Does Deep Breath Really Deserve a Theatrical Release?

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Guest contributor Garrett Castello takes a look.


It was recently announced that the feature-length Series 8 premiere, Deep Breath, will be getting a release in theaters to coincide with its debut on television. Opinions about this have been fairly divisive since the announcement was made. So, does Peter Capaldi’s first official episode really deserve to follow in the steps of The Day of the Doctor and make an appearance on the silver screen? I’m going to give a rundown of the arguments for and against this and then wrap things up with my own personal thoughts on the matter.

Why It Does

Doctor Who: Series 8: Episode 1Deep Breath is certainly going to be an important episode. Not only is it simply the first episode of Series 8 but it’s also the first full episode to feature Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. The debut episode of a new Doctor is always an important occasion with plenty of significance to back it up. Looking at it further, Deep Breath can also be seen as the beginning of a new chapter in the Doctor’s life as he’s at the beginning of a new regeneration cycle. Everything from An Unearthly Child to The Time of the Doctor was the first chapter. The story of the Doctor’s life throughout his first regeneration cycle. Doctor Who: Part 1. Whatever you wish to call it. Deep Breath is the start of Part 2. A new Doctor. A new regeneration cycle. A new objective for which the Doctor is striving for: Gallifrey. It seems fitting the the beginning of this second chapter is finding its place on the big screen.

Secondly, due to The Day of the Doctor‘s success in theaters, there’s been plenty of talk about Doctor Who finding its place in cinema. Deep Breath could very well be the beginning of the show’s integration into the world of cinema depending on its success. It’ll not only provide Whovians with yet another chance to experience Doctor Who on the big screen but it could also prove to be a good entry point for new fans. If Deep Breath proves to be a theatrical success like The Day of the Doctor, we could very well start seeing future big episodes of the show get theatrical releases. We might start seeing feature-length Doctor Who specials appear in cinemas during the long breaks between series. Maybe even 90-120 minute Doctor Who films!

Why It Doesn’t

Series-8-TV-launch-trailer-(11)While Deep Breath is definitely an important episode, it obviously isn’t as big of a milestone as the 50th anniversary of the show. It may be a significant debut episode for a new Doctor but there have been significant Doctor debuts in the past and none of them received the theatrical treatment. Not the first episode of both the revival series and Christopher Eccleston’s era as the Ninth Doctor nor Paul McGann’s introduction as the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 film. If those two significant Doctor debuts didn’t get a spot in cinemas, why should Deep Breath get the special treatment?

Secondly, this cheapens the significance of the 50th anniversary special a bit. The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was a huge achievement and one worthy being celebrated on the big screen. But now, a mere two episodes later, we have an episode that’s of equal length, being simulcast, and getting a theatrical release. This makes the release of the 50th anniversary special appear less unique. Besides, there’s no guarantee that Deep Breath will be as big of a success as The Day of the Doctor was. Plenty of Whovians prefer to watch Doctor Who within the comfort of their own home; and the debut appearance of a new Doctor probably won’t have as much of a hook to the mainstream audience as the 50th anniversary of the show did.

Where I Stand

Personally, I’m neutral about the whole thing. I can understand why people are both for and against this. As of now, I’m planning on watching Deep Breath at home. But if a friend of mine really wanted to see it in the theater and they invited me to come see it with them, I wouldn’t refuse. There’s certainly something pretty magical about watching Doctor Who appear on the big screen and I’m happy that we Whovians now have the opportunity to experience this. Whether you’re in favor of this or not, you’ve got to admit that it’s pretty special that our show will have now had two of its episodes be released in theaters. How many other shows today have managed to surpass the realm of television and have their episodes appear on the silver screen? Not that many. And that just goes to show just how special Doctor Who really is.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you’re enjoying Doctor Who on your living room couch, in a theater seat, or even in front of your computer. What matters is that we’re all celebrating a show that is most definitely worth celebrating in our own different, special ways.