Archive for the ‘Moffat’ Tag

How does he do it?   Leave a comment

We’ve been through a lot of Moffat season arcs by now. Some of them have been meh; some of them have been really terrible. At least one has even been amazing, but we know better than to expect it.

That expectation is key.

My husband and I both sat on the edge of our seats throughout “World Enough and Time.” The reveal of Simm’s Master blew our minds. (I saw it coming about 1 min before, my husband about 10sec.) Cyber-Bill broke our hearts. And Nardole – Nardole! Running away! I haven’t thought that much of him over the course of the season but somehow I knew him for no coward.

As a result, anticipation for this week was high. But we’ve been burned plenty before. Even after everything we’ve been through with this Doctor, we just didn’t know what to expect. We braced ourselves for disappointment. And when we didn’t get it – when instead we got everything we never knew we wanted and more – the reward is just that much sweeter.

He doesn’t have to be that good; just better than we expect. And then, when he IS good, he just seems that much greater.

Let’s keep going out on top. ­čÖé

Posted July 3, 2017 by Elisabeth in Piffle, Season 10, Writers and Writing

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The Fall   Leave a comment

It’s not often an episode leaves me blubbering like a tiny child.

Daleks-May-Return-Doctor-Who-Season-8

SPOILER ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

It’s been rumored that Pearl Mackie would be leaving the show after one season. The rumor has never been confirmed, nor conclusively denied. Officially we don’t know for sure if Bill will be back.

She made one hell of an exit.

Bill’s is (assuming it in fact IS) the companion departure I’ve long been hoping for: neither death, nor return to ordinary life. Instead, Bill gets to travel onward into eternity. Not with the Doctor – his friends never linger long – but with a companion all her own.

The slow-burn love story is a bonus twist.

As much as it pains and embarrasses me to say it, I am a Moffat-style nerd. I believe, as Moffat does, in the eternal optimism of this show. I adore, as he does, the fun little references to the past, the inside jokes, the Jelly Babies. My heart caught at Heather’s invitation, so similar to the Doctor’s words to Rose. I enjoyed yet another iteration of “I don’t want to go,” and the echo of Eleven’s last words. I loved seeing my (yes my) companions’ faces again. I miss each one of them terribly, and I’m so glad I got to know them.

The Christmas special looks to be a big fat heap of goodies for fans, starting with Capaldi and Moffat himself. The outgoing Doctor already got his first wish: Mondasian Cybermen. The Moff got his multi-Master story, a trick no one before has had living actors available to pull off. Now, the First Doctor returns. I can’t help but remember what Capaldi said when asked which past companion his Doctor would most like to encounter.

“I think he’d like to see his granddaughter again.”

Carole Ann Ford is still alive. Is it too much to hope?

Whether or not the Doctor meets Susan again, the toys have all been strewn about, the best ideas ransacked, all the going-big gone home. Moffat and Capaldi say goodbye with a bang Davies and Tennant can only envy. And what’s next? A new Doctor, a new companion, a whole new show.

Good luck, Chris Chibnall.

Coming up:

  • The secret of Moff’s success
  • How the Doctor is like Wonder Woman (or vice versa)
  • The next Doctor

Stay tuned!

Posted July 3, 2017 by Elisabeth in Season 10

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Moffatism   Leave a comment

I’ve admitted to mixed feelings about Steven Moffat. I think he’s written some of the best and some of the worst episodes in all of New Who. I think he’s put his foot in his mouth on occasion. I also think he’s gotten better – more relaxed, more thoughtful, more humorous in interviews and other interactions with fans. Running this show must be a brutal if exhilarating job, and he’s done at least decently by it.

This interview, shared by Paul Cornell on his blog, shows the latest Moffat. He loves Doctor Who, loves his exhausting, herculean job, mocks himself and his fellow fans, acknowledging their shared passion for the ridiculous. He’s got heart and humor. I’ve never been able to say I like him, and I’m more than ready for a new showrunner, but he’s contributed a great deal to the show. I appreciate his hard work and his point of view, even if I don’t always agree with it.

Good luck, Chris Chibnall.

Posted June 28, 2017 by Elisabeth in Cool Stuff, Writers and Writing

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“In extremis”   4 comments

def: in an extremely difficult situation, at the point of death

River makes a point: Virtue is only virtue in extremis. A good man is only as good as the choices he makes under the worst possible circumstances. The Doctor, she declares, is such a man: give him the worst, and invariably he delivers his best.

The episode is on the surface a silly one, full of Grand Moff gestures and contrived crises. In spite of this it manages to be genuinely captivating, with surprising hidden layers. What would any of us do with our backs against a wall? Would our best selves shine? Or would our base humanity, our natural drive to survive at all costs, overwhelm our intentions?

I’m not entirely sure how the episode showcases this. I suppose the threat of Missy’s execution might be considered extremis, though Michelle Gomez pleading and promising is some of the least believable dialogue I have ever encountered. The Doctor being faced with a deadly document – one he dare not ask anyone else to read to him – while blind might also be considered an extreme situation. Still I feel like the Doctor has been in graver circumstances. Davros in control of a reality bomb? Clara’s life in Missy’s hands? The choice to end humanity or let the Daleks enslave them? Somehow these┬ácases feel more extreme – or more believably extreme – than the Master’s impending death (been there) or some strange video-game version of reality.

However, the story isn’t finished yet. We shall see what next week has to offer.

Posted May 24, 2017 by Elisabeth in Season 10, Themes and Ideas

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Moffat Talk   Leave a comment

Mostly I don’t listen to the Moff but every once in a while – when he’s not trying to tease something upcoming – he’s got some fun insider tidbits to share. The article below is old, and the headline is bogus, but there’s some lovely stuff about John Hurt, a writer’s world, and Sylvester McCoy.

Behind the 50th

Enjoy!

Who news   Leave a comment

Regardless of how you feel about him, the departure of the Grand Moff is an event.

I have trouble imagining anyone is truly sad. There may be some emotionally invested young people who find this difficult, but I haven’t seen any of them on Tumblr. Even if you respect him as a writer and a showrunner – another rare breed as far as I can tell – you’d have to admit it’s time. Six seasons is long enough for anyone in Moffat’s position; for a show like Doctor Who, new blood is essential.

As successors go, Chris Chibnall is not a terrible choice. He’ll have three seasons’ experience as head writer and showrunner of Broadchurch by the time the handover takes place. He’s written an assortment of Doctor Who and Torchwood, and a little Life on Mars, though the episodes are a mixed bag. He’s been a fan since childhood – practically a prerequisite these days. And he created Ellie Miller, one of my favorite fictional characters of all time:

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Less acceptable is the news that we’ll have to go an entire year with no new Doctor Who. Even Tennant’s year of specials wasn’t so barren. Worse, the delay increases the likelihood of Peter Capaldi’s departure after S10. When he was confirmed for the season, I thought we’d be lucky to get one more year out of him. Now, we’ll get that year, but we won’t get any new episodes.

Of course Capaldi might decide to stay on for S11. He’s having a great time; he isn’t trying to launch a career like Matt Smith or go back to the stage like David Tennant. But of course he’ll want to go out on top, like Tennant did. He won’t want to linger. Even Tom Baker, still the most beloved Doctor, began to grow stale after too long. Capaldi will be careful to avoid that.

I have feared all along that he would depart with Moffat. It’s easy enough to announce one’s exit when everyone else is doing it. It’s harder to pick up where you left off with a new regime in place. A complete changing of the guard, as we had in 2010, is not beyond the realm of possibility. And now we’ve added a year of nothing: a year of sitting around, not shooting, not creating. A year for distractions, for opportunity to knock, for something better to come along.

I’ll miss him terribly when he’s gone.

I do look forward to seeing what Chibnall does with the show. I look forward to a new Christmas special, a new companion, and a new season. I enjoy changes, in spite of the cost.

I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long.

 

Christmas Cheer   3 comments

Obviously, spoilers follow.

tardiswreath

DO NOT OPEN UNTIL XMAS SPECIAL

 

"Grr, spoilers!"

“Grr, spoilers!”

A year ago I would have said it was impossible. Even after S9, amazing as it was, I had my doubts. He’d followed up the 50th anniversary special with the disastrous ‘Time of the Doctor.’ He’d set up ‘Silence in the Library’ with ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ and ‘The Angels Take Manhattan.’ Moffat’s been good before, but it’s never stopped him also being terrible.

But S9 held on to the end. ‘The Husbands of River Song,’ in spite of its title, gives the character the arc she has awaited and deserved since 2008.

Well done, Mr. Moffat.

Way back when the Twelfth Doctor was first cast, it occured to me that this was the man to take River to Darillium. This man had the depth of character, the emotional courage, the grace to see her off properly. But given everything that happened in Matt Smith’s era, I figured that was off the table.

I have never been happier to be wrong.

This episode is everything I could want from a Christmas special. It’s ridiculous and spectacular, sweet and funny and sad. Twelve’s joy is contagious, the best treat we could ask for. River, when she’s over being campy, is courageous and sincere and – for nearly the first time since the Library – entirely real. This is the River I’ve been missing all these years.

It’s strange to think that River could ever have loved or been loved by the Eleventh Doctor. Her chemistry with Ten was undeniable – which of course could be said of just about anyone – but her scenes with his successor lacked any hint of a spark. Now, in a single look Capaldi’s Doctor conveys what Smith’s had failed at for four seasons. This Doctor knows River, loves River. That Doctor was just pretending. One possible explanation is that Matt Smith is just a vastly inferior actor. However, while Capaldi is undeniably a master, Smith is not lacking in skill. I’m not sure it’s entirely his fault that the love story failed to launch. It’s more like both actor and writer had some growing up to do. Working with Capaldi has somehow forced Moffat to move past the twelve-year-old boy and start writing for grownups again.

My husband points out that you could look at it as River’s growth and development over the course of her timeline. In the Library, she was as mature as she was going to get; in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler,’ the most puerile. She grew up out of order, from our point of view. We’ve been tolerating her childishness for a long time; now at last she’s the adult we’ve been missing.

Whatever it is, I’ll take more. Onward to Series 10!