Yeah, I know I should have posted this yesterday, but since I am lazy (as you all know), it’s coming today.
So my sister and I went to the library the other day, me coming out with two new books (woo!), and she with our traditional everytime-we-go-to-the-library-we-need-to-borrow-a-DVD DVD. This time, it was Volume 3 of Christopher Eccleston’s run on Doctor Who. The episodes included in this volume were: The Long Game, Father’s Day, The Empty Child, and The Doctor Dances.
Now for me as a child, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances were two of the scariest Doctor Who episodes ever, aside from Paradise Towers (Seventh Doctor), and Blink (Tenth Doctor). I haven’t seen these episodes in about two years and when I watched them last night, I actually found myself squeezing the nearest cushion for comfort because I still found it absolutely terrifying. There’s something about small children in gas masks calling “Muuuuuuummy” that really gets me…
This kid is the reason I had nightmares for a week…
Anyway, after my sisters were done laughing at me, I started comparing the old/new Doctor Who episodes (From the Nine and Ten eras, most of which were written by Russell T. Davies) to the new new episodes of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. Thinking back, I don’t actually think that I found many of Eleven’s all that scary or gripping. Yes, I know that The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances were both written by Steven Moffat, but Russell T. Davies was the executive producer for both episodes.
Don’t get me wrong, Moffat has had some really good episodes like Blink, The Girl in the Fireplace, The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone, and Matt Smith’s first episode, The Eleventh Hour, but actually most of the really good episodes of Eleven’s seasons were written by other people, such as Neil Gaiman on The Doctor’s Wife (still crying), and Vincent and the Doctor (also tears), written by Richard Curtis.
In comparison however, quite a lot of my personally favourite episodes of Doctor Who have been written by Russell T. Davies during his time as executive producer, such as Planet of the Dead, Tooth and Claw, The Parting of the Ways, The Runaway Bride, Doomsday, The Waters of Mars, and Midnight.
Davies certainly isn’t perfect, and there are quite a few flaws in his writing, but to me, his episodes always maintained a certain level of science in their fiction, which I don’t feel that Moffat is continuing to do. His are becoming more fantasy than science fiction, and although there is a strong emphasis on fiction, there still needs to be a level of believability in order to sell the story.
I am however, a bit torn as to who’s characterisation I like better, as both of them have their pros and cons.
I feel that since Moffat has taken complete control of Doctor Who, overseeing all of the plot ideas and script writing, Doctor Who has sort of become something less than Doctor Who. Maybe I’m the only one who is feeling this, but since Moffat has become the executive producer and prominent writer, I find the show to be less engaging and with more silly ‘little kiddies’ plots, I mean, pirates on a ship that’s actually a multi-dimensional spaceship? The Siren was cool, but come on. And ALSO the thing that really makes me cringe, in the episode The Crimson Horror, they named the town Sweetville?? smh.
Davies’ characters are diverse. Rose, Martha, and Donna all have very different character traits, Rose being playful and cheeky, Martha being thoughtful and observant, and Donna being headstrong and funny. By granting them with these diverse personalities, Davies was able to acknowledge that there are many different types of people in the world, each with something that makes them special. I did find however, that Davies’ companions were very clingy. They all exuded an air of neediness, and they were portrayed in the cliche, “I can’t live without the Doctor” manner, and were unable to do all that much from their own instincts, preferring to wait around and have the Doctor tell them what to do.
Moffat’s characters were independent. Amy and Clara were able to prove both to themselves and the audience that they are perfectly capable of living normal lives and making their own decisions without too much input from the Doctor, and for me this was a breath of fresh air from the usual female-companion-doing-nothing-but-screaming-and-looking-at-the-Doctor-in-awe-for-the-whole-episode routine. When comparing Moffat’s characters however, you begin to notice that they are all the same. It’s the same sassy, flirty, coming-at-you-guns-blazing stereotype that is associated with “strong” female characters that Moffat is re-using over and over again. I think he needs to realise that a woman can be strong without the use of a gun or her sexual appeal.
I realise that this post is very controversial, as everyone has their own opinions on this matter, but I felt the need to share my standings on this issue, and must admit that I prefer Doctor Who when it was under Russell T. Davies’ authority and it was kept true to the long-running nature of Doctor Who, rather than going off on a fantastical, rather ridiculous journey into the unknown as it seems to be doing under Moffat’s rule.
I’m sorry if this has been hard to follow, I had a lot of things to say on this matter and I sort of spewed it out into this post, but please, if you have your own opinions on this matter, I’d love to hear them!