It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Doctor Who: The Wedding of River Song

Here's two key lessons any idiot (i.e. stupid people like you and me) can learn from watching Steven Moffat's Doctor Who:

1) No one really dies, and even if they do, they'll magically be brought back to life.

2) Nothing that happens matters, because it can magically be reversed or made to never have happened.

I watched the first few episodes of this latest series of Doctor Who, but gave up before I lost the will to live; however, I felt duty bound to watch the season finale, at least.

Showrunner Moffat's Doctor Who is a bizarre confection. Episodes (particularly end of season epidosde) are like very long trailers, highlighting all the exciting things that will happen in the forthcoming season. And as we all know, trailers are BIG! and LOUD! and EXCITING! and designed to get the attention of a deaf and dumb slow person. But there's nothing else, no depth or sense or integrity; for that, you need to watch whatever it's a trailer for. In the case ofDoctor Who, it's not a trailer: the "trailer" is the show.

Imagine that. Imagine watching a trailer that goes on for 50 minutes, a whole load of nothing, with lots of fireworks, that goes nowhere and says nothing. Doctor Who's season finale was like that: a blur of random, rapidly cut together scenes, possibly from earlier episodes in the season, that made little sense to me (but will no doubt have people on fan forums vibrating with excitement).

What was it all about? I don't know. I doubt Moffat knows. But it had the veneer of being something clever, which is what counts in this bizarre - yet tedious - world. We must always be seen to be clever, eh, Moffat?

Oh, it was all about time happening at the same time, or being stuck in a loop, and to fix it the Doctor had to die (there's the hook to sell it to the viewership - sod it if it doesn't actually mean anything) and if he doesn't die the universe will be killed (or something). So he dies, except he doesn't, so everything's okay. Meaningless gunk with no connection to any kind of reality.

Pointless, smug, self-indulgent, and insulting on almost every level, Doctor Who continues to lurch from bad to worse. The ratings might be down - as audiences switch to things with more integrity, like The X Factor - but the BBC won't put this tortured beast down, oh no. Not while the cash keeps rolling in.

The broadcast of the season finale comes in the same week that the BBC announced the cancellation of behind-the-scenes companion series Doctor Who Confidential, in which key members of the production team (Moffat) get to be celebrities and gloat about how important and clever they are. Perhaps with the demise of Confidential, they (Moffat) can get back to making a halfway decent show.

And maybe The X Factor will unearth a genuine, shining talent with a shelflife of more than six months. What are the odds, do you think?


Anonymous said...

I've got to say that I agree with you - it was shockingly bad. I had such hopes for Steven Moffat's take on Doctor Who after the stand-out episodes he wrote during the RTD era, but this last series was entirely disappointing and shat on everything he'd built up. Everything was squandered and, as you point out, nothing felt dangerous at any point. Boo.


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