I just finished watching the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who and I am conflicted. Actually, I was upset that they reversed the whole Time War thing. I think it takes something away from the weight of the RTD years to have made all that suffering be for something that never actually happened. The Time Lords were also presented as slightly sinister, particularly with Timothy Dalton–and what of the revelation that the Time Lords were just as culpable in prolonging the war?
Moffat removed all of the complexity in this universe. I did not really follow this season very closely, and only watched the last few episodes so I would be caught up for David Tennant’s return, but all this bluster built up from Moffat’s first episode where the Doctor refers to himself as the Oncoming Storm has turned out to be nothing at all. However many years the doctor suffered in his loneliness and guilt–all wiped away. The Pompeii episode could have never happened under Moffat.
I had these minor quibbles as I was watching, but now that I’m writing about it, the more I am convinced it was the wrong decision. And it’s such a shame that Matt Smith and the girl who plays Clara are so fabulous. Because if it weren’t for them, you would never believe their connection from the story. The devotion that Rose, Martha, and Donna all felt for the doctor–that somehow felt earned. Even the devotion of River Song. But somehow, Moffat managed to remove all of the emotional resonance from this pairing and left it all up to the actors to explain this sense of devotion.
Also, the Name of the Doctor had no resolution. Are we to just assume that once he found her in there (which apparently took no work at all), that they made it out alive? All that just to introduce the War Doctor? This attitude felt all wrong. The dislike that both Ten and Eleven felt for the War Doctor…it should have been something more sorrowful. Like they were getting a glimpse of themselves before they had to make this tough decision. The only moment that even approached that was when Clara told Eight that he looked younger than the other two. Instead they held him in some distaste, when it should have been pity for what was about to happen, and a measure of guilt and relief that it wasn’t them who had to do it. I don’t know why RTD’s stories seemed to make so much more sense than Moffat’s but somehow I was able to accept RTD’s wacky plot contrivances more than Moffat’s random, “A hole opened up and somehow all three doctors wound up together.” And the relationship with River Song was so poorly developed! All that promise from the Library episode to this?
Also, wasn’t it previously revealed during the Dalton episodes that Gallifrey and the Time Lords were not simply destroyed, but caught in a time lock? How is that any different from now? The seeds of that story had been planted long ago, and Moffat just ignored all of that and wiped everything away.