Yesterday in Pajiba Love, the ever effulgent Vivian linked to concerning information about the replacement of the sonic screwdriver on Doctor Who, and the resultant fan uproar.
Way back in the first season of the restarted series of Doctor Who, the once and future Doctor #9, the inimitable Christopher Eccleston, was challenged by Captain Jack and his sonic gun. Why would anyone want a sonic screwdriver? Jack asked, all balls and concentrated id. It was pretty simple you see, the Doctor has never had any use for a gun. The Doctor is a scientist. He is a tinkerer. The core of his character is that he is a warrior of the mind, a crusader whose mission is exploring and understanding. Of figuring out how things work and trying to fix what’s broken instead of just blowing up the enemy of the week.
Naturally, Moffat has replaced the sonic screwdriver with a set of fucking sonic sunglasses. And his response to fan outrage has been his usual mixture of bafflement and contempt whenever confronted with people who don’t gush at his genius:
“Sometimes you have to be heretical. Sometimes you actually have to embrace the heresy. And I just thought, really on a whim, why would the Doctor feel wedded to a screwdriver? Maybe he fancies varying it for a while, maybe he’ll pop his sonic glasses on instead… It maybe resurrected the original joke … that the screwdriver was just a screwdriver that made a noise.”
Just a screwdriver? Just a screwdriver? Yeah and Moby Dick was just a whale, and Watership Down was just about some rabbits. Seems par for Moffat’s view of storytelling since Doctor Who has descended to being just about zany antics with stapled on deus ex machinas to avoid actually thinking stories through.
Here’s the onscreen explanation:
Oh well that totally makes sense. Naturally a nuanced symbol of the heart of what makes a character who he is should be discarded for a one-liner and the chance to look funny and dorky all at the same time. Of course, that summarizes the entire Moffat era of the show: cheap and lazy storytelling with no comprehension of what made the show great, propped up by good actors and expert emotional manipulation.
Every time I hear about anything on Doctor Who, I’m even happier that I stopped watching this dumpster fire of style over substance after the incoherent disaster of The Wedding of River Song.