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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: a breakup letter to the Doctor

David Tennant Doctor Who

Oh no! Ryan Britt at Tor.com reveals why he’s “Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who.” Some of the sadness:

We’ve all experienced that moment in a relationship, when the other person is doing the same things they’ve been doing since you met them, but now, it’s just not cute anymore. And for me, the things Doctor Who is doing now maybe aren’t that different than years ago. It’s just that back then I think it was behaving better and was more charming. Also, I was a little younger.

But, it’s not just that I’ve grown older; I’d assert Doctor Who is in a phase of diminishing returns insofar as the episodes are increasingly imitative of previous episodes. If you go back and look at the episode listings for previous new-era Doctor Who season, every single “just okay” episode of this season has a counterpart in a previous season that is way better.

Relationships also end because of broken promises. And though there were a few broken promises prior to the Matt Smith/Steven Moffat era, I’d say the real trouble started with the River Song/Silence arc in season 6. All season we waited to discover the mysteries of River Song, her connection to the Silence, and why they put her in an astronaut suit. In the end, the explanation was just that they stuck her in the suit because “it was time to.” And the way the good guys got out of it? River Song “re-wrote time” because she and the Doctor touched each other when they weren’t supposed to. And then a wacky alternate time-stopped world evaporated. Essentially, this episode continued an early precedent of having a complicated problem be solved on the show by either re-writing time or rebooting the entire universe. In conventional fiction, this would be like having a regular novel suddenly become a choose-your-own-adventure book in its last chapters, randomly telling the reader, “hey you can start over.”

There’s much more. Read it if you can without weeping. For even if you don’t agree with everything Britt says, the fannish heartbreak on display is very poignant.

I’m sticking with Doctor Who. I can’t even imagine into what pits of awfulness the show would have to descend in order for me not to watch hopefully each new episode.

What about you? Are you considering breaking up with the Doctor?

Thanks to I_Sell_Books for the heads-up.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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