If the people on Tumblr are to be believed they have the only opinion that matters about anything. When you look around Tumblr the place looks like a circle jerk where every person seems to agree that this is the only way it could be. Doctor Who is the shining example of what I’m talking about.
To hear them talk about the show you wouldn’t know that the worldwide popularity of the show has gone up drastically since the start of season five. Not that popularity is a mark of quality. But usually you would think that people acting like their opinion represented the overwhelming majority would at least have some basis in doing so.
Most of the time the hatred seems misplaced and unexplained in the same way that Iago could never quite give a good reason for why he disliked Othello so much. So I’m going to give some concrete reasons, five to be exact, why the show is better now that it was previously.
Reason Number One – It’s being treated like a time traveling show about time traveling. Since season five started we’ve had to deal with less episodes set in present day London than we did before. We’ve had an increase in the number of times time traveling was more than just a way to get to a new destination. It’s become ingrained in the show, time travel is shown to be fluid and in motion and the history constantly in flux. Think about the cool way that the episode Blink illustrates this. Part of what made that episode so awesome was how it showed the power of having the ability to time travel and how effects can proceed causes.
We’re getting more of that now. The second Doctor that spoke to Amy in In the Time of Angels…the Silence having been revealed to have traveled back in time to mess up the TARDIS to stop the Doctor—these things make sense because the show is about time travel and that should be one of the main themes of things happening. Something that could simply be solved by time travel shouldn’t ever be the problem, not alone.
Reason Number Two – We’ve cut out the romance centric plotline. Season one and two were basically a romance centric plot, more so two than one, but it continued into three with the Doctor’s repeated ignoring of Martha (who was honestly the better looking, more down to Earth, less selfish, and more intelligent out of her and Rose). Only in season four did that cool down and it came back full force at the end.
So far, since season five, we’ve had the short lived romance with Amy. Though it was hardly front and center. We have the Amy and Rory stuff, but it’s not someone being in love with the Doctor and it usually isn’t front and center and when it is it can make for some amazing storytelling (like in Girl Who Waited in season six).
The Doctor actually refuses Amy when she tries to kiss him and it’s the right thing to do. It always kind of bothered me that the Doctor would steal Rose from Mickey and the fandom seems to have completely written off the fact that this is what happened. It made the Doctor look bad, but not in the way that makes him seem mature and like he’s out to do what has to be done.
The Doctor who locked the second Amy out of the TARDIS (Girl Who Waited) seems ruthless, but he has a good reason. The Doctor who belittles Mickey for most of season one and part of the second season seems to be childish and poking fun at someone who honestly isn’t a Time Lord or nine hundred years old so there’s not much comparison. It seems kind of mean spirited and without reason other than “I’m a bad person.”
That’s besides the point, but it kind of enhances it. The Doctor can have little trysts or flings, but I think having him travel with a romantic interest for too long is a bad idea. River Song being around sparingly was one of the best ideas they had in that regard and while there is a love story there it doesn’t leave the Doctor mopey and acting like a teenager who’s just felt the first sting of love.
Reason Three – Oh my God! There’s Less Fucking Daleks. Let’s face it, seasons one through four had Daleks coming out the ass. There was Daleks in pies. Daleks speaking German. Daleks having sex. Daleks becoming Human…and two of those things actually happened. I will admit the brief clip of the German Dalek was fun, but we ended three of the four seasons with Daleks and they were in every season for at least one two parter. People complain about the Weeping Angels in the current seasons, but shit they’ve only been the main bad guys in three stories: Blink, the season five two parter and Angels in Manhattan. And while we’re on the subject…
Reason Four – Better Enemies. The Daleks became boring and they were framed as the only enemy the Doctor had that was worthy of season ending status besides the Master. Moffat era has given us so much creepy, unnerving shit that just sticks with me better than anything the Daleks did. The Silence, the Angels, which are still technically Moffat’s, the puppet things in Night Terrors…there was a lot of stuff that was creative.
The Minotaur in God Complex honestly had me because of how creepy the whole situation was and the Hand Bots from Girl Who Waited were fun and kind of unnerving in their own way. I think the favorite of all these for me is a toss up between the Silents and the new Cybermen. I used to hate Cybermen, but now they’re actually a challenge again. Best of all I haven’t had to hear one fart or look at another fucking ‘Pig-Man’.
Reason Five – The Doctor Is Alien. The Doctor is mysterious and alien. Matt Smith seems off and strange in his performance. He does little things that a Human just wouldn’t and is very animated. A good example is in the season six opener when they have him in handcuffs and he bites at the chain as if that will do something. It’s just a little tidbit and it probably wasn’t even written in the script.
Tennant’s Doctor was so Human that it didn’t really ring true a lot of the time. He was very Earth focused and behaved like he was from here more than not. He did things in a very Human way; it’s hard for me to picture Matt Smith’s Doctor walking down a street or making food in a normal way because he just wouldn’t. For Tennant it seems very much like he could just be a person who has the power to travel in time.
The way he loved also seemed more Human and while I’m not against the Doctor having attachments, I think the Doctor as a centuries old alien should have some way of dealing with attachment that is more mature.
Bonus Reason One – The Production Values Are Higher. People might call this unfair, but let’s be honest: Buffy the Vampire Slayer had higher production value than seasons one through four Doctor Who and there’s no excuse for it. It adds charm is a bullshit reason. A good story will be just as good, if not better, with higher production values.
Bonus Reason Two – The Doctor Underwent Realistic Overtime Character Development. The Doctor learned to care about Amy and Rory. He learned to treat them like his family and kept coming back to them over and over even after he left them to let them live their lives. He had someone to see on Christmases and he didn’t forget them the second that the TARDIS dropped them off. They were a family to him not just plot devices or a love interest.
Bonus Reason Three – We’re Not Bogged Down With Sidekicks. Sure we have Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax…but at the end of season four we had this:
It was too much and we had to deal with most of these people again when RTD closed out his era as if the show were over for good and we could never again look upon these characters. Some of whom could easily return (Jack and Martha) and one of which existed in the old show (Sarah Jane).
So there it is, eight reasons in total. And it didn’t take me that long to do it.