This Saturday brings us World Enough and Time, the third to last episode of the DOCTOR WHO era overlorded by Steven Moffat.
While I am profoundly interested in what incoming show runner Chris Chibnall has in store for us - and early indications suggest it's 'bold' and compelling - I am not necessarily 'happy' to see Moffat go. While I admit his time on DOCTOR WHO has had its ups and downs, its frustrations and inconsistencies, I suspect...in hindsight...many current naysayers will eventually come to perceive and appreciate 'the method to his madness.' And there has been madness, without a doubt. But there has also been method...
I strongly assert, for example, that the Moffat 'style' - in terms of overall bravado, scoring, aesthetic, and photography - may have done DW a tremendous, incalculable service in terms of how the public on the whole perceives this show. Moffat's 'vision' modernized and contemporized WHO in a number of ways. I'd argue that he helped a funky show feel less kitschy in the eyes of many, and helped a show that was not known for budget or scale feel grander, more graceful, and less 'silly.' All without fundamentally betraying the heart and soul which has driven the concept since its inception.
I believe Moffat's guidance has very much 'fixed' the broader perception of DOCTOR WHO - entrenched it much more firmly into the mainstream, if you will. How this pays off in terms of the show's overall robustness, or eventual longevity, may never be able to be fully measured.
This was no easy task to be sure, and no insignificant accomplishment. His contributions, in many regards, may be more etherial than many may realize. In my years of coverage of Moffat Era DOCTOR WHO, I have...quantifiably...seen a perceptual shift regarding the show within numerous sectors (publicly, entertainment industries, etc.). All other arguments about narrative stumbles and annoying proclivities aside... and many of them are well-founded...Moffat mattered. And it is with a sincerest tip of the hat, and humblest appreciation for his stewardship, that I approach these bittersweet final tales in his rein.
Back to World.
It will be followed by The Doctor Falls on July 1, and this year’s ‘Christmas Special’ (title not yet announced) - presumably airing in its traditional Christmas Day timeframe. One would assume that it is during said Christmas Special that the 'handoff' between Moffatt and Chibnall actually occurs - a passing the baton moment recently outlined by Moffat in Radio Times.
Unless Team Moff, Mister Chibs, and BBC have a trick up their sleeves (which is certainly possible, although not likely in this scenario)…this trio of tales also appears to be the home stretch for Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor.
World, The Doctor Falls, and the Christmas Special are all scripted by Moffatt, and all are helmed by Rachel Talalay - whose previous DW directing work includes high-profile season enders Dark Water, Death in Heaven, Heaven Sent, and Hell Bent. While they are regarded unevenly amongst regular viewers of the show, those episodes were all rather well made at the very least. So, it's a safe bet The Moffat Era will exit with quality filmmaking, if nothing else.
World is described thusly by BBC:
Friendship drives the Doctor into the rashest decision of his life. Trapped on a giant spaceship, caught in the event horizon of a black hole, he witnesses the death of someone he is pledged to protect. Is there any way he can redeem his mistake? Are events already out of control? For once, time is the Time Lord’s enemy…
Much has been made about this synopsis' implication that someone 'dies' in this episode. Could it be Missy? Might 'Missy" regenerate into the John Simm version of The Master as a result of this 'death'? If backwards regeneration is possible, what does this mean for the casting of future Doctors? Or, perhaps a reverse regeneration occurs due to the setting of this tale around a black hole? Or, maybe time funkiness is afoot due to the black hole setting - and Simm's presence has nothing to do with Missy? These are all desperate and not terribly well considered HATs, by the way...
If I had to guess, the 'death' that is witnessed will be Bill's - and, no matter who 'dies' - said event will somehow be mitigated (or impacted by) the notion that these events are occurring inside the event horizon of a black hole. That setting would, after all, seem to open up a number of freaky possibilities within the context of this show.
Geeklectica’s second to last discussion of DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 10 (if you’re not folding the Christmas Special into S10 proper) is ready to roll!
After the transmission of The Doctor Falls, we’ll open up a general DOCTOR WHO discussion here, which will bridge the gap between Summer and Christmas. Over the Holidays, we’ll launch a separate discussion for the Christmas Special - centering heavily, I suspect, on the departure of The Moff and Capaldi. After the Christmas Special, we will then launch a second general discussion thread to carry us into the Chib Zone... and beyond! As always, be sure to check the ongoing discussion threads here for any newsbits and general mulling of the WHOverse. Particularly huge reveals (Chib Zone casting, for example) may receive their own individual posts here as well.
I am considering revisiting the classic series - starting at the beginning and traveling all the way up through the end of the Moffat era - on the way to ChibWHO. In fact, I would very much like to do so. This is a journey I began a while back elsewhere, but was never concluded. A big part of me would like to chronicle this journey here, but I am...hesitant...to commit to providing expanded content here on such regular a basis. Still, it is a notion which is very on my mind and in the wind...
Come what may...
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