the half-series of The Sarah Jane Adventures already in the can ...

While the Doctor does seem a

While the Doctor does seem a little too pleased with the idea its not as if he hasn't committed genocide on an industrial scale before. He regularly wipes out planets worth of cybermen, traps the Nimon on a dying planet, sends the Vervoids into a black hole, blows up Skaro and Gallifrey (twice), and encourages bloody revolution pretty much wherever he goes. The assorted races that try and trap him in the Pandorica have a point when they say "one day he just drops out of the sky and burns your world".

I think in most of these cases his response is not entirely unreasonable- given a choice between a dozen or so Vervoids and the whole human race, its pretty obvious which you'd have to go for, and I also think its a fair point to ask Davros what he thinks is going to happen when he switches on a "Stellar Manipulator". And I think in this case its interesting because he's turned the rulers methods of control very firmly against them- something he has a habit of doing.

On genocide

While the Doctor does seem a little too pleased with the idea its not as if he hasn't committed genocide on an industrial scale before.

True enough (hi Dave! I'm pleased to see someone using OPenID here). A number of other people have point it out, to the point where I might do an actual post on Morality and Doctor Who or some such thing one of these days.

In this case, I think (a) that Moffat stacked the deck, almost as if he had the ending in mind before he justified it. Or maybe he just wanted a reason to shoot a sexy-River-shoots-lots-of-aliens-dead scene.

It's the "sexing up" up of violence that I see in Moffat's work that lies at the heart of my objection to that scene and the solution to this season's opening diptych.

I've been calling Moffat's vision moral idiocy at least since the Christmas special, but may "moral hollowness" is a better term. Or maybe they're more or less the same.

Doctor Who at its best was both exciting fun and morally complex, a remarkable achievement for a children's program. To me, Moffat is foregoing both the exciting fun and the moral complexity in favour of artfully-constructed but hollow scares designed to support a complex puzzle, while utterly ignoring the fun of good story-telling and using a six-gun to "solve" a plot's complications rather than a jelly-baby and cleverness.

(Maybe I should add, I am not trying to say that Who has never before betrayed its better self. It's been around a long time, under the control of many hands, and has gone sometimes very far astray.

"Have I The Right?"

I felt appalled at River Song's gun massacre, just as much as I felt sickened by the Dalek yelling "MERCY!" at River Song in last year's climax. Did he really just end a story with gunfire? I thought he'd have been quoting Lao Tse at least, "Even a victory in war should be treated as a funeral."

The gun-totin' yee-haa Doctor in a stetson, having his hat BLOWN OFF HIS HEAD BY A SIX SHOOTER, is seriously not my kind of Doctor Who, any more than Space: 1999 season 2 was my kind of Space: 1999.

Matt Smith may own the Doctor, but the scriptwriter needs a serious course of therapy to get that gun fixation out of his head.

Unless, of course, he's pitching this at the Yanks, and he thinks that all Americans think this way - shoot first, and the dead ask no questions afterwards.

*sigh* I know it's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission, but it's easier to deny the request for either and to apply punishment in measure equal to the severity of cheek.

So apply the only punishment fitting in these circumstances. Pass the sentence boldly. Pronounce it out loud, be proud, and say it in a calm, reasoned voice. Make it clear to all who hear:-

"Fred Freiberger, Pip & Jane Baker - and now Steven Moffatt. Crap is as crap does."

I've watched DW for 30 years

I've watched DW for 30 years - as an AMERICAN. And I can tell you, as an American fan of DW... I am seriously tempted to jump ship. Four was my first Doctor, I cringed when Sarah Jane Smith (RIP Lis Sladen) told him to blow the Daleks up. Years later, I rejoiced when Seven blew Skaro up - but even THAT was tempered. The Doctor knew there would be consequences for his actions. (Basically, he fired the first shot of the Time War.)

Maybe this will will work with NuWhovian Americans. But me? No. It's depressing to me. On many levels.

Gunplay, gunplay, gunplay ...

Weird (and telling, I think) that I don't even remember a Dalek in last year's climax. But yes, he ended a story not just with gun-play, but with slow-mo, balletic gun-play.

I haven't seen Space-1999 since I was a wee one, so can't comment on series one compared to two, but I'll take your word for it.


I just want to say: THANK YOU for putting into words exactly what I've been thinking about Moffat's Doctor and plot revelations. This show is becoming so out of character that I'm beginning to wonder if I'm still watching the same series I used to.

THANK YOU. These are things

THANK YOU. These are things that have been bothering me, initially just River Song's cheap immortalization but particularly the genocide thing. The actors this season are fantastic (agreed that Karen Gillan needed work but is strongly approving) and the characters are truly wonderful, but your criticisms of Moffat are completely what I would say.

I can't even put into words

I can't even put into words how much I agree with this! Moffat annoys me so much, for all the reasons you mentioned. I really don't get how some fans can overlook the (lack of) characterization in his work. He seems to like to make the characters act to fit the plot, and not the other way around.

(Although, the final ratings for The Impossible Astronaut went up to 8.8 million when iPlayer + replays over the course of the week were figured into it. Does it make me a bad fan that I was disappointed by this lol?)

Emmm it's just a thought, but

Emmm it's just a thought, but can it also due to Mark Sheppard's presence? I mean he's a cool, great actor with a solid fanbase.

Bd fan? I don't think so, more like a member of hte opposition

Per the subject-line, I prefer to think of myself as a member of the Loyal Opposition, arguing against a government going down the wrong path.

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