and because you were the doctor so many of us discovered DW with

anonymous asked:

Because there's too much (unwarranted, IMO) hatred against Moffat in recent years, I wanted to ask you what your favourite things he's done is. Such as structure, themes, characters, stories, whatever. One of mine is how he's embraced the more irrational aspects of storytelling. It's not about how it would play in real life, but about the characters. If we can believe them, we can believe the story. I'd elaborate more, but tumblr asks only allow so many characters haha.


seriously this is the kind of ask I was born to answer I’m so ready and by that I mean I’m going to actually get changed out of my work clothes and make a hot chocolate cos I have So Many Thoughts

*34 minutes later bc I started dancing to Hayley Kiyoko’s new EP in the kitchen*

I’m back and ready, and I’m even bringing proper punctuation to the table. Buckle in, kiddos.

Disclaimer: these are my (well informed) opinions, not blanket statements. Doctor Who is an incredibly subjective show, and in the face of the opposite, I try to avoid making objective comments because almost nothing about this show is inarguably anything.

I’m going to start with saying that my favourite thing he’s done is actually his own personal growth as a writer and person over the last decade. He’s actually taken on what people have said to him, and gone from someone who did maybe have some sexism issues in the past to someone pushing the blatant feminist agenda on Doctor Who that has so many whiny nerdboys complaining. He’s actively worked to increase diversity in the show since he realised that he was wrong in his naive assumption that open casting would do the trick. Like Peter, he’s just a nerd living his dream job except he likes being in the background and actually gives himself a lot less credit than is due. 

If more showrunners could actively listen and grow and work to better themselves the way Moffat has, we would see so much improvement in television and the industry itself. 

Now. Onto his actual work. In this particular case only talking about Doctor Who, a show that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the fact that Moffat doesn’t take himself too seriously is why it works. 

I can’t just pick one thing he’s done when it comes to this show, but I think I’ll focus on plot, themes, and characters. 

(Small note, as I nip back up here from further down: you’ll notice how this post has a kind of defensive undertone? That’s subconscious and automatic as I’m writing. Thank you, negativity spreaders, for ingraining the need to have to justify my love for the thing that got me through high school and is probably the only reason I’m mentally healthy.) 

Moffat’s themes:

To start with, I just want to mention the whole “fairytale” thing. I’m not really sure I’d call it a theme (actually, it is, for Amy’s character, but I’m talking more for his era in general), but his whole era has this kind of fairytale quality to it. Which is strangely uncommon for sci-fi, I think, given that wondrous new things is such a staple part of most works within the genre. But it just…fits Doctor Who so well. Because DW is a bit fanciful, and wondrous, and I love the awesome combination of fairytale/sci-fi that we think shouldn’t work but does. 

I’ve picked my three favourite themes of Moffat’s to talk about. (I would also like to say that I personally think he does the best thematic writing in DW so far.) 

Stories: This theme works so well because of the links to the three main ladies of his era, with Amy’s fairytale narrative, River’s diary in which she writes down her life with the Doctor, and Clara’s love for books and being an English teacher. Plus it’s always cool for the show to be able to comment on itself, especially with the main character being being a figure who comes with a story, the two most common being the unsung hero or the infamous renegade.

Names: The way the name theme in the Moffat era of Who (and actually Sherlock as well) is done would be fantastic in any show, but has so much more depth for a show whose main character is famous for going only by a singular title he chose himself. 

Hybrid: In addition to spawning a great meme, when viewed more seriously this theme is just so clever. It’s so relevant because of the duality in the Doctor’s life, especially in Series 9. Missy is enemy and friend. Clara was the Doctor’s salvation after losing the Ponds and River, but by the end of Series 9 has become a kind of destruction. The Doctor was also Gallifrey’s greatest embarrassment, destroyer, and saviour all at once.  

Moffat’s plots:  

Although I won’t go so far as to say that he does it the best (there’s probably a BF story that would prove me wrong even if I weren’t against the idea of “best” anything in a show this subjective), Moffat is one of the only writers who truly has the capacity to play with this show’s huge scope and pull it off as well as he does. He really has the “timey-wimey” knack that a lot of writers could only dream of possessing.

He plays a long game, and I think some of the reason that people take issue with his plot is that they don’t realise it’s not a plot hole if it just hasn’t been explained yet? 

Example: the fact that Eleven’s era never actually completely made sense until his very last episode. It made enough sense as it went for us to enjoy and move through it, but things like why the TARDIS exploded in the first place were big ??? until Time of the Doctor. 

His parallels are on a level of fantastic I don’t know I’ve seen anywhere else. See this post and the tags for a great example of this. 

And to anyone who tries to say that his plots are overcomplicated, I’m sorry but…they’re not, really? They’re as complicated as time travel should be, but not actually massively difficult to understand if you stop and think about it. I personally don’t need plots that join up every single dot for me, part of the fun is working out some of it for yourself and that’s always been something DW expects of us. Moffat’s adamant about not simplifying things for children because he knows that children are more onto it than a lot of adults. (I can’t stand people who act like children don’t understand shit, they understand almost everything and Moff knows this and writes accordingly.)

Another great Moffat thing is all the Classic Who references etc that he uses. Bringing back the Lethbridge-Stewart run UNIT and the Zygons and the Time Lords, it just makes it so enjoyable. 

A lot of hatred for him comes from a viewpoint where what RTD did is what DW is at a fundamental level. Which is just simply not true. For example, Torchwood’s cool and all, but UNIT is the crucial alien fighting force in this universe and it’s nice to see that very much the case again. 

(Pause to say that I am not in any way criticising RTD’s work or trying to make this a RTD vs Moffat thing. RTD did a lot of great stuff and I love his era. Like every other DW writer, he’s not perfect, but I’m a big fan. My issue is with people taking some of the things he did as law when it wasn’t and then having issue with Moffat deviating, when it was often a deviation back to something in the classic series.) 

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Since I’m so critical of this series, and I’m about to be more critical, I think it’s important that I talk about WHY I watch it. I don’t love hating on things.

RTD’s Doctor Who set the bar really damn high, admittedly. Maybe it just hit me at a certain time when I needed to see it, but that show changed my life. When Rose says “The Doctor showed me a better way to live” in the first series finale, I realized that was the message for all of us. That we love inspirational fiction, we watch uplifting movie after uplifting movie, yet somehow we’re never truly uplifted, the stories fail because they don’t stay with us, they don’t really change us, we turn the TV off and we go back to exactly who we were. We watch the underdog triumph again and again, we love that narrative, yet those of us who are really underdogs never think we can do it in real life, we never apply it. As Rose realized her potential, and went from an apathetic sales clerk drifting through life without purpose to someone courageous and driven who didn’t give up even when it was hopeless, I found strength too.

And I came to not only fiercely love the Doctor, but even identify with him. In The Impossible Planet, when Ten is stranded, seemingly having lost the TARDIS forever, his utter lack of ability to cope with the things that are expected of a person, like getting a mortgage or something, rang very true to me. And I felt that I, like the Doctor, was someone who wasn’t very good at “normal” things, and it was easy to believe that because of that, I was worthless, but that that was overlooking qualities I have that aren’t as valued by society but could make me valuable in my own, different kind of way. I’d spent so much time thinking “good at mortgages” was the only way to be a good adult, a good human, and from Doctor Who I realized I could be good with bravery, a spirit of adventure, and of course amazing friends.

As a writer, I’ve loved the arcs of RTD’s companions. I realized that each one was special, and not because of something that happened to them, or even something the Doctor gave them, but because each and every person is born full of amazing potential and possibility, each and every person is their own fantastic universe. And little by little, somehow, that’s obscured. Every time we’re talked over or told we’re not interesting, every time we’re told to “be realistic,” every time we’re rammed into gender roles, every little insult, each minor wound, tarnishes us until we don’t even know who we were. And the Doctor’s magic isn’t that he makes people extraordinary, but that he sees through the gunk of insignificance we’ve picked up in our travels, he knows who we really are, and he helps us see it, too. The moments Rose, Martha, and Donna were really allowed to shine, it was with the brilliance they’d had in there all along, and you could see the Doctor’s joy in witnessing them discovering it. Having watched a bunch of the classics too, I know that was most often the Doctor’s role—as a mentor, a stepping stone to greatness. I believe he really tried to leave each companion better than he found them, and was utterly crushed in situations when he failed to do so. Companions don’t stay with him forever because that isn’t their role, or his. He lifts them up, and he lets them go. That’s the Doctor.

And I fell so profoundly in love with this character, this universe, this sense of wonder and discovery. I started watching the classic episodes purely out of love for the world RTD showed me, and I think that’s what he most hoped to accomplish, because this was a world he fell in love with too.

And that, that is why I’m still watching. Not because I’m a hater, not because I love to be cynical and prove I’m so much more progressive and socially aware than you. Did RTD make mistakes? Hell yeah. But my metric for enjoyment isn’t whether the show was completely socially just, because then I’d never get to enjoy anything, and I like enjoyment. I can let a certain amount of bullshit go if you move me, if the story is GOOD and I love watching the characters interact. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth calling out bullshit in good stories, it’s more of at the end of the day, did I enjoy it enough that it was worth it anyway?

I don’t watch Doctor Who for the amazing, tightly-woven plots, or the special effects, or the scientific realism, or any of the many things you could probably get better somewhere else. I watch it for the Doctor, and the close, often intense relationships he has with his companions, the love and the growth and the way they somehow make each other more themselves, the way true friends do.

Being able to travel thorough all of time and space, The Doctor’s interacted with many real-life historical figures. From meeting Richard Nixon to fighting a Vespiform with Agatha Christie, he’s made a lot of important and famous friends.

But how has The Doctor affected their lives? How have these interactions shaped history without anyone even realizing it? Soon, we can get a peek at just one example with Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks

Newly discovered entries and drawings in William Shakespeare’s journals reveal for the first time the astounding relationship between the great Bard and the Doctor.

Since his first adventure in 1963, the Doctor has enjoyed many encounters with William Shakespeare. Now, BBC Books has rediscovered notebooks, long thought lost, compiled by the Bard in which he divulges the influential role the Doctor played in his creative life. Here are the original notes for Hamlet, including a very different appearance by the ghost; early versions of great lines (“To reverse or not to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow”); the true story of how the faeries of A Midsummer Night’s Dream were first imagined; stage directions for plays adjusted to remove references to a mysterious blue box; and much, much more.

Lucky for us, our friends at Harper Collins were nice enough to give us 10 copies to give away to 10 lucky Whovians.

In honor of Shakespeare’s impressive portfolio (approximately 4 poems, 38 plays, and 154 sonnets that we know of,) you can have a chance at winning a copy of Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks by posting your own Doctor Who-related poem/haiku/limerick/etc.

And it’s okay if you’re not the best at writing poems, because it can be as simple as:

Roses are red, the TARDIS is blue.
This example is bad, how about a haiku? 


Post yours in whatever format you’d like (text, recited in a video or audio post, drawn into a piece of fanart, etc.) using the hashtag #DW Poetry and we’ll randomly select 10 entries to win next week. We’ll be reblogging our favorites throughout the weekend, and the deadline is Monday, July 14th at 10AM EST. Good luck! 

And we’re so so sorry to people outside of the Fifty States, but this giveaway is only open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including the District of Columbia.) BBC America’s full terms and conditions can be found here.

(PS, you can always get your own copy right here if you’d like

A Look Back at Series 7

For Moffat Appreciation Week: Tribute to Clara Oswald

At the end of three wonderful seasons of Clara, I think it’s fitting that we go back to the very start of her time on the show. Clara’s character growth in Series 7 may not have always been at the forefront, but it was always there. The seeds of many of her most defining characteristics were sown earlier than most people think, and she develops a lot over the course of her first half dozen episodes. So this is a look back, a reminder of where Clara started, an of all the wonderful things that make up the woman we love.

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