With Moffat Taking Off, Who's In Charge?
We shortlist some executive producers to replace Doctor Who's eventually-departing boss Steven Moffat.
Doctor Who is famous for its ever-changing lead actor, but its behind-the-scenes leader also seems to change with some frequency. Current showrunner Steven Moffat's predecessors number in the double digits, dating all the way back to Verity Lambert in 1963. Like all Who bosses before him, Moffat seems likely to be outlasted by the series: in fact, he's already speaking publicly about the search for his own replacement. Next season could well be Moffat's last. Or maybe it won't.
In either case, I'm sure that whoever ends up in the big chair will take the show in a new and interesting direction; I'm also sure it will be somebody that many of us Yanks have never heard of. But what if it weren't? Presented for your consideration is some rank (and ranked, least to most watchable) speculation on what Doctor Who would be like in the hands of a boss who is known to TV viewers on this side of the pond.
- Aaron Sorkin
Starting with his first episode, "What Kind Of Yesterday Has It Been," the creator of The West Wing and The Newsroom flashes back to right before the Doctor's famous flight from Gallifrey. The young Time Lord seems to commit professional suicide by unleashing an uncontrollable yet suspiciously well-organized diatribe against the High Council. Inspired by his own righteousness, he now wanders the universe, explaining basic science to his idiot female companions and righting the previous year's wrongs by yelling at them a lot. Also, the TARDIS now has many more corridors to walk and talk in, and a console room shaped like an oval.
- Noah Hawley
The man who brought Fargo to FX has certainly shown that he can immerse us in the past. But he can't be said to have truly mastered Rassilon's Laws of Time until he gets us to the closing credits on schedule.
- Chuck Lorre
Still gun-shy after being publicly burned by Charlie Sheen during the run of Two And A Half Men, Lorre is instantly drawn to the appeal of overseeing a series where he can replace the lead actor any time he damn well pleases.
- Kurt Sutter
When the TARDIS is again indefinitely stranded on present-day Earth, the Sons Of Anarchy creator and The Bastard Executioner EP has the Doctor take Eleven's old motorcycle and Nine's old leather jacket out of mothballs and set about exacting bloody revenge for every life lost on his watch. It's going to take him a while, but the soundtrack will be awesome.
- David Simon
The acclaimed creator of The Wire and Treme dares to explore in-depth what really goes down on the mean streets of the Dalek city on Skaro. It's an incredibly dark, uncompromising vision. Mainly because Skaro doesn't exist so there's nothing to see.
- Dick Wolf
The Law & Order god steps smoothly into a show with a revolving-door cast, making surprisingly few updates. All of the Doctor's victories are now pyrrhic, and scene changes are signaled by a black screen with the location and year (or geological period) in which the new scene takes place. Instead of the familiar Chung-Chung during these moments, viewers now hear an equally familiar WHEEEEeeeeoooooouuuurrrrrr!. Also, watch for Doctor Who: Torchwood, Doctor Who: Class, Doctor Who: U.S., and Doctor Who: Special Weapons Dalek.
- Julian Fellowes
It's already hard enough to adjust to changing times when you aren't literally changing times. But in the version of Who from the creator of Downton Abbey, the Doctor herds a sprawling cast of Edwardian aristocrats and their servants into the TARDIS, then kicks them out a few decades later and forces them to relearn the rules and mores of a period that is completely different from what they've always been used to. And then he takes them to a different time and does it again. Every week. It's a little mean, really.
- Greg Berlanti
The executive producer of TV's Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl reboots a series inspired by the Doctor Who comics...and maybe a few others. The Doctor widens his circle of supportive and attractive companions, each of whom has his or her own invaluable area of specialty. But they all excel at inspiring the Doctor to find his inner strength during his weekly moments of crippling self-doubt. By the end of each episode, with their help, he has defeated another alien with exotic powers and imprisoned it in a previously-unseen area of the TARDIS lined with tiny transparent cells that lack even the most rudimentary plumbing.
- Shonda Rhimes
Just as the cast of Grey's Anatomy keeps learning, being a Doctor is harder than one thinks. And while, like Scandal's Olivia Pope, he may have gone into this gig with the best of intentions, the Doctor now finds himself morally tainted by those whose dirty work he is asked to clean up. Up to and including the Lord President of the High Council. Whom he is in love with for some God-knows-what reason.
- Matthew Weiner
Under the creator of Mad Men, the Doctor has to live through the '60s all over again, and he's the only one who seems to realize how backward it is. Not that he is without his own tragic flaws. He now accompanies every new face with a completely new assumed name and backstory, and lives in constant terror of any one of his many previous selves being found out. That is, when he's not raiding the TARDIS liquor cabinet and trying to keep his current female companion from discovering all the chicks he's been boning in the Zero Room.
- Vince Gilligan
The last half-century has chronicled the Doctor's slow progress from bumbling wanderer to one of the most feared men in the universe -- by some. Now the creator of Breaking Bad revisits the dark side of scientific genius. To save his family back on Gallifrey, the Doctor -- known by his crime alias, "Smith" -- becomes one of the most feared men in the universe, period. This Doctor is the one who rings the Cloister Bell.