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Doctor Who by Steven Moffat (2010-2017)

Steven Moffat’s tenure as Doctor Who showrunner is coming to an end. And that’s not a threat or moan about how awful he is or anything. It’s actually been announced that the next series of Doctor Who is going to be his last. But determined to go out with a bang like Russell T. Davies, the next series has been pushed to 2017. We have a Christmas special to look forward to in eleven months, but a new series won’t air until over a year from now. That sucks! Since Moffat took over, the regularity of the Doctor Who series’ and specials have fluctuated and I just wish they’d pick a time and stick with it. During Davies’ era, every series began around March/April. But maybe they just pushed it back so that Moffat could end his run having been showrunner for five series spread over eight years.
But yeah, Moffat’s stepping down at long last. I’ve never been an extreme Moffat hater or thought he’s grown incapable of writing Doctor Who well. Hell, “Heaven Sent” this past series was written by him and is easily the best episode in years. But I do think he’s outstayed his welcome as showrunner. For a couple years now, the series has been in need of a refresh, especially with the arrival of Peter Capaldi as a very different Doctor than fans of the revived series are used to. And kudos to him for doing so. I don’t believe he’s tiring of it, he is after all a huge Doctor Who fan, and whatever you say about him, his enthusiasm for the show can’t be denied. I think he just realized that Doctor Who needed new blood and is actually doing what’s best for the show. Unless the next series is atrocious, he’s left in time to avoid becoming another John Nathan-Turner. And he’s leaving the series in capable hands.
Though I thought Mark Gatiss might be a natural choice for the next showrunner, Chris Chibnall was one of the runners-up and is certainly far from a poor replacement. His Doctor Who episodes like “42” and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” haven’t been all that impressive (I personally preferred his work on Torchwood). But it is interesting, while Steven Moffat was fantastic when just a writer on Doctor Who, he went on to become only a hit-or-miss showrunner. Chris Chibnall has been a hit-or-miss writer who’s gone on to become a fantastic showrunner. If you haven’t seen Broadchurch, I highly recommend it. The series about the investigation into the murder of a child in a small town and the effects it has on the community is tremendous. It features a number of Doctor Who stars as well, including Arthur Darvill, David Bradley, Eve Myles, and in the leading roles David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. Chibnall’s written every episode and his creative control has really paid off, showing how good he is at running a series. Now Broadchurch though popular in the U.K. isn’t near as mammoth a series as Doctor Who would be to undertake. But I think he’s up for the task. He does have experience in the universe of Doctor Who.  The only question would be, can he adapt for a more family oriented show? His best work, whether it be Broadchurch or Torchwood or Life on Mars, has been adult-oriented and he really writes that well. The trick is for him to tone it down on Doctor Who just the right amount. So that it can still have that wide appeal for all generations but still be able to take darker, mature risks in terms of characters and story. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t, but I’m still excited to see what Chris Chibnall will do. And I can’t wait to see what Peter Capaldi will be able to bring to the Doctor under him.
And you know what, if Moffat wants to write a one-off once in a while, I’m okay with that. He was always at his best when he didn’t have complete creative control (or in the case of Sherlock, sharing it with Mark Gatiss). I’ve always thought he was a better writer on Sherlock anyway, and now may be able to focus on that show more. We may even get more than three episodes every two years! But as for Doctor Who, good luck Chris Chibnall! Adiós Steven Moffat! If nothing else, your run was unique! And fuck you, whoever decided to put Doctor Who off until 2017!

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