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Monday, 22 September 2014

Doctor Who The Slump of the Haggard

I used to care so much about Who. I used to be so passionate. I used to be so goddamn passionate but something happened, something happened to kick the joy out of who for me.

Before we begin, I have a few caveats:
1. Series 8 is better than series 7.
2. Doctor Who at its worse is always better than 90% of the rest of TV
3. Even if it was the shittest of the shit I would admire it and its fandom forits history and the fact that it came off life support to have a brilliant last stand.
4. I will never forget my love for the Doctors and series that are fantastic and even when I'm old and grey I'll still make up fanfics in my head.
5. This is my opinion and mine alone. By holding my opinion I do not magically bind reality to my will and I do not invalidate yours, even if i disagree with you.

Capaldi is awesome, a fantastic actor and I really quite like his Doctor, even if (or indeed because) he is the eleventh Doctor with added snarkyness and black comedy. Clara is also amazing and delightful and I am completely in love with her. What I say next should not impact upon those characters or actors. I think I looked past the flaws in series 6 and seven because I felt I owed the Ponds and Moffat. As a critic I didn't hold back but as a fan who loved the characters and the writer, I defended and lashed out where really I shouldn't have.

Mr Tardis is right. Cracked is right. Sodding Tumblr is right. It's time for Moffat to go. I love his style of timey wimey storytelling but it's clear he is no longer the man to write such stories. It's not that the timey wimey is inherently boring and repetitive. It's that the way he writes it it's so fricking paint by numbers that fans on message boards can mass guess the answers to his stories.

Look I'm not hard to please, show me the action porn, give me the pseudoscientific exposition, linger on diagrams and explanations and temporal paradoxes and quantum anomalies. Bullshit as you go, just be consistent and don't let the stories revolve around speculations of character.

I don't care that Danny Pink is Journey Blue's Brother, I care that Clara is only travelling with the Doctor because the Doctor met Clara and the Great Intelligence before he kickstarted their origin stories and that those origin stories only came about because the Doctor died on Trenzalore, leaving a scar in time and space for Clara and the Great Intelligence to fall through, creating an ontological paradox. An ontological paradox that was then undone on Trenzalore when the Doctor didn't die BECAUSE of Clara, the Impossible Girl. The woman whose very act of salvation for the Doctor should have snapped the time continuum in two as Clara was both there to speak the answer and not there.

Oh who's Missy? Who's Missy? Bollocks to who Missy is. She's a chess piece on a game being played between the Doctor, Moffat and us. She matters just as long as she needs to. I have zero interest in the arch and ongoing story because it isn't cool and complex and a struggle to fit in my head. It's a romp. Even the dark episodes that are about defeating the monster of the week and solving that week's problem. See if Capaldi started quoting Nietzche and outright murdering fuckers and meddling with time, then I'd care. Then I'd pay attention to the characters at the moment all the story is giving me is shit I already know.

Doctor Who isn't competing against Breaking Bad or True Detective in my life. It's competing against Zisteau, Vechs, Etho and Minecraft and it is losing. I used to snap at my family for entering the room when I watched Who, now I regularly miss it and have to catch it on iplayer when facebook lights up and I'm reminded of the need to watch before I'm spoilered. Yes it's funny and entertaining but that isn't good enough. The Let's Plays I watch are funny and entertaining. Meatspace is funny and entertaining. Minecraft is funny and entertaining with the right auditory accompanyment. If Doctor Who is to become essential viewing again it needs to quit being a sit com and start being a serious drama with sodding consequences, something I'm really not sure can be done under Moffat.

And still I get hate mail, still my friends are variously either loathing Doctor Who or loving it while I feel Meh! about it. It's not bad but it's not better than a let'splay of minecraft either and that isn't good enough because if I wasn't firmly entrenched in the fandom with reviews being posted from all sides, I'm not sure I'd care, I might forget to watch it and just quit caring about Who all together.

Day of the Doctor was the last time I truly cared about Doctor Who and I remember then thinking "This could be the end of Who" and for me perhaps it was but not a death of the show itself but my love and passion for it. Give me my bad fanfic and let me experience an adult Doctor Who with consistent technology and world building and consequences for characters. Or maybe that's Farscape and I just saw what I wanted to see in Who but now my eyes have been opened and I cannot unsee how bland, thoughtless and shallow Who is.