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A Series 8 Wish-list (Part 2)

Guest contributor Cooper Jennings concludes his 2014 wish-list.

The 50th anniversary feels like a good place to pause. Maybe it will, but with the announcement of Series 8 for 2014, could it be business as usual?

At some point the bubble will burst, unless something or someone relieves the weight of ever increasing fan expectation. I believe Doctor Who is in excellent nick, and yet we have never been so critical of it. Sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most.

Time off, (another) change to series structure, a new Doctor (!)… if Doctor Who is to continue for another 50 years (which it will!) something has to give. Moffat has the most glorious and nightmarish responsibility, how does one change Doctor Who enough to give it new mileage without changing it too much!?

The 50th Anniversary will change a lot. It has to! How often do 50th Anniversaries come about? [That’s rhetorical]. But before then we will know some of the show’s future due to location filming for the Christmas Special. Pre-anniversary, through filming, we should know who’s involved post-anniversary. Is Moffat currently working hard on Series 8, or working hard negotiating his replacement?

But come rain or shine, we will get Series 8 (and 9 and 10 and 11 eventually), and when we do, what do we want to see?

Part 1 discussed the importance of ‘2-parters’, the balance of Story Arc, new writers, Mark Gatiss and Neil Gaiman. What worked in past series, who do we want to see again and what are the stories we want told? What is your Series 8 wish list?

EPISODE 6 & 7
RUSSELL T DAVIES

tennant-rtd-simm-masterMoffat wrote some of the very best Episodes of Who under Russell’s leadership. Russell could write some of the very best under Moffat.

Russell’s ability to capture popular culture is remarkable. Re-watching scenes with Rose in London, the Doctor in Big Brother – Russell’s sense of reality was relevant and biting, bursting with confidence.

Every year Moffat asks Russell, and every year Russell must be more tempted. Ideas swimming around his head, ever observant of everyday life, Davies must feel the pull to write another episode, this time without the executive pressure.

What would he write? Anything. But Russell is an expert at writing contemporary city and family life. He also has a great track record writing the Time Lords.

Russell could write a ‘2-parter’ about the Doctor’s family. Being the mastermind behind the Doctor’s re-launch in 2005, he must have lists and lists of notes and illustrations, spider diagrams with the events of the Time War, the Doctor’s family tree – possible storylines, possible companions, possible villains all in preparation of the revival. Russell T Davies certainly has the right and research to tell us more about the Doctor’s home life and domestic drama.

EPISODE 8
GARETH ROBERTS OR TOM MACRAE

doctor-who-closing-time-promo pics (6)Fans can be critical of “Closing Time”, I love it. Most though love “The Lodger”. I think both demonstrate elements that show Gareth Roberts to be a potential show runner.

What I like most about Gareth Roberts is his dialogue and characterisation. Whether you like the content of his stories, the script is fantastically quick and clever, and very very funny. Craig, Sophie and Stormageddon are great characters, and very real – in style he is very similar to Russell T Davies. He has contributed a lot to Doctor Who and his experience outside the show supports my confidence that he could steer the ship and integrate other writers’ work into a series.

I would love to see more of Craig and the Doctor. In the future I would like to sees Gareth’s Doctor and Companion, I don’t think he would disappoint.

Tom MacRae did a fabulous fan pleasing job in Series 6. If it wasn’t Gareth Roberts taking up a slot in Series 8, I would like to see Tom MacRae, and I suspect from what he says that we will! Re-watching his Cyberman story this year I really enjoyed and admired it. Now the Cybus Cybermen are a footnote in Cyber-history, the story is satisfying. MacRae juggles a lot! Cybermen, parallel universe, Rose’s alternate family, two Mickey/Ricky’s, dead TARDIS. The scene where the Cyber-woman recalls her wedding night, followed by Mrs. Moore’s sudden death, is incredibly sad and shocking. Very difficult job, very well done. Another classic monster from MacRae. The Sea Devils? Or another original story as wonderful as “The Girl Who Waited”.

EPISODE 9
PETER JACKSON

peter-jackson-doctor-who-dalekIt seems he wants to! I bet Moffat is trying everything in his power to secure him!! Just give him the keys to the TARDIS and complete creative reign. Oh – and as payment he wants a Dalek right? So source some scrap and make him one!

What would I like to see from him? He would probably like to take on one of the classics. But the story would have to be real good to match his epic style… Maybe they are taking time to make it absolutely right. We need an origin story for the Weeping Angels; where did they come from, were they once flesh and blood, were they Time Lord? An origin story for the Weeping Angels could be horrific; it could tie in a lot of Who-Lore and be suitably epic on screen.

EPISODE 10-Finale
A MOFFAT SERIAL

moffat-jennaI believe it is time we saw them attempt a format a closer to Classic Who. Especially for a finale.

I loved “The Name Of The Doctor”, I believe it is one of the best New-Who episodes. But in 10 years time when they compile a list of ‘THE GREATEST WHO STORIES’ – will it be considered in the same league as “Genesis” and “Tomb” and “Caves”, it could be, but it won’t because “The Name Of The Doctor” is not stand alone, it is arguably Part 1 of the Anniversary. Whilst possibly the most skilful, nostalgic episode ever, I fear in the future it will be remembered as a prequel rather than a story in its own right.

If this story was a ‘2-parter’ there would have been a cliff-hanger, possibly after the Doctor (or, as later revealed, River) answered the question and the TARDIS tomb opened. A cliff-hanger here would have given us pause to appreciate the “question/answer” connection with the Series 6 Arc. In 45 minutes this was missed. Ultimately, in ‘2-parts’ this story would have flourished further and be seen to stand better on its own, not just in the run up to the 50th anniversary.

A story in 3-parts will draw us even closer to the format that made Doctor Who so famous. It would make more of an event of the story, like Torchwood: Children Of Earth.

In Series 7, each week was a blockbuster, the producers tried to capture new audience every week with a new Hollywood style story. But did it really work? Each week, during the episode, I found myself half-watching the clock, praying for more time as the episode hurried towards 45 minutes.

Series 8 should not try so hard to please, it should take it’s time; make the big stories an event that an audience can really get behind over a few parts.

Something’s coming, that’s for sure. And before the BBC tell us anymore – we have the luxury to imagine the endless possibilities of Doctor Who Series 8. Moffat is a lucky man, because he can do this stuff for real! I believe he has an ear to fandom, and I think he knows how to please.

Step back in time...

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