Apr 24 2013 1:15pm

I’m Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Contemporary Doctor Who has been like a relationship for me. It’s charmed me, won me over, tested its boundaries, accompanied me through several changes, let me down and picked me back up again. Since 2006, my memories of what happened in my life are often linked what was going on in Doctor Who at the time. It’s become a bit of personal clock, with each big plot reveal, finale, premiere or regeneration burned into my mind like the Time War is burned into the Doctor’s.

But, you know what? Some relationships have to come to an end, usually because one party isn’t getting what they want. This show hasn’t been giving me what I want for a while now and, sadly I’m probably going to have to break up with Doctor Who.

The Spark is Gone and We’re Just Going Through the Motions

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

We’ve all experienced that moment in a relationship, when the other person is doing the same things they’ve been doing since you met them, but now, it’s just not cute anymore. And for me, the things Doctor Who is doing now maybe aren’t that different than years ago. It’s just that back then I think it was behaving better and was more charming. Also, I was a little younger.

But, it’s not just that I’ve grown older; I’d assert Doctor Who is in a phase of diminishing returns insofar as the episodes are increasingly imitative of previous episodes. If you go back and look at the episode listings for previous new-era Doctor Who season, every single “just okay” episode of this season has a counterpart in a previous season that is way better. The best example would be the recent “Cold War” versus “Curse of the Black Spot.”

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Now, I dislike both of these episodes, but at least “Curse of the Black Spot” has pirates, a quirky sci-fi concept, and a lot of charm. “Cold War” has none of this. Indeed, having Clara and the Doctor be from the future/outer space has zero bearing on them being in 1983. There’s no fun time paradox stuff explored, and essentially the Doctor could have been any smartass with a magic wand in this episode. Despite the presence of a nuclear weapon, the stakes of “Cold War” are impossibly low.

We can do this again with “The Power of Three” versus, say, another Earth-bound-fix-the-alien-conspiracy episode like Season 4’s “Partners in Crime.” The former has a generic alien and little bit of charm. The latter has an awesome weird alien in the form of human fat turning into creatures, and tons more charm thanks to Donna Noble and the Tenth Doctor. This can go on and on: “The Rings of Akhaten,” while decent, is totally a poor man’s “The Beast Below.” “Asylum of the Daleks” is the poor man’s “Victory of the Daleks.” The point? Doctor Who is totally just going through the motions. And despite my unabashed love for “Closing Time” in season 6, it is still the faux version of season 5’s the “The Lodger.” And don’t get me started on the Weeping Angels.

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Okay, get me started. The Weeping Angels are the best example of the love leaking out of Doctor Who. Each subsequent appearance of these creepy time-shifting statues renders them more confusing and less scary than the previous outing, culminating in the nearly-impossible-to-follow “The Angels Take Manhattan.” Back in “Blink,” the Angels were new and fresh, but now they are a total mess; the mechanics of how they operate have become overly convoluted, thus making them completely dull. And I’d assert this is because…well, we got to know them better. To put a relationship metaphor inside of a relationship metaphor: the Weeping Angels should have been a one-time fling, making Doctor Who’s attempt to actually date them a big mistake.

Broken Promises

Relationships also end because of broken promises. And though there were a few broken promises prior to the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat era, I’d say the real trouble started with the River Song/Silence arc in season 6. All season we waited to discover the mysteries of River Song, her connection to the Silence, and why they put her in an astronaut suit. In the end, the explanation was just that they stuck her in the suit because “it was time to.” And the way the good guys got out of it? River Song “re-wrote time” because she and the Doctor touched each other when they weren’t supposed to. And then a wacky alternate time-stopped world evaporated. Essentially, this episode continued an early precedent of having a complicated problem be solved on the show by either re-writing time or rebooting the entire universe. In conventional fiction, this would be like having a regular novel suddenly become a choose-your-own-adventure book in its last chapters, randomly telling the reader, “hey you can start over.”

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Notably, both season five and season six end with a wacky aborted universe and a wedding. If there’s not a wedding and a wacky alternate universe at the end of season seven, I’ll be worried Stefan Moffat forgot to rip himself off. Now, I’m not saying Doctor Who should be a champion of stories that make sense all the time, but it should at least be consistent with its own mythology. The excellent Tennant/Davies era episode “The Waters of Mars” showed us the huge consequences (mostly emotional) when you screw with fixed points in time. These days that doesn’t mean jack shit, because the Doctor seems down with rewriting time whenever it suits the needs of the script.

This season we’re being presented with two-season spanning “mysteries” which will be “answered,” at some point, probably in the finale episode. One: what’s the deal with Clara? Two: What is the Doctor’s name, and should we care? And maybe because I’m so weary from the River Song stuff, I feel like the promise of these questions being answered adequately will be broken.

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Many of us have been complaining that Clara reminds us of previous companions. Is she like Rose? Or is the whole mystery thing more like River Song? But then again, we’ve got some Amy Pond action too, since the Doctor has visited Clara as a child. In the end though, it doesn’t matter how funny or fast-talking Clara is, she doesn’t seem that different from characters we’ve seen before. Add to that, I feel like any explanation of how she manages to die and come back to life all the time will be a bit of a letdown, buried underneath a pile of hastily-written nonsense. It would be nice to lay all this blame at the feet Steven Moffat’s reset-button tendencies, but Russell T. Davies had his fair share of deus ex machina shenanigans on Doctor Who. And I’m not alone on these last-minute fixes being annoying, back in 2010 author Terry Pratchett wrote:

The unexpected, unadvertised solution which kisses it all better is known as a deus ex machina—literally, a god from the machine. And a god from the machine is what the Doctor now is. A decent detective story provides you with enough tantalising information to allow you to make a stab at a solution before the famous detective struts his stuff in the library. Doctor Who replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that wonderful element ‘makeitupasyougalongeum.’

Pratchett ended up letting Doctor Who off the proverbial space hook with his piece however, by declaring it “pure professionally-written entertainment,” and in 2010, I would have agreed with him. But, at this point, the deus ex machina are feeling less like a quirk of the Doctor and more like a deep-rooted personality flaw. I can already hear fans telling me that the show is just “fun,” and I shouldn’t expect much from it, but in the mind of a critic, that’s a fairly reductive attitude that can lead to a slippery slope of everything being excused away as “just entertainment.”

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

So when was the last time Doctor Who was truly great? I’d assert the fantastic season 6 episode “The Girl Who Waited” reminded me of why I fell in love with the show in the first place. In that one, the Doctor screws up, and Amy Pond is stranded in a weird time stream where decades pass for her, while no time passed for Rory and the Doctor. The dilemma of choosing between the young Amy and the old Amy is an awesome science fiction conceit and created great character conflict worthy of any TV show, film, or work of fiction. This story didn’t concern itself with a larger season-long arc, nor did it require weird knowledge of Doctor Who mythology. Heroically, instead of meditating too long on the paradox of old Amy and new Amy living on the TARDIS together, that notion is turned into an awesome one-liner. Rory asks “Can it work, Doctor?” to which the Doctor replies, “I don’t know, it’s your marriage.”

Here, a character has to make a choice and their choice impacts what happens to the other characters. There are emotional stakes set up by a beautiful and interesting premise, which feels unique to the world of Doctor Who in general. Like “Father’s Day,” “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “Human Nature,” “The Fires of Pompeii,” “The Waters of Mars,” “Vampires of Venice,” “The Lodger,” and other great Doctor Who episodes, real character drama collides with science fiction to create unique television.

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

But since “The Girl Who Waited,” I’ve been waiting for Doctor Who to return to its greatness and remind me why I supposedly love it. And though it still flirts with me and makes me laugh, I feel like the magic has gone out of our romance and it might be time to stop. Too many broken promises, Doctor Who! You need to win me over again!

It would be sad, to break up with Doctor Who because, truly... I don’t want to go!

Ryan Britt is a writer for and is very sorry to have this talk with Doctor Who, but Doctor Who has left him no choice.

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Tim Buller
1. samzo77
I've had similar feelings about the show starting in the 6th season, however, I intend to let the relationship continue in hopes of it returning to a former glory.
2. RiverVox
I've been thinking the same thing. It was probably the treatment of Donna that broke me. I'm stumped as to why the show seems to be getting more and more popular, which makes me feel like I'm missing something. The "Black Spot" was probably my favorite show from all of Matt Smith because it was an actual old school space adventure. So tired of the relationship mush. I want more weirdness. How about male companions - Rory's Dad and Wilfred Mott?
3. TheDoctor
I had hoped things would get better once The Doctor was rid of the shackles that were Rory/Amy.

So far, things have only improved slightly.
4. JD33
The show remains the best family entertainment on television. Sure the odd ep is a let down but what show gets it right every time and as long as it continues to produce stuff like 'The Snowmen' , 'Bells of Saint John' and 'Hide'.

I am getting a bit sick of these "isn’t Doctor Who crap now, why cant it be like it used to be before Moffat" articles that have been popping up all over the internet since Davis left. Though i suppose they make a change from the "why cant the new show be like the old show" articles that were more common during the Davis era.
Michele Reznik
5. DarthReznik
Hell, I've been waiting since Donna Noble for the show to win me back. It's almost feeling too "monster of the week" too. In earlier seasons it wasn't as noticeable, but now it's very "season 1 Buffy" but lacking in Joss Whedon. Almost like the show has devolved by trying to be too grandiose and lofty in its own self importance.
6. Natenanimous
I can agree with you on some points. The Weeping Angels are officially overdone, and the show has been bogged down by the long term arcs that have not yet reached satisfactory resolutions. I think the end of this current season will really show if Moffat has some idea of what he's doing with these things or if he's just winging it.

Overall I'm still happy with the show, though it's been in a bit of a down-period since the end of season five. I have to remind myself that even though it's been a couple years since then, there have only been about 20 episodes, and some of those have still been quite good. Matt Smith's first Christmas episode was fantastic, and I highly enjoyed episodes such as Day of the Moon, The Doctor's Wife, The Girl Who Waited, Closing Time, and the most recent episode, Hide. When the less great episodes still have moments that entertain me, I can live with that while I hope for the overall quality to improve again. Since the show is always changing (actors, show-runners, writers), you know that it won't always be like this.

However, I have to completely disagree with your rash opinion that Victory of the Daleks is better than Asylum of the Daleks. I thought Victory was a terrible episode, with a conclusion that made no sense. Asylum had problems too, but it had Souffle Clara and I did not find it terrible.

The only episodes I would personally label as terrible during Moffat's run are Victory of the Daleks, Curse of the Black Spot, Night Terrors, and Cold War. And maaaybe The Angels Take Manhatten; that one did not sit right with me either.
David Thomson
7. ZetaStriker
I'd argue Clara's plight in Asylum of the Dalek's was extremely interesting character drama, and despite the rather stupid ending The Rings of Akhaten's focus on Clara as a person made it pretty darn good as well. There have been a lot more misses that hits recently though, and I wish we had more Clara-specific episodes like The Rings of Akhaten to distinguish her from being Generic Female Companion #5. Amy and Rory generally felt pretty unique, why can't Clara?
8. mboon
Bye. Don't let the door hit your backside on the way out....although I'm probably assisting your delusions of grandeur by relpying to this particular example of 'entitlement' issues that so many Doctor Who fans seem to suffer with.
9. CardinalIron
I'm a rather new "Doctor Who" fan, so I don't have years or decades of past Who episodes to compare the past few years with. Since I started watching and enjoying "Doctor Who" much of what I read after watching an episode amounts to 'I hate Matt Smith/ I hate Amy Pond/I hate Clara Oswin." As if its all about the casting, or maybe these people just hate any kind of change. Which is odd since its the only show I can think of that changes their cast as easy as one changes a new pair of shoes. If the show is not up to par with past seasons, that's less to do with change of cast then the show runner itself, yes Moffat gets criticized, but not nearly as much as Smith and those they cast as his companions. I hardly ever hear critics actually saying its just not as smart/clever as it used to be. If that's the case that's valid, but most of the time its just personal prefference of the cast.
Alex Brown
10. AlexBrown
I was at this same point until last week's ep. I love the show a ton, but it was like a chore just to gear myself up to watch it. I hated hated HATED Amy and Rory at the end. Frankly, I never liked Amy to begin with. Amelia was adorable, but Amy was so impulsive she was actually reckless and dangerous. And Eleven doesn't need to replicate Nine's gravitas or Ten's angst, but he does need to temper his "fish custard" silliness with a little "Don't touch the baby, Rose!" seriousness. Moffat has sailed this ship into the ground (not that Davies was perfect, he also had his share of bad ideas), and if Matt Smith plays The Doctor any goofier he'll be the new Patch Adams.

But with last week's ep, it all turned around for me. Clara and Eleven finally stopped flirting like a pair of star-crossed lovers and started behaving more like Donna and Ten, which is all shades of wonderful. Clara's mystery is deepening, but in a way that feels less like the whole Amy/Rory/River nonsense and more like how Ten untangled the mystery of The Master. Not that there haven't been some crappy episodes as of late. I actively loathed "The Rings of Akhaten" and nearly threw my laptop at the wall during "Cold War." Here's hoping "Hide" wasn't a fluke.

I think a lot of the beneficial changes have stemmed from Moffat and Matt Smith having a case of senioritis, given that this is likely the last season for both. Which is also great news.
11. chababug
You lost me at “Asylum of the Daleks” is the poor man’s “Victory of the Daleks.” Victory is one of the worst Doctor Who episodes ever made. Truly terrible.

You would be amazed how many times articles like this have been written about Doctor Who over the last 50 years...
Michele Reznik
12. DarthReznik
I will add that I find Clara to be a breath of fresh air after the bizzare love quadrangle of Rory/Amy/Doctor/River... I'm also really intrigued by the fact that the Doctor seems to be deteriorating in sanity (what little he had to begin with) extremely rapidly in this season. Here's hoping they play with that in the coming episodes.
14. GGaffney
I can't speak for everyone, as we all enjoy different things in our television, but for me the greatest episodes in any television show are the ones in which our previous emotional investment in the characters finally pays off. While "The Waters of Mars" had emotional impact, it was in my estimation the barest fraction of the impact of "A Good Man Goes to War." In that episode we saw every snippet of ground work paying off, all the chips that had been thrown on the table finally called. The point was not entirely what was happening. What had happened played as great a role.

"The Girl Who Waited" only mattered because we knew them. We knew Rory and Amy. We'd seen their highs, and so we felt the depth of Amy's low. Two random faces, and it would have been an episode of the Twilight Zone, but because of everything we had gone through with them, it hurt in that way only the best stories do. If it had been in the first few episodes of Amy, it wouldn't have been very good at all.

"Asylum of the Daleks" was not the best of episodes, on its own. But I loved "The Snowmen," and its impact was in part because of the groundwork of Asylum. To me, that episode proved that the writers were still capable of making things hurt. That hurt turned out to be passing, yes, but this IS the realm of Doctor Who, one of the few remaining sources of true optimism on television. We have a new companion now, so there is new groundwork to be laid. I'm not saying everything is perfect now, just that it is a bit early to judge.
15. Laemkral
Complain complain. That's all this is. Gee, 7 seasons of the new series and you think the writing staff is having trouble come up with original ideas. Oh wait, Doctor Who is 50 years old, plus all the books, radio serials, and comics. Maybe you need to stop whining that the 50 year old franchise isn't constantly amazing and go delve back into what made it great in the first place. Have you even picked up a Doctor Who novel? What made the original series fantastic was that stories weren't limited to a 1 hour block of TV with a start and an end, they stretched for multiple (albeit shorter) episodes so they could fit the story to what it needed to be. You get that same experience with the books, where the story is as long or as short as it needs to be. You get amazing character depth in some, grandiose plots in others, and even the occasional stinker that makes you cringe. Go read "The Coming of the Terraphiles" and then tell me how bad the TV show is. A great franchise doesn't stay in one medium, nor should its fans. Doctor Who is more than a TV show, it is so much more and you can't be bothered to experience the whole thing. THAT is what is truly sad, not that your elevated expectations aren't being met.
Ryan Britt
16. ryancbritt
I think you're totally right about it being great family entertainment. And yes, "bad" Doctor Who is still better than a lot of stuff. I just don't want to settlle! :-)

@5 I miss Donna too. :-(

@9 I hope "it's just not as clever as it used to be," is the message you're getting from me. Becaus that's how I feel! :-)

I liked "Hide," but I think our standards have been lowered and I would put it firmly in the "just okay" camp.

"You would be amazed how many times articles like this have been written about Doctor Who over the last 50 years..." I don't doubt it! But I hope this is seen as my own personal thing, because, it totally is. :-)
17. Fenric25
I've been a Doctor Who fan since I was 11 (back in 1996), having watched almost every episode of every era (apart from the missing episodes of the 1960s), and I have to say that, apart from "The Twin Dillemma" and "Time and the Rani", there are no Doctor Who episodes that I don't love at least somewhat (yes, even "Timelash" is good fun if one is in a mocking mood). I cannot see how anyone would just stop watching the show-even when it repeats certain themes, ideas or character traits (something it has done constantly throughout its long history, it isn't just the modern era that does that). Doctor Who is almost always great TV to watch, no matter the budget, the writer, the acting, etc. And as for Series 7, I find it to be superior to Series 6 in most ways (Series 6 was good, and it did have "The Doctor's Wife", "The Girl Who Waited" and "The God Complex", but it was overall shaky and needed some more exploration of its ideas and plot). "Asylum of the Daleks" is far better than "Victory," "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was a fun, zany episode that would've worked even better if it didn't feel like a bunch of set pieces strung together, "A Town Called Mercy" was good and had some great character work with the Sheriff and Kahler-Jex, "The Power of Three" was just as good as "Partners in Crime" (except for the fact that it lacked Donna Noble and the last couple minutes were meh, but oh well), "The Angels Take Manhattan" was quite dramatic and sad, "The Snowmen" was the best Christmas special in some time, "The Bells of St.John" was a fun new companion opener (though a bit too reliant on some of Moffat's usual tricks), "The Rings of Akhaten" was far more ambitious and satisfying than "The Beast Below" (I don't get why that episode is so divisive), "Cold War" is far better than many on seem to think it is (it had a badass Ice Warrior written as an actual character and not just a mook, David Warner as a kooky Professor, and was overall a well-directed, creepy, base-under-siege type episode that hasn't been seen in a while) and "Hide" is so far the best episode of the season, with great character interactions, a creepy ambience,a clever explanation behind the ghost story, and lots of charm and lovely little classic series references (plus Clara arguing with the TARDIS, a great scene) Overall, Series 7 is the best since Series 4, in my opinion, and I can't see how anyone would be turned off by it as I find it's getting better. And the next few weeks (including another Neil Gaiman episode with Cybermen!) are bound to be even better, judging by what little has been released so far in terms of previews. I guess we just have to agree to disagree, then. I, for one, am never going to stop watching the show, long may it continue to live and regenerate :)
18. Dr. Thanatos

Dr. Who has been going downhill ever since 4 dropped Ramona and ran off with Ramona. Nevertheless, it beats the heck out of "Celebrity Apprentice Kardashian"
Ryan Britt
19. ryancbritt
I do have some Doctor Who novels. I have an amazing one at home right now with an introduction from Harlan Ellison!

Listen, I'm not trying to slam the whole thing, just saying this is how I feel right now. :-)
20. Laemkral
A follow-up to my previous comment. The author said: "Now, I’m not saying Doctor Who should be a champion of stories that make sense all the time, but it should at least be consistent with its own mythology".

To which I respond: What show are YOU watching because this is a TV show that has literally been rewriting itself since the second episode when they introduced the Daleks. It is a show where retcons, rewrites, and ignoring established canon IS the mythology. Even basic core concepts such as how regenerations work have been changed, altered, and manipulated to fit the plot of each episode.

Again, the author is a sunshine fan who is only loyal so long as everything is going well, who doesn't broaden his horizons with the books, comics, or classic series, and who is complaining because that's what the "cool" thing is to do when it comes to Who at the moment.

You want to compare this to a relationship? Where is your contributions to the effort? You've been happy to sit back and receive and receive but done nothing to give back. No wonder the relationship got stagnant, Doctor Who grew and evolved and you stagnated, not growing or evolving with it. You have no one to blame but yourself.
21. laemkral
I immediately retract my statements about not broadening your horizons. I apologize, I was jumping to conclusions and getting emotional.
22. pythia
" I feel like any explanation of how she manages to die and come back to life all the time will be a bit of a letdown, buried underneath a pile of hastily-written nonsense"
This quote really sums it up for me. I quit the show in season 6 after getting frustrated with the lack of consistency, the make it up as you go along issues, the lack of any true stakes that comes with just "rebooting the unvierse" when you've written yourself into a corner. I started watching the Clara episodes and while I like her, its frustrating because I assume the clue to whatever her deal is won't be introduced until the penultimate episode at the earliest and then will be immediately resolved (unsatisfactorily) in the first few minutes of the season finale episode so that the doctor can then spend the rest of the time run around being nonsensical and restart time or space or some nonsense completely unrelated to the supposed season long ark. Its poor storytelling.

The biggest difference between the show now and earlier (reboot) iterations) is that during the Davies era there were things like high stakes (generated through the Doctor being the last of his people and the guilt and morality that comes with that), concrete rules that couldn't be broken (the aforementioned fixed time issues) and actual consequences when they were (the gut punch of Waters of Mars for example). Getting rid of all of these "rules" or "guideposts" or whatever you want to call them makes everything too loose. There is no tension in the world if the Doctor has no rules to follow, there are never consequences, and everything is always magically explained away.

The other change (for the modern era only) is the move from the companion being just that, a companion to the doctor, a lucky person choosen to tag along on adventures representing the best of humanity, to the companion being the mystery and representing some sort of cosmic problem the Doctor needs to fix. Rose ,Martha, Donna, ect were there to help/teach the Doctor through their humanity. It was a nice recurring theme, that even someone as old, wise and all powerful as the Doctor could be made better through his interaction with normal humans. Now the companion is just an increasing convoluted mcguffin for the Doctor to unknot. That makes it pretty hard to relate to them or really care about them.
Adam Whitehead
23. Werthead
Now, I dislike both of these episodes, but at least “Curse of the Black Spot” has pirates, a quirky sci-fi concept, and a lot of charm. “Cold War” has none of this. Indeed, having Clara and the Doctor be from the future/outer space has zero bearing on them being in 1983. There’s no fun time paradox stuff explored, and essentially the Doctor could have been any smartass with a magic wand in this episode. Despite the presence of a nuclear weapon, the stakes of “Cold War” are impossibly low.
Curse of the Black Spot is a terrible episode. The actor who played the captain was pretty good, but apart from that it was a weak-sauce episode, badly-written with a feeble resolution.

Cold War, on the other hand, is one of the best episodes of Who since its return in 2005. It has a small, claustraphobic environment, a dangerous enemy (but also one that can be reasoned with) and a small scale but potentially enormous ramifications. It was Mark Gatiss's love letter to both the Ice Warriors (one of the most intriguing of Who's monsters, and their return was way overdue) and also all of the 'base under siege' stories from old Who's run, which gave us some of the best stories. You could imagine Troughton or Pertwee doing it brilliantly (Smith's final speech to the Ice Warrior is pure Pertwee).

Also, the escalating scale problem is something that has seriously damaged new Who. Every season finale has had to be even more ridiculously threatening and vast than the last one, to the point where it is no longer funny. Who shouldn't be about the fate of the universe every other week. The Doctor fighting to save a small group of people should be enough (and Waters of Mars was a great example of that).
“Asylum of the Daleks” is the poor man’s “Victory of the Daleks.”
Does 'poor man's' in this instance mean 'vastly inferior'? Victory was badly-written and ill-conceived, culminating in the unveiling of the budget dodgem car Daleks, one of the weakest designs they've ever had. I like some of the ideas (the Daleks winning, the starfighter Spitfires, Ian McNeice as Churchill) but it was a ropey episode at best. Asylum was much tenser and more atmospheric, with a great performance from the new companion. The ending was a bit weak, agreed, but even the best of the new Who stories seem to require a dodgy ending.
"To put a relationship metaphor inside of a relationship metaphor: the Weeping Angels should have been a one-time fling, making Doctor Who’s attempt to actually date them a big mistake."
Agreed. The Weeping Angels are new Who's Borg: a really great idea, but the rules governing them seem to shift every time they show up. Plus each time they are defeated, their menace lessens.
But, at this point, the deus ex machina are feeling less like a quirk of the Doctor and more like a deep-rooted personality flaw. I can already hear fans telling me that the show is just “fun,” and I shouldn’t expect much from it, but in the mind of a critic, that’s a fairly reductive attitude that can lead to a slippery slope of everything being excused away as “just entertainment.”
True, but this has been a problem since the show came back. Sure, the old series had periods as well when the writers and producers just pulled endings out of their backsides, but most of the time the stories were set up and ended in a manner that was at least explicable. Cold War is one of the few instances since 2005 that an episode ended in a totally coherent manner that made sense (whilst the preceding episode had an ending so nonsensical that even Russell T. Davies would likely have balked at it).
"So when was the last time Doctor Who was truly great?"
1984 and The Caves of Androzani :) Nothing in the new series has really come close to that, and I don't think it will. The new show has been decidedly timid in its approach to scaring the kids and doing the sort of things the old show did on a more regular basis.
"Too many broken promises, Doctor Who! You need to win me over again! It would be sad, to break up with Doctor Who because, truly... I don’t want to go!"
This isn't a binary decision. The beauty of Who's format, and the reason it's lasted 50 years, is that it resets itself every few years with a new Doctor or a new producer (or both). So you can drop out now and come back in a couple of years when Moffat leaves (and I don't think he's got too much longer, not with Hollywood knocking on his door and Smith likely not to want to stay around for more than another season) and see what the show's like then.
"Too many broken promises, Doctor Who! You need to win me over again! It would be sad, to break up with Doctor Who because, truly... I don’t want to go!"
Nathan Love
24. n8love
First a heavy handed blow-up of Oblivion (which I can live with, the movie wasn't awesome), and now this "I like the newsest episodes less than the ones from just a few years before but none of them are as good as the old old ones" business.

It's official: Ryan Britt has become a hipster curmudgeon (I didn't make that term up, it's actually really old; so old that none of you probably know about it, what with all of the rap music and such clouding your brains).
Adam Whitehead
26. Werthead
Interesting point someone just made to me: Doctor Who is, I believe, better when the showrunner does not write any (or many) of the episodes. Who isn't a traditional show (SF or otherwise) and I think it benefits a lot more from having the showrunner focusing explicitly on the business decisions and the big-picture direction of the series whilst another producer focuses on the actual narrative. At the best periods in the show's history, you had a producer working in partnership with a script-editor who handled the creative direction. For example, John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward (or, at the end, JNT and Andrew Cartmel), or Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks. Even Graham Williams and Douglas Adams got a few good stories in before the series started self-destructing into farce.

I think putting both RTD and Moffat in the position of producing and writing the biggest episodes of each season has resulted in too much power in the hands of one producer, with no-one really able to step back and say, "Hang on, this doesn't really work," when their storylines don't make any sense.
Mordicai Knode
27. mordicai
Which is funny; I never really clicked with 9th & 10th Who, but me & 11th are getting along like gangbusters.

24. n8love

I can vouch for his curmudgeonliness.
William Carter
28. wcarter
Forget the Master, I would like to see the Valeyard.

The doctor's pysche certainly seems damaged enough at this point that he could turn into him
29. freud
As soon as you said The Curse of the Black Spot was better than Cold War, I disliked this article. I still read it because that was polite, but... Also, I love both Asylum and Victory, but Asylum is definitely better: it's well-paced, constantly exciting and has a much better director.
30. Adammeyers
Personally, I loved Amy and Rory, all the way through the Wedding of River Song. I thought they were the most unique companions yet, and I loved the storytelling of the Matt Smith era up to that point.

But yeah, after that point things just started going downhill. I loved Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and I really enjoyed what they did with Clara in The Snowmen, but Clara really fell apart after that: They focused so hard on 'selling' her to me that it just fell flat, and now that she actually is a companion she's yet to be very interesting at all. The Doctor and the plots just feel dirivitive at this point.

But the glory of Doctor Who is a premise where rebooting is just part of the adventure. I'd hate to say 'maybe it's just time for Doctor 12 to step in,' but I do know that when he does, the show will by necessity need to restart itself afresh, and maybe the great old charm will pick back up again.
Cain Latrani
31. CainS.Latrani
This is only my opinion, so take it as that.

Matt does a good job as the Doctor, when he's allowed to. Tennant left some big shoes to fill, however, and while I was kind of expecting his successor to have a hard time making the Doctor his own, Moffett has not really helped, mostly by his trying too hard to be too big with it all.

The Pandorica was really cool, until it turned into a big wtf?

The Doctor was a robot all along! Seriously wtf?

Amy/Rory/River story line was just all kinds of wtf.

I can play along with silliness, as Doctor Who is only science fiction if you squint right, but when things reach a point where I'm scratching my head trying to understand just what the heck happened, it's not good.

The Angels Take Manhattan was almost it for me. The whole episode was just... dumb. Everything about it was dumb. An emotional farewell to two beloved companions? Not really. It was just gibberish that made no sense at all.

So far, I like Clara, but seriously, if this ends up going the way of Amy, who somehow become the most important person in the history of the entire universe, because...

Actually, I'm not really sure. That never made sense.

Anyway, I'm hoping Clara's story is less nonsense. I'd like to see Matt get to really be the Doctor, instead of the guy who is there so the companion, who during Amy's time, became the star of the show, has someone to play chauffeur for them.
32. I_Sell_Books
@18 - Who is this Ramona character? Personally, I always liked Romana...
34. James Duckett
Brilliant post, and I can't argue with the premise of what you've said without getting all nit-picky. I especially love your metaphor about dating the weeping angels. Blink got me into Doctor Who, but every time the Angels come back I cringe.

Despite the lackluster season (it hasn't picked up for me since Amy and Rory left), a good marriage is based on commitment. "In sickness and in health, till death do you part." Our relationship is going through a rough patch right now. I could go in search of a new relationship, but with that mentality the new marriage will also end up in the toilet in the long run. I'm going to stay loyal while we seek a little counseling and work through our problems. Because... the Doctor is worth it.
Jenny Thrash
35. Sihaya
My love for the show has come and gone through the years. It started losing me some time in the middle of the fifth doctor, but I'd check in on it from time to time. It started winning me back around the seventh. My advice as an old Whovian is this - keeping checking in. You'll find something you like eventually. It will never feel like the show you used to watch, but it will be something else that's just as fun.
36. lisafan
Thank you! I feel like a pariah whenever I criticise new Who - but there are some serious problems under Moffett's reign. He was a great one episode writer - but he cannot do a series arc successfully. Yeah, RTD wasn't brilliant at that either and did pull the deus ex machina thing, but he had characterization and emotional writing down pat. I never felt connected to the Ponds and so far Clara is just not doing it for me either. I keep hoping Who will come around, but I think I'll have to wait for a new showrunner before I'm enthralled again.
nat ward
37. smonkey
Personally I gotta wonder what the heck happened to Steven Moffat as a child?

We can barely get through a single episode nowadays without it being about relationships and in particular Mothers and their Children. Or maybe the hard heart of an old spy and his super young looking assistant empath.


If another epsiode goes into the depth of love of a Mother for Her Child being greater than all science and all the power of the universe etc etc, I'm going to throw something at the screen.
38. Beligaronia
I agree with everything in this article yet I must admit that it will take a lot more to make me "break up" with Doctor Who. Even at its worst modern Who is still good fun and a great ride. The characters are brilliant, the dialogue is great and yet when I should be watching the Doctor's emotional crisis or listening to a great speech my suspended disbelief comes crashing down around my ears.

The problem is that Doctor Who pretends to be science fiction and fails. I accept that the Time lords have long ago hit the point of sufficiently advanced technology but you still need to explain the plot holes. (And to be clear I don't mean explain in the dictionary sense, I mean the Doctor needs to say a sentence about space magic and move on.) I missed a lot of the impact of Rings of Akhaten because I was grumpy about how the space moped lets its passengers breathe vacuum. Not to mention the whole "Yay you saved a little girl. Now she can watch as her entire civilistion dies a slow sunless death because Clara's mother told her a fairy story about a leaf."

Doctor Who is and always has been Science Fantasy but they need to at least try to live up to the "Science" part.
39. Jill Pantozzi
Paul Weimer
40. PrinceJvstin
Doctor Who has its peaks and troughs, and people can't even agree, sometimes on what *those* are. Its a maddening show that way, but that's why, with its 15 year rest notwithstanding, its been around for so long.

As Adam said upstream, wait a couple of years ago, it will change, perhaps to something more of your liking.

There are old series Doctors and episodes and seasons that work better than others--why should NuWho be any different?
David Lomax
41. dlomax
Sometimes after you break up with someone, you come to realize that it's because you just weren't right for each other anymore. (Not me -- it was always because I hadn't found the right one. Eventually I did, thanks very much.) But anyhow. My point is that when you let that person go, they can find someone who is right, and so can you. My two older kids (seventeen and fifteen) love the Doctor, and have ever since I introduced them to him five years ago. That is all. Okay, the wife and I love it as well. It is endlessly inventive, boundlessly positive and ridiculously energetic.

At the end of every episode, we love to tear the plot apart for nonsense and logical flaws, but sooner or later, someone will derail the discussion by saying, "It sure was fun, though," and we all nod.

If you're not having fun, by all means walk away. I don't judge and I don't intend to defend. We can love a show and still know its flaws. Just please be aware that my family isn't watching you walk away. We are watching the doctor. Enthralled.
42. Fletch
Mostly agree with this article, although I've already broken up with the show. I'm a fan from the classic days and I gave it until a good bit into Smith/Moffat. It changed too much, too soon for me.

Doctor Who should follow a simple format: land somewhere, have adventure, get back in TARDIS and continue to next adventure. Along the way, develop characters. Mostly though, the show whould be about THE DOCTOR, which is where it's gone wrong for me. Smith's 1st season was all about Amy Pond, then the show was all about River fecking Song, all the fecking time. I am so sick of River bloody Song that I could bleed from my eyes when I think about her. Now the show is mainly about the cast having a good time and how many people they can get to post GIFS on tumblr.

I have no idea whether Clara is a good companion or not but seeing as the show once again decided to go with a pretty young human-looking girl, I just wasn't interested. Donna was probably the last good companion: she was older, didn't fancy the Doctor and actually felt like someone you might be friends with, not the pretty, popular girl who'd ignore you. And yes I know the old show had pretty human companions too but it also had a LOADS of male companions (that weren't just there 'cos they were with the girl), a robot dog, a Time-Lady (who was smarter than the Doctor) and a ton of alien races. Don't know Clara's back story but let's look at the companions since 2006: young, pretty 21st-century girl, followed by same (although at least Martha wasn't white), Donna, young pretty 21st-century girl again. Not a lot of variety there. Mickey and Jack don't count, 'cos they weren't there long enough.

Okay, I'm done. I'll be watching the classic show and listening to the Big Finish productions if anyone needs me.
43. VampricYoda
You make some good points.

But you lost me when you compared "Cold War" to "Curse of the Black Spot" The only connecting theme I see between the two is LOOK! WATER! Cold War was more about nostalgia for old (OLD) Who. The same arguement can be said about saying Asulum of the Daleks is similar to Victory of the Daleks. Asulum was a pretty bad epiosde. But how is the plot line even REMOTELY like Victory. Besides LOOK! DALEKS! Just because a plot line uses the same characters and/or monsters doesn't mean one is a poor man's version of another.

That said. Smith/Moffat have had some pretty darn terrible episodes (every two parter of Series 6) But some of the BEST episodes the show ever had (including old Who) are in series 6. The Doctor's Wife, The God Complex, and The Girl Who Waited. I think in a top 20 stories those three have a place. The Doctor's Wife breaking top ten easily.

That said. The show survived the terrible writing of the Colin Baker and Slyvester McCoy years. And still managed to have gems during that time. I think this time the show will survive and Moffat will leave. Right now Doctor Who is at it's weakest. (None of the plots of his season have given me ANY strong feelings. Except Angels take Manhattan. And what was annoyance) but it's doing the best the show's ever had. The ratings and merch sales show that.

And at the end of the day. The show will go on.
44. doops
I must say watching the first episode of the current season I was appalled. It was just horrible. So sad.

The whole thing with the doctor surrounding himself with cute girls is just kinda creepy now for some reason.

I guess I'll go back and watch Girl in the Fireplace.
Damian Dubois
45. paradoxicaldr
I read one of your articles last night, 'Oblivion destroys itself' and now another whiney-moaney article this time about Doctor Who today. Maybe you simply need to lose that too critical eye of yours and just enjoy it for what these shows are for. Good, escapist fun and nothing more.

You really lost me on your put down of the Weeping Angels as the subsequent episodes to Blink, especially The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone, were simply brilliant stories and didn't diminish them at all. Others have already noted your comparison with Victory and Asylum so I won't so much other than that's laughable. Break up by all means but we know you'll be back ;)
46. NiktheHeratik
I can't say I agree with the premise of the article, though I will agree that much of the writing has gotten lazier. As a fan of old-school Who I recognize that it just has ups and downs like every other series. The writers get lazy or complacent or the budget gets squeezed too much to allow the idea to get on the screen and the producers are forced to make compromises. It always comes back around eventually.

I also think some of you comparisons are unfair as you were right to point out the dollhouse episode, but you completely ignored the crayon monster kid or the Face-eating Telly episodes of the RTD era.

Also, if any thing, I'd say the later Tennant episodes were more reliant on Duex ex Machina than the Moffat episodes. Moffat is bigger on the cutesy mythology ideas which can annoy me to no end. The reason old Who fans are forgiving of that IMO is because it's a limitation of only having one episode to tell the story, most of the time. But if you focus on it too much, it can be frustrating.
Alan Brown
47. AlanBrown
I think this article says more about the fan who wrote it than the show in question (sorry Ryan). I would suggest that you watch the movie Fever Pitch, which is not just about baseball and love, it is about fandom gone a bit too far. Despite what we post on the internet as we discuss our favorite shows, the relationship between those shows and us fans is a one way street. As a friend asked the out of control fan in Fever Pitch, who was ready to give up his girlfriend for his baseball team, "You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back? "
You can stop watching Doctor Who, but you can't break up with a show--you don't have a real relationship with it, it is not a person. I constantly see signs that fans are getting way to invested in what should be light entertainment. I have seen the word "headcanon" cropping up lately, used to indicate where fans basically ignore anything they don't like about a show, and fill in their own details. So, in other words, they don't love the show as much as they love their own fantasies that derived from the show.
Please, Ryan, in the future, when you review a show, review the show itself, not your 'relationship' with the show. I care about the show, not your "Ryan-centric" view of it.
Jenny Thrash
48. Sihaya
#47 - So, no metaphors allowed? And no making up stories in our head for fun? Man, you have got a bleak way of appreciating things. I like to have fun with my entertainment.
Shelly wb
49. shellywb
I agree with you Ryan, except on one thing. I'm sticking with it. Why? Because I've been watching since the 70s, and even though there have always been rough periods and even doctors whose whole tenures I can't stand, the show always turns around and shows me something wonderful that beats most of what's on television. So yeah, I'm here for the duration.
50. Nicholas Winter
@47: youre right. Many watchers invest far too much emotional commitment into what is simply entertainment. And it happens everywhere.

At a review site I do work for, one of our staff dissed the idea of intelligent wolves. For many months, we got bitter emails excusing us of not understanding what a brilliant winter the author was and how really amazing his story was.

Is Doctor Who always written well? No. Now tell me a series that is. Don't like it? Stop watching it. But don't spend hours obsessing over why it's not for you.
51. NormanM
'“The Rings of Akhaten,” while decent, is totally a poor man’s “The Beast Below.”' Seriously? Really? You're joking, right? For real?

I’m probably going to have to break up with
52. Bella_M
You had me until River Song. Do not touch Professor Song. She is golden and is an amazing role model for the female audience of this series. No longer is the Doctor's companion some wide-eyed arm candy existing to massage his belief in his own greatness, but she is his equal and AMAZING. I know lots of women tuned into the series specifically because of her. There have been some shaky plotlines with regards to her character because Moffat lives out his female wet dreams through her - but that's not a flaw of the character but rather the showrunner/head writer. She's his creation and bless him for that, but he needs to let his sexist attitudes towards women take backseat....pronto. Moffat has been believing his own hype of late and it appears to have gone to his head. This latest season especially, the storylines have been particularly poor and nearly unwatchable. "Hide" was the most decent one so far. Here's hoping the series finale will be worth all the hype and leads to an amazing 50th episode.

But I agree that Matt Smith has been playing the goofy Doctor to the max and needs to take it down 5 notches. Clara is also an unimpressive, mouthy companion (unlike the brilliant Donna Noble), but again I blame the writing (and casting). She was intriguing in Asylum of the Daleks but her character since has been as bland as buckwheat cereal (hate the stuff). It's partly the writing, partly the actress who seems lacking in her Who love/knowledge, seems to be winging it, and it shows. BBC seems to have chosen superficial over substance, plus Clara's disrespect of the TARDIS and her lack of "wonder" at being shown the Universe in a time machine is underwhelming. The companions are supposed to be the eyes/ears/heart of the audience...but mine remains untouched by this character. But some like her, so let's cut out the Clara hate and give her a bit more chance to prove herself (though neither Rose/Martha/Donna/Amy needed this many episodes to win us over).

But don't complain about River Song. Finally, a strong, independent, highly capable female character to give female viewers an added Whovian thrill. Blame the writing for her character's pitfalls. And p.s. The Angels Take Manhattan and the fate of the Ponds was tragic. I actually cried. (Wept during Waters of Mars - but Ten is magic!)

Don't hate on Doctor Who...and if you must break up with the series...well, allons-y!
53. omargod
In any other instance I would insist that posters avoid criticizing the topic without previous experiences of watching the show, but since the adventure and silliness is part of what makes this show so great, we can't write off the opinions of those newcomers to Doctor Who that may not see the larger story arc behind our favorite time lord for what it is. Tennant idealized a certain dark and personal aspect of the Doctor that embodied the sentiment of many 20/30-somethings who identified with the show in his era. Naturally a certain reluctance has been harbored by those who saw him leave and become the younger, more vulnerable and energetic 11th Doctor. What really differentiates him, I believe, is that he is jaded by the experiences he had as Tennant and Eccleston. Those incarnations have created what 11 is to us, what he should naturally be given the terrible and wonderful things that have happened to him in those years. What should amaze and delight every fan of the show, old and new alike, is that this disenfranchised, delinquent and delirious old time lord still has the penchant for disbelief and admiration of the new people, things and places that he stumbles upon. His idealistic nature in contrast to his cynicism is notable and very much worth following on a week to week basis. Moffat has provided us with a Doctor reeling from the effects of his past, seeing new relationships through the lens of his failed ones, and giving us the time lord we need.
Iain Cupples
54. NumberNone
If ever there was a proof that mileage varies, it's surely all these comments about how incredibly great Donna was as a companion. She was awful. Annoying in both conception and execution. I was delighted when she left, and skipped several episodes when she was in the series. I had a semi-detached relationship with Who during that whole period.

So, I can sympathise with the idea that other people are having a similar reaction now. But as others have said, the charm of the show is that it changes. Under Moffat, there's much more of a fantasy vibe, and I like that. Smith is a great Doctor: his goofiness isn't irritating to me because he plays it as a wall the Doctor uses to hide behind, and from time to time he lets it drop to see the damaged and mistrustful Doctor beneath.
55. Erik Dercf
I'm really in the mood for a new show runner. I would like who to do the very things people have talked about for ages but hasn't because others don't want to break the mold. It is time to strike the mold and see what happens. Doctor Who is a show with so much baggage its time to really decide what goes with the Tardis and what gets pitched. It may be bigger inside but that stuff is weighing the show down. Both show runners have done well, but things are playing too safe.
56. Linwe
New Who has been a love-hate relationship for me since Series 2. Sometimes it's utterly brilliant and sometimes it's downright awful, and that is something I can live with because I remember that from the classic series. In any case, it still hasn't hit the depths of awful Classic Who hit in 1987.

It's more the overall trend. I've hated the inclusion of Doctor romance, which to me feels like the only thing they're focusing on, under either RTD or Moffat. I don't mind them repeating ideas; the show is 50 years old, obviously they're going to repeat themselves. It's that they're repeating ideas they literally just did, like with the Doctor meeting young Clara in the prologue. Moffat doesn't need to recycle his own ideas from two series/one companion ago, if he's really desperate there's loads of other ideas he could take from the classic series that might feel new to the majority of viewers.

And the internal logic doesn't make sense, especially with the weeping angels and the overly confusing series-long arcs with River and now Clara. They're throwing things at the wall just to see what looks cool instead of figuring out what would make some sense. The most obvious example of this was in The Angels Take Manhattan, where the emotional impact of Amy and Rory leaving was drowned out by how little sense everything made. And DW doesn't need to make much sense; all they need to do is write one sentence explaining plot devices superficially but they can't even seem to do that.

Although I will say that both Curse of the Black Spot and Victory of the Daleks are utterly terrible. Not that Cold War was that much better, but it was by just a little. Am I giving up on it? Not yet, but for the first time since 2006 it's lost it's title as my favorite thing in the universe and it didn't have to.

@52 Plenty of us have the right to complain about River. I've absolutely hated her since her very first scene and everything they've done with her since has only made it worse.
57. Zappo
I've had this sinking feeling that I'm not going to like where the story is going, and to be honest, I'm afraid that Matt's tenure as the doctor is going to be seen as a "dream before death" phase, and the Doctor is going to wake up and be Tennant again, just before he regenerates into Clara, possibly the first female doctor.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but ever since that Timey Wimey bit nothing really makes sense. Which is why I am hoping this isn't what happens.
58. Zeltzin
I feel the same way, before matt smith I would be so exited with anticipation for the next chapter of doctor who with David Tennant (even if though I did't have to wait because I watched on netflix). I think there was more of a sense of how each new enviroment amazed the companions and affected them with the 10th doctor. With the 11th doctor however it's more about how the doctor and his companions affect the new enviroments and they show little amuzement despite seeing new things. In addition the questions of morality that the 10th doctor brought had way more emotional impact than the 11th. Overall I feel the new doctor failed to make us feel as emotionally alive as the previous ones. The only time I cried watching the 11th was with the Van Gogh episode.
Bridget McGovern
60. BMcGovern
This is a bit of a nitpick, admittedly, but I do think it's important to delineate between this piece and a review of the show. We publish many different types of articles on this site--not every post about a TV show or movie is a review. This post is a personal essay, a kind of op-ed piece about the series, from one writer's point of view, just like Emily Asher-Perrin's post on Severus Snape from earlier this week isn't a "review" of the Harry Potter movies or books. Feel free to disagree with the premise or the argument these writers are making, but I think it helps to consider them in the proper context.
Mordicai Knode
61. mordicai
60. BMcGovern

Moffat apologist!

(JOKES! It is a joke everybody. A joke.)
62. cube3
"family entertainment" exactly.:)

truth is.. since STAR WARS, so many sci fi fans have become selfish dickheads;)..feeling so entitled as they age into oblivion.

grow up. ;)
let a 10 year old have the joystick.
enjoy a Beeb show getting bi national attentention after 50 years...

Another, non hollywood type, Gerry Anderson was a overlooked entertainment hero when one looks at the Lucas generation of scifi fans...
Menawhile for 50 years on TV...
Roddenberry never targeted children.. that was CBS.'s family show- Lost in Space... His writing was targeting the young adult/old adult science fiction fan.... for 50 years weve have that target with the american 50 year franchise of trek....-- wesley the only attempt for a few years... and we know it didnt work...:) sorry

so we had adult tv scifi franchises for 50 years
well, until 2009:)-- when all the science fiction left the room for action adventure... but the target is still not 10 year olds.... not from the clips ive seen... 13-18 looks more like the mental demo.

without 10 year olds... sci fi has no future....:)
or worse. they end up like annakin....;0
Alan Brown
63. AlanBrown
I think I was a little harsh with Mr. Britt in my comments above, for which I apologize. But sometimes I think we as fans tend to think that our passion for our favorites mean we have some sort of ownership over them, and should have some say in how they proceed, which is not the case. I know the urge myself--I have trouble to this day with the fact that Wash is dead. But regardless of what I think about it, dead he is, because Mr. Whedon decided that was the way it was going to be.
I note that Doctor Who stirs a lot of passion amongst fans, which is great. But when that passion turns to nitpicking and complaining, then I begin to grow weary of it. I have not thought all the recent episodes were great, but amongst them were many I enjoyed: Asylum of the Daleks, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, Bells of Saint John, and the most recent one Hide. And it is interesting to see that many I didn't enjoy as much get ferverent support from others.
I would say that the glass is at least half full, folks!
Alan Brown
64. AlanBrown
Oh, and even my wife, who only tolerates my Who watching, liked that Christmas episode, especially the character she fondly calls "the little potato head man."
Don't break up with Doctor Who. It takes time to get used to the new style, trust me.
66. jkdavies
@47: I had absolutely no idea that the americans had remade Fever Pitch into a baseball based film until this point...
Sara H
67. LadyBelaine
I must say, I really tend to mentally glaze over when thinking about most of the Amy/Rory episodes. A lot of those episodes werre turgid, impenetrable running and screaming.

I am still smarting over the way that they ditched Donna, who was actually one of the more interesting choices that they made - she's not a fun, sexy little nymphette, she was a smart, grown woman with a not very exciting life and was never even suggested as a flirtatious love interest - and she led the Doctor through some challenging moral decisions. It was a bold and interesting direction for the show to go into. Her character's resolution really was insulting, imho.

I am willing to give Clara a fresh start, but I am must confess I too am losing interest.
68. MaxH
Such nonsense. Ever since David Tennant left (of his own choosing) people have dragged everything having to do with this show through the mud. As if there was some orchestrated plot to run the show into the ground. And everytime I hear people trash Matt Smith and Steven Moffat then get all misty eyed over the Tennant era I want to vomit. Matt Smith was fighting a losing battle from the beginning with a lot of people. Facts are the ratings are fairly solid as they have been through the whole run of series 7. Matt Smith is a brilliant actor. Steven Moffat is a brilliant writer. He may leave something to desire as head producer but that's how it's always been.

Cinematically the show even looks better now. Plot holes and all I'd rather deal with non-linear universe rebooting than how the show went from A daft old man that stole a box and traveled the universe to "Oh look at Ten and Rose, they're so cute together." The whole show turned into some overly dramatic soap opera. And all of a sudden what started out as an aging Time Lord and his granddaughter seeing the universe turned into Edward Cullen and Bella Swan teenage puppydog nonsense.

Which is a large part of why David Tennant appealed to people. His looks. He's attractive and cute so people loved him. To the point of overlooking that if you're going to be honest he really had a habit of overacting. Either that or he was gloomy and sad and people just hated to see such an adorable man be so hurt. Ugh.

And Russell T. Davies isn't immune to criticism either. My biggest complaints were the bad premises and plastic looking Alien of The Week.
The Slitheen, Really? Cactus creatures and Tree people and flesh on a stretchboard, oh my. The effects weren't great, but they never were. But in the 2000's aliens could really be more believable because they were as tacky as they were in the 70's under Davies.

And to this day, when you speak to a fan of NuWho quick recall brings up which episodes? Blink, Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace etc. Moffat written shows are always quick recalled as classics.

Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant both are brilliant and portrayed their incarnations of The Doctor incredibly. I will never undermine any of them, but their greatness in some degree was in spite of some of that writing not so much because of it.

I have to be in defensive mode a bit because it seems like amongst Doctor Who "fans" are some of the most entitled and spoiled individuals around. It seems they hate everything about the show. And always whine and complain about everything.

I absolutely adore Matt Smith. And I adore the fact that the show, not perfect by any means is still wonderful. I love that it's darker and more psychological. I think it has to be. The storyline has to be leading up to what I hope is that period where The Valeyard appears.

I have always taken up for the actors. I loved Tom Baker, loved Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy and Patrick Troughton is high on my list as well. I take the show as a whole. I grew up loving Tom Baker's Doctor but Matt Smith is my favorite now. And I am proud to say that. His acting is incredible. And he has a larger range of acting and depth.

If you're a fan of the show, then by no means should you be entitled to like everything about the show.

I just wish most of you would like SOMETHING about it.
69. MaxH
Such nonsense. Ever since David Tennant left (of his own choosing) people have dragged everything having to do with this show through the mud. As if there was some orchestrated plot to run the show into the ground. And everytime I hear people trash Matt Smith and Steven Moffat then get all misty eyed over the Tennant era I want to vomit. Matt Smith was fighting a losing battle from the beginning with a lot of people. Facts are the ratings are fairly solid as they have been through the whole run of series 7. Matt Smith is a brilliant actor. Steven Moffat is a brilliant writer. He may leave something to desire as head producer but that's how it's always been.

Cinematically the show even looks better now. Plot holes and all I'd rather deal with non-linear universe rebooting than how the show went from A daft old man that stole a box and traveled the universe to "Oh look at Ten and Rose, they're so cute together." The whole show turned into some overly dramatic soap opera. And all of a sudden what started out as an aging Time Lord and his granddaughter seeing the universe turned into Edward Cullen and Bella Swan teenage puppydog nonsense.

Which is a large part of why David Tennant appealed to people. His looks. He's attractive and cute so people loved him. To the point of overlooking that if you're going to be honest he really had a habit of overacting. Either that or he was gloomy and sad and people just hated to see such an adorable man be so hurt. Ugh.

And Russell T. Davies isn't immune to criticism either. My biggest complaints were the bad premises and plastic looking Alien of The Week.
The Slitheen, Really? Cactus creatures and Tree people and flesh on a stretchboard, oh my. The effects weren't great, but they never were. But in the 2000's aliens could really be more believable because they were as tacky as they were in the 70's under Davies.

And to this day, when you speak to a fan of NuWho quick recall brings up which episodes? Blink, Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace etc. Moffat written shows are always quick recalled as classics.

Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant both are brilliant and portrayed their incarnations of The Doctor incredibly. I will never undermine any of them, but their greatness in some degree was in spite of some of that writing not so much because of it.

I have to be in defensive mode a bit because it seems like amongst Doctor Who "fans" are some of the most entitled and spoiled individuals around. It seems they hate everything about the show. And always whine and complain about everything.

I absolutely adore Matt Smith. And I adore the fact that the show, not perfect by any means is still wonderful. I love that it's darker and more psychological. I think it has to be. The storyline has to be leading up to what I hope is that period where The Valeyard appears.

I have always taken up for the actors. I loved Tom Baker, loved Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy and Patrick Troughton is high on my list as well. I take the show as a whole. I grew up loving Tom Baker's Doctor but Matt Smith is my favorite now. And I am proud to say that. His acting is incredible. And he has a larger range of acting and depth.

If you're a fan of the show, then by no means should you be entitled to like everything about the show.

I just wish most of you would like SOMETHING about it.
70. MaxH
I also find it funny people want a show that's run off and on for 50 years about an alien Time Lord who's 1000 years old who's seen the beginning and ending of time and God knows how many companions come and go while dealing with the fact he wiped out his entire race of people to have "less baggage."

75. Sam1859
I haven't read all the comments on this thread, so apologies if I repeat something that's already been said.
I don't understand why everyone is complaining about Dr Who at the moment. Every season has had some absolute clangers (1. Boom Town/Aliens of London 2. The Idiot's Lantern/Love and Monsters 3. Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks 4. (Probably the best series but voyage of the damned was awful if you count that, and planet of the dead from the specials wasn't great) 5. Victory of The Daleks/The Hungry Earth 6. The Curse of The Black Spot/Night Terrors 7. The Rings of Akhaten etc.
However since Moffat took over there have been some downright fantastic episodes, written both by him and others. I would say without a doubt that Vincent And The Doctor (Curtis) The God Complex (Whithouse) The Snowmen (Moffat) were great. I would also say that The Doctor's Wife, The Girl Who Waited, Amy's Choice and A Good Man Goes To War are all very good episodes and all Moffat era.
Looking at Moffat's writing, I'd say he's responsible for 3 of my 4 favourite episodes: (Blink, The Girl in the Fireplace and The Empty Child) with Midnight being the only Davies episode to get close to these 3.
The problem is not Moffat, it is not Matt Smith and it is not even Clara (Asylum and Snowmen were both good.) However I do admit that the start of this mid-season was fairly poor. However from Cold War onwards (or certainly from Hide) it is slowly getting back to its best.
marian moore
76. mariesdaughter
Well, I have my issues occasionally but I still love the show.

I came to Doctor Who during the Tom Baker years and while I occasionally jeered at lack of special effects, it was the lack of "human" relationships that made me see it as purely a children's show. I didn't need a love story, but I needed the characters to be aware and self reflective of their situation.

Consequently, the moments that I remember from the old shows are the ones where the Doctor was at loss. I remember "Enlightenment" when after he describes himself as a TimeLord and the Immortals ask him if there are really Lords of something so inconsequential.
77. TeeTate
Could not agree more. I do miss those "grand" episodes...the ones where I didn't glance at the clock once. I'm reserving my "break up" option until the 50th anniversary episode. If breaking Billie and Tennant back, even if only briefly, can't enliven the series, I don't hold out much hope. For me, there's just something about Gatiss's writing that I'm not connecting with. I will disagree with you on one point though: Those bloody angel freak me out.
Sky Thibedeau
78. SkylarkThibedeau
@ 18 Ramona was with Beezhus last time I looked.
Ian Johnson
79. IanPJohnson
Wow… This comment section makes for interesting reading.

I like seeing so many varied opinions, actually, and on the whole, everyone's been quite civil (which hasn't been the case for some DW episodes on

The only problem that I really have is with the people who say "it's only entertainment, so why are you being so MEEEEEAN?" That answer is a cop-out, and you know it. If it were only entertainment, then it wouldn't be worth talking about.
80. Cocoa Draper
The BBC should sell the Doctor Who franchise to Disney. They have the resources to do wonderful things with it. Look at what they did with their Marvel Comics purchase and all the great movies they made. The same could happen with Doctor Who.
82. Dark Claw
Most of you just need some cheese to go with your whine.
83. Anthea
I gotta disagree with you on "The Girl Who Waited" being any sort of great.

Well, correction - if it wasn't a Dr. Who episode, or if 11 had shown any sort of consideration for old Amy or even Rory, I might have loved it.

As it is, he betrayed Amy. Absolute, lying through his teeth betrayal. It doesn't matter whether she was old Amy or young Amy. *My* doctor (and yes, I realize how selfish that sounds, and I don't care) would have cared about both. He might still have betrayed old Amy, but he would have shown some pain over doing it, and he wouldn't have tortured Rory by trying to make him choose.

I took a year-long break after that episode, and will never, ever watch it again, because it betrays everything I love about Dr. Who, no matter how well it was done.
84. DJ Doena
I don't agree with all of your selections of episoda A is better than episode B, but I agree with the general sentiment.

For example: why did Clara have to be a mystery again. They've played that card with Donna, then with Amy. It's the same with the recent Star Trek movies. Ever since Nemesis you have bad guy ith a friggin' huge ship whose core motivation makes no sense. Sadly, Cumberbatch is probably going to be the same.

The Angels were such a great terrifying enemy, even in some of the later episodes, but New York?!? When is not someone looking at Lady Liberty, thus make her immovable for all time?

And the whole reason Amy left for good? Because a tombstone says so? Didn't the Doctor just avoid dying for good by cheating a fixed point in time???

Sadly there wasn't a single episode this season (Amy and Clara) that had me really ethused. And I, too, feel they've rehashing too many recent-old ideas. Clara's whole companion-introduction episode was a poor imitation of Donna's library episode.

Just compare "Cold War" to "The Hunt for Red October". Not even defector-captain Ramius would allow some scientist running around on his boat listening to american music on a walkman (where did he get that in 1983 Soviet Union anyway?).

And the latest episode? What really was the point of the three brothers?

I'm still watching it because sci-fi is sadly underrepresented on TV right now, but it's not something I'm eagerly waiting for.
85. fonz02152001
What follows is my personal, brief review of each Doctor and their era. I have watched adventures that feature all of them and I want you (writer of article) to see if you can see what I see about Doctor Who as a series.

(WARNING: My opinions of each Doctor may differ from general consensus. These are OPINIONS, one may feel free to have their own if they wish.)

William Hartnell: A true pioneer in Who, I found his Doctor to be the wisest of all of them. For me, he feels like the eternal professor, whose passion truly is in the teaching. Whether a historical or a fantasy adventure, I've never failed to be entertained and somewhat enlightened by him. One of my true faves! :) 5 stars.

Patrick Troughton: A completely different take on the role, he transformed the old, wise professor into Moe of The Three Stooges. Not in a bad way, mind you. His Second Doctor was still very clever, just quite a bit more fun as well. The one drawback IMO was the 'Monster of the Week' style of the overwhelming majority of his stories. While it had gems like 'The Tomb of the Cybermen', unfortunaly 'The Dominators' also ranks as one of his few surviving serials. I've watched 'The Dominators', I suggest you don't. :P Overall, unique take and a fresh, new direction that assured the show's long-term survival, however some low-points as well. 4 stars

Jon Pertwee: Nice-looking chap, with wonderfully action-packed moments. Too bad most of his stories induce sleepiness in me. He does have some great stories, loved it when he met his two previous selves, for example, in 'The Three Doctors'. Some of his just seemed to go on way too long, though. For instance, I cannot finish watching 'The Sea Devils' because it is just boring me to tears. :( I like some of his lines, for instance "You? Help me? I've never heard such errant nonsense!" (The Five Doctors) Other than that, however, just too straight-laced for my tastes. 2 stars

Tom Baker: A true great. After JP put everyone to sleep, ol' Tom woke 'em up again! I don't care if some of his stories were OTT in the humor or the gore, they were just a BLAST to see! :) Can't really say too much more, just that his Doctor was excellent through and through. 5 stars

Peter Davison: Another very watchable Doctor, even if he did seem a bit unsure of himself at times. That really was the nice sort of grab for his Doctor. This was a Doctor who (no pun intended) get lost in a corridor and blame his curiosity for it. (Black Orchid) While 'The Kings Demons' was a bit of a lame farce IMO, many of his other stories really did do a lot of neat things, especially for his companions. His Doctor reminded me a lot of the earlier William Hartnell stories in the fact that he did rely on his companions a lot to save the day. Plus, he finished in a way that I think was better than any other Doctor, as he got to be something that he wasn't able to really be throughout the rest of his era, a hero. Just watch 'The Caves of Androzani' to see what I mean. 4.5 stars

Colin Baker: IMO, the most under-rated Doctor of all-time. He kept being handed garbage from the writers and did his best to make it work. 'The Twin Dillemma' was a horrible start, however later in his era we got 'Vengeance on Varos', regarded by many today as one of the best Who stories ever. And all throughout, while he may have had the WORST costume of all-time, you still took him seriously because his Doctor wouldn't allow you not too. His Doctor was a true force to be reckoned with, bar none. I'm giving two ratings here, as one rating wouldn't give the right picture: Doctor: 5 stars Stories: 2 stars

Sylvester McCoy: Until Mel left, he didn't show much promise. He just looked like a big clown playing with his 'box'. Then came 'Dragonfire', Mel left and Ace joined. The era of the Seventh Doctor finally arrived at that point. Suddenly, The Doctor was a schemer, with indications that he was 'more than just an ordinary Time-Lord'. Classic Doctor Who ended on what was really the beginnings of it's eventual re-birth, as I feel that much of New Who has it's basis in this era. The 'Cartmel Masterplan' is still very much felt to this day. Think about it, the gradual changes in each Doctor, whether a Doctor softens up (like the Ninth) or becomes over-time more egotistical (like the Tenth) or more maniacal (Eleventh) it all has it's basis in the 'Cartmel Masterplan' introduced during the Seventh Doctor's era. Definitely worth checking out. 4 stars

Paul Mcgann: I wish he had more TV appearances, as his one was such a failure. However, I hear his era had a lot of great audios, I'll be sure to check them out soon. I did watch the movie and the BBC webcast 'Shada', my judgement of his era will be based off of them. And if 'Shada' is any indication, then his was a great era indeed. Tentative 4 stars

Christopher Eccleston: Short era, however a good one. The Slitheen weren't personal favorites of mine, however I did like the reurn of The Autons and The Daleks. All in all, solid. 4 stars

David Tennant: :) Clearly, my favorite thus far. I can't find much of anything to criticize, except perhaps for 'The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit" which I thought was a bit of a snore. It bounced back good, however, and I'll never be able to get over the nice chap with a bit of a God-complex. He had such heart in the role, you can tell he enjoyed being The Doctor. 5 stars

Matt Smith: A fast-paced, faster-talking 'madman-with-a-box', the Eleventh Doctor seems to enjoy confounding fan and companion alike by busting through plot holes, Laws of Time and Common Sense all the while somehow trying to convince us that it all makes sense. Again, as with Colin Baker, I feel that he is doing his best to take the garbage he's being given and somehow make it work. And sometimes it actually does. For instance, I'm probably one of the few who likes 'Victory of the Daleks' as it did give us some new, more terrifying daleks than we had ever seen before. I just wish we could see them a bit more. and 'Asylum of the Daleks' was a nice 'for-the-fans' review of dalek designs from throughout Doctor Who's history. However, I will agree that the story-arcs are a bit of a weak point. For instance, why is it so important that we know The Doctor's real name? It's not, and I think it will hurt Doctor Who in the long-run, because it's not Doctor Who if we know his name. However, as with the writing failures of the CB era, I'm certain another SM era is around the corner... Doctor: 5 stars Stories: 2.25 stars

And yet, I STILL watch every new episode, look forward to the 50th and go crazy waiting for each new season. Because, even at it's WORST, it's still better than most everything else out there. Plus, I'm still a fan, for the long haul, thick or thin, good or bad... It's still 'Doctor Who'... 50 years strong, and counting..... :)
Susan Amina Sackinger
87. Amina
**rant** #80 Coco, Oh do bite your tongue! Disney has ruined everything it has touched. When Walt was alive his vision was to see one theme park and only one. An uber magical place that becomes more and more fantastical. Instead we get theme park look alikes all over the place. Every single fairy tale Disney put to the screen was changed beyond recognition. In many cases they even twisted the moral to something lesser. Were you aware that Cinderella had a connection to her mother? That the moral of Beauty and the Beast is that a father's powerful love for his daughter creates a daughter who sees through the ugliness of another to love a gentle heart? It has nothing whatever to do with the rose he brought home. **end rant**

I'm totally bewildered by most of the comments on this page. Dr. Who is 50 years old. There have been many more than 3 doctors. Going back in time you'll find the same themes playing over and over. It can't be helped. There are only so many original ideas. Take a look at #85's review of the plethora of Doctors Who. Now if you want to compare, at least don't leave most of the Doctor's regenerations out.
I too have, sadly, given up on Doctor Who. While Moffat wrote some brilliant episodes thus far he has failed to impress me as a show runner. The scripts are frenetic, and left me consistently asking -- "What the hell just happened?" It feels like Matt Smith's over-the-top delivery is a verbal version of hand waving so viewers won't notice that the story and solution don't make any sense.
90. Deranged Dalek
Dr. Who died with Tom Baker. Unfortunately I watched on through the next couple of Doctors, but that was it.
92. Lake Silencio
This article has found what I've been trying to put into words. Since 'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe', I'd say Doctor Who has completely gone downhill. I am probably amongst the few in these comments that really loved Series Six. Although the teselecta resolution was extremely weak, the opening two parter was unforgettable and probably my favourite Who story of all time. But the recent stories with Clara have just been retreading old ideas in a very rushed and formatted way. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I prefer my stories to be heavily serialised, as was the case with Series Six, and not standalone every week. Stop for one moment and remind yourself: we haven't even had a two-parter in the last two years!
94. gavpop
Doctor Who was one of two programmes that I actually felt deserved my TV licence money(the other being Top Gear). Sadly I feel Doctor Who has been getting worse and worse and is now not worthy. Every week I watch it and every week I feel my brain becoming bogged down with all the soppy human relationship nonsense. I mean, come on, this is a bloke, virtually immortal, super intelligent, with a sentient time travelling space-ship...and using the last few episodes as an example, all he's done is stayed on Earth and spouted a load of boring love nonsense. There's simply too much of these long running stories that span multiple episodes. Where are the stand-alone episodes? Where are the weird planet landscapes? Where are the weird looking aliens? Where are the robots? My six year old Daughter used to love watching Doctor Who...but now after 10 minutes of watching it, she'll quietly get up from the settee, fetch her pencils and start drawing...I find that the most telling thing of all.
95. jonno
I've been a Doctor fan since the late '70s. The Name of the Doctor has convinced me it's time to let it go. It was just utter nonsensical rubbish, resolving nothing, showing no character development, sensationalism for its own sake, just a big 'wink-nudge-wait-till-the-50th' hype fest, and I am tired of being played. I want scifi adventure stories, with drama and humor; not wam-bam roller-coaster rides and arcane puzzles for the emotionally retarded. I don't think any of the Moffat cultists even know what a good story looks like, they're all 'OMG EPIC!' over explosions and Matt Smith kissing everyone. And his cult is the only audience Moffat writes for these days, he's given up on older Who fans and the general audience.
I'll see the 50th (despite expecting heartbreaking disappointment), because I have been a Who fan so long; after that, I'll wait for the post-Moffat reboot to watch Who on TV again.
96. Gerko
The new Doctor Who was never going to be a long term thing. The pace is too fast and the everything in one episode format is just too tiring. The original Doctor was slow and languid and was a pleasant half hour with a cliffhanger to bring you back each week. And this crap of relationships and personalities in the new Doctor, plus the FX are too good. Its like watching Star Wars every episode. The original Doctor(s) had a charm and innocence that can never be repeated. A bit like Gilligans Island and Brady Bunch, so geeky and cheesy but loved by everyone.
97. Yorboro
There is an arc since the series reboot where the show has become slowly more and more infantile, made for children, and that's ok if your a kid (I guess), but I am not. I have stopped watching.
98. Annoyed
Clara is, by far, the most annoying Doctor Who sidekick, ever. Please just let her die and stay dead.
99. qasdfghjkl
i know what you mean! this last series was a disappointment and i hate that. i can still remember counting down to watch the final episode of season four (journey's end) and the gut wrenching oh my god i can't wait the awesomeness of this will blow my mind. and it did. this series, after each episode instead of liking the majority but having a few points of dislike (like the other series), the majority was dislike with a few points of 'okay that was cool'. it feels like the end of an era
100. R5D4
For a show that can be set anywhere in time and space, it is awfully formulaic. The typical episode:
1. The doctor and assistant(s) travel somewhere at some time.
2. There is something bad and mysterious happening.
3. The doctor and assistant(s) discover the cause (usually of alien origin) and stop it.
4. The doctor and assistant(s) leave the place, with the locals wondering who/what they had just encountered.

Just about every episode is either an episode of no consequence, or an episode which seems to be of no consequence but is weakly tied in with the final episode(s) of that season. Happy endings and solutions to problems, are all too often forced with 'magical' plot devices.

I don't think the show has become worse (I haven't seen any of the two most recent seasons though), but I have become wary of its faults (which have been around since the first season).
101. R5D4
^ In saying that, I would prefer Doctor Who to be reformed rather than cancelled.
102. SuedeMoon
While I agree with some of the points in the column, I must say that Doctor Who remains one of the handful of shows that I will actually make time to watch each week.

I love puzzles, so the thrill of figuring out a mystery and putting the pieces together was always a big part of the show's intrigue for me. What is Bad Wolf? Why isn't Rory dead? What's River's story?

But for some reason, I never cared enough about "Who is Clara?" None of the post-Pond episodes have stood out to me, except for the finale. I'm hoping the 50th anniversary and Christmas specials will get me excited about watching again.
103. Liz99
Sorry you're not liking the show. But, luckily, there are millions of people who still eagerly tune in and can hardly wait until the next episode in November. I think it is much superior to shows in, say, Series 2.

I'll be sad to see Matt Smith go....he's been an awesome Doctor.

Long live Moffat!
104. Charlotte Morris
I'm not giving up on the show just yet. I think it was right for Matt to jump ship now. They need a new showrunner/better writers. So sick of the subplots and the need to link all the episodes together. Just revert back to the earlier nuwho format of dealing with and solving a simple problem, with no mumbo jumbo super solution that makes no sense.
105. Heatho
Its just too fast paced all the time now, too much spectacle and drama. I'd love to see it slow down, treat science a bit more seriosly or at least have fun with some philosopy and develop some older characters.

Either draft Stephen Fry in as the new Doctor or get him in as a consultant.
107. showhasgonetodogs
Well I'm a pretty big fan and have seen many episdodes and consider Midnight one of my favourites. It really makes you think and is pure sci fi. Nothing has come close since Moffat has began writing and its only getting worse.

Everything is explained and boring. It's all about looking worried about the doctor and him being a drama queen e.g" There's one place I cannot go" with tears etc but guess what? He went there just fine and nothing much eventuated. Pathetic.

If they're having trouble writing a story with the whole known and unknown universe as material then they need to be replaced. Simple as that. Maybe this is what Eccleston was talking about, they have so much potential but due to some obvious roadblocks they are getting worse and worse. Meh...
108. showhasgonetodogs
@ 62. cube3

This has crossed my mind; often I've thought maybe I'm just getting old. Then I started watching the original series and fell in love with the first doctor, then the second etc. I'm now watching the old series because I've found the quality (of the story, it's what it used to be about) to be much better than the new, emotionaly driven garbage they've been airing since Matt Smith took the reins. It's not Smith's fault, he's given up on it too as it's just garbage and he's an adult actor, obviously with dignity.

So in other words that theory is null and void.
110. dregj
as well as moffat retconing the hell out of what rtf did
and using timey- wimey to paper over cracks in the plot.
I have to say this now and forever, i find matt smith very hard to look at
dam hes gotta funny face.I saw him years back in that political drama he did and had to turn him off.
Strange rubber faced man scaring me like that when i wasnt expecting it,foreshame
113. alto2
I love how hardly anyone who's complaining about Smith/Moffat has bothered to notice that Russell T. Davies did everything they're griping about--and more. RTD gave us the romance concept (that will not die, though I think River may have been Moffat's attempt to kill it, once she's gone). RTD boxed himself into a corner more times than even he could count and hit the Big Giant Reset Button to get out of it (I mean, come ON, the Year that Never Was? Journeys's End?). And he turned David Tennant, a fabulous actor, into a one-trick pony, limited to being a joyful little kid or a vengeful "lonely god" (and since when is the Doctor a god?!?!!??) who can go from 0 to pissed off in .2 seconds. As an old-school fan, I was always baffled by Rusty's assertion that he, too, was an old-school fan, because it was obvious to me that he never really "got" his own show. He didn't get the Doctor/companion dynamic for damn sure--closest he got was with Donna. And he didn't even seem to grasp that Time Lords may be sorta god-like, sure, but they're not actually deities. Rusty also can't write a decent ending, and not just for DW. See his "Casanova" for another shining example of the way he rides wildly off the rails at the very end.

(And lord have mercy, Rose Tyler...went from being fabulous in 2005 to being a nightmare on wheels in 2006, to where I could barely watch her anymore for the way her character had been assassinated--and I was thrilled to see her go. If only she could have STAYED gone, but that would have required RTD to abide by the rules of his own universe--which he is utterly incapable of doing.)

And do not get me started on the total disaster that was "The End of Time." The 20-minute farewell tour alone was enough to make me sick. Moffat's not perfect, but he's never yet done anything to hold a candle to that for sheer ridiculousness.

Moffat hasn't been retconning the previous era so much as rewriting Rusty's foibles and getting things back into a more classic Who vibe. (Compare "The Christmas Invasion" to "The Eleventh Hour." They're almost exactly the same plot--but look how it resolves. There's no vengeance there. There are plenty of other parallels, too.)

A recent (and admittedly unscientific) poll I conducted on a forum showed that those who'd come to Who fresh in 2005 were more likely RTD fans; those who had been old-school fans were more likely Moffat fans.

So there's a real denominational difference here, and it's not likely to be healed any time soon, because those denominations are born of totally different relationships with the show. The question isn't "which is best," much as we might all like to have our opinions about that (myself included), but "can't we all just get along?" Isn't that what the show's about, when you get right down to it? The irony of fandom runs deep.
115. Jon Swift
LOL I have been a fan for over 40 years and for me the RTD/Tennant era was the nadir of the entire 50 years. I hated the show at that point,but I still tuned in faithfully week after week. Eventually I got a showrunner who's vision I prefered and a Doctor that I would put in my alltime top 3.
Stick it out. Moffat wont be there forever and soon it may be your turn to play on the swings again.
116. Raelee
I agree with a lot of this article. Very well explained. I'm hoping that Moffat leaves soon. I think he did a good job with those episodes where there were one or two of them but I hate the long drawn out plot things. In the past, it seemed like there was something there that would remind us that something big was going to happen at the end of a series (i.e. Badwolf appearing through season one, mentions of Harold Saxon in three, Rose showing up in four and the mentions of missing planets, and the crack appearing thoughout five) but it was never so drawn out. They were like teasers. I feel like a lot of the big reveals are like having sex with someone. The build up is good, maybe this is going somewhere great, but then Mofffat pulls out early and disappoints you.

Not to mention, I feel like the companions are a bit of a disappointment. Like their quirky and funny at times but do they really grow? Like I don't really remember seeing much of a change in Amy between the time she started traveling with the Doctor and when she left. Rose realized there was more to life than the ol 9-5 and sitting around waiting for things to happen, Martha realized that she was never second best, Donna started to believe in herself, she wasn't just a temp. I kind of called most of River's story line. I knew she was in jail for killing the Doctor and I guessed right off the bat she had Time Lord DNA in her when she could fly the TARDIS, AND I guessed that she was Amy and Rory's child when I saw the name Melody Pond.

I wouldn't say that it's bad but it's not great. I thought part two of series sever was a bit of a step up. I loved 'Hide' and I thought 'The Name of the Doctor' was actually pretty good.

I dunno, I just hope that Moffat moves on soon. I just wish there was someone else who could write Matt Smith's Doctor. I just hope he doesn't Moffat the 50th anniversary. I'm really excited for that and I will probably cry if he disappoints me.
117. Maac
@113 -- If it helps any, I complained about Davies as well. Just, about different things.

I agree fully with Raelee--I'd like to see what a director who is not Moffat would do with Matt Smith's Doctor. I loved the beginning of Eleven's run -- it really did seem like a return to old-school Who, with the Doctor being truly *alien* again -- an outsized and larger than life being who might *love* humanity but didn't truly quite *get* us. As opposed to a larger than life quasi-boyfriend. But Moffat... is Moffat. He pushes the right buttons, but... just one time too many. My metaphor here is not the best.
118. Bravosi
I don't get all the Donna love. To me she was the most annoying person the show has ever had.

I've really liked 11's run, but the Clara episodes do seem rushed. Especially the Crimson horror one.
Morgan Brunk
119. Glittersword
I only have one serious problem with the new series.

In the old series the shows were a half hour long (Not that I'm complaining about hour long episodes) that ended with a cliffhanger to pull you back in for the next episode. the whole story arc might take a 4 to 6 episodes to complete before he got into the Tardis and went to his next adventure. Nowdays we might have something running in the baskground like BADWOLF but the adventure is over in that ONE episode. You combine that with only like 6 episodes before we are back to watching reruns and waiting for new shows to be released in either the fall or the spring.

The shows are just over too fast and the docter is going through the universe like a psychotic mosquito.

Zip-Zip-Zip Attack, Draw blood, Zip-Zip-Zip.
120. Jason Nesmith
One Blairing Problem in Doctor Who: Using Villains, Hammering the Storyline, then never using them again. For Example:

-Ruining the Weeping Angels
-Kicking The Master out, possibley forever
-New Cybermen, don't even get me started
-And WAY to many aliens in the Rings of Akhaten
But possibley the worst, dropping the Daleks, Whose Idea was that?

I'm convinced that there is still infinite potential in Doctor Who, but it has to be discovered before it can be used.
Jenny Thrash
121. Sihaya
Dropping the Daleks? They introduced Oswin.
122. Karl Young
Interesting article and discussion but I don't think there's anything wrong with Dr. Who that a drastic reduction in budget couldn't fix... i.e. I'm a curmudgeonly fan of the old series and recently stumbled on the new series in Netflix. I've watched 2005-2012 over the last couple of months and while there's some decent writing and acting, I've got to say the focus on exploration of human emotion through high budget science fiction doesn't work for me like the quirky, cleverly produced, low budget older series did. This article points out the shortcomings of the last season re. tying up complex plots with silly last minute resets but I think that's been pretty rampant throughout the modern series. This combined with a lot of cliched emotional scenes has left me pretty cold re. the modern series. But my problem is no doubt that I don't watch any other TV; Dr. Who is probably still a lot better and quirkier than most of the other stuff on TV these days and I still enjoyed it notwithstanding what I consider some pretty major flaws.
124. David Castell
You people need to get a grip.

I've read thru all these whiney comments. But do you know what you all forgot? Doctor Who is continually being made by life-long FANS!

Like Steven Moffat.
Like Russell T Davies.


You can bitch and moan about RTDs penchant for soap opera storytelling, but he also didn't want to see the Doctor Who revival canceled due to LOW RATINGS!

Is that a valid point, or would you so-called 'Whovians' prefer no Doctor Who series at all?

Steven Moffat has somehow made the series more popular than ever due to its increased viewership in the USA.

Should the Moff defer to your judgments in storytelling so as to be popular with the fickle minority that is represented in these biased comments, or should Steven be more concerned about KEEPING THE SHOW ON THE AIR just as RTD was?

Do any of you lot realise that Russell T Davies petitioned the BBC for years before they finally gave him the green light to restore Doctor Who?

Criticise all you want, moan about Clara, you know? Cry me a river!

Doctor Who is on our screens, is more popular than ever before, and has been going for 9 years strong now!

This is thanx to RTD, Moffat, Eccleston, Tennant and Smith.

So stop complaining and enjoy the show!

I, for one am delighted in its return. And it's renewed longevity. If too many people complain cuz the stories are not to their liking, well, it'll probably end up cancelled again.

Do any of you really want that? Seriously?
127. Mezirah
For me it's not a lack of original content. Any show will have filler stories. The Cold War had a bad ass alien that was threatening to destroy the world. Not the most original but it was safe. Roll with it.

For me the problem is Clara went from an awesome character to just terrible as a companion. The companion side plots are so good it seemed like Moffat tried to outdo the integrity of the companion. Give me Dr WHO series plots, not companion plots. As awesome as the impossible girl is, I would have preferred something else.

Also, the new doctor who choice is SO BRITTISH. The writing last season was half Russell T Davis style, and half old school Dr Who (Brittish) in Hide, Journey to, Crimson Horror, Name of The Doctor. I think as an american viewer I fell in love with this series for reasons opposite the direction it seems to be going in. I just hope humor carries the show, because the new actor was hilarious in fires of pompeii. However, I have doubts with this new actor I will feel the Dr Who's struggle of what he did in the Time War though, which has been his internal character conflict since the show came back. Hopefully he does well.
128. Kevin Turvey
Who ever wrote this article should first ask themselves some questions:
1. Are you British? If not,you should not have written this article.
2 Are you under 35? If not, you should not have written this article.
3. Did you start watching Doctor Who with the "new series" if so. you should not have written this article.

Thank you.
130. Britt Ryan
Anyone who cites RTD/Tennant era Doctor Who as a benchmark for greatness does not deserve to have their opinion on the programme taken seriously.
It's the equivelent of a man who eats at MacDonald's every day explaining why he does not want to eat at a 5 star Michellin resturant.
133. davea0511
A lot of good stuff here especially about the cop-out season endings rife with dangling story lines and lame universe reboots (and enough with the lame love triangle, quadrangles, etc). That said, when I lose my Doctor who love it's mainly due to the departure from family appropriateness, good continuity, and most of all: likeable and believable characters in which we can emotionally invest ourselves.
Maybe it's time for Moffat to pass the baton. He's had a great run.

It does need some originality again without straying from what made the show great. The best Doctor Who episodes have been good old detective stories that just happen to be in the future, with future tech, or in space. Occassionally Moffat and his team have strayed from these key elements (especially the part about likeable and believable characters - for example the script written for Eccleston almost killed the series at it's inception - saved only by Piper's likeability) but I have faith that the writers will remember the basics of good story telling mechanics mixed with British wizardry made it great, and that the monster du jour (eg. weeping angels) needs to be fresh but it alone does not make the show.

Also ... it's okay to repeat themes if the writers do it with those key elements in place and done with even greater passion (else why else would you repeat a theme unless you're just getting lazy?). But really I think sometimes it takes a new lead creative director. Remember what Moffat did to a nearly dead series? It took a new guy ... perhaps it's time for another new guy. Like I said, he's had a good run.
136. Rainbowstardragon123
Ok as someone who is not british, under 35, and started off watching the new series first, I the author of the article is completly justified. He saw flaws in a series that he enjoyed and felt the need to critize him. If you place stict restrictions on who is allowed analyze a work of art; it stiffles intelligent descusion and gives the false impression a piece of media is more well recieved than it actually is. For instance there are FAR MORE cultural differences between North American otaku and the anime they watch than the North American whovians and Doctor Who. However, Otaku can still reconize the difference a poorly made anime and a great one.
138. TomBakersScarf
I think after 750 odd episodes there are going to be changes that not everyone agrees with. I like just about every incarnation of Who, from An Unearthly Child back in 63' to The Tomb of the Cybermen in 67', from the Three Doctor's in 72' (with wooden acting and horribly dodgy sfx) to the Hand of Fear in 76' (goodbye Sarah-Jane)... The post 2000 incarnations of Who are both a visual delight as well as fast paced and wittier than ever. I take my hat of to the Beeb for a great show that spans 50 years and is as good now as it was back in 63'. Keep in mind this modern era Who is most likely not aimed at fans of the classic era Who, it is aimed at the kids of today and they are different to how we used to be. A 4 or 6 part serial would drag too long for their attention spans (ahem). :P
141. Whovian908
I'm a bit late to the game with this one, but thanks for putting into words what I've been feeling for a while. It really has lost its charm. The dodgy SFX and things like the cute little blobs of fat were what made it magical once upon a time. I'm hoping upcoming showrunners will bring some of that back soon!
144. ElleElle
I'm having so much trouble actually expressing how this show makes me feel these days. I can't quite place where my disappointment (for lack of a better word) comes from but this helped me :) I related so much. I've missed what it was what made me fall in love and now I'm getting bored. There is a bit of spark that keeps me coming back and I'm not ready to give up yet but it's not the same. Oh nostagia ^_^
146. E12
Mm, I have the same sentiment. It just doesn't make sense any more to me - but even if I won't do that, it doesn't capture my imagination anymore. I guess it just stopped for me after the 10th doctor. At least I will always have those fond childhood memories but I refuse to acknowledge the later doctors. >:( Woe!
152. Percy Blakeney
Couldn't disagree more. The Matt Smith/Moffatt era has been the greatest in the show's history for me, eclipsing even the Tom Baker days. Many people feel the same way.
159. Brink
I personally haven't seen an episode of the new series that I haven't loved to pieces and I'm confused by all the hate 'this episode is crap' I keep seeing all over the internet and I personally feel that anyone who doesn't like Doctor Who are uncultured philistines who don't know good television/story writing when they see it.
162. Jude Iscariot
I find it weird that you think breaking a fixed point in time had a major impact in Waters of Mars. One single person committed suicide instead of dying on Mars. That's all that happened.

OTOH, when 11 and River broke the fixed point, it rewrote the entire universe.
163. Ellie-Rose
I clicked on this by accident and wanted to see what al the fuss was all about BTW. I am a huge Wholockian but I think this is ridiculous. If you dont want to watch it anymore, then just dont, dont make a huge song and dance about it.
(Btw, how could you hate amy and rory? Everybody I know cried when they kind of-almost-sort of-repeatedly died!)
168. cyddenid
I really, really hope Gallifrey gets brought back properly, complete with re-established time lord society and laws- because then suddenly the doctor has people he has to answer to again. It would steer the show in a different enough direction to keep it fresh and interesting, without doing anything drastic and difficult to explain.

Would anyone else like to see a companion who's not human and has never been to earth before, or who's from a completely different time zone, ie aincent Rome? Some friends and I were discussing the possibilit and I was the only one who seemed to think it was a good idea, I'd quite like to know what different people think.
171. Rebecca Gliserman
Thank you for articulating my frustration with the work of Stephen Moffat. I know that he wrote the two part Family of Blood, which I loved, but the 6 and 7th seasons lack depth on some level. As much as I love David Tennant, I equally enjoyed Christopher Eccleston. I believe the writing has been the primary weakness of Season 6 and 7, but also the acting just misses the mark for me. Diehard fans seem to think I am making too big a deal about my frustration, but I am disappointed. The show was crafted so beautifully under the genius of Russell Davies and opened my mind to believe in wondrous possibilties. It was a paradigm shifter for me.
172. amjacks1620
Way late to this, so who cares, but this article just didnt sit right with me. One, am I the only one who is never confused by the show? With just a little contemplation on whats happened/happening/and eventually what happens to bring it all together. Sometimes it just takes patience until all the main arcs culminate into a final resolution. So before you judge sone with more complexity than you seem to be able to comprehend, take a step back and look at the Doctor as a whole. Not simply one particular incarnation over another. By all means have a favorite, my love for Tom Baker knowing no bounds. But when looking at the mosy recent take into account his past. Try to imagine what he may be thinking, contemplating, struggling with, running from, etc. And as far as the write as you go style I love. It works wonders with something as campy and over the top as the Whoniverse. Creating a loophole as a way out of a cool story arc is kind of expected in my opinion. Assuming you are all quite a bit nerdy, ever watch dragonball z? One of my favorite series ever, full of crazy plot devices clearly written in only to keep the story going. Because sometimes you create a conflict that gets out of hand and need a way to continue the story. It's either that, or end it. And who wants to see Who end?

This being said, the black spot I found to be awful, and have never been able to watch it in its entirety. So we do agree on something. But Victory and Asylum of the Daleks I loved equally. That may just be my love of Daleks though. Did not, however enjoy Waters of Mars that much. It had its moments, but nothing had me invested in the events at hand.

And all of you hating on the Ponds, quit it out. Haha. Amy and Rory were amazing. River was a fantastic addition with a delightful twist to her arc. Not to mention a sexy strong woman with enoigh wit to go toe to toe with the Doctor. And while im at it, Clara is a great companion. So she doesn't outwardly express her amazement. Neither would I. This is expressed more through her enthusiasm for following the Doctor. This coupled with her deep admiration for this strange man taking her places she could only imagine. Not to be mistaken with romantic notions.

But seriously, we all love the Doctor here, so lets act like it. The at which you love is more enjoyable when discussed with other who share the sentiment. So lets share our love of all things Who. Because we're Whovians, and thats what we do. =]
177. patronza
I actually have to disagree with the majority of opinions with victory of the daleks, and asylum of the daleks. I thought both were practically the best episodes of their respective series, and ones I keep going back to watch. But in 7th series the doctor is practically God, and in 8th series he is an angry man who doesn't care about anyone but himself. Doctor who has lost its charm especially with the 8th series. The doctor isn't a nice man anymore, he's rude, arrogant and mean. I only watch the show now hoping for a good episode
182. Emmelina
Despite inconsistencies, Amy and Rory both offered scope and depth. Frankly, after Amy, Clara is just an insult to all viewers, but in particular to women. She's just another typically pretty and mild, stock brat. What a pity the dream crab fell off.

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