This weekend as pretty busy for me, but you better believe that I had time to sit down and watch the opening episode of Doctor Who. Now I’m a huge fan of the show – the Fourth was my Doctor, and I’ve loved many of them since then. I did not love Eleven, and though Matt Smith is a solid actor, Steven Moffat’s treatment of the Doctor has consistently left me pretty fucking cold. The casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor did immense things for me, as I am a very big fan of his work, but still, Moffat’s writing tends to make me very irritable, and so I wasn’t certain at first of how Capaldi’s Doctor would turn out – but hearing rumors that Capaldi, himself a huge fan of the show since childhood, battled outright with Moffat on set concerning the direction of the character, I felt much more cheerful about the situation.
So, what did we learn about the new season? Well, we learned that Moffat still hasn’t shaken his misogyny, what liberal amounts of sexism sprinkled in (water retention jokes, flirting flirting FLIRTING fuck’s sake Steven we know you like flirting.) Strax…was Strax, though I feel that character really needs to development. It’s been a few seasons, after all. And what was with Madame Vastra flirting with Clara in front of her wife? Poor Jenny, reduced to service and ornamentation in the face of Moffat’s ‘impossible girl’ until a sword is needed. Ugh. We also have yet another mysterious woman with a lust for the doctor capping the episode, which has become another groanworthy artifact of Moffat’s writing in this series. I also had particular trouble with the scene in which Clara escapes from the repair robots in the depths of their ship, which – while demonstrating significant guts on Clara’s part and acting ability on the part of Jenna Coleman – becomes completely empty of agency when it turns out that the Doctor was there all along and was there to save the day. C’mon, man. The whole character of Clara has proven very troublesome for me in general, for, though she has demonstrated herself a good actress and her character has a great deal of potential, Moffat routinely hands Coleman a role that seems boiled down routinely to ‘lawl she fancies the doctor also a control freak lawl’. I’m not impressed.
So okay, you grumpy man, what did you like? Well! I must say that I was particularly pleased that both the character of the Doctor and the series itself seem to be taking a turn for the darker. Yes, yes, I enjoy horrible things, so this is a commendable state of affairs in my judgment. Production values are of course consistently great, and given that something like seven million people tuned in for the series opener I doubt that’s going to change any time soon. LOVE the new graphics as well, which capture for me a much better sense of the alien and the mysterious that this season seems to be shooting for.
Speaking of alien, there is…the new Doctor. Let me just tell you how much I like this new Doctor. After Matt Smith’s thoughtless, juvenile boy, I find Capaldi a breath of fresh air. Less accessible, less patient, and possessed of a mad sense of curiosity, the new Doctor is very much what a Time Lord of Gallifrey actually is – that is to say, a being from another planet, with a point of view totally divorced from humanity. He might look human, he might have a fondness for the human race, but he isn’t human at all; and, while at the time baiting Clara with the idea of the Doctor being ‘her boyfriend’, Madame Vastra was correct in saying that Clara “might as well flirt with a mountain range.” Capaldi’s sense of throwaway humor, as well as his ability to manifest inner pain, also did a great deal to charm me. So I believe that I’ll be watcing this season fairly religiously, it would appear, at least the early episodes. Must see how this turns out.
In related Who news, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend, Becky T., who sent to me a magnificent, screen-accurate version of the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf. Holy shit, you guys, she knitted it herself! It’s amazing, very long, and I can’t wait to bundle up with it as autumn and winter approaches. Amazing lady, that Becky. I’m very lucky to meet the kind of people that I do.