The Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’ – Final Thoughts

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Okay! We’ve had the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special, ‘Twice Upon A Time’! Peter Capaldi’s era has ended; Jodie Whittaker has begun and Steven Moffat has handed the reins of ‘Doctor Who’ to Chris Chibnall. Now it’s time for me to share with you my honest opinion about the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’. This covers both the Matt Smith era and the Peter Capaldi era of ‘Doctor Who’ overall.

I thought the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’…was average. It’s not great, it’s not awful. It’s just average. And I don’t need to take any sides on that front. For me, the era has plenty of good moments as well as bad. It also doesn’t mean the era itself isn’t a pretty unique viewing experience.

I’ve learnt to accept over the years that things can never be the way they were when it was David Tennant’s Doctor and when it was the Russell T. Davies era of the show. Nothing could change that or live up to the magic of what I felt was a pretty good era of ‘Doctor Who’ and what made me a fan.

In many ways, Steven Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ didn’t excite me as much as Russell T. Davies’ era did. I probably had too many high hopes for Steven Moffat’s era that made it disappointing when my hopes were never met. I felt I lost interest in new ‘Doctor Who’ by the time Steven Moffat took over.

But that doesn’t mean to say I didn’t enjoy Steven Moffat’s era. There were plenty of silly moments and overly complicated story-arcs that didn’t need to be there and were left unresolved. But it wasn’t difficult to appreciate some of the emotionally character-driven moments featured from that era.

I did get annoyed by some of the inconsistencies of character development in Steven Moffat’s era, especially with Clara Oswald. I wish some of the writing was clearer and we were given more time to appreciate the characters and enjoy the episodes without too much going on in short spaces of time.

But that didn’t stop me from liking the characters and the actors who played them. Admittedly, I wasn’t keen on Amy and Rory at first. But over time I grew to like them as well as Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill who performed them. I especially enjoyed them by the time we had reached Series 7.

I wish that we had more time to focus on Amy and Rory as characters in the TV series without having the overly complicated plots of Series 5 and 6 getting in the way. I especially felt this when I believed that Amy and Rory were written well in the Chris Chibnall-penned episodes during ‘Series 7: Part 1’.

I also really liked Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. I thought she worked well with Matt Smith’s Doctor as opposed to Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. I know some say Clara was a bland character in Peter Capaldi’s era and I can only repeat how I found Clara’s character development inconsistent at times.

But that didn’t stop me from liking Clara as Jenna Coleman’s performance radiated throughout, even through some of the annoying inconsistent moments. I wish that we had a proper exit for Clara’s character at the end of Series 9 as I feel that’s been unresolved and I could have handled that better.

I also enjoyed Pearl Mackie’s performance as Bill Potts in Series 10 as well as Matt Lucas as Nardole. It’s a shame that Bill Potts never got to last as a companion beyond one season. It was also intriguing how she turned out as a character, as she proved to be a fitting companion with the Twelfth Doctor.

I did think Nardole’s character was a little annoying at times in providing comic relief that wasn’t necessary to the stories he was in. But I can’t dismiss him as a Twelfth Doctor companion since he decently performed that function well. He was not as good as Bill Potts, but he did serve a purpose.

I do think that perhaps Steven Moffat has handled the character development of River Song in a haphazard manner, in that she turned out to be Amy and Rory’s daughter and that she had regenerative powers which I felt were weakly explained. This also takes away River Song’s mystery.

I also feel Michelle Gomez’s Missy was a let-down in terms of the series. Not because I disapprove of a female Master, but because the performance was rather pantomime and it made me take her less seriously. She should have ditched the Mary Poppins outfit and should’ve become more threatening.

Another big aspect of Steven Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ that I feel was a let-down was the 50th anniversary celebrations in general. I honestly didn’t feel ‘The Day of the Doctor’ matched to what I hoped would be another ‘Five Doctors’ celebration of 50 years of a TV show I grew to love and enjoy.

The closest that we fans got to a proper anniversary celebration of 50 years of ‘Doctor Who’ was ‘The Five(ish) Doctor Reboot’ by Peter Davison. I felt I enjoyed that anniversary special more than the actual anniversary special shown on TV. It featured most of the actors who’d played the Doctor.

So yeah, overall I don’t feel that the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’ was the greatest I’ve ever seen. But saying that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Many fans have their own era of ‘Doctor Who’. Some prefer the Philip Hinchcliffe era over the Graham Williams era. Some prefer the Barry Letts/Terrance Dicks era over the Philip Hinchcliffe. This is the same in how I feel about certain eras.

I prefer the Peter Davison and David Tennant/Russell T. Davies eras of ‘Doctor Who’ over Steven Moffat’s era. But I can’t say there weren’t any good moments featured in the Steven Moffat era. Over the years, I grew to like Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor while I watched them develop.

Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi may not be on my top list of favourite Doctors from the TV series. But I can see how they made their marks in their own unique ways in the TV series. This is how I feel what Steven Moffat’s done in making his mark on the TV show. It isn’t a great mark, but it is a decent one.

There were times when I felt that the new series let me down and I didn’t feel like I was engaging with it anymore. But my remedy for that was to listen to some Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. Now I know I can enjoy a Big Finish audio if I didn’t feel a ‘Doctor Who’ TV episode excited me as it should.

In a way, I suppose that’s why it didn’t worry me that they announced there was going to be a female Doctor in 2018 when it was announced back in July. I know that Big Finish will produce more ‘Doctor Who’ stories with my favourite classic Doctors whilst the new series will still continue on TV.

I can always go back to a Big Finish audio adventure if I feel the new series isn’t doing it for me as it should. But then again, I can’t help but look forward to new episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ and find out what Jodie Whittaker will be like as the Doctor, especially as I’d like to review her stories on my blog.

Not everyone is going to agree with me on these thoughts I have and see things the way I see them and that’s fine! ‘Doctor Who’ itself is a unique TV series in its own manner through its different distinctive eras. It shouldn’t be denied to anyone to have their own unique viewing experience of it.

So if you like the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’, then enjoy it. If you don’t, then fair enough. For me, I saw this era as average. It won’t stop me looking back at the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’ with fondness though and enjoy some of the experimentation it had. It also challenged me in how I coped as a fan and continued watching the ‘Doctor Who’ series and the other mediums it has.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’ – Final Thoughts

  1. Timelord 007

    Absolutely spot on Tim, you have summarized the Moffat era perfectly, i had high hopes when it was announced Moffat was taking over but he was a huge letdown for me & the episodes I’ve enjoyed during his tenure were stories not written by him.

    Moffat writes inconsistent arcs that don’t make sense, instead of a beginning, middle, end he tries to be too clever adding silly sub plots which always fail to deliver a solid conclusion, Hellbent as a example was a great set up for the season 9 finale Moffat wrote a intriguing story featuring just the Doctor, the climax reveals that he’s on Gallifrey was brilliant & then in Heavens Sent he completely ruined all the good work delivering in my opinion one of the worst episodes of Doctor Who giving Clara a terrible conclusion & wastes the Gallifrey arc focusing on some nonsense the Doctor & Clara together a danger to the universe, utter piffle.

    Matt Smiths era was to silly for me, i never felt his Doctor believable, Capaldis Doctor i liked but he was sadly riddled with terrible scripts to do his Doctor justice.

    Fantastic synopsis Tim, you took the words out of my mouth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my summary of the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’ in this blog post. Glad you found it spot on.

      Part of me wants to like the Moffat era on some level. But at the same time, I can’t ignore the weaker aspects of the era as I would like there to be more compelling stories and stronger plots akin to the ones he did under the Russell T. Davies era. It’s such a shame that some of the stories by Mark Gatiss and Chris Chibnall are stronger than the ones Steven Moffatt wrote in his era.

      I feel that same way about ‘Hell Bent’ and ‘Heaven Sent’ as you’ve described. I wish that ‘Heaven Sent’ was as strong as ‘Hell Bent’ was, as I thought Steven Moffat was getting somewhere but ended up getting me confused. As with Clara’s exit in ‘Doctor Who’, I was so disappointed and underwhelmed by it. As much as I like Clara’s resurrection after her ‘death’ in ‘Face the Raven’, I wish it was explained how she survived as it’s not clear whether she’s dead or alive. I would have given Clara’s exit a better payoff than what Steven Moffat did. It’s like Steven Moffat gave up at points during his writing of ‘Doctor Who’ episodes. I felt that same about the Series 10 finale as I felt ‘World Enough and Time’ was a great beginning but ‘The Doctor Falls’ sagged as a conclusion.

      I do like Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and found some merit in their performances in the stories they did. But you’re right, some of the scripts didn’t help much with making their Doctors stronger as they should have done.

      I’m pleased you agree with what I’ve said about Steven Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’, Simon.

      Many thanks.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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