It’s the curse of the dedicated, long-term fan I tells’ya. It happened to RTD and just as surely it’s happening to the Moff. If familiarity doesn’t exactly breed contempt, it certainly brings snark. We see (or at least think we see) the lego building blocks of his story construction, the go-to moves, the themes that have become memes. Eventually our experience calcifies, almost, into a willingness NOT to be surprised.
Having said all of this, looking at Listen a fan could be forgiven for seeing the hemlines from some of Steven Moffat’s celebrated Doctor Who past. Listen is NOT Blink or The Impossible Astronaut or The Girl in the Fireplace, but similar themes are in play. This and the pre-episode publicity proclaiming Listen to be an instant classic tend to get our resistance up thank you very much. In fact upon first viewing we rated Listen 3rd of 4 stories for the Dynamic Ratings Table. But Listen, we feel sure, is a story that will wear very well with fans and public alike, and as such we’ve moved it to #2 out of 4 for the season to date.
The Tour is quickly running out of superlatives for Capaldi and Coleman. They were both beyond good, and although it really shouldn’t be so, the sparky relationship between them, including Clara telling and telling-off the Doctor, works so very well, and really never better than in Listen.