Saturday, November 23, 2013

This is why Doctor Who tends to suck these days:

Yes, I think that the writing on the show, whose reboot is now in its ninth year, has seriously declined. The first year included the spectacular episode "Dalek", probably the second-best episode of the nine year-run. It also included "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" ("are you my mummy?"). The second year showcased "The Idiot's Lantern", and the third-best episode of the series' run, "Love & Monsters". The third year included the all-time best episode of the series, "Blink". The fourth year included the excellent "Midnight". And then, during the 18-month hiatus, the show produced the bitterwsweet "The Next Doctor", the thrilling "Planet of the Dead", and the thrilling "The Waters of Mars".

But in the past three years, what's happened? We had but a single great episode ("The Lodger"). We had a few okay ones ("The Doctor's Wife", "A Christmas Carol", "The Girl Who Waited", "The God Complex"), which mostly served as showcases for guest-stars.

Writing aside, showrunner Steven Moffat simply doesn't know what he's doing. His rationales for decisions on the show make absolutely no sense. To make my point, let's look at the decisions Moffat and others made while coming up with the idea for Clara Oswald and casting the role.

* * * * * * * * *

1) Executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he did.
Really? Not because she was a terrific actor, not because she looked the part even. Because she could speak fast. BAD DECISION.

2) Coleman had never seen Doctor Who before her audition. She watched "The Eleventh Hour" (Matt Smith's first outing as the Doctor) as well as the last four episodes featuring Amy and Rory ("Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", "A Town Called Mercy", "The Power of Three", and "The Angels Take Manhattan") top get a sense of the show. She didn't want to watch any more of Doctor Who because she wanted her acting to be "spontaneous".
Really? You know, Jenna Coleman, there's something called "acting". It means that you ACT OUT spontaneity and freshness and surprise and shock and puzzlement. You don't actually have to be those things; you ACT. So what Steven Moffat did was, essentially, to cast a non-actor in the role. BAD DECISION.

3) Neil Gaiman came up with the character of Clara Oswald, and intended for her to be a Victorian governess. Moffat had not yet decided on an actress to play Clara, so for call-backs the writers scripted a modern character for the women to play. During the second round of auditions, Moffat conceived the idea of having Clara appear throughout the timestream. Coleman "trust[ed] that there would be a payoff" to her mystery.
Really? Because if Doctor Who is a piece of shit show, there'd be no payoff. If it was a good show, naturally there'd be a payoff. So is Coleman saying she assumed the show as a piece of crap? YES, SHE WAS.

4) Moffat felt that the introduction of a new companion made "the show feel different" and brought the story to "a new beginning" with a different person meeting the Doctor.

Really? Because, you know, having a new companion has never done that before. And while "a new beginning" might apply to the relationship between Clara and the Doctor, it is ludicrous to believe that it essentially reboots Doctor Who in any way. STUPID REASONING.

5) Executive producer Caroline Skinner said the character of Clara Oswald restored a more "classic Doctor Who format".
Really? You mean Doctor Who is no longer epsiodic? Oh, oh, I know! It means Doctor Who isn't about defeating the alien-of-the-week. No! Wait! There's never beena companion on the show. OOOH! OOOH! I know! We've strayed from the "single companion" theme. NO! It means we've gone back to companions who aren't in love with each other!! In fact, Doctor Who has consistently alternated between one and multiple companions, and it has often had companions fall in love with one another. In fact, Clara doesn't alter the show one damn bit. STUPID REASONING.

6) Smith said that Clara was different from her predecessor Amy Pond (Gillan), which allowed the audience to see a different side of the Doctor.
Really? Because that has never happened with a companion ever ever ever before. STUPID REASONING.

7) Moffat said that Coleman brings "a speed and wit and an unimpressed quality that makes the Doctor dance a bit harder". Coleman said the character "holds her own" and was competitive with the Doctor, providing "a nice double act".
Really? Because in the past, we've had a number of quick-witted, wipping companions. We've had a number of companions who've not been impressed by the Doctor. And we've had plenty of characters hold their own against the Doctor. STUPID REASONING.

8) The character of Clara was intended to reawaken the Doctor's "curiosity in the universe and gives him his mojo back".
Really? Because one of the problems with the rebooted series is that it fundamentally changed the Doctor from someone with a positive outlook and desire to help into a bitter, self-doubting, angry, tragedian who is broken by the sheer number of deaths he's caused over the centuries. If there is a problem, it is FUNDAMENTALLY with the show's writing and not with the companions. But, once having gone over the cliff, if you want to get back on top again you need to alter the Doctor's character. You don't do this by having him "play off" someone. You do it by taking the character of the Doctor on a personal journey that allows him to heal. You don't just cast a bouncy girl with sass. (We tried that with Mel, remember?) STUPID REASONING.

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