Top TVWriter™ Posts for the Week Ending 9/6/13

sheen on

Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts for the past week:

2013 PEOPLE’S PILOT Winners

Ooh, a Genuine Writing Job Offer

Writing in the Age of Distraction

Steven Moffat Talks About Writing, Showrunning, and DOCTOR WHO

Here are the 2013 SPEC SCRIPTACULAR Finalists

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline



Student Central


Thanks for making this another great week here at TVWriter™ – and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Are You Tired of DOCTOR WHO?

Yeah, we are too. For us it’s the whole puzzle thing. The way the show has turned into a game. Steven Moffat versus the audience instead of The Moff trying to bring joy to the audience.

For io9.Com’s Charlie Jane Anders, it’s something else:


We’re mighty sick of Doctor Who stories where time travel is magic
by Charlie Jane Anders

Ever since Steven Moffat took over as head writer of Doctor Who, the show’s been trying to be a “dark fairy tale.” And the main sort of magic in Moffat’s fairy-tale Who has been time-travel, with its arbitrary rules and get-out-of-jail-free cards. But after tonight’s episode, I’m finally tired of “jargony-wargony” writing.

Spoilers ahead…

Seriously, while watching “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS,” DO NOT TOUCH YOUR NOSE THREE TIMES. Anyone who touches their nose a third time during the watching of this episode will intubate their time nexus and super-circumvent their own synchronicity. The aforementioned makes about as much sense as most of “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” did to me — there’s actually a whole scene where the Doctor stands around yelling at the guest stars not to touch each other, “or time will reassert itself.”

I’m going to be worried from now on about ever touching other people — because I’m absolutely terrified that time might reassert itself. Time is already quite assertive enough as it is, in my experience.

I quite liked bits of the “evil wifi” midseason opener, and liked about half of “Rings of Akhaten,” all of “Cold War,” and almost all of “Hide,” except the ending. So this episode is a bit of a disappointment, after a moderately decent run of episodes. And a big part of the disappointment comes from the overuse of the time-travel bafflegab.

Timey Wimey=Mumbo Jumbo

The notion of time being this magical thing, with absurd rules, has been played up a lot in the Moffat era. The Doctor has to be assassinated by a Lake in Utah by River Song, rather than just being shot on a random streetcorner by some dude with a gun, because that’s a magical time-spot. The Doctor can’t just go to New Jersey in 1934 and then take a train to Manhattan to grab Amy and Rory, because there’s a magical time thing. (And River Song has to write a whole detective novel explaining what’s happened, because of timey wimey, too.) It’s all gotten a bit arbitrary.

Read it all

DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Will Be On The Air On – Wotta Surprise – Christmas Day

Yeppers, the BBC has announced that the DOC’s annual Christmas show will be airing on BBC America December 25th at 9 pm Eastern/10 pm Central Time.

Showrunner Steven-the Moff-Moffat is the writer, and amid the various Christmas-type surprises we’ll also meet the Doctor’s new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, and renew our acquaintanceship with Silurian Madame Vastra.

Yo, if that ain’t the Christmas spirit, then what is?

RTD v. Moffat (Not Necessarily a Battle to the Death)

by ladyfan

As the media salivates over the ucoming season 7 of Doctor Who, lauding Steven Moffat’s work on both it and Sherlock, there seems to be a good deal of jumping over the four seasons that actually brought Doctor Who back to life. Yes, we speak (reverentially) of what will surely in the future be known as the Russell T. Davies Dynasty (for you non Who-vians, the RTD Dynasty = Season 1-4 of new Who). Although Moffat was a freelancer on the show before his upgrade to showrunner, the voice and tone of the first four seasons is unquestionably Davies’.

The excellent and painfully truthful book about TV writing he’s co-written with Benjamin Cook reveals just how involved Davies was in the episode-to-episode process of the show – and while we wonder about how he was ever able to sleep (ever) we admire the unity of tone and carefully crafted subtle plot arcs that span from season to season each year. Bad Wolf? Torchwood? Harry Saxon? There is always a little extra credit for paying attention to the details (and if you’re an extra super nerd, like we are, watching the episode that fourth or fifth time illuminated that one reference we missed the first four times. It did! And it was worth it!)

Now that the show is in Moffat’s hands, it’s very clear there is an essential difference in the way Davies and Moffatt have approached their respective tenures. If you currently watch Sherlock and Doctor Who, you know that Moffat is a flash magician of a writer – a fan of nail-biting suspense, jump cuts, and as much action-packed plot as you can stand.

Watching a Moffat season is like watching someone build an incredibly complicated Jenga tower out of aliens and inexplicable mysteries and hoping when it’s built they can step back and admire it instead of wincing as it all falls down around them. What he achieves is the creation of a world where characters are secondary to the magnificence of story and scenery – he often involves characters’ personal lives in the service of a greater plot. (Amy and Rory being the most notable examples).

Davies, on the other hand, rooted his seasons philosophically in this notion of unlimited human potential: his companions, over and over again, are lifted out of ordinary and often unpromising lives: Rose, the shopgirl who lives with her mother at the council estates, Martha, the medical student with the troubled family, Donna, the unfortunate temp, and even Wilfred, the UFO nut stumbling upon real aliens for the first time. The characters that populate Davies’ Doctor Who all have blinders on, even his Doctors, and the journey of the show is watching each character realize more fully who they are and what they are capable of, both good and evil.

The true lesson of watching the show pass from the hands of one to the other has more to do with the resilience of the Doctor Who mythology and the remarkable way the show, like the Doctor, can regenerate within itself (Cheesy? Yes! But true!). There are diehard fans of both Moffat and Davies who would defend until their last breath each approach to the show: and that says more about Doctor Who and the kind of fandom the concept inspires than it does about any particular color – or actor – within the show itself.

Steven Moffat Wishes William Goldman Happy Birthday

So do we.

Whoa! A portrait featuring The Princess Bride and not Butch & Sundance. Hats off to artist Bo Hampton.
The Moff’s tweet, sent yesterday:

William Goldman is 81 today. If you want to learn everything about screenwriting, save time – just read all of his.

When Moffat’s right, Moffat’s right. And thanks for reminding us:

Happy Birthday, William Goldman!

OK, so we’re posting Butch & Sundance because otherwise it just doesn’t seem right.