Other thoughts on S9   Leave a comment

The male name that stands out most on that list is Peter Harness.

Moffat we expect. Whithouse too has become a staple. Mathieson we want more of – his two were the best of S8, and having him saddled with Moffat as co-writer is less than encouraging. But why, particularly given Mathieson’s apparent demotion, does Peter Harness get a two-parter all his own? Not just that, but Kate Stewart and Osgood and the return of the Zygons? What has he done to earn such a billing?

His episode ‘Kill the Moon’ was judged by many the worst of S8. It stretched scientific credulity past the breaking point, with its spider-like single-celled organisms and its dubious questions of mass. It seemed to say odd things about women. It was generally unsatisfying and uncomfortable to watch. It had its moments, but it wasn’t great television, and it wasn’t great Doctor Who.

Harness’s other major project of late hasn’t fared well either. His adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell failed to engage television audiences. He’s been nominated for awards in the past, and apparently did well with Case Histories and Wallander; perhaps the speculative genre is outside his skill set. In any case there seems little to recommend him for the upcoming season.

With luck he will surprise us all.

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