Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doctor Who: Steven Moffat takes charge

The BBC has announced that Steven Moffat will replace Russell T. Davies as "Doctor Who" showrunner for the new series' fifth (not fourth, as I originally wrote) season, which won't air until 2010. (I believe David Tennant has some kind of theater gig that will sideline him for a while; there are four movies planned to air in 2009.) Thoughts after the jump...

I'm very glad to hear this, especially as there had been rumors that the BBC considered Davies so integral to the success of the new series that they planned to discontinue it (or just produce occasional movies and specials) whenever Davies decided to leave. Obviously, Davies deserves the lion's share of credit for how well the show has been reimagined while maintaining the elements the fanboys loved. But Moffat's episodes have consistently been the highlight of each season of the new series, whether it was season one's London Blitz two-parter "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" with the gasmask people (pictured above), season two's "The Girl in the Fireplace" with The Doctor romancing Madame De Pompadour, or last year's frightfest "Blink."

My only concern is whether Moffat can pull it off on a regular basis. It's one thing to parachute in for one or two episodes a season (I can't wait for his two-parter later this year) and another to have to run the series. Obviously, Moffat has showrunning experience before (notably with "Coupling"), but it'll be interesting to see how (or if) he plots out those season-long arcs Davies seemed to love.

Also, this increases the possibility that, whenever Tennant decides to go, we might get James Nesbitt from Moffat's "Jekyll" as the next Doctor, which would be awesome.

15 comments:

jim treacher said...

This is great news. I was literally just now thinking about how I've fallen out of the Dr. Who habit, and wondering when the next Moffat episode will air.

Jekyll is definitely worth a Netflix. The whole sequence at the zoo...

David J. Loehr said...

Yes, David Tennant and Patrick Stewart are going to star in Hamlet for the RSC. With luck, the schedule will work out so that the bi-annual theatre department trip to England at the college I work with will get to see that as part of their trip. It's for a course called "Shakespeare in England," so I know they're going to try. (Doesn't help me, since I don't usually go on those trips, but at least my colleague and co-producer can see it and had better tell me about it in detail...)

Dark Tyler said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

YesyesyesyesyesyesyesYESYESYESYES

Y E S ! ! !


(Sorry about that. I'd promised myself that I'd keep repeating the word until it loses its meaning if and when Moffat was announced as the next showrunner.)

Anna said...

Oh I totally agree, Dark Tyler! YES!

Michael said...

Seems like good news.

Don't you mean "fifth season"?

Eric said...

I heartily concur with the general sentiment (and I urge any (grown-up) Doctor Who fans who haven't seen the British Coupling to Netflix it or whatever. (I also recommend it to How I Met Your Mother Fans.)

And while I think Nesbit would make a great Doctor, In the universe where I'm God, he'll be busy with the Blake's 7 revival.

barefootjim said...

I'm in violent agreement with everybody here that this seems like great news, though Jekyll as a whole didn't quite live up to Nesbit's amazing performance, and Coupling's fourth season was unnecessary.

But if Nesbit endsup playing The Doctor, howz about the formidable Gina Bellman as the Companion?

Nicole said...

YAY!!!!!!!

This is the best possible news!

Moffat won't be writing all the episodes, so I think he'll still be able to keep the quality up while guiding the overall arc. And there will probably be a little more subtlety involved as well.

While I wasn't a huge fan of the last series/season of Coupling, it will still pretty good and one thousand times better than that awful American retread. (which is what I fear will happen to Life on Mars... Office is an anomaly, not a usual outcome)

Mo Ryan said...

Wonderful news. I get so violently irritated with Davies stories when he just does his usual formula -- on Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures or Who. The formula of: evil aliens use capitalism/corporation/ marketing etc to inflict dastardly plan on unsuspecting humans. Or humans used capitalism/ moneymaking scheme to do something dastardly to aliens (the recent Oods storyline). A little bit of pseudo social commentary plus lots of running and screaming. Uggh!

The best Davies-era Who/Torchwood episodes have been deeper and more philosophically provacative than that, and more emotionally grounded, and Moffat has written many of them. There is the risk that he won't rise to the level of 'Blink' or the 'Doctor Dances' every week, but I'd take that over the 3-5 tired Davies-formula eps we are getting each season on Who as it is.

Matt said...

Eeeeee! Though, as observed, the fourth season of "Coupling" was subpar, though that's less due to Moffat's own work than the difficulty of writing around the absence of Richard Coyle, whose Jeffrey was to Coupling what Barney is to HIMYM.

And I propose an episode in which the Doctor is confronted with Jane and the Truth Snake.

Dan said...

I think Nesbitt's on record as saying he wouldn't want the gig -- and I think he'd be a better Master anyway. Too rugged for The Doctor, I reckon.

Anyway, I've long thougth Richard Coyle should be next. He worked with Moffatt on Coupling, although I did hear they fell out when he decided to leave the show. But, who knows what went on. Hopefully they still talk.

I don't know, it just seems like a great fit for Coyle. He's an established theatrical actor, he can do comedy, he has eccentric-looking wild hair, he's Welsh, he knows and worked with the new showrunner. It's meant to be, surely!

Anonymous said...

I love David Tennant and think that he has been the best Doctor yet, but when the inevitable comes and his run is up, then Richard Coyle would be a fabulous replacement. He is just made for it, and having worked with Moffet scripts before, he'll be a winner. He's a much better suggestion than Robert Carlyle. Whilst Carlyle is also a brilliant actor, Coyle is a much better fit for the Doctor. And as suggested on here, Nesbitt would be better suited to a villainous role, such a The Master or the like.

Anonymous said...

Richard Coyle is from Sheffield, he's not Welsh. But I agree he'd be a great fit, and obviously he's great with melding into characters being an accomplished stage actor

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased other people think this. Coyle was brilliant in Coupling. I hadn't even made the connection with Moffat. Many actors would seem a step down after Tennant but Richard Coyle has such a bold presence. He wouldn't have the manic energy that we've grown to love but would give The Doctor such a sense of strength.

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased other people think this. Coyle was brilliant in Coupling. I hadn't even made the connection with Moffat. Many actors would seem a step down after Tennant but Richard Coyle has such a bold presence. He wouldn't have the manic energy that we've grown to love but would give The Doctor such a sense of strength.