Ever since Matt Smith announced his imminent departure from life in the TARDIS, everyone and their brother has been speculating on who will be chosen to play the next Doctor. I’ve done my fair share of guessing, commenting on blog posts, and browsing lists of actors who would make a great Doctor—BUT the next Doctor isn’t the only thing we should be talking about.
The last season was RIFE with problems and disappointments for me. Stephen Moffat’s skills as a showrunner have become questionable, and some aspects of his story-telling that were once fresh and fantastic (“Don’t blink! Blink and you’re dead!”) have become stale and overused (“Don’t click! ~~> “I don’t know where I am.”).
So without further ado, here are some things BESIDES new Doctor speculation that I’d like to see in the next season of Who.
Quick! Think of something Amy, Rory, River, Clara, and the Doctor have in common. They’re ALL white. Now think back on Doctor 10 and his brood. Still a lot of white people in that group, but look at the variety! Different ages, races, classes, and sexualities. (And no “professional models” like Amy.) What I’d like to see in season 8 is less white faces…and maybe even a non-white Doctor!
2. Varied Ages
Aside from River (who is just awesome in general), the last few seasons of Who have featured a lot of YOUNG actors. Matt Smith is the youngest actor to the play the Doctor to date, and Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvil made for very youthful companions. Next season, I’m hoping to see a broader scale of ages across the board. Christopher Eccleston was 41 when he played 9 and David Tenant, 35, when he began his journey as 10. I’d like to see a somewhat older-looking and wiser-seeming Doctor, and I’d like to see more variety in the ages of companions.
Some of my favorite scenes with Matt Smith are when he’s paired with young Amelia, and his interactions with the kids Clara babysits have been great. Maybe it’s time to have a more permanent kid-companion, like Adric. Additionally, I’d also like to see us moving in the opposite direction, with older companions. Donna and Wilf weren’t spring chickens, but that didn’t make them any less loveable or exciting to watch.
3. Another Male Companion
I get bored of the Doctor’s dynamic with women from time to time. He’s always sweeping in and taking them on grand adventures, and a lot of them (understandably) fall for him. That’s why I love male companions. Having Mickey, Rory, and/or Captain Jack in the TARDIS shakes things up a bit and disrupts the typical Doctor + female companion relationship. Having a male companion creates the opportunity for love triangles (Rose+Mickey+Doctor), male to male romance (Capt. Jack + Doctor), or, at the very least, someone to call the Doctor out on his shit. No one was better at calling the Doctor on his shit than Rory. Plus, Rory got to be a Roman.
Canton Everett Delaware III was another AWESOME male companion.
4. More Aliens
Everyone loves Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Aside from their obvious comic relief, they make for fascinating characters. I don’t know about you guys, but I am a total sucker for inter-species-same-sex-romance. In fact, I’d be thrilled to not only see more aliens in Doctor Who, but to see a companion fall for an alien. Think of the wonderful complications it could create! Where would they live? What time period would they live? Would the alien travel with them in the TARDIS? (I would love that!)
We see so many humans in space, but we don’t spend enough time getting to know the other species out there–especially in a non-villian capacity. Wouldn’t it be great if some peaceful aliens invaded Earth? And the Doctor and co ran in ready for a fight, but the aliens were super cool and nice for a change? And they could be like, “Oh, sorry! Our bad! We’ll find a new spot!” And then someone farts and everyone laughs. That would be like script-writing GOLD.
(Doctor Who producers, you can contact me HERE if you want to hire me immediately)
5. A female companion in REASONABLE clothing
Have you seen this adorable clothing swap drawing on the right? I found it on Pinterest. (No idea who to attribute it to–please contact me if it’s yours!). It nicely illustrates a Doctor Who pet peeve of mine–namely, that the last two companions have worn some ridiculous clothing for intergalactic space-time travel. While Rose and Martha wore sensible jeans, t-shirts, and coats, and Donna had whole suitcases full of costume changes, Amy was rocking a lot of bare-legged outfits and we’ve yet to see Clara even wear a pair of pants! Not ONE pair of pants!
Can we have a sensibly-dressed female next season please?
6. A Companion with absolutely ZERO romantic interest in the Doctor
And while I’m on the topic of female companions, I’d like to say that I’m sick of them falling in love with the Doctor. The May-December age complication with Rose and 9 was very interesting, and when 9 became 10, it was impossible not to love the romance between them. However, after Rose’s departure, along came Martha, who is truly one of the smartest and strongest companions. But emotionally, she was so aggravating and annoying. I hated watching her pine silently over the Doctor while he mourned losing Rose.
Personally, I think my favorite season with David Tenant was the Donna season for this specific reason. The Doctor and Donna were excellent friends–“best friends”, even, according to the Doctor, and this allowed them to have great comedic chemisty. It also allowed Donna the chance to find romance with other people during their adventures. Although Donna only made a romantic connection once, in “Silence in the Library”, it made for a really powerful moment for her character.
I loved Amy and Rory together on the TARDIS, also. Having a couple is great because then they get to work through all those messy couple issues, WHILE they’re traveling through time and space. The familial relationship the Ponds had with the Doctor is what made their time on the TARDIS so memorable. Now that we’ve got Clara–who has kissed the Doctor while in Victorian nanny mode–the ambiguous how do they REALLY feel about each other vibe is really getting on my nerves. Plus, if the Doctor falls for Clara so soon after River’s death, I’m going to consider him quite a heartless cad. And I don’t want to do that.
7. No more dumb companion titles
Amy Pond is the Girl Who Waited. There’s no denying it. And the fact that she waited 12 years for the Doctor (and everyone thought she was kind of nuts) is a pretty wonderful aspect of her character. But did “The Girl Who Waited” need to be repeated over and over and over? Probably not. It was a neat title and the idea was orignal….then. Now we have Clara, the Impossible Girl/Souffle Girl/Girl Born to Save the Doctor/Guess what, guys? I’m really over all the dumb titles because they are superfluous and unnecessary to the plot. Plus, having the Doctor running around all season shouting “She’s NOT POSSIBLE!” like Vizzini from the Princess Bride just annoyed the bejeezus out of me.
8. Companions that suffer actual consequences
Doctor Who loves to kill off minor characters. We meet them, bond with them, and watch them die CONSTANTLY, but the actual companions seem pretty immune to this.
Question: How many times did Rory come back from the dead?
Answer: Enough times to say “Don’t I always?” when Amy asks him if he’ll come back from the dead after jumping off a building in “The Angels Take Manhattan.”
What I’d like to see are some companions who grow, change, fail, or die permanently. Maybe that’s cruel and morbid of me, but this isn’t Twilight. It’s Doctor Who. JK Rowling isn’t afraid to kill off major characters, and Stephen Moffat shouldn’t be either. (And River doesn’t count, since she was one of those “dead minor characters” before she popped back into 11’s timeline.)
It was a huge shocker when Mickey Smith chose to leave the TARDIS and stay in the parallel universe. It was AWESOME when Adam Mitchell failed so hard at being a companion that 9 dropped him off at his parents’ house without a second thought.
In a Universe where even Strax can be raised from the dead, the threat to characters’ lives seems almost non-existant. And when there’s really no threat to the main characters, I start caring about them a little less. I’m not as invested in their well-being because, hey, they always make it out alive…
Doctor Who needs to raise the stakes a little higher, if they want us to keep watching. In Season 8, with a new Doctor and endless possibilities, I hope they’ll make the best possible use of the clean slate and shake things up a bit. I want to see a more diverse cast. I want Moffat to take some risks, instead of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting us to act like it’s new.
What are your thoughts and feelings on the upcoming season? What would like to see happen in season 8?