After 50 years of Doctor Who, you’d think that there’d be an absence of ideas now. Even during the hiatus between “Classic Who” and “Nu-Who”, there’s been some forms of continuing the story for the Doctor.
Last season marked the 50th anniversary for the series, yet it took a completely different fashion from how the programme is usually written in, with each episode having a “blockbuster theme” and lacking the full episode continuity which you’d expect from a series. Many fans have complained that it lead to rushed resolutions for the “monster of the week”, less intensity, but most importantly, forced character dynamics between the Eleventh Doctor and new-comer Clara. The season did have some highlights of being great, with some outstanding standalone episodes such as “The Dalek Asylum”, “The Power of Three” (well the first half at least), “The Angels take Manhattan”, “Hide” and most importantly, the actual 50th Anniversary episode “The Day of the Doctor”.
However overall the season wasn’t as memorable as previous seasons have been. Yet I’m assured that the upcoming 8th Season has the potential to be the best season yet! Why?
“Where are we going?”… “Into Darkness”.
This obscure line from the latest released trailer seems to sum up exactly what this season appears to be – darker. Last season the Doctor was more whimsical than ever, which isn’t actually a negative point, as Matt Smith perfects the upbeat character completely, the only problem is that we feel like it’s time for a change. For three seasons now in Moffat’s run, we’ve had this Doctor who’s somehow whimsical yet also terrifying, with Moffat himself describing the series as a “fairytale”.
Now things have changed. Amelia Pond is gone, the Doctor no longer appears young and now Clara has to deal with her best friend and secret crush appearing as a completely different person. In a recent SFX interview, Steven Moffat said “I think it feels more serious” and that “We want to make it feel that these adventures can hurt”. These promises seem to portray a different tone for the show, as the dynamics won’t be as simple as they were before, adventures that “can hurt” sounds life threatening, that characters will have to act differently than they had to before – and that’s exciting!
Pivoting point for the Doctor.
Let’s imagine that this season truly is a success. Chances are Moffat will remain as show runner for at least one more season (if not more). I could only imagine that Moffat would want to continue the set tone he’s presenting in this season. SFX have provided non-spoilerific episode summaries about the episodes, and it seems that the entire season will have this dark tone, not just a few episodes!
Again, the SFX interview (who seem to have the most information about Doctor Who so far) has more information from Moffat, who revealed that the hypothetical Peter Jackson episode will most likely happen “at some point”. Obviously this won’t happen in Season 8 (and probably not Season 9), however the fact is that if this darker tone for Season 8 is a success, then Peter Jacksons episode may also mimic the same dark theme. The idea is that season 8 is the pivoting point, the moment which will decide the future for the programme.
It’s Peter “F***ing” Capaldi.
Yes, Peter Capaldi will always be known for his role as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of it / In the Loop, however any actor playing “The Doctor” will always be recognised as such by geek culture. He’s an amazing actor, Scottish and also older – the perfect combination! The Doctor seems more mysterious and frightening than ever in the trailer, yet I can just imagine Capaldi swapping from a cold tone to a completely light hearted character in a matter of seconds.
Many whovians have already remarked that he seems to be an echo of the classic Doctors, especially mimicking the Jon Pertwee era (who’s been one of my favourite Doctors, so that’s a plus!). If his character stays true to our observations, we can only look forward to an electrifying character who’s going to keep us at the edge of our seats.
The majority of viewers who seem to have their doubts are those who haven’t fully experienced the classic era. I suppose that’s what’ll make Peter Capaldi even greater – watching newer fans be ultimately surprised by just how well an physically older Doctor actually works!
Gallifrey falls, no more.
The great and ancient Gallifrey, one which had fell to ruins in the Time War until it was ultimately locked in a Time Lock and destroyed – or so we thought… One thing which The Day of The Doctor focused on, was the change of characters between the Doctors. As viewers, we’re fantasied with all the exciting storylines that’s been happening, that we kind of discard the obvious, The Doctor becomes less and less aware of the Time War.
“They’re you. They’re what you become if you destroy Gallifrey – the man who regrets and the man who forgets.”
The Doctor has clearly moved on from the Time War once he reaches Matt Smith, which is evident with the very few references made to it compared to the RTD era. A natural stage in life is to put behind the traumatic experiences that once was, especially considering the lifespan the Doctor has had since the Time War; hence it’s obvious that The Doctor would put behind his memories, yet it’s horrific to see a character that children idolises as a hero, forget about his brutal “genocide” as if it were nothing. That’s the beauty about the plot twist in the Day of the Doctor, now there’s a reason to remember Gallifrey again – to celebrate it’s potential return. Whether or not it actually does come back in the end is another question, but if it does – what happens then? Unless Moffat just choses to forget about this, there’s Rassilon, the council of Time Lords, The Master and other great terrors stuck in Gallifrey now; so if it does return, does that mean that more chaos will prevail rather than victory?
Again, I don’t expect this to exactly happen at Season 8, but considering that the last two episodes “The Day of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor” both featured the idea of Gallifrey returning, there’s most likely going to be a build up of this theme in this season.
An episode WITHOUT CGI? What?!
Now let’s be honest, the effects for Doctor Who have never been outstanding (but it’s definitely been improving recently), but that’s not the point. We watch Doctor Who for the fun romps and ridiculous storylines, not for visual appeal. But it’s definitely peculiar for a modern episode not to feature any what-so-ever! A short (again with no spoilers) description from SFX explains:
“S08E04. The story of a date and the Doctor having what appears to be a mild nervous breakdown. Tiny guest cast, no CGI. A bit of Coupling. Quite scary.”
The idea of having a low budget style seems to bring back memories of “The Girl Who Waited” from season 6, an episode which I’ve always appraised. But even that did feature CGI effects, no matter how limited they were. So there’s a date (The Doctor moving on from River Song maybe?), Capaldi acting distraught (which will be fantastic), and tiny guest cast (just like The Girl Who Waited) – just the idea of it seems to sound like the best episode yet! I can’t wait to see it for myself.
A blast from the past…
I happened to walk past the filming of this (although this isn’t my picture as I only captured pictures of them in a break), but could there be a special reason as to why the Cybermen are at St Paul’s Cathedral, just as they were 46 years ago?! I definitely want to know more.
That doesn’t seem to be the only thing of the past in this season; the Cybermen, Capaldi resembling a Classic Doctor, then two consecutive episodes which feature things pre-season 8:
- “807. Proper drama with monsters and all the Doctor Who stuff that you could want. Also features a callback to a past episode (sort of).
- 808. Moffat playing the long game with a callback to something from Matt’s first series. A brilliant idea of a monster. Foxes singing.”
One can wonder, what is Moffat planning with all of these mentions of previous adventures?
So there we go! That’s my list as to why this Doctor Who season seems to be the most promising yet, Steven Moffat has made it seem from the trailer alone to be the most exciting one – and now we’re almost close to experiencing it for ourselves!