As always with a new series of Doctor Who, the keen anticipation has been kept at fever pitch by clever and judicious teasers in the lead-up. This week, showrunner Steven Moffat gave SFX Magazine a partial rundown of the new series, episode by episode, with the obvious exclusion of the season finale.
Episodes 1 and 2 are set to be a double header involving a search for the Doctor, who has gone missing. Moffat, in describing the episode, coined the new adjective, “Star Wars-y.” Episodes 3 and 4 are another double header featuring ghosts, and Episode 5 will feature the highly anticipated introduction of Maisie Williams to Doctor Who’s pantheon of guest stars. Episode 6 introduces Rufus Hound as a highwayman, and the next two episodes will feature Zygons in a follow up of the situation set up in the 50th anniversary special. Moffat has been tight-lipped about the last two episodes, apart from mentioning that one has been written by seasoned Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss, who is known for his thought-provoking and clever scripts, and who, according to Moffat, has produced another “unusual” story. The other is written by a writer new to Doctor Who, Sarah Dollard, and is described as “a terrific idea”.
So the new series looks set to deliver on all its usual, wonderful key areas — hip period drama, jaw-dropping futuristic set pieces, and clever, sometimes disturbing explorations of morality, paradox, and humanity. While the rundown lacks spoilers, it also crucially lacks specific information. While this may be excruciating, it means that the new series of Doctor Who has plenty of room to surprise and delight. There is still, for example, the question of what Vikings might have to do with anything. Analysis of the mind-blowing trailers has indicated that Norsemen are likely to be involved, and it will be interesting to see what the Doctor makes of being confronted with hairy, ultra-violent raiders from the dark ages. And let’s not forget Missy. Let’s never forget the collision of the Doctor and Missy.
Another element of mystery is the sometimes very rocky relationship between Clara and the Doctor. Much has been made of footage of the two embracing in the trailer, which seems to hint that they will be as close as ever, but with the fractious, grumpy Capaldi characterization bumping up against Clara’s feisty, common-sense morality, it is almost impossible to tell what might happen between them.
Needless to say, the new series of Doctor Who looks amazing. Series 8 brought us a huge upswing in darkness, excitement, pace, and scale, made possible in part by Capaldi’s Doctor being, in his own words, much more of “the senior man in the room.” All indications are that this trend will continue in the new series, which is very good news indeed.
[Image via Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images]