hi there, i hope im not bothering you. i watched bbc's sherlock and am right now catching up witch doctor who (fifth season right now) and i see many people complaining about moffat? i don't understand that 100% and i thought you might explain? sorry for interrupting!
You’re not bothering me dear, don’t worry. I’m going to preface this by saying this is my opinion and whether you (you being anyone who is reading this, not just you personally Nonnie) agree with it or not does not change the fact that I am entitled to my opinion (because I’ve been having some issues lately with people saying my opinion of Moffat is wrong, and there’s no such thing as “wrong” opinion — it’s a personal thing).
That said, there are quite a few reason people don’t like Moffat’s Who. I’m going to split this into four categories — storylines, treatment of women in Moffat’s Who, the Doctor in Moffat’s Who, and Moffat the person.
Buckle up, because these tend to get a bit long. Since you said you just started series five, I should warn you that this is not going to spoiler-free, as my opinion on Moffat comes from watching the show, and referencing examples is a key part of understanding why I don’t like him. I’d also like to say that you shouldn’t let my (or anyone else’s opinion) keep you from continuing the show. Everyone should form their own opinion.
So. Let’s start.
Storylines: Moffat’s storylines tend to be convoluted and full of “timey wimey” non-explanations to justify everything. There are plot holes in the show so big you could drive a truck through them. He creates all these grand elaborate storylines, and it’s clear he has no idea how he’s going to follow through. Matt Smith’s entire tenure as the Doctor is proof of this. Moffat got to Matt’s last episode and realized “Shit, Matt is leaving and I have all these open storylines, what am I gonna do with them?” And what did he do indeed? Created a smorgasbord of an episode in which nothing happened — commonly referred to as “Day of the Doctor.” Moffat’s storylines look good on the surface, but the deeper you look, the more you realize, “Wow, he has no idea what he’s doing, he just likes using flashy effects and making things explode.”
Treatment of Women: Moffat has no respect for women. I’ll get more into that later, but I mention it now because it definitely colors the way he treats women in the show. What do Amy, Clara, and River all have in common? They were all “special” in someway, and their lives all revolved completely and entirely around the Doctor.
Amy: The girl who waited. The girl who spent her entire life waiting for the Doctor to come back, because apparently that’s what people do. Sure she made a show of “moving on” — getting a job, going out with Rory, etc. But she was still willing to give all that up just to run off with the Doctor the second he gave her a minute of attention again. That’s not a life.
River: The woman who killed the Doctor —OR— the Doctor’s wife. Either way, she had sense of self. Her entire identity revolved around the Doctor — she was raised to kill him and as a result became obsessed with him, and later transferred that obsession into “loving” him when her mission to kill him failed.
Clara: The impossible girl. Her entire first season on the show revolved around being a mystery that the Doctor had to solve. We knew next to nothing about her other than that some clones or something had once appeared in other parts of the Doctor’s life (yes it’s later explained that she jumped through his timeline, but that’s all we knew about her for the longest time).
Remember Rose, Martha, and Donna? They weren’t special in any way. They were normal people living normal lives until they met the Doctor. They had back stories and families who cared about them and jobs and responsibilities. They didn’t have to be “special” for the Doctor to care about them.
Getting off the special train here. His general writing of women just isn’t enjoyable. He uselessly oversexualized River, and the “love triangle” between Rory, Amy, and the Doctor was just unnecessary. It would’ve been a much better story if Amy had struggled between living her dream of seeing the stars and living a life with the man she loves (Rory). But no, Moffat had to introduce the “well maybe Amy actually loves the Doctor” storyline.
And River as the Doctor’s life just makes me angry. Like I said before, I don’t believe she actually loved him — she was just obsessed. It was a dangerously unhealthy relationship, with River giving everything to the Doctor and getting nothing back in return. Which is demonstrated clearly by her line in Angels Take Manhattan — “Don’t let [the Doctor] see your damage.” No, River. That is not how a relationship works. If you’re hurting, you should let your husband see it, because your husband should want to take care of you. It’s clearly a dysfunctional relationship. There’s nothing “romantic” about it.
As I said before, I disliked Clara’s entire storyline, and I really dislike the way the Doctor treats her in this current season. But I’ll get into that next.
Moffat’s Doctor: Since he’s now written two Doctors, I’ll split this up into two categories.
Eleven: Eleven was, essentially, a cosmic, bratty child. The whole with fezzes and bowties being “cool” was fun at first, but then it just got ridiculous. He also used humans, which disgusts me to no end (like using them to destroy the Silence). Remember River’s line from TATM about not letting the Doctor see your damage? That gives you a pretty good idea of who he is — he’s incapable of handling the consequences of his actions, and therefore needs to be “protected” from all the bad things he does. That doesn’t just apply to River, but to anyone he’s ever hurt (which as we know the Doctor thinks he hurts everyone he comes into contact with).
Not being able to handle consequences actually leads me to another point — Moffat’s handling of the Time War. Rather than deal with the consequences of the Doctor having to destroy his entire planet (which I would have found to be a much more interesting storyline), he simply rewrote it so the Doctor could have a happy ending and essentially erased seven seasons of character development. Moffat sees the Doctor has a god, and “consequences” are below him.
Twelve: Twelve absolutely disgusts me. I knew the moment it was announced that Twelve was going to be a “dark” Doctor, it was going to be awful, because Moffat can’t write emotional upheaval or consequences (I’ll get into that in a minute), and those are two big parts of being dark. Moffat doesn’t get that though. He seems to think that “dark” = “asshole” which is exactly what he’s turned Twelve into. Which brings me to what I was saying before about his current treatment of Clara — he’s horribly sexist toward her, insulting her appearance every chance he gets. That’s not okay. There are children watching this show, including little girls, who are now looking at themselves and wondering if the Doctor thinks they’re fat too. And before you say I’m overreacting, I’ve seen actual proof of that from other posts (unfortunately I can’t find them right now, but if I do I’ll gladly show you). And it makes me sad, because I really did want to like Twelve — Peter Capaldi is awesome. But Twelve is awful.
Moffat The Person: Moffat is a sexist, homophobic asshole. Don’t believe me? Have some quotes:
About women: “There’s this issue you’re not allowed to discuss: that women are needy. Men can go for longer, more happily, without women. That’s the truth. We don’t, as little boys, play at being married - we try to avoid it for as long as possible. Meanwhile women are out there hunting for husbands.”
About bisexuals: I can’t find the exact quote for this one, unfortunately (not one from a reliable source), but here’s a summary: Moffat is happy that bisexuals “probably don’t even watch” his shows because they’re off “having far too much fun” getting laid. If they were watching, he’d have to make them characters or something, which would be weird, because his gay characters are “going through a phase” anyway, like Irene Adler was before she met the man who could turn her straight. (from here).
Yeah. These are actual quotes from this actual human being. This human being who is in charge of writing one of the longest-running and most popular shows in television history. He’s also horribly degrading to DW fans, saying things like how we don’t need explanations for things that happen on the show (hence his timey-wimey non-explanations), and he acts like we’re all morons.
And before someone says “Oh but he was bullied as a child, don’t be too hard on him!” Yeah, no. I was bullied as a child too, and you know what? I didn’t turn into an asshole. I put all my energy into trying to make people feel better about themselves, rather than saying they’re needy or don’t need representation because they’re too busy having sex anyways.
So here you have it. For the tl;dr version (this is over 1500 words, if you read all of this then god bless you): Moffat’s treatment of women is despicable, his writing of the Doctor and the show in general is awful, and he’s a horrible human being.
Thank you and again, if you stuck with me for this long, god bless. Please remember that this is all my opinion, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine, but don’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m just as entitled to my opinion as everyone else is.