Ask any Doctor Who fan about season seven of the current series and most will probably groan.
Although Who fans will defend the show to a fault, that season remains one of the least liked by fans since the show returned to television in 2005.
The season got stuck in a "monster of the week" mentality and suffered from the news that Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith planned on leaving the series. Fans also had to say goodbye to the Ponds, as actors Amy Gillan and Arthur Darvill left the show, and hello to Clara, whose origin story was so convoluted that it didn't make a lot of sense. There was also a huge gap in the middle of the season that left fans feeling frustrated.
Now, Doctor Who's showrunner, Steven Moffat, admits that he also believes that season seven was a "miserable" one.
"I didn't enjoy my third year as much. It was a bit miserable," Moffat said to Doctor Who Magazine, as reported by Den of Geek. "The workload was just insane. I wasn't coping as well. No one else's fault, all mine. The 50th was looming, and I didn't know if we could make it work. It was a tough, tough time. My darkest hour on Who was that."
That's not to say that season seven didn't have some gems. "The Power of Three" was a strong episode and featured the Ponds questioning themselves about how they might have a life without the Doctor. It was also a creepy episode, thanks to the mysterious cubes that started showing up all over the world. "Nightmare in Silver" also showed off Smith's acting skills, as the Doctor got converted to part-Cyberman.
For fans, though, the season had a cloud of doom hanging over it: Smith's announcement that he was leaving. There was also a huge event coming up: the 50th anniversary of the series, which put a lot of pressure on Moffat, because he knew that fans had certain expectations about the special episode signifying the occasion.
"Matt [Smith], who was a friend and ally, was leaving - I couldn't get him to stay," Moffat said. "It felt like everything was blowing up around me. I was staggering into the 50th, with no Doctors contracted to appear in it, battered with endless hate mail about how I hadn't got William Hartnell back and Sherlock Series Three at the same time."
Moffat commented that he was "miserable" at the end of the seventh season, but he continued to soldier on to deliver seasons eight and nine with a new Doctor. This year, though, Moffat announced that he had plans to leave after season 10 and that he would hand over the show to Chris Chibnall.