Reply to post: Re: looks like no more Who for me...

Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Kristian Walsh

Re: looks like no more Who for me...

@h4rm0ny, I think I agree with you - Peter Capaldi deserves better (and Jenna Coleman now occasionally reveals that she is actually a good actor, despite being caged by such anodyne scripting) After a promising couple of episodes, this has descended into the depths that marred Matthew Smith's second series. I found it ironic that Capaldi at one point mentions being in Berlin once but "not killing Hitler", calling to mind the episode that marked the absolute nadir of the reborn show, as if to say "Hey, look I know this is bad, but remember 'Let's Kill Hitler' before you start calling this 'Worst. Who. Ever'."

It crystallised the thing that irks me most about Moffat's writing (and I attribute the "dramatic and shocking" coda to this episode to him, not the writer of the main story): major events are never hinted at beforehand: they just appear, as if to say "Hey! Bet you didn't expect that!". Well, no, I didn't expect that, and you springing it on me has disturbed the suspension of disbelief that's necessary to enjoy such nonsense as Dr Who has always been. It's supposed to be "surprise, and delight", not "surprise and annoy".

A good storyteller doesn't dump huge changes in the track of their narrative onto you with no prior warning, hint or suspicion: think back to any film with a major twist in it, and then go back and re-examine its start - there was always some tiny glance, or scene or some hint that not everything is as you expect - subconsciously, you were being tipped off that something was awry, so that when it happened, you were in some way expecting "something", but not knowing what. Moffat seems blind to this property of good drama, and thinks that ex-post-facto exposition is a substitute for believable character growth. Don't get me wrong. I like surprise, and I don't want everything telegraphed in advance: but I want the pleasure of mentally reviewing the preceding events and thinking "but of course!", rather than the annoyance of having to ask "hang on, this is happening now WHY?"

The second big problem is nicely summarised by SuccessCase above (although I think he's drawing a larger inference here than is supported by the rest of the broadcaster's drama output -- I certainly would make judgements about the culture of the United States based on watching episodes of "Star Trek".), but if I may just add a couple of words:

The repeated sidestepping of moral dilemmas or major catastrophes is a poor mixer for the hyperbolic story setups chosen by the current show-runner - and his own scripts are the worst offenders. Huge ideas are set up, played for about 30 minutes of screen time, and then when the inevitable dead-end arrives, the premise is torn up and balled up into an improbably pat ending. (e.g. a creature lays an egg that is phyiscally larger than itself... huh?)

In short, bah. Russel T. Davies may have been mawkish, cringing, and emotionally manipulative, but at least he had the balls to kill people the audience had grown to care about. (and the skill to make the audience care about them in the first place).

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