Moffat is a touchy subject in the Doctor Who community. Some really like him, but the majority of people online hate him or would like to kill him. This is the story of how I, a self proclaimed Moffat-hater, became a Moffat-sympathizer…
Moffat in the Tennant era-
Moffat wrote such beauties as Blink. Russell T. Davies himself said that he didn’t change any of Moffat’s writing compared to other writers. In fact, it was because Moffat created such marvelous monsters that actually scared us that he got the job as showrunner.
Moffat writing Matt Smith-
Here is where things get tricky. Moffat really started to become showrunner right here. He started writing Matt Smith’s Doctor and won the hearts of fans even after losing David Tennant, the darling of the show. The writing was pretty good to start off, especially that first season.
The sixth season is when things got bad. Many say it was season 7, but season 6 kind of built the foundation for season 7. If the show was going to go bad just like that, it’d be season 5 when the writing switched over. However the show got progressively worse. The complicated plots, the unbelievable companions and their stories, and just the whole thing seemed to go South.
Moffat writing women-
Amy Pond was OK, but that weird story about the crack in her wall and her giving herself to a Weeping Angel as well as Rory was a bit of a weird way to get rid of characters, but I’ll accept it. The wall story, not so much, it just was really weird and a long drawn out thing that was not really worth it in the end. I know it’s sci-fi, but I’d still like it to make more sense than her imagination drew him out again. REALLY? The imagination is a strong tool. It’s even OK to use in Doctor Who, the Doctor has used it numerous times to explain plots but simply saying that your imagination drew me into existence again, I can’t really go along with that. I can go along with the plot that the second Doctor had that because his companions were believing these things to actually exist, they freaked him out into believing in their existence and had power, but when he renounced their reality, they dissolved. Even in The Three Doctors, Omega “wills” his world into existence from imagination, but he also has some Time Lord freaky deeky science behind his side, but even that goes kaput when something he did not imagine is introduced, leaving the whole thing to explode. It’s sci-fi, but saying that an imagination can “will” the Doctor alive again is a bit far fetched because everyone wants to “will” their childhood fantasies into existence, yet Amy Pond’s is the only child with that power?
Even if I can reconcile with that, what about Clara’s cheesy plot of all of it depended on a leaf? Sure, cute, simple, great romantic story and in a way makes sense in life. Great hopefulness there. But we were dragged through an elaborate plot to just figure out that she jumped into the doctor’s time vortex and then we don’t even learn how he got her out of there? We just see John Hurt and aren’t supposed to care about the rest because John Hurt has just been revealed as the Doctor?
Moffat’s Timey Wimey Plots-
Let’s face it. All the Timey Wimey plots give you a headache? You can’t just say “timey wimey” and make it all better. God, I’d rather you said “paradox” and that this “paradox” can survive because blah blah blah will sort it out. Or maybe it can’t survive the paradox, like when Rose tried to save her dad, altering a course in history, making those creatures come out and attack people. So why aren’t those things everywhere with the Doctor? The Doctor alters so many courses of events. But that’s Davies fault, not Moffat’s. However, saying something is “Timey wimey” is trying to just cover up a paradox instead of deal with it straight on. It hurts too much sometimes to think about how that even makes sense…..Interesting since Moffat kind of is rooting for WhoLock, which Sir Conan Doyle even said ON CAMERA in his ONE SURVIVING interview that he disliked mysteries where they just kind of jumped to conclusions but didn’t really explain how they got there….which is what Davies was good at doing in his plots. Moffat expects you to fill in the blanks and you don’t always get it.
Also, sorry Moffat, but Time Heist made no sense, how did he sneak into the bank even afterward in the future (especially since that storm wiped out the bank)? And how did he know there was a creature there? Why do we care? Why did he care? I mean, yes, it’s a life and we do want to protect it but it just seemed like we’ve seen the plot before and that it was all very much a cop out. Still, it made no sense how he was the architect.
Moffat’s View on Writing based on Interviews-
However I think Moffat is right in many things. You have to write for yourself. You can’t just give the fans what they want because the mystery would go away, the show would be predictable, it’d be pandering to the crowd without giving the crowd anything to wonder or to want in the future. However the show is 50 years old, there is a lot to pander to, and now the doctor supposably has a new mission of finding Gallifrey.
Also, Moffat does like to hurt us, because that is exactly what we need even though we’d hate to admit it. My favorite episodes are Journey’s End, Voyage of the Damned, New Earth, and The Day of the Doctor. In all of these some of the saddest events happened. I cried the hardest I have ever cried in Journey’s End when Donna died. The plot was exceptional and there were many happy moments within it though. I liked Voyage of the Damned because the Doctor delivered that wonderful speech about himself, he finally met an Alonso to scream “Allonsy Alonso” , and yet Astrid, the girl we were hoping would be his next companion died, floating among the stars now, traveling, just like she always wanted to..*sniffle* Day of the Doctor, not exactly sad but John Hurt regenerates too soon and we know that eleven’s death is around the corner. We see Tom Baker playing what is implied is a future version of the Doctor….which makes you wonder, since he was the fourth doctor, and he probably won’t be alive to play the doctor again…..is there going to be Doctor’s we don’t know about? It’d be interesting if some of those crack theories about people being Time Lords was introduced to the show, they certainly set it up like that. But the point is that these episodes all have sad elements to them and are usually considered sad episodes yet they are quite often at least in part, some of our favorites for moments within them, and they are memorable….So don’t give the people all happiness…..give them the heartache too.
Many people blame Moffat for every single episode ever written now. Many people don’t like the direction the show is heading/has headed or whatever. Just because Moffat is showrunner does not mean he writes every episode. Usually when it says “co-written” that probably more accurately means, came in, made suggestions, proofread it, maybe added a line here and there.
Some people don’t care, he is showrunner so he has the power to stop it….Not always so….He is not a producer nor is he a director. Writers have a greater say in television than in the movies but that does not mean they are given entire control of the show. PLEASE READ SHERLOCK SECTION FOR MORE INFO ON THIS MATTER.
Mark Gatiss has rarely failed me. I usually love every word he writes. I feel like I can tell when something was written more by Gatiss than Moffat (like in Sherlock). In fact,if I really like an episode, I usually check and see if it’s written by Gatiss and it usually is written by him.
Gatiss probably writes the episodes you like in Doctor Who too, such as the much loved episode this season of Robots of Sherwood.
I put Gatiss in an article of Moffat because the two frequently appear together and are like a writing team since they both write Doctor Who and Sherlock.
Sherlock is written by both Moffat and Gatiss. You may say like I have said before, that it’s probably written more by Gatiss because it is well written. That is probably so. HOWEVER…..did you know that Moffat’s WIFE directs the show (Sue Vertue)? That’s right. The wife of Moffat directs Sherlock. Maybe there is problems with Doctor Who and the directors not seeing eye to eye creating problems. Maybe it’s that Moffat lets his wife decide more being that she is his wife and he of course respects her opinion? Could it be she is a BAMF and doesn’t let him get away with shit on HER show? Could it be that he feels like he has to write better for his wife and for the actors in this show, more respected already prominent actors? It could be all of this. It could be maybe one of the things suggested. It could be a few of the things suggested, but Moffat hasn’t fucked up Sherlock yet. In fact, it’s beautifully done in every respect.
So it just goes to show, who is director may really matter just as much if not more, than who is the writer.
I am not saying that I love Moffat. I’m not even saying that I like him. I’m not saying I don’t find fault in his writing, and unless you are Shakespeare, there is bound to be faults in your writing, especially since you are writing for television and have quite a few scripts to pump out, they can’t all be sheer poetry.
I’m just saying the Moffat hate has to be toned down people. The fandom continues to use this one man as their scapegoat not looking any further because that’s just who everyone else says is at fault. In fact, the Moffat hate is getting old, annoying, and just downright blasphemous.
No one is even paying attention to the fact that the writing has gotten a bit better because Moffat I think has spotted a few of the things he wants to improve on, but everyone is so down the Moffat hate hole, that they won’t rest until he is gone, even though the show’s writing of characters is getting better if you are watching. Moffat is correcting old mistakes, that is not without some difficulties.