Who’s Ready For New Who?
When we last saw the Doctor, he had just returned from saving the Arwell family patriarch during World War II and turned up on the steps of the Williams house to meet Amy and Rory for the first time since he faked his death during The Wedding of River Song. Amy and Rory were happy, the Doctor cried (in a moment that was almost as cheesy as Arnold’s “I know now why you cry” moment in Terminator 2), and the group convened for a Christmas dinner. That was December 25, 2011. The final regular episode of series six aired on October 1, 2011, nearly a year ago. Whovians waiting for new adventures with the Doctor can breathe a sigh of relief, as BBC and BBC America have announced that series seven of the venerable sci-fi series will premiere on September 1.
The first episode of series seven, Asylum of the Daleks, will ostensibly focus on the series’ longtime villains, the Daleks, but there’s a lot to look forward to from Doctor Who in the next couple of weeks. Farscape and Stargate SG-1 fans will be pleased to hear that Ben Browder will guest star in an episode later this season, we’ll get a new companion at some point in the season, and, oh yeah… more Doctor Who!
Series mastermind Steven Moffat stated earlier this year that he intends for the show to move away from arc-based storytelling. In an interview with RadioTimes he stated, “At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie. [...] We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around.” And let’s not forget Moffat’s affirmation that we’ll be getting more “slutty” titles for the episodes this time around; more pulpy B-movie names like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, the second episode of the new series.
All of this adds up to what might be a radically different series of Doctor Who. But is that a bad thing? Doctor Who (the latter day Who at least) has never been a series that really relied on strict arc-based storytelling. Yes, even in the Russell T. Davies era there were two-part episodes and things that could be considered arcs (Bad Wolf, hints about Torchwood, Harold Saxon, etc.), but the episodes weren’t exactly serial in nature. Lost and 24, Doctor Who is not.
I’ve got to believe that Moffat has grand plans for a series arc. Afterall, what was that prophecy Dorium Maldovar‘s head kept spouting off about? Oh yeah, “…on the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a question will be asked — a question that must never be answered.” That question, “Doctor Who?” and the buildup to the reveal of the Question during the series six finale feel too large to be ignored. It’s too interesting for Moffat to forget about, and it’s too tantalizing a secret for fans to not obsess over.
But, the “fall of the Eleventh” isn’t going to happen for a while, as Matt Smith announced to The Sun that he will don the Eleventh Doctor’s now iconic bowtie for at least another two years (including series seven). Though the scripts for series eight haven’t been written, Matt Smith says that the idea for the next series is “as brilliant and as mental as you’d expect from Steven [Moffat].” Smith continued, saying that Moffat initially pitched the ideas to him by asking the actor if he was ready to cry.
So, while Moffat tries to make Doctor Who a more standalone affair, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Silence pop up along the way. Maybe not as prevalently as in the past series, but I can’t imagine that we won’t see those bulbous headed aliens again. Maybe Moffat’s assertion that this series will skew towards more standalone episodes is a smokescreen for some eventual reveal later in the season (which will likely air in early 2013 as part of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary). But not knowing what the hell is going to happen next is one of the highlights of Doctor Who, and I can’t wait to catch back up with my favorite Time Lord. So, grab your sonic screwdrivers and bowties, the Doctor is almost back!