Saturday, January 4, 2014

Moffat in the Time of the Doctor: In Love with the Epic

Okay, one more thing on how awful the Time of the Doctor was and then I'll shut up about it.

I mistakenly thought this passage from Hemingway was from his speech when he accepted the Nobel, which is why I couldn't track it down in time for publication of the original post.

This too to remember. If a man writes clearly enough any one can see if he fakes. If he mystifies to avoid a straight statement, which is very different from breaking so-called rules of syntax or grammar to make an effect which can be obtained in no other way, the writer takes a longer time to be known as a fake and other writers who are afflicted by the same necessity will praise him in their own defense. True mysticism should not be confused with incompetence in writing which seeks to mystify where there is no mystery but is really only the necessity to fake to cover lack of knowledge or the inability to state clearly. Mysticism implies a mystery and there are many mysteries; but incompetence is not one of them; nor is overwritten journalism made literature by the injection of a false epic quality. Remember this too: all bad writers are in love with the epic.

I think this really nails it. He teased the viewing audience for three seasons with these epic concepts, and when the time came to explain them, he resorted to the most banal and literal explanations imaginable.

"Milhouse. You were supposed to be the night watchman."

"I was watching. I saw the whole thing. First it started falling over, then it fell over."


  1. By epic, does he mean the literary form or in scale, do you think?

    1. My read is that he's talking of scale, and that he's rejecting works that are characterized by a false sense of grandeur and scope.

    2. Damn, as much as I love Whedon, even I'm tempted to reply to this with a snarky reference to his work...

      I think Riley said it best in season 4: "I find myself needing to learn the plural of 'apocalypse'."

    3. Heh heh.

      You have put me in the very odd position where I am defending Whedon. Whatever flaws I think he might have as a writer, he does bring his story arcs to a satisfying conclusion. With seasons 2 and 3 of Buffy, I don't know to what extent they were planned out, but the conclusions left me thinking "Yes, of course. It had to end this way." There's a sense of *rightness* to how things ended.

  2. Sounds like Hemingway could predict the future and saw Joss Whedon as well.