Fans will be disappointed as Moffat announces delay woes for the future of Doctor Who
There was a lot of fanfare last month with the announcement that Peter Capaldi will be the 12th incarnation of the Doctor in the legendary science fiction program. Since then, the wait for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special as well as the Christmas special has been excruciating. Answers have been promised, and everybody wants to catch a glimpse of what Capaldi will look like in the titular role of the eccentric Timelord. It seems that any excitement generated by these two episodes will be shortlived due to the news that we won’t be seeing Season 8 for well over a year.
Yes, it seems that the eighth series will not be premiering until Autumn 2014, some time later than the usual start date of Spring, which means that it will be even longer before the fans get a proper look at the new, regenerated Doctor.
Current Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat was featured in The Guardian’s recent article series of 100 powerful people in entertainment, and this was mentioned:
Doctor Who may not be quite the force it was when it returned with Christopher Eccleston and in its David Tennant heyday in the UK, but has a growing audience in the US on cable channel BBC America.
It will not return next year until the autumn, giving it plenty of time to recharge batteries. And what better way to do that than with a new Doctor?
What could possibly have caused this delay? And will the fans be comfortable enduring such a long wait?
There are also rumours that this is because season 8 will be shorter than its predecessors, only numbering 12 episodes including the Christmas special, and it will air later in the year so that it can continue playing through its entire run up until Christmas, instead of splitting the season into two halves. Massively delaying a season and shortening its length, even if it is only by two episodes, is usually warning signs for something far bleaker, such as a show cancellation. For me, the show has more potential than it has had in years with the dawn of Capaldi, and it would be a shame to see the BBC counting on it to fail before he’s even had a chance to shine.
There have been some accusations that the recent series with Matt Smith has been less than stellar. Moffat is a great crafter of episodic stories, but as a showrunner he has proved incapable of maintaining an intelligent and strong season arc. So far, Moffat seems to think that the key to creating strong Doctor Who episodes is on keeping the audiences guessing, by asking more questions than they’ll actually ever answer.
Many fans however, would disagree. The reason why Doctor Who has been such an important and legendary show is because it has unlimited potential. Doctor Who can go anywhere, or do anything that you could possibly think of, which creates powerful possibilities in the hands of an amazing writer. Moffat used to excel with his episodes and has conjured some of the most nightmarish creatures that The Doctor has ever had to face (The Weeping Angels and The Silence), but in the face of crafting season arcs he seems to have failed. Capaldi will offer him a chance to redeem himself with a relative fresh start, although many fans may just want a new showrunner.
It’s especially a shame when you consider that Matt Smith has been one of the very best actors to ever portray The Doctor, and yet he has had to suffer through a number of underwhelming episodes, something that David Tennant and even Christopher Eccleston had to deal with a lot less.
What’s more, Smith has been relegated to merely talking his way out of almost every situation. The Doctor is a powerful foe, one of action and verve, yet in the most recent series arcs all we hear about is how notorious, how legendary, how dangerous etc. he is, without ever actually seeing him do anything to earn such talk. Also, how many times do we have to go through the arc that each new companion is the most important person in the universe? First Donna, then Amy, and now Clara. It all gets a bit ridiculous in the end.
Let’s not forget though that Moffat is an extraordinarily busy fellow, and lately he’s been working hard on bring the third season of Sherlock to fruition. It stands to reason that maintaining the insanely high quality of Sherlock is no small feat for any man to handle, let alone one also saddled with Doctor Who. This may be a great opportunity for the BBC to replace him, but considering the two year delay of Sherlock we’ve already waited through (another BBC production) it seems that the BBC are willing to wait patiently for Moffat to be ready. Now if only the fans were so considerate.
Doctor Who will return for the Anniversary Special on November 23rd.