Has Doctor Who gotten too complicated? Its writers say, 'No!'

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

Have you been watching Doctor Who lately? One recently resolved storyline, described below, had become what some call extremely complicated ... perhaps too complicated. Not everyone, it seems, is happy with a sophisticated Doctor Who. [Warning: Spoilers ahead.]

According to The Guardian, some fans believe that Doctor Who isn't complex so much as convoluted. We admit that the tale of Amy and her not-so-phantom pregnancy required a level of concentration we didn't anticipate. Learning that Amy wasn't Amy but a Flesh version of herself, and that she was actually in the clutches of Madame Kovarian (aka Eye-Patch Lady), was a bit of a mind-slap—especially when we really never learn exactly how Real Amy was swapped out for Flesh Amy in the first place.

But the writers are stepping up in defense of their choices:

Toby Whithouse, who wrote "The God Complex," told The Guardian:

"Personally, I think Doctor Who should be complicated. Not despite but because it's a children's show. It's fantastic that the next generation of storytellers are being told such rich and dark and intricate stories. When did having to concentrate become mutually exclusive to enjoyment?"

And Gareth Roberts, writer of the upcoming episode "Closing Time," said:

"I would only be worried if Doctor Who was complex in a technical, scientific way - if it was all about 'reconfiguring the thermalobes'. This is emotionally complex, a bit like that thing ... er, what is it ... oh yeah, life."

It's true that complex plots lead to greater character development, which tends to engage fans more than one-off, monster-of-the-week episodes. But it's also true that one-off episodes are more appealing to newer fans, who aren't familiar with a show's backstory.

Whithouse believes that Tom Baker-era Doctor Who (which, if you recall, had the Key to Time storyline in 1978) was just as complex as the current one. But he's acknowledged a change in the viewing audience:

"I don't think the problem is that Doctor Who has become more complicated, surely it's the fact that the rest of television has become more simplistic."

So Doctor Who is either wonderful storytelling or a bit too messy, depending on who's answering. So what do you think?

(via TheGuardian)

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