Pond Life

The first episode of the Doctor Who Prequel miniseries, Pond Life, aired yesterday.

In 55 seconds, it managed to include almost everything I hate about Moffat's New Who.

To recap:

+ It is called "Pond Life," but it's actually 100% about the Doctor. Because their life is the Doctor? (Hopefully this one will get fixed by the other parts of the series, but I was really hoping for the Ponds' misadventures in ordinary life... apparently not).

+ A historical figure immediately wants to sleep with the Doctor. Because that's basically what all female historical figures do in Moffat's Who.

+ That historical figure has no lines and no clear shot of her face. Instead, we get her dropping her dressing gown and a through-the-legs shot. That's not objectifying at all.

One major problem, I think, is that Moffat is completely fascinated with the Doctor, and he expects the audience and characters to be the same. In his version of Doctor Who, the Doctor is the only thing that matters. We see his humorous adventures and misadventures, as he encounters historical figures and surfs on lava and raps(??). The Ponds, as accessories to his adventure, only listen and react to his stories when he's not around them. Female historical figures want to sleep with the Doctor, because in the mind of this show, this is the way that women show their admiration. Companions have their entire emotional lives (and literal lives) built around him, because he is the center of everything.

Amongst the painful sexism, I think Moffat misses something that Russell T Davies, for all his own narrative flaws, knew well: the companion is the true focus of the story. The ordinary person who is actually extraordinary. The person who gives us a glimpse into the Doctor's world, who grounds it, who provides emotional, real-life ties through their family and friends and ambitions. Without a rich, well-written companion who both supports and clashes with the Doctor, he becomes distant and emotionally inaccessible... and that doesn't make an enjoyable show.