I am remarkably unmoved by the whole thought of the latest DW series finale, and whether or not I get spoiled. I realise it matters terribly to other people so I will be very discreet (not that I know much anyway). But a poll on LJ made me reflect that if I had to number New-Who finales in order of preference, it’s all been steadily downhill from The Parting of the Ways, really. Or possibly Doomsday, which I have trouble viewing objectively since the mere thought of it breaks my little shippy heart.
Seriously, TPOTW still impresses me as a beautifully constructed piece of drama, in which every significant character has something important to do. By the time we got to the one with The Master things were very patchy, and I wish I could erase Tinkerbell Jesus Doctor from my mind, and JE I hated so much I could barely function for a week afterwards. I’m not even going to mention the over-indulgent, incoherent train wreck that was The End of Time. Even Cribbins and Tennant rising to the occasion in some of RTD’s best-written scenes ever couldn’t redeem that one.
As for the Moffatt finales, with the Pandorica one I really appreciated the lack of angst (it says a lot about Doctor Who that the rebooting of the whole of creation seemed a mere sideshow), and the other one was plain barking mad and silly. I confess to being curious about what they’ll pull out of their backside for this latest one, but since the currency of peril in the show is so debased now that the fate of the universe merely generates more than a passing shrug, that only leaves Saving the Doctor by Some Feat of Epic Sacrifice – and that only affects me if I care two hoots about the character (most likely female) who will end up doing it. I don’t even like the Doctor any more. Of course, that may be the point. He may turn out to be Not the Real Doctor, or a Mad Doctor, or Some Doctor That Really Never Existed, but either way, I dislike him intensely at the moment.
I disliked Ten quite a lot of the time, but you could always trace back the narrative arc that had screwed him up, whereas Eleven’s unpleasantness (increasingly manifesting itself as sexism/flirtatiousness) just comes out of left field. Right now I think Sarah Jane would do a better job of saving the universe than he would, and with a lot more moral authority. And if they ever brought Romana back, I’d be in heaven.
What about the nice Victorian lesbian couple? Well, I think ed_rex called it on that one. We all like the idea of them, because we want to be liberal, but even cross-species gay Victorian relationships aren’t actually all that interesting unless the characters are. And these aren’t, not really.
Sadly, DW seems to be turning into a bit of a black hole that sucks up our best and brightest writers. Right now Gaiman is suffering something of a backlash because his Cyberman episode wasn’t as mind-blowingly fantastic as The Doctor’s Wife. But I think we have to remember that most of these episodes are so screwed over, truncated and rewritten by the time we see them that they are barely recognisable. Would Neil Gaiman really have described a female companion as “an enigma in a skirt that’s just a little too short?” As he’s pointed out, DW doesn’t pay well (you don’t even get paid for rewrites to your own episode, in fact, if The Writer’s Tale is anything to go by, you’re lucky if you get to do your own rewrites) and if we bitch too much about celebrity guest writers they might well clear off and do something more rewarding.
As for the notorious early US DVD release – well, if I was really, deeply cynical I would point out that it’s been the most fantastic publicity for the BBC. And that, dare I say it, spoiler-phobia is totally out of control in DW fandom. There, I’ve said it. Unpopular opinion #1. I admit, it’s annoying if you get spoiled for a big episode. But that’s what it is – annoying. Not tragic, not the end of the world as we know it, not even devastating to be honest. To remain spoiler-free will do nothing to end world hunger or stop the Taliban blowing things up. Let’s have some sense of proportion about these things. Personally, I find it patronising and offensive to be offered a free video tidbit if I don’t blab. I’m not in the Upper IV at Malory Towers.
You know what really is heartbreaking, Mr Moffatt? Not DW spoilers. It’s heartbreaking when your son gets mumps the weak of his Finals, and they can’t invigilate him, so he can’t graduate, and he might not be able to do his MA. That’s what we’re dealing with right now, and it kind of puts everything into perspective.
But having said that, I wouldn’t spoil you, even if I could. Enjoy the show.