Directed by: Stephen Moffat Starring: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas and Michelle Gomez
It has been over 12 years since Doctor Who was reintroduced to the world under the stewardship of Russell T Davies and Christopher Eccleston. Sometimes I can’t believe that myself; 12 years since sitting down in front of the TV at my parent’s’ insistence, to watch a show that I barely knew about, except perhaps as part of a bad knock knock joke.
But 12 years it has been and I, a faithful follower, have stuck with the cult science fiction phenomenon through all of its ups and its downs.
In recent years, sadly, there have been many of the latter, but that’s a discussion for another day. For today we’re talking about Series 10 now that it has concluded in a spectacular fashion.
Series 10 of Doctor Who is good, it is very, very good. And frankly because it’s so good, you should give it a go. It’s been forever since I’ve enjoyed Doctor Who this much, and I really want Capaldi to stay, so watch it so he’ll have a reason to stick around!!
Series 10 truly does feel – oddly enough – like a fresh start for Doctor Who; there’s barely any reference to events in Capaldi’s previous series, with a focus on telling new stories and balancing out the serious drama with some bright and funny scenario’s.
We have the Doctor, a 2000 or so year old (at this point you lose track) played by Peter Capaldi, teaching at a University where he meets new and bright companion Bill Potts. (Pearl Mackenzie) What starts out as tuition lessons between the two evolves into a rush across time and space, battling aliens, saving planets, visiting historical sites and.. well you get the idea.
Along with these two we have the return of Nardol (Matt Lucas) acting as an intern (I guess) to the Doctor, as well as the magnificent Missy (Michelle Gomez) who has some strange motives indeed.
So as I’ve said we have a very nice balance between the serious drama and the bright swashbuckling adventure that you come to expect from Doctor Who this time around; all shot and presented in such a high quality that you truly respect how far the series has come since the day of darker, more closed sets.
The fact that so many of those episodes have been excellent has been a nice bonus too. We’ve had intrigue on the frozen river Thames, space adventures, haunted house scenario’s, and even darker more… dystopian episodes. With recent series being so much darker and dramatic than previous ones, it truly is a welcome break to have so much variety on display here.
My friend Tim and I debated regularly on how Doctor Who should be; with one expressing interest in new and experimental takes on the show, and another which focuses on the elements that made Doctor Who great in the first place; fantastical adventures across space and time, with jelly babies thrown in for added measure..
Eventually, we felt that a balance between the two was the best approach; the advantage of a show like Doctor Who is that there is no set tone for it to stick to, no overarching theme or code that one has to abide by. So why not mix and match between serious and fun? Why not have them both in the same episodes? As long as they’re good experiences that get people talking, that’s good enough for me.
And I’m happy to say that Series 10 does deliver in that respect; the chemistry between characters, the episodes being memorable, and a resolution which makes me genuinely excited for the future of Doctor Who, have made for a truly great few weeks.
Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts was excellent as a companion too, able to match the Doctor time and again with her wit and characterization. She truly does feel like a companion for the doctor, with her own unique personality, rather than someone who’s just there to say “yes Doctor” or “no that’s stupid Doctor.” Mackie was an excellent choice to work with Capaldi this series and I look forward to seeing what she does next.
There are pitfalls, of course there are. Some episodes have more convenient resolutions than others, and maybe one or two of the scenarios aren’t interesting enough to grab everyone’s attention. But the fact that each episode can stand on its own without the reliance on previous material stands it apart from previous series.
And that kind of bothers me, here we have a series where Peter Capaldi – a great Doctor let down by two underwhelming series – finally coming into his own and now he’s leaving. I know a lot of people weren’t that crazy about him given his difference from Smith and Tennant, but I really really like him, and would absolutely love it if he stuck around.
But ultimately, if he feels that it’s time to go, then those are the wishes we must respect. But I can’t help but feel sad about this turn of events.
The finale especially is where the show’s increase in quality stuck out; a resolution that was earned through a build up in drama and tension, a use of horror elements that I never figured would have worked with old enemies in Doctor Who, and the return of an old enemy that those from Tennant’s Era may recognise. And by the way he’s amazing, as usual.
I’ll probably say more about Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor when we get to his departure proper, but for the moment, I’d say that he’s been a fantastic Doctor.
And this whole series has been fantastic – to quote my Doctor – and definitely worth your attention if you’ve been turned off by the last two series. I realise that I haven’t really gone into specifics about Series 10, but I do want to respect spoilers for Doctor Who. I guess you’ll have to see for yourself whether it’s any good.
But like I said, fantastic.