JRroundup- Doctor Who Series 8: Hopes for the new season

So, I saw the first advert for the next series of Doctor Who earlier today, announcing the date for broadcast of the first episode. Which of course can only mean one thing, MASSIVE HYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To kick off, I've decided to do a top 5 yay and nay list of things I do and don't want to see in the new series. Now, quick disclaimer before we get into it, these are my opinions, if you agree that's cool, if you disagree that's cool too. I want this to be a discussion not a one sided agreement fest.

So without further ado, lets get into it, after the jump of course.

1♯ Meh- Vastra, Strax & Jenny:

Now I’m not saying that I dislike these three in any way (how could anyone dislike Strax, he’s just so brilliantly potato-y), but I do think that their inclusion does narrow the scope for adventure in the season as they are confined to Victorian England. And as much as I love stuff from that era, we’ve had more episodes in 19th century England than in any other point in time outside the present day, how much more is there left to do? But I wouldn’t be averse to seeing Mr. Potato-Head and the gang making a return and giving the Doctor weapons- I mean assistance.

5♯ Nay- Don’t Cut The Season In Half:

This one was a given to be on this list, but it needs to stop. Cutting the season ruins the pacing, means we don’t get any two parters and could hurt the season overall (which we’ll come back to in a later point), so please, stop it. I do believe it has been confirmed that they are doing a full 12 episode series this time out, but I'm not sure, but that's why it's so low down on the list.

5♯ Yay- Another Neil Gaiman Episode:

So, you take two things I love, Doctor Who and Neil Gaiman, and put them together. Is it any surprise this is on here? The man is a genius and his two previous episodes have proven so (if there was any doubt anyway). Nightmare In Silver was by far the best episode of the last season and The Doctors Wife may be the best episode in the entire history of the show (and I dare anyone to refute that claim, I’m ready for you). So I will be mighty displeased if he doesn’t get another chance to amaze us again, preferably with a two parter (but that’s just a fantasy).

4♯ Nay- Don’t Drop River Song:

There is a worry for me, since the finale of the last season, that Moffat might be trying to write River out of the season. It’s the first time that the two have met in the right order, after her death in her debut episode, and it came across as being an ending to their relationship. And amazingly, considering one of my later points, I don’t like this idea. There is so much more you can do with River, she’s meant to have spent almost all of her life with the Doctor, so surely she’s had more adventures than the ones we’ve seen. Plus she’s the first ‘companion’ since Donna who’s actually been equal to the Doctor and seen as such by him (we’ll come on to that later as well).

4♯ Yay- Bring Back Some New Old School Villains:

I love the Daleks and the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels, don’t get me wrong. But with a show with such a rich history, falling back on the same recurring villains does seem a bit of a waste. Even the Sontarans only got two episodes as a major threat before being relegated to either background baddy status (Pandorica Opens, Time Of The Doctor) or a joke (Strax). But what I’d really like to see is some of the villains they haven’t touched since the revived series started, like they did with the Great Intelligence and the Ice Warriors in the last series. There’s potential in bad guys like the Axons or the Mara to have good episodes, and of course there’s the hint of other old enemies returning (which we will talk about later as well).

3♯ Nay- Don’t Try Too Hard:

This might seem like a bit of an odd one but hear me out. The worst two episodes of Matt Smiths run as the Doctor were both episodes that were trying too hard to do something that the didn’t achieve. The Rings Of Akhaten was trying too hard to integrate Clara with the Doctor (what with all that business with the leaf and her memories yadda yadda), which wasn’t necessary because he already had prior knowledge of her in a way and was more trying to figure her out. Then we have The Time Of The Doctor, which was trying too hard to be a huge epic, but ended up having too short a running time and had to skip over a huge amount of stuff, ironically leaving the episode feeling like there wasn’t enough to fit the run time. So, now that Trenzalore is out of the way and Clara is integrated, there can be no excuses for poor writing.

3♯ Yay- More Character Development For Clara:

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve never actually warmed to Clara as a character. She seems very bland. Maybe it’s how she was introduced, but I actually preferred her before she became the official companion if that makes any sense. The other companions all had some sort of definite character and something that set them apart from the others, Rose was clingy and selfish, Martha was self-less but a bit useless, Donna was feisty and strong enough to hold her own against the Doctor if need be, Amy had that hero worship thing going on and there was the whole Rory vs. the Doctor subtext that kept things interesting, but Clara. I struggle to pin down any one attribute about her; she’s just there. She doesn’t seem to get on well with the TARDIS but apart from that her character just seems to be the bare bones without any meat.

2♯ Nay- Don’t Fall Into The Russell T. Davies Companion Trap:

Whilst I would like to see some more character development for Clara, one bit that I don’t want to see and was horribly integrated into The Time Of The Doctor is the thing that the companions should all fancy the Doctor. Just NO. We had enough of that by the time Rose got shoved and then we had Martha who could have been so much better. Amy barely got away with it because you always knew she’d choose Rory over the Doctor in the end (which she did), but why does Clara have to fancy him? I’m sorry I am going to have to go on a rant about why Donna was the best companion and this might just be because I’ve recently re-watched season 4 again, but I do genuinely believe this. Donna never once showed interest in the Doctor romantically; instead she was shown to be a strong independent woman who was travelling with the Doctor, not out of need of an escape or to be noticed, but just for fun. They were friends and equals, both learnt from each other and pushed each other to be better. With the lovelorn companion you are degrading the female lead to someone who’s basically there to gaze in awe at how amazing the male lead is and that just seems a bit poor to me, surely we’ve got past that point by now.

2♯ Yay- Peter Capaldi’s Doctor:

This is not so much what I want them to do as it is what they could do. He’s a completely new slate; he could do anything or be anyone. He could be a dark warrior like the most brilliant moments of the last three Doctors or he could be the wide-eyed clown like Tom Baker. He could be a ruthless tactician like Sylvester McCoy or a man of action like John Pertwee. Or he could be none of those things, or he could be all of those things, because the Doctor is never one-dimensional. I can’t wait to see what the man brings to the role.

1♯ Nay- Ignoring Continuity:

I think it was Myro who originally brought up the point in my review of The Time Of The Doctor and it sat as a niggle in the back of my mind that has slowly grown over time. The Doctor didn’t die at Trenzalore so how could the events of the season 7 finale have taken place, the Doctor’s death was a fixed point in time, so has that been changed, and if so why hasn’t the universe imploded, or if not is he still going to die on Trenzalore a little later than expected. The fact that no explanation was forthcoming from the episode was unfortunate, but if they continue to ignore the point it will just be worrying. They don’t even need a massive bit of exposition, just a few small lines that explain it, because otherwise this could just sit there and get aggravating.

1♯ Yay- The Search For Gallifrey:

If this isn’t the season long story arc I’ll eat my Doctor Who DVD collection. This is why they can’t afford to cut the season in two this time; this arc is the most important since the series was revived. The one definitive thing that is hammered home time and time again throughout all 7 seasons is that the Doctor is the last of his people, a man without a home. And now his home is back! And his people are back! If they were to finish this up as the half-season finale it would be a huge mistake, it’s just too big to only have half a season leading up to it, but if they have it as the finale of the second half of the season then they’ve lost all the momentum and excitement from the first half of the season by having a couple of months in-between. Plus you’ve got all of the possibilities for characters to return, Romana, Rassilon, The Rani and, of course, The Master. Maybe even Omega, because Gallifrey is not in this universe apparently. What if it is lost in Omega’s anti-matter universe? The possibilities are HUGE!

So guys, that's my input on the new series, now it's over to you guys. What do you want to see them do with series 8? Where do you think Peter Capaldi is going to take the wonderful madman in a box as a character? Are there any places/ time periods/ story lines you would like to see them cover in an episode? Let the Whovian flow into the comments section.

Oh and btw, in August we will be having a new weekly blog post, because I intend to do reviews of each episode. I'm very much looking forward to it.

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4 Responses to JRroundup- Doctor Who Series 8: Hopes for the new season

  1. Stulte says:

    Having only seen a few episodes of the show (it’s not very popular over here) I don’t really have much to say except that I have loved Peter Capaldi for years and I will probably watch the new season solely because of him. Whatever direction they go with the character I really hope they don’t fail in bringing out the intensity that Capaldi can bring to a scene just by his mere presence. Hell, in The Thick of It he spent most of his screentime shouting angry swears at people, but he was at his scariest when he didn’t even say a word.

  2. Trekkie says:

    I agree on most of those points- I definitely want more character development for Clara (that doesn’t involve being a romantic interest) that evolves her character beyond ‘born to save the Doctor’, and for Moffat to stop messing up (his own) continuity. And there is so much potential with the search for Gallifrey (the return of the Rani- yes please. A new regeneration of Romana? YES), I really, really hope they properly take advantage of it.

    Either way, Capaldi should make for an awesome Doctor.

  3. Myro says:

    Opening comment: I’m in complete agreement with your list. Just going to expound on a couple points.
    JR, you do remember correctly. The whole “Battle of Trenzalore” thing kind of struck me the next day as being a bit paradoxical, and then I went off on a rant about it here, and it still bugs me. So yeah, I’m kind of hoping for some kind of resolution brought forward in the new series as well. However, my expectations are that it will be swept under the rug and ignored.
    The only other thing I can say is that the one thing I was truly looking forward to in regards to Matt Smith leaving and Peter Capaldi taking over as the Doctor was that maybe now it would give Clara something to do. After that whole “Impossible Girl” arc finished in the 7th series, she really kind of was there, but just in the background when it came to the two specials. Hopefully getting to know the new incarnation of the Doctor also helps open up some character development for her as well.

  4. BastionDin says:

    I’m a semi doctor who fan. Not crazed by it but not bored by it. The thing I am looking forward to the most is seeing this new doctor (Capaldi) clash with the new master (Dance) I think having two actors of that calibre either working together or against one another will be interesting.