Doctor Who has been around for over fifty years now, and along that ride we’ve gotten many unique takes on the titular character. Old and grumpy, young and cool, and extremely over-the-top goofy in all the best ways. And one of the most unique takes was Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.
The 12th Doctor is unlike any other in the series. In terms of personality, he’s an odd and interesting character. He’s a blunt careless young man trapped in the body of an old man. Unlike the others, who were mostly polite to others, #12 is so awkward and unfeeling towards others that he needs cards with comforting quotes on them. He’s interesting and lovable, and Capaldi’s performance brings him to life in a wonderful show.
So why does this era of Doctor Who suck?
I’m not just saying this because I’m a Matt Smith #11 fanboy (see the two paragraphs above: I love Peter’s performance as the Doctor the most out of anything in these three seasons) who couldn’t handle seeing his favorite actor go. I’m saying this because there is a noticeable drop in production qualities once Peter stepped up to the roll. Which is a damn shame, because again: his iteration of the Doctor is spectacular.
Much like when I critiqued RWBY’s characters, I’ll only be focusing on a few of the aspects that deserve criticism. If I tackled it all, we’d be here for ages. So instead, I’ll concentrate on two aspects that drag down these three seasons as a whole.
The visual effects and the stories.
Let’s start with the visuals. Seasons 8, 9 and 10 were some of the worst looking episodes of Doctor Who ever made. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of episodes that looked really good. Heaven’s Sent is one of the best looking episodes of the show in terms of special effects and cinematography, and some of the puppets and costumes did meet the standard set in the previous seasons.
But then there’s the rest of the show, which looks… really bad. Several of the green screen shots are on par with a bad high school film class project, and some of that CGI looks worse than the 9th Doctor’s episodes.
The ones that came out in 2005.
This may sound nitpicky, but I assure you it’s not. Visuals are the blood of a sci-fi series, with everything else being… the rest of the body, I guess. With poor visuals, it becomes much harder for people to get sucked into the story of your show. This is why the poor visuals are such an issue: after roughly four seasons of great visuals, having three back to back seasons with wildly varying and inconsistent visuals is a bad thing.
Speaking of stories, let’s tackle those. These stories are easily the weakest we’ve seen in the entire run of the series. Not just the seasons as a whole; some of the individual episodes are actually terrible.
Let’s go season by season. Season 8 has two plots going for it: the first being about the mysterious ‘Missy’ and the alleged ‘Heaven’, where all the villains of the season go to after they die, and the second being about Clara’s budding relationship with the new teacher Danny Pink.
Because that’s interesting, right?
Season 9 is all about… actually, I don’t know, the overarching plot of this season is pretty poorly built up to. I guess it’s about this immortal viking bitch called ‘Me’ and a Dalek-Time Lord Hybrid (because I totally believed for even a second that that could exist). This one is particularly messy, boring, and poorly put together.
It also features Missy for some god damn reason.
Season 10 is the most interesting and well put together plot. This time, the Doctor is camped out on Earth with his android companion guarding a vault with a mysterious ‘creature’ inside. And if you can’t guess that it’s Missy, then you may be a clinical idiot. It has a solid buildup that is well paced and interesting, which keeps you interested for the season.
Out of all these three, only season 10 is enjoyable and well put together. Season 8 is dull and boring and season 9 is straight up infuriating and bad. And there are three big problems for each season.
And their names are Danny Pink, Me and Missy.
Danny Pink is the most interesting out of these three. He’s a veteran soldier turned math teacher, which immediately puts him at odds with the Doctor. However, he’s dragged down by his almost single-minded devotion to Clara that is almost obsessive. Every time he’s on screen, he’s either talking to or about Clara or the Doctor.
Because real lovers dedicate their entire existence to their partners, right?
Me, on the other hand, is the weakest and most unlikable character in the history of Doctor Who. I mean, she literally calls herself ‘Me’ for fuck sake. She is snotty, stuck up, annoying, and straight up stupid. All of her episodes are poorly put together and boring, and she had way too many of them. And for some reason she had to be made immortal by the Doctor.
Why the fuck hasn’t he done that before?!
And then there’s Missy. In terms of personality, she’s fucking wonderful. She’s the Master reborn as a bat-shit crazy woman who gives no shits about anyone else and constantly pushes them into dangerous situations they don’t want to be in. Every time she was on screen, I had a big smile on my face. So what’s the problem, you may be asking?
She shows up multiple times every god damn season.
Part of the reason the Master was such an intimidating villain was that he appeared scarcely. He was the Doctor’s ultimate rival, the deadliest challenge he ever faced, and the writers knew this. There was a reason the 10th Doctor only faced him in two stories; any more than that, and the terror and tension would start to wane.
Which is something Steven Moffat didn’t seem to realize.
It’s hard to care about a ‘villain’ who is supposed to put the hero through a challenge unlike any other when they show up every god damn minute of the story. For example, Darth Vader wouldn’t have been intimidating if he and Luke fought five times before their final confrontation in Return of the Jedi. They fought once, he kicked Luke’s ass, and then they fought again. And because he so thoroughly wiped the floor with him the last time, you’re still on the edge of your seat, wondering if Luke can really beat him.
The same thing could be said about the Master and the Doctor. But when she showed up constantly and even became more of a hero than a villain, it sucked away all the wonder.
Put simply: they fucking ruined the Master. My favorite Doctor Who villain. Yay.
It’s such a damn shame. Peter Capaldi has made it abundantly clear that he loves Doctor Who, and he is a damn good actor. He fit the role perfectly, and he consistently nailed it. He has some of the best moments, best speeches, and the funniest lines. The only reason I like any of these episodes is because of him; he is downright wonderful. The man deserved to have better stories behind him, because now he is considered one of the weakest Doctor’s in the series run, which is straight up criminal.
He is not the worst Doctor. In fact, he’s one of the best. But everything else took such a nosedive in quality that it directly affected how fans viewed him as well. If #12 had better visuals and stories, he would’ve had one of the highest peaks in the series history.
Still, it wasn’t all bad. He did have some solid episodes, and Season 10 was actually pretty good, at least in my opinion. His farewell episode is one of my favorite Christmas specials, and Murray Gold produced some of his best music during this era. It’s just a damn shame that the rest of his run was bogged down by weak characters and stories.
And I didn’t even mention Clara. But if I went into her issues, I’d be here for five fucking days, and I do have other things I need to do.