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FEATURE: Falling out of love with Doctor Who

November 29th, 2012 by Paddy Comments

I never thought I’d see the day when I would type these words but Doctor Who does nothing for me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, as an avowed lifelong fan I’m delighted at the show’s current level of success but I just can’t enjoy it like I used to do.

There’s something about the direction that Steven Moffat has taken with the series that just leaves me cold. I don’t understand it either because I was one of the most vocal critics of the Russell T Davies era and was over the moon when it was announced that Moffat, who had penned, some of the best Who stories of all time in Blink and The Girl In The Fireplace was taking over as showrunner, to borrow a phrase from our American cousins.

The writing should have been on the wall with Silence In The Library which introduced the dreaded River Song, the televisual equivalent of nails slowly scraping down the blackboard.

However, I was more than happy when Matt Smith took over from David Tennant as the Doctor in The Eleventh Hour. Tennant was a great Doctor but I think most will agree that it was time for a change.

Smith was, and remains, a revelation in the role and The Eleventh Hour was possibly the greatest first episode for a new Doctor yet.

It didn’t take long for the magic to wear off though as we were thrown into The Beast Below. The less said about that the better.

The Daleks were brought back with a bang by Moffat and they were terrifying. Terrifyingly rubbish that is. The new design seemed to turn them into the Teletubbies as designed by Renault Clio manufacturers.

To make matters worse The Weeping Angels were brought back and immediately the lustre and danger around them disappeared.

Even more depressingly River Song returned and to somehow add insult to injury, Alex Kingston played her like a lecherous old aunt who was determined to bag herself a toyboy, in this instance Smith’s Doctor.

I know that I am probably in a minority on this one but, as many times as I said “this is Doctor Who just watch it”, I can’t help but feel that for all Moffat’s talent, there’s something missing at the very heart of the series.

The last season, or half a season as the show is split in two these days, aired as five mini movies clearly aimed at attracting a new audience – namely the American audience.

Moffat’s intricate writing skills might do wonders for Sherlock and Watson but his version of Doctor Who comes across as smug and, at times, baffling.

The much-vaunted assistant Amy Pond turned out to be a ego maniac who couldn’t wait to get the Doctor into bed at the first opportunity, which made for uncomfortable viewing to say the least.

As ropy as some of the Russell T Davies era was at least he never lost sight of the integrity and dynamics at the core of the show. The 50th anniversary takes place next year, normally I’d be cock-a-hoop about this but with Moffat at the helm I’m more worried than anything else.

Even the big goodbye to Amy and Rory last year was botched with a confusing mess of an episode that had most people scratching their head and a general sense of “eh is that it?”

That’s not to mention the playing hard and fast with the established rules of the series. All of a sudden the Doctor can’t travel to a fixed point in time – since when?

These are all the ramblings of an individual though. I still love Doctor Who but I have to face facts, like many fanboys at some stage in their life, who on Androzani am I to moan about all of this?

The beauty of the show is like its main character it regenerates. A new Doctor and a new direction will come along. As the Tenth Doctor famously said to the Fifth Doctor: “You were my Doctor.”

Sadly I can’t say the same about the show these days.

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Paddy Ryan, like Buck Rogers, is a man out of time. He's a loose cannon haunted by his past who, when he's not making painful attempts at humour, is busy watching as many geeky films and TV shows as possible. An avid reader, he has vowed one day to start that novel he's been talking about for years. Born in the late 70s, he's an 80s kid at heart who sees nothing wrong with spending hours upon hours watching season three of Robin Of Sherwood. Jason Connery wasn't that bad you know! He's got a million ideas for comic books but thankfully doesn't know anyone with the time to draw them and call his bluff on that one! The Empire Strikes Back is his favourite film, Doctor Who is his TV show of choice and when it comes to books ... well that's a whole other story! I'm Paddy Ryan and you're not...

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