Series eight of Doctor Who may have achieved record ratings, but it failed to win over a majority of both critics and fans. There’s no doubt that Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor gave a fantastic performance, but that still didn’t change that sense of “eh,” that viewers had when it was all over with.
While it wasn’t a terrible season by any means, there was something that left some feeling perturbed, and that something was The Doctors companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman. Show runner Steven Moffat claimed that season eight was Clara’s season, which made it incredibly awaiting a new Doctor.
With so much time spent on the awkward, forced love story with Danny Pink, it left people wondering when the show would get around to exploring the new regeneration. Capaldi’s 12th Doctor was a radical departure from the previous three incarnations, and yet we’ve barely scratched the surface as to why. People were expecting more Doctor, and less dating. Now many understandably wondering if they’ll get it at all.
Personally, I think there’s plenty to be psyched about when it comes to season 9. All the ingredients are in place. If the focus is redirected correctly, we could get the best season of Doctor Who in decades.
Here are four things that could make this coming season absolutely stellar.
Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has limitless potential. The BAFTA and Academy Award winner has shown tremendous acting chops over the years, especially in the critically acclaimed series The Thick of It. He was the perfect choice to take the show in a new direction. Instead of the charming and dashing figures that Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith gave, we have inherited a grumpy, serious hero who didn’t know who he was anymore. It was a sense that was summed up perfectly with one question:
“Am I a good man?”
Remember that? It was almost haunting. Nothing like that had been explored in the revived series, and yet it was over in one episode. It’s something that needs to be explored, especially if we’re going to see just how far back they intend on taking this version of everyone’s favorite Time Lord.
Peter Capaldi’s take is very close to those given by William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee. I loved his interpretation because it captured the essence of what was originally envisioned back in the 1960’s. No matter what his temperament may be, he is still C.S. Lewis, meets H.G. Wells, meets Father Christmas. He may be an old man that appears rough around the edges, but he’ll never fail to save people in need.
The Twelfth Doctor is quintessential hero, up there with fellow confident TV protagonists such as Walter White, Tony Soprano, and Sherlock Holmes. His presence is commanding, and every line leaves the audience wanting. With a more balanced storyline, there’s no end to what Capaldi could bring.
A Return to Multi-Episode Storytelling
When Russell T. Davies revived the show in 2005, he did away with multi-episode stories. For those of you unfamiliar with classic Doctor Who, it was not uncommon for a story to be told over the course of four or five episodes. The revived series instead went with single-story episodes set against a storyline that arched over an entire season.
That all changed several weeks ago when we learned that the majority of season nine would consist of two-parters. Over a 13-episode season, that leaves us with fewer individual stories, but much more time to flush each one out. It’s because of this that I believe we’ll get to know our new doctor even more.
Fantastic Supporting Characters
(This section contains MINOR SPOILERS. Skip ahead if you want to stay totally fresh.)
One of the strengths of Doctor Who has always been its great supporting characters. The good news for fans is that a number of fan-favorites from series eight have been photographic on set in Cardiff, confirming their return! Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) is returning, along with nerdy doctor admirer Osgood (Ingrid Oliver).
We’ve also got a good mix of returning villains to challenge The Doctor. The Zygons will make an appearance, as will Missy, the latest regeneration of The Master! Michelle Gomez’s take on the classic arch nemesis was brilliant, and for one I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table.
Perhaps the guest star that is generating the most buzz is Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams. Yes, Ayra Stark is coming to the TARDIS, although it is not known whether she is playing a hero or villain. For now, the role is shrouded in secrecy.
The Moffat Effect
Love him or hate him, Steven Moffat knows how to tell a story. As a lifelong fan of the show, he understands what makes it tick. For 51 years, Doctor Who has been a weathervane of what’s been going on in the world. It’s the purest form of science fiction, taking massive issues of the day and using compelling characters to steer us through them.
Under Moffat’s watch, Doctor Who has conquered the world. This happened not only because he has understood why the show is special, but just how important it is to keep things fresh. While the Twelfth Doctor may not have come out of last season as established as some would have liked, the sky is the limit as far as what kind of stories can be told. With so many new things to look forward to, it’s a good bet that the ninth series will be “Fantastic!”