Peter Capaldi may be the best pure actor to ever take on the role of Doctor Who. I cannot think of a single film where I couldn’t find a role for him somewhere. He has shown a remarkable ability to take on a wide variety of roles and own them all.
Stephen Moffat however is, and has always been, a problem. Despite the remarkable job he has done with Sherlock and the brilliant scripts he wrote in the Russell T. Davies era (including Blink and the Girl in the Fireplace), Moffat seems lost when it comes to being show runner for Doctor Who.
Moffat has a tendency to create overly complicated plot lines that he really doesn’t know how to resolve. In the final Matt Smith episode it seemed that he was trying to tie up a thousand loose ends and would up with an ending that made the final episode of Lost look like a masterpiece.
As we start the Peter Capaldi years Moffat still seems lost and appears to have run out of ideas. We're talking about a series that generally runs 13 episodes (and a Christmas special) per year. Those episodes can occur absolutely anywhere in time and space. That means billions of years and billions of civilizations yet somehow Moffat appears to be in a rut.
Here are a few things that Moffat and the BBC should stop doing if they'd like to move forward and improve the show:
First: Stop with the overt moral lessons. Doctor Who fans tend to be smarter than average and we really don't need to be hit over the head with themes, especially ones as simple as "war is bad" and "hate is bad".
Second: The show is Doctor Who, not Companions of Doctor Who. It's good for every character to have a back story, if it's a good story it might even be worth an episode but I don't need regular updates on the companion's love life or career. These side stories really have nothing to do with the series, or shouldn't, and valuable story telling time is being lost.
Third: Stop having the companions lecture the Doctor. There are varying theories about, exactly, how old the Doctor is. However, a few thousand years is a safe bet or as Madam Vastra said in the first episode of this year Deep Breath, “You might as well flirt with a mountain range”. Given his age and experience, twenty-somethings should stop lecturing him about what's really important, what lessons to take from a situation or anything really (unless he has questions about modern music or film.)
Fourth: We all know that Doctor Who is British (well ok, this one's Scottish - which may not be the same as British for long but the point is still valid). We don't need to be constantly reminded of just how British the show is, it doesn't need to be an advertisement for British tourism. Remember we're talking about billions of years, billions of planets and billions of civilizations. There's no need to keep focusing on modern day London or British history - in fact it will be way more fun if you don't.
To tie it all together, give us other planets, other eras and other civilizations. Give us stories about the Doctor with the companions in supporting roles and give us a greater variety of companions. More than one companion at a time is fine and given the range of times and places available to the TARDIS, they don't all need to be young women from modern day London (and their boyfriends).
All of time and space is pretty huge, all it takes is some imagination and Stephen Moffat does not seem to be up to the task.
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