4 Possible Future Doctor Who Spin-offs
Guest contributor Michael Binney lists four ideas that could fill the Who-void.
With Doctor Who’s two major spin-off shows Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures both either in hiatus or having finished completely, respectively, Whovians desperately need something to fill the gap for more Who while it is off the air. I have compiled four possible spin-off shows which I think could work well on television.
The Paternoster Adventures
A series that involves the Paternoster gang and their adventures. Madame Vastra is the strong, determined leader of the trio, Jenny is her witty accomplice and then, of course, there’s the eccentric Sontaran-gone-wrong, Strax, for good measure.
One of the biggest questions that linger alongside this idea is whether it would be a more mature series, like Doctor Who, or fit into the CBBC-friendly Sarah Jane category. In my opinion, I’d like this series to perhaps be broadcast on BBC2 and have a similar tone to its parent show. The tone in Torchwood would be way too dark for a series with the intentions that this one would work towards – funny and enjoyable but still well-plotted and firmly rooted in Who folklore.
This drama series would broadcast weekly on BBC2 for a small period during the year. It would help fill in the gaps when Who isn’t on and could also have it’s own story arcs and crossover situations.
UNIT: Unified Intelligence Taskforce
A slightly more mature drama following UNIT, with Kate Stewart at the helm. This series would follow the events that occur at UNIT’s base at the Tower of London and would have Jemma Redgrave as the star. This kind of series could replace Torchwood’s old spot (even though it has been a while since then) whilst being watered down considerably so that regular Who viewers could watch.
The problem with Torchwood was that some episodes seemed to have sex, strong language and heavy violence thrown in simply to make it appear more “adult”. This was definitely the case with the show’s first series, but Chris Chibnall seemingly learnt from his mistakes with Series 2. Children of Earth was a gripping mini-series, but Miracle Day, whilst enjoyable in parts, was often terribly depressing and too much like the average American cop-crime show for it’s own good.
A UNIT series would help bring back the classic kind of UNIT we were re-introduced to in The Power of Three.
The Jo Grant Adventures
A series similar to The Sarah Jane adventures, with Katy Manning in the title role. Now that Jo Grant made an appearance in an episode of The Sarah Jane adventures, it has confirmed the character’s continued existence in the modern Whoniverse. Unfortunately, due to the passing of the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen, the show could not have possibly continued without it’s main protagonist. But how would a similar series, with Jo Grant as the heroine, be received? Of course, it may be controversial due to it being extraordinarily similar to Sarah Jane’s show, but it would open up future appearances for the character in Doctor Who itself.
Naturally, as a possible replacement for The Sarah Jane Adventures, the show would be broadcast on CBBC and have a SJA-vibe to it. And, just as SJA had, it be made more for children than older Whovians. But with most of the old SJA production crew working hard on Wizards vs. Aliens, and the old SJA budget most likely being used by that, would the BBC simply have enough time and effort for a show like this?
The River and Jack Show
A more mature series starring Alex Kingston and John Barrowman as their fictional counterparts. This would be a funny, but still often dark and brooding series starring Captain Jack Harkness and Professor River Song. It is probably one of the fan favourites for a Who spin-off, if one was to be made. It would work well as a sister show to Doctor Who and would help give even more depth to both characters, as well as help to introduce more villains and Whoniverse characters.
How about a third member in Luke Smith? River and Jack meet each other in a University in London whilst both investigating some strange going-on, and bump into… who else? Luke Smith, Sarah-Jane’s beloved son. Even if Luke wasn’t to appear, the series would still work, and with both actors recently quoted as being enthusiastic about the idea, it seems like it could be one of the more likely options. Mark Gatiss could oversee the production, with Phil Ford, Gareth Roberts, Chris Chibnall and Tom MacRae as regular writers.
Obviously, there are many, many different ideas that could be put forward for a Doctor Who spin-off. The most popular, at the moment is, without a doubt, the Paternoster gang spin-off.
There needs to be something to fill that long gap when we are waiting for new Who episodes, and a spin-off would fit that bill perfectly, especially if future series’ are broadcast in two-halves like the last two.
All in all, I am all for a Doctor Who spin-off show, even if it’s none of the above. The more time us fans can spend in the Whoniverse, glued to our television screens watching epic Who moments pan-out, the better!