To the people who hated “The Day of the Doctor” because they think it somehow undoes the Russell T Davies, I have one simple question:

Why is it okay for Russell T Davies to destroy Gallifrey, and not okay for Steven Moffat to restore it?

Answers on a post card.

Short version: RTD destroying Gallifrey did not change anything about the story of the show before his era; all that was left intact to be exactly what the original writers intended. What Moffat did in TDotD was to go back and insert his own version of events in previous eras that were at odds with what the original writers wrote and intended. Bringing back Gallifrey was not the problem, it’s the particular way it was done.
If you’re keen on the long version, let me know.

Except that’s actual, palpable nonsense because not only did Moffat consult with RTD before writing “The Day of the Doctor”, but RTD approved of and loved the episode.

Also, RTD has made actual, canonical retcons to classic Who. He fundamentally changed the nature of Regeneration not once but twice (“The Christmas Invasion” and “Journey’s End”), he changed Rassilon from a benevolent leader into an amoral, power-mad dictator (“The End of Time”), and he changed the Macra from hyper-intelligent creatures to simple beasts just because he thought dropping them into “Gridlock” would be cool.

But then, Doctor Who is a show built on retcons. In the original pilot, the Doctor and his Granddaughter are from the distant future, not another planet. Susan is said to have named the TARDIS, but this is explicitly contradicted by “The Time Meddler” and “The War Games”. The Ice Warriors aren’t supposed to be called Ice Warriors, but that’s the name they’ve been stuck with and so it’s been folded into their lore. Andrew Cartmell’s time as Script Editor was predicated upon massive, massive retcons for the character of the Doctor as well as the history of Gallifrey itself… and we didn’t even get to see all of it!

The fact is that Doctor Who is constantly in flux. There will be marked eras, periods in the show’s history where things change. That’s good. The Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s journey is not undone by the apparent revelation that the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors helped the War Doctor save the planet. Moffat’s retcons do not undo the RTD era any more than RTD’s retcons undo Cartmell’s, or Cartmell’s undoes any that came before him.

Getting pissy about the fluctuating history of a show about time travel is like yelling at a chocolate brownie for not being an ice cream sandwich.






#midnight is a fucking tERRIFYING EPISODE okay

Severely underrated episode.

It’s a testament to just how brilliant “Midnight” is that when jaybushman and I had a conversation about it after it aired he was convinced it was written by Moffat.

montypla said:

Series 2 is really brought down by them still trying to convince us there was romance between Ten and Rose.

See, that is in and of itself not a bad idea, and I don’t have a problem with Rose and the Tenth Doctor falling for each other. The biggest problem I had with series 2, really, was Rose’s entire demeanor.

When we love someone, we pick up on their traits, ticks. We borrow bits of them. A smile, a laugh, a turn of phrase. We fold them up and wrap them into ourselves because they’re part of someone we love. Rose very quickly picked up on a lot of the Tenth Doctor’s worst traits very quickly, and mirrored those back at him. Worse, they became what defined her as a character during series 2 - that cocky, arrogant rudeness. Add to that a casual blase indifference to her surroundings, a selfishness… I really grew to dislike that. I didn’t like Rose much during series 2.

The moment when she abandons her mother in the parallel world… that was the moment I stopped caring about Rose. And you can tell the Doctor wasn’t happy about it either.

Of course, the Tenth Doctor is cocky and arrogant too, but I wasn’t particularly fond of that either. The Tenth Doctor’s worst moment, indisputably, is the “I’m the Doctor, I’m a Time Lord…” speech from “Voyage of the Damned” - a cocky, arrogant bit of grandstanding, and I’m rather pleased with the way Moffat opted to poke fun at it in “The Day of the Doctor”.

Mind you, I can forgive series 2 of a lot of its faults. RTD wasn’t entirely confident the show would make it to a second series, even though he had plans and had seeded stuff throughout that the first series to lead into the second. Series 2 is the Difficult Second Album, and the first series, for all its faults, is still thirteen episodes of near-perfect telly. It set a high bar that was difficult to top. Series 3 came dangerously close, especially with that finale, but series 2 floundered a little.

Still, Nothing is as bad as the bulk of series 4. I’d rather watch “Cyberwoman” than “Partners in Crime”.

Say what you want about Moffat’s abilities as a showrunner, but as uneven as series 6 was, as bumpy asseries 7 may have been, his (to date) three series are at least consistent and hold together well. The same cannot be said for series 4, Russell T Davies’ last series which, despite the strength of “Silence in the Library” right the way through to “Turn Left” (an incredible run of four cracking episodes), is mostly shit.

I love Donna Noble. She’s probably my favourite of the new-era companions. But - but! - she has the misfortune of appearing in the worst overall series of the show since its return in 2005.

Series 2 is a bit wonky too, while we’re at it.

On my Tumblr dashboard right now: People complaining that Joss Whedon sometimes kills off characters.

I don’t get how that’s a complaint, to be honest. Shows and film franchises with fixed casts have almost no sense of jeopardy. The death of a principal character, however, means that potentially no one is safe.

I’d rather have a show where characters I love die than a show that runs for 15 years with more or less the same cast from beginning to end. I would rather have a show with death, and jeopardy, and consequence, than feel secure and safe.

I’ve said this before, and I will continue to say it: Great television, great story telling, isn’t about making you feel happy. It’s about making you feel.

Whedon kills off characters. It’s sad. But y’know what? It’s also better. And in the end you remember the names of people like Joss Whedon, George R. R. Martin and Russell T Davies because they dared to kill their babies. You may hate them a little, but you remember them. And years later, you’re still coming back to their stories. Why? Because they made you feel something.

timsutton replied to your post: oh, to go back to the days when seeing “Written by Russell T Davies” would elicit an audible groan

You and me both. He’d become a parody of himself by the end of series 4. I always thought he wrote his best stuff when he had a limited budget. Some of my favourite RTD-penned episodes are “Boom Town”, “Bad Wolf”/”The Parting of the Ways”, and “Midnight”.

I still have to occasionally remind people that “Midnight” was written by Davies and not Moffat. It’s easily the best thing he’s written for the show.

Another complaint Moffat haters constantly bang on with is that he’s somehow “undone” the Russell T Davies era by changing the outcome of the Time War, which is nonsense. Moffat has made it clear he has nothing but the utmost respect for Davies’ tenure. That’s one of the reasons he didn’t shoehorn Rose into “Day of the Doctor”, because he felt her story had been told, that he couldn’t had anything to it.

Ah, but Moffat haters also hate him for not incorporating Rose into “Day of the Doctor”, because they didn’t get to see Eleven interact with her.

They also seem to think he has absolutely zero regard for the classic series. No idea where they’re getting that from, but apparently he’s “undone” the first twenty-six seasons of the show as well. Somehow. Lord knows how he managed that. Maybe there’s a line of dialogue in “A Christmas Carol” that I missed or something.

It’s funny, none of these people seem to have taken issue with Russell T Davies starting off the new series with the Doctor having recently committed double-genocide. They’re alright with that, but the notion that the Doctor might somehow be able to change that and actively save his people is somehow offensive to them.

It’s a shame really, because the legitimate gripes about Moffat’s writing are constantly buried under the vindictive, personal ones that don’t make any ruddy sense. As I’ve said, hating on Moffat is trendy now. It’s Tumblr’s golf.

In 2009, BBC Books published “Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale” containing the email correspondence of journalist Benjamin Cook and then-showrunner Russell T Davies. The book chronicled the writing process for the show’s fourth series - Davies’ last as showrunner - and included snippets from Davies-penned scripts.

In 2010 a revised edition of the book was published which also covered the “gap year” stories as well as, in part, the handover from Davies to new showrunner Steven Moffat.

In order to accommodate the new material, the script excerpts were removed, however the scripts for Davies’ fourth-series episodes were posted in their entirety to the official website for The Writer’s Tale.

Unfortunately that website has recently been taken down and instead redirects to the site for Doctor Who: The Encyclopedia, meaning there is now no official means of acquiring these scripts.

However, worry ye not! I’ve prepared for just such an eventuality, and have popped the scripts up on a handy page for easy download. The scripts included are:

  • 4.0X - “Voyage of the Damned”
  • 4.01 - “Partners in Crime”
  • 4.10 - “Midnight”
  • 4.11 - “Turn Left”
  • 4.12 - “The Stolen Earth”
  • 4.13 - “Journey’s End”

They are provided in PDF format, so you’ll need Adobe Reader installed if you don’t have it already.

I’ve made sure these scripts remain available for are any budding writers out there who’d like to pick them apart. When I was younger I would watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Next Generation with copies of the script to head, comparing what was on the page with what ended up on the screen. It can’t replace a screenwriting class or a good book on how to write scripts, but it does give you an understanding of how things can progress from script to screen, not to mention it’s a great way of analyzing story composition.

All of these episodes are on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus in the US, and can be viewed on Netflix in the UK. If you’re interested in becoming a writer, or if you’re just curious about the production process for Doctor Who, watching the episodes with these scripts to hand is heartily recommended.

I’d also strongly suggest buying The Writer’s Tale - it’s a wonderfully informative and surprisingly frank book about the production of the show during Davies’ last two years, and it’s well worth a read. Amazon has it for just shy of $22, or you can get it on your Kindle for $12.59. Definitely worth the money.