Our hopes for series 10 of Doctor Who.
Well, 2017 is finally here, which means we’re not far off the brand new series with a brand new companion! There’s a trailer already that has given us a glimpse of what’s to come, but we still have questions. Doctor Who has been a bit up and down over the last few series, so having had a think about what has worked, and what hasn’t, let’s sit down and have a nice cup of tea while I explain all my hopes and Moffat can find a way to stop them. Maybe?
Amy Pond and Clara Oswald were both very extraordinary characters. Both had some super-sciency mystery behind them, some great destiny, and some very special powers at times. But I think it’s time we brought things a little more down to earth and had a companion much more grounded in reality.
Bill ‘serves chips’, and goes to university. This seems to harken back to Rose and Donna, with a bit of Martha Jones’ studenthood thrown in. While Amy’s life outside the TARDIS was shaped by her interaction with the Doctor as a child, and Clara’s made up of a desperate attempt to keep a double life, Bill looks to have a much more reality based backstory.
Having a character we can learn about from a normal perspective will give the audience a much stronger connection. If we see Bill as a regular human being living her life, having friends, family, a job, hopes and dreams, it will give us context.
Both Amy and Clara started out with a special, almost magical place in the Doctor’s life. While Rose, Martha, and Donna had to win him over and prove themselves, thus winning the audience over as well. This creates more camaraderie between character and viewer, makes us root for them, and keeps us coming back to see how they’re doing.
I know Steven Moffat has said he doesn’t think Doctor Who should be about big story arcs. And I have complained in the past about his story arcs. But when done well, even a very simple arc can give the series structure, clarity, and consistency. Not every episode in a series will be everyone’s favourite. But if there’s a deeper plot going on as well, a good enough one, it will keep people coming back, even if an individual episode doesn’t quite live up to personal expectations.
In series 6, the ‘Doctor fakes his own death’ arc was very interesting and deffinately kept me coming back, even when other elements weren’t that interesting. I was invested in the mystery.
Clear Character Arcs
An arc also gives the characters focus and a trajectory. Rose finding new ways to live her life, changing her family dynamics, and growing as a person, thanks in part to the Bad Wolf. Martha’s self confidence, and her strained relationship with her family ultimately being tested and repaired after defeating the Master. Donna learning and changing and becoming a whole new person. A clear beginning, middle and end for each of them, once again, gave the audience reason to keep coming back, and reason to love them more.
This is a perry thing I know. But I don’t like the arrangement of the theme from series 8 and 9. Come on, Murray Gold, you can do better than that!
It must be hard to come up with variations on this theme, admittedly. It’s been around for 50+ years now and there have been countless versions.
Still, I’d like more of the old school synthesizer sound, perhaps with a bit of electric guitar – we know Capaldi’s Doctor has a preference for it. A throwback to the 1980 theme.
This might seem even more trivial than the music, but I really feel like the show has been seriously lacking in colour recently. Dark blues, blacks, and dingy settings, not to mention a very dark TARDIS set make the whole thing look very samey more often than not.
Perhaps it’s a result of the advent of HD displays that has led production teams to head to more shadows and dimmed colour palettes. It might hide the rough edges and some monsters do look better when kept in shadow. But when I think back on the first few series of the new run, I chiefly remember the colours, the brightness, and how that just felt more exciting somehow.
I hope there’s more stuff done on location, too. I realise in this age of smartphone cameras and internet teams tracking down BBC crews, it’s hard to film much on location without pictures leaking before someone’s called ‘action’. But the outdoors adds an element of authenticity to a scene, and natural, bright light gives a sense of colour and detail rarely found in studio.
Yes we saw them in the trailer, and yes they do come back every year. I think there’s a contractual obligation. After The Magicians Apprentice and Witch’s Familiar last year, I’m feeling a lot better about the Daleks than I did after Into the Dalek.
Clearly, there are still plenty of interesting themes and stories to be explored with the monstrous, living tanks from Skaro.
So there are some of my hopes for series 10. I was generally quite positive about most of series 8 and 9, so I do think Peter Capaldi’s run has been good so far. Rumours abound that he’ll be stepping down after this series, and if that’s so I hope he has a good send off. He more than deserves it.