An open letter to Steven Moffat

An open letter to Steven Moffat

Dear Steven Moffat,

I think it’s fair to say that you have caused controversy regarding your writing of Doctor Who and Sherlock on the BBC. At the height of your controversy you seemed to split the viewers of these shows into two groups, Pro-Moffat and Against-Moffat. Please understand that I’m not exactly Against-Moffat but I do think that some of the controversy is justified.

To be blunt, I don’t think you can write well rounded female characters. Amy, River Song and Clara were over sexualised and their sole purpose in the Doctor Who universe was to save the Doctor. Only Amy can remember the Doctor after he restarts the universe (Series 5, Episode 12 – The Big Bang), only River’s sacrifice can save the Doctor’s life (Series 4, Episode 9 – Forest of the Dead), only Clara can travel through The Doctor’s timeline to save him from the Great Intelligence (Series 9, Episode 12 – The Name of the Doctor). This problem isn’t exclusive to Doctor Who. In Sherlock Mrs Hudson is constantly reduced to the housekeeper. Having Mrs Hudson comment on this in the show does not solve the problem. I will grant you Irene Adler, as she bears some similarity to the source material but Molly’s purpose in the show is to pine after Sherlock and Mary’s secret life as a trained assassin demeaned her character.

This leads me to my next problem with your writing, the plot twists. Some of your Doctor Who plots are brilliant. Some of your individual episodes like Listen (Series 8, Episode 4), The Girl in the Fireplace (Series 2, Episode 5), Dark Water (Series 8, Episode 11), Heaven Sent (Series 9, Episode 11) and Blink (Series 3, Episode 10 and a particularity notable achievement considering it was an almost Doctor-less and companion-less episode) were spectacular. Doctor Who is a Science Fiction show so there has to be a suspension of disbelief but the plot does need to be believable and not clichéd. In particular your overarching plots for Doctor Who are poor. When the fate of the universe, time and space, the Doctor’s life hinges on one single (probably female) individual then I start to lose interest.

Some people complain about you changing the Doctors, the companions, the TARDIS interiors, the show’s logo and music but personally I like these changes. One of the key aspects about Doctor Who is that it is constantly evolving. You have proved that you are a good writer, if not in Doctor Who and Sherlock than in your previous shows like Coupling. Some of the monsters you’ve created, the Weeping Angels, the Gas Mask Zombies, the Vashta Nerada are my favorites. Personally the combination of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory is my favorite TARDIS crew.

I’m not sorry you’re leaving Doctor Who, the show is ready for a new lead writer but I wish you the best of luck in Sherlock and whatever you decide to do next.

All the best,

Jack Dowd.

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