Thursday, April 7, 2011

Steven Moffat and Dr. Who

I've learned to follow writers, not series.

In books, it's easy. Most writers continue their own series, building each novel from the previous.

But in comic books and TV shows, it's difficult. A writer can sometimes create something, and leave it to another writer. The character may stick in your mind, and when the new writer comes on to take over that character, the character falters.

When I was a kid, I followed the character.

No longer.

Now I follow the writer. Ed Brubaker, Brian Michael Bendis, and Duane Swierczynski. I followed them no matter who they took on.

Steven Moffatt is that way. Moffat created the show Coupling. It was basically a funny version of FRIENDS and the pre-cursor to one of my favorite sitcoms, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. He sprinkled the sitcom with wonderfully bizarre but relatable characters. He played with time. He told smart stories.

I next found him in JEKYLL. A modern re-telling of the Jekyll and Hyde story. Jekyll was a wonderful, funloving, giddy killer. The character, as told by Moffat, dragged you through the story. Time was played with. Fun was had.

He did the same with SHERLOCK. He brought Holmes and Watson into the 21st century. Added cellphones. Made Holmes a bizarre character, aloof in his own world. The best kind.

I've loved everything he's done.

And now he's the Dr. Who showrunner. I've never liked Dr. Who. It's too out there for me. Too sci-fi. Too much history and at the same time non history to follow.

But now... now I'm trying it. Because of Moffat.

Writers'll do that for you.

And, if the season premiere is any indication, I'm sold.

If only for this line, to the episode's villain. Totally earned. And typically Moffat.

"I'm the Doctor. So, basically.... run."

But I need more opinions. Should I keep on? Why?


Paul D Brazill said...

I loved Sherlock so I'd give it a shot. I think that Dr Who has so much history now that it might as well have none and it won't mess if, like me, you're not up to date!

Jay Stringer said...

Before going further I'd recommend three episodes for you to procure.

You can watch the season without them, but they're cracking Moff scripts and they get important callbacks.

BLINK - a great hour if sci fi horror
SILENCE IN THE LIBRARY and FORREST OF THE DEAD. A two parter that's very creative and introduces a key character.

Bryon Quertermous said...

I'm with you on that, particularly comics. There is SO much stuff out there that if you try to follow a character you're screwed. But I'll read whatever my favorite writers do. That's why I like this blog for finding new favorite writers. I found SCALPED and Jason Aaron here which were both great finds.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have never been able to permeate Dr. Who either. It's like I missed the first century of it and it's just too late.

David Cranmer said...

I like the sounds of JEKYLL and will look for it. Thanks.

Russel said...

I think the sound of Who's history puts people off. But the fact is there's isn't that much continuity to follow. What do you need to know?

He's an alien who can change his appearance.
His spaceship travels through time and looks like an old fashioned police box.
He's got a strong sense of morality.

Everything else is up for grabs. The writers in the 25 year history have continually contradicted themselves. Yes, the geeks (me and Jay Stringer) like to talk continuity, but its the same with any show - especially any SF show.

Basically if you can handle the premise of the show then you don't need to care about continuity especially when - as is the case now - the showrunners are confidence storytellers who know to appeal to more than just a rabid fanbase (although there's plenty in there for them as well).