October 27th, 2015


Doctor WTF

Much as I was looking forward to Capaldi’s curmudgeonly Doctor, having loved his bravura performance in The Thick of It, I have to confess the poor quality of the stories has been terribly disheartening. Fans are always quick to scream “hater!” at you if you evidence the slightest distance from doctrinal worship, so I’m forced to work out my ideas in this remote location. Not that there haven’t been nice flourishes every now and then (shades of script doctoring!) but the storytelling has been flabby and uninspired, with some scripts tending toward overt contempt for its audience.

The recent offerings The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived are the latest in a spate of soggy examples of poorly thought-out plots, tissue-thin characters and missed opportunities. Almost a season and a half to pay off the “why did I choose this face?” and all they can come up with is a smack to the head “oh, that’s right: I’m the Doctor and I save people.” Easy thing to forget, that. As is the curse of immortality, apparently. Clara, a character I was never particularly fond of once the Impossible Girl puzzle was solved, has grown so inconsistent as to be unrecognizable from one episode to the next, a failing of which the actress seems painfully aware to the point of telegraphing.

And I’m not even getting to the sonic sunglasses, the afterthought afterlife, the better off dead boyfriend or a moon with no gravitational effect (the ultimate zipless fuck?). I’m not expecting writers to comprehend quantum nonlocality but some working scientific knowledge easily found on the internet, such as a definition of organic matter, can provide clever twists even when vaguely referenced (wibbly, wobbly). While I am looking forward to the return of River Song, it’s beginning to seem more like a Hail Mary pass, attempting to remind us of when the show was actually enjoyable.

Now they are suggesting Capaldi may be leaving after his third season. This is heartbreaking if he doesn’t get anything truly meaty by then, a whole incarnation wasted. Perhaps Moffat is unconsciously looking for an excuse to end it rather than hand it off to another showrunner. Don’t you think he looks tired?