The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; dir. Nick Hurran (BBC, 2013) Like many of Moffat’s ‘big’ scripts, this has a rushed, scattershot feel—not from poor conceptualisation but from trying to cram too much into too little space. That said, there are plenty of nice moments. The interaction amongst Doctors is perfectly pitched.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time by Steven Moffat; dir. Rachel Talalay (BBC, 2017) The Christmas special has some touching performances (Mark Gatiss) and ends on a high with Jodie Whittaker’s first scene, yet for the most part spends too much time prepping the audience for the handover and trying—quite shamelessly—to manipulate our emotions.
Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song by Steven Moffat; dir. Douglas Mackinnon (BBC, 2015) The 2015 Christmas Special takes a lighter approach than its predecessor, and not since Blackadder II has a severed head been played for such laughs. Peter Capaldi captures something of each of the first four Doctors while Alex Kingston nails her swansong.
Sherlock, Series 4 by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (BBC, 2017) The upping of stakes from series to series has led Sherlock into some very grim territory. The characteristic humour remains, but edges closer and closer to the gallows… before making its peace and dovetailing in the perfectly balanced ending: ‘The Final Problem’.
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio by Steven Moffat (BBC, 2016) The New Series Christmas invasion takes a new twist when the Doctor, through rather comic happenstance, creates a bona fide superhero. Peter Capaldi revels in the light-hearted humour while the Superman homage dovetails nicely with the longstanding dynamic between Doctor and companion.
Sherlock, Series 3 by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (BBC, 2014) Having cherry-picked the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories, Gatiss and Moffat in series three give themselves even more latitude for creative adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s material, scripting three adventures that rely very much on the telling. Freeman and Cumberbatch remain resplendent.
Doctor Who, Series 5 (BBC, 2010) A whimsical, wizardly Doctor; coupled companions; a contrived plot-arc whose conjured finale proves that bigger and bombastic are not better: Steven Moffat overhauled the programme for both good and bad, with the best coming from one-off writers Simon Nye and Richard Curtis.
Doctor Who, Series 9 BBC, 2015 Bookended by Steven Moffat’s tulipomaniacal stake-raising and overblown (if ingenious) retrofitting of Doctor Who’s mythology, the other writers of Series 9 have crafted a straight flush of dark, self-contained science fantasy; gothic disturbances in which Peter Capaldi adds depth to his characterisation.