I Quit Watching Doctor Who

I think I’ve officially left the Doctor Who fandom. Not out of anger or bitterness at Moffat for his sexism or love of the reset button but out of grief. My little heart couldn’t take any more. Not after “Angels Take Manhattan.”

When I watched that episode, I knew the Ponds were leaving. I expected Moffat to do something horrible. But something snapped inside me during that episode. It was like Moffat knew what would be the worst, most unacceptable way to end the Ponds. And then he did it.

I understand that sometimes we have to say goodbye to characters. Mitchell’s departure at the end of Being Human UK’s season three was beautiful and poignant; it gave him a complete and resolved character arc that made me appreciate Toby Whithouse, Aidan Turner, and the depth of that character, as well as the love and dedication the writers and actor had for the role.

There’s a difference between a tragic character arc resolution and the enjoyment of torturing fans or even actors. Karen, Arthur, and Matt were very close. Matt has cried when talking about leaving the show, and, whether he went of his own will or not (I have serious doubts on the subject), there wasn’t a satisfying conclusion to their stories. They were ripped away from us.

Doctor Who is a show about time, the people living in it, and the one person living outside of it. In a way it’s a larger version of Peter Pan. The Doctor is Peter Pan, who never wanted to grow up and so he went to Neverland (the TARDIS) to escape his fate. Because of this choice, however, he can never stay with the people he loves. He cannot grow up. Time separates him from everyone else. I think it’s the great tragedy of the Doctor’s life that he can travel through time but he still can’t rescue the ones he loves from the bonds of time. He is always left alone.

That’s a beautifully tragic story, but it would have gone over better if Rory and Amelia Pond had actual story arcs and character resolution. They were my favorite companions, but Moffat hardly delved into their stories. They were fully realized in the actors’ portrayals but Moffat only used them to torture his fans.

There are fixed points in time, although the Doctor has been known to break a few rules, but he can’t break the rules when it comes to leaving his companions. There are memes littered all over the internet with Amy asking the Doctor to meet up with them somewhere in the past, outside Manhattan but he says he can’t because of the storyline. There’s really no other reason.

One of the reasons I fell in love with the Moffat version of Doctor Who was the two-parter episode Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Even though Matt Smith was my favorite Doctor, Tennant thrilled in those episodes, River was brilliant, and the speech where Tennant realizes he found a way to save River (“…I’m very good!”) was exhilarating. Just once, everybody lived.

Doctor Who used to be about hope. The Doctor believed. But what do we have now? Moffat’s trapped his loved ones in time. He can’t go back. So what’s the point in going forward? What does the Doctor have to live for?I question why Moffat writes Doctor Who. When you are a writer, you have responsibilities. You have the responsibility to know what you’re saying and why you are saying it. Doctor Who has always been a show about a mysterious figure who rescues people. Moffat won’t let The Doctor rescue anyone anymore. There’s no hope left. No one lives.

If the Doctor doesn’t have anything to live for what do we have to live for as an audience? I think Moffat’s lost his way. It appears that he delights in wreaking havoc, and at this point, that’s a bad sign. What are you saying to the audience by writing in such a way? You can’t write to please everyone, but the responsibility to create story arcs that say something (hopefully positive) with characters that matter is one that should be taken seriously. The purposeful disregard of everyone else’s feelings for his controlled story disturbs me.

I can’t trust Moffat anymore as a writer. His attitude toward the fans and his lack of care regarding the actors has hurt me more deeply than I realized. His stories have become too twisted and painful. At this point, I’ve tried watching current Doctor Who and past Doctor Who without any results. I have no feelings left for the show. I’m not even excited about Sherlock, and that is a real tragedy.

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  • thisgirltv

    I felt the same way about the way Russell T. Davies treated Donna. How dare he not let her have the memories? Even if there was pain in leaving The Doctor, she should have been able to keep her memories, to participate like Sarah Jane in continuing to save the universe, to hope she could one day hear the TARDIS again. It sucked. I cried for real, like if that had happened to my mom. What happened to the Ponds (yes, of course Rory would take her name ;) was not nearly as bad as what happened to Donna because they had each other and the memories. And yes, they would never get to see him again,but they still have the memories of all the timelines they have lived. Donna was tragic and unfair. The Ponds was closure. And after the 50th Anniversary special, I am glad that I didn’t give the middle finger to Doctor Who because of Davies.

  • thisgirltv

    I felt the same way about the way Russell T. Davies treated Donna. How dare he not let her have the memories? Even if there was pain in leaving The Doctor, she should have been able to keep her memories, to participate like Sarah Jane in continuing to save the universe, to hope she could one day hear the TARDIS again. It sucked. I cried for real, like if that had happened to my mom. What happened to the Ponds (yes, of course Rory would take her name ;) was not nearly as bad as what happened to Donna because they had each other and the memories. And yes, they would never get to see him again,but they still have the memories of all the timelines they have lived. Donna was tragic and unfair. The Ponds was closure. And after the 50th Anniversary special, I am glad that I didn’t give the middle finger to Doctor Who because of Davies.

  • Clemmons

    I agree with parts of what you say, but I am not quite convinced Moffat has lost his way, as much as he never quite had as strong a way as we all hoped. I think the problem is centered on this issue of “How do we breath new life to a show that basically uses the same story telling device for generations.” Moffat’s answer was Let’s add story telling. Let’s add a true sense of continuity. Lets focus on this idea of loss, grief, guilt, and overcoming that (as per the newer episodes). Series 5 really hit honed on this, and it seemed like Moffat was truly going to give the Doctor Who fan epic fans always dreamed of. In reality, Moffat was just another Doctor Who writer, probably limited not by his imagination, but on the restraint of other matters in his environment. Maybe he felt he was straying too far from the legacy, and we certainly see some of their attempts to return to a more “classic” Doctor Who (retro title sequence much?). I wish they would stray further, yet still maintain a sense of continuity. High hopes for the 12th/13th.

  • Clemmons

    I agree with parts of what you say, but I am not quite convinced Moffat has lost his way, as much as he never quite had as strong a way as we all hoped. I think the problem is centered on this issue of “How do we breath new life to a show that basically uses the same story telling device for generations.” Moffat’s answer was Let’s add story telling. Let’s add a true sense of continuity. Lets focus on this idea of loss, grief, guilt, and overcoming that (as per the newer episodes). Series 5 really hit honed on this, and it seemed like Moffat was truly going to give the Doctor Who fan epic fans always dreamed of. In reality, Moffat was just another Doctor Who writer, probably limited not by his imagination, but on the restraint of other matters in his environment. Maybe he felt he was straying too far from the legacy, and we certainly see some of their attempts to return to a more “classic” Doctor Who (retro title sequence much?). I wish they would stray further, yet still maintain a sense of continuity. High hopes for the 12th/13th.

  • DarthNoctus

    i have just two words for all of you: GALLIFREY STANDS

  • MrSatyre

    I don’t understand your reasoning on leaving Doctor Who. If your least favoritewriter is leaving, then don’t you owe it to your favorite character and yourself to keep watching? If it continues to bottom out, then I would agree with abandoning ship

  • 7992

    my problem with moffat is that he writes amazing scripts with Sherlock and really gets the character but when it comes to doctor who he resorts to gimmics and as you put, reset buttons and he sets up these long arcs that have a conclusion riddled with holes, I just think why bother if your not going to finish it in a satisfactory way. I will always watch the show as I think matt was brilliant and I cant wait for capaldi but I really wish moffat would go and we can have fresh eyes in the exec chair

  • 7992

    my problem with moffat is that he writes amazing scripts with Sherlock and really gets the character but when it comes to doctor who he resorts to gimmics and as you put, reset buttons and he sets up these long arcs that have a conclusion riddled with holes, I just think why bother if your not going to finish it in a satisfactory way. I will always watch the show as I think matt was brilliant and I cant wait for capaldi but I really wish moffat would go and we can have fresh eyes in the exec chair

  • Eric H

    The Doctor has lost so many companions in so many worse ways – he literally lost Rose in another dimension. He’s been given ample reasons to give up, ample reasons not to have a reason to go on, but that is the essence of hope. In the words of Robert Frost, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” There are times in everyone’s story arc where they don’t want to keep going and the mere act of life itself is unbearable. Even the Doctor experiences this; even the Doctor, The Lonely God, is not beyond being human. Yet, that’s what makes this story arc so beautifully done. It expresses the humanity of the Doctor. Even with all his power over time, he is not above the laws of impermanence.

    The Ponds were excellent companions that I felt had entire episodes dedicated to their personal story arc and their character development. Heck, an entire plot point of a season (Rory waiting 2000 years) was dedicated to illuminating their love for one another. I felt that they had been unpacked enough. I suspect it was time to move on. A long lasting theme of Dr. Who is that things end. Perhaps the Doctor won’t, and perhaps that opposition is part of what illuminates the true moral of Dr. Who: what happens when things end and you don’t? What happens when a thing is lost to you? How does one move on? It’s not always an easy answer.