Moffat Wants To Do More Online-Only Content For Doctor Who This Season
The prologue to last year’s Doctor Who special, “The Night of the Doctor” (aka “Holy crap, it’s Paul McGann!”), was arguably one of the most interesting and well-told parts of the entire 50th anniversary story arc. Are more such internet treats on the way for fans? Apparently yes, says Steven Moffat.
In an interview with SFX, Moffat discussed the future of television and how he plans to possibly approach web content for Doctor Who in the future:
I think we now have to accept that online stuff isn’t a spin-off anymore. We used to treat it as a spin-off that maybe some people would watch. And to be absolutely honest I thought they were bank raids – they’d give me some money to do an online thing and I’d say right, what crew do we already have, what actors do we already have, what set do we already have? So we’d spend no money on it at all, whack it out in a day, pump the money into the episode and off you go.
But then you suddenly realise something like ‘Pond Life’, which we took much more seriously, had an audience of over six million. You think oh wait, that’s a TV show! That’s just a TV show and a lot of our audience make no distinction between that and the TV show. Same with ‘The Night of the Doctor’. What I think is quite exciting about all that stuff is you’re allowed to do a six minute episode.
I actually think ‘The Night of the Doctor’ is one of the best ones we’ve done, and I don’t think it would be improved by being 45 minutes long. What more storytelling do we need? Arguably always the problem with the regeneration show is everybody’s just waiting for the bit when he dies and regenerates – so why don’t we just do that bit? You don’t feel that you’re short-selling it at all. So there’s going to be more of that, up until the point when all television is like that. And it will be. All television will be downloadable content. It’s coming.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Moffat is right—the Internet is absolutely a viable place to produce original and engaging content, and the fans will come to support you no matter how you choose to tell your story. On the other hand, both “Pond Life” and “The Night of the Doctor” contained really interesting character moments and plot development that really should have gone into the episodes themselves. I worry that creating more web content will, rather than serving as an enhancement, be a sort of bandaid to all of the show’s recent pacing problems and dense, often erratic narrative consistency.
However, I’ll agree on one thing: I would have preferred just skipping to the end of “The Time of the Doctor,” so I wouldn’t mind a five-minute long regeneration episode if that’s what I get to avoid. Just so long as Moffat’s not putting it out that way as an excuse not to tell a longer, coherent story. What do you think?
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