Whilst there’s no series of Doctor Who this year, Chris Chibnall and his team are busy working on a fantastic somophore season for Jodie Whittaker and the Thirteenth Doctor for 2020. Whilst her first season wasn’t perfect (I’m looking at you Tsuranga Conundrum) it was a great series overall and the viewing figures have spoken- Doctor Who is a household name again and is dominating the pop culture discussion once again. It is a great time to be a Doctor Who fan, as for the first time in years the average person on the street might know what you’re talking about and the quality of stories have reflected the level of attention the series is now getting (not you Pting). Chibnall’s all-new writing team were great and actually better than the man himself- I wouldn’t mind any of them returning, which leads me to this post. Here are twelve writers I would love to see write for Series 12 and make the next season as good as possible-
Would I really say no to the writer of my favourite Doctor Who story returning? Toby Whithouse is a Who veteran, first contributing the amazing Series 2 story School Reunion which still holds up as the strongest story from that series. His main contributions were to the Eleventh Doctor era, where his vision of the Doctor as a dark, mythical figure cropped up first in the underrated Vampires of Venice and then the magnum opus of the entire show, The God Complex, which masterfully deconstructed then reconstructed who the Doctor is. A Town Called Mercy and the Fisher King two parter are both great too, and whilst Lie of the Land was incredibly… not good I can’t really blame that entirely on him due to the difficult behind the scenes circumstances surrounding that arc. In short, any season without Whithouse is poorer off without him and his idea of the Doctor is one that I support 100%. I would have preferably wanted him as showrunner but if that’s not the case, another story would do just fine. Whithouse is a master of genre storytelling and is one of the finest writers this show has had and Lie of the Land is such a poor way to end a fantastic collection of stories.
Television is a vast and varied format, and it’s often the episodes that break the norm of their shows that often end up being the most acclaimed. By stripping the show down to its base elements, some of the most beloved episodes in television history are “bottle episodes”. These episodes take place in a single location and only feature the core characters, or even less. These episodes are devised to save budgets and reduce the need for vast locations or guest stars, although sometimes it’s due to a desire to try something different. These five episodes from television shows I love prove that sometimes less is more, and have been responsible for some of the finest outings for their respective shows.
As we are enjoying the golden age of comic book adaptations, it’s worth remembering not every superhero property is Marvel or DC. We have the Incredibles, Hellboy, Dredd and many more making the genre interesting and diverse. Netflix’s latest smash hit (you can how much of a success a show is based on the amount of memes, which this show has lots of) The Umbrella Academy is such a property, based on the Dark Horse comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba that presents a family of super-heroic characters who are so dysfunctional the X-Men look like a perfectly functioning team in comparison.
I’ve spent the last month addicted to one show, and just one show- Luther. Created by Neil Cross (who I previously knew as the writer of two Doctor Who stories in Series 7), the show revolves around DCI John Luther, played by the brilliant Idris Elba, solving the most messed up and twisted crimes in London. Aided by his police colleagues and haunted by past actions, Luther navigates his way through 5 brilliantly written, expertly paced seasons of utterly compelling television.
In case you missed the heading, this review will contain HUGE spoilers for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special, Resolution. If you haven’t seen the episode yet then watch it before coming back. Trust me- it’s more satisfying.
Do you know why I love Doctor Who? The ideas. Over 55 years this show has always striven to be the most imaginative, daring and bold television show on the planet. Stories that focus entirely on ideas are among my favourites- Tom Baker’s Warrior’s Gate is a wonderful piece of science fiction, Kinda and Enlightenment are my two favourite Peter Davison stories, The God Complex dissects the Doctor’s character by forcing him to battle the very idea of narrative and Ghost Light, the infamously complex and divisive story from the original run’s final season, is one of my all time favourite stories in anything ever. Whilst Series 11 has so far been strong on character and stories, in terms of pure ideas it’s been a bit behind. Until tonight. It Takes You Away (I assume the title refers to how the episode blows your mind) is not only the best episode of the series by a long shot (and remember, I consider both Rosa and Demons of the Punjab to be masterpieces and like everything else barring Tsuranga Conundrum) but one of the most original, bonkers, crazy, delightful, imaginative, complex and heartfelt stories the show has done in a looooong time, perhaps ever. Ed Hime, take a bow.
Whoops, I missed a week. Events such as college, college and college prevented me from writing a Kerblam! review but in short: loved it, most fun episode since The Crimson Horror, bring Twirly back as a companion, Pete McTighe needs to write more episodes and it should have been episode 5. Now onto this week’s episode, The Witchfinders, which I’ve been anticipating for a while. I love historical episodes and the witch trials are a fascinating period of English history. With a female Doctor this premise promised great things and the episode even secured probably the biggest guest star since John Hurt with Alan Cumming (known to nerds like me as Nightcrawler from X-Men 2) as King James I & VI (it’s complicated). Fortunately this episode lived up to the hype by being a return to traditional Who- monsters, history and horror combining in a gloriously entertaining episode with one amazing guest role. Chris Chibnall may be an excellent showrunner, but he should really leave the majority of the writing to guest writers. Joy Wilkinson gets Who.
Question- what did we do to deserve this series? Seriously, we were lucky to have one era-defining historical story but to have two? The conspiracy theorist thinks Chibnall made last week deliberately “meh” in order to make us savour something with substance, and something with substance we got. Demons of the Punjab is a wonderful episode that encapsulates everything brilliant about this show and deals with a difficult subject matter with skill and precision. I dare say it’s even better than Rosa, but I’ll need to rewatch it. Rather than stick an alien invasion plot in the middle of a controversial period of history, Vinay Patel takes a complex, multi layered look at war, remembrance and religion.
The Peter Davison story The Awakening is neither good nor bad. It exists as a story of Doctor Who. The same can be said for this week’s episode, The Tsuranga Conundrum. For the first time since I don’t even know, we have an episode that really gives me no real emotion either way. Was it an exemplary piece of television? No. Was it a disaster? No. It simply was. It’s Schrodinger’s episode.
On Netflix there’s about 100 various b-movies, mainly from the 80’s that are incredibly obscure and cheesy. I mention this because this week’s Doctor Who was essentially a b-movie with a budget. After three quite serious weeks we had a chance to see this new team loosen up and engage with a sterotypical monster of the week plot befitting of the Pertwee era. In a week that was quite intense for me having to hand in my English coursework (hence the late review), a fun nonsensical Doctor Who episode was a great way to start the week and a fun, nonsensical episode we got.