Steven Moffat


…is a god among writers.

“Nine and a Half Minutes” is the single most brilliant script ever. It’s from Coupling. No, the good one, the British one (same scripts, better acting and directing). It is the exact same sequence of events involving six people seen from three different viewpoints. It’s the only time I’ve seen the same joke mean two different things, with both being hysterically funny. And while it adds a bit to know the characters, it’s still brilliant without that knowledge.

Go watch it. Go watch the whole series. You can finish reading this when you’re done.

Moffat also wrote the best Doctor Who episodes ever. All six of them. “The Empty Child,” “The Doctor Dances, ” “The Girl in the Fireplace,” “Blink, ” “Silence in the Library,” and “Forest of the Dead.” They will creep you out. They will break your heart. They will end in a place you didn’t expect but that is exactly where they must end. And you will never forget the characters they introduce.

Next season, Moffat takes over the whole show. I already knew that, of course. Cheers went up at WisCon when it was announced that it was now official. But having just seen the last two episodes he wrote makes it more immediate, so now I’m twitching for it to happen now, now, NOW. It won’t, though. Not for another two years.

I’m so going to wear out my DVDs before that gets here.

Comments

  1. says

    “The Girl In The Fireplace” remains my all-time favorite episode of Doctor Who, from both the old and new series. My only concern about Moffat taking over from Davies is that he won’t have as much time for cranking out such amazingly good scripts.

  2. says

    I agree that I’m delighted about Moffat taking over, but I’m not so sure about knowing the characters in Coupling mattering only a bit for the brilliance of Nine and a Half Minutes to come through. From the point of view of someone who has only seen that one episode, it was good and funny, and quite well written, but (not knowing the characters) it didn’t come across as more than that. I’m not saying it isn’t the best script ever written for a TV show, just that it didn’t register that way for me under the circumstances. That’s because the characters without context didn’t come across as very deep or more interesting than any genuinely good sitcom’s characters and so their problems and interactions didn’t engage me much more than any other television comedy. The writing was sharp and witty and the structure a cool one, but it just didn’t grab me at the level it has grabbed the folks I know who watched it in the context of the broader show.

  3. says

    Christopher, Sophia Myles is also brilliant, which really added to that episode. Heck, she was the only good thing about Underworld. I’m hoping that with the long lead time for him taking over, they can figure that out. But one per season isn’t that much cranking out. Hopefully he can keep up with that while inspiring other writers to do more with the characters and series.Kelly, those characters are some of the most compellingly shallow I have seen in the history of television. I’m not sure whether you’ll get as much from the series, just based on that, but S&J are sure to let you borrow the series if you ask. Or if they remember you haven’t seen it. Or if you walk past the shelf where it’s sitting.