Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moffat's Screwing with Us

After watching the Series 6 mid-season cliffhanger, "A Good Man Goes to War", I can safely assert that head producer and writer Stephen Moffat is just screwing with our heads.  If you have not yet seen this past weekend's episode of Doctor Who, now's the time to navigate away from this page, for the following synopsis contains spoilers.

Having spent the previous six episodes giving us the creepy eye-patch woman poking her face through holes in walls before a bewildered Amy Pond (played by current series regular Karen Gillan), we finally get a name and something of a look into who she is: Korvarian, a woman on a mission to take down the Doctor, and she's using his closest friends in order to do it.  Specifically, she's using Amy's newborn baby as a weapon against him.  The last of the Time Lords gathers an army of allies and enemies who owe him for various reasons, we get a big battle, a false resolution, the turning of the tide, and the twist ending.  River Song's identity is finally revealed, and we are once again left with more questions than answers.

Am I the only one who feels insulted by Moffat's insanely annoying tendency to establish a set of rules or a story continuity only to throw it out in the very next episode, or by the end of the season?  That's what's happening again in Series 6.  In Series 5, we saw the Doctor and his new companion get into mischief, only to have everything rebooted by the end of the season as though it never happened.  And it looks like Moffat is building up to a similar ending for Series 6 once it resumes in the Fall.

Back to River Song and the revelation of who she really is.  I'm disappointed in Moffat's decision to say the least.  It was obvious coming from him, and a cheap trick that's been abused in the past on other television shows.  So why do it?  I'm convinced it's because Moffat hasn't got an original idea in his body.  This is to be expected considering that television and film have worn out pretty much every conceivable story element imaginable, but still, could he not have done better?  Then there's Moffat's irritating ability to pull one-off enemies out of his arse (to use the British spelling), enemies he uses for one or two episodes and then discards without an explanation as to who they are, what their purpose is beyond taking down the Doctor, or why.  We saw this in episodes 1 and 2 of Series 6, with the bulbous-headed gray aliens calling themselves The Silence — are they what caused the TARDIS to blow up at the end of Series 5, or do they simply work for the entity responsible?  Did they somehow influence the Doctor's oldest enemies to unite in order to capture him?  Why do they want to bring about whatever it is they're trying to bring about?  And why did they use the time capsule we saw in the Series 5 episode "The Lodger"?  Moffat never really explains, and I get the feeling he doesn't care enough about the audience to do that.

That's a real shame, because there are parts of Moffat's tenure in charge of Doctor Who I really enjoy.  Matt Smith does a splendid job of filling the role of the Doctor, and considering the gigantic shoes he had to fill when David Tennant left the show at the end of 2009, that truly is a feat worthy of praise.  He brings a level of enthusiasm, arrogance, self-assuredness, and clownishness borrowed from such actors as Patrick Troughton, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, with a healthy dose of darkness thrown in for good measure, to round out the 11th incarnation of the venerable Time Lord.  And while some fans dis the character of Amy Pond and actress Karen Gillan, I happen to think she's improving as she grows into the role of the Doctor's latest companion.  Fellow companion Arthur Darvill, playing Rory Williams, Amy's husband, brings a great deal of talent to the table.  And as a stand-alone episode, "The Doctor's Wife" from this season really was a good one.

But all that is wasted with Moffat as head writer and producer.  I was willing to give him a chance because he was part of the Who team under previous head honcho Russell T. Davies, but as we await the second half of Series 6 this Fall, I am less than enthusiastic as to what he has in store for us.  Given that I've been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a kid, that does not bode well for me.  I'll watch it because I hate leaving off in the middle of a story arc, but someone has to step in and take the reigns away from Moffat going into next year.


  1. By the way, thanks to the good people of New London for their support this past weekend.


  2. A copy bot calling moffat unoriginal? now thats irony ps. yeah thank The New London crew for keeping the copybot away from the rest of us