i’m sorry this post makes me vibrate uncontrollably
I was very much under the impression that the point of dw50 is that the tough calls do have to be made, yes, but the Doctor at that time was one who will avoid them if he can
but MOR EIMPORTANTLY: Please don’t say that a different take on the character of the Doctor is any more meritorious than any other, because sure, this “i have to do it for the greater good” is very different from Eleven’s “yes but there has to be a way,” but why should we say it’s a “more true” approach to Doctor WHo?
Isn’t establishing establishing a constant or continuous “who the doctor is/what the Doctor is about” not who the doctor is/what the show is about??
Dont make judgement calls on the characters’ judgement calls in a show where the main character is literally supposed to change personality once every few years.
and DON’T say “the doctor would do it!” because guess the fuck what. Moffat Who is still Doctor Who, and Moffat’s Doctor is still the Doctor, and we just saw it happen. on the show. he did it. or didnt do it whatever. a thing that needs to stop happening is regarding newer installments in a series as being less fixed in canon just because theyre more recent.
honestly if you don’t like change then maybe Doctor Who isnt exactly the show for you
First of all, Moffat’s Doctor being canon doesn’t necessitate liking or agreeing with his executive decisions. Not even a little bit. I can accept canon and disagree with the storytelling on a fundamental level.
Second, change isn’t even really the issue at hand. Change is fine. Change is interesting, and part of why I like the show. Hell, the difference in tone of the show and portrayal of the Doctor from Eccleston to Tennant was a marvelous palate cleansing sensation that kept me captivated and intrigued. And I adore those episodes where they go against expectation and convention, especially in regards to life and death, as with the topic at hand, where they make a point that sometimes the Doctor can’t save someone no matter how hard he tries. Or those others where, surprisingly, not a single person needs to die, and that fact is celebrated. Or those where the point is made that he doesn’t get to choose who dies and who lives. These are themes that stand out and serve a narrative purpose as memorable morals that stick with the Doctor. It’s the decision to make change that isn’t for the better… It’s an overall inconsistency that’s the problem. Any work of art has to have its own internal logic and behavioural structure, that, even if bizarre, still has to be consistent, purposefully inconsistent, or simply enjoyable in its own right, for it to satisfy its audience and have them remain invested in it. And Moffat’s writing, as I take it, is really none of those. At least, I don’t see it as such.
And while any artist making art entirely for their audience and not at all for themselves would probably go insane, if you challenge a TV audience too much, they’ll leave. They just will. And Moffat seems to write almost entirely for himself. Sure, he loves the show, but that doesn’t mean he’s in the right or that his decisions are what’s right for the show. And I know, historically, you’ve defended Moffat, and if you like his storytelling, and the direction the show’s taken, I don’t mean to insult your taste, or opinion, so just know that what I’m saying represents my thoughts, and what I take from Moffat’s writing, alone.
But on that note, saying “honestly if you don’t like change then maybe Doctor Who isnt exactly the show for you” is kind of… really rude… Because implying whether or not people should be watching something they enjoy as a whole, for disliking a specific aspect of it, is just… not a good way to look at things. People are allowed to find things wrong with the media they enjoy. Personally, I encourage it.
The problem here, and the problem with much of Moffat’s writing is not necessarily on an internal scale of specific narrative elements (though it does often involve them), because yes, obviously the Doctor changes, and the show requires many interpretations of the protagonist and different situations to be handled differently by him. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people enjoy the show, and certainly part of why I do. It’s not the face value problem of “the Doctor wouldn’t do that” it’s that the whole show is not following its established behaviour and structure anymore, and with Moffat’s writing, it’s to a point where it all comes off as extremely tawdry and just… insubstantial.
For the most part, stories are successful only if the audience understands, can follow, and is invested, and as the show stands, the plot is a flimsy, piecemeal amalgam of ostentatious one-off episodes, there’s too little for the audience to actually bother with actively trying to follow, and little reason to be invested in the characters, because their plots and character development feel so empty. The tone is an enormous part of what an audience becomes invested in. While the doctor may do/not do certain things, Moffat’s writing disregards the show’s foundation and, more or less, does whatever he feels is the most dramatic or cinematic… And while that may make for some fantastic plot ideas, does that mean they’re inherently well executed?
What I have a problem with is the overall substance of the show as a whole, as an entire work, has become something so different from what I became initially invested in and intrigued by that it’s hard not to see small inconsistencies that arise from it as glaring faults. While something individual like the Doctor making decisions different from what he might have before aren’t necessarily a problem, the narrative support (or lack thereof) for those decisions make the show seem out of its own character. The show doesn’t act as a structured work and it leads to plot devices like these feeling wrong and out of place.
And the shift that Moffat has caused the show to make also results in a portrayal of the Doctor that, within the show’s established behavioural structure, comes off as something like a betrayal. It has to do with the execution of the Doctor and how the character “feels” that’s so different. Though I do have specific issues with Matt Smith’s Doctor, and how he behaves, it’s how Moffat has handled the show that’s causing these problems in the first place. I’m okay with the show changing, so long as it’s the same show I’m watching, and so long as the changes serve a meaningful narrative purpose. I don’t really get that feeling from Moffat.
So when I say things like “the Doctor wouldn’t do that”, I don’t mean he never would or never could. I mean that the show, as it is being written now, compared to how I’ve come to view it, as part of the audience, is giving me neither believable justification as to why he would, nor believable internal reasoning for the character’s decisions. It’s a powerful stress in verisimilitude throughout the show’s recent seasons more than an outright break in canon.
I can’t deny that Moffat’s showrunning is subpar and that there have been huuuge moments of breaking verisimilitude, lacks of justification, &c., but I also can’t stand Davies’ Who being used as the standard.
I have to say it again:
a thing that needs to stop happening is regarding newer installments in a series as being less fixed in canon just because theyre more recent.
Yes, it’s plenty valid not to agree with the showrunning choices, and to dislike the characterization, and disapprove of the character, but using the justification that “it’s not what was previously established” is a fair bit less valid.
Yeah Moffat is a trashy writer, and “all flash no depth” seems to be the card everyone plays when criticizing him (because it’s an uncannily good phrase at describing some of it (glares at Sherlock)). But let’s endeavor to criticize him on these grounds rather than that it’s not what Doctor Who used to be.
I’m okay with the show changing, so long as it’s the same show I’m watching, and so long as the changes serve a meaningful narrative purpose.
I’ll heartily agree with the second part, but as for the first, not so much. Davies didn’t care about keeping Doctor Who true to its roots (!) and there’s no way that his motivation for making the changes he did was narrative purpose. As a result, I’ve almost grown numb to showrunners wrenching the show in another direction because really, Davies did it first and Davies did it worst. And because he did it first his interpretation is now the standard, and anywhere Moffat stretches it now seems unacceptably contrary.
My own preference is almost certainly affecting my judgement here (and I’ll GLADLY outline why I feel the way I do about Davies), but I’d say that pulling Doctor Who so quickly in new directions (including writing the Doctor to make different decisions and giving him silly options such as in dw50) is justifiable on the grounds that Davies Who was just as absurd in terms of violating existing conventions and behaviours. If we’re going to take issue with “overall inconsistency” we’re seriously looking in the wrong place
Basically what I’d like to seriously point out is that inconsistency in writing is far from a phenomenon limited to Moffat Who. The paradigm that Moffat’s Doctor-writing feels like a betrayal is based mostly on Ten as a true Doctor - something which I will never be able to support (again, quite happy to outline the problems with HIM…)
Obviously Steven’s writing is bad, this is not a point for huge contention, but I think there’s something wrong (hypocritical, maybe?) about complaining that his Doctor isn’t enough in line with what is “known” about The Doctor considering, well, Ten.
(Unless you mean that there’s too much inconsistency between seasons of the same Doctor, which is what I noticed an amount of too? yeah I have no defense for that. That’s just bad writing. I agree totally on that one)