Peter Capaldi’s first season as The Doctor is history, leaving only the Christmas special until next August. After that, it’s eight months until a new adventure with the Doctor and his menacing eyebrows. How can the BBC and Moffat make Season 9 better? I have ideas on how to make it better, but first, let’s take a look at Season 8.
Season 8 Recap
The eighth season wasn’t horrible nor was it one of the best. Episodes like Robot of Sherwood and In The Forest of the Night didn’t fit the new Doctor’s persona. These stories felt like holdovers from the Matt Smith era. His cartoonish antics and charisma would have worked far better than Capaldi’s skeptic, surly Doctor.
But the season had it’s high points as well. Flatline, Kill the Moon, Listen and Time Heist were fine stories. If any episodes highlighted Capaldi’s Doctor as cranky, crafty and devious, it was those three. They would be the ones I recommend to get a grasp on what the 13th Doctor is like.
but like other TV shows, not every episode in the season will be winners. But the gap between the the good and the bad needs to be closed as much as possible. Doctor Who handle’s problems and aliens and problematic aliens. He’s a problem solver. He’s an extraterrestrial Sherlock Holmes.
To get the Doctor back to that, here’s what I’d like to see.
Longer Episodes or Multi-Episode Stories
The biggest downfall to any of the episodes from the eighth season was too much story was shoehorned into 45 minutes. Except for the two-part season finale, I found it hard to care about any of the characters. Specifically, In the Forest of the Night, there was a small girl who helped the Doctor solve the problem.
The girl’s story could have had some punch to it if given enough time. Her older sister had run off. To cope, the girl started acting out in school and was prescribed medication. Her story ended on a happy note when the older sister returned. But as I watched and then re-watched that episode, I found myself not caring. I recognized it as a moment I should have felt something. The scene had sappy background music to drive the point home. Yet, I found myself just not giving a damn.
These single-serving characters weren’t the only flat ones. Danny Pink, Clara’s love interest, was featured prominently in a few episodes. I get it. Clara and the Doctor worked when it was a younger version. But a new character needed to come around to absorb Clara’s affections. They dedicated a decent amount of time to their relationship throughout the season. Yet, in the finale when Danny expired, I didn’t care.
You may think I’m a heartless bastard at this point, and you may be right. But I’ve experienced the feels from Doctor Who (and Futurama’s Jurassic Bark). I may be asking too much from a weekly sci-fi show, but if they want an emotional impact with these characters, then I need to get to know them. The only way that’s happening is if they spend more than five minutes on screen.
A New Companion
Clara Oswald has been my favorite companion, second to Billie Piper’s Rose. That being said, it’s time for Clara to move on. Don’t get me wrong, Jenna Coleman is a fine actress and easy on the eyes. Clara’s plucky attitude worked with the 12th Doctor and the more aggressive Clara works with Capaldi’s version.
But it’s been rare, in “New Who,” for a companion to stay long after a Doctor’s regeneration. The chemistry changes between the two and what did work, doesn’t any longer. I’m not in any rush for Moffat to write her off the show, but I would be surprised if she’s around for the entire ninth season.
Who would they get to replace Ms. Coleman? I haven’t a clue. But a new companion, one just as hard headed as the Doctor, would liven the show up a bit. Plus, if they’re looking to inject some more feels into the season, replacing Clara would do it.
When they introduced Missy, rumors of who the character is spread through message boards and various sites. Guesses ranged from a female master to reincarnations of other previous Who baddies.
Michelle Gomez’s rendition of the Master..er Mistress was the perfect mixture of brilliant and insanity. Doctor Who’s version of the Joker. I loved it. She was the perfect counter to everything the Doctor is/was. I felt she stole the spotlight from the Doctor and the Clara/Danny storyline in Season 8’s finale.
For Season 9, I’m hoping for more screen time with the Mistress. To really drive her home as the best baddie, create a three episode story where Missy does away with Clara. That cements her villainy and opens the door for a new companion for the Doctor.
What would you like to see in the ninth season of Doctor Who?