Here on Earth we haven’t seen the Doctor since Christmas, but he’s still running around in time and space, fighting monsters and being—let’s be honest—pretty sort of marvelous. With the premiere of the seventh series/season now officially only a week away, Doctor Who fever is on full blast. The trailers look great: gunfights, Daleks, dinosaurs, heroics, and heartbreak! But what else? What do we the fans want from the future of Doctor Who?
Below is a wish list of things the Tor.com staff want to see in Doctor Who, no matter how unreasonable these requests might seem. (We did however try to limit ourselves to things the show actually could do, so things like The Doctor meeting the Ghostbusters were nixed.)
Check out what we came up with and give us your thoughts below!
I’m pretty psyched that there are going to be dinosaurs in the new season, as the Doctor hanging out with dinosaurs seems like something that should have happened a long time ago. I also did want the Daleks to return (specifically the style of Daleks from the Eccleston/Tennant era) so I’m happy about that too. What else? Here’s a short list:
- I like the Doctor Who stories that take place on a space station or space outpost and a strange, alien thing happens. Like “The Impossible Planet” or “The Waters of Mars,” or “42.” I feel like the Matt Smith stuff is more surreal, like “The God Complex.” I like those, too, but straight up horror/science fiction would be nice.
- I haven’t gotten a sense for what happens on present day Earth in a while. Is our reality/history constantly in flux because of all the stuff with the Silence? Does Amy remember the Dalek invasion from “Journey’s End” now? Just what version of events are we living in now? I’d like maybe a reference or two to reconcile the old pre-Matt Smith Earth with the new one.
- I want another episode with Craig (James Corden). I think those episodes are the best.
- I’d love to see the Doctor fly a spaceship that is more traditional. Like a rocket ship or a space fighter. If not the Doctor, maybe Rory or Amy.
- I’d like to see a concrete moral dilemma created by a time travel paradox. Lately, paradoxes have been solving problems. I’d like to see one create a problem. (Sort of what they did in “The Girl Who Waited.”)
- Underwater episode.
- Another episode where they meet a historical author. Conan Doyle? Cumberbatch can play him? I mean, why not?
- A NEW love interest for the Doctor. Yep. Even if it’s fleeting.
The trailers for the next season look amazing and I am cautiously cautiously hopeful that this might end up being as great, as firing-on-all-cylinders as the show’s fourth season. Daleks, dinosaurs, cowboys, noir-y River Song? COME ON.
Still, there are some things I’d love to see the show tackle:
An episode where the Doctor interacts with The Beatles: This is a wish definitely inspired by this picture. I understand why you would want to avoid messing with big personalities from recent history, but it’s not like the show wouldn’t treat this kind of material without respect and accuracy. Really all you need is
love actors who can play the Beatles accurately enough that you’re not focusing on their performances. This is not impossible, it’s just challenging, and what is Doctor Who if not a show that accepts challenges?
(Also it’s high time Paul and Ringo had guest cameos on the show.)
An episode that is solely a single-room dialogue drama: I was bored shirtless by last year’s Christmas episode, especially in comparison to the tremendous Christmas episode before it, and especially in comparison to the great, small scene we got with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory at the end of “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.” I wish the episode had been entirely them sitting around the dinner table, just talking.
I’m basically advocating that the show create an episode that’s a stage play. The closest we’ve gotten in the series has been the utterly engrossing Tenth Doctor episode “Midnight” but remember how awesome that episode was? The show should go further with that. Give Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill, and Karen Gillan something whip-smart, dramatic, and tense to play with. A story where all the turns are in the dialogue, where no one leaves the room, where Matt Smith as the Doctor performs a tour-de-force of being dissembling, joking, accusing, revealing, possibly all in the same sentence. It’d be a trick that the show could only pull off once a Doctor, but it would be something you’d remember for a long, long while.
A multi-Doctor episode that has an emotional throughline: We all want a multi-Doctor episode, but the real barrier to such an episode isn’t getting everyone to come back. Rather, it’s writing an episode that illuminates the character of each Doctor in a way that their original episodes didn’t.
That is a frightening hurdle to overcome and one that Steven Moffat is all too aware of. Even in his 8-minute short “Time Crash,” he takes a time out from cracking jokes so that the Tenth Doctor can let the Fifth know how inspiring he was, even to himself, giving the Fifth Doctor something new to think about in regards to his own character.
Maybe you could do a multi-Doctor episode where the Eleventh Doctor encounters a situation very similar to something he encountered as the Eighth Doctor. Maybe he goes back in time and asks for counsel from his former self. An “I made this mistake once. Should I make it again?” sort of plot.
But that in itself is tricky. You also don’t want a multi-Doctor episode that’s all about wallowing in self-pity! Still, you want the Doctor, or your Doctor, or the Doctors to have learned something new about himself/themselves by the end of the episode.
An episode that deals with ancient history: Doctor Who was originally designed to teach children about history, but the show has gone pretty light on that for a long time. We see plenty of past eras from small rooms, and the Doctor interacts with certain historical figures in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sort of way, but we don’t get into depth for the most part. I want research! Scope! Some accuracy and maybe an epic battle sequence! Have the Doctor end up stuck in the middle of Alexander the Great’s campaign, or send him to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Play with myth and legends, and see how he treats those moments. In fact, I would love an episode that deals with these things and maybe no aliens or monsters. Let the Doctor and his companions just enjoy history.
An episode on another planet where a different race and/or culture is really fleshed out: I’m tired of humans. If all of the Doctor’s companions are going to continue being human, then I want them to interact with more aliens. I want them to spend whole episodes on other planets and interact with aliens who think they’re strange and/or upsetting order. I know we’re the Doctor’s favorite, but we know he goes to see the wonders of the universe on a daily basis. So where are they? No more empty libraries, or empty holiday planets done in by plagues, give us an entire episode of that planet where the Doctor and Donna were wandering in a flea market knocking back questionable frothy drinks in “Turn Left.”
An episode on the TARDIS: We keept getting teases of this, but it never truly happens, not even in “The Doctor’s Wife,” though we do see more of the ship then. Make them incapable of leaving the TARDIS. Steven Moffat has said that he never wants to keep the Doctor there, but that’s what I want to see. I want to see people making meals in the kitchen and running for their lives into rooms they didn’t even know existed. I want to see what it’s like to live in that maze of a ship.
More companions: I always really liked Five’s row of ducklings, and I would love another Doctor to have a full house. It was always fun to watch how companions from other times and places interacted with each other, and how that could things both easier and harder for the Doctor. It couldn’t go on forever, but just a season or so with the Doctor plus a trio of very different people would be such a treat to watch.
I agree and second many of the suggestions above (More history! More interactions with famous authors! Bottle episode!), so the rest of my list boils down to (possibly weird) personal preferences:
Give The Doctor a proper nemesis: I miss The Master, and would love nothing more than for John Simm to return to the show in all his over-the-top, demented glory. If there are solid reasons why that can’t or won’t happen (and there may be, but I am stubborn), then perhaps a new incarnation of the character is in order—how about a female Master? (Tilda? Are you busy?) Barring that, then I’d just really love to see The Doctor meet his match in someone delightfully, psychotically clever and evil this season (not some new humorless Big Bad). I’m all for a new love interest, too—but a proper nemesis can be way more fun.
More talking to babies: I’m still not over Stormageddon, the Dark Lord of All. Maybe there’s a planet of terrifying baby warlords somewhere—I don’t know if I need a whole episode there, but maybe they could stop for directions or something. But Matt Smith and the writers did a great job of taking something that could have been saccharine and making it warped and hilarious and perfect. So good.
An episode built around a heist/caper: I have an addiction to the heist format, and I’d love to watch The Doctor, Rory, and Amy (and I think River would have to be involved, under the circumstances) pull off some kind of complicated caper to help out some poor planet. Maybe John Rogers could consult? All I know is that there’s more than just a bit of the con man to The Doctor (especially back in the Tennant days), and I’d love to see that element put to good use again.
And, finally—The Doctor goes to Hollywood: I know this premise probably seems somewhat perverse, but there it is. I want to see The Doctor and his faithful companions navigate Tinseltown (I have a preference for classic 1930s or even 40s-era Hollywood, but I think the location could work well in various eras). We got a two-minute taste of this in A Christmas Carol, but if done with a whole episode there would just be so many opportunities for layered meta-references and amazing in-jokes. Maybe too much Community and Inspector Spacetime is to blame for this particular obsession, but I’d love to see the show deliver some Sullivan’s Travels-style commentary about the movies’ ability to change the world for the better: the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism, in other words. In any case, I cannot wait for this season.
Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com. Stubby is sad no one wants an episode based on a sassy rocket.