Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good Who News And Bad Who News

Good News and Bad News from the World Of Doctor Who!

The Good News:
This week Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat announced he's leaving the series after Season 10. Huzzah! Moffat has been in charge of the series since 2010, writing many of the episodes over the past five seasons.

I've been critical of Moffat the past few years, due to the fact that he's a very, very uneven writer. When he's good, we get things like Blink (widely considered by fans to be the best episode of the modern Doctor Who era) and A Good Man Goes To War

But when he's bad, we get abominations like The Angels Take Manhattan, Kill The Moon and In The Forest Of The Night, three of the most jaw-droppingly awful episodes in the history of the show (full disclosure— Moffat didn't actually write those last two, but as showrunner he approved them and put 'em into production, which makes him just as guilty in my opinion).

Moffat's plots are quite often nonsensical and dense, bordering on the impenetrable. Many times after watching one of his episodes I have no earthly idea what happened, and will sit there thinking, "What the hell did I just see?" Don't believe me? Try explaining the plot of The Name Of The Doctor in a hundred words or less. It can't be done.

It's not just me imagining things; Moffat himself admits he complicates the plots on purpose. In an interview a few years ago he said:
"I don't want to be mean, but eight year olds seem to have no problem with it. Doctor who is unashamedly a clever show. There have been calls for us to dumb it down but we just don't. We're dealing with children who can read long, complicated books while tweeting and playing computer games all at the same time. You've got to be ahead of them."
That may be true to an extent, Moffat, but there's a difference between intricate plotting and a story that was written by banging on the keyboard at random.

It's definitely time for some new blood in the production office.

Moffat's reportedly being replaced as showrunner by writer Chris Chibnall. Chibnall's written several Doctor Who episodes over the years, including 42, The Hungry Earth, Cold Blood, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and The Power Of Three. None of these were particularly spectacular episodes, but they were decent and straightforward. I'm sure he'll do fine.

Now for the Bad News.
Season 10 won't air until Spring 2017. That's right, 2017. There will be no new Doctor Who in 2016, except for the traditional Xmas episode. Twelve months until the Special, and most likely fifteen months until the actual series returns.

I have no idea what the BBC's thinking here, but obviously someone in the head office has renewed their prescription for crazy pills.

Fifteen months between seasons! Jesus! You could become pregnant and carry a child to term and it would be six months old before the show comes back! Fifteen months for the audience to forget all about the show and find better things to do with their time.

I guess that's the price you pay when a series only airs twelve episodes a year.

Actually the series has done this before, as there were a whopping fifteen months between Seasons 7 and 8. It survived back then, so I guess it'll survive again. But I don't have to like it.

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