Russell T Davies vs Steven Moffat

Don’t worry you are not experiencing deja vu. Last year I did write a Davies vs Moffat article, but I wasn’t happy with it. It was one of the first articles I ever did, I wrote it when I was at work in a hurry and there were no paragraphs, and plenty of mistakes.

It also didn’t really cover their era’s in any great detail and really it just wasn’t up to scratch at all. Plus I also wrote it before series 8 aired, which as you all know saw my opinion of Moff drop somewhat.

So I decided to delete that previous article and do an updated version here. This will be a more in depth look at Moff and RTD’s era. I will not be examining the Doctors from each era however as I already did a seperate article on that.

Here it is if you’re interested.

Why I prefer the 11th and 12th Doctors to the 9th and 10th Doctors.

So without any further delay lets take a look at who I prefer out of the two most prominent writers of the revival.

Vs

Monsters and Villains

Daleks

My favourite villains without doubt.

Its pretty obvious to anyone who has read my previous posts that I am going to pick Davies here. Not many people are keen on what Moffat has done with the Daleks. Personally I have actually enjoyed all of Moff’s Dalek stories and I think he has brought something new to them.

He has made them far more sadistic than any other writer. Previously the Daleks were never shown to take pleasure in killing their enemies. They did it simply because they were programmed to. They concept of joy was alien to them. In the Moffat era however they are shown to enjoy not only killing, but torturing their victims and extending their agony for as long as possible. We can see this when they capture and torture Tasha Lem to death over and over and over again.

Still despite this, Davies’s Daleks are ultimately superior in my opinion.

A lot of people knock Davies’ Dalek stories because he often had them get destroyed too easily by a deux machina ending.

I certainly wouldn’t deny that to be the case. The worst offender is of course Journey’s End, but still I think its unfair for people to completely disregard all of the good things Davies did with the pepperpots. I might add he is hardly the only writer to kill them off using a deux machina. Moffat himself had Clara wipe their memory of the Doctor, their greatest enemy who drove them to the brink of extinction several times, through a few clicks on a keyboard. He also had 11 wipe them out simply by regenerating.

Now Davies is not my favourite Dalek writer. My favourite Dalek writer is Terry Nation. Still it is true that in the Classic era the Daleks were never as dangerous as they were during Davies time.

Davies absolutely adored the Daleks. They were his favourite villains, they were in fact the whole reason he got into the show back in the 1960’s in the first place. He has spent his entire life collecting Dalek toys, and even has his own life size Dalek in his home that was later used for Asylum of the Daleks.

I think that was why he really pulled out all the stops to make them the ultimate villain.

In Davies time the Daleks have more of an impact than any other villain. They are the main antagonists for three series out of 4, they are the most recurring enemies, and they inflict the most tragedies upon the Doctor too. The loss of his people, the death of the 9th Doctor, the death of Captain Jack, the death of Harriet Jones, and the loss of Donna and Rose are all caused by the Daleks. They are also the most powerful villains by far in the series.

Really I don’t think there is any villain in anything that could stand against the Daleks in the Davies era. One of them kills hundreds and hundreds of people. A group of half a million of them kills 98 billion people on earth, destroys the entire 4th great and bountiful human empire, and kills thousands of people on the game station. The humans in return only manage to blind one Dalek. That’s it!

4 of them meanwhile manage to slaughter their way through 5 million Cybermen without so much as a scratch. When one of them says that they could destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek you believe them. It doesn’t matter who goes up against them in the Davies era its always the same result.

If its Van Statten’s men, professionals who are experts on alien life and armed with machine guns and rocket launchers then they are fucked. One Dalek just plows its way through them without even breaking a sweat. If its a group of people in the future lead by Jack, a time traveller, with expert knowledge of alien life, armed with special weapons that could blow Daleks from old Who right open, then they still just get slaughtered on mass no problem. If its hordes of Cybermen, powerful monsters that we saw override an alternate London, they do about as well as Van Statten’s men. Even if its UNIT the worlds leading experts on alien life who have beaten the Sontarans, the Cybermen, the Axons, The Master, the Zygons, then in The Stolen Earth a mere two Daleks completely and utterly destroy UNIT HQ.

On top of that in Journey’s End they threaten every universe! That’s the biggest threat there has ever been in the history of Doctor Who. Sutekh in Pyramid’s of Mars only threatened a couple of galaxies. Compared to the Daleks in Journey’s End that’s nothing!

Also I might add that whilst they are always beaten by a Deux Machina in the Davies era, the cost to stop them is always huge, greater than it is to stop any other villain.

In Dalek over 200 people are killed in order to stop one Dalek.

In The Parting of the Ways in order to stop half a million insane Daleks close to 98 billion people on the earth are killed, as well as hundreds of thousands of people on the game station, also the entire course of human history is changed for ever. Originally that was to have been the fourth great and bountiful human empire, a golden age for humanity.

One Dalek however, the Emperor, was able to change the entire course of human history so that instead of being a golden age: the Empire became a corrupt, oppressive regime where billions of people lived lives of unbearable torment, and were forced to play deadly games for over a hundred years, until eventually the Daleks drove humanity virtually to the brink of extinction.

On top of that Captain Jack is killed by them and though he is brought back to life it is as an immortal. All of the fallout of Jack being an immortal is because of the Daleks. Furthermore the Ninth Doctor dies because of them too.

In Doomsday in order to stop one army of Daleks, millions more people are killed across the entire earth by the Daleks and the Cybermen, whom the Daleks let through, Rose is lost in another universe forever and Torchwood is completely destroyed.

Even in Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks in order to stop 4 Daleks, thousands of people are killed and even then one Dalek still manages to escape. Also one of the few survivors of the incident Lazlo has to live the rest of his life hideously deformed and disfigured.

In Journey’s End meanwhile well to start with millions more people are killed not just on the earth but on the other planets they steal to use as part of their reality bomb. UNIT HQ is also destroyed, the Doctor loses another regeneration, Donna loses her memories and Harriet Jones loses her life. I might add that even with all of that loss, the Daleks only lose because one of their own kind Dalek Caan betrays them and manipulates time itself to stop them.

So yes at the very least you can’t say that things were always wrapped up neatly in Davies’ Dalek stories. The effects were still felt years later like the Doctor losing Rose and Donna, Jack being an immortal, earth being made aware of aliens, and the Doctor losing two regenerations.

Sadly the Moffat era Daleks just don’t have the same impact.

To start with they are never the main villains of a season. Now I don’t blame Moffat for this as they had been used that way so often in Davies’ era, that we couldn’t possibly have had them be featured so prominently in the Moffat era.

Still the fact that they keep popping up, whilst no longer being featured as the main villains does kind of make them feel like mere shadows of their former selves.

Also the cost of stopping the Daleks in the Moffat era is never as big. In Victory of the Daleks granted they do actually win, ultimately the only way they win is simply by running away. Bracewell their servant meanwhile is completely freed from their control and even goes on to live a happy life. In Asylum of the Daleks nobody dies, but Clara, one person and hey the experience of the Dalek Asylum saves Amy and Rory’s marriage, whilst they along with the Doctor, escape the Dalek asylum without a scratch on them.

 

Even in the 50th the Doctor manages to stop the Daleks during the fucking Time War of all conflicts without any cost.

Also we don’t even get to see the Daleks kill anyone in the time war either. In fact during the entire 11th Doctors era, we only see them kill two no name soldiers in Victory of the Daleks. In The Day of the Doctor we only see them getting rammed by the TARDIS or blasted by the War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors in front of Kate and Osgood.

In Into the Dalek meanwhile for the first time in the Moffat era the Daleks are actually able to do a bit of killing. They butcher plenty of people on board the space station, but still ultimately its not quite the same as in the Davies era is it?

Its not like in the Davies era where we see them shatter continents of people, and raise entire planets to the ground like in The Parting of the Ways.

Whilst Moffat may have done some interesting things with the Daleks at the end of the day, I don’t really think anyone can deny that they were far more impressive under Davies’ tenure.

Davies’s Daleks kick the shit out of the Cybermen and trash talk them.

Moffat’s Daleks get the shit kicked out of them by the Cybermen and flee to their own miniscope to escape them.

Davies’s Daleks terrify the Master to the point where he flees to the end of the universe itself and turns himself into a human to escape them. They also blow up his flying fortress of death no problem.

The Master laughs in the face of Moffat era Daleks. See for yourself in this trailer.

One Davies Dalek makes the Doctor scared, panic and try and escape.

The Doctor easily and casually rips open one Moffat era Dalek.

Davies Daleks kill companions like Captain Jack, kill off supporting characters like Harriet Jones, butcher lovable one off characters like Lynda with a Y, kill 98 billion people on earth, destroy whole continents of people.

Moffat era Daleks get killed by everyone and kill two extra’s in three years.

Davies Daleks conquer and destroy Cybermen, Abzorbing, 7 foot tall lizard monsters, giant 20 foot tall rock men, the fucking time lords, earth both in modern day and in the far, far, far, future.

Moffat’s Daleks get beaten up by WW2 Spitfire’s in outer space and fail to conquer a small town called Christmas in 200 years.

Davies Daleks fight a time war that is described as hell with giant unspeakable monsters like the Nightmare Child running around eating things.

That’s what the nightmare child looks like. Granted that’s just a fan vid, but still I don’t care that’s how I am going to view it from now on.

Moffa’ts Daleks meanwhile fight a time war that’s just a generic space battle with lasers.

So yes I don’t think even Russell’s harshest critic would deny that under his tenure, the Daleks were far more impressive. Russell T Davies is the master of the Daleks.

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Cybermen

Now this is a bit harder to decide as sadly I haven’t been that keen on either men’s take on the Cybermen.

I think the problem is that both men tend to treat the Cybermen as second rate villains compared to the Daleks. They are not the only writers to do this of course, many classic era writers tended to treat them as bumbling idiots too.

I don’t know why, as I think when used properly the Cybermen are among the best villains. I think they have just earned that reputation because they are not as popular as the Daleks.

I will say that to their credit both Moffat and Davies clearly understand what it is that is scary about the Cybermen. The idea that you can be turned into one of them. Sadly in a lot of later classic who stories I think they forgot that, and just wrote them as generic robot killers. The only 80’s story for instance that shows you Cyber conversion is Attack of the Cybermen.

However in New Who Moffat and Davies regularly show us people being converted, including even main characters like an alternate version of Jackie Tyler or Danny Pink.

Thus at the very least I will say that the new who Cybermen are more effective this way than the classic era Cybermen were in a lot of the later stories from the original series.

Still in New Who the Cybermen have sadly been turned into second rate villains despite the odd moment of genuine menace. They tend to undermine them in their stories for other villains like the Daleks in Doomsday, or Missy in Death in Heaven, or even Mercy Hatrigan in The Next Doctor.

Also whilst its true that they do show us more people being converted, they also at the same time show us people being able to resist it too. Yvonne Hartman, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, Danny Pink, Craig Owens, Mercy Hatrigan, they are all able to resist Cyber control and conversion and turn the tables on, enslave and even destroy them.

It makes it look too easy to say the least. Apparently just loving your daughter, or even your girlfriend of a few months is enough to stop being a Cyberman.

Still I think that overall the Cybermen were much better in the Russell T Davies era for many reasons.

To start with I think that in Davies Cybermen stories the focus was always on the Cybermen. I got the impression that Davies actually wanted to write Cybermen stories, with Moffat however sadly it feels like he often just tosses them in there for the hell of it.

In The Pandorica Opens for instance they are just thrown in there among other villains. Same with Time of the Doctor and A Good Man Goes to War.

Even in stories where they are the main villains like Closing Time and Death in Heaven they are not really the focus. The focus in Closing Time is actually more on Craig whilst in Death in Heaven, Missy is the main villain. The Cybermen are her mooks. Steven Moffat decided to kill Osgood in order to make a villain seem scary. I ask you, which villain was it he gave that honour to? The Cybermen or the Master?

In the Davies era however Doomsday aside, which was a story designed to feature both villains, the Cybermen are the focus of all of their appearances in the Davies era.

Also I think that Moffat has overused the Cybermen too. They have appeared once every year since he took over.

In Davies era they only appeared three times. I think Moff has been far more guilty of overusing the classic era villains overall in fact.

The only villains Davies brought back every year where the Daleks, but Moff has had the Sontarans, the Silurians, the Cybermen and the Daleks once every year, and now from the looks of things the Master will be back every year too.

Also I think that Moffat has made the Cybermen too overpowered. The Cybermen in his era can fly through the air with rocket boots, remove pieces of their bodies including their own heads and move them about, shoot tiny little darts that poison people, and now reanimate the dead. And they still get the shit kicked out of them all the damn time.

The 11th Doctor is still able to blow up an entire fleet of millions of them, just as a gesture to a villain he is actually scared of. Craig Owens is still able to wipe them out just by not wanting to be a Cyberman, and Rory is even able to kill one with a fucking sword.

In Davies era however it was made very clear that these Cybermen were at the very beginning of their development. Thus this was why they weren’t quite as advanced as other races that we saw, but even then despite being primitive they were shown to adapt quickly, such as in the Next Doctor where they, despite only coming from modern day earth, where able to become intelligent enough to pilot a Dalek time vessel and understand time lord technology.

Also Moffat’s overpowered Cybermen I think leads to far more scenes of CGI such as in Death in Heaven when we see them fly through the air. With RTD’s Cybermen its still guys in suits for the most part, even when we see dozens of them marching down the streets.

Also I much prefer the look of the Davies Cybermen than the Moffat Cybermen. I wasn’t that keen on the Davies Cybermen’s design as I think it looked a bit too clunky. Cybermen to me should be a bit more streamlined and sleak, which is why I like the Tomb of the Cybermen and Earthshock Cybermen the best.

Still the Moffat era Cybermen in Death in Heaven are the worst. They make me laugh with their cute little faces and they way they mince. At least the Davies Cybermen stomped all over the place which gave you the idea that they were big towering mountains of steel. Moffat’s Cybermen when they march out of the 3W company, and down the street in Dark Water/Death in Heaven, they remind me of the gay regiment in Monty Python.

The Davies Cybermen are definitely superior in pretty much every way to me.

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The Harold Saxon Master vs Missy

Simm was far more believable as being the Master than Gomez, however there were still some problems with the Simm Master such as his contradictory origin.

I don’t think that either Russell T Davies or Steven Moffat are big fans of the original Master.

I think they only brought him back for the fans, and because doing so would give them a lot of publicity.

“I think there is a danger with giving the Doctor an archenemy like that. Its sort of limiting and a little bit cartoony. I thought Russell T Davies making him a lunatic was really, really brilliant. I did think he sort of ended that story. Bringing him back comes down to one thing: do you have a great idea or not? But its certainly not off the table.”

-Steven Moffat on the Master circa 2013.

As you can see from Moffat’s quote, he wasn’t exactly enamoured with the character. He felt he limited the character of the Doctor and didn’t bring him back for the entire 11th Doctors era as a result.

Thus when he finally did bring him back it was not out of love for the character of the Master. It was simply to take advantage of this female Doctor craze but without turning the Doctor himself into a woman, yet.

In all fairness I think that both Michelle Gomez and John Simm are excellent actors, who brought a real, twisted, manic enthusiasm to the characters. Villains who love being evil are always more fun to watch.

However ultimately this has to go to Simm, who was not only more believable as his predecessors, but also didn’t actively ruin the character of the Master.

Missy turns the character into a joke. He goes from being the Doctors Moriarty, to a kinky, oversexed, Disney character. He goes from being someone who can bring the universe to its knees, to someone beaten by a “no thanks”.

Added to that I feel that Missy was merely pandering to the vocal, bullying, SJW side of fandom who wanted a female Doctor, for no other reason, other than why not? There is no reason Michelle Gomez couldn’t have been the Rani (a role she would have been excellent for).

So for these reasons, Simm wins by default. Though for what it’s worth, I did actually quite like the Simm Master anyway, even if neither of his stories were the best.

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Best Original Villain: Midnight Entity Vs The Weeping Angels

Now Davies and Moffat have created a number of highly interesting and frightening monsters, but I think its fair to say that Davies most popular monster is the Midnight entity, whilst Moffat’s is definitely the Weeping Angels.

Now as to which is better well I am definitely giving this to Moffat.

The thing about the Midnight entity is that, though it is scary, it only works because we know so little about it. You couldn’t have it pop up again and again. The Angels however I feel worked brilliantly as recurring antagonists. I know a lot of people haven’t liked the Angels in later stories as much, but personally I can’t decide which of the three Angels stories is the best. I think they all have merit.

Blink is amazing because there wasn’t really a story like it in Doctor Who before, whilst the second two part Angels story, is one of the greatest base under siege stories Doctor Who has ever done. The Angels take Manhatten meanwhile I think is the most frightening. What the Angels do to Rory in that story is chilling.

Thus the midnight entity though a great villain was really more of a one trick pony. The Angels on the other hand I find to be among the best recurring villains in Who’s long history.

So I am going to give this to Moffat.

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Companions and Friends of The Doctor

Best Fiery Redhead Companion: Donna vs Amy

Well this will come as a surprise to no one its Amy.

Donna is far from my favourite new who companion. I don’t despise her or anything, but as we all know I do loathe the way that Russell T Davies completely undermines the Doctor for her in Journey’s End. Even without that I find her to be very overrated. Personally I think that the only reason people rate her so highly is simply because she does not fancy the Doctor. That’s not to diminish Catherine Tate or her great chemistry with Tennant, but ultimately I found Donna in many ways to be just a retread of Rose.

Look at Donna and Rose’s stories. Both Cockney women from 21st century London. Both working class, both living boring lives, in crap jobs, both join the Doctor because they want something new and exciting, both want to travel with him for ever, both have a more sympathetic father figure and an annoying mother figure who distrusts the Doctor at first but develops a grudging respect for him eventually (RTD also repeated this dynamic with Martha and her parents too). Both also have a story arc where there is something odd about them and it turns out to be linked to a final epic battle with the Daleks.

Look at The Parting of the Ways and Journey’s End. Rose in Parting of the Ways gets super powers that makes her eyes go all gold and twinkly and uses them to destroy the Daleks whilst the Doctor stands at the side. Donna in Journey’s End gets super powers that make her eyes go all gold and twinkly and uses them to destroy the Daleks whilst the Doctor stands at the side.

Both Donna and Rose also have a prophecy that states that they will die, but it turns out its just that they don’t get to see the Doctor again. However they both still have great lives, end up with someone they love, with their families who have been brought closer together and they both live in the heap of luxury too, as Rose’s dad is a millionaire whilst Donna gets a winning lottery ticket.

As far as I’m concerned the only difference between Donna and Rose was that Donna wasn’t in love with the Doctor.

Amy meanwhile I find to be one of the best companions in Doctor Who’s entire history. Unlike Donna she doesn’t undermine the Doctor, bust she is no shrinking violet either. Unlike Rose she was called out for her faults and didn’t have everyone worship at her feet. Also I think her relationship with Rory is brilliantly developed and acted. Karen Gillan’s chemistry with Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill is just a joy to watch. Its so natural, so fun that you almost don’t need to have a story, you can just stick them in any situation and its enjoyable.

Also I think Amy and Rory probably have the best goodbye of any companion in the revival as its sad, but not too downbeat. They don’t die horribly, but at the same time its not a perfect, fairy tale ending either like Rose and Donna who end up becoming millionaires.

Amy is definitely one of the best companions in the shows 50 plus year history.

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Best Doctors One True Love: Rose vs River Song

Now we all know that I really don’t like the Doctor falling in love, as I prefer the Doctor be an asexual, alien character like in the original series.

Still it cannot be denied that these two stories have been tremendously successful with fans and mainstream viewers alike.

As for which I prefer? This is a bit tricky as I feel that they succeed and fail in different ways.

River has a much better ending than Rose. Had Rose ended with Doomsday then her ending would have been sensational, (imagine how much more poignant her cameo would have been in The End of Time had that been the case.) Had her story even ended with Turn Left then that would have been a great ending to her. Sadly Journey’s End comes close to ruining the character, turning her into the Doctors jealous ex, and having everyone even Martha fawn over her, before giving her a perfect ending with Handy.

Rivers ending however in The Name of the Doctor I think rounds her character off perfectly, showing her finally accept her death.

Also River comes across a lot better in her last story too, saving the Paternoster gang, not showing any jealousy over Clara and giving her hints throughout the story. Its really the perfect ending to the character.

Sadly however at the same time I think River and 11’s romance wasn’t as well written overall as Rose and the Doctors. I used to think that River was a better match for the Doctor as she was older and a time lord or time lady rather like him.

However in terms of personality Rose is a better match for the Doctor. Rose in many ways is actually the same type of person as the Doctor. The Doctor back on Gallifrey was actually a lowly time lord who left because he was bored of their life and yearned for something greater. Rose similarly back on earth came from a lowly position and left to go exploring with the Doctor because she yearned for something better.

Sadly River and the Doctor don’t really have anything in common, and whilst with Rose and the Doctor we see two outcasts from their own world finding each other and relating to one another’s position and eventually fall in love. With River all we have is some woman following the Doctor around making jokes about having crazy bondage sex with the Doctor.

So as a love interest Rose has to top this.

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Best Fan Avatar Companion: Osgood vs Malcolm Taylor

Well I think its obvious who I am going to give this one too. I love Osgood she is just so likable, and of course I think Ingrid Oliver is a brilliant actress.

Even looking at it objectively I think that Osgood is a much better developed character than Malcolm. We have seen Osgood become a much stronger character over the course of just two episodes. Gong from a wimpy damsel in distress, cowering at the sight of Zygons, to someone who marches up to and takes on the Master and the Cybermen no problem, and even keeps her cool when being threatened with certain death by the Master.

I do still quite like the Malcolm character and I wouldn’t object to seeing him again. Indeed a lot of fans have even started shipping Osgood and Malcolm. They would have a lot in common with one another, both UNIT scientists, both fans of the Doctor.

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Drawing of Osgood and Malcolm by Charlotte McGonagall. I got to admit this drawing really makes me ship Osgood and Malcolm.

I think part of why Osgood has been so much more popular than Malcolm is that she offers up the chance for a new UNIT family. Malcolm sadly didn’t really have much chemistry with Captain Erisa his superior. Osgood however along with Kate Lethbridge Stewart are actually quite a good team and could in the future become a new regular set of recurring characters.

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Best Friend of the Doctor Who Is Head Of A Team That Tracks Down Aliens: Jack vs Vastra

This one I am going to give to Russell T Davies. As good a character as Vastra is I think there was more too Jack. We never really found out much about Vastra’s past, how she met the Doctor, how she met Jenny, much of her story is just kind of sketched in. With Jack however we saw how he went from a cowardly con man to a dashing hero to cursed immortal, even just over the course of Doctor Who never mind on his own show Torchwood.

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Best Team That Tracks Down Aliens: Torchwood vs The Paternoster Gang

Whilst I may prefer Jack to Vastra, I do prefer the Paternoster Gang as a team to Torchwood. Torchwood are just kind of your generic guys who chase down aliens. The Paternoster gang, a reptile woman, her ninja wife and an evil space clone who battle monsters in Victorian England are a much more unique, creative and bizarre idea.

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Best Bumbling Boyfriend of Female Companion: Mickey vs Rory

I am giving this to Mickey. As much as I like Rory, I don’t think he was as well developed as Mickey, who I feel had one of the best developments of any companion in either old or new who. We saw Mickey go from a cowardly character to a dashing hero in his own right.

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Best Parental Figure To A Companion: Brian vs Wilfred

Now I am going to go against the curve here and say that Brian was a much better character than Wilf. Wilf is a fan favourite and I do like Bernard Cribbens, but still I am not so keen on his and the Doctors relationship in The End of Time. I think that the Tenth Doctor is too mean to Wilf throughout it. Telling him he is not even remotely important I also think that Wilf’s reaction to the Doctor’s death is a bit too melodramatic such as when he screams “NO, NO, NO, YOU’RE THE MOST WONDERFUL MAN I HAVE EVER KNOWN! YOU CAN’T DIE!”

Brian I felt was a more normal character and his interactions with Matt Smith were much more toned down and funny. I certainly enjoyed watching Matt and Brian more than all those scenes of the 10th Doctor and Wilf balling their eyes out in The End of Time. That got on my nerves after a while.

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Martha Jones vs Clara Oswald

Now I admit that these two aren’t very similar, but they are the only two companions left from either’s era. Well obviously I am going to rate Martha above Clara. Martha is in my opinion the best companion in New Who. She seems like a real person more than Clara whose personality changes with each episode and who also undermines the Doctor far too much.

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Best Story Arcs

Now this is an area where I actually feel that Russell T Davies is much stronger than Steven Moffat. I feel that Steven Moffat tends to make up a lot of his story arcs as he goes along. I could be wrong, but that’s how they appear as a lot of them just don’t add up.

Take a look at the impossible girl story arc it just doesn’t seem to flow. When we see the two Clara’s they have no idea who the Doctor is, and they are not doing anything to help him. Later however when we see how all of these different versions of Clara were created its completely contradictory. They all in, The Name of the Doctor are said to have knowledge of the Doctor, and they are all supposed to save him from the Great Intelligence.

So then why did the first two Clara’s not know who he was? In what way were they helping him?  Also how did the 11th Doctor not remember meeting Clara as the first Doctor which we see in the Name of the Doctor? To me it seems like Moffat just thought wouldn’t it be cool if we saw different versions of Clara first. And then he developed the story from there, but he made it up as he went along and sadly it didn’t add up.

Russell I think maps the endings of his story arcs out first and thus they naturally flow better.

I also think that Russell is better at pulling different story strands together. Like for instance take a look at Mr Copper in the Voyage of the Damned. At the end of that story the Doctor takes him to earth and leaves him with a million pounds. Its a lovely ending to the story as we see Mr Copper a genuinely nice, sweet and likable character walk off with a fortune to spend.

In The Stolen Earth when the Daleks steal the planet Harriet Jones uses the subwave network to contact the Doctors companions and along with them the Doctor. We discover that the Subwave network was in fact developed by Mr Copper himself using the fortune the Doctor left him with.

Without the Subwave network Harriet Jones would never have been able to contact all of the Doctors companions, and they in turn would never have been able to contact the Doctor himself. Thus no one could have stopped the Daleks and they would have used their reality bomb to destroy not just this universe but all universe’s.

Ironically Mr Copper was the most important person in all of creation as he was really the linchpin in stopping the Daleks. Without him neither the Doctor nor Donna would have been there at all to stop Davros.

To me that was a brilliant way of tying those two stories together. It makes the ending of Voyage of the Damned even better. It shows you how the Doctor did a nice thing for Mr Copper and it benefited everyone. If he didn’t leave him on the earth then we’d all be fucked.

Sadly I don’t think Moffat is as good at pulling his different story strands together. Like look at the latest girl in the shop story, where we see that Missy brought Clara and the Doctor together. Thing is there is absolutely no reason for her to have done that and rather than think that’s quite clever you just think “but that doesn’t make sense”.

So this one I am definitely giving to Davies.

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Stories

Best Story Where Every Universe Is Threatened: The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End vs The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang

Journey’s End and The Big Bang are fairly comparable stories. Both involve threats to every universe, both gather all of the Doctors friends and supporting characters together, both even have the Doctor get shot by a Dalek.

But which is better?

Well I am going to say The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang. Now remember I am a big fan of Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, but I think that Big Bang kinda trumps it in every way.

To start with this story does a better job of bringing everybody together.

In Journey’s End not only as I have been over does Donna completely undermine the Doctor, but everyone else too. Captain Jack does bugger all in this story, ditto Torchwood who try and take on one Dalek and get trapped in their base. Luke does nothing either, Martha Jones is a complete buffoon. She threatens to destroy the earth to stop the Daleks, reasoning that they need the earth for their plans. So if she destroys it then they are fucked. Thing is they could just have snatched another planet like three seconds later and she would have killed 7 billion people for nothing! Even Rose does nothing in this story whilst Sarah Jane is similarly useless. Basically we have all of these characters together just so they can stand around and watch Donna do everything, and tell Donna how fabulous she is.

In The Big Bang meanwhile everyone gets their moment. Thankfully the Doctor is not undermined at all. He is the one who saves every universe, is two steps ahead of everyone and comes up with the solution that saves everyone including Amy after she has been shot.

However at the same time Rory gets his moment when he stands outside the box to protect Amy for 1000 years. That’s really his defining moment I’d say. It shows how brave  and utterly devoted he is to his wife. River meanwhile is the one who kills the main villain of the story, the Dalek, whilst Amy finally is the one who saves the Doctor at the end by remembering him back into existence.

Ultimately Moff manages to bring 4 different characters together and give them all strong, heroic moments, which is more than RTD was able to do for Journey’s End.

Also I actually prefer the cliff hanger to this story. I know that the cliff hanger for Stolen Earth was more sensational when it was first released, but in hindsight I think it does just kind of feel like a cheap trick and the resolution to it is pretty cheap.

I also find the emotional content in The Big Bang to much superior to the melodrama of Journey’s End. I have seen so many people comment on how the heart of Doctor Who went away when Russell T Davies left. I couldn’t disagree more. I think Moffat does a fantastic job of managing to tie what is a huge cosmic story involving the fate of every universe, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, into a rather touching and very human love story between Amy and Rory.

The only area where Journey’s End is superior to this story is that it has much stronger villains with Julian Bleach proving to be an exceptional Davros. Still overall I think its hard to top The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.

RTD 8 SM 6

Best Story Where The Doctor Meets A Historical Character: The Shakespeare Code vs Vincent and The Doctor

Once again Moffat takes this. I do love the Shakespeare Code. Its a great tight little adventure, but Vincent and the Doctor is simply one of the best pieces of British television ever made.

Once again I don’t understand how anyone can say that the heart went out of Doctor Who when Steven Moffat took over? This is one of the most beautiful and mature portrayals of someone with mental illness I have ever seen. I just love the Doctors final little line to Amy about how even though they failed to save Van Gough they still made his life happier, and in the end whilst that doesn’t cancel out the unhappy moments, the misery doesn’t cancel out the good times either.

Its hard not to cry at the end of the story and really its just a beautiful episode all around.

RTD 8 SM 7

Best Christmas Episode: The Next Doctor vs A Christmas Carol

In my opinion these are the two best Christmas specials from all of the New series. Now here I am going to have to go with A Christmas Carol. The Next Doctor is a fabulous romp, but I think that A Christmas Carol is what Moff does best. Its a wonderful mix of science fiction, fairy tale, but also has a very poignant love story at the centre of it. It also benefits from very strong guest characters too.

I also think this is the 11th Doctor at his best. Here we see what a true master of time he is as he is able to change the whole history of one of the characters in the story, but in a way that ultimately saves both him and everyone else.

RTD 8 SM 8

Best Regeneration Story: The Night of the Doctor vs The Parting of the Ways

This one I am going to give to Davies. The Parting of the Ways is a great swansong for 9 as well as a thumpingly good Dalek story too. The Night of the Doctor for what it sets out to do is great ending to 8 but ultimately I think that 8 should have a proper story to finish on. Though I am grateful to Moffat that he actually showed us 8’s ending at all.

RTD 9 SM 8

Best Second Doctor Regeneration: The End of Time vs The Time of the Doctor

This one I am going to give to Moffat. I am not that fond of either story to be honest. They both just try and do too much. Still the reason Time is better is because 11 bows out like a hero rather than a whiny self pitier.

Its awful what Davies does to 10 in his final story. He must blub about 7 times in the story. I don’t know why Davies was so desperate to make 10 look like the one Doctor who couldn’t face his “death” and thus appear weaker than any of his successors or predecessors?

I remember even David Tennant himself had some reservations about how his Doctor was being portrayed. He claimed that he would be a lot braver, which is why they changed his final delivery of “I don’t want to go” to be less emotional. One wonders how emotional the original delivery must have been!

Moff at least gives 11 plenty of heroic moments. He protects the town of Christmas for 900 years, and goes out blasting the Daleks into nothingness. He also faces what he believes to be his actual death a lot more bravely than 10 faces merely another regeneration.

11’s parting words though perhaps a bit too meta are also vastly superior to 10’s. 10’s destroy the Doctor as a character to me as they make out that all of the Doctors are different people, which defeats the whole point of regeneration. Also if 10’s words were meant to be meta then they are even worse.

I feel that 11’s final moments were more welcoming to the next Doctor too. They made out that its good that the Doctor changes whilst reflecting on the previous Doctors era. 10’s instead made out that the next Doctor was a usurper who was trying to take his place and so for me there can be no question that 11’s final moments where superior.

RTD 9 SM 9

Best Doctors First Story: Rose vs The Eleventh Hour

Once again I am going to give this to Moffat. Rose has a paper thin plot. Its basically just aliens show up and invade the earth. I don’t blame Russell T Davies as this was probably the best thing to do when reintroducing the series. If he had tried to do a big, overly complicated series as the first new Who story it probably would have put people off. A straight forward monster story was the best option.

Still ultimately the 11th Hour is just perfection for me. I love the way we don’t have to put up with the usual tedious regeneration crisis. We just get taken straight into 11. Matt owns the role from when his head first pops out of the TARDIS. His Doctors personality, his naughty sense of humour, his ability to get along with children because he is such a big overgrown child himself. Its all there in that first little grin.

The story itself is quite an interesting idea and Prisoner Zero is an effective villain. Though the idea of the Doctor chasing people off with his reputation would get overused. In this story its an amazing sequence when 11 steps forward after the images of his predecessors. Unlike in other stories where 11 scares his enemies off with his reputation, there’s thankfully no big speech. Just a simple “run”.

RTD 9 SM 10

Best Second Doctors First Story: The Christmas Invasion vs Deep Breath

Now again I don’t like either of these stories to be honest but I am going to say that Deep Breath is marginally better simply because Capaldi is in it more. Tennant doesn’t really pop up until the last 15 or so minutes. These 15 minutes thanks to Tennant are excellent, but sadly before that its just a generic alien invasion story mixed in with more soap opera drivel. Capaldi ultimately gets more screen time though he is still pushed to the side too much for Clara. Sadly a sign of things to come throughout the remainder of series 8.

RTD 9 SM 11

Best Story About An Important Event That Inspires Humanity To Survive To The End Of Time: Waters of Mars vs Kill The Moon

 I really don’t think this is a fair fight at all. The Waters of Mars is one of the best, most atmospheric and genuinely unnerving Doctor Who stories ever made. Its just a masterpiece. Kill the Moon sadly I find to be one of the weakest Doctor Who stories ever made. Peter Harness is an excellent writer normally, but I think that its premise of a space Dragon is just too wild for Doctor Who. Doctor Who is science fiction remember and whilst it does have a fantastical edge to it, ultimately I think having giant Dragons burst out of the moon is too much. Also the ending of the story is far too neat the way the Dragon just lays another egg, that is bigger than its whole body in about five seconds. That must have been some push.

RTD 10 SM 11

Best Companion Departure Story: Army of Ghosts/Doomsday vs Angels Take Manhattan

Now this is very hard to choose as these are among the two best Doctor Who stories ever made. They have something for everyone in them. Great monsters, fabulous sci fi story, great love story, and two of the best soundtracks to any Doctor Who stories ever made.

Murray Gold at his best.

Its so hard to choose. On the one hand the Angels are at their most terrifying in this story, whilst on the other the Daleks are at their most badass. On the one hand Rose and 10’s goodbye on the beach is definitely the best Doctor/Companion romance moment in the whole series. Even though I am not a fan of those types of stories I still find those final moments to be well acted. On the other hand however I still find Amy and Rory to have the best departure’s of any companion in the revival, and Amy’s final letter to 11 is very moving.

I’m going to call it a draw.

RTD 10 SM 11

Best Master Comeback Story: Utopia/The Sound of Drums/ The Last of The Time Lords vs Dark Water/Death in Heaven

Well its obvious I am going to give this to Davies. To be fair the season 3 finale is excellent in its first two episodes, it just falls apart in its final episode with the Jesus Doctor.

Still at the very least with that story you can see how Davies wrote a good story but it just kind of tailed off towards the end. He wrote himself into a corner basically.

With Dark Water/Death in Heaven there is nothing to recommend in my opinion. I used to hate this story for what it did to the Master, but after a recent rewatch the whole story is just a mess in my opinion.

I have been over the faults of this story a million times, so I wont spend too much time here. Basically the plot of this story is a convoluted mess, chalk full of plot holes and its tone is all over the place. We have all of these horrific scenes of graphic drawn out psychopathic killings, disturbing ideas of the dead being aware and experiencing pain when we cremate them, mixed in with silly nonsense of people squeeing, Mary Poppins flying in, and fucking Santa Claus.

Even just little moments make in it make me cringe, like Osgood’s death. Yes okay I like Ingrid Oliver and wouldn’t want to see her leave the show, but still even without that its a pretty fucking terrible scene.

What the Master suddenly gains teleporting powers, the UNIT guards don’t react when Missy threatens to kill them, and puts her lipstick on revealing that she got out of the cuffs, and best of all the Doctor and Kate are watching on a tv screen and don’t react?

Also why don’t Osgood’s glasses go poof too? Flesh, bone, even metal was vaporised by Missy’s weapon (the two UNIT guards she disintegrated where carrying weapons that vanished with them), yet her glasses remained? It reminded me of Duck Dodgers when his vest remains whilst the rest of him is vaporised.

Then of course there is Cyber Brig and well need I say more?

However what makes me despise Death in Heaven more than any other story, is not simply because its crap, but also because it felt like Steven Moffat was spitting in the face of Classic era fans. To start with he was pandering to feminist fans.

From about 2013, the SJW’s having buried the atheist community, and made a dent in the video game industry, set their sights on Doctor Who.

They slandered it, and its makers and fans as sexists, racists and homophobic, even though of course nothing could be further from the truth. Doctor Who has ironically always been a very left leaning, liberal show, that was progressive in some ways.

Still as the SJW’s love to complain, they slandered Moffat in particular as everything horrible under the sun, and so he decided to pander to them. The result was Missy, the female Master (among other things).

There was no reason to make the Master a woman. Missy could have easily been the Rani, a female archfoe of the Doctors, who Michelle Gomez would have been excellent as. Wouldn’t an original female villain, be better than a third rate, feminised version of a male one? Wouldn’t two different archenemies that the Doctor could play against, the Rani played by Michelle Gomez, and the Master played by an actor like say Charles Dance, Robert Carlyle, Simon Templeman or Jason Watkins, not be twice the fun as just the Master all the time?

The answer is, yes, yes of course it would. However the SJW’s don’t actually care about representation, or even interesting female characters. All they care about is taking things away from men, who in their minds are all privileged shit lords. Thus that’s the only reason they would rather the Master be a woman, than Gomez play the Rani. To take the role away from men, and in their mind make all the “entitled male fans” heads explode.

See what I mean?

The Cyber Brig felt like the final, “fuck you” to the classic era fans on top of Missy.

Overall I’d say that Death in Heaven is the worst Doctor Who story ever made.

RTD 11 SM 11

Final Result

Its a draw. Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies in my opinion are both great writers, who have overall produced good era’s of Doctor Who. Though ironically Moff’s worst work is in his second Doctors era, whilst RTD’s best work is in his second Doctors era. They both also in my opinion suffer from the same basic problem. Their desire to pander to what they think are populist audiences.

Now to be fair other Doctor Who producers such as Barry Letts and John Nathan Turner have done this too. Letts tried to cash in on the Bond, Spy, Espionage craze, whilst Turner, often cast popular, light entertainers to get “bums on seats”.

However both I don’t think ever went so far to the point where it no longer felt like Doctor Who, which sadly Moff and RTD have both done with things like the romantic Doctor, female Master etc.

Also I feel that the audiences they have both courted are not stable, or ideal audiences for Doctor Who.

In RTD’s case he seemed to go after the soap opera audience, people who don’t like Sci Fi, (which he felt was the only kind of mainstream audience), hence his greater focus on the companions home life. Whilst Moffat went for the Feminist, SJW audience who slandered him, as again he wrongly thought they were the main audience for the show.

Whilst the version they created and maintained was popular initially. It is crashing and burning after just 9 years, whilst Old Who went on for 22 years before it was cancelled the first time. And even then it only began to decline in popularity, thanks to a calculated effort by the Beeb to kill it.

Hopefully whoever takes over after Moff might be able to rectify these mistakes, and restore Doctor Who to being just a fun adventure series, that anyone can watch, rather than a show written for one type of audience. Be that the soap opera audience or the SJW audience.

 

6 thoughts on “Russell T Davies vs Steven Moffat

  1. I’ve been puzzling over RTD vs. SM era and so far here is where I got to. (Disclaimer: I prefer RTD’s style and the ability to enjoy it without commitment, but I do not hate Moffat era)

    RTD team acknowledged that the majority of the viewers are young men, but they decided to not exclude children and women (their words, not mine). Hence, I am guessing, they had goofy-looking villains, a compelling leading character who is suffering from depression, and a sprinkle of romance. Even Jackie Tyler felt rather motherly toward his unconscious-self on Christmas Invasion: “Oh, come on, sweetheart. What do you need? What is it you need? Tell me.”

    Fast forward to Moffat era. The show was well re-established by then. Moffat appeared to go with the current formula for sci-fi success. If you are looking at the trend in Hollywood blockbusters, the action and sci-fi genres, you’d notice that they spend tremendous amount of time and efforts on the actions and special effects, and much less on the character developments and relationships. The villains are really great looking with great power, and the fighting was epic. There are usually beautiful women (more often than not wearing sexy outfits), witty one-liners, and sexual innuendo and acts if they could get away with the ratings. I am assuming this is what the intended audience of the sci-fi/action movies want to see. Occasionally they throw in a bone for the female audience by introducing romance (Kili in the Hobbit, Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars), but it feels so awkward that I wish they would just go with the shagging. In Moffat era, the monsters look way cooler than RTD’s. The companions…well…Amy and Clara are both very good looking, and they like mini-skirts. TV industry seems to be fond of cliffhangers, which is pretty much what Moffat era is – a story arc that extends through the season instead of episodic type in RTD’s era. As this is a show about time travel, Moffat also throws in complicated timey-wimey stuff, characters in different time and space within the same episode (the Pandorica Opens, A Good Man Goes to War). Interestingly enough, some of the timey-wimey stuff in RTD era were written by Moffat (Girl in the Fireplace, Blink). There is nothing wrong with Moffat era. It makes perfect sense to go where the demand goes. Sci-fi main audience is men, and men like cool sci-fi adventures and beautiful women, and it doesn’t make Moffat a misogynist to follow this formula. It makes perfect business sense.

    As a result, Moffat era is fun. The monsters look really good and/or scary, the stories enjoyable, the actions and explosions look believable. Matt Smith is funny. He’s like someone’s goofy roommate in college. I love his bow tie, love the fez. However, I rarely feel any emotional connection with his Doctor and companions, except in a couple of episodes, like his dialog with River Song on Trenzalore. (Come to think of it, I actually like this version of River). He had a great last line before he regenerated, but I never really missed him. (OK, admittedly, the repeat episodes of his Doctor are on all the time on BBCA, so it’s not like he’s completely gone). Also, sometimes Moffat makes things way too complicated, so I start paying more attention, and then plot holes are discovered, continuity are questioned, etc.

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    • I am sorry but I disagree that there is no heart in Moffat era Who. IMO there is quite a lot of great emotional content in his era like 11’s goodbye, Vincent Van Gough finding out how remembered he will be, Amy and Rory’s goodbye. At times I prefer some of the more understated emotion of Moff’s time to the bombastic overblown emotion of RTD’s.

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  2. I feel this is a pretty fair list. Personally Davies era was all over the place for me, I felt sometimes his drama was incredible and sometimes the characters just felt completely out of character and his sci-fi was disastrous sometimes, for example waters of mars is my all time favorite and was a great episode for before his regeneration episode but then they just throw all of that away in the imo terrible end of time(barring wilfred of course), I also felt that Davies lacked subtlety even in his good drama it was very overblown.

    Also did’nt help that he focused so much on Rose a character I felt was great in S1 but actually became a spiteful more evil person in S2, ruining Doomsday for me(i was waay more sad about losing Mickey and Pete lol).

    As for the Daleks, I kinda agree and don’t agree, I felt the daleks were at their most threatening in S1, I stand by that Dalek could have been an ending for them and i’d have been completely fine with it, and even when they kinda undermined it a bit by bringing them back in The parting of ways, they were still frightening and effective even on rewatches now.
    But Davies to me loves spectacle and kept trying to one up himself and even with the daleks doing loads of killing they felt more cartoony in pretty much all their other appearences barring maybe Doomsday and I feel this is part of the issue on why they are’nt effective during Moffat’s era either, I love these ideas, dalek asylum, into the dalek and the witches familiar, hell I love them episodes(barring some terrible Amy/rory drama that made no sense given their characters) but really the daleks are’nt that effective anymore and need to be shelved for a while, Moffat says he does’nt think people would want that as back in his day people were always wanting them back but the daleks are’nt as interesting anymore and we need a proper break from them.

    Also on the topic of the master, I’m not a fan of Simm’s version, I agree both are’nt like the older masters but think of it this way, 4th doctor is nothing like 5th so they can change their personality quite a bit and get away with it, I feel Missy’s master is great though she’s just as insane as Simm’s but far more threatening while Simm felt cartoony, it’s a small detail but the fact that Missy just casually tries to vaporize Clara are nice touches that shows she’s much more unpredictable then Simm’s, I don’t know what you mean about this love relationship with the doctor though, barring the kiss which was clearly meant to freak him out more then anything, there’s nothing romantic about it, I actually like her motivations that she just wants her old friend back and as she explains in the magicians apprentice(which was’nt aired by the time you made this so fair enough) they have a far more complex relationship then simply love.

    On that note, why so much hate for Dark water/death in heaven? I agree it is flawed(moffat cybermen need fuckin rules already, admittedly not as bad as nightmare in silvers we can upgrade whenever we damn well please though), but I felt the drama and buildup was great, though it would defineitly depend on your enjoyment of the Clara/Danny relationship, it just needed some extra sci-fi fluff to make some of the other parts work like if the cybermen had been given some sort of timelord technology or some aspect(personally I feel alot of s8’s sci-fi could’ve been fixed easily with a bit more explanations).

    Actually that is one massive flaw I do have with some of moff’s work, he does tend to pull cop-outs sometimes, for example being led to believe the doctor would kill young davros(which an entire season could’ve been built around), or his escape from the pandorica, Davies did write himself into a corner and pull nonstop deus ex’s but he did go all the way with his ideas i’ll give him that.

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    • Thanks for the reply. I don’t think there is any question that Missy was meant to be in love with the Doctor. Look a what she says. “My hearts are maintained by the Doctor”. Look at how she says it, very seriously and he looks shocked. She also says to the Half face Man when the Doctor is not around “my boyfriend he loves me so much”. Why would she say that to mess with him when he is not around and the Half face man has no idea what she is talking about? Also when he kisses her she smiles. Plus she mentions shooting him in a jealous rage over Clara and she kills Osgood in a jealous rage. Also on top of that she is all over him throughout the two parter. Plus Steven Moffat has always shipped the Doctor and the Master. Look at the joke about him being gay Moffat stuck in in Time Crash.

      I hate to say this but I think that a lot of people not saying you but a lot of people only say she was just messing with him because they don’t like the idea of the master wanting to shag the Doctor so they come up with this alternate explanation. IMO she was and that’s why she was crap in series 8. I agree though they didn’t have that in series 9, but I think they cut it back for that reason because they realized how bad an idea it was.

      I hate Dark Water/ Death in Heaven because I feel that it was poor all around. It was really violent and sick in some places like Don’t Cremate Me and Osgoods murder, yet it was silly and stupid in others like Santa showing up and Missy’s Mary Poppins shit. It was total tone whip lash.

      Glad to hear your insights.

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      • True actually… I can’t argue with that XD, you raise some good points about her in the rest of the season mainly the half face man part, forgot about that.

        Barring santa’s appearence i’d say the comedic parts of death in heaven worked well I think, missy’s mary poppins stuff worked for me as I still felt she was threatening while doing so unlike John Simms master who was funny but not exactly threatening.
        As said my main issue was with the science, if they’d limited it to recent graves and gave a reason to the cybermens new abilities(as said like time lord technology) it’d of worked much better. I also agree with the Osgood scene, I thought the death itself was good but the two dumbasses in the back… you’re using the master theres literally a million other ways they could’ve creatively had her kill them then go for osgood rather then making them look like idiots.

        I will say though, alot of this season does revolve around the danny/clara/doctor relationship and if you’re not a fan of that(which you clearly are’nt), then yeah I can understand disliking it alot more because thats pretty much the central core of some of the episodes gone, I can forgive alot of the flaws because i liked those elements of it.

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  3. IMO Dark Water/ Death in Heaven is the worst DW story ever made. I have written other articles about why its so bad, so I won’t repeat them here, but you should check them out if you are interested.

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