A great short essay on the newest season of Doctor Who where Ryan Britt shows how Doctor Who has become a science fiction show again. I quite agree with much of it, and I am very much enjoying Capaldi’s doctor and the new direction the writers are taking.
But, after three seasons of saying the show was just a fairy tale, Moffat has changed his tune (and Murray Gold, his tunes, too) and has said publicly that the fairy tale era is “over,” and that there are more “consequences,” in the current direction of Doctor Who. As big time fans know, we can’t always take Moffat at his word, but a glance through season 8, up to this point, reveals he wasn’t kidding. Currently, this show is far more interested in telling thought-provoking science fiction stories, than dazzling (or frightening) us with an outer-space fairy tale.
I don’t mind being frightened, in fact some of the best Doctor Who episodes are those more horror than science fiction, but I am heartened by the distancing from mere “fairy-tale” scares.
I am particularly interested in the “consequences” and the new “heartless” Doctor. While I dislike Clara (this is more because of the actress rather than the role), I do like how she is exposing the reality that the Doctor is not human, probably not even moral. This is the Doctor we should be seeing; the three thousand year old, alien super-being. He may care about humans and the Earth, but he is not one of us and does not share the same moral compass or compassion we do. Capaldi’s Doctor is a mad-scientist just this side of evil.
If you doubt me, you haven’t seen “Mummy on the Orient Express”. Which is one of the finest episodes since the Tennant era.