My Christmas Wish
And finally, my Christmas wish is for fans to stop arguing about Russell T. Davies vs. Moffat — as if those were two opposite or radically divergent versions of Doctor Who. Just today on Twitter, I saw people arguing the merits of these two, from long-entrenched positions.
Watching “Time of the Doctor,” it was clearer to me than ever that Moffat’s Who is RTD’s Who. They share, by and large, the same strengths and weaknesses. They’re the same animal, with slightly different stripes. Slightly.
Moffat picked up the ball from RTD and carried in the same direction RTD had already been carrying it. Yes, Moffat loves his time-bendy mysteries more than RTD did, but RTD gave us plenty of those with “Bad Wolf” and the Harold Saxon storyline. Both showrunners love romance tinged with innuendo, the Doctor as tragic figure, and a certain kind of epic-story formula.
Much of “Time of the Doctor” felt as though it could have been Davies’ handiwork, from the Doctor sending Clara home, to Clara talking about fancying the Doctor, to Clara’s confession that she loves the Doctor. Clara’s bitchy mother was pure RTD, as was the slightly miraculous ending. And all of the weepy moments were straight out of RTD’s playbook as well, down to the Amy Pond cameo in the final moments.
And really, if you look back at Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, he’s been building very much on the foundation that Davies laid down. Yes, he retconned the Time War’s ending — which Davies probably would have done, too, if he’d stayed on much longer. But the biggest surprise about Moffat’s era is how much it feels like a continuation of Davies’ era, rather than something radically different. Doctor Who has never had two guiding hands whose approaches were as similar as Moffat and Davies.