The Seven Shitty Moffatisms Destroying Doctor Who – Part I

Steven Moffat at Comic Con 2008

Steven Moffat at Comic Con 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(PART I) Introduction to the Moffatocracy

Extremites, I apologize for my lackadaisical posts of recent. Whereas Ben’s posts have taken on a life of their own, and begun to flood the many annals of Image Comics’ social elites, my three series have not figured as heavily on the main walls of the Review. There’s a very good excuse for this, if you care to know, which hopefully you do: my computer, my dear portal to the world, suddenly stopped functioning and after a couple hundred dollars, which is a limb’s worth of cash to an out of work actor and writer like myself, is finally operating at maximum efficiency.

During my forced time off from fan punditry I experienced a shower epiphany, where all great ideas are coined, that Extremis needs another series.

You probably know, having followed many of my posts, that I have an affection for Doctor Who. I know that some of you also share in this affection, judging by the overwhelming feedback to any article that even briefly alludes to Who. Thus, thinking in my shower, I decided to open up a Doctor Who section for this site. To start the Doctor Who section off on a testy point, I thought I’d begin the series with a  comprehensive examination of the current state of the show, which I have concluded, is misguided beyond belief.

The reason for this comes directly from the ineptitude of the head writer: Mr. Steven “I-am-God’s-gift- to-Doctor-Who-and-television-as-a-whole” Moffat.

Following the ilk of some my colleagues, who have been going after his distortion of Doyle in Sherlock, which is a topic I do not profess to be an expert at, I thought I’d focus my sardonic eye on his tenure at Who.

Trust me, he is doing a number on it.

This new series of articles will come out in parts.

I will examine his overarching plots from a literary and political point of view. Much like that way I digest comics in the Journey Into Marvel series and Decoding DC respectively.

First, a preamble to the series. What is behind my motives for this sudden veer into Doctor Who.

This past Christmas I was settling into my comfortable recliner, in front of a large HD oriented television, with baited breath for what I surely thought was going to be an important moment in Whodom. Every time a version of the Doctor regenerates it is a moment of great fanfare and one that surely will ricochet culturally for some time. However, after watching Matt Smith jolt into Peter Capaldi, in an episode that not even the most avid Fanboy or Fangirl could say was good, I walked away from the show annoyed and angry.

The Christmas special was more destructive to the most enduring UK institution since, I don’t know, Anglicanism met Oliver Cromwell. (History hyperbole. Look it up!)

The episode was so terribly written and frustrating that I started to accumulate, just in this one episode alone, exactly what it is about Moffat’s style that seems to fail the show.

I have arrived at seven problems, which I call Moffatisms, that are eating away at the integrity of the show, and in the Christmas episode all of which are present. I’ll be sharing them with you in instalments as part of this long serialized one sided discussion named “The Seven Shitty Moffatisms Destroying Doctor Who.”

For those of you out there annoyed or offended by the use of the word “shitty” I say to you: “go back to drinking your tea with cozies and worrying about the price of stamps.”

This narrative voice will not be for you. Steven Moffat has made me so mad that I have to swear for the first time in my short tenure as a fan pundit. I am that frustrated.

These Seven Moffatisms may also apply to Sherlock and his other work, i.e. his adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but in the course of this series I will only mention those shows in passing — for other, more intelligent, people can better make the argument for the errors in those adaptations. Follow this link for one.

I mentioned Fangirls and Fanboys earlier. Let me speak directly to them. People with lives beyond their Fandoms skip until you see bolded words.

All right, now that we are alone Whovians, let’s talk turkey.

Part of my job as a well rounded Fan Pundit is to hover around the forums and boards where you delightful people share your opinions and anecdotes about Doctor Who. I have seen an alarming trend. There is an extraordinary amount of Moffat love out there.

How is this?

Seriously, Whovians, what show are you watching?

It is not the same one I have sat through.

I see a show that is convoluted, rife with mysogyny, and most egregiously, one that is boring.

However, on these fan walls, many of you seem to think Moffat is the best thing to happen to Doctor Who since CGI. How can I be so off base?

I have concluded I am not. Your blind ‘fanning’ is the reason for the lack of quality in the show. As long as Steven gives you folks sentimental characters, and soppy moments, your lust is satiated. And Moffat knows this. That is why the sentimentality of the show has gone through the roof to the point where it has begun to govern every frame and alienate serious television views.

These articles are primarily for you. They will show you why many are so critical of your beloved “Doctor Who feels.” And, furthermore, why these ‘feels’ come from a place of placation.

I do not write this series to degrade you as fans, fans are great, I write it to explain why a certain group of Whovians think Moffat is a plague.


Thank you for giving me that moment with the fans. It was kind of you.

The final thing you should know about this project is: this is not a Moffat hate manifesto. I will not aimlessly be saying things like ‘I hate Steven Moffat’ or ‘Moffat is a jerk.’ These are empty, inflammatory statements that leave us nowhere. I do not write this series of articles to espouse a personal feeling about Moffat’s tenure but to digest his ‘art’ and its worthiness. I thank you in the comments to remain respectful.

Surely, Steve has done some great things for the show. Somehow as show runner he was able to secure a larger budget. This has helped the show, astoundingly, in production values. Many, in the past, had difficulty rectifying the juvenile British Publicly funded lens of the Davies period. Moffat has fixed this. He has also expanded the market to make the show truly international by securing agreements with movie theatres and multinational cable channels. And yes, he did coin many of these projects as reported by the BBC themselves. This has included viewers who had to wait weeks to see episodes, or some cases, till DVD releases. Steve’s efforts have made Doctor Who a good and valuable business investment and he has further expanded the power of the BBC, which consistently both tests and, in turn, creates very good television. However, a good business man, and Doctor Who enthusiast, does not a good writer make.

And so, with that concession, I end my article here.

Join me, next with Shitty Moffatism Number 1.

Until next time Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

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About Julian Munds

I possess a degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto. I own my own theatre company called Snobbish Theatre. We focus our work on new versions of classics.

Posted on January 28, 2014, in Doctor Who and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I loved Moffat at first because I like his stuff more than Davies’, and still do, but gosh it’s gotten bad lately. Looking forward to this series.

  2. Moffat is good at some things, terrible at others, and not a lot of in-between. He is good at writing episodes and making up monsters. He is terrible at ending long story arcs. I am ready for someone else to run this show. I belong to a Facebook group that’s named “I Hate Steven Moffat. I found it by searching “I hate Steven Moffat” right after the Christmas special. I even posted a status update about how cool it was that I could do that search and find a group.

    I am going to share this with them about thirty seconds after I reblog it without comment so I can see what happens on my blog before my first post hits in the morning. Hey, I’m up late and what’s a blog for if not to play these little games 😉

    The man has no respect for continuity, and continuity is important when you’re dealing with a show that’s run 50 years and has such a complex history.

    That is what I think.

    • As I stated in the group “I HATE STEVEN MOFFAT!”, it is not actually for people who hate Steven Moffat or his work. Most of the people who joined the group originally did so because we enjoyed his stories and were left shouting “I HATE STEVEN MOFFAT!” at the TV screen because we needed to wait until the next week.

      Because of the groups title, some people don’t look at the description and realise that overall we are fond of his work – in most cases preferring it to the work of Russell T Davies. Though, Davies did a lot for the show as well. He was responsible for the revival, getting two strong actors the play the returning Doctor, came up with the idea of the Time War to make the Doctor a more tragic figure….but often his stories were filled with too much padding for my taste, and his time on the show had too much running.

      As fans of Doctor Who, we must all look to the past. The show is about change, it always has been. For some, they loved the carefree and dangerous days of Troughton. Others like the James Bond time of Pertwee or the almost gothic Baker. Some love the quiet and humble Davidson. Yet the point I am going to make refers to the other Baker.

      Fans gave up on the show. Fans left and in the end, together with the head of the BBC got the show cancelled. Whatever our opinions on the show in the form it is in now, or in the form it becomes, we have to trust that it will change…because the BBC know both the show and the producer need to change.

      I would be upset to see Steven Moffat leave just now. But even as a fan of his writing and his direction with the program, I would say he has two years left. Three at most. And at that point either he, or the BBC, will decide that it is once again time for change.

      • I am so very sorry. That was honest ignorance on my part, and I offered to remove it.

        I totally don’t mind people laughing at me for making that mistake, and I respect everyone’s opinions of course. I’m just a reader here, and this was my fault, nothing to do with anyone on this blog, which I am fond enough of to share. Just had to throw that part in.

        I’m not giving up on the show, and I like a lot of Moffat’s episodes, but I am tired of him being in charge of the show and interested to see where this critique goes.

      • I love internet discourse. It is like the forums of old. Right down to the mistakes. Keep on keeping on.

      • Just didn’t want you nice folks to get the blame for my tomfoolery, nor anyone to think I’m some sort of spammy geek-for-hire. I should probably mention that they asked me to leave the link gave me a :), and I told them I try to respect the intents of groups and gave them a 😉 Sometimes I just love being a clown.

      • No worries. I welcome it.

  3. So it was more like five minutes after, but I did share. And I am tired of the misogyny as well, have noticed it, and had a friend point out to me that it is a problem. So without doing a very careful analysis or anything, I think you might be onto something with that particular thread of criticism.

  4. If you are a false flag agent provocateur, trying to discredit those who criticise Moffat with your incredibly long-winded brain-sharts, then: You’re doing an *excellent* job!

    You make a whole damn article of each fucking point??
    You could have put the same amount of information in a single paragraph. Seven lines. And be DONE with it. Like a SANE human!

    But you usage of the unword “mysogyny” already revealed your true personality as a mentally ill “feminist”. The sexist version of the harassing power-grabbing pieces of shit that call themselves “social justice warriors”. A disease upon humanity and a true mind cancer, if there ever was one.

    Get a therapy, fucktard.

    Oh, and yes, Moffat’s abominations are still utter horse shit that should never have seen any display screen ever, except as a textbook example of how NOT to do a series if one wants to be called a professional..

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