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.





That’s how he does it. That’s how he does it. He makes you fight. He makes you fight. Creeps into your head. Creeps into your head. And whispers. And whispers. Listen. Listen. Just listen. Just listen. That’s him. That’s him. Inside. Inside.

blink wasn’t shit compared to the horror of this episode

Some times I watch this episode just to feel the feeling of complete helplessness it gives you. I do not know why.

I remember talking to jaybushman about this episode after it aired. I recall saying something to the effect of, “I didn’t know Russell T Davies had it in him.”

To which Jay responded, “Wait, I thought that was a Steven Moffat wrote it.”

To this day, “Midnight” is my personal favorite RTD-penned episode of Doctor Who, closely followed by “Bad Wolf”/”The Parting of the Ways”. It is absolutely brilliant. Honestly, Davies’ work was much better when he had a limited budget. Case in point: “Boom Town”.





These are some of the things I did today, in non-chronological order.

1. Tried and failed to write something about the differences between Moffat’s and Davies’ Daleks, and why the latter are obviously better.

Resulting emotional state: Tired and slightly irritated.

2. Discussed and started to sort out a lot of upsetting personal stuff.

Resulting emotional state: Quite upset

3. Became aware of Spies With Badges. Read through the entirety of Volume One.

Resulting emotional state: Utterly delighted.

Amazing! (Not ‘2’ obviously. Sorry to hear about ‘2’)

I can’t think of anything more brilliantly unexpected and appropriate than Faction Paradox fandom discovering Spies with Badges.

Answer to #1 is obvious: Moffat doesn’t seem to give the slightest fig about the Daleks (even coming up with the appropriately loony “Dalek Parliament” for Asylum felt half-hearted, while the attempt to introduce the new paradigm was misguided in the extreme and has resulted in an embarrassing climbdown), whereas Rusty loves them to bits (he owns a full-size one, for a kickoff) and is basically the only person ever to write Proper Dalek Dialogue (“THIS IS PEST CONTROL!”)

I don’t usually like direct RTD-v-Moff comparisons (they both have their strengths and weaknesses), but if you’re a Dalek fan, Russell’s the one you want in charge.

Really, though? I mean yes, RTD did a fantastic job of setting up the Daleks in series 1 and transforming them from the camp icon they’d become into something genuinely scary again, but with each appearance their menace was weakened. The lone Dalek in “Dalek” is a hundred-thousand times scarier than the Dalek Empire seen in “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”.

Maybe the Daleks aren’t supposed to be scary, but personally it felt very much like Davies worked hard to build something that he then knocked down by casually flinging his own shit at it.

This is not to excuse Moffat’s treatment of the Daleks, of course - the New Paradigm was change for change’s sake, not to mention they were a bit crap - but “Asylum of the Daleks” is the closest they’ve been since “The Parting of the Ways” to being actually, properly menacing.

We spend the last two decades lauding Moffat for everything he writes - Press Gang, Coupling, his episodes of Murder Most Horrid and Doctor Who, all of it. The man is showered with awards, lovebombed by Steven Spielberg to write the Tintin movies, then chosen to run one of his all-time favourite TV shows based on his three Hugo award-winning stories, all while he co-creates and showruns another immensely successful TV series for the BBC.

Then, haha, then we act surprised and offended when it turns out he’s got a bit of an ego.

We’re alright with creating the monster, but we get a bit huffy when he breaks lose and tramples a small city.




Doctor Who Meme: 2 Quotes [2/2]

Ten (4x01, Voyage of the Damned)

Actually, Doc, I have got a bit of a problem with that, yeah. It’s the self-aggrandisement, you see. It’s not really like you. That’s all.

Voyage of the Damned is absolutely the worst Christmas special of the RTD era, and probably the worst Christmas special of them all.