Entrances & Exits: Our Hopes for Series 10 of Doctor Who and Beyond

Series 9 is done and dusted. The Christmas Special has long been put away with the rest of the decorations, and now we’ve been left wondering where to next for Capaldi’s incarnation of the intrepid time traveller. So here we are we are thrashing around a few ideas about what we’d like to see in Series 10, and expressing our hopes for the show in general as it looks to be about to be on the cusp of a major transition period.

The Future for the Twelfth Doctor?

Danielle: Series 9 was a steep learning curve for Twelve, especially in those last few episodes. With the loss of Clara, his torture in the confession dial in the brilliant ‘Heaven Sent’ and his resulting angry meltdown when he finally returns to Gallifrey and attempts to free his companion from her deadly fate at the hands of the Raven, in my opinion, we saw the last remnants of his whimsical, wonderful but deliberately evasive previous incarnation making a last ditch attempt to maintain control. When he agreed to let his dangerous ‘Hybrid’ relationship with Clara go at the end of this series, he stopped running away from the things he has to face and allowed his actions to mirror the maturity that’s already present in his outwardly features. Again, evidence of this was there when he finally became the husband that River needed and worked up the courage to spend his last ‘twenty four-year long’ night with her in the Christmas Special. I’d like this character development to stick. Of course I still want the humour. A little frivolity can go a long way, but allowing The Doctor to grow up and show a different kind of mettle isn’t necessarily a bad thing, which is partly why I’m a little disappointed that this may be Capaldi’s last series. With a clean slate, he finally has the room to truly make the part his own and demonstrate some of that pathos that I’ve seen him employ in other roles. As it is, he’s on the precipice of becoming my favourite Doctor.

The Doctor diner
Twelve (Peter Capaldi) after Clara: we’d like to see more of this introspective Doctor in contrast to his ‘act first, think later’ predecessor.

Marieke: I have to agree with Danielle that one more series might not be enough. I have not praised the previous series, having a lot of difficulties with them, only realising during the Christmas special that I just didn’t like the Twelve/Clara combo. There were too many strings attached to Eleven for too long, Clara being the biggest of them. I did not dislike her as a character, but the writing clearly showed that the writers did not really know what to do with her (remember the Danny debacle?). So with her out of the way, an interesting Twelve could emerge. I want to see more of the Christmas Special Twelve, who at times is allowed to be moody. I can live with that. If Twelve is going to regenerate, he should go out with a bang. That said, he won’t be my favourite Doctor. I am still sticking with Eleven for now.

The Next Companion(s)?

Danielle: I think there needs to be a fundamental change in the type of dynamic between The Doctor and the next individual(s) to board the TARDIS. Sure we’ve had departures from the ‘Will they, won’t they?” romantic undertones that have been prevalent in the show since Christopher Ecclestone first dragged Billie Piper into his time machine as the Ninth Doctor and Rose. Donna and Ten’s relationship never really breached the friend zone, and introducing a couple who were destined to become man and wife was a masterstroke on Moffat’s part when he sought to reinvigorate the show after Russell T Davies’ departure. Even with Amy and Rory though, it morphed into a love triangle between them and Matt Smith’s character. There were points in Clara’s tenure too where it seemed like the writers couldn’t quite get a handle on the fact that Capaldi was determined to portray a deep-seated, but determinedly platonic love between the duo. Of course it doesn’t help that TV execs and, in turn, fandoms thrive on the presence of a ‘ship’. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a terrible thing per se. Hell, I’ve rooted for a particular TV couple over other pairings myself on numerous occasions, but problems arise when it feels like characters are forced down a ‘romantic avenue’ they wouldn’t necessarily have taken were nice, pretty actors not so damn marketable when they make out on-screen.

So what do I want you may ask? Well, what’s to say that ‘New Who’ can’t borrow from ‘Old Who’ and make the relationship between The Doctor and his new companion more familial vis-a-vis William Hartnell’s character and his first companion, his granddaughter Susan? More specifically, why not make the connection paternal? There’s naturally scope for it to be a loose, non-literal link, but why not, finally, when you have a more mature actor in the role and a character who’s just been through an arc that’s involved growing up and putting others first, use that to explore the complexities of The Doctor being absolutely responsible for the well-being of the person he travels with in his TARDIS, in a way he never quite has been in this run of the show before? It could even be a way into exploring his own origins in more depth, and to make better use of the fact Gallifrey is ‘back in the sky’. Perhaps that means finding a way to bring back Georgia Moffat as Jenny, his ‘genetically modified’ daughter, or better still introducing an entirely new, grown up ‘child’ for him to take under his wing. I’m not sure. What I do know is that it’s the perfect opportunity for those 24 years on Darillium with River to really count in the long term as the show’s narrative moves forward. And yes, I’m as surprised as the next person that I’m genuinely asking for a Time Child. I’d have rolled my eyes and dismissed the possibility as too much like fanfiction in the past, but not now. The show’s at a crossroads. Be bold, Moffat. Let’s really go for it and have some Time Twins!

first-doctor-and-susan
The First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his granddaughter/companion, Susan (Carole Ann Ford): is now the time for the writers to borrow from ‘Old Who’ and have The Doctor travel with a family member again?  

Marieke: Capaldi already said he wants a woman companion because a man would steal his limelight. A questionable statement, rooted in the damsel in distress idea making the Doctor the saviour. Thing is, I wouldn’t mind it being a man or a woman, I just hope the romantic love aspect won’t return for a long time. It has at least ruined one companion (Martha) and slightly damaged the dynamic between Eleven, Amy and Rory for some time. I think Danielle has a point with a family member in the TARDIS. It would explore a relationship from old times, but which hasn’t featured in ‘New Who’ yet. Not sure if they should bring Ten’s real life wife back (got to love the fictional/real life relationships going on in Who these days!) or if they should “invent” a new family member. I’m not certain about having a new Time Child though. That requires some good writing which I haven’t seen delivered (thinking about the ‘GALLIFREY! Oh no not really just luring you in’ trick). I don’t even know if I would want to see this and if RTD would agree, but I am just going to throw it out there: how about a return of Captain Jack? Having someone familiar could help, since I don’t see how we could both get attached to a new companion and live with the possibility of losing Twelve in one series, it would be too much and it would lessen the emotional impact of the latter.

The Writing?

Danielle: There were issues with Series 9. There’s no getting around that.  The writers relied far too heavily on two-parters and as a result the whole arc seemed far too stretched out and watered down up until those last few episodes. I get why though. It’s apparent that Jenna Coleman was due to be leaving the show a lot earlier than she actually did. In fact, from the way Series 8 played out, it was apparent they were gearing up for her to leave back then. As a consequence, for the most part, this last Series played out too much like a car that just wouldn’t start up until it was eventually jump-started with ‘Face the Raven’ and Clara’s demise. Series 10 needs to be a lot more focused.

Marieke: Don’t write two parters that are not two parters just for the sake of wanting a two parter. Don’t make an episode look like it will be all about Gallifrey when it isn’t. Don’t write an awful one parter as a filler. Have the balls to have characters or companions really die and do not have them return over and over again or live forever. More Missy. Always more Missy. More consistency too please!

Steven moffat
Steven Moffat with the TARDIS: who’ll replace him when he leaves?
After Moffat?

Danielle: It’s no secret that Moffat is planning to step down at the end of Series 10 if/when he finds a successor. I know that’ll be a joyous occasion for some people, but I’m actually quite sad. For me, Doctor Who changed from being the show I caught when I could under Russell T. Davies to the one I tried not to miss when The Moff was handed the reins. It’s difficult to know who I’d like to replace him. As a big fan of Being Human, I always used to root for Toby Whithouse, but after he turned in a couple of dud episodes I kind of cooled on the idea. Since Utopia was axed by Channel Four, Dennis Kelly could be the kind of distinctive voice that the show needs going forward, as could Dom Mitchell for whom In the Flesh also faced the chop prematurely. In actual fact, I can see the show being on hiatus for a few years after Moffat goes, especially as the BBC gears up to introduce their ‘His Dark Materials’ series based on Philip Pullman’s books. That may not be a bad thing. Getting the wrong person for the job and pushing on regardless could kill the show for a couple of decades, especially as the channel already seems intent on messing with the show’s scheduling and putting it on at a ridiculously late time.

Just as a little side note, I’m a bit upset on Moffat’s behalf that he seemingly popped the cork on the champagne bottle that was River Song’s last adventure so early. In my opinion, River has defined his time on the show as much as the Ponds, Clara and even Eleven and Twelve, and to be quite frank, I flipping loved her from the get-go! Naturally, I absolutely adored ‘The Husbands of River Song’, but if wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey should conspire to allow us one last glimpse of that sensational chemistry between Capaldi and Kingston before the Twelfth Doctor regenerates into the Thirteenth, I’d be bloody thrilled!

Marieke: I am just going to say it. I hope it won’t be Mark Gatiss. He has written questionable episodes and I am not sure he is up to the task of showrunner. Added to this is his involvement in Sherlock, which I find is getting more and more boring. Not just that, it is too clever for its own good, up to the point where it isn’t fun anymore. It is a shame Toby Whithouse hasn’t written great episodes (I only really liked ‘The God Complex’), because he is a good showrunner. Maybe they should separate the showrunner and main writing more, to have a better overview? Maybe someone completely new should do it. It will be one hell of a task though. It feels like the show is getting less popular. It surely needs a boost, fresh eyes and even fresher writing.

So what are your hopes for Series 10? Hit the comments and let us know…

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