There’s been a pervasive question this half-season; the first question, the oldest question, a question hidden in plain sight. No not that one! This one:
Has Doctor Who dropped the ball?
Attempting to get to the bottom and largely dismissing fans concerns that their beloved show has lost its way The Guardian writer and series blogger Dan Martin has sought to ease pre-anniversary nerves with a dose of common sense.
Citing online unrest at the scarcity of episodes in 2013, the large wait between half-seasons, the breakneck speed of the stories and apparent lack focus paid to the Clara mystery, the blog post calls to attention the lack of consistency within fandom:
“Doctor Who fans love nothing more than to moan, but out of 10, this series has been a steady stream of sixes and sevens, with the occasional eight. There haven’t been any stinkers – personally I was delighted with the warmth and poetry of the widely loathed The Rings Of Akhaten. But we haven’t had anything truly superlative either, such as The Impossible Astronaut or The Doctor’s Wife.
While the stories have been consistent, fandom has not. Most people loved the haunted house spooker Hide, but Neil Gaiman’s Cyber-adventure was either a series highlight or an awful nadir, depending on which review you read. A particularly bizarre review of Cold War in the official magazine even questioned Mark Gatiss as a Doctor Who writer, on the grounds that he was already a bit too good at writing Doctor Who.”
Listing the fabulous roster of guest-stars that have graced the show throughout the whole of Series Seven, the article goes on to explain why this season has been as good as, if not better than what has preceded it:
“A huge amount has happened to the overall plot, with the departure of Amy and Rory getting a storyline of its own, emotional fallout and all. And Matt Smith just gets more and more magnificent – he fizzes with the comedy and stirs with the tragedy. His Doctor is a complex man; we’ve seen a great deal happen to him, and week after week, Smith owns it. So let’s be frank: the show is as good as it’s ever been. In lots of ways, it’s better.
I think there’s something else going on here. We’re suffering from pre-50th anniversary wobbles. Fans are getting so worked up about what may or may not happen in the November special that we’ve forgotten how to enjoy the series as it is. We’re going through a hellish, year-long Christmas Eve, and we’re in danger of ruining things for ourselves.
It’s time to take a deep breath. November is still five months away.”
To continue the debate, the BBC Drama department issued a statement via audience feedback show Points of View on Sunday, the quote is below but if you wish to enrage/amuse yourself you can watch some of those audience responses on Blogtor Who’s clip from the show:
“Over eight million viewers are watching this series of Doctor Who every week and it has the highest audience share out of all dramas on any channel this year. We’ve received a fantastic response to this series and to the arrival of the Doctor’s new companion Jenna Coleman. The show has a huge reach; it’s the top rating show for males and younger age groups including children and continues to perform strongly amongst its core audience. We always welcome audience feedback and appreciate that Doctor Who fans are some of the most passionate in the UK.”