Doctor Who Series 8 Overview (Warning – here be spoilers)
Wow – what a ride that was! But, as always after a Doctor Who series finale has aired, I feel a little flat… nothing to do with what I thought of the series, mind, but rather because Saturday night telly won’t be quite as exciting for a while.
‘New Who’, as it is generally known as amongst Whovians (as opposed to ‘Classic Who’ for anything pre-the reboot by Russell T Davies) has been a ratings winner for the BBC – better special effects, great writing, great casting, great performances, great directing – and for someone who has watched the show since the early seventies, it is always interesting to see how a new Doctor ranks amongst the cognoscenti and the general viewing public (or the ‘not-we’ as Whovians call them – as will be no secret to anyone following my twitter feed, I am a Whovian, and happy to be known as such.)
So what is my verdict on Doctor number twelve, Peter Capaldi, and his first series? The ratings have been consistently good (average for the rebooted show) so we know that the general viewing public enjoyed it. As for me – I loved it. Even my husband loved it. And I say ‘even’ because sci-fi isn’t really his thing – he is more into historical drama, preferring the past to the future. He is almost certainly a ‘not-we’. He enjoyed Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor, took a while to warm to David Tennant’s (blowing hot and cold depending on the story); mostly disliked Matt Smith’s – but he loves Peter Capaldi’s version of the “idiot with a box”. He likes the overall darkness of series 8, the general lack of the ‘silliness’ (which I too feel permeated Matt Smith’s era) and loved the humour. About the darkness and the humour, I have to agree with him.
Because, dark as this series often was (more so than any other I can remember – although the revelation by Eccleston’s Doctor that his previous incarnation had apparently committed genocide was, to be frank, pretty shocking and about as dark as they come), it was also very funny. Or rather, Capadi’s Doctor is funny. Not as touchy-feely as Smith, nor as humanity-friendly as Tennant, or as respectful of others feelings as Eccleston, or as morose and world-weary as Hurt’s War Doctor, and definitely not as sensitively whimsical as McGann’s half-human incarnation, Capaldi’s Doctor had some of the funniest lines ever – ‘look at this face, it’s permanently cross’ ‘these eyebrows, they’re attack eyebrows’… that was just for starters. His casual throw-away insults about Clara’s age, personal hygiene, his opinion of humanity as ‘pudding brained’, his leeriness about Danny Pink as a suitable suitor for Clara… I will need a complete series re-watch to remember them all, there were so many good un’s. Each incarnation has had varying degrees of ‘alien-ness’, of course, but like Smith before him, Capaldi does seem to have really nailed that part of the Doctor’s personality, along with a general tetchiness and some physical humour; and it is endlessly entertaining. He is, quite simply, a joy to watch.
Each Doctor has his defining companion – Nine (Eccleston) had Rose (by default, since she was his only real companion); Ten (Tennant) had Rose too. because although Martha and Donna had their moments, it is Rose’s tearful goodbye scene that everyone remembers best; Eleven (Smith) had Amy (although again Clara was important, it is ‘fish fingers and custard’ that we remember; Twelve, well we can’t really say until the next incarnation comes along, of course, who his defining companion will be: so Clara holds the title for the time being. Who knows (and I’m sure he will do) what the next companion will add to the legend?
Returning Monsters and Villains are a must, of course, and we had a smattering of those old favourites this time around: Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master – classics all of them, but each a slightly new take on an old adversary. And now we have the potential for more Master, more Gallifrey, and confirmation from the Doctor himself that he might, someday, be a Time Lady instead of a Time Lord. But that’s a topic for another blog, perhaps…
To conclude, and If we’re doing scores, I would have to give Dr Who Series 8 a resounding 10/10. Thank you Stephen Moffat, all the other writers, directors, cast and crew – it’s been great entertainment – what more can we ask for?
Author; Elaine Jackson
Tags: dr who, the master, daleks, Cybermen, peter Capaldi, david tenant, Christopher eccleston, matt smith, john hurt, russel t davies, Stephen moffat