steven-davis

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“We’ve all made terrible mistakes in our life, done things that no apology can heal, but you just have to keep going trying to find some new happiness no matter how much you’ve lost. The strange thing is, losing those people is what brought us together, it’s how we found each other, it’s what made us family.”

Russell T Davies on Steven Moffat

We do not know how lucky we are.

When asked to consider Steven’s finest moments, I was overwhelmed by images. Heores and villains. Battles and beauty. Monsters and children. Then I realised that I’d only got as far as 20 minutes into The Empty Child -round about the joke about Marxism and West End musicals - and had to sit down for a cup of tea.

I think, as fans, we can focus on the detail - Mondasian Cybermen! - at the risk of missing the bigger picture. That picture being, in Steven’s case, that we’ve just seen one of the greatest sci-fi body-horror thriller action-adventure romances (plus comedy) of our entire lives, beamed on to our TVs for less than 10p, written by a world-class master of his craft who’s now so in command of his talent, he’s riffing on ephemera from 1966 and turning it into gold, whisky, sex, whatever turns you on best. We truly do not know how lucky we are to have a man of this calibre writing our favourite show.

Since leaving Doctor Who, I’m approached, now and then, by strangers who remember my withered husk from Doctor Who Confidential. There’s a glint in their eye as they say, “What d’you think of it now?” An awful lot of those people are dying for me to trash it. I think, genuinely, they’re trying to achieve an intimacy. I think, nastily, they want me to say something bad so they can take it online and have some strange sort of fun. And when I say, “I love it!” they often think I’m lying.

I love it. I love every episode the man’s written. I love the other episodes he’s rewritten and I think few people know how many that is. I love the detail, I love the scale, I love the people, I love the jokes. I love the fact that Steven himself is quite down on The Beast Below. The whole of the UK on a spaceship? The whole of the UK is a spaceship? I’d retire there and then, complete. Nope, for him, it just wasn’t good enough.

I love the man, in truth, I love his mind, I love his standards, I love his rigour, his darkness, his kindness, his ambition, his love of TV. I love the man who wrote the very last line of Coupling, which shows what a lovely human being he is.

I love his women. Consider, in bad fiction, which is most fiction, how women’s roles, which have suffered so many years of neglect that they can be summarised as ‘women’s roles’, fall into the same old categories. They are reduced to the Mother, the Wife, the Daughter, the Bride. Agents of sex and childbirth, nothing more.

But then look at what Steven does with those categories. The Bride stands tall at her reception - literally in her wedding dress - and summons the Doctor back itno existence with an Old Maid’s rhyme. When the Bride has a Daughter, it’s a vital part of a galaxy-spanning revenge. The Daughter then becomes the Wife, a woman of such swagger and joy and tenderness, the Time Lord finally falls in love. We’re not done yet. A lesser category pops up, the Dominatrix, complete with eye-patch, but don’t worry, the Bride who’s the Mother of the Daughter who’s the Wife kills her stone dead! Then a lesbian travels the universe and everyone adores her. And nestling at the heart of the show is Doctor Who’s very own problem category, the Companion, a title inherently subordinate to the Man. Until Clara comes along! Companion to every single moment in the Doctor’s life. A woman so strong that in her first appearance, and her last, Death itself cannot stop her. A decade before Wonder Woman, Steven started weaving his own vast female mythology across the stars, in a funny old children’s show on Saturday teatimes.

I could mansplain all day, but the other thing I love in Steven’s writing is the complexity. I’ve heard some tiny, distant rumours that some people might have a problem with that. But I think it’s the very thing that will ensure Doctor Who’s logevity. You see, in the old days, us older fans fell in love with this show because it was porous. It had gaps. It was cheap, it was rushed, it was lovely and brave and unapologetic, using three walls in Lime Grove to create an entire Dalek invasion of Earth. All those gaps allowed us in. We imagined the offstage armies. We embraced the wobbles and bumps. If Sutekh had a secret hand on his cushion, we hooted, or invented a reason why (Clara!). But we either imagined it better, or saw how good it was underneath. Which is exactly like falling in love.

Now, the modern show has a lot more money. You can see those armies centre-stage. Gallifrey is so gorgeous, it has a spare city. Cyber-fleets can explode behind Rory’s head as a throwaway joke. And sometimes, a lossy show allows the mind the slide off. But Steven has created a brand-new porous surface. He invites us into the plots. He gives us stories which vault and somersault and double-back and trick and trap and treat. It’s not so much porous, it’s more like a great big spinning double helix and we’re clinging on, spinning for our lives, and yelling with joy. Yes, it’s complicated, but that’s wonderful. It will keep people thinking about the show forever.

Okay, my favourite moment? It’s my favourite joke. A Good Man Goes to War. Rory approaches River Song in the Storm Cage, and she says she’s been on a date with the Doctor, to the frost fair in 1814. “He got Stevie Wonder to sing for me underneath London Bridge.” And for a second, there’s that lovely shiver as you anticipae the punchline. “Don’t tell him.”

That’s a small momnt from a man who’s created empires. But a favourite joke is a beautiful thing. I just looked up the line and it turns out, I’ve long since paraphrased it, but that’s even better - like I said, Steven makes us part of the text, and now I own it! The point is, I think of that line every few days. Literally, a couple of times a week, every week. Every now and then, when I’m washing up or watching TV, or walking into town, or whatever, it pops into my head. “Don’t tell him.” And I laugh. I laugh, every single time. It’s been making me laugh for six years and it will make me laugh for the rest of my life. Very few people can write a line capable of that.

We have been so lucky.

The Vampire Diaries Series Finale

The Vampire Diaries is ending tonight and it’s bittersweet. I can remember watching the pilot episode back in 2009 and becoming fascinated with these incredibly complex characters originating from LJ Smith’s arguably best work. From those first few scenes I knew I would be hooked.

It was the first show that I fell in love with. It was the first show that had me searching for all possible spoilers and theories about what would happen in future episodes. It was the first show that after every episode had me anxiously waiting days on end for the next episode or god forbid season. It was the first show where it felt so effortless to enjoy.

It had an amazing run throughout its first three seasons and that’s how I wish I could remember the show. The show with plot twists, darkness, twisted morality, epic storylines, an amazing soundtrack, and enthralling villains. I adored that show.  

I don’t really want to get into how the show turned into something I eventually had to give up on. But to ignore that part would be a lie. It’s no secret that due to range of different reasons the show started shifting into something that wasn’t as captivating to me as it once was. It is what it is.

Regardless, there are some shows that impact your life even past its end and I know The Vampire Diaries is going to be one of those shows. Even if tonight’s episode doesn’t turn out the way I envisioned or hoped it would doesn’t change the fact that The Vampire Diaries will always be a salvation of some kind to me.

To the fandom (Stelena, Klaroline and Bamon fans in particular) thank you so much. I know it’s been crazy for these past eight seasons and so much awful crap has happened but your perseverance, creativity and undying hope for the show has always kept me interested. I pray we get an ending worthy of our passion.  

Thank you to Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Candice King, Michael Trevino, Zach Roerig, Steven R. McQueen, Matt Davis, Joseph Morgan, Michael Malarkey, Sara Canning, Kayla Ewell and all other actors and actresses involved for bringing some of my favourite characters to life. Thank you to Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec (even through the many disagreements) and the crew for creating and developing this beautifully compelling show.

“When it’s real, you can’t walk away.”

I’m really sick of misunderstandings of Russell T Davies’ characterization of the Doctor being used to treat basic aspects of the character present since the beginning as out of character.

The Doctor was never a perfect hero who loves every little person. Not even in the Davies era, no matter what some claim. He can be shortsighted and selfish and condescending, and has had those aspects since the beginning. Even in The End of Time, Ten seriously contemplates not saving Wilf. The Doctor’s not pure and good. He just strives to be, and on a good day succeeds in helping and learning however he can. And both Davies and Moffat explore that tension in really interesting ways.

This might be my opinion, but I really hate when some Doctor Who fans act like RTD invented Doctor Who, and that his series are the standard for what Doctor Who should be. Particularly when they whine about how apparently the Doctor doesn’t care about people anymore, as if 10′s hypocritical “no guns”, savior-complex pacifism is the end-all, be-all for the Doctor. Like I’m sorry if 10 tricked you into thinking that the Doctor never does wrong, but he has a long history of morally questionable decisions. 10 wanted to see himself as morally unambiguous, and the narrative presented him as such, which in my opinion was a mistake. The Waters of Mars was the only time that 10 was ever called out for his savior complex, but by that time it was too late to actually go anywhere with that development. On the other hand, both 12 and the narrative surrounding him are painfully aware of his moral ambiguity. When the Doctor does something that seems heartless, it’s not “bad writing”, it’s the character actually being explored and developed in a way that the Tennant era didn’t do until it was too late. The Moffat era is hyperaware of itself. Characters make mistakes and are frequently called out on them. When was Rose ever called out for abandoning her boyfriend without Mickey being painted as the villain? Compare this to Clara’s arc in series 8, where both she and the narrative are perfectly aware that lying to Danny isn’t good, but she keeps doing it anyway due to her growing adventure addiction, which leads into her series 9 character arc. That’s interesting, complex development, where the narrative is aware of the characters’ flaws, and calls them out on it. But no, Smith’s Doctor used a gun that one time, which Tennant’s Doctor said was bad, so clearly he’s not the Doctor, Moffat has never seen a single episode in his life and should hang up his pen in shame and disgrace. 

So basically, it just really grinds my gears that there’s this whole host of fans who don’t appreciate the intricacies of Moffat’s characterization just because it’s not like RTD’s which they now think is the standard that all DW should be held to. 

Nine hundred years of time and space, and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important
—  Doctor Who
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DOCTOR WHO EPISODES WHICH FAIL THE REVERSE-BECHDEL TEST

A.K.A: Post-revival episodes which lack a 3+ line conversation specifically between 2 named men about something other than a woman, including small groups containing such. This is based on @doctorwhobechdeltest’s criteria for the normal test. Feel free to send me an ask if you have an amendment or addition to make, as I may easily have missed something or been too generous/strict with an episode while working on this.

Image descriptions and analysis below:

Keep reading

Clara: The Golden Companion

One piece of criticism I often see levelled at Clara Oswald is that she was too powerful, too influential, too much a “spotlight-stealing squad” (to use a term from TVtropes.org which has a small write-up devoted to this). And I’ve seen some people outright ask why Clara got all the attention, while Amy, Rose, River, Martha, Donna, etc. didn’t.

Well, first off, that’s nonsense. As Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have continually said since 2005, the companion is the co-lead in the modern era of Who, and the show is usually told from the point of view of the companion. Not too far removed from An Unearthly Child back in 1963 which was almost totally from the perspective of Barbara and Ian. You want a case of a show being taken back to its roots, you can’t go further back than Episode One. And during their time, all the modern companions have been in the spotlight. We’re going to see it happen again in a few weeks with Bill. Companions in Doctor Who are by their nature “spotlight-stealing squads”, at least the ongoing ones. The only way around that would be a season of nothing but “Heaven Sents” (which is not necessarily the paradise one would imagine) or the Doctor having a different companion every story which is what they’ve been trying to do with Twelve in the comics after dropping Clara, with very mixed results. And I personally find the novels in which the Doctor (any Doctor) has an adventure without a regular, established companion less appealing than those that do.

But there is another reason that I consistently see missed as to why Clara Oswald, specifically, was as influential as she was. 

Clara Oswald was the Golden Companion. That is, she was the companion created to accompany the Doctor for the golden anniversary of Doctor Who. 50 years of Romanas, Sarah Janes, Adrics, Leelas, Ians, Tegans, Roses, Marthas, Donnas, Amys … all those who came before, were in some measure distilled into a companion that represented a half century of the “best of the best” who travelled with the Doctor.

In “The Name of the Doctor” we see Clara echoed throughout the Doctor’s entire existence. In “The Day of the Doctor”, after The Moment fails to convince the Doctor not to push the button, Clara makes the Doctor choose an alternative. In “The Time of the Doctor”, Clara convinces the Time Lords to give the Doctor more regenerations (so that means every Doctor from Capaldi on out will exist because of Clara). In “Listen”, she gives the Doctor his inspiration as a young child. Ultimately, she leaves the series in “Hell Bent” as “a” Doctor in all but name. Which is perfectly fitting and a culmination of an amazing character arc that I know will be reevaluated positively by many in the years to come.

Is that a lot for a single companion to accomplish? Maybe. But then how many 50th anniversary companions are we likely to ever see?

I feel like the problem of Steven Moffat is that he tries too hard to make something brilliant masterpiece. This is a problem especially when he is head writer because he has more creative freedom. He had really amazing episodes in the Russel T Davies era because he wasn’t head writer. He could have the good ideas, but have someone edit or give suggestions so his ideas didn’t come across as too much. His stregnths play when there is someone to tone it down.