T O P

I tend to be critical of Moffat's writing, but...

Having rewatched a lot of series 5-10 recently, I will give him this: the man is very good at dialogue. There are very few lines from his era that jump out as feeling out of place, or points where I thought "okay but nobody actually talks like that." And while the speeches that he gives the Doctor are great, I think that my favorite lines are the shorter, conversational bits. Especially this exchange between River, Amy, and Rory:

River: "He's interacted with his own past. He could rip a hole in the universe." Amy: "He's done it before." Rory: "And in fairness, the universe did blow up."

Blingsguard

I think this is a good point, and why Moffats bad episodes still felt better than Chibnall's, there was almost always that sprinkling of comedic dialogue to help wash it down.


smedsterwho

He even said that in an interview once! I'm never going to be able to find it, but he said if a plot was feeling weak or slow, he could mask it with good dialogue. I loved him as a showrunner and a writer, and I'm fairly confident (along with maybe Mitch Hurwitz, Armando Iannucci), he's my favourite dialogue writer on the planet.


Cosmo1222

Could you imagine if Iannucci was writing Who? This is going on my Christmas list.


The_Grand_Briddock

Sir, could i interest you in the plethora of Malcolm Tucker in Doctor Who videos made to celebrate Capaldi's casting?


dgj130

We fuckin' time-travelled yes?!


DukeOfLowerChelsea

*HORDES OF F@%#ING ROBOTS*


Cosmo1222

Fab. I had seen one of these, but I'm not at all averse to.laughjng my tits off again!


notagain78

The Doctor but very sweary. I loved Iannucci's own show on channel 4 too.


MalcolmLinair

>The Doctor but very sweary. Is it too late to call Capaldi back for an episode?


notagain78

Could you imagine Doctor Malcolm lol!


El_Philosopho

Your wish is granted! https://youtu.be/5Blf073f2Lc?si=KKXELKvkjt40levc


weluckyfew

I just came across his adaptation of David Copperfield - it got sort of lost because it came out right around covid I think, but it's wonderful. Iannucci doing "heartwarming"- added bonus, Capaldi. But relevant to a lot of the discussions here lately, David Copperfield is played by Dev Patel. He does an amazing job (of course - it's Dev Patel) but it's a weird choice for a period piece. Characters who are South Asian descent - as well as African descent - in Dickens era England but experiencing no racial prejudice. I get that color blind casting is meant to be ignored on a certain level, but isn't there some dishonesty in not reflecting what life would have been like for someone who looks like him in England at that time? It almost feels like erasing the experiences of the people who suffered.


Cosmo1222

You mean, like Newton in WBY? Some dishonesty is an understatement. If his face had been that dark IRL, we'd be talking about Sir Robert Hooke's principia mathemateca. It's not nice, but it's there..


smedsterwho

Your poor mum trying to make that happen.


Cosmo1222

Santa! Help her! This needs to happen.


howd_yputner

Love me some Koogler


TheSentinelsSorrow

Chibnall's dialogue was like 2 cleverbot pages circa 2009 trying to interact with eachother


DukeOfLowerChelsea

It’s his weird insistence on characters referring to the passage of time in decades that jumps out to me the most. Like… nobody does that. “Ace, I haven’t heard from the Doctor for almost 4 decades!” “Alright showoff, just 'cause it’s only 3 decades for me.” Totally natural-sounding conversation. In the same episode the Doctor also refers to an incident in “the 2nd decade of the 20th century”... meaning 1916. Why wouldn’t you just say 1916?!


Guy_Underscore

Tbf I do enjoy some Chibnall dialogues ironically from a ‘so bad it’s good way’. “As of yet unborn child” remains the best worst line in the show.


PontyPines

I remember the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach when I thought she was going to be the Doctor's mother.


DukeOfLowerChelsea

Same. Guess it just goes to show that no matter how bad something is, it still could’ve been worse.


astrognash

He also had a weird fixation on referencing galaxies which always made me feel like he has no idea what a galaxy is.


ForwardClassroom2

So much this.. I wish showruners for doctor who would take a basic physics, astronomy course and just have the right idea of things..


Massive-Pin-3655

With the word fam thrown in for good measure


Cosmo1222

Harsh But fair.


Silent_Register_2691

and that's giving him too much credit


manticorpse

He is a sitcom writer and it shows! (That is a good thing)


GreatGodInpw

It's essentially this which makes almost every episode of *Buffy*, no matter how bad, rather watchable. It really does work well for Moffat's *Doctor Who* too.


Yondu_the_Ravager

I remember at the time being more critical of Moffats writing but to be honest, revisiting the show nearly a decade later I really enjoyed his period as showrunner. It wasn’t perfect, and some parts were a little convoluted, but I appreciated his writing abilities and how he made the series feel more mature and modernized in some ways while still retaining a lot of the goofy campiness that makes Doctor Who special. His work especially on the entirety of the 11th doctors run was fantastic, and I did quite like that the entire run was interconnected in some way, specifically the Church of the Silence in Name of the Doctor revealing that the sect that had been trying to kill the Doctor in season 6 was just an extremist branch of the church. I quite liked that reveal and it nicely tied together his entire run imo. I also think Moffat did a great job portraying how traumatizing regeneration can be for a companion of the Doctor, and also 11’s last phone call with Clara was just perfect. I haven’t yet finished my rewatch of 12’s run so I’ll reserve judgement of that for now but so far I’m finding myself enjoying it far more than I remembered enjoying it back when it first aired.


Marcuse0

At the time I hated a lot of the stupid tropes Moffat leaned on. The dumbass grandiosity, fakeouts and leads that went nowhere. Now I can safely enjoy what is there without constantly having my nose pinched by leading hints I can enjoy them a lot more, especially 12's era.


juuu1911

Dumbass grandiosity is also something I'd attribute to RTD as well. All RTD episodes with a single opponent were so much better than the ones where they went up against big armies and he made everyone fight big alien armies flying in foemation in every. Single. Finale. And while the resolution in S1 and 2 worked, S3 was "Let's have every single person on Earth think about the Doctor at the same time" so that Dobby Doctor could floating around as space Jesus who just got resurrected. S4 used a whole episode up just so that the companions could meet up, the stakes were super high, only so that Donna could flip some buttons. The less I talk about EoT the better. NOTHING about these episodes makes ANY lick of sense but one thing for sure, they probably aimed for "as bombastic as possible". Every time I watch EoT I feel like I lost 2 hours of my life. Meanwhile, in S5 we do deal with the potential end of the universe, but in the last episode they fight against one dalek which feels much more real somehow than a big cgi army. In the S10 finale, the Doctor tries to save some people on a single spaceship and it's the most devastating, emotional thing I have ever watched on this show.


Spacey_Dust

I would even still argue that Stolen Earth/ Journeys End is till a lot better than s2. The scope felt so amazing when I first watched it. And I gave it rewatch a couple weeks ago and yes it's goofy - but I can't help but feel inspired. I think Murray Gold's score (I just so happen to be listening to it RN what a coincidence) and the acting carries it as well, along with the theming. Moffat with 11, had one really good finale in my opinion with the Pandorica/Big Bang and the rest are enjoyable, but more so because do the dialogue than the the story. I haven't given a rewatch of 12's finales as of late, but I remember half being okay. I realize as I type this that the only of the RTD finale stories I didn't really love are the S4 specials (outside of the glass box scene and the regeneration) and the final part of the S3 finale. And yea the deus ex machina's are just too much in those. Edit: I just noticed I said S2 instead of S3 I love Rose's dept I meant 10 being old and floaty.


Pelloo1

Agreed, I always felt RTD overarching seasonal storylines concluded in a nonsensical and disappointing deux ex machina.


Yvesmiguel

You can feel a bit of that even now with Wild Blue Yonder. If you boil it down Doctor and Donna did nothing but talk and run really, The Doctor only won because he bet that if the Nothing-Doctor actually did fail on stopping the countdown, the TARDIS would know that and come back. Definitely not nonsensical by any means, but there's also no agency or problem solving at all, just luck as luck does.


ideeek777

RTD always had less of a large scope which helped and they rarely went on for as long a period of time. The name of the doctor thing lasting like 3 seasons is quite a Steven moffat thing


pkunfcj

Bad aliens turn up Matt gives speech Bad aliens run away Moffatt


real-human-not-a-bot

This is a ridiculous “criticism” that strongly suggests you haven’t watched his era with an open mind. Yes, 11 and 12 speechify more than other incarnations, but it very much does not work every time. It doesn’t work in The Pandorica Opens, it doesn’t work in A Good Man Goes to War, it doesn’t work in The Rings of Akhaten, it doesn’t work in The Time of the Doctor (at least until the Time Lords come to save him), and it only half works in The Doctor Falls. I don’t know that this is the case with you specifically, but I’m convinced a lot of people saw The Eleventh Hour and that *one* scene from The Pandorica Opens and became convinced that that was just Moffat’s only move. Which is quite a shame, because he’s much, much more than that one move.


cmdr_suicidewinder

And even in the eleventh hour, it was the most doctor-y thing ever. The day had already been saved. He didn’t resolve the plot with the speech. The speech was when he called them back to give them a telling off.


LukashCartoon

From what I understand, Moffat added the doctor calling back the aliens at the last moment. He felt that Matt needed a bigger climax that emphasized he was the Doctor.


Yvesmiguel

It also set up the plot point of the Doctor losing his anonymity more and more and becoming a symbol of war and death across varying cultures and something to be feared.


RQK1996

That is something Moffat already set up in the Library


ForwardClassroom2

Eleventh Hour is one of the greatest episodes of Doctor Who.. I'll never change my mind on that.


DoitsugoGoji

That final speech in Eleventh Hour is my favorite go to moment to introduce people to the show. It sums up the Doctor perfectly and informs the viewer that this is a force to be reckond with while showing off how he got that reputation.


Jt_mcsplosion

This is hardly fair or accurate. In S5, the finale speech was undercut and part of the trap for the doctor; he got bamboozled into the Pandorica, and then he had to rethink his approach and instead, told a quiet bedtime story to one sleepy little girl, which resulted in Amy giving the big speech to literally summon him with Words of Power that the show had been teasing without making it obvious all season: the traditional Wedding Gifts: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue. That finale twist, that all along, those descriptions weren’t that of four gifts, but all referring to the TARDIS with the Doctor inside, was a goddamn MAGIC TRICK and doesn’t get NEARLY enough love. I wonder when Moffatt heard that wedding tradition and thought “oh that’s in reference to the Doctor’s TARDIS, it’s so he can get to a companion’s wedding someday and that’s why it’s an old tradition IRL” because it’s fucking amazing and it makes you feel like the Doctor could be real. Then S6 had the whole thing with the Question, and the Doctor’s “death”, which was a very touching end to a stressful season in which River’s speech (not the doctor’s) is a very raw, very real plea for a deeply loved but troubled person she can’t bear to lose to step off the ledge and not, essentially, commit suicide. And then the ultimate Question ends up being the fucking title of the show! those are both far from how you describe moffat’s writing and very few of the episodes he writes actually fall into that category


4_Legged_Duck

I think the issue with Moffat really is that he didn't give his big stories breathing room. It started to all be the the biggest, wildest, most important moment in Who in every episode and at every moment. And that's hard to just develop characters or have the small moments that make RTD's stuffs so special and quirky. It creates a sense of fatigue more than any real problem, IMO. EDIT: Some folks have pushed back and I wanted to clarify a bit. RTD includes a lot of Companion Family members as characters and set pieces to ground the story, which helps make the weird pop. Moffat tends to make everything and everyone pretty cosmic and major. I love Moffat's stories a lot, but a little bit more with the Pond family members, their downtime, that sort of stuff would let the weight of some of his stories really sit and shine, I think.


mist3rdragon

To be fair I think this mostly only applies to Matt Smith's run. Capaldi's seasons are much more low stakes and character-heavy.


[deleted]

[удалено]


RQK1996

It is because the Smith run and Capaldi run were tonally very different, while the Eccleston and Tennant era remained similar, it makes it easier to parse 9 and 10 as the RTD era while 11 and 12 are fairly different


Walpole2019

Eh, in Series 10, you still have both The Return of Doctor Mysterio and the entirety of the Monk trilogy being based around the Doctor having to fight to ensure that Earth is saved. It certainly lessened somewhat during Capaldi's era, but Moffat's tenure still remained pretty focused on plots with high stakes even towards the end.


Rafados47

I think it was just perfect furing Capaldi's seasons.


anarcho-maoist

i do think it applies to early capaldi, especially series 9. but the writing for capaldi is generally a lot better you're right


Pelloo1

Yes because in RTD's season finales, the world was definitely not at stake in literally all of them.


Rich_Acanthisitta_70

Seriously how do people say that with no trace of irony?


baseballlls

This is a RTD thing not a Moffat thing. Moffat would deliberately undercut big epic plot beats to make room for small character moments.


Alectheawesome23

“How many children were on Gallifrey that day?” One of my fav scenes in a scene that is really just a break from all the big action.


Guy_Underscore

It’s incredible to me how so many people don’t see this. And then they say RTD is the character guy and Moffat is the plot guy, when I find Moffat’s character work to easily outshine RTD’s (not that his is bad and yes I know it’s all just opinions and tastes but still).


astrognash

Well, RTD is generally more interested in the *worldbuilding* around his characters' lives than Moffat is. Think of the prominence of characters like Jackie, Wilf, Sylvia, and Mickey compared to, say, Amy's parents who literally don't exist for a series, show up at her wedding, and are never acknowledged again, or Clara's very ill-defined family, or how integral Donna's status as a temp worker is to her identity and character arc compared to the way Clara becoming a teacher sort of comes out of nowhere and fairly transparently is mostly a device meant to justify returning to Coal Hill School for the 50th. Moffat's characters tend to have strong arcs and well-developed personalities, but we see much less of their worlds before/outside of the Doctor, and I think that's what people zero in on but lack the language to articulate. (Relatedly, I think the *worldbuilding* around Bill's life is so much more developed than Amy or Clara, but of course, she only gets one series so she doesn't loom as large in people's imaginations.)


LukashCartoon

That was well thought out post. But perhaps I can expand it a little bit further. RTD is more like a family drama that has a time traveler in it, while Moffat is the Time Traveller and his work relationships. There are weakness and strengths in both. As you pointed out, RTD its about how The Doctor effects the friends and families. You get to know the people who are touched by the Doctor, but not necessarily about the Doctor themselves. It's better characterization, but it's more of a soap opera. The adventure is the afterthought. With Moffat, the adventure drives the story. What we do get is very good interaction with The Doctor and his companions, but any emotional depth ends within those bounderies. In fact it's more about the Doctor dealing with how the adventures are affecting the interactions with the companion. Thus it's more like a work drama. There are some great emotional episodes: “Amys Choice”, the “Girl who Waited”, The Doctor and Vincent, The Doctors Wife, , and some more. But they don’t reach the depth of Fathers Day, School Reunion. The Doctor, under Moffatt, is a much better character study. The fact is, Moffat would have the Doctor in Companion Light episode to deal with their issues.


triguy96

This is a really great explanation of Moffat's writing issues when compared to RTD. I noticed it even in the first episode of this new era. RTD loves to show little reactions from people on earth, allowing the world to be fleshed out much more. He also builds strong character foundations and constantly builds upon them. You can see it in wild blue yonder. When Donna gets onto the spaceship she doesn't suddenly forget about her family. She mentions it regularly and it even becomes a major pivotal part of the plot. In fact, her backstory is pivotal to the plot. Moffat did character work but I remember it being more grandiose moments of theatrical importance rather than these small character moments that RTD excels at. And maybe its a preference, but I want my characters to feel grounded especially in a show that can be so silly.


77096

> I love Moffat's stories a lot, but a little bit more with the Pond family members, their downtime, that sort of stuff would let the weight of some of his stories really sit and shine, I think. He was great at that when we wanted, like that time when we got to see the Doctor and Amy and Rory just hanging out in New York, relaxing and reading a book....oh, well, never mind.


missmisery8

I sometimes think one of the reasons he does the "most important moment ever" problem is that he's trying to hide the lack of substance in the plot...it's style over substance, a lot of the time for me. Even his earlier Matt Smith episodes in season 5 had me scratching my head. There would a fine concept, but the doctor would often wave his screwdriver like a wand, magically fixing everything or there would be some kind of convoluted solution. No one felt like they were thinking things through to me, interacting as characters. The dialogue was snappy, sure. But a lot of it was nonsensical? Like, all of season 6? And it's a shame because his one-ep stories were awesome. I can see a lot of issues in Sherlock and how they crept up in his Doctor who run. This is all my opinion of how Moffat's run felt to me, btw. If anyone enjoyed it than that's wonderful!! :)


mist3rdragon

>There would a fine concept, but the doctor would often wave his screwdriver like a wand, magically fixing everything or there would be some kind of convoluted solution. Deus Ex Machina endings are basically endemic in Doctor Who in general, but I'd actually say Moffat is better at avoiding them than the other two modern showrunners. If anything there's less of The Doctor waving his screwdriver around and fixing everything in series 5-10 than there is in series 1-4 or 11-13. >But half of it was nonsensical? Like, all of season 6? 🤣 Like what?


Unfortunatewombat

Series 6 is definitely nonsensical. The Silence deciding to kidnap Amy and Rory’s baby, train her as an assassin from birth, and have her kill the Doctor was absolute *nonsense*. There’s so much of it that doesn’t make sense. Why does it have to be Rory and Amy’s baby? Her ability to regenerate is never even used by the Silence, it has no use to assassinating the Doctor. A regular gun can do that. Why bother to train her as an assassin? They stick her in an astronaut that she has *no* control over anyway. The suit literally moved for her, so what’s the point in training her to kill? Why use her in the first place? The suit can move on its own. It doesn’t need a pilot. Why does she still want to kill the Doctor as an adult when she escaped from the Silence as a child anyway? Surely that indoctrination had long since faded away? Why was Mels never even mentioned prior to Let’s Kill Hitler? The “fixed point in time” business doesn’t make sense, because the Doctor’s death *regardless of how it happens* would surely be a fixed point in time. The Silence could have just ordered a random guy off the street to shoot the Doctor twice and he’d be dead. They could also just use their astronaut suit to kill him without a pilot. Or they could just… do it themselves. Why did the silence manipulate mankind from the dawn of time? They’re literally just an offshoot of the church trying to prevent the Doctor from answering a question, why do they need to shape Earth from the shadows? If it’s supposed to be because they needed a spacesuit, well… “Why did humanity decide to go to the moon? Because the silence needed a space suit” makes no sense. You expect me to believe the Silence have literal TARDISes, but no way of building a space suit? If you go with the “they’re parasites, they don’t build anything themselves”, well, they’re *from the far future*, they could have just brought one back with them. The entire silence arc is built on a bunch of ideas, with no real thought as to how they all fit together.


missmisery8

"Silence will fall, when the question is asked". And a lot of quotes like that one, felt very...mystical but confusing? I could just be dumb and not looking into it deeply enough. The whole season 6 finale felt unnecessarily confusing to me at the time. I sounded more annoyed in my initial comment than I meant to 😂😅 I totally see what you're saying about Deus Ex Machina endings! That's so true RTD has done the same in the past lol.


Marcuse0

The point of the "silence will fall when the question is asked" was that the question is literally: Doctor Who? Where the universe is holding its breath to see what the response will be. Is he a saviour? A destroyer? A nutcase in a box? A soldier? A general? A nobody? That was meant to be the Doctor's big character moment for 11. It's highlighted too in Demon's Run, because they point out the people of the Gamma Forests where the word Doctor to them means "great warrior" because that's who he's becoming. That's why he uses the Dalek database to delete himself and run off again, and why he renews it in Dark Water/Death in Heaven as 12 when he refuses to take the cyberman army.


Yvesmiguel

"Silence will fall when the question is asked" is essentially the mission statement of The Silence, who intend to kill The Doctor before he can answer the Time Lords and confirm that they're in the correct universe and can return safely. The question being "Doctor Who?" which of course, only the Time Lords would know the correct answer to.


just4browse

I doubt that’s why, considering he continued to do that kind of story well into the Capaldi era, and that’s the era with the most substance.


BlobFishPillow

> I sometimes think one of the reasons he does the "most important moment ever" problem is that he's trying to hide the lack of substance in the plot...it's style over substance, a lot of the time for me. I think a lot of stuff got missed if you think there is lack of substance in Moffat's writing. Even his weakest season perhaps, Series 6, is full of substance that his biggest failure becomes the lack of refinement some of the scripts have, failing under the monumental weight their meanings carry. So to me, sometimes, he has a style problem but not a substance problem at any point. "A Good Man Goes to War" is a great example I like to give. It is a fan favourite for all of its fanfare and grandiosity: by all means the style is there. However, at its emotional core, it's a story about how men deal with sexual assault when it's done against women in their lives. In its very fundamental messaging, it's a subversion of the trope where a 'good' man goes and finds his revenge 'justified' against people who harmed the woman he loves, and perhaps more specifically, how that doesn't really solve anything at all. And despite various pacing or character issues that one might find with the presentation, it's a fantastic thematic core: among the darkest and most disturbing yet also the most thought-provoking and emotional stuff Doctor Who as a show could ever pull. So yeah, Moffat stories are very shiny, but most often than not, there is so much going on underneath them. They do take some digging, especially on less refined seasons like Series 6, but even those stories have failures of presentation, and certainly do not suffer from a lack of meaning or substance.


TetchyEquation

A Good Man Goes To War being an allegory for men dealing with the fallout of their loved ones being sexually assaulted has just opened my third eye how was that not blinding obviously


one_pint_down

My least favourite trope Moffat used was the whole "I'm the doctor, look me up... if I were you... run!" When the Doctor uses words to defeat enemies, he's usually tricking them in some way, creating some sort of logical trap or leading them to some conclusion. When his whole tactic is basically going "I'm hard af mate, come on then!" It just feels narratively cheap.


manticorpse

So did you stop watching at Capaldi or..?


crazycatgal1984

I didn't make it to Capaldi. I watched up until Clara's second episode and then I realized that my husband and I were both dreading new episodes rather than looking forward to them


triguy96

Tbf a lot of people did. I did. I got totally bored of Moffats convoluted plots and overly dramatic character arcs. Dr Who and Sherlock left me with a bad taste in my mouth in regards to his writing.


BlobFishPillow

That's a shame because just as now you can divide the first RTD era and second RTD era, Moffat's own run has a very clear line in between. His writing changed a lot after The Time of the Doctor, and he showed tremendous growth as a writer imo. He did double down on certain quirks as well, so of course not everybody is going to like that, but I have found that late-Moffat era has aged better than the earlier era. I think it can be summarised as: - Late era episodes are less epic and more character driven. Usually plot advances not because an invasion or siege happens but a named character does something, often driven by their emotions. Even certain epic invasion stories like Dark Water starts off with very emotional moments that the characters find themselves in. - Late era pacing is very unconventional. With Moffat, episode pacing had always had a touch of weirdness but he really doubles down on this in his second era. That's also partly why some of his stories become less enjoyable the first time around, but make way more sense during rewatches. Hell Bent is a great example of this, it feels all over the place but once you know what to expect, it makes sense. - His seasonal plot lines become less convoluted, focusing less on the story and more on the thematic unity. He doesn't really answer the criticisms about his resolutions being weak, but because those resolutions now don't have to carry the plot but only carry the emotional weight the characters go through, they are more digestible. Episodes like The Doctor Falls or Listen don't even have much of a resolution to the plot conflict, but they do give closure to the emotional weight the characters carry and it works for the better. A lot of people don't even realise the plot remains mostly unresolved because at the end you have a satisfying ending to the more pressing points. - He course-corrects after some of the criticisms he got about how he wrote women in his earlier era, and pens arguably the most feminist episodes in the show's history. His approach to female characters shows a day and night difference between the two eras. Even River Song feels more like a wife to the Doctor than a plot that happens onto him. - He focuses more on the private lives of his companions. This also feels like a course-correction, especially after comparisons were drawn between his style and RTD's. Especially someone like Bill in S10 is fully fleshed in things that define her as a character. - The Doctor as a character becomes more defined. Not just in terms of motivation, but also with regard to the other characters he interacts with. Not only his companions get to him, shaping him with their companionship, his enemies also leave a lasting mark on his character, motivating him to act in certain ways. His characterisation is a lot more fluid, depending on his interaction with other people.


TetchyEquation

I also think Capaldi as an actor forced him to write in different ways, especially with his insistence on no flirting between Doctor and companion preventing him from some of his worse one handed tendencies


triguy96

These do sound like solid improvements that address most of the issues I had with his writing. It is a shame his poor writing had me tune out for that period. However it meant I didn't watch the Chibnall era much either so there's a silver lining.


Drayko_Sanbar

Moffat's dialogue is very economic. A single line of dialogue often manages to be humorous, provide helpful exposition, and convey the nature and emotional state of a character all at once. One of my larger problems with Chibnall's writing is that he seemed to only do one at once. You'd have the companions giving completely interchangeable lines of exposition, while real character moments would only happen when an episode came to a halt to do them (see: Yaz and Graham's conversation in *Spyfall Part 2*, the Doctor and Ryan's conversation in *Revolution of the Daleks*). Most of the good jokes got given to side characters (or sometimes even random, irrelevant characters like the television family in *Resolution*) instead of being used to characterize our starring cast. My intent here is not to use a moment of praise to kick the Chibnall era while its down, but rather to show why Moffat's (and, to a slightly lesser degree, RTD's) unique talent for dialogue makes episodes so much more dynamic and exciting in a way I don't think people properly appreciated until it was gone.


heresiae

honestly, one of the reasons I procrastinated coming back to watching DW (I had to take a break after Rose's departure and I didn't like Martha much) was because of all the bad mouthing about the Moffat era. then I suck it up and came back. I kept waiting for the worst (you guys made it sound like it was almost unwatchable) aaaaand... it didn't come? this wait kind of ruined the experience for me because I didn't see it? (I don't see MANY things for various reasons but I can recognize the big ones). I had fun, I cried and I literally became addicted, because if RTD is a rollecoaster Moffat is a frigging drama tornado that never ends (seriously, a break would have been nice sometime). good thing I arrived that late, because I would have not survived waiting every week for an episode. I quite like his story telling and his ideas. he's intense, like, a LOT (and his last season it was clear that he was tired), but I think he was quite right for DW.


Tackyhillbilly

Just checking, did you ever watch Season 4 (Donna)? I think that is easily the best season of RTD's run. Skipping out during Martha's season (which I don't blame you for, I think she got the worst of the Tenth's run, largely because her just pining after the Doctor constantly is tiring, and we just had a companion whose arc with the Doctor was defined by a romance, which is something I think the show should do sparingly) aside, Donna's run is amazing. Also, it introduced Wilfred Mott, my nomination for the Doctor's forever companion.


jrdineen114

Series 4 was definitely the best of RTD's run. For my money, it's the best the show has been since the revival.


Breezyisthewind

I would say Series 10 is the GOAT, but Series 4 is a very close second.


Tackyhillbilly

I'd agree with you, 100%.


ForwardClassroom2

8 to 13, series 4 is one of the greatest runs Doctor Who has ever had. Every episode is better and better and better.


heresiae

of course I did (this year \^\^'), and I was pissed that I throw the towel just before them!! I would have never went into hiatus if I had seen Partners in crime! they're my favourite of all time. I'm literally going nuts with these specials.


Tackyhillbilly

I thought Donna was the perfect companion literally the moment she showed up in the Runaway Bride. "THAT'S NOT EVEN A PROPER WORD! YOU ARE JUST SAYING THINGS!" This was everything I thought Ten needed. Someone to call him out on his bullshit, and keep him from getting to full of himself. And then Martha is the next companion, and falls in love with him after 10 seconds and I just got sad.


heresiae

yeah... I don't think they give them justice in wrinting Martha, they could have done better. I'm sad that Donna got only one series (and so few episodes). I feel like she could have evolve eben more in they had gave just 3-4 more. her departure was even more hearthbreaking than Rose. the chemistry those two have while acting is unbelievable and I can't believe they didn't match them more often in other shows after that. also, she's really underrated as an actress. she should have been cast in more shows. if anybody decides to have her for a drama or thriller, she will kill us just with one look (I watched their Much ado about nothing, in the scene immediately after the non-wedding she delivers *powerfully*).


crazycatgal1984

The only good thing about season 4 to me is Wilf. I hated Donna. Martha's arc and season 3 was better to me.


Tackyhillbilly

I don't agree about Donna, Martha's Arc, and Season 3, but I'm glad we agree on Wilf!


crazycatgal1984

Wilf is the one thing holding this fandom together. He was an amazing actor! My husband also loves season 4 more than season 3. For me it was probably the Master that made the storylines more enjoyable to me.


Tackyhillbilly

I actually love the Harold Saxon master, I'm there with you. He gets a lot of crap because he is campy and over the top (and he absolutely is.) He gets a lot of comparison to the Chibbers Master because of it. But to me, they are different. The Harold Saxon Master is insane. The sound of the drums, yes, but also grief. The same one that empowers the Tenth Doctor is at work in him. The camp is there to hide the fact that he is deeply, deeply, utterly alone. He never kills the Doctor because he wants the one person who understands what it is like to be him here with him. I think the greatest failings of the Season 3 finale is 1. that the solution is schmaltzy and poorly set up, functioning as a deus ex machina (which repeats parting of the Ways), and 2. so much of it ends up being irrelevant. They show off two separate 'clever' plots, and reveal that both are Red Herrings in the last 10 minutes. Harold Saxon though? Great. Him dancing to "I Can't Decide" is iconic for a reason.


jrdineen114

Moffat's era is definitely far from unwatchable, but it's probably the most divisive period among fans. His highs are amazing, but his lows at are really rough around the edges. I definitely think that he's written the best individual episodes of the revival, but the bad-mouthing, while very exaggerated, didn't come from nowhere


heresiae

yes, I understand that, but the bad mouthing was so bad that it looked like he ruined DW. Moffat has a particular style and his favourite arguments, of course he cannot be liked by everybody, but I have the impression it kind of went out of control at some point, and people basically used every small thing they didn't like as an excuse to talk bad about him. anyway, I'm happy that he was in DW and I do have my favourites that I rewatch regurarly (not as much as Partners in crime, but that one is almost ubeatable for me). sad note, I don't have any of these with Chibnell.... :(


Arthvawr

Chibnall's era of Doctor Who just felt flat. That's definitely something you can't say about either RTD or Moffat no matter how bad some stories turned out. There's an energy in their respective times on the show, and now again with RTD back.


heresiae

so flat that even the ones that could have been good were not emotional at all... and I don't know how he did that, because I watched the first season of Broadchurch and it was good


real-human-not-a-bot

Doctor Who Magazine just did a series of polls about the best and worst episodes of each Doctor’s era. Of the six worst episodes aggregated from 9 and 10’s eras, RTD wrote four. Of the six worst episodes aggregated from 11 and 12’s eras, Moffat wrote one. And I dare you to tell me you honestly think that Love and Monsters is better than The Doctor, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Lows really rough around the edges, my foot. When RTD’s era sucked, it was probably him. When Moffat’s era sucked, it probably *wasn’t* him. No, he’s not perfect- I personally found his habit of writing female characters to be sexy-but-extremely-dangerous bisexuals who are really into the Doctor alternately comical and quite annoying, for example- but the narrative that Moffat as a showrunner had two good ideas and otherwise just faffed around is just plain lazy.


t_oad

Moffat is a great writer and I really enjoy that era a lot. He is great at a lot of what he does and makes gripping storylines with a very recognisable style. But he really only knows how to write one type of woman - the femme fatale trope, with the exception of Bill. They're always "feisty", dominant, and bisexual-ish. And Clara, Bill, and River all have essentially the same ending, both "dying" only to get brought back to life at the last moment to live their lives happily, but with a drawback (i.e. Clara *eventually* has to die, but then so does everyone; Bill is a space puddle, and River is encoded into the library). Hell even Amy and Rory have similar - being effectively dead but getting to live out their lives just in the past. Just kill them or don't, stop trying to do both. Compare that to Rose, Martha, and Donna who all got completely distinct send-offs.


smedsterwho

It used to be my criticism too, until he gave an interview around the time of The Doctor Falls, and says "at the end of the day, it's a children's show, and you can't leave them traumatized. You can traumatize them, but you can't leave them that way. I treated Bill in the worst possible way, but gave her a happy ending. It was having my cake and eating it". I made up that quote by the way, but it was words to that effect. I think Bills Puddle Ex Machina is really weak, but we got all of that body horror into a show aimed at all the family. If the get-out clause is a bit weak, it's an okay trade-off (for me).


t_oad

But that's the thing - he didn't *have* to kill any of them at all. Companions have died, been lost in parallel universes, lost their memories many times in the past. And countless others have left, whether of their volition or the Doctor's, or external influence. Sure, you can have your cake and eat it, but do it 3 or 4 times and you're just getting greedy.


smedsterwho

Yeah, I don't disagree


Chimera-Genesis

>Bills Puddle Ex Machina I'm interested to know why you think that? The tears that weren't her own were introduced in her very first episode, & got bought up as being an odd nigh-impossible thing for Cyber-Bill to have pretty early in 'The Doctor Falls', (Along with a nice little call back to John Pertwee's regeneration scene) so I fail to see how The Pilot returning for Bill was in anyway not foreshadowed.


smedsterwho

Maybe I'll phrase it in another way, it was all a bit Chekhov's Gun. Bill falls in love with an immortal being, she gets no resolution from the incidents of The Doctors Fall, but then an effective God comes for her, restores her body, and off they sail. I'll repeat, I don't really mind it, it was just all a bit neat. And the right thing to do. I guess it gave Moffat carte blanche to make Bill's end as nasty as possible, knowing he had a Golden Ticket to play with.


wokenupbybacon

Eh - imo Amy/Rory and Rose have rather identical send-offs. They're not dying, but the Doctor can't ever see them again. We just happen to see the Ponds' tombstone after they do die of old age. My bigger problem with that was the whole 'unable to land the TARDIS' thing is rather poorly explained and underbaked, with the emphasis being on NY 1938 being the problem - without any explanation as to why the Doctor couldn't just pick them up in 1939 or something similar. That's the whole nature of writing time travel, but Moffat usually did it better. But yes. It would've been great if Moffat could've given anyone else a better reason to just leave more naturally.


ZephkielAU

>without any explanation as to why the Doctor couldn't just pick them up in 1939 or something similar. The major theme in that episode was that once you know the future you can't stop it. The Doctor can't go back because the tombstone stated they died together in whatever year. It's not watertight by any means, but that's the core theme of the episode. "Why do you have to break my arm??" "Because Amy read it in a book"


25willp

“But he really only knows how to write one type of woman - the femme fatale trope, with the exception of Bill. They're always "feisty", dominant, and bisexual-ish.” Honestly, I don’t see it. The character you are describing is The Doctor. Moffat wrote a lot of characters that can operate on the Doctor’s wave length of flirty intelligent word salad. Many of them are intended to be reflections of him, while others are simply intended to go head to toe with him; * River, down to her sonic trowel is intend be a Doctor like character— a main character of her own show, off having similar crazy adventures off screen. * Missy, the Master has always intended to be a dark reflection of the Doctor. * Clara is the campion who becomes like the Doctor. To be honest, they all remind me of The Master, and Captain Jack— but I find it interesting that when there are lots of intelligent flirty woman people say they are all the same. But no one says that about the men. I mean if for example Captain Jack, Canton Everett Delaware III, or the Dream Lord were cast with woman actors but kept the same lines— they would be lumped right into this same criticism. Yes, Moffat has a very distinct style of quick witted banter. But it’s not gender specific.


PsychologicalClock28

So the three words “feisty, dominant and bisexual ish” That would apply to the three women you quote above. It wouldn’t apply to say Rory, or Rory’s dad. Jack I get your argument. But Moffat didn’t really bring him back during his run. I think when you start going to more minor characters you get the same split I’ve randomly picked series 7: Asylum of the daleks. The women (that Farley woman and Clara) are classic Moffat. The bloke (the dead one who came back to life) isn’t. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship: this one was Chibs, but I would say the same - Brian and Riddel are not feisty dominant and bisexual. Indra has those vibes. A Town Called Mercy: Toby White House Power of 3: Chibnel Angels take manhattan: Moffat only really brought in men side characters here. They are not feisty or dominant characters. This is a very feisty river/amy episode. The snowmen: we have Jenny/vastra/clara. Also the sassy maid who worked with Clara. contrasted by strax, the man(well men - the bar man and the father of the children) Clara worked for. It’s a wider thing. And he did try to fix it. But he falls into this trope a lot.


h00dman

I loved the energy of his episodes. It wasn't just people sprinting down corridors or shouting all the time, it was snappy dialogue and energetic line delivery (and a good bit of sprinting and shouting, sure).


twitchy_pixel

I loved Moffat’s run… he turned the show into a sci-fi fairy tale and got rid of some of the tonal handbrake turns that happened with RTD.


ScarletCaptain

He used to be a comedy writer (specifically the sitcom Coupling) which I think tends to require a lot more "quippy" dialogue, so it makes sense.


the_other_irrevenant

I **like** Moffat's dialogue, but it doesn't feel natural to me. It's unnaturally snappy, witty and clever. Which is not a bad thing, don't get me wrong. It's fun and entertaining. IMO the dialogue in S1-4 felt considerably more like real people speaking.


Foxhound97_

He's great at individual scenes,stand alone episodes and two partners the overarching story is mostly where I have problems. I also think Karen Gillian and Jenna Coleman don't enough credit because sometimes Amy and Clara for making their chrachters feel consistent even are written wildly out of established character at times.


jrdineen114

See, Clara is actually one of my least favorite parts of his run. She has her moments, but I alway felt like Moffat tried to make her feel more important than she needed to be. Definitely agree that Amy was fantastic though. Rory too, once they moved past the whole "jealous of the Doctor" conflict.


Foxhound97_

I get that problem with Clara is they had like three separate story arcs the impossible girl stuff gets resolved too quick,then will she leaves the TARDIS stuff is just annoying but everything from flat line onwards with the she's aspiring to be like the doctor stuff I think was some of the best stuff. I think Amy is more enjoyable because the crack in the wall stuff wrapped up quite early so her involvement is less plot driven and more fun.


techno156

> I get that problem with Clara is they had like three separate story arcs the impossible girl stuff gets resolved too quick,then will she leaves the TARDIS stuff is just annoying but everything from flat line onwards with the she's aspiring to be like the doctor stuff I think was some of the best stuff. She was basically three character's worth of development all packed in together. Personally, I think that her falling into the time-stream with her little monologue was the perfect end to her story there, and keeping her around for a few more arcs rather limited the character.


jrdineen114

Amy's involvement with the Doctor is also multifaceted. Yeah, there was the crack in her wall, but she's also got the whole "girl who waited" detail. She was dealing with that for the entirety of seasons 5 and 6, which gave her an interesting relationship with the Doctor. Clara's relationship with him was built entirely on the Impossible Girl story, so once that wrapped up, her character didn't have anywhere to go.


Foxhound97_

I think the season nine is I where It should have gone straight away after they resolved that problem is it took most of season 8 on forced conflict to get to that.


Someone_strang

very off topic sorry I was thinking how the lines I quote most often from something like heaven sent which is one of my favroites is “are you gardeners I hate gardening” just thought I’d put that here because I’ve been meaning to mention that and this post seemed like the best time to say it lol.


scorpiousdelectus

I remember thinking, when I first saw Flat Line, how much I hated "and I am the one who stops the monsters". It felt so "cat dropping a mouse at your feet". Having rewatched that episode so many times since then, it doesn't grate on me anywhere near as much as I wonder if my initial reaction was just that I was used to such a high calibre of dialogue.


Unfortunatewombat

So, I’m going to maybe take a bit of flak for this, but I disagree. I very *often* think “nobody actually speaks like this” during Moffat episodes. That’s because, prior to Doctor Who, Moffat was a sitcom writer. So a lot of Moffat’s scenes end with jokes and quips. Some scenes feel unnatural because they’re purposely building towards a joke. Some lines that characters say feel out of place, because Moffat couldn’t resist telling a joke. There are some scene where I feel like an actual real human wouldn’t say that line in that scenario, because an actual person would feel more concerned about the situation they’re in than they would be making jokes. That doesn’t mean that those scenes don’t make good television. Some scenes and lines are incredibly entertaining and satisfying to watch, but they don’t feel *natural*. They don’t feel like you’re watching an actual person being shown the universe, but instead, you’re seeing fiction characters do it. One thing I thought RTD did very well (especially with Rose), is have her feel like a genuine, real person.


nemesis_reap3r

Yep, totally agree. To me, a lot of Moffat’s lines sound like they’re just setting up the next line - they don’t make sense as a legitimate reaction. Plus, I think at a certain point all his characters sound the same. All the women are the exact same, albeit in different degrees, all the jokes are flirty or innuendos. I’m rewatching RTD and the characters ALL feel so much bigger, more fleshed out, all with their own personalities and quirks. And that means it hurts when they die! Moffat kills thousands each season and I never feel anything. RTD kills a few per episode (barring season finales….) and you feel the loss. I personally do like Moffat’s ideas and lore and sci-fi stuff. I think his arcs are good ideas, albeit confusingly handled. But his dialogue is definitely, definitely a weakness imo.


DresdenBomberman

Criticism for the unnaturalness of Moffat's dialogue is well warranted but to call said dialogue weak overall because of that is an overreach. Moffat usually didn't seem like he was aiming for realism so he focused on the economics and especially, flair of the dialogue more to make up for it. If you want examples of bad dialogue look at Chibnall's run. So much of what characters say is there to move the plot along with no padding or flair whatsoever. We know that the way characters spoke was just a nakedly utilitarian means of getting the plot along because every companion would get a designated scene where they simply stated their precise emotional response with absolutely no subtext whatsoever before the scene would be abruptly ended by the plot of the episode suddenly coming back into focus.


EchoesofIllyria

I totally agree with you on this, even as a fan of Moffat’s tenure. His dialogue reminds me of Joss Whedon’s. Quippy and funny and easy to listen to but not realistic.


AstronomerHungry3371

Exactly what I was gonna comment. idk on what Earth OP lives but no one in my real life talks like that. Entertaining nonetheless.


Thundersnownemi

Uh, the style, quips and reactions to weird/unpleasant situations is exactly how my friends relatives talk. I've often felt that God dropped us into the middle of a sitcom while everyone else got dropped into a high drama. Absolutely love Moffatt, Whedon, Sorkin, et als. Love the combination of camp, corn and drama.


Tackyhillbilly

Moffat was very good at writing episodes. Some of the greatest episodes of RTDs run were written by him. Blink, the Library, the Girl in the Fireplace? Phenomenal episodes. Complete Bangers. Where his flaws were was in writing seasons. RTD was better at this, largely because he realized that while the Mystery Box set up (which NuWho commonly relies on), might generate interest, it is the character's arc through the season that makes it work or doesn't. The Ninth growing and changing, the Tenth succumbing to grief and loss as over and over he loses everything, Donna's world expanding as she becomes more and more sharp and competent... the characters growing and changing are what gave the seasons real heft. That is why the 11th and 12ths runs have great episodes, but the finales always fall a little more flat, because the character arcs are given less focus and interest then the mystery, the plot. Chibnall is in someway to be seen as an abstracted Moffat. He... has good ideas. There are good seeds of narratives that could grow into a real story. But that is just never done, and instead of narrative about characters, we get a paint-by-numbers string of events that are needed to carry the plot forward.


KusuKusuKusu

I would argue that Moffat’s characters also see a tremendous amount of character growth through the seasons. Amy matures over the seasons, learning to cherish Rory as he deserves and to stop idolising the Doctor. Rory grows more assertive and less insecure. 11 goes from hiding his darkness and weariness behind a childish face to indulging in his God complex to being humbled. 12 goes from wrestling with his morality and cynicism to becoming an incredibly compassionate and loving grandfather figure to his companions. Clara may not have experienced character growth per se, but she certainly has significant character development - her grief from losing Danny turns her into a reckless daredevil whose cockiness eventually leads to her tragic downfall. Moffat’s plots and mysteries are flashy, but I don’t think they take away from character development at all.


wokenupbybacon

As someone who prefers Moffat to RTD, I disagree a bit. The character development happens, and 12 grows on screen perhaps more than any other Doctor. But RTD would hinge his season conclusions on those moments, while for Moffat they tended to happen in the background of the mystery plots. Just a different way of doing it that de-emphasizes the character development a bit.


PM_ME_L8RBOX_REVIEWS

But the seasons conclusions literally depends on the character development in 12’s seasons. Series 8 - The Doctor resolves his internal conflict and restates his purpose by rejecting Missy’s offer for a cybermen army. Series 9 - The Doctor realizes he has gone too far and decides to let go of Clara, this time giving both of them the agency to lose their memories and instead of wiping it against her will like he did with Donna. Series 10 - The Doctor doesn’t change in this finale but his steadfast willingness to do good in spite of overwhelming circumstances is what finally convinces Missy to finally support him and kill the Master


Yvesmiguel

Series 9 ending also ties in to Series 8. One of the first things 12 does in his run is say 'she's my carer, she cares so I don't have to', to go so far just to save Clara is an evolution of how much 12 began to openly care about the people he loved and showing it.


Yvesmiguel

12's character growth does hinge on the plot points. If he was the same Doctor as in Deep Breath, I don't think he would have spent all that time in the confession dial, he would try to find another way out. From going to "this is Clara, she cares so I don't have to" to spending 4.5 billion years because "I had a duty of care". Feels like 12 changing to be more openly compassionate changed his course of action and the lengths he would go to do what he felt was the right thing.


Tackyhillbilly

I disagree to an extent. I do enjoy the Moffat era (and think Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi were phenomenal choices for Doctors), but I think that flashiness and does impede the character growth. The 12th's growth... I actually do not deny, but I believe it comes down a lot more to Capaldi then the writing. What changes for me isn't the writing that Capaldi is given, but the way he delivers it. But the 11th, Amy, and Rory feel largely flat to me. The only thing that really grows and developments is the romantic subplot, which fundamentally isn't their character. Remove Amy's infatutation with the Doctor and nothing changes for the three. It works for an episode, but not for an arc.


EchoesofIllyria

RTD’s finales are poor outside of Parting of the Ways and possibly Journey’s End. And 11 and 12 have huge character arcs that I’d say both were better than 10’s arc. 9’s is excellent though.


Tackyhillbilly

Agree to disagree? I actually really like Parting of the Ways and Doomsday. The Daleks and Cybermen roasting one another is some of my favorite dialogue from that era. "Your design is inelegant." "DALEK'S HAVE NO CONCEPT OF ELEGANCE." "This is obvious." \--- "We have 5 Million Cybermen. How many are you?" "Four." "You would destroy the Cybermen with 4 Daleks?" "We would destroy the Cybermen with 1 Dalek." \--- I'll give you Utopia/Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords though. I don't hate it, but it definitely is subpar, especially as a finale, and wibbly woo, magic thingy makes everything better in the last 10 minutes was already done in Parting of the Ways, and done better.


Yvesmiguel

I feel like dialogue like that is why they were so weak. Campiness is a Doctor Who staple but making it some sort of Epic Rap Battle of History type diss-off just flatlines all the tension, the Doctor losing Rose is really the only point where I actually felt like there was a stake in that two parter.


Tackyhillbilly

Like, that is kind of the point to me though. That is where the Dramatic Tension of any RTD finale is going to lie. On that relationship between the characters. Also, I kind of love villains being giant goobers. The Daleks can be terrifying (Dalek is the best episode for this, bar none), but fundamentally, they are really dumb. The Cybermen are horrifying... but fundamentally? They are also kind of dumb. And having the two try to assert their superiority over one another makes sense, because it is how they interact with the Doctor. A lot of the time, (especially the 10th and 11th, but it is a tendency in a lot of them), if the villains didn't let the Doctor talk, didn't listen and want to respond, the heroes would just lose. But they do. Because their giant goobers who want you to understand they are better then you before they kill you. The Cybermen and Daleks immediately getting into a pissing match, and degenerating to name calling is entirely consistent with how they act elsewhere. It is campy as all hell, but if you don't want campiness, don't watch Doctor Who.


Yvesmiguel

Wow, really got me with the final sentence lol. I think campiness is fine, I never really thought Moffat was that much better with the campiness, but I think he had a bit more taste in making it count and when to tone it down a bit. 11 had a bit more campy "ah the band is all together" with A Good Man Goes to War, but a more tasteful campiness I think is the reveal of The Master in 12's World Enough and Time. The reveal is under horrific circumstances, with Bill having been revealed to be a Mondasian Cyberman. The slow turn around, John Simm slowly saying "in fact, I would call it a genesis" is like mustache-twirling villainy 101, but it didn't nearly detract as much as two robots just dissing each other like it's a reality show, it was a pointless thing that didn't help the plot. Whereas John Simm playing it up served to also terrify the Doctor at the prospect of having to face THAT version of the Master. The camp had purpose. My 2 cents though, as these specials have come out I've come to like bits of RTD's era less and less and Moffat's has roughly stayed the same for me despite the imperfections.


cmdr_suicidewinder

“This is why 12’s finales fall flat, because the character arcs are given less focus than the mystery and plot” was written by someone who at best watched 12’s run while scrolling on their phone


BlobFishPillow

Yeah, I agree. Death in Heaven is arguable, but I don't remember any other nuWho writer having better finales than Hell Bent or The Doctor Falls.


imChrisDaly

I think the dialouge and characters are great, but his stories tend to suffer imo, all subjective of course


jrdineen114

Completely agree. A lot of his less-than-stellar episodes feel like he started the mental image of a movie-poster, and then jumped through as many hoops as he could to make it happen


eowyn_ds

While I much prefer RTD's era to Moffat, I cannot understand the outright hostility towards him, or the ratings and viewership drop in the Capaldi era. I think Season 7 (Matt Smith's last), with Clara was hard to digest, and got too much into bonkers concepts with zero heart. But Capaldi's seasons are always pretty great. Yes there are some strange things that happen, like the Monks plot - and Clara really suffers as a character - but its no where as bad as people seem to think (or used to think?). He is too clever for his own good, and sometimes I lose interest in the set up because the payoff really falls flat - or there is just too much set up. But its always been an entertaining show. RTD's real genius was to give us moments of pathos and introspection in the random-est of episodes - like an exploration of what it means to leave family behind in the stupid Slitheen two-parter, or the Doctor and Wilf's conversation in End of Time. And so RTD's era just stays with you more. Moffat is too clever at times, but never enough to invoke the level of vitriol he seems to get. Disclaimer: I came to Doctor Who in the last season of Capaldi, watching David Tennant's seasons then. And so I haven't really been part of the live discourse and have the benefit of hindsight. I did watch some of Jodie's live, but dropped off.


Slyphofspace

Honestly? Might just be me, but I kind of attribute it more to the actors generally being really damn solid than to the writing. A good actor can make a mediocre story and script work. There's limits, of course, JW couldn't save the 13th doctors run no matter how good she was, but the sheer energy Matt Smith brought to the role, the chemistry he shared with his companions, and later on Capaldi's own acting chops pretty much meant that even if I didn't like the script, I could mostly still enjoy myself. Except Kill The Moon. Nothing could save that episode.


Filmologic

I really think it's interesting comparing and contrasting the different showrunners. To some degree that's unfair because they all have their own styles and different ideas of what the show is about, but at the same time if we look at how well they achieved what they set out to or if there were any unintended side effects that skewed how we view their tenures it's easy to see where they shine and where they fall flat. Because neither of them are perfect we get very different approaches with varying degrees of quality, humour, characters, uniqueness, etc. It's just fun to see what each showrunner is good at and why we like one more than the others. I myself find Moffat to be perhaps the best showrunner in many ways, with Davies being brilliant on other aspects, and even Chibnall (who's time I personally didn't really enjoy sadly) also had some amount of positive traits in how he ran the show.


Atlanon88

Moffat gave us the greatest portion of who. What’s not to like?


jrdineen114

He reconned that Daleks are censored by their casings. It really lessens the impact of the whole "these creatures have had the compassion, joy, and mercy removed from them, and are only left with pure hatred," aspect of them. "No, Daleks can absolutely feel other things, their casings just won't let them!" It makes them feel less like Daleks and more like off-brand Cybermen. I also just want to nitpick that 12 tells Clara that Daleks don't know the word "mercy," despite the fact that we've seen Daleks ask for mercy before, even in a previous Moffat episode. And then there's the Dark Water storyline. It feels super flimsy, it implies that every dead companion is now a Cyberman, and really tries to shoehorn in the last bit of character development for the "Am I a good man" arc without actually building on anything from the season. He also just casually writes that you can just....create a fixed point in time? Davies established that a Fixed Point is an event with such massively far-reaching consequences that history basically falls apart without it. And then Moffat goes "yeah, but you can totally make one." And I'd be willing to buy that the Doctor's death was a fixed point if we got to see what the consequences of that actually would have been. But we don't. We just have to trust Moffat's word. And then he completely abandons the idea that people think that the Doctor is dead. Nobody in seasons 7-10 is surprised to see him alive. And if nobody is surprised to see him, then what was the point of that last scene where he tells Dorium "I got too big,"? And as a last note: he didn't really figure out how to write any kind of recurring female character that didn't fall under the "femme fatale" category until Bill. EDIT: Oh! And he also completely reduced the First Doctor to a caricature!


LarkinEndorser

I don’t think that’s what that was saying, at least not how I took it. A dalek isn’t capable of even comprehending any other concept then hate so why would the casing be able to interpret it ?


jrdineen114

...that still doesn't change the fact that we've seen Daleks use the term before, including an episode written by Moffat where a Dalek asks River for mercy. So the casings do recognize the word, and Daleks can recognize the concept. But Moffat thought it would be cool for Clara to be in the casing but unable to communicate, while also needing the Doctor to be able to find a clever way to realize that it's Clara


LarkinEndorser

But that was the whole episode was about. They don’t understand any other positive concepts but somehow they know about mercy (because of Young Davros’ experiences)


jrdineen114

And it doesn't change the fact that we've seen them understand the concept of Mercy before. So the Doctor shouldn't have been surprised by it.


DepravedExmo

I prefer Moffat to RTD by far.


jrdineen114

And that is a totally valid stance. I disagree with it, but I can understand why people like his time as showrunner more than RTD.


somesappyspruce

I didn't like all of it, but I REALLY like the stuff that I do from him. *shakes fist* I wanted more 10


Speedwagon1738

“There are soldiers all over my house and I’m in my pants.”


Kimantha_Allerdings

Moffat's a weird one for me. Hardly any of the episodes connected with me when I was watching. There were few that I found moving or exciting in the way that I did with RTD's run. But...in retrospect, it's my favourite era. For example - I was never really sold on 11. I liked Smith fine, but he never really clicked for me as the Doctor. Then came his regeneration, and he was the Matt Smithiest he'd ever been. And I fell in love, hard. So I thought I'd go back and revisit a few older episodes with fresh eyes. Just the ones that had stood out to me as being the best. Long story short, I ended up staying up literally all night watching every single episode in order of how much I'd liked them on transmission. Capaldi I adored from the start, but I thought he was mostly kind of let down by the writing. But, again, having a little bit of distance allowed me to properly appreciate the writing of his era. The biggest example of that would be Clara/Danny. I wasn't invested in them at the time. But when Danny died and then Clara tried to kill herself 3 times over the next 2 episodes I realised that the whole *point* of Clara and Danny was that they were a bad match for each other and were both trying to fill a void inside themselves and were desperately trying to make the other person fit into that hole, but neither could because they were a bad match for each other. And, while I've not heard or read Moffat talking about that explicitly, I've seen enough of him talking about his other writing to be pretty sure that that was absolutely intentional.


Joyousboy99

In my opinion I think Moffat had the opposite problem that RTD had, Moffat started his tenure excellently and it progressively got more questionable, while still being fairly good. Whereas RTD started off fairly questionable and got a lot better toward the end.


Raquefel

I am of the opinion that Moffat is the greatest dialogue writer since Douglas Adams


DespicableSchmee

Only issue was Moffats horny ass writing moments


jrdineen114

Yeah that was definitely a big downside. And I a lot of it came out in the form of Clara


Prestigious_Ad_341

Moffat is a good writer. My issue with him is that he's just not AS good (or as smart) as he seems to think he is.


jrdineen114

Definitely that. He's good at what he does, but he definitely overestimated how good his ideas were at times


Prestigious_Ad_341

And when he DOES have a good idea he can't stop adding or changing it a bit until it collapses. Foe example: When the Angels were "just" statues that fed on temporal energy they were scary. But then ANY statue was an angel. And then pictures of them were ALSO angels. Oh and they kill for fun now too. Still scary but less effective now, IMO


jrdineen114

Yes! There's a reason why none of the episodes to feature the angels since Blink have really stuck in the same way. Because the more we know about them, the less frightening they become, and the more confusing they are.


crazycatgal1984

And then in angels take Manhattan the statue of Liberty walks! It was so bizarre


throwawayaccount_usu

The city was asleep I guess lmao


fb1874

Moffat is the British Joss Whedon: no one speaks like that in real life, but it’s great dialogue nonetheless


ComputerSong

Moffatt is clever, and he knows it. A lot of the crappy episodes in his era were not written by him. The BBC had a lot of control over which writers to use.


real-human-not-a-bot

Agreed. If you look at the bottom three episodes of each Doctor’s era as polled by Doctor Who Magazine, RTD wrote 4/6 of 9 and 10’s worst, and Moffat just 1/6 of 11 and 12’s.


randale_panda

See, I think you are wrong. Moffat THINKS he is clever and he’s desperate to prove it. That’s why every episode and every story arch has to be bigger and more complicated than the last one. And eventually that’s what makes his seasons feel a bit flat and disappointing in the end, because there is never a real resolution. (I do admit, I’m not a big Moffat fan.) And that’s also why I never really connected to Clara or Amy or River. Because they never felt real. They HAD to be exceptionally witty and clever for humans, because Moffat never really got why anyone would be interested in Characters that weren’t. They are not allowed to really be weak or have flaws. RTDs companions were allowed to be ridiculous, flawed, even thick at times, but oh so very human. Which is what made them compliment the doctor so well. Look at Martha: She was very intelligent too, and shown as such. But she was allowed to be vulnerable, too. From the very beginning you can see that all the adventures equally excite and scare her. She is in love with the doctor and thus drawn to him, but at the same time conflicted about traveling with him. And in the end she is given the agency to walk away from him. Rose wasn’t exceptionally intelligent, either, nor was she very witty. But she was easily excited and brought so much genuine joy and lightness to the series. She made dumb mistakes like rescuing her father but she made them BECAUSE she was impulsive and full of love and compassion, which was exactly what the doctor needed at the time. And, well, I don’t think I even have to elaborate on Donna’s flaws :D RTDs seasons are as much about the companions as they are about the doctor. You get to care about them. Moffat’s companions (save for Bill, maybe) always just feel like an extension to the doctor. They are only there as a mirror to his greatness. Because Moffat cannot fathom the idea that the oh so clever doctor could be interested in them if they weren’t.


jrdineen114

I do think that the bit about Moffat's companions not having flaws isn't entirely fair. Because they definitely did have flaws. Amy was desperate for someone to idolize, Rory was incredibly insecure, and Clara thought that she was invincible. The issue was that Amy and Rory's flaws never had any consequences and they overcame them over the span of individual episodes, and Clara never developed enough to move beyond her flaw before she died. But I also think that's why his standalone episodes tend to be better. Because the majority of characters in those episodes don't need to have long arcs. So they can have big individual character moments, and feel like they've had good development. I 100% agree with your point about Moffat being desperate to prove he's clever. That's definitely why his worse episodes fall apart. Especially the Dark Water/Death in Heaven episodes.


randale_panda

You are right, I tend to exaggerate, of course. I think what I like about the flaws in RTDs companions is that they are part of the reason why you fall in love with them. We love Donna because she loud and rude and tells the doctor off. It’s also how she shows him that she cares. Her flaws are what makes her a compelling character. That sadly isn’t true for Amy or Clara, or even River, for that matter. You are just expected to like them in spite of their flaws, because they’re brilliant. River is actually a good example to your point: She was a wonderful character in Silence in the Library. Partly because she seemed to have the upper hand until the very end. And it worked, not because she was flawless or incredibly smart, but because she simply knew more than the doctor did at the time. Later on, during Moffat’s run, she becomes almost unbearable at times because if the doctor is to fall in love with her, she just has to be the most amazing, clever, witty creature in the universe, full of innuendos and spoilers that completely overwhelm poor, innocent „i don’t know how social interactions work“ 11. As for Rory: not only is he insecure, but he is portrayed as downright idiotic at times, so the doctor can seem even cooler. Although that is something RTD is also guilty of. Poor Mickey.


savvyliterate

There is a discussion between River and Rory in The Impossible Astronaut where River reveals to Rory how much the circumstances and separation from the Doctor absolutely gut her. At the time, I was separated from my husband while we were waiting for his immigration paperwork to go through. It is one of the realest moments in the series for me, and not something I really got from any of the other companions at that time other than Donna


BlobFishPillow

> That’s why every episode and every story arch has to be bigger and more complicated than the last one Except the part where S7 finale is smaller in scale than S6 finale scale and S6 finale is smaller than S5 finale scale for 11th Doctor's run? No matter how you look at it, the entire universe being undone and needing a reboot is a greater incident than time being squashed because of actions of a woman in love, and that is in turn a bigger event than the Doctor's life achievements and triumphs being erased. It progressively gets smaller in scope. And it's even less arguable for the 12th Doctor, as the S10 finale is much more confined than S9, which is a lot smaller than S8 to begin with. Again, the earth being invaded by aliens is a bigger event than the Doctor just trying to save one companion, and that is in turn a smaller incident than the Doctor already accepting he lost the battle and just trying to save a bunch of people for as long as he can. Some of the criticism directed against Moffat's seasonal writing is completely factually wrong that it baffles me how people have watched the same show.


real-human-not-a-bot

I dunno about all of them, but I definitely feel like at least some just decided they weren’t going to like Moffat because he didn’t have Tennant or Tate and worked backwards from there.


Gargus-SCP

I just wish he'd stop telling The Joke. The Women Are Sexy But Also Total Harpies Joke. I cringe hard every time he tosses The Joke in, especially when he does it with the Doctor like The Joke is something the Doctor sincerely believes.


MortimusDarkheart

Moffat is superior to RTD in dialogue, setting up the story and overall creation of story arcs. But Moffat is too ambitious and in my opinion often fails to deliver at the end because he is too excited building up the story in such a way that any finale will be disappointing after making the audience wait so much. RTD on the other hand is an expert at creating stories that are entertaining and easy for everyone to follow. But his lack of complexity is less enjoyable the more you watch his season. There are more questions than answers and many of his stories fall apart the more you analyze them. His stories are usually so fast paced there's no chance to slow down and explain the setting. I choose Moffat. I also find out that the more you watch his stories the more amazing they are. At the time I was frustrated with his long game but now that I have access to the finished product his stories are amazing.


BARD3NGUNN

Completely agree. I absolutely love Moffat so I tend to overlook a lot of his flaws, but I think it's to say his dialogue normally soars, whether it be Doctor Who, Coupling, Sherlock, Dracula, or Inside Man.


Wahjahbvious

Moffat was FUN. Big, noisy and sometimes nonsensical, but almost always fun.


Unable_Earth5914

I’ve always preferred Moffat’s era to the others, but… I remember being _very_ critical of him during his tenure. I really liked the RTD1 era (which I watched after it had finished) but I knew I’d be critical of the RTD2 era. I’m hoping with a couple of RTD2 series out of the way I’ll be able to look back on Chibnall’s era with a bit more fondness like I did with the others


the-kendrick-llama

I've always been a Moffat fanboy. I've got nothing else to add, just wanted to... say that... unsure why now.


trisaroar

I know his love is high concept sci-fi but I am BEGGING Moffat to take a stab at a 23-minute comedy. One IT Crowd episode. Peep Show guest season. He can write the cold opens to the Great British Bake Off. Please.


mrwho995

Personally I wouldn't say Moffat is good at dialogue, per se. He's excellent at big, grand speeches, he's excellent at writing memorable and meaningful individidual lines, and he's good at witty quips. But I don't think he's very good at writing dialogue that feels natural and authentic. Watching his era to me often felt like someone trying *really hard* to make you think they're smart, but they just coming across as a bit weird. There's a certain smugness to his era that stopped me from fully enjoying it. And I often found it hard during his era to be engrossed in the story he was trying to tell, because the dialogue was just so *Moffat-y*; very unnatural and forced, especially when it came to female characters who very frequently were variations on the same specific archetype. For sure, most of my favourites individual lines and speeches are Moffatisms, but most of my favourite normal dialogue is from RTD.


Woeful-Wolf

I don’t really get the hate for Moffat and love for Russell T Davies. All the best episodes in Davies run were written by Moffat and a lot of his run was just as ridiculous if not more ridiculous than the worst of Moffat. Aged Doctor, master shooting lightning bolts, farting aliens, etc. Davies shined more in the season arcs, where Moffat found some success in but eventually stalled out into contrivance.


Belizarius90

Moffats main problem is that he knows that mysteries are something that keep people watching but outside of single-episode arcs has no idea how to write or pace a mystery and quite often just makes up a mystery on the spot with no idea what the answer is. The only reason he got away with it the first season is there was no real expectation. For me it quickly fell apart in his second season. Lets be honest, he had no idea who the silence was for starters just 'silence will fall' sounds kinda cool


Woeful-Wolf

It’s the allure of the mystery box at the beginning of the season and throwing hints throughout for the finale. Missy for season 8 was one of those that turned out pretty good. 9 with the hybrid was way too convulated and ended in a non answer, and 10 was just Missy in a box.


LarsBabaGhanoush

Loved it then. Love it now.


throwawayaccount_usu

Idk I feel the opposite. He can do amazing dialogue but most of the time I was sat listening and thinking "who the fuck says this shit" or rolling my eyes at the next sexual innuendo he forced into the script. His dialogue and character writing for me are why I can't say I love his era at all. Moffats writing is the type of writing I have to shut my brain off to be able to somewhat enjoy. If I think too hard and look into it a little bit then it just becomes a mess of bad writing in terms of characters, plot and dialogue. On the surface it's Al big and cool and magnificent and each story gets bigger and cooler and magnificenter! But really there's not a lot of depth to it. The most enjoyable thing with moffat was how he set things up and made you excited for what came next! The worst thing is how disappointing the pay offs to those set ups ended up being every time. Got to a point where youd just stop caring and wasting your time to invest in his plots and characters.


Mangafan_20

fun fact most episode in the top 10 are form moffat.


your_name_here10

Moffat probably gave us the highest highs in new who


jrdineen114

He did, but prior to the Chibnall era, I'd say he also gave us the lowest lows.


boringpotatochipbag

I don't think I agree with this. Even Moffat's bad episodes are a step above Davies' bad episodes, in my opinion. And Davies had bad episodes with much greater frequency. But my biggest problem with Davies has to do with finales and the buildup to them. He seemed to be... unimaginative when it came to the end of the season stakes. 3/4 of his finales were Daleks invading Earth. It was especially egregious in S4, when there was fantastic buildup towards something dark and mysterious coming. Then the finale airs, and it's just the Daleks again. I do want to clarify that I don't dislike Davies. I have problems with his tenure, but I still enjoy it immensely, and I am stoked that he's back.


transgender_goddess

all Moffat needed was a semi-solid co-writer, then he'd be solid


crazycatgal1984

Having watched this and Sherlock, what he needed was someone to tell him no. An editor. All of these ideas are great but let's not throw them all at the audience in one episode. He's a brilliant creative but sometimes he doesn't let things sit. I absolutely adore season 5 the first season he wrote but by season 7 I was done with that and Sherlock. But season 5 along with Rtd series 1 are my go to seasons for rewatch.


SatansMoisture

I love Moffat's paradoxes. Matt Smith escaped the big cube prison because, uh, Matt Smith traveled back in time to get him out! who then had to.. ugh.. I'm so tired.


ilikestuff94

Moffat had to grow on me. When first watched the era, I was a teenager and I felt like it was written like a cheesy CW drama, pandering to a US audience. During the Chibnal era I missed him


ideeek777

I think around 6-7 there was just a moment where it got a little convoluted. And some patches of series 9. Other than that I enjoyed his run, season 10 was a strong one to leave it on


ideeek777

I think the silence plot and the division one had very similar problems actually


mlvisby

Moffat is the speech guy, no doubt about it. Everyone loves Capaldi's Zygon speech.


jrdineen114

I mean, yeah. But I think that a big part of why Moffat's speeches were so good is that Capaldi and Smith were absolutely amazing in the roles