Thursday 9 July 2015

Moffaty Musings

"Bad fan!", "If you don't like it, don't watch it!", "Not a true fan".. I'm pretty sure anyone who has ever voiced an opinion on the current state of Doctor Who, has heard those words at some point. Similarly, I am sure you will have heard comments like "I hate Moffat".

It is no secret that, for the most part,  I utterly detest the direction Doctor Who has been going in, of late. There has certainly been, for me, a marked improvement in S8, although it has had its fair share of lousy episodes. My reasons for disliking the current run are long and varied. Season 7 moved too far away from science fiction and into the fantasy genre. Clara is shoehorned into every aspect of the Doctor's life, The Time War has been completely retconned. I could go on, but that isn't the point of the blog.

My opinion of the show is entirely that. An OPINION. And, despite what some ardent Moffat fans may think, it is one I am absolutely entitled to voice.  People are welcome to disagree with it, or challenge it. In fact, I welcome constructive debate on the subject. What I do NOT welcome are the opening words of the blog post, being perpetually hurled in my direction. I generally bite back, and, with an acid tongue, make it very clear that I am only voicing an opinion. But it gets tiring. Being told you "aren't a true fan", often by people who started watching in 2005, grates. I've watched since 1973, collected all the books, have every single DVD release, every Big Finish release, including spin-offs.. I think I qualify as a "true fan". And those who only started watching in 2005? They are true fans as well. I have no right to denigrate their "fan status" based on their opinion, nor on the length of time they have watched. And they have no right to judge my dedication to the show.

Let's be very clear. If you "hate Moffat", quite honestly, you need to grow up and get a life. The chances are, like me, you have never met the man. Hating Moffat on a personal level is an absolute waste of a powerful emotion. It is also incredibly disingenuous to the man. I dislike, and at times, hate, his WORK. I have no personal animus toward him as a person. He appears, to me, to be slightly egotistical, and that is the extent of my observation of him as a person. To "hate" someone on the perception of one character flaw seems, to me, to be an exercise in futility.

"If you don't like it, why keep watching?". That's a question commonly thrown at me, and people who find Moffat's tenure to be lacking. In my case, the  answer is simple. Hope and loyalty! I have been a fan for 40 years. To give up on a show I have loved for such an extraordinary length of time, purely because the current direction doesn't please me, seems disloyal and a tad lazy. Giving up is easy. Sticking with a show, even when one doesn't always enjoy it, is a harder road to walk, however, it can be a rewarding one, which leads me to the second part of my reason for staying with the show; hope.

Season 8 produced some complete and utter dreck. 'Kill The Moon' and 'In the Forest of the Night' instantly spring to mind. However, it also produced flashes of brilliance. Moffat, for all his flaws, made an outstanding decision when it came to casting the 12th Doctor. Capaldi is, quite simply, bloody brilliant. Stories such as 'Flatline' must surely have given even the most ardently "anti Moffat" people a glimmer of hope. The Christmas story, which, from the trailer, looked perfectly terrible, actually turned out to be one of the best Christmas stories the show has produced since its return. Supporting characters, have, for the most part, been much better developed and relatable. In short, things are, slowly, looking up.

The bottom line is, the division between the so called "pro" and "anti" Moffat camps needs to stop. People, regardless of which "camp" they fall into should be able to express their opinion, without denigration or judgement. What we all proffer is OPINION. Nothing more. Nothing less. My opinion on Doctor Who is NEVER wrong. And neither is yours. Or anyone else's. They are OPINIONS. Equally valid. Equally entitled to be shared and heard. Equally open to CIVIL challenges and debate, but categorically NOT to denigration, save for "opinions" which stray into the hatred of people, such as Moffat, on a personal basis.

Another complaint I often hear is that I, and others like me, are "ruining Doctor Who" for those who do like it. This baffles me, as, if my opinion affects your enjoyment in ANY way, then your faith in the show is pretty weak. The opinion of one person should not impact on your enjoyment in any way, and if it does, perhaps you aren't enjoying the show as much as you think! 

There is, amongst the "pro" Moffat camp, an element of pious people whom, I can only assume, have never found a television programme they enjoy to be lacking. Equally, amongst the "anti" Moffat camp, there are those who actively seek out people who enjoy the show, and point out why they are "wrong". Neither "side" has clean hands. 

So, yes. I do moan. Quite a lot. And will doubtless continue to do so. It's my opinion. You don't have to read it. You don't have to agree with it. You don't have to like it. And, above all, you don't have denigrate it. You should respect my right to hold an opinion, even if it differs from yours. And, in turn, I should afford you the same courtesy, as should everyone else who disagrees with YOUR opinion.

Doctor Who makes people passionate. It makes us vocal. It provokes debate. It is also, at the end of the day, just a television show. For some of us, it is a very important part of our lives. But it is STILL only a television show. And if we cannot agree, and more importantly, disagree, civilly, politely, and respectfully, then we should examine our own behaviour and attitudes. Polite disagreement costs nothing. Respecting the right to an opinion, no matter how vehemently one disagrees with it, costs nothing. Division, disdain and disrespect DO cost. They cost emotion, upset and a basic lack of respect for the, equally valid, opinions of others.

I am a Doctor Who fan. I am struggling to enjoy it at the moment. And that's fine. Perhaps you are? I respect that; to a degree, I even envy it. I wish I could see what you do. At the moment, I only see flashes. I hope for better. But, regardless of my opinion of the show, at present, or of Moffat's tenure as showrunner, I am a Doctor Who fan. I always will be. So, please. Don't try and tell me I'm not! 

1 comment:

WiredYouth said...

I can't tell you how true this is!