By now we’ve all seen David Tennant morph into Matt Smith, and been offered a tantalizing glimpse of the 11th Doctor as he hurtles towards the Earth in a burning TARDIS. But we really have no idea what to expect from the new series, even factoring in spoiler reports and leaked pictures of new and returning monsters. Speculation is not only our only course of action, it’s also loads of fun, so let’s begin.
The most crucial element in any new series of Doctor Who is of course the Doctor himself. With Matt Smith, the audience has been handed a huge unknown, both in terms of his previous work and how he’ll portray the iconic character. All we really know is what we’ve seen in the final minute of “The End of Time Part Two,” and that’s barely anything to go on.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that I think Matt Smith’s Doctor will be much more aloof, academic and just plain *odd* than Tennant’s time in the role. After 4 years of a very approachable, very “pop” Doctor, it’s about time for a weird scientist with eccentricities to spare.
I also don’t think we’ll see quite the level of emotional baggage carried over both the Eccleston and Tennant eras. The Doctor is still the last of the Time Lords, but he’s already bested the Time Lords, as well as realized his limits when he tried to alter time in “The Waters of Mars.” The new series will be something of a fresh start, since the End of Time essentially concluded the mythos of Gallifrey and the Time War.
Executive producer Steven Moffat will likely rely on his own creations for his monster menagerie, as well as a few classic creatures as yet untapped by the new show. In a trailer for the upcoming series, we’ve seen the Weeping Angels and River Song, both Moffat creations, as well as lizard creatures and some other, unfamiliar villains. Never mind the appearance of a solitary Dalek. It’s a brave and foolhardy Who boss who doesn’t use the Daleks at least once during his tenure.
The trailer also looks much grittier than previous series, both in terms of cinematography and content. Moffat is known for dark stories like “Blink” and “The Empty Child”, though he also dabbles in romance, such as in “The Girl in the Fireplace,” and has been described by “Dalek” scribe Rob Shearman as a much more optimistic writer than Russell T Davies. Moffat also loves to play with the opportunities afforded by a main character who travels in time, as seen in “Silence in the Library”, “Forest of the Dead,” and also in the ‘wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey’ explanations for all the mind-bending chronology in “Blink.” In short, he isn’t afraid to challenge his audience and let them think as they’re entertained.
I’m personally quite happy that Moffat will be introducing new creatures or using his own monsters, rather than tapping the extensive well of villains established by former producer Russell T. Davies. During the 26 year run of the classic series, each new Doctor and change in production staff meant a shift in tone and approach, and there’s no reason this upcoming era should be any different. Doctor Who is unlike any other program in that it can continue to renew itself and improve with time, rather than being bogged down in ever more complicated plot twists or repetitive storylines. Let’s hope Matt Smith’s new adventures are a jolt in the arm for the series, starting April 17th.
Warren Frey is one of the three contributors at Radio Free Skaro, Canada's most popular Doctor Who podcast. You can also learn more about him at Freybyurg.com