Doctor Who 2014: Why I like It (so far)

So, the latest episode of Doctor Who (Dark Water) has aired and opinions are predictably mixed. Some love it, some hate it. Whatever people’s opinions, though, it tends to be based around how they feel about the series so far.

I enjoyed it.

Now, before people think this is purely down to my curious enjoyment of taking the opposite viewpoint, let’s reflect a bit on my previously stated opinions about Doctor Who and TV in general.

I have had issues with the past couple of years of Doctor Who, as have many. I always took a different issue with it than a lot of people did. Many people didn’t like Steven Moffat’s style of storytelling. I, however, found it was the main thing keeping me from abandoning the show altogether. It was the trappings of contemporary western TV storytelling that I disliked, and the over-reliance of seemingly completely standalone episodes that plagued series seven.

This year, though, Doctor Who has felt like it has hit a lot more of the things that I enjoy in fiction and not been quite as bound by the usual TV “crap” that usually turns me away from otherwise good shows. I didn’t like every episode (Robot of Sherwood, I’m looking at you) but overall I’ve found levels of enjoyment and consistency that have just been missing from the previous complete series.

Trust me, the 7-9 period of a Saturday evening is much too useful to me to keep watching a show if i wasn’t genuinely enjoying it. And this year really has kept me from jumping ship. We’ve had a different take on the Doctor, a diffetent dynamic with the existing companion, and a look (through Clara) of why the Doctor is the way he is.

It has hit the “through line” and “character progression” beats that I haven’t seen in enough of in non-Japanese TV in several years. not that it hasn’t been there, but I’ve been put off too much to want to look for it anymore. But after this year, I have found that Western TV narrative can be just as engaging. I might even have to start watching TV for non-DW shows and finally catch up on my DVD/BD backlog of other series.

I know that many people have disliked the series, and for some it was put them off the show entirely. For me, though, this year (in addition to the 50th Anniversary Specials) is exactly what I needed to not lose interest in the show completely.

Now it just hangs on how the finale finishes up.