The proper duty

August 31, 2008

I’ve been watching season four of the new Doctor Who and I must say I haven’t really been terribly impressed.

Yes, the banter is good. Donna Noble is fine as far as assistants go, but really I thought the writers were pandering to her actor’s comedy roots (that’s Catherine Tate). I did like the “Oh, no … we’re not … together” lines in the first six or so episodes, and I am liking that she’s finally proving to be an able foil to The Doctor, bringing a new kind of humanity to the Tardis, questioning his motives and intentions. And the running. I am enjoying the running. Oh, and I’m intrigued by Jenny.

But something was missing.

I figured out what it was – Stephen Moffat. In each series so far he’s pulled out a stunningly good episode. Blink is my all time favourite Who but I have to say Season Four, Episode Eight “Silence in the Library” is close on its heels.

Moffat’s just been named as the new show runner for Doctor Who following Russell T. Davies’ departure. His acceptance lines were great.

“My entire career has been a secret plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back because the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.

“Anyway, I’m glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it’s a huge honour to be following Russell into the best – and the toughest – job in television.”

It’s annoying. I had toyed with a Doctor Who idea or two myself. I always wondered why whenever the current doctor was In Danger to such a degree he had to call on previous Doctors to help.. I had visions of an episode where The Doctor calls on future Doctors and we see a female Doctor, one with three heads, future Tardises and so on.

I had visions of the assistant du jour running through a jungle crying out for the Doc only to find the Tardis not where she left it. She rips open the door and… the interior is different and a strange old man stumbles out and says “who the hell are you?” I might ask you the same question, she replies. Well, I am The Doctor, he says, cue title music, out on assistant looking gobsmacked.

Now of course that future looking episode doesn’t fly because Moffat’s produced someone from the future, from The Doctor’s future, and done it in such a beautiful way that it restores my faith. Not that I’d lost it entirely, just that I was getting a bit bored with Glib and Glib Run Amok.

The good news is he’s saved not only this series of Doctor Who with this episode but (in true Time Lord fashion) all future, past and parallel alternatives as well. That mediocre episode or three that you saw as a kid (probably starring the vet guy if you ask me)… well it’s now brilliant because it’s fed into Moffat’s brain and lead to the development of this episode.

And he’s turned down the chance to work with Spielberg and Peter J on the new Tintin films to be the showrunner for Doctor Who. And why wouldn’t you?

It is “the proper duty of every British subject to come to the aid of the TARDIS”.

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