Several episodes ago, in response to “Kill the Moon,” I sent in some audio feedback they chose not to use. I’ve transcribed the core of it, taking out introductions and the like and adding a phrase to clarify a point that was clear in spoken form, but not clear in written text. It is otherwise unchanged. I present it for your consideration.
Audio feedback for The Doctor Who Podcast
Recorded 11 October 2014, transcribed 10 November 2014
I just watched “Kill the Moon.” And I can’t care anymore.
I have seen almost every surviving episode of Doctor Who. There’s a few I’ve saved, kind of holding in reserve – but the local PBS station here runs them all in sequence, starting way back at William Hartnell and chugging right through to the end of the classic series, and then starts over again. Which is how the second doctor, or as I used to call him, Shemp Doctor, is my doctor. Because that’s where I came in.
There are a lot of reasons why I’ve been unhappy with Mr. Moffat, but I’ve been sticking with him, thinking, ‘I’ve made it through Colin Baker, I can make it through this.’
And then “Kill the Moon” happened.
Doctor Who has descended to a point of incoherence I associate with the television show Superfriends. This was an animated show, a superhero saturday-morning-cartoons little-kid’s show, and pretty much literally anything could happen at any time. It didn’t have to make any sense.
And here we have an episode of Doctor Who wherein… the moon… magically doubles its mass, turns into a space dragon, flies away, and leaves a replacement… moon egg… in its… place?
Lost in Space would’ve thought twice about this.
I don’t expect hard science from Doctor Who. It’s space fantasy, I get that, it’s science fantasy, I get that. But I expect things to make some degree of sense. I expect there to be some coherence. I look for some relationship to the world in which it’s set.
Now yes, yes, yes, yes, it’s a fool who looks for continuity in the annals of Doctor Who. But I’m not talking about continuity across episodes, I’m looking for coherence within one.
Right now, there are fewer rules in the Doctor Who universe under Moffat than there are in Hogwarts. It is a more magical – by which I mean random and arbitrary – place than the Harry Potteruniverse.
And I can live with that to some degree. I can live with that if it’s a light hearted and kind of silly environment. For example, The Thrilling Adventure Hour. That is totally a magic world; anything can happen at any time, and it’s hilarious.
A lot of old Who, when it gets kind of magical and random, at least has a charming eccentricity to it, kind of a lightness that you can go along with, that you can follow along with, and you like the people on screen.
But this isn’t that. This is trying to be drama. But in this environment, there can be no consequences, there can be no results of actions, there can be no results of decisions. Drama relies on all of these happening, and without them, fundamentally, there can be no drama.
Right now, anything can happen, at any time, for no reason. That is not drama. You cannot run drama that way, it doesn’t work. But that’s where Doctor Who is right now.
All the things that make a magic world work are missing. I don’t like any of these people; there’s no humour; there’s no light touch; it’s all very heavy handed; it is deathly serious and because everything is arbitrary, there can be no drama that functions as drama, which means there’s nothing left.
Fortunately I have Big Finish, which I will continue to attend to closely, and I have the classic series. But the current series… I’m just done.
Wake me up when Moffat’s gone. I’ll give it another go then. But not until.