Doctor Who has been very frustrating lately for well, lots of folks. We miss having solid story, more substance and less pizzazz (or lots of pizzazz as long as the substance is there too) and characters we can relate to. The days when companions were our guide into this world and not just ciphers who’s existence revolves around the Doctor. I’m down with total full out silliness, I just need structure, characters, something solid to guide us through the weird.
[**note: Noelle Stevenson @gingerhazing occasionally tweets brilliant criticisms of Doctor Who that are so spot on it hurts. She’s great. Follow her.]
I loved this show, I want to keep loving this show. After watching the first two episodes of season 8, I actually quite like Capaldi, and I’m finding myself more interested in Clara now that she’s playing off him, and Danny Pink and even Journey Blue.
This is a new era, and I get that it’s not going to have the same magic as when I started out devouring Eccleston’s season. Or even when I thought I could never love another Doctor but then Tennant screamed into the TARDIS and made us feel just, he made us feel so much. And of course that isn’t just because of Tennant or Eccleston, but it was because the characters around them mattered so deeply.
I cared about Rose, and her mum Jackie, and Mickey. I cared about Donna and her grandfather, Wilf. I cared about Martha, and the drama that came with knowing that she could do better then getting caught up with this man full of angst as on the rebound. I felt proud of her when she achieved greatness on her own terms heading up teams as part of UNIT. When we experience the Doctor through the eyes of these characters everything just matters so much more. Because it isn’t just about the mad man in the box, it’s about the impact this kind of adventure has on the lives of the people around him in a real way. This grounding makes the big abstract scale matter.
While there were some great stories with Amy and Rory, episodes during their run with Matt Smith weren’t grounded in the way the previous stories had been. They were wackier, wilder and untethered.
After watching the show flounder about for a few seasons, getting bigger, wilder but ultimately less engaging. I found it more and more difficult to get excited to watch the next episode. Or even wanting to continue watching at all. But the thing is, I really want to love it, at the very least I’d like to still enjoy the show I once loved. So I’m going to shake off all the negative thoughts, lower my expectations and see how it goes.
Here’s what I figured out. I put on my rosiest glasses, lowered by expectations of how a Doctor Who episode should make me feel, and went in with the most positive mindset I could muster. Even after once again feeling ultimately let down, and more condescended and pandered to than ever in the season premiere, “Deep Breath” (but really, what was I expecting?), I dove into “Into the Dalek” and you know what – it was alright!
Giving Clara even a little time at school, interacting with other humans that exist in her life, not the Doctor’s, was a big deal. It’s a little backwards, but developing her character outside of “existing for the Doctor” is better late than never. I’m finding myself actually looking forward to knowing more about Danny Pink (and my fingers so crossed that he’s a character that stays in Clara’s orbit and doesn’t turn out to be someone, or something else entirely that actually ties in to the Doctor’s existence and was thrown into Clara’s life by a weird Moffatty twist).
So to this I say, bring on “Robot of Sherwood”. Why not! Let’s have some fun! All that being said, I know I’m not alone in itching for a chance of pace and the rumour mill is buzzing about bringing in a new showrunner to replace Moffat – if true – I’m psyched for something new.
Have you been keeping up with Doctor Who? How do you feel about the latest episodes featuring Capaldi and Coleman?