Monday, November 10, 2014

Doctor Who Disappointment

Oh, Doctor Who...

I was sadly disappointed by this season.


There were episodes that were decent, and although I initially disliked Missy's true identity, "Death in Heaven" sold me on it. I found some of the episodes amusing and interesting, and found Capaldi to be a capable and intriguing take on the Doctor. I think I'll enjoy him in the long run. I even enjoyed "Death in Heaven," which was a fun episode, and certainly better written than the first part.

But Clara's plotline, in my opinion, died a slow and horrible death. To me the moment it became unsalvageable was when she became a time-travel addict instead of rage-quitting the Doctor, and everything after that was watching Clara's character arc towards a slow and miserable final transformation into a 2D time-filler.

Image from the BBC
Of course the decline began when her plotline began to revolve around a character whose existence in turn revolved around adding angst to the show. Danny Pink was a good character, but to have achieved the promise his baggage brought, he would have had to be the main companion, or at least have existed for more than a single season. And he would have made a great companion, played by an actor who put depth into his past, and who convincingly created a loving and well-rounded personality capable of accepting a broken love interest, despite only minimal screen time. Cramming his whole story into a single season's side-arc? It just turns him into a moody side-show, which the character didn't deserve.

So rewriting Clara into a love-obsessed, emotionally crippled character who couldn't live without him--she, too, became a bit part in a side-show that somehow took up 80% of the screentime. The only sustained, successfully completed plot in this season was the Doctor/Missy plot; this, then, should have gotten the most screen time, but did not. That made me very sad.

I would have liked to have seen Clara leave the Doctor after the Orient Express episode, and not look back. Had the Doctor come to her afterward, to her and Danny both, for the final episodes... I could have enjoyed that. It would have given the season more depth and been consistent with the character arc created in the beginning of Clara's season. Had Clara's addiction to time-traveling been the sole issue, without a death driving her crazy, that might have been salaveable and even decent. But there was too much crammed in to too little time, and she was inconsistently written throughout the season, who made mistakes that should have destroyed her relationship or put it in a state that would take at least another season to recover. All in all, the season created for me a Clara I couldn't fully believe, and a romance I didn't really buy into, which left me in the end feeling deeply disappointed.

Did you like the season as a whole? What did you like/dislike about it? What did you think was strong, or could have been improved?


  1. This is the first Doctor that I've liked. A friend of mine who's been a real Doctor Who fan doesn't like him. But we both agree that Clara is perky and nice to look at, but there's nothing original about her. I think it would have made sense if she had left at the end of the Orient Express episode.

  2. That's one of the main rubs; the Doctor's companions are all supposed to be interesting, and she feels too generic now. It's very sad.

  3. The problem with Clara is that she was only ever a plot hook. Her introduction was "Look at me! Aren't I cute and perky? I can talk real fast! Don't you just love me? You love me now right?! You're supposed to love me! LOVE ME!" There was nothing interesting about her, but there was that sense that the writers felt we were supposed to adore her. She started to actually become something this season (and you've already outlined where that went south, though I remember being really annoyed at her once before for feeling righteous when she was at fault) before her character was relegated back to plot hook. I agree that she and Danny should've either lived happily together after the Orient Express (at least until bad things happened that resulted in the finale, which was very well done). As much as I would've enjoyed him seeing more facetime for him that being a companion would give, he is very much not a companion and that would've been uncharacteristic.
    But overall? I'm still happy with this season because it's so much of an improvement from the past few. I don't expect it to magically go back to the good, complex, non-plotline-dropping writing that was 9/10, but I'm glad to see it might be heading back in that direction. And also glad to have a Doctor I like again.