Okay, that might seem like a bleak sort of title for a Doctor Who fan. What is there to be hopeful about? It’s going to be great. Of course it’s going to be great.
However, some of that may just be the end of Series 7 talking. The last episode – followed by the 50th Anniversary Special and the Christmas Special – I have come to call the “of the Doctor” trilogy: The Name of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor, and The Time of the Doctor. And this trilogy was amazing.
But as a whole, Series 7 was less well received. So let’s consider that for a moment, and then, why I’m hopeful for Series 8!
Series 7 Part 1
When Series 7 opened, Rory and Amy were still the companions. However, time had passed, and they had been left on Earth. What follows is the Doctor coming back and joining up with them, time and again. Most of their adventures are implied, and it felt like, even moreso than for other past companions.
They eventually calculated that they had spent about 10 years, collectively, traveling. What we get for this Series, however, is 5 episodes, not connecting together really at all. It felt kind of like they hadn’t figured out how to write them out of the series yet, and wanted to keep going just a bit more.
I liken this part of the Series to the David Tennant era Specials; a set of episodes which exist, and have the characters we know and love, but they happen kind of in a vacuum. They’re decent enough episodes, and I love the idea of the episode posters, as though they were movie posters – except this ended up making them seem even more like stand-alone episodes.
It ended on a sad note, in The Angels Take Manhattan, and we move on from our companions of two Series and some Specials. Then we got the Christmas Special, The Snowmen, and got introduced to a new, exciting companion. Right?
Series 7 Part 2
Nope, she died. Again. Well, at least they set up a mystery, which will be a compelling and ongoing important aspect to the Series, like Amy and the crack in her wall. Right?
Nah, we just kind of vaguely wonder about it occasionally. Maybe a bit more during Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.
Instead, episode-by-episode, they were working on making historical references back to Old Who – the early days (decades) before a new generation, including Holly and I, came to Doctor Who with Series 1.
It seemed to me to be a celebration of the 50 years of Doctor Who, and that’s cool. It was fun and self-referential. The Internet was full of people pointing out the references, to which all I could really do was nod sagely. “Ah yes, references,” I seemed to say.
So again, rather than telling a story, these episodes had other purposes: standing alone, while also referring far further back than to the current Series.
Finally, in the last episode, and the two specials to follow, we had a story: the Fall of the Eleventh, and the return of the Time Lords. Setting us up for quite a lot for the coming Series.
Looking Ahead to Series 8
So here we are, a little over a week before Series 8 (it starts on August 23rd!). There are plot threads, waiting to be picked up. The mystery surrounding the survival of the Time Lords.
And there’s a new Doctor!
We’ve been watching Peter Capaldi in The Musketeers, and I have to say, he seems pretty good. But Cardinal Richelieu is a very different character from the Doctor, so we’ll see. But a new Doctor is an exciting time, a time to see a known character done in a new way, to see how and why they change him.
I expect this to function kind of like Series 2: we have a known companion, and a new Doctor. Their relationship will change, and we get to see him through these other eyes.
Tough eyes, though: Clara isn’t a normal sort of companion. She has to think about it when the Doctor asks her to join! But I think maybe she deserves her own Character Study… will have to hop to it with the show coming up!
But more than any of these story sorts of things, I feel like the need to do these other sorts of things – to reminisce on the past, to keep limping along with the companions just because you haven’t written them off… it has a chance to start up a whole new thread, a whole new set of problems, characters, aliens… we’ll get some old, some new, and in whatever combinations they want.
Hopefully. We’ll see. I know I’ll be watching, anyway! We have the season pass already on iTunes! What are you looking forward to with Series 8 of Doctor Who? Let us know in the comments below!