As with all fandoms, opinions on the quality of Doctor Who at any given moment will be divided. Some will think that the show in its current format is absolutely perfect and not a thing should be done that might tarnish it. Others think Moffat should sacked (if not hanged, drawn and quartered) and the show should begin with new blood behind the pen. Luckily, most people are somewhere in the middle. Whatever your opinion, it never hurts to shake things up a bit. Even Steven Moffat seems to think so, having been quoted several times as saying that with the new Doctor comes the chance for him to tweak and rework minor elements of the show as he sees fit - a perspective that is often at loggerheads with the opinion of the fans. So, from this fan's perspective, here's the five things I think Moffat should do (in terms of format and story) that would be a refreshing change of pace for the Peter Capaldi era.
5. Serialised Stories
When the show returned in 2005, the creators wisely decided to change the format and duration of the episodes from the multi-part serials of the classic era. Audience expectations of pacing and storytelling had changed drastically in the intervening years: lending itself more to a punchy, self-contained 45-minute story with the occasional two-parter thrown in. If 'Rose' had been the first episode of a six-part saga that slowly reintroduced the essential elements of the show, new viewers would likely have been disinterested and the Whovians-of-old would have grown tired of being drip-fed information they already knew. But now that the elements of the show have been firmly re-established, this would the the perfect opportunity for a run of ambitious multi-part stories, broadcast in a serialised format similar to the classic series. This would allow for complex plots to be explored in more depth without rushing, introduce and develop characters that are given more depth than the modern one-shot guest stars and give more breathing room to explore the dynamic between the new Doctor and Clara. This is ideally suited to Moffat's writing style, as evidenced by Sherlock and the superb integration of character development into what would otherwise be standard detective story fare. With twice the running time of a standard episode of Doctor Who, but nevertheless trying to tell one story, Moffat and Gatiss have managed to explore every facet of the relationship between Holmes and Watson - sometimes all in the same episode - usually without detracting from the story itself and effortlessly matching the natural pacing beats of a 90-minute feature. There are risks of course, such as a writer not being able to stretch a story across the allotted number of episodes and having to pad it out or throw in plot contrivances just to buy a cliffhanger. Plus, a casual viewer who tunes in at episode 3 of a four-part story will be hopelessly lost (though in the age of iPlayer, I'd argue that the "casual viewer" will cease to exist before long). However, in the hands of competent writers and carefully crafted scripts, the payoff could be incredible and produce thought-provoking stories worthy of the best classic serials.