The REAL trump card in any story is emotion. I know I said “character trumps everything” but good characters are intertwined with good emotion. When you compare the Davies (2005-2009) and Moffat (2010-present) eras of Doctor Who, you have, for me, the striking contrast of LOVE and like, brought about by stories that engaged my heart and stories that only engage my mind.
I like Matt Smith/Eleven. I like Moffat’s writing (I more than liked his writing in the Ten and Nine years). I like the interactions of the characters. I like to watch it. I feel like a like teenager with all those “likes” but I think I’ve made my point.
When I go back to the Davies era, though, you hit my love. I love the Tenth Doctor. I love Donna. I love Rose. I love Donna-Doctor interactions and Rose-Doctor interactions. I love watching it. And rewatching it. And re-rewatching it.
I’m something of an anomaly when it comes to Moffat Doctor Who, I admit it (I expect to get jumped all over, yet again, for posting this), but this Whovian doesn’t feel the same tug at her heart she got used to in the Davies seasons.
For me, the Moffat era has become more of an intellectual puzzle: a mystery. He drops clues for long periods of time, keeping you wondering and picking up the pieces, trying awkwardly to get them to fit together--then BLAM. Revelation! You know how you were wrong and how you were right and how it all fits together. You sit back and think about how clever he was to make all those strange pieces splice together so wonderfully and unexpectedly. Puzzles are fun and satisfying: hence, I still like Moffat’s Doctor Who.
But. While Davies’s finales were apt to be wonky and a bit slipshod sometimes, the characters were more captivating and thus drew more emotion. Ten (and even Nine) were easier to care about than Eleven--nothing against him, I just can’t relate anymore. You can describe Ten as angsty and bipolar--I don’t care. I actually cared about what happened to him and to his companions (even annoying Martha!), probably for two reasons 1) I liked them as people and 2) He showed obvious care for them.
I honestly don’t care that much about what happens to Eleven, Rory, and Amy. The most I felt was: “ack” when Rory died (multiple times) in series 5, a bit of “how do they get out of THIS one?” in [big series 6 spoiler], and “ack” again at the end of Almost People. I’d like to care more. I think the characters are interesting. But I don’t really care if they keel over. (The episodes where I did care about characters--Vincent and the Doctor, A Christmas Carol, The Doctor's Wife--were all episodes where the character I cared about didn't really come back.)
That’s a far cry from the tears I shed over Rose and Donna (I love you, Donna), and absolute freak-out in 42 and Midnight.
Not to get into the just plain fun aspect. Series 4 alone probably brought more laughter and tears than series 5 and 6.1 put together. So...I suppose this is a slightly depressing post. It’s true though, and the change in Doctor Who has showed me how much more it MATTERS to have that Someone (or Someones) to Care About than to have a cool plot and even cool characters. Bowties (and Eleven) may be COOL...but no one ever cried over cool.
P.S. This ends the Doctor Who invasion of my blog. I think. (And you hope.) At any rate, there are no more posts bouncing in my head at the mo’.
Image found via google images. No copyright infringement intended.