Russell T. Davies: The Hack Who Cried “Bad Wolf”

This season’s penultimate episode of Doctor Who, “The Stolen Earth,” was a big fuck you to the fans, giving them everything they seemed to want, or that writer Russell T. Davies seemed to think that they wanted. It featured cheeky nods to Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the return of Davros (with a ridiculous explanation for how he escaped death), a Richard Dawkins cameo, more holes than a porous street neglected for a decade by a bankrupt city maintenance department, Rose running around Earth with a preposterously gargantuan gun (still no explanation for how she escaped her universe), and an insulting cliffhanger suggesting that we’re getting yet another “it didn’t happen” two-part finale*. Davies even manged to name check Facebook. What next for next week? The Doctor stepping out of the shower, revealing that his real Gallifreyan name is Bobby Ewing, and gallivanting off through time and space with Rose?

I think it’s quite clear that most of us have had enough of Russell T. Davies. The biggest question now is just how much Davies will screw up the show before he hands it off to Steven Moffatt. Keep in mind that we still have a Christmas special and three additional 2009 specials. And every single one of these is to be written by Russell T. Davies.

Yes, I’ll keep watching this train wreck. But between “The Stolen Earth” and this year’s disappointing season of Battlestar, the latter redeemed somewhat by a Planet of the Apes cliffhanger, I’m wondering why I bother. It’s a bit like waiting for George Bush to leave office. With Doctor Who, there’s the hope that the regime change will result in additional intelligence. With Battlestar (new episodes a good year away), it’s hoping that Ronald D. Moore will somehow figure everything out and go out with a bang. But in the meantime, one must sift through a good deal of interstitial dreck. Guess it’s time to dust off the Blake’s 7 and Red Dwarf tapes.

* — I don’t want to reveal what the cliffhanger is for those who haven’t seen it, but if it goes the way I think it will, then it will make Graham Williams’s infamous “let’s try out new bodies” scene for Romana look like Moliere.

[UPDATE: Charlie Anders offers her thought on this fantastic travesty, pointing out, “Since each finale has to top the last, I’m guessing next year would involve a magic virus that turns everyone in the universe into a Sontaran, including Rose, and then the Cybermen from 29 different universes fight with the Gelth, with exploding ribbons! Spoilers for what actually did happen ahead.” Indeed. I must confess that I have a morbid curiosity as to just how much of a mess RTD is going to make for Moffatt. It’s almost as if the man is determined to create a massive continuity clusterfuck that will take at least three seasons to sort out. As for the heartbeat that Donna hears, am I the only one who thinks that this is actually the Dalek heartbeat? I mean, the heartbeat in question had the same intonation and everything. Seemed like this was a foreshadowing to Donna transforming into a Dalek and her character being killed off the show. That’s my prediction at any rate.]


  1. a) The explanation for how Davros escaped death is no more ridiculous than the explanations for how Davros escaped death (multiple times) in the original series.

    b) They’re obviously saving the explanation for how Rose escaped her universe for the final episode. Wait for it.

    c) I’m not sure that we’re headed for another “it all didn’t happen” episode, and it’s unfair to criticize the episode for something it hasn’t done. I have more to say, but nothing that wouldn’t give away the ending to those who haven’t seen it yet.

    d) Rose running around with a giant gun blowing up daleks = awesome

    e) Davros = awesome

    f) Shadow Proclamation = awesome

    g) Daleks – “Exterminate UNIT!” = awesome

    h) Daleks – “Exterminate Torchwood!” = awesome (okay, that show = fucking aweful)

    i) Phil agrees with you about Galactica, though I’m more forgiving of that show, too. Though it is a let down after Razer, which I thought was pretty good, to get bogged down in so much religious mumbo-jumbo, and I still don’t understand a timeline where the Cylon’s planted a “skin-job” into the colonial fleet over 40 years ago when that was supposed to be a new technology they were still developing at the time that Adama was in the fleet.

  2. You’re right about the cliffhanger, Ed. There’s no satisfactory way to resolve that. Sigh.

    “Daleks do not accept apologies.”

  3. See, I think Anders actually does get the show:

    “Are we excited for next week? Yeah, I think so. I mean, come on. It’s Russell T. Davies, who’s sort of the gay Michael Bay*, going further than he’s ever gone before. Who wouldn’t want to see that? It won’t make any sense at all, but it’ll be underpants-hat crazy.”

    He didn’t think it was a travesty. He thought it was ridiculous but fun!

  4. I thought Saturday night’s Doctor Who was fun. RTD gets a hell of a lot of stick from hardcore fans but he brought the show back when nobody else wanted to.
    Fair enough, the Christmas specials have been poor but most I can forgive that.

  5. “Indeed. I must confess that I have a morbid curiosity as to just how much of a mess RTD is going to make for Moffatt. It’s almost as if the man is determined to create a massive continuity clusterfuck that will take at least three seasons to sort out. ”

    Haha, look what Moffat did. Hahahahaha! Turned out to be worse.

  6. Found this thread while reminiscing how good Russell Davies was compared to how Moffat destroyed the show. He had an episode where the moon was an egg for Christ’s sake!! Much rather have a, “it didn’t happen cliffhanger”, then a, “Did they really just jump the biggest of all sharks regenerating the Doctor into woman??!??!?!?!?”, and then hear Moffat say that talk of backlash against it is fake news. I’m not even watching the upcoming fake woman Doctor season. The Doctor is dead. Capaldi was the last.

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