“Doctor Who” is almost back!!! I can’t wait!
Last year, before the season started, I had a bit of an informal wish list, of sorts. I wanted Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald to be developed more as a character. (She was.) I wanted some romance that did not involve the Doctor. (It happened.) I was also feeling in the mood for a bit of a tragic ending for that romance. (That also happened.) Being the writer that I am, I imagined a plotline where said romance ended when the lover was turned into a Cyberman. The Cybermen have always seemed like some of the most tragic villains on the show: humans who retain some semblance of their former memory and identity, but lose everything that makes them human. So much fodder for tragedy there.
It didn’t go down exactly as I imagined it—in my mental fan fiction, the lover chose to be turned into a Cyberman, but that’s not how it worked out for poor Danny Pink. Also, in my mind, the Doctor’s companion with the tragic romance was…me. But whatever. It was close enough that I wondered if Steven Moffat was reading my mind, and I was quite happy with the season as a whole.
This time around, I wanted to put my wish list into writing just in case the telepathic link between me and Steven Moffat (hello, sweetie) isn’t as strong as it was last year. Plus, well, if I do turn out to be right, I can pretend to be psychic and start making some side money from reading tarot cards.
So without further ado, my wish list for “Doctor Who” season 9.
1) I want to find out why the Doctor chose that face. When the 12th Doctor emerged at the beginning of last season, we’re given some hints that there may have been a reason behind the Doctor coming out as Peter Capaldi. “Why have I chosen this face?” he asks himself at the beginning of his first episode. Sure, it could have just been post-regeneration disorientation talking, but good fans know that Peter Capaldi appeared on the show long before he was the 12th Doctor—as sculptor and family patriarch Lucius Caecillius Iucundus in “The Fires of Pompeii” during the 10th Doctor’s run. Coincidence? Maybe. But everything that we know about this Doctor leads me to believe that, on some subconscious level, the Doctor chose to be this man. (Tor.com has a theory about this. Unfortunately, the link to the updated article—which included the War Doctor and the 12th Doctor—doesn’t seem to be working anymore.)
2) I want this to be the Doctor’s season. After spending season 7 as a cipher/plot device, season 8 was really Clara’s time to shine—and Jenna Coleman rose to the occasion beautifully. But here we are, a year into the 12th Doctor’s reign, and I still don’t feel like I really know him. What makes him tick? Is he really as gruff as he seems, or is that a façade? How dark is he, really? Capaldi has played the hell out of the Doctor, and it’s time for him to get the spotlight.
3) I want the show to address the Clara quandary. Last season, we met Orson Pink, a man from the future who looked remarkably like Danny Pink and who mentioned one of his ancestors was a time traveler. At the time, it looked like Clara and Danny might have their happily ever after and have children in the future. But we know now this isn’t the case. So is Clara now pregnant with Danny’s baby? (A sidenote: there was speculation that Coleman would leave at the end of last season. She has, of course, decided to return, but in the NewWho life cycle of companions, she is likely reaching the end of her time on the TARDIS. Could a new baby mean an exit for Clara? And what will this mean for the already dark, broody Doctor?) Update: In the time since I originally wrote this, BBC has confirmed that Jenna Coleman will exit sometime this season.
4) I want River Song back! Fans have mixed feelings about Alex Kingston’s River Song. I was always pro-River, but anti-River and the 11th Doctor, mainly because Kingston and Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor had zero chemistry. (For the record, I thought Kingston had more chemistry with David Tennant in the one episode they spent together.) River’s story might have ended, but the nice thing about River’s character is that, as a partial Time Lord herself, she can show up anywhere in the Doctor’s timeline—and he in hers. I would love to see how Kingston would play off of the stoic, much older Capaldi. Update: Rumor has it that Kingston will be returning in the Christmas special.
5) I want Jack Harkness back. Because the show was always better when John Barrowman was strutting through the world, and we still need to find out whether he’s really the Face of Boe.
6) Going along with the last two, I want more callbacks to earlier Doctors/companions/etc. One of the most fascinating and compelling things about “Who” is that it has 50 years of history to reference itself to, a fact which Moffat’s predecessor, Russell T. Davies, took advantage of regularly. But since Moffat has taken over, he has avoided throwbacks—the 50th anniversary episode notwithstanding. You don’t want the show to be so self-referential that new fans are alienated, but throw something in for the longtime viewers as well. Matt Smith was not the beginning of “Doctor Who!”
6) I want Maisie Williams’ character to ROCK! She looks pretty badass in the previews. Who is she? Could she be someone from the Doctor’s past? She called him Old Man—the Doctor’s daughter, perhaps? Or maybe his long-absent granddaughter, Susan? Capaldi does seem to have a lot of affection for that character. Foreshadowing, maybe?
7) I want a new companion. Much as I’ve grown to love Jenna Coleman, I think her time on the show is coming to an end. I want to see someone new and compelling, someone who has a completely different dynamic with the Doctor. Maybe someone who isn’t a young, attractive female, for once? Update: See above.
8) I want the show to explore the sexual tension between the Doctor and the Master/Missy. Because, c’mon, you know there was always something there, long before the Master regenerated into a female form. Don’t believe me? Just watch the scenes between David Tennant and John Simm again. So. Much. Sexual. Tension. And if any character on television should be pansexual, it’s a 2,000-something year old Time Lord.
9) I want an amazing stand-alone episode. Some of the best episodes of the new series have been the stand-alone, often Doctor- or companion-lite episodes that used to pop up about once a season or so—“Blink” and “Midnight” come immediately to mind. During the 11th Doctor’s run, the series seemed to get away from this format. But last season, we returned to it in the episode “Listen.” Both Capaldi and Coleman are fantastic in the episode, and it’s what cemented, for me, the 12th Doctor as the real Doctor. These types of episodes are what the show—and Moffat—do best, so let’s keep doing it!
10) I want David Tennant back!!!! We already found out in the 50th anniversary episode that the Doctor will re-visit his favorite incarnations—and the 10th Doctor simply did not want to die. So bring him back! Or have the 10th Doctor and the 12th Doctor bump into one another somewhere in the time stream. These things happen when time is both wibbly and wobbly. Much as I love Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, David Tennant is, and remains, my Doctor.
Yeah, it’s probably not gonna happen. But a girl can always hope, right?