Steven Moffat is Such a Fan

Apparently Steven Moffat can’t do anything right, even when he blatantly is.

There is no accounting for taste. Sometimes we just like what we like, and preferring one era of Doctor Who over another is not only all well and good, but completely expected and accepted. It would actually be strange if Doctor Who fans didn’t have preferences. In fact, Doctor Who has been on the air for so long, it would be a little strange if long-term fans didn’t have eras they actively disliked. I myself have a couple eras that I find extremely problematic. However, it would be nice if, when we engage in our complaining, we ranted about stuff that actually had some bearing on what’s appearing on screen.

Some of the complaints about current Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat that I’ve encountered come in the form of griping about how he doesn’t reference past episodes enough. Some feel that Moffat needs to be referencing Classic Who more often. Others are hungry for more references to the first three series of New Who, when Russell T. Davies (RTD) was the show-runner.

These types of complaints are misguided on the face of it, because they ignore one of the best and most consistent traits of Doctor Who, which is that Doctor Who is a show that constantly changes. Complaining that Moffat’s Who isn’t loaded with nods, references, and connections to the past is kind of like complaining that the Fourth Doctor era doesn’t mention Susan, Ian, and Barbara enough, or that it doesn’t have episodes about the Tribe of Gum, the Sensorites, and the Zarbi. Well, of course it doesn’t. Those are stories and characters from the First Doctor.

But even worse is that Moffat’s Who is, in actuality, loaded with references to past episodes.

I guess Moffat could squeeze even more references in, if he wanted the show to be nothing but a self-referential exploration of Doctor Who nostalgia, but that would be short-sighted. Besides, that’s what the episode The Name of the Doctor was already all about.

And I suppose when some fans say they want more references to RTD Who, what some of them are actually saying is that they still want the show to be about how Rose was the Doctor’s one true love, or that they want Martha or Donna or Jack to return, but that would also be short-sighted. Fans rabidly clinging to a handful of companions year after year, when their stories have already finished and gone, is anathema to a show like Doctor Who.

And finally, I imagine that one strong disagreement with my assertion that Moffat’s Who is full of references to the past is that many of the references are obscure and not direct, to which I would respond by repeating that this has almost always been the case with Doctor Who.

What follows is a simplified, probably short list of references to Classic and RTD Who that are contained in Steven Moffat’s three series and specials. Much of this is pulled from the TARDIS Data Core (http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Doctor_Who_Wiki), a very helpful and informative site. I highly recommend exploring the Data Core if you want to dig further into these many points of continuity.

I certainly don’t expect anyone to actually read this entire list, but it should give us an idea of how thoroughly Moffat’s Who is entrenched in the program’s greater continuity. Steven Moffat is so obviously and unabashedly a Doctor Who fan.

____________

The Eleventh Hour

“Do I have a face that no one listens to? Again?” is an obvious reference to the entirety of both Classic and RTD Who and how his companions typically don’t listen to him.

The opening scene with the crashing TARDIS is a continuation of the final scene in RTD’s The End of Time.

“Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey” is a catch phrase coined by the Tenth Doctor.

“What? What? What?!?!” is one of the Tenth Doctor’s catch phrases.

Opening the TARDIS with a snap of his fingers was originally done by the Tenth Doctor.

The Shadow Proclamation is a nod to RTD Who

We see images of all the previous Doctors and of creatures from both Classic and RTD Who.

The Eleventh Doctor’s lingering, glowing regeneration energy was a precedent established in RTD Who.

The Doctor being late to return for Amelia is making use of a trope firmly established in Classic and RTD Who. It’s comically common how often the Doctor never arrives where or when he wants to.

“You are not of this world.”

“No, but I’ve put a lot of work into it.”

This is an obvious reference to every time the Doctor has saved the Earth in Classic and RTD Who.

The Doctor telling the Atraxi to “run” is a nod to the Tenth Doctor telling Harriet Jones “I should have told [the Sycorax] to run.”

The Doctor’s immediate and virulent dismissal of carrots is a nod to companion Mel trying to get the Sixth Doctor to drink carrot juice.

The Doctor calling Earth a Level 5 planet is an RTD concept.

The Beast Below

The Doctor again refers to himself as “the last of the Time Lords,” an RTD invention.

A “Magpie Electricals” sign, first seen in RTD Who, makes an appearance.

The Earth being abandoned due to solar flares is a plot point established in Classic Who.

A Dalek makes a brief appearance at the very end.

Liz Ten mentions the royal family’s relationship with the Doctor as established in RTD Who.

A quick exchange between Amy and the Doctor establishes that the Doctor had family/children, but doesn’t talk much about them, a theme that has popped up in both Classic and RTD Who.

Victory of the Daleks

Daleks.

Threatening the Daleks with a Jammie Dodger is similar to the Fourth Doctor making the same kind of threat with a Jelly Baby.

When the Doctor threatens to send the Daleks back to “the void,” he’s referencing a plot point and concept from RTD Who.

Dalek Saucers have been seen in Classic and RTD Who.

The Doctor identifies the TARDIS as a Type 40 TARDIS, another nod to Classic Who.

The Daleks escaping through a Time Corridor is another nod to Classic Who.

The entire story is essentially a retelling of the Classic Who story The Power of the Daleks.

The Time of Angels

The Weeping Angels first appeared in RTD Who.

River Song also made her first appearance in RTD Who.

The crash of the Byzantium was first referenced during RTD Who.

The mention of “High Gallifreyan” is a nod to Classic Who.

There is a mention of perception filters, a concept from RTD Who.

The Doctor having his ego bruised by River Song being a better TARDIS pilot parallels the Fourth Doctor being annoyed when Romana claims that she is a better pilot.

The Doctor saying that he’s not a taxi service echoes dialogue from the Fifth Doctor.

The Doctor can speed read, which has also been seen in Classic and RTD Who.

Flesh and Stone

Events from RTD Who (the CyberKing, the Dalek invasion) are used to establish a plot point about history disappearing.

The Doctor kissing Amy on the forehead before leaving her in a dangerous situation echoes similar moments with Zoe and Jo Grant in Classic Who.

Vampires in Venice

The Doctor’s library card has an image of the First Doctor, the address of the junkyard where the TARDIS was located in the first Classic Who episode, and the name Dr. J. Smith, the alias that the Doctor has used throughout Classic and RTD Who.

Amy talks about all the running they do, a trope established by RTD Who.

Perception filter again, from RTD Who.

Amy’s Choice

The Tenth Doctor’s relationship to Elizabeth I is given a mention.

The Dreamlord’s comment about the Doctor loving redheads is a clear nod to Donna Noble from RTD Who.

The Doctor is called “the last of the Time Lords” and “the Oncoming Storm,” both monikers from RTD Who.

The possibility that the TARDIS “jumped a time track” is a nod to Classic Who.

The Doctor derides the TARDIS Instruction Manual, a joke that references Classic Who.

The Hungry Earth

The return of the Silurians, a Classic Who monster.

The Doctor ends up taking Amy to the wrong place after promising to take her to the beach. This has also happened with Martha Jones and Donna Noble (RTD Who) and Sarah Jane Smith (Classic Who).

The Doctor mentions the fate of the first Silurians he encountered in Classic Who.

Cold Blood

The Doctor asks for celery, a nod to the Fifth Doctor.

Fixed points in time are mentioned, which have previously been used as integral plot points in RTD Who.

The entire story strongly parallels the Classic Who story The Silurians.

Vincent and the Doctor

We see images of the First and Second Doctors.

The Doctor rifles through a chest full of junk and conveniently helpful devices to find what he needs. This has been seen in both Classic and RTD Who.

The flirting between Vincent and Amy echoes the flirting between Shakespeare and Martha.

The Lodger

Flashes of Classic and RTD Who Doctors and monsters.

Brief glimpse of Rose Tyler.

The song the Doctor sings in the shower is a song that has been sung by the Third Doctor.

“The Oncoming Storm.”

Craig’s “What? What? What?!?!” echoes the Tenth Doctor.

We see all the Doctor’s previous incarnations again.

The Doctor telling Craig “don’t spend it all on sweets” echoes the Ninth Doctor saying the same to Adam in RTD Who.

The Pandorica Opens

Silurians, Judoon, Sycorax, Sontarans, Autons, Cybermen, Daleks… All creatures who have appeared in Classic or RTD Who, or both.

“I… am… talking!” has been uttered by both the Ninth and Tenth Doctors.

The Big Bang

The Seventh Doctor also once wore a fez.

A Christmas Carol

The Doctor is unable to perform a card trick, much like the Ninth Doctor.

The Doctor has a photo of himself and Einstein, lending credence to the idea that the two are friends, as originally mentioned in Classic Who.

The Doctor wears a scarf that is similar to that worn by the Fourth Doctor.

This is not the first time the Doctor has seen flying fish, as the First Doctor mentioned having seen flying fish.

The psychic paper fails, as it did twice during RTD Who.

The Impossible Astronaut

References to River Song’s first episodes, which belong to the era of RTD Who.

“Brave heart, Canton,” is a reference to the Fifth Doctor’s “Brave heart, Tegan.”

Day of the Moon

“Magpie Electricals” makes another appearance.

The Doctor tastes something to get more information from it, a habit established by the Tenth Doctor.

Dwarf star alloy has been mentioned in both Classic and RTD Who.

The Curse of the Black Spot

Captain Avery was mentioned in Classic Who.

Two objects occupying the same space is a concept that has been used in Classic Who.

The Doctor’s Wife

The Time War.

The Doctor mentions having rebuilt the TARDIS before, which he has done in Classic Who.

Mentions using rift energy to refuel the TARDIS, an idea which originated with RTD Who.

A canonical reason is given for the long-running “unreliability” of the TARDIS.

Mentions the existence of older control rooms.

The Cloister Bell, a Classic Who invention, sounds.

The Ood, an RTD Who creature.

The Doctor mentions the Sixth Doctor’s umbrella.

Sending messages by Hypercube is from Classic Who.

The Tenth Doctor’s console room makes a return.

The first instance of the TARDIS trying to communicate psychically happened during the first series of Classic Who.

Deleting rooms to create energy was established as an ability of the TARDIS in Classic Who.

The Eye of Orion is a Classic Who reference.

The TARDIS says she likes being called “old girl,” which is a reference to all the times previous Doctors actually called her “old girl.”

Reference is made to the Classic Who idea that the Doctor stole the TARDIS.

The Third Doctor once travelled by TARDIS console alone.

The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People

“One day, we will get back. Yes, one day.” –The First Doctor

“Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.” –The Third Doctor

“Would you like a jelly baby?” – The Fourth Doctor

“Hello, I’m the Doctor.” – The Tenth Doctor

A Good Man Goes to War

Another mention of the Doctor having family, a running theme that pops up occasionally since the early days of Classic Who.

Cybermen, Judoon, a Silurian, and a Sontaran.

“I am so sorry” echoes one of the Tenth Doctor’s catchphrases.

Nods to River Song’s first appearance during RTD Who.

The Untempered Schism from RTD Who is mentioned.

Let’s Kill Hitler

A repeat of the RTD Who banana gag.

We see holograms of past RTD Who companions, Donna, Martha, and Rose.

The TARDIS being in a state of Temporal Grace is a concept from Classic Who.

River surviving being shot during the few hours after her regeneration is similar to the Tenth Doctor being able to regenerate his hand because his regeneration was still fresh.

Night Terrors

Sontarans and Daleks get a mention.

Perception filters, again.

Jelly Babies.

The Girl Who Waited

Ejecting parts of the TARDIS for extra power is mentioned again.

Rory’s “I am so, so sorry” echoes one of the Tenth Doctor’s catchphrases.

The God Complex

The Minotaur is related to the Nimon, a Classic Who creature.

We see photos of a Sontaran, a Silurian, a Tritovore, a Hoix, a Catkind, and a Judoon, creatures who originated with Classic or RTD Who.

Weeping Angels.

Cloister Bell.

The Doctor calling the Minotaur beautiful echoes the Tenth Doctor’s sentiments upon encountering some alien creatures.

Closing Time

K-9 reference.

Cybermen.

Cyber-controller.

Cybermats!

“I don’t like it!” is from the Second Doctor.

The Doctor goes on a farewell tour before his impending death, just like the Tenth Doctor.

Being able to fight and reject the Cybermen conversion process was established in RTD Who.

The Doctor mentions that he sometimes forgets who he is, which has actually happened a few times in Classic Who.

“Not a rat, a Cybermat!” is a line from Classic Who.

The Wedding of River Song

Classic Who’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart gets a lovely and sad mention.

RTD Who’s Charles Dickens makes an appearance.

A Silurian.

Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness get a mention.

Drawings of Weeping Angels, Daleks, Cybermen, and Silurians.

Elizabeth I gets another mention.

The question “Doctor who?” was asked in the very first Classic Who story.

Dalek.

The Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe

The Doctor mentions Jabe, the tree creature from the Forest of Cheeb from RTD Who.

Classic Who established that the Doctor can briefly survive in the vacuum of space.

Asylum of the Daleks

The Oncoming Storm moniker is used again.

Skaro, the home planet of the Daleks since the first series of Classic Who.

The Asylum is similar in style to the Dalek city where the Doctor originally met the Daleks.

Different Daleks from the entire history of Doctor Who make an appearance.

Several encounters between the Doctor and the Daleks in Classic Who are mentioned.

The Doctor’s knack for manipulating and using teleporters has been seen and mentioned in RTD Who.

The Doctor mentions that he is familiar with Dalek prison camps, which he is, from Classic Who.

The Daleks have converted humans to Daleks before, in both Classic and RTD Who.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

Silurians.

The Doctor again claims that the TARDIS is not a taxi service, a nod to Classic Who dialogue.

Psychic paper, an RTD Who invention.

A Town Called Mercy

The characterization of the Doctor relies on his history of committing terrible acts. In other words, the Time War, an RTD Who invention.

The Doctor mentions the Master.

This is another episode about how the Doctor needs companions to keep him grounded, a conceit firmly established by RTD Who.

The Power of Three

U.N.I.T. is a Classic Who invention.

Kate Stewart is the Brigadier’s daughter, so she is a direct connection to Classic Who.

The Doctor mentions K-9 again.

The U.N.I.T. base under the Tower of London was originally seen in RTD Who.

The Doctor telling Brian about his past companions is a broad reference to all Classic and RTD Who companions.

The Angels Take Manhattan

The Doctor using regeneration energy to heal River’s hand is continuing a trend of regeneration energy being used for purposes other than regenerations, an idea that was originally used in RTD Who.

River says that the Doctor doesn’t like to see his companions age, which was a character trait established in RTD Who.

The Snowmen

Silurian and Sontaran.

Clara’s observation that the TARDIS is “smaller on the outside” only works as a joke because it relies on decades worth of characters observing that it’s “bigger on the inside.”

Strax’s inability to differentiate male from female is similar to the Sontaran Linx from Classic Who having the same confusion.

The Great Intelligence is an enemy that the Second Doctor faced during two different adventures.

The Fourth Doctor once dressed as Sherlock Holmes.

The Bells of Saint John

The Great Intelligence again.

The Doctor says that travelling short distances in the TARDIS is difficult, which has previously been stated several times in Classic Who.

The Anti-Gravity Olympics were also mentioned to Rose Tyler.

The Rings of Akhaten

The Doctor mentions his granddaughter, who we can only assume must be Susan, the first Classic Who companion.

The Time War.

The Doctor’s speech refers to events that he experienced during Classic Who.

Cold War

The return of the Ice Warriors, a Classic Who creature.

The Doctor activates the HADS, which was previously used by the Second Doctor.

The Doctor has a doll with blond hair, which might be an obscure reference to Rose Tyler.

The entire story is a nod to the Second Doctor’s style of “base under siege” stories.

Hide

The Ghostbusters references echoes a similar reference from RTD Who.

The Doctor says he used to have a place for umbrellas, referencing that some of the Classic Who console rooms had umbrella racks.

The Eye of Harmony from Classic Who is mentioned.

The Cloister Bell sounds.

Fixed points in time are mentioned again.

Psychic paper.

The Doctor poses as someone from Health and Safety, which he once did during RTD Who.

The Doctor mentions Metebelis III, a planet visited by the Third Doctor.

The Doctor visits a pocket universe, which he has done a few times in Classic Who.

The Doctor wears a red spacesuit which looks like the one worn by the Tenth Doctor.

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

The Time War.

The Great Intelligence is mentioned.

Dialogue from several old companions and Doctors can be heard.

We see the Seventh Doctor’s umbrella.

The Eye of Harmony.

Cloister Bell.

The TARDIS changes its interiors, something it has been able to do since Classic Who.

The Doctor derides the fashion sense of the Time Lords, something they have had a problem with since the days of Classic Who.

The Crimson Horror

The Doctor referring to a “gobby Australian” was a reference to Classic Who companion Tegan Jovanka.

“Brave heart…” was another Tegan reference.

Silurian and Sontaran.

Nightmare in Silver

Cybermen.

The possessed Doctor imitates past Classic and RTD Who Doctors.

We see images of all the Doctor’s past regenerations.

The Doctor takes advantage of the Cybermen’s weakness to gold, which has not been seen since Classic Who.

Cybermats are mentioned.

The Name of the Doctor

The Great Intelligence.

Silurian and Sontaran.

The Valeyard, an evil incarnation of the Doctor from Classic Who, is mentioned.

The Sycorax (RTD Who), the Daleks, and the Cybermen are mentioned.

The Doctor’s deeds being undone and the stars going out echoes what happened when the Tenth Doctor was killed prematurely.

We hear dialogue from several past Classic and RTD Who Doctors.

We see the TARDIS being stolen by the First Doctor.

We see a glimpse of Susan.

We see footage of or flashes of every single past Doctor.

____________

Hate Steven Moffat all you want, but let’s stop pretending that he’s not a fan of Doctor Who and that he’s ignoring Doctor Who continuity. The truth is, one of the reasons his version of Doctor Who is the way it is, is because he enjoys Doctor Who very much, and because he understands Doctor Who very, very well.

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6 responses to “Steven Moffat is Such a Fan

  • Emanuele Pezzani (@pikus87)

    Thank you very much!, I appreciate your effort! I am decidedly a Davies fan but I think I am not unfair: I can see flaws and plotholes in Davies’ as well as positive features in Moffat’s stories. One thing I never doubted was that Moffat is a lifelong fan of the show, so I never really disliked his tenure, apart from much of series 6: I can see that, although I may be very sceptical on many aspects of his stories, he does love the show! That being said, I have some remarks i would like to propose to you.
    It should be advisable to distinguish stories actually written by the showrunner (either RTD or Moffat) from stories written under their tenure by other writers but this is not possible: I hope to make myself clear in any case, but you should have done it first. For example, many nods are indeed present in episodes from the RTD era but in episodes written by Moffat himself: what about the opening of the TARDIS with a snap of fingers? There could be the similar case of the telephone of the TARDIS, which we see working in “The Empty Child”. Also written by Moffat…
    I must say I had already got some nods to the RTD era but I had always found them too scanty: the Time War and its consequences were a common topic of conversation in RTD era episodes, while Eleven never speaks of it; Rose dominates the RTD era from the beginning to the very end and each companion, with the exception of the ones off, are told about her; extensively to use a euphemism, while Eleven says her name once and nothing more: Amy does not even know about her and in the only scene where she learns about her, Rose is lost among many other companions, from both the Classics and the New episodes; moreover, this scene was never inserted in the final cut in the first place… The picture of the Catkind in “The God Complex” is almost imperceptible, and so are other references, e.g. the Magpie products: who will have really noticed them?… I remember I clapped at Moffat when I got the reference to Jabe, an important character in an important episode: in the wilderness of open, patent references to the RTD era, that one stands out!
    I had not put much attention to some facts, firstly established by Davies: the regeneration energy is portrayed in the same way by RTD and by Moffat; the Untempered Schism is fundamental to explain River’s “superpowers”; the fixed points in Time; the psychic paper (also referenced to in “Cold War”); however, these are all nods which I find nice, yet almost erudite. The Ood and the Judoon have appeared very briefly in Moffat’s series and not with the original features: the Judoon were a sort of policemen, while the Ood placid and humble servants (like in the “Pond life” minisodes: why could not be something like that be represented in an actual episode?…).
    If I had a problem with Moffat’s references to the past was on the contrary that he likes much more referencing to the Classic Who than to RTD’s: I never shared the opinion of those who think he does not enjoy referencing the past at all, be it Classic or New (by the way, are there any?!…). However, thank you very much for making me realize that there are indeed some references to RTD which I failed to notice adequately. I hope with Time I will be able to appreciate more this evil entity which we call Moffat! 🙂

    Emanuele

    P.S.: It also occurs to me, now that I have watched it (or rather, listened to it, as I was scared to look…), that in “The Green Death” the Third Doctor says that the giant fly is “beautiful”.

    • mikelpen

      Thank you for your typically polite and thoughtful reply, Emanuele. It’s always appreciated.

      You make perfectly fair points. I thought about indicating which references were actually Moffat referencing himself, but most of us fans seem intent on viewing the RTD and Moffat eras as separate entities, regardless of who was writing what episodes, so I decided not to bother. Besides, most fans who are disappointed in the Moffat era seem to have no problem with his episodes from the RTD era, so I felt like they were fair game. River Song in particular needed to be mentioned, since she was introduced as someone who would be of major importance to the Doctor’s future. It only made sense for her to become such a major presence in the later series.

      I wouldn’t say that references to RTD are scant, but I’ll concede that they do tend to be brief and that they don’t carry much weight or import. They’re really just there to give the stories a sense of texture, continuity, and history, and to give long-term fans fun little “a-ha!” moments. But with the exception of returning villains and companions, the same could be said of just about any of RTD’s references to Classic Who, or even any of Classic Who’s references to itself.

      I disagree with your assessment that Eleven “never speaks of the Time War.” This is an event that he may not speak the name of, but the weight of the Time War and its emotional fall-out on the Doctor is almost always present, and will sometimes rise to the surface in his dialogue. “Fear me, I killed them all.” And it makes sense that he wouldn’t talk about the Time War as much as he’s used to. He’s one more regeneration removed from it, and hundreds of years pass for the Eleventh during series 5-7, so he’s removed from it temporally as well.

      Same goes for Rose. Not mentioning her constantly is no different from the Doctor not mentioning Susan to every new companion, or not constantly talking about Sarah Jane Smith to Leela.

      I’ve said elsewhere that I can empathize with fans who are disappointed in Moffat because they adored the show for the Doctor’s tragic, romantic, humanizing relationship with Rose. I just can’t see Moffat shifting the show away from this premise and character dynamic as a flaw in his writing, especially since he goes out of his way to acknowledge that this dynamic is now part of the show’s history.

      Thanks again for your comments. It’s always nice to get other perspectives.

  • julianrmunds

    I am not a Moffat fan and this is not just because of his work with the Doctor, but also his Sherlock and Jekyll/Hyde series. My dislike for him stems from his inability to write women. Have you ever noticed that all his women are either whores with hearts of gold or marriage obsessed house maids. In the case of Amy, she began as an over flirtatious kiss a-gram and then became the consummate wife. Under Davies, and we can go back further but I won’t bore you, we were presented with female characters that were three dimensional. That were confident and wished to do something. That were not defined by the male they were tagging along with. In Amy’s case, she is either defined by the Doctor or Rory. River Song is deceiving, in that she seems 3 dimensional women, unless you digest the fact that she spent her life being the dutiful wife for the Doctor. Always doing exactly as she was told.

    In Sherlock, the way he turned Adler into a sex symbol is an abomination. It’s like taking Ripley from Alien and making her prance around the ship in a wet T-Shirt. Moffat is taking a wildly detailed world and filling it full of cliches and stereotypes. Just take a look at what he did with one of the most historically strong woman in history. When Cleopatra, featured in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, is participating in Doctor’s “posse,” her only purpose in that episode was to fall in love with the blatantly sexist hunter. Would Cleopatra, a women who led a rebellion against Rome, give over to a brutish chauvinist? No, in fact, she married one in real life and lorded over him like a Queen should.

    As to canonicity, Moffat certainly has been on the level. The only thing slightly muddy about his tenure is the Doctor’s age. At the beginning he was 907. Now, he’s 1200, though in recent episodes he’s been billed at 910. This is a bit of an inconstancy. Not one really to get up in arms about though.

    P.S. Clara’s not as bad as Amy. Though she does have a tendency to be inexplicably flirt.

    Wonderful Article and Happy Fandom!

    • mikelpen

      Thanks for reading!

      I have to admit that I’m so happy with what Moffat has done with Doctor Who that I tend to be very forgiving of his flaws. It’s certainly true that the surface similarities between his female characters could be seen as problematic (I’m tired of each new companion being feisty and flirty), but I can’t be too bothered by it. After all, Rose herself was the first companion to be so overtly feisty and flirty. Ten and Eleven can both be described as feisty and flirty. Captain Jack is feisty and flirty to the nth degree. Donna is the Queen of Feisty. Moffat is simply catering to the modern television trend of everyone being sexual and snarky.

      And I’m not sure Moffat’s problematic female characters are the result of Moffat being incapable of writing women, or if they’re a by-product of his style of characterization. He tends to create characters that are immediately defined by one or two broad strokes that are bold enough to somewhat mask the deeper, more interesting character traits that are sometimes only gleaned through hints and inferences rather than being spelled out.

      Good observations, though. I would definitely welcome more variety from one companion to the next. But again, I can’t complain too much. I found Amy to be instantly charismatic and delightfully flawed and sarcastic. River works best for me in small doses, but I find her story and sacrifices to be mythic in scope and bitterly poignant (she’s so much like her father). Clara is an interesting study in fear leading to complacency. But we definitely need the next companion to break the mold.

      Was Series 7 calling the Doctor 910 again? I don’t remember hearing that, but it’s easy to miss small details in a show like Doctor Who. The Doctor’s age jumping from 900 to 1200 was due to his aging 200-300 years during Series 6, so that wasn’t a problem, but if he’s back to being 900 or so, we’ll be forced to fall back on the Moffat-ism “the Doctor lies.”

      Thanks for your insightful comment! I’m enjoying your blog, and I’m hoping that we get some dissection of Doctor Who from you in the future.

      • julianrmunds

        When the new stuff starts up again, I will surely get on that. I’ve also entertained the idea of doing a retrospective through, at least, #9’s series. I also could go back further. But we’ll see!

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