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View Diary: Overnight News Digest 11/22/2013 (31 comments)

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  •  Davies Or Moffat? (13+ / 0-)

    From the A.V. Club: Which Doctor Who showrunner did it better?

    On November 23, 2013, Doctor Who turns 50 years old. It’s a remarkable milestone, made even more remarkable by the fact that the show is at its peak of popularity. What started as an odd little black-and-white sci-fi drama in 1963 has become one of the most successful franchises in the history of television, and the 50th-anniversary special, “The Day Of The Doctor,” is being simulcast in more than 75 countries. Yet the series hasn’t gained this international fan base without also dividing it: Two showrunners have helmed the series since its 2005 reboot, and Doctor Who devotees remains embroiled in “Russell T. Davies versus Steven Moffat” debates.
    To me at least, Davies was much better at expressing the emotional beats of a story, and making you give a damn about the characters. Where Davies would have problems is that during his run on Doctor Who the story arcs would have amazing buildups, and then devolve into a goofy mess at the end.

    Moffat on the other hand is great at creating complex stories that take advantage of the show's fairy tale, technobabble nature, with the plot many times twisting back onto itself. The criticism of Moffat is generally that he sometimes seems more enamored with the mechanics of the story than the consistency & emotions of the characters.

    While Davies envisioned Doctor Who as the story of the Doctor and the companion, Moffat’s showis simply the story of the Doctor ... This is also part of a larger trend of Moffat’s treatment of female characters. In general, almost all of Moffat’s ladies are “mysteries” for the Doctor to solve—Amy has a mysterious crack in her wall followed by a mysterious pregnancy, River is a timeline conundrum, and Clara (Jenna Louise-Coleman) is referred to as “the impossible girl.” While these women serve as dynamic companions to the Doctor, the show has a bad habit of turning them into plot points. Moffat seems generally uninterested in the families, friends, or careers of his supporting female characters, making them frustratingly underdeveloped. Amy’s long-lost parents and their eventual return in “The Big Bang” are major concerns of season five that are immediately dropped so Amy can run away on more adventures. These female characters exist only insomuch as they relate to the Doctor, and anything outside of their time-traveling adventures is irrelevant. Whatever Moffat’s intention, he is continuing the frustrating pop-culture trend of writing women who revolve around men. Add to this the fact that most of the women he writes are sassy, aggressive, and flirty—all of which are fascinating traits for a female character but feel rather reductive when repeated ad nauseam.

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