Today the news as to how Doctor Who will be produced in a post Covid landscape was announced – next season, due sometime next year, will have eight episodes to reduce costs and production in order to keep the cast and crew safe, which of course should take priority.
Now, the fact that we’re getting a series at all is a miracle, and I’m cautiously excited for how Chibnall will pull it off. With such a limited episode count I don’t think a conventional season will cut it. We can’t have a big two part opener and closer with a bunch of filler in the middle, every episode needs to punch hard. Not all of them have to be 10/10 masterpieces, but all should be good and fit a purpose. In fact, I think this new eight episode season could be beneficial as a whole.
We still don’t quite know when Doctor Who Series 13 will be out due to coronavirus affecting filming all around the country, but one thing is clear – a change in the guard is coming. Yaz, Ryan and Graham are on their way out – possibly, maybe, it’s so vague with Chibnall in charge as we never get any information! Regardless, I highly highly doubt all three will survive Revolution of the Daleks. So I’m going to spend today exploring five types of companions I think would make character dynamics in the show far more interesting –
A companion who is older than the Doctor travelling on their own
Part of the reason Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor is so beloved on Big Finish is because the company gave him Evelyn Smythe. A middle aged history professor, Evelyn meets the Doctor when he’s investigating a time portal linked with Mary I. Following this encounter, Evelyn becomes the Doctor’s companion, acting as a maternal figure to Six’s boisterous attitude and softening him (the audios take place after Trial of a Time Lord). This is a dynamic that has barely been explored on television- a companion who is, physically, older than the Doctor. The Doctor is thousands of years old so naturally a 50-60 year old would be far younger but as The End of Time portrayed beautifully, the Doctor acts young if they’re in a young body. Continue reading “Five Doctor Who companion ideas for Chibnall to tackle”→
Recently, even though there has been no Doctor Who for over five months and far more pressing concerns going on globally, there has been a rise in discourse about whether Doctor Who is “woke” or “too political”. This argument is rubbish now and has always been rubbish. Since the very beginning, Doctor Who has been politically charged and has always represented what science fiction should be – a reflection on current times and using fantastical stories to address contemporary issues.
Story arcs – the bane and boon of every Doctor Who fan’s existence. We complain when they dominate the series, complain if there isn’t one, complain if it’s a returning villain, complain if it’s a new villain… a fickle bunch we are. But one thing is perfectly clear – the “mystery box” approach of the revival is not good. At all. It was kind of fine in the RTD years but we’re nearly twenty years into the revival and showrunners are still playing this tired story arc trope.
Mary Shelley needs no introduction. She’s essentially the mother of modern science fiction, and without Frankenstein science fiction may as well never exist. So a Doctor Who episode exploring her and the creation of Frankenstein is of course one Chibnall would love to tackle and… wait a minute, I know this premise! Big Finish did it first!
I’m kidding. The television show has contradicted expanded media before and I don’t expect it to now. Besides “Mary Shelley meeting the Cybermen” is such a good premise I don’t blame Chibnall for wanting to explore this plotline even if it’s technically blowing a massive hole in canon (and yes, Big Finish IS canon). Although in this episode the Doctor states time is in flux, so in one timeline the Eighth Doctor was in Villa Diodati but the Cybermen’s interference caused a split in the timeline. Oh whatever.
So… this was an… interesting episode. Yeah. We’re gonna need to talk about this one.
Why do I love Doctor Who? A lot of reasons, but I love it because it can do anything. Go anywhere, explore any ideas and tell any story. And some of the best of Doctor Who over the past 56 years has been when the show goes beyond the monster of the week, world at stake plot line that so many past episodes have used. Can You Hear Me (?) is one of those episodes. Yes, Nikola Tesla fighting scorpions and space rhinos in Gloucester are all fun and all, but Can You Hear Me (no I will not use the punctuation every time) is perhaps the most daring and interesting episode since the masterful It Takes You Away last series. Whilst I have some more mixed thoughts on this one compared to that one, I appreciate it so much. This is what I was saying last week- I can enjoy a sci fi romp like Praxeus or Kerblam, but the episodes that go above and beyond are the ones that stick in the memory.
The Cybermen, first introduced in 1966, are Doctor Who’s second oldest and persistent foe. There are many different versions and interpretations, but the Cybermen are always tragic figures who in the right hands can be brilliant villains and characters. Chris Chibnall is planning to bring them back in Series 12, with the “Lone Cyberman” already being teased in both Fugitive of the Judoon and the trailer and today we got a glimpse of the beautiful new Cyberman design for the two part finale, Ascension of the Cybermen/The Timeless Children. So to celebrate my favourite Doctor Who monster, we’re going to discuss all sixteen Cybermen television stories so far, plus an audio sidetrack. We’re not doing any story where the Cybermen are featured but not about them or as a main villain (such as The Five Doctors or The Pandorica Opens) or Cyberwoman from Torchwood, mainly because I haven’t seen it and have no intention of doing so thank you very much. So with that aside, let’s chronicle the Cybermen throughout Who’s history-
How do you follow on from last week? It’s a question that other episodes in the past have tried to answer by following heavy, arc focused and mind shattering episodes with standalone, “breather” episodes that aim to break the ice. This hasn’t always worked as Curse of the Black Spot and Orphan 55 proved but for Praxeus, it worked slightly better. Serving as a direct follow on Fugitive of the Judoon’s cliffhanger ending helped but it was still odd literally having no discussions of the events of the last episode. But ignoring the fact that this was a follow-on from the dramatic and franchise shifting last episode, is Praxeus actually good?
Um, I think so?
Rewatching the episodes before writing these reviews have really helped with my thoughts. On first watch, I found Praxeus to be a bit light weight without much happening at all and a lack of forward momentum for the arc but on a rewatch there’s a lot to like, starting off with the premise.
Amongst the many talking points of Fugitive of the Judoon, one of the biggest is the return of John Barrowman’s Captain Jack, who returned after a ten year absence to warn the Doctor of the “Lone Cyberman” before vanishing. Naturally with the return of Jack comes talk of bringing Torchwood, the adult oriented Doctor Who spin-off, back.