An Open Letter To Steven Moffat
Dear Mr. Moffat,
I’ve been thinking about how to word this. And I realised, it doesn’t really matter how I word anything as long as the point gets across. So my point is this:
I am both disappointed and ashamed.
I am, of course, talking about Doctor Who, the episode titled “The Name Of The Doctor”.
I will ignore the gross inconsistencies and plot holes, and the destruction of established canon simply for the sake of your inflated ego. I will ignore the fact that you had no right to destroy years of hard work from previous Doctor Who writers. And I will even ignore the fact that you have taken a regeneration of the Doctor away from us to make yourself the final show runner.
What I will NOT ignore is the blatant fact that your entire plot concerning John Hurt’s “Doctor” is a punishment aimed at Christopher Eccleston.
This plot has been revealed as a piece of writing developed only after Christopher Eccleston changed his mind about participating in the 50th Anniversary episode. The fact that you are putting John Hurt’s “Doctor” between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston has been brushed off as ‘the only place you could put him’, but the fact that you have made sure to establish that Eccleston/Tennant/Smith’s official Number as the Doctor has moved up 1 position, and the fact that John Hurt has been referred to as “the real 9th Doctor” speaks for itself.
I wish I could systematically break down the ways in which that makes you a tantrum-throwing child, but there are too many to count.
You have destroyed something that was both a beacon of hope and love for so many people. This show is no longer about showing ordinary people that they can be extraordinary. It is no longer about approaching something unknown and new with wonder instead of fear. It is no longer about how fighting does not have to be the thing that solves problems. It is no longer about the man who never would.
It is now your method of revenge. It has become a way for you to get back at someone for not doing something that you wanted him to do. It’s about taking shots at a man who does not owe you a damn thing. He is not beholden to you and he does not have to do anything just because you said so.
As someone who calls herself a Whovian with all the gravitas of a religion, I am ashamed of you. I am ashamed to say that you are now the person who controls the most important thing in my life. I am ashamed to say that you now write the thing that made me the (much better) person that I am today. And no, you did not make me that person. Russell T. Davies did. But the fact that you have changed it so much hurts me deeply, on a personal level. I am disappointed in you.
If this source is wrong, I will be the first to apologise for expanding on incorrect information. But other articles had correct information published before “The Name Of The Doctor” aired, in the same article as information about the 50th Anniversary, leading me to believe that this information about Chris and the identity of John Hurt’s “Doctor” is correct.
I sincerely hope that the 50th Anniversary fixes all of this. If not, you may have lost a dedicated viewer.
THIS! 1000 TIMES OVER, THIS!
I defended you, Mr. Moffat. When there was “Moffat hate” and wank all over my dash, I defended you. I tried to prove it wrong, and occasionally, I feel I succeeded. But this time no. This time… never. I can’t forgive this.
And, where the OP didn’t expand on your destruction of canon, I will. As an author, it not only sickens me, but it hurts my soul to see you take so much away from the previous writers. What gives you the right?
You’ve changed 50 years worth of canon for two very unworthy reasons: punishing Christopher Eccleston and as a feeble attempt to make a character interesting. Clara had unimaginable potential, but you couldn’t just let her be amazing. You couldn’t allow her to continue to be that brilliant woman we met in Asylum of the Daleks. You couldn’t allow her to be that almost equally brilliant woman we met in The Snowmen. No, you dumbed her down. You made her something less, because you certainly don’t want to set the bar too high. Better kill off the brilliant versions to make sure you don’t have to keep writing at that level, eh?
Sorry… I’ve strayed from my point. Do you remember The Doctor’s Wife, Mr. Moffat? Because I do. It was beautiful and one of my favourite episodes to date. I imagine it is often named amongst fans’ favourite episodes. Is that why you took Neil Gaiman’s canon from him? Is that why you couldn’t let the love story of the TARDIS and her Time Lord stand?
She stole him and ran away. She chose him because he was the only one mad enough. And now you’ve decided she didn’t choose him, nor did he choose her. Instead, Clara played matchmaker. (Why didn’t he remember her doing that, btw?) And to what end, Mr. Moffat? Because that’s a painful thing to have taken from us. Those of us who loved that story, those of us who loved their story… you’ve taken it from us.
It’s been difficult enough watching the Doctor mistreat his TARDIS all season, worrying less about her than ever before. He’s even gone as far as abusing her, which would be less problematic if we’d not met her as a human. Just because she’s silent doesn’t mean she deserves to be abused. And now I sit here with tears in my eyes, because you’ve taken it a step further. You’ve rewritten their story, and in doing so, you’ve stolen something you had no right steal.
And River! What were you thinking, Mr. Moffat? The Doctor calls her his ex? Then she’s his wife again? She says he abandoned her “like a book on a shelf” but then shows him absolute love and loyalty? She’s starting to sound like an abused spouse. And, considering the way the Doctor’s been treating the TARDIS lately, this is becoming a chronic problem for him.
It felt as if you set out to systematically destroy every relationship the Doctor has ever had. You chipped away and cheapened them until they were rendered ultimately worthless.
You’ve cheapened every good decision the Doctor has ever made. You’ve taken away a chunk of his brilliance and artificially/superficially placed/forced it on Clara, the girl who was born to save the Doctor. Never mind how that undermines her as a human being, because I don’t even have time to get into why that’s problematic.
You’ve rewritten half a century’s worth of canon for the sake of a vendetta and to cover up otherwise shoddy writing. That’s sad and shameful.
I’ve created so many Whovians, Mr. Moffat. I’ve introduced so many friends to what was always a brilliant show. And now, for the first time, I regret it. While I delighted in watching my friends fall in love with Doctor Who and was honoured to share in their excitement, I’m now having to see and share in their anger and disappointment. You didn’t just let me down, Mr. Moffat, you let my friends down. I trusted you with their love and loyalty, and I told them it was safe to entrust it to you. I called you brilliant. I may have even called you a genius. And now you’re resorting to school yard tactics? Turning something we care about into a weapon against my first Doctor?
While I fully intend to watch the 50th Anniversary special, I’m sad to say that I may never see series 8. I used to cringe at the thought of Doctor Who ending, and now I cringe when I realise I’m nearly ready to leave it behind. And I wouldn’t be walking away… I would be pushed out. Please don’t push me out.