Dear Steven Moffat: The Impossible Astronaut

Dear Steven,

First, my apologies. You’ll recall my promise to write to you at Christmas with thoughts on the Dr Who special but circumstance conspired to eyeblock the endeavour. Following Christmas dinner I sat down to polish off Dicken’s Christmas Carol and by the time I’d reached the last page it was 3.15am on Boxing Day morning. I did try and catch it on the BBC iPlayer but there was insufficient bandwidth to stream the programme; my neighbour is jacking into my connection and downloading entire series of pornographic films. I know this because I can hear them through the wall, as well as a sound not dissimilar to a balloon being polished with a wet fish.

So, I thought you might like to know how I felt about tonight’s Season 32 premiere, to use the American (as it was a US themed episode). Mrs Moffat, sitting on her toffat, whatever that is, once let it slip that you don’t sleep unless you’ve read that I’m satisfied. This thought alone sustains me during these early evenings as I watch these idea rich ejaculations of yours and bemoan the injustice that I’m not writing this stuff and you’re not corresponding with me afterwards instead of the converse. Still, I did appreciate the plush chocolate box you sent; that’s a compensation. I enjoyed the in-joke, presumably a reference to the Pandorica episode we discussed, that the box had extraordinary packaging, yet was completely empty. You are a card.

Let’s begin with your risk addiction. As we discussed during your hospital visit, (which was very kind by the way, not many would put their embarrassment aside to see a man lodged inside a papier mache Amy Pond) I approve of your propensity to say tish to culture creep. Culture creep, you may recall, was the term we agreed upon to describe the condition of a contemporary family audience. Consider the distractions – Twitter, Facebook, MSN chat between Dalekphiles and white noise from vocal family members; my word, with all of that you took a chance writing a programme that required strict attentiveness from its audience!

I think about the old Doctor Who serials and I reflect that tonight’s episode was highly reminiscent of them, stuffed as it was with obscure references to unknowable phenomena, playful in its attitude to the possibilities of time travel, oh and marinated in dread. It was ballsy too; I can’t remember the last time that the hero of the piece was murdered in the first five minutes and incinerated.

My left ball exploded as I thought about the sheer head-raping implications of what you’d done, potentially killing not just the future of the series but robbing any subsequent episode of any jeopardy for The Doctor, but then this was a mere penis-jerk response. I understand that you wouldn’t have done it unless you’d already planned a way out. I love the fact I have no idea what the solution is, I just hope it’s a little more complicated than the Pandorica unpleasantness we argued over last June.

No one sets up a character-fuck like that without foreknowledge of the resolution, no one that is except the late Michael Piller. I heard that on the morning after Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Best of Both Worlds Part I aired, he went from office to office at Paramount, screaming “what do I do? Jesus, what do I do?” Is that true, Steven? It seems like a ridiculous thing for someone to have made up.

You’ll now be settling down, realising I quite enjoyed this episode, not least because it wetted the nub of my old chap with plenty of questions. Sorry, before we get into that, I should say that it was good of the BBC to give you an additional six seconds to pay tribute to the late Elisabeth Sladen. I hope they didn’t make you cut six seconds of Rory by way of keeping the show to time. I identified 35 minutes of dead air that could have been excised prior to transmission; an odd experimental game show entitled Don’t Scare the Hare. It was terrifying. Don’t watch it Steven, you’ll give up writing the show when you realise there’s nothing to touch the horror of that preceding programme.

So, questions. If you could get back to me on these by next week I’d be very grateful. First, the biggy; how much does it cost to post a letter to River Song in the future? Were you worried that prison officers might act independently of your script and vet her mail, thereby fucking everything up? I know they didn’t, but you can’t rely on lax screening processes in future.

I noted the characters travelled to the Summer of 1969. A mate told me that in Doctor Who lore, this part of the space-time continuum is referred to as Bryan Adams Space. True?

Is Adele really popular in the American mid-west? I mean, would she be playing on a jukebox in a Utah diner? It’s cool if she would be, but you’ve got to be careful Steven, the audience can only suspend their disbelief so far.

Do you think anyone will take NASA to task for the Doctor’s death? I found it incredible that the organisation that murdered the Challenger Astronauts could further blot their copy book with this disgrace. Seriously Steven, someone’s got to sort these bastards out. They knew about that O-Ring problem you know, it’s common knowledge. I don’t want to drag it up again but it’s still a sensitive issue and now, after that and nearly killing Lea Thompson in SpaceCamp, they’re plasma-shunting my favourite Timelord!

Is the Doctor really the King of Okay? I ask because I imagined him to be, at least in principle, ideologically opposed to monarchy. What kind of King is he? Did he kill the last one or inherit the title? Sorry to labour the point but I’m sensitive to the issue, what with the Royal Wedding coming up.

Okay, just a few more – I’ll wiz through them. You implied that two of the founding Fathers of the United States were homosexuals. Can you say which two? Can we infer from the scene where Rory asks to follow Amy to the White House restroom that he likes to watch her urinate? Is River’s “far worse day”, worse then her own death, the day she meets Catherine Tate? Is there any possibility that the person she kills is John Barrowman? Was it really necessary to kill one of the few people who watched Star Trek during its original run? This, presumably, is why syndication was necessary. Oh, and finally, is there any chance that I’m the father of Amy’s baby?

Well, we’ll leave it there, Steven. Congratulations on a fine, and teasing opening episode. I’ll be sure to write to let you know what I thought of next week’s conclusion. Just one thing though; I noted that the gimmick for The Silence is that you forget about them the second you break eye contact. Two things; first, it hasn’t worked on me, I can still remember them and second, I think Russell T. Davis already did this with every monster he introduced during his tenure. No really, I can’t remember a single thing he did.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

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