The Nineteenth of September sees the 2015 run of Doctor Who. It will be Peter Capaldi’s second run as The Doctor and the Internet is now abuzz with the previews of the first episode.
I’m excited and I’m also curious. There is much to anticipate.
But, at same time, rumours are out there in terms of the 2016 run being essentially ‘specials’ with the showrunner, Steven Moffat concentrating his focus on Sherlock. There’s rumours on Capaldi quitting and various other stuff.
For now, I think the show is in a really strong position, the transition from Matt Smith to Capaldi went well, series eight was strong throughout (questions might be asked about ‘In the Forest of the Night’) and the introduction of Missy a triumph.
The base for all this came from the Eleventh Doctor’s final episodes. ‘The Name of the Doctor’, ‘The Night of the Doctor’, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ and ‘The Time of the Doctor’ all built on each other and built a coherence, wrapping up an number of story arcs, resolving the question of regenerations left, picking up the Time War, Gallifrey and the Time Lords.
‘Nu Who’ had a difficult start and needed to exist and succeed in a different media environment to ‘Classic Who’, and reviving a ‘dead’ TV show successfully was a heck of a task for Russell T Davies.
Imagine the difficulties. Do you re-boot the show like Battlestar Galactica? Do you acknowledge the ‘dead’ show or do you take the basics of ‘a man and a box’ and run with it.
Run with it they did and Series one worked, it stands up to rewatching and both Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper proved excellent choices. But, sadly it was only one season of the ‘Nu Doctor’ and even early in its run, the show faced the need for another Doctor.
David Tennant as Ten excelled and kept the show progressing allowing for classic monsters to return, themes to build and for Rose and Jack and Martha and Donna. New monsters and concepts too.
The back story stayed, the time war explained the break in the series and after Tennant left, Matt Smith proved an excellent choice and the show moved into Steven Moffat’s hands.
Eleven and the Ponds, some excellent stories such as with the Pandorica and the development of River Song as effectively ‘The Time Travellers Wife’.
But, Gallifrey. The Time Lords. What or how can you leave that? The show also had a big anniversary to celebrate too.
The mastery of bringing together the arcs of the Eleventh Doctor, giving the Eighth his regeneration and knitting together the limited number of regenerations, Clara’s mystery and a place for Gallifrey and the Time Lords. Everything a fan of the show could want and more. The threads of classic and new brought together and the Eighth and Ninth Doctors better defined. Matt Smith was also given a decent ending and the base established for Capaldi’s run.
So, where to go?
I’m delighted with the announcement of Alex Kingston returning for the 2015 Christmas Special. I do like River Song.
I’m happy to see Clara continue and Missy return, but will the 2015 series serve as an introduction to a 2016 run of big specials? What is to be developed? A set piece? A new concept/direction for the show and what is building?
We have Vastra, Strax and Jenny as a Victorian go to and I’d guess on some resolution of Clara’s story in the specials. Where and when will Capaldi go? As a self proclaimed fan, I’d expect 2017 at the least, time enough to establish Clara’s successor.
Maybe that means some resolution for Missy, a pointer to ‘going home the long way around’ and taking a route back into the issues of Gallifrey and the Time Lords.
To get there, the base and the structure and the linkage between the classic and new shows.
Can Moffat leave the show without adding to the canon and the lore? Can he leave the show with a long term defined path?
The long term path would be re-establishing
1) The Doctor and UNIT, that’s pretty much there and had been seeded through the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors.
2) Other Time Lords, not just Missy/The Master. The Gallifrey connection.
Is it stability? Probably, the fan base of the showing growing hugely in the USA. The possibilities of DVD’s and online purchases of seasons, merchandise and other things.
The show can handle new Doctors and new companions, it can crossover between Doctors and it can run and run. A movie isn’t the be all and end all.
By running together the lore and canon connecting back to the long history of the show gives huge potential too.
So, season nine. Woo and indeed Who.