Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Hopes for Doctor Who Season 7

The new season of Doctor Who starts filming this week meaning the fans are that much closer to the end of the drought they've had to endure since the end of season six. (With a brief respite via the Christmas special) While I'm excited for Doctor Who's continuation, I have some reservations about the show since Steven Moffat took over that hopefully will be addressed:  

False Tension

While world threatening disasters and life threatening situations are the bread and butter of the series, seasons five and six saw the action quota taken to new levels. While dangerous intrigue makes for decent television, it makes for poor story telling. The audience needs to resonate with the characters on some level beyond wondering if they are going to survive the episode because we know they survive the episode.
On a related note: The false deaths really need to stop. The risk of death is a low quality tension. Actually character death can be a higher quality tension but it is one of severely diminishing returns. I'm looking at both Rory and The Doctor here.
Rory is the obvious example as his constant stream of deaths has become something of a joke among fans but Moffat hasn't exactly been using a light touch with his penning on death's of the doctor. We know the doctor isn't going to stay dead and, even with suspension of disbelief, the more you use the "The Doctor is gone" gimmick the less effective it gets.

Serialized Plot

Steven Moffat loves to plot. He plots so hard. Day and night the man is a plotting machine.Which happens to be my largest issue with the show since he took it over. One of the strongest points of Doctor Who was that, while there were overarching plots through the seasons here and there, the show has generally been very episodic. Like catching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation it, rarely mattered where you dropped in. You wouldn't necessarily want to watch the show out of order but if you wanted to introduce a friend to the show then you could pick a couple of your favorite episodes and let them watch without too much worry about needing to explain the details.
That is not the case at all since Moffat took over. The writing has become obsessed with showing off just how clever it is and the long winded and convoluted plotting, while being entertaining for fans to speculate about and light-heartedly shake their fist at Moffat when they get trolled by, is off-putting to potential new viewers and makes the show much more about the mental work of what is really going on than it is about the characters.
I hear this is going to improve in S7 as Moffat has said the season will be a bit more episodic. This sounds like good news as Moffat's best writing was back when he was just writing episodes and not arcs.

Sexy Amy

At the beginning of season 5 I really liked Amy Pond. She was snarky, energetic, sexy and didn't take the time lord's shit. As I worked my way through seasons five and six I came to like Amy less and less. I read an article on the Tiger Beatdown the other day that makes a lot of valid points against Amy's character. I agree with it pretty thoroughly. But above and beyond her kidnapping bait, sexual object, and womb personified statuses I really just hated the fact that she never grew as a character.We were constantly running into the same exact situations and conflicts so by the end of season six I was really just hoping Amy and Rory would stay at their nice little house that the doctor acquired for them by dubious means. I signed up for Doctor Who not Amy and Rory's Domestic Soap (IN SPACE). Amy and Rory are coming back for season seven although it will be their final season. Here's hoping Amy gets something resembling character growth before being permanently and thoroughly removed from the show.

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