Monday, October 1, 2012

Steven Moffat, Amelia Pond, and the Complexities of Doctor Who

"The Angels Take Manhattan" is the culmination of Moffat's delve into the Doctor's decidedly destructive tendencies.

Caitlin Blackwood as the young Amelia Pond in "Let's Kill Hitler."

There's a definite philosophical dividing line between the Russell T. Davies/Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant era of Doctor Who and the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith seasons. That difference began, sneakily, to manifest itself in the very first Moffat/Smith episode, "The Eleventh Hour," but it didn't really come to the fore until the sixth and (currently airing, pretty fantastic) seventh seasons. This underlying change in philosophies mostly concerns the way the show treats its central character, 1200-year-old time-traveling adventurer The Doctor, and the effect that he has on the people who travel with him, fight with him, and love him.

Davies' Doctor, as embodied by Eccleston and Tennant, is (almost) never anything less than a full-on hero. There are moments when the show acknowledges his destructive impact, sure - Donna has to save the Tenth Doctor from his own rage when he drowns the Racnoss queen, and he power-trips when trying to change a fixed moment in time in "The Waters of Mars" - but, all in all, the Davies-era series shied away from taking a hard look at the tensions between the good intentions of its hero and the broken people left in his wake.