Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Big News on the Doctor Who Front

I haven't done as much on this blog thus far on talking about television news, but it is part of what I occasionally want to cover, especially when it has a big effect on television shows that I absolutely love, in this case, the longest running Sci-Fi show in all of history, Doctor Who...

Before I get to the news on this fantastic (and fantastical) show, I want to talk a little bit about the last season, the first since the Doctor came back without Russell T. Davies in charge, the first under Stephen Moffat.

While some people I know didn't enjoy the Moffat run series as much as they did the Davies run seasons prior to it (featuring Christopher Eccleston for a year, and David Tennant for four, three series and a series of specials), most critics praised this last season, and I agree.  While I (and I'm sure most fans of the Doctor would agree) am a huge fan of Tennant's incarnation, and despite my enjoyment of Matt Smith, he's no David Tennant, the overall story of the series was the best of the new run, in my opinion.  I am a fan of a series (or season as we say in the good ol' U S of A) that is truly serial, where each episode works with each other and towards a specific end.  There are no throw-away episodes, no "time-wasters".

I thought the last season's story was incredibly imaginative, and the finale was fantastic, one of the best in quite some time.

So, the big news of the last couple of days for Doctor Who is that next season will be split into two stories with a break in the middle allowing for a cliff-hanger episode.  An interview with Moffat from The Guardian broke this news.  The Doctor will return to the air for seven episodes, concluding with "an earth shattering climax", a "game-changing cliffhanger", then going on hiatus until the autumn when the show will return with six more episodes (ostensibly telling a different story coming out of the game-changer that occurred in the mid-season finale) culminating in the season finale.  The Doctor will then return on Christmas with the Christmas special.

The departure of the fantastic David Tennant also meant that ratings weren't as strong as they were in the final Tennant year, so the hope is that with double the "event" episodes, the premiere, a mid-season finale, the autumn premiere, and the season finale (instead of just one premiere and finale we now have two of each), the ratings overall will be stronger.

Personally, I am not a fan of splitting a season in two, with a hiatus in the middle, and this is what Heroes attempted to do in its last couple of seasons, and that didn't work out so well at all.  However, I think that we can all agree that the stories on Doctor Who under Moffat are much better than anything on Heroes after season one.  Doctor Who is a much better show, and so the failure of Heroes shouldn't really have anything to do with this decision in regards to Doctor Who.

A major plus, of course, is that while the number of episodes doesn't change, there will be new Doctor Who throughout the year.  We "are never going to be more than [a] few months from the new series of Doctor Who."  And as an impatient person, that is an exciting thing.

The other thing to talk about with this news is, of course, what the "earth shattering climax", the "game-changing cliffhanger" will be.  Will it result in the actual, unchangeable death of a companion?  Something that is very rare in the world of Doctor Who, and hasn't occurred in quite some time.  Really only one major companion has died (although a few others who haven't traveled as long with the Time Lord have also died), Aldric who was a companion of the fourth and fifth Doctor throughout seasons 18, 19, and 21.  So if Amy Pond is killed off, that would be a game-changer.

A bigger game-changer, of course, would be the Doctor regenerating into a woman, but that probably won't happen anytime soon.

Until Next Time, Whatever happens, Moffat won me over last season, and I look forward to what he does next with the series.


  1. Don't agree the ratings weren't the same as Tennant's seasons. They were the same. Check out this month's DWM. The average for this season was 7.7 million.

    People record the show or watch on iPlayer these days.

  2. I agree that as many people (if not more) were watching, but unfortunately, from what I've seen the ratings of the first shown broadcast wasn't as good, especially during the end of the season (beginning of the summer) and that is what the BBC is looking at as far as ratings for advertising. The advertisers don't pay for DVR'd numbers or for people watching via iTunes.