10 New Year’s Resolutions for Doctor Who in 2014
Guest contributor K-Ci Williams compiles a list of ten resolutions to benefit the Whoniverse in 2014.
Last year was a wild ride: from the early months of doubt, wondering if the BBC would justly celebrate the 50th year, wondering which Classic Doctors or companions would return, to the late months with The Day of the Doctor simulcast in 94 countries and concluding the year with Matt Smith’s swansong. Now it is 2014 and a new Doctor is coming. Peter Capaldi wowed audiences with his appearance in The Time of the Doctor and he will helm the TARDIS later this year. In the spirit of change and the New Year (and because Doctor Who is not perfect) I have compiled a list of ten resolutions I think would fare well in the Whoniverse.
NOTE: The resolution of no series splits has been confirmed by Steven Moffat.
A Serious Sontaran Story
Technically, there has been an absence of a proper Sontaran story since The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky. The comic relief that Strax provides can make a lighter tone in a darker situation; but now it is time for a good ole Sontaran yarn. A controversial debate continues to be argued regarding the merits of Steven Moffat and his characterisation of Strax in the aftermath of Demons Run. Seemingly, it would be more beneficial to see him (for all intents and purposes Strax is addressed as a ‘him’ in this article, at least in this point anyway) actually gain some character development. A serious Sontaran story would be a fair opportunity for the writers to develop Strax. Perhaps it could be a journey of morality for Strax, where his loyalty is tested. Would he choose the Doctor, or the clone batch of his race – whom he suspiciously sends secretly recorded TARDIS clips to? Whether these actually make it to the Sontarans or waste away in the archives of the TARDIS, development for Strax is something that is direly needed.
Series by Series Arcs
Steven Moffat has treated the viewers of Doctor Who to four years of a complex, and for some people, a convoluted story arc which was tied up in The Time of the Doctor. However, it seems logical after four years of heavy series arcs with Matt Smith, that the era of Peter Capaldi entails a much lighter series-by-series story arcs. These types of storylines were featured in the Russell T Davies era series. With the words Bad Wolf spread across time; the mention of Torchwood; Vote Saxon; the return of Rose Tyler with “the darkness is coming” and “he will knock four times.” Series-by-series story arcs that proved effective because they were simple, with small details littered here and there. Even Saxon posters were shown on screen in Torchwood. As the small series arcs have hints gradually given, there is greater space for speculation and a fresh tale to tell, which is a notion that shouldn’t go amiss in Capaldi’s era.
The Return of Two Parters
There was a complete absence of two part stories in Series 7 and this was emphasised every week. Many of the episodes could have been better with a second part. It is no secret that most of the fandom would like the return of two parters. In fact, why not go out on a limb and claim that everybody wants two parters in 2014. Episode length seems to be a teensy smidge of a problem for the show as of late, but the return of more complex stories in two parters would be welcomed with open arms. The last two part episode the show has seen was in fact The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People (unless you count A Good Man Goes to War/Let’s Kill Hitler) and obviously certain episodes suffered from lack of plot expansion due to restricted length, ala The Power of Three.
Give Peter Jackson a Dalek
In the babble of the world, there are whispers, if you know how to listen… the whispers tell of the discussions regarding a future episode directed by Peter Jackson, which are developing to an “actually kind of serious” stage and apparently only requiring a Dalek as compensation. Were he to actually direct an episode it is likely to be filmed in New Zealand as Jackson is generally reluctant to film outside of his home country. This notion opens up the landscape potential of a story beyond the normalities observed in stellar episodes. The vistas of New Zealand have been incorporated into The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy, with James Cameron recently agreeing with the New Zealand Government to film the three sequels to Avatar there. With two possible successful franchises and with Doctor Who already reaching fifty, surely it deserves the aesthetic beauty of New Zealand that Hollywood films are claiming in their stories.
More Clara Development
The characterisation of Clara Oswald has been right on the money lately. Arguably, the second part of Series 7 was a mixed bag, with the Impossible Girl mystery overshadowing character growth in the stories. When Jenna Coleman was introduced as Dalek Oswin and then Victorian Clara, the general tone was applause for the roles Coleman was portraying. But when it came to Modern Clara, some fans just didn’t catch on. This may be the fault of the lack of character development early on in her story, and until The Name of the Doctor, she was not given as much growth as some would like. But in The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, she was portrayed as a significant person in the Doctor’s life, something that wasn’t cemented earlier in the series. In Time, Steven Moffat introduced Clara’s family: her adorably funny Gran; a recast father; and a woman who she clearly doesn’t like who may or may not be her step mother. The different dynamics between the four of them could open up different pathways for stories and offer character development for Clara.
Create a new Spin-off
It is the usual story here: Torchwood is in limbo and doesn’t seem to be making a return anytime soon. Although, if there is a show that knows anything about how to make a comeback after years of being cancelled, it’s Doctor Who. The other sister show of Torchwood is of course The Sarah Jane Adventures which was cancelled for obvious reasons. Once a year on average (not as of late though), the BBC produces a thirteen episode run with a Christmas Special. This means that we only get Doctor Who fourteen times over the year, so for thirty eight weeks of the year we have nothing new to tie us over except for Big Finish audios (which will be addressed soon). So, it seems given that with the fifty year old world of Doctor Who, spin off media should be created to further expand it and to keep us busy in the wilderness months.
Give Big Finish the New Series License
The Big Finish audios were made canonical in The Night of the Doctor, and this means that they should not only be producing audios based on adventures from the first eight Doctors, but also the new series Doctors. Imagine being able to hear John Hurt’s voice as the Doctor again, but on audio. That’s highly unlikely, but bringing back past Doctors like Matt Smith to do an audio adventure would be greatly appreciated. However, this cannot happen due to Big Finish not possessing the license to use the new series. Now that the license has been renewed until December 2016, surely there is room to expand a wing for the new series?
Bring Back Classic Companions
David Tennant’s era introduced Sarah Jane back to our screens as a legend and she continued in the Whoniverse in her own spin off show before returning to Doctor Who again. Her entrance in School Reunion was an indescribable affair, but it was important because it provided one of the most significant links to the past of Doctor Who. In Matt Smith’s era, Steven Moffat took the show in a different direction, with no classic companions returning to the parent show. The Ponds had the majority of time in the TARDIS with Matt Smith, but now that Peter Capaldi is a new and older Doctor, it seems right that classic companions should return to the show. There is some merit in Moffat’s reasoning that the show needs to look forward and not back, but small acknowledgments of the past such as a returning companion can mean the world to devoted fans who have stuck with the show for years.
More Secret Minisodes
When The Night of the Doctor was released, we had only been told about its existence. But now following the success of that mini episode, Steven Moffat has said that there will be some in the future, but we won’t be told about it. Even the BBC will supposedly not be told about it, which is smart because BBC Doctor Who information always seems to leak. But there are more pressing matters at hand. What should be in those mini-episodes? Since not all classic Doctors were featured in the fiftieth anniversary special and Colin Baker called this “irritating” because they didn’t know Tom Baker was in it, having secret minisodes featuring different Doctors is absolutely the way to go. Fans cried when Tom appeared as the Curator, so it seems that they wouldn’t mind the visible age difference in the Doctors anyway. Just use the excuse from Time Crash and we’re away!
Bring Back Doctor Who Confidential
This is highly unlikely, with the Behind the Lens featurettes being produced after every episode, but one can wish. Confidential allowed fans of the show to take a comprehensive look behind the scenes rather than a twelve minute peek which hardly ties us over until the next episode. Additionally, the Confidential cutdowns gave some bulk to the complete series box sets which now seem littered with documentaries featuring celebrity fans that arguably should not be included on the DVD. Instead, the space should be reserved for people just involved with the show giving their thoughts on experiences, or at least science shows regarding the merits of Doctor Who.
Those are the New Year’s Resolutions that could make the Doctor Who universe better in 2014. The main attraction of this year is that we have a new Doctor. The Capaldian era should be spectacular. Yes, I am coining a new term: CAPALDIAN. You read it here first folks! I doubt that’ll catch on though. Anyway, it’ll be a long wait until a new series, but until then… oh wait! There is no Capaldian catchphrase yet.
Happy New Year!