The book also features a foreword by Gary Russell and afterword by David J Howe.
The format of this book is the same as our previous Doctor Who guides. Steven Cooper has written excellent detailed analyses of each episode, which Slant Magazine published online in their House Next Door blog soon after each episode was broadcast. In this way, Steven’s reviews provide an invaluable record of how a long-standing fan reacted to each twist of the plot as it occurred. House Next Door published Steven’s 2013 episode reviews in abridged form; he then expanded upon his analyses, so this book contains far more of his insights than those published online. Kevin Mahoney then follows Steven’s analyses with his reviews, which he wrote from the perspective of having watched the entire series. This enabled him to gauge exactly how Steven Moffat had put this season together, and to assess the success of his various hoodwinks and sleights of hand.
In this series, Steven Moffat was just as ambitious as ever - perhaps too ambitious at times, when the scripting became uneven or the production team was not able to realize an episode as well as they might have done. Despite this, there were several episodes that rank among the best of the show's achievements, which we applaud in this celebration of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary.
Firefly, like Alien: Resurrection, was his anti-authoritarian dystopia, while Buffy the Vampire Slayer emphasized girl power and individuality in a world of monsters. Dollhouse tackled identity, memory and the soul, reaching from fantasy into philosophy, just as The Cabin in the Woods satirized the nebulous "Greater Good." Now, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers explore heroism, teamwork, and personal responsibility. Whedon has independent works too, all explored from the paranormal romance film In Your Eyes to his feminist skits for Equality Now. In comics, such as X-Men, Runaways, Sugarshock, and Buffy, he explores unconventional teams and chosen families.Ê
From Angel's quest for faith and redemption in a world of nihilism to the smaller stories of family and friendships in The Office, Glee, Parenthood, and Roseanne, not to mention Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon offers lessons to improve the world and our roles within it. Ê
This book compares themes, motifs, and archetypes across all his works, teasing out the common threads and the messages within.