Doctor Who in 2012, A Few Thoughts….
The net will be filled with reviews of the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Snowmen. In fact you can see mine soon, over at Comicbooked.com.
I don’t want to review it again here. I mean I could, but instead I want to talk about what I saw a bit more informally. I will be talking about the Christmas special, and what I think is going to happen in 2013, so spoilers may happen.
You’ve been warned.
In the long break between the 2011 Christmas special, and the start of the seventh series in September lots of news came out about the future of the show. We knew Amy and Rory would be leaving, that Moffat was giving them a big farewell. That he wanted a series of feature film-like adventures for them. We got 5 mini epics, each a different take on the classic Doctor Who story archetype. We got a ‘whose the real monster’ story (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship), The ‘quasi-historical with a alien’ (A Town Called Mercy), an ‘Earth Invasion’, complete with UNIT (The Power of Three), and the ‘Companion Swan Song’, overwrought with emotion (Angels Take Manhattan).
There was a wide range of reactions to season. Some folks loved the high end adventure, while other thought to much substance was sacrificed for style. Moffat was playing with the expectations of his audience, and some felt cheated. Some ever suffered from a bit of a Whovian Rage, feeling that Moffat was not delivering on the promise of the show’s premise. While I concede that the episodes were uneven, in whole I feel Moffat and Co. delivered what they said they would. Five smash bang stories. You could even say they were bigger on the outside… while sometimes lacking in heart.
The word was we’d meet this new companion at Christmas, after the Ponds departure. We also knew who the new companion would be, Jenna-Louise Coleman. Moffat also promised that this new companion would be unlike anything we had seen before.
“Who she’s playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters,” Moffat said. “Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.”
He surprised us all when Ms. Coleman appeared in the Asylum of the Daleks. And in hindsight, it’s obvious everything Moffat said about how we meet this new companion. But how could Oswin be the new companion? Would it be some timey-wimey thing? Like River, meeting in different order? Or is a case of pre-casting, like Freema or Karen? We would have to wait until Christmas to find out.
Doctor Who and Christmas
The Christmas specials have always been about renewal and change. New Doctors, New Companions arriving in the first few, even a new Doctor who wasn’t the Doctor. Then it was a Christmas special that saw the 10th Doctor leave (along with most of his production team) with the arrival of current Doctor, Matt Smith.
Now the show is reinventing itself again with this year’s outing. And as a whole, I want to say off the bat I really liked it. What I like most about it was that Moffat was Moffat again. This story reminded me of the Girl in the Fireplace and Blink than anything else he has done since taking over has showrunner. The twists were clever and unexpected, and it was all just a little bit sexy. There were times when the story felt a bit thin. I feel that Richard E. Grant was a bit underused, but this was the Matt and Jenna show. And I was alright with that.
Speaking of sexy, Jenna-Louise Coleman… wow. Sure I can go on and on about how downright gorgeous this woman is. But I won’t. You’ve all seen her. So… yeah. She right fit. But she is more than that. She is clearly a talented actress, who has already made this new companion a fan favorite. And Clara Oswin Oswald is fresh addition to the show. She is clever, perhaps the cleverest of the companions to date. (No knock on those who came before) Plus she has a mystery behind her. They better not overplay it tho. Moffat has been very keen on the “Doctor Who?” gag, so I hope the souffle thing isn’t played to death. Or multiple deaths even.
What ever Clara Oswin Oswald is, it’s something new. But what is really cool, is what ever new thing she is, it’s connected to the series 50 year history.
There have been some people suggesting online that Clara may be a version of River, which seems highly unlikely, or even a new regeneration of Jenny, but that doesn’t really add up for me either. 1) If she were Time Lord (even an artificially induced one) you would think the Doctor would know. 2) It would make the whole kiss really awkward. No, Clara’s spatio-genetic multiplicity is obviously connected to the Great Intelligence,and will no doubt play a part in the second half of the season and maybe even right into Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary in 2013.
I also think Clara’s connection to the original series won’t stop with the Great Intelligence. Look at Clara’s headstone. She was born on November 23, the same day the original series premiered in 1963, and she lived 26 years… the same number of years the original series lasted. Moffat loves these little coincidences, and I certainly think we need to keep our eyes peeled for more clues from the past.
There is a lot of nods to the show’s past in the new opening credits. Many of the visual effects are reminiscent of various versions of the show’s titles throughout it’s 49 year history. The return of the Doctor’s face, the spinning style vortex of the 70′s at the end are just the most obvious… but look at the static field right after title card. The vertical lines very much like the Troughton era opening. I also see nods to the McCoy, Pertwee, and 80′s starfield versions.
Doctor Who in 2013
So what do we have to look forward to in 2013, and the 50th Anniversary? Well for starters there are still 8 episodes in series 7, which will begin airing this spring (starting sometime around mid-April probably.) We have the Doctor’s third first meeting with Clara Oswin. How can we expect things to? Well the third time seems to be the charm for Ms. Oswald, that is, she will (probably) not die this time around. But I could be wrong about that. So far very little has been confirmed in the remaining episodes this season. We finally got a sneak peak at what’s to come at the end of The Snowmen.
I like the fact that Clara/Oswin will be getting a new start when she comes back in April. That means her relationship with the Doctor will also get a new start. I hope so. She shouldn’t be exactly like her previous iterations. Clearly there will be some sort of existing connection between them, but with all Moffat has said how Clara will be unlike any other companion makes me think that we won’t be like another Doctor/Rose style relationship. It could be interesting to see the reverse, the Doctor pining a bit, with the companion oblivious. But I can’t see that going on for long.
Of course a romantic relationship brings up the question of River… if the Doctor were to have a romantic relationship with Oswin, what does that mean for River? Does the Doctor consider himself a widower? This is part of the reason I’ve never been thrilled with the whole Doctor/companion ‘ship thing. The Doctor goes on as companions come and go. Having it be a romantic relationship makes the Doctor seem like a bit of a player… no? Amy became much more interesting to me when Rory joined them in the TARDIS.
I want to see more of a Donna/Doctor companionship. A partner who gives as good as she gets, doesn’t take any bull, with a nose for trouble, and a sense of justice.
But what do you think?