Since returning to our screens in 2005, NuWho has safeguarded itself from becoming stale with a steady stream of talented guest writers, imaginative villains, changing TARDIS consoles and the expansion of the companion role. These elements, coupled with the regular recasting of the main character replenish the show’s appeal every couple of years. And yet, as we approach Series 9, we have detected a few familiar patterns; elements that crop up every year or so which, in our view, up the risk of viewer fatigue in even the hardest of the hard core. Maybe we are way off base, but we’ve picked out 5 trends that we think should get scaled back, like…
DALEKS, DALEKS, DALEKS – During the original era; Dalek stories were a treat because they were so infrequent; often it was three years or more between Dalek serials and most Doctors only faced them once or twice during their regeneration. NuWho has doubled down on the Pepper Pot bad guys; in fact only one series (3) has aired without any Dalek appearance (they make a cameo in The Wedding Of River Song in Series 6 but don’t have an entire story)
The Daleks are fun, but maybe we could go a few years without seeing them. And how about making them a bit more menacing? We’d be in favour of a story in which they flat out beat The Doctor; watching the emotional toll it takes on him would be fresh and fascinating, and consider the possibilities around a closing scene when the Daleks brag to a defeated Doctor…’we learned from you.”
SONIC SCREWDRIVER OVERLOAD – It opened doors! That what it was intended for when it made its first proper appearance in Fury Of The Deep; an easy way to get the Doctor into or out of tricky situations. Over the years it’s grown from door opener, to a helpful scanner, to a virtual magical wand with psychic properties that can do just about anything.
Look, we like the notion that the Doctor and the TARDIS are evolving and becoming more powerful as they travel; but the Sonic is a tool…even an Iphone can only be upgraded so many times. Let the Sonic be!
REGENERATION SATURATION- For our money, the 9th regeneration was as near to perfect as it can get; understated, sad, exciting and overwhelming for Rose. There wasn’t the massive lead up as their was for both David Tennant and Matt Smith’s departures, and the suddenness of Eccleston’s “death” added to the emotional tone of the scene.
Regeneration is fascinating, but it’s also been somewhat confusing for us due to it’s various interpretations; the Davies era portrayed it as a sombre, almost fatalistic death march, while Moffat has depicted it as a victory; the Doctor cheats death, his personality is rewritten but he carries on. Add in the inherent superhuman properties (re-growing limbs, projecting energy to wipe out spaceships) and regeneration has become a story on to itself. Whenever Capaldi decides to move on, we suggest a return to the surprising and sad/exciting changeover that marked the end of 9.
THE TIME WAR(S) – Another mysterious element of the Doctor’s past that has been overused, the menacing conflict was brilliantly introduced and referenced through subtle mentions and hints of darkness through the first few seasons before we finally got an exciting on-screen depiction of the war in The End Of Time. Which was great…until a few years later when Day Of The Doctor came along to give us an almost entirely contradictory portrayal. Whereas the Davies version of the war was implied to be a conflict in which Time itself is used as a weapon by both sides to overwrite history, Moffat’s version portrayed it as a conventional shoot ’em up war. Davies also made it clear The Doctor was his “normal” self while fighting in the war, whereas Moffat created The War Doctor to explain the Time Lord’s viciousness.
Regardless of which version you prefer, we’re of the view that enough has been seen and heard of the Time War. There is only so much survivor guilt one man can endure before he has to permanently retire to a psychiatrist’s couch.
CLASSIC VILLAINS REUNION – On top of the Dalek Overkill we mentioned off the top, NuWho has resurrected baddies such as (but not limited to) the Cybermen, The Sontarans, The Great Intelligence, Zygons, The Silurians and even the little known Macra since the revival.
Now, we’re all for tributary references to the show’s predecessor (we’ve devoted an entire section to finding classic Easter eggs) but any TV series has to stay fresh to stay relevant, and constantly going back into the show’s storied past to find antagonists can only work so many times. NuWho has introduced original baddies that are both interesting and menacing (The Weeping Angels, The Gelth and The Silence come to mind) and it’s our hope that a few more terrifying villains with the potential to return are produced in the coming series.
What do you think? Is there any part of NuWho that you think is overdone? Let us know in the comments!