Doctor Who Series 9 and an early look at this year's Christmas Special

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It’s Christmas time!  While most people are thinking of Santa, I’m thinking of that other eternal figure, The Doctor!  This year’s Christmas special is called “The Husbands of River Song.” 

We’ll be posting a review up after it airs, but for now, have some trailers!


I am very happy to see Alex Kingston back as River Song!   She has always been a terrific addition to the cast, and I can’t wait to see how she interacts with Peter Capaldi’s version of The Doctor.   The teasers definitely suggest this will be a more light hearted adventure than we’ve gotten in a while.  I can’t wait to see it!

But before we hit the Christmas special, I wanted to give a little recap of my thoughts on Doctor Who season 9…

This is two years in a row I managed to review every episode of Doctor Who! 

Before I get started, I actually forgot to mention something in my Hell Bent review, so I am going to start with that.  I really liked that we got to see the shack from “Listen” and “The Day of the Doctor.”  We still don’t exactly know the significance of this place, just that is has a great deal of importance to the Doctor from before he started travelling the universe.   My wife thinks it’s an orphanage where The Doctor grew up, and the old women who was there in Hell Bent was probably his caretaker.  I tend to agree with her. 

As for the season as a whole, here are my thoughts in no particular order:

  • While I thought Peter Capaldi was great in season 8, he brought it to a whole new level this season.  We saw The Doctor put in some terrible situations, and Capaldi’s performance was always spot.  We got tons of emotion, but still a lot of humor and humanity.  It definitely helped that he seemed to have a much stronger bunch of scripts this year.  It also helped that this season had a much stronger start than last year’s opener.  “Deep Breath” was one of my least favorite episodes last year, but The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar were some of the best of this season.
  • My biggest question is “How much longer will Capaldi play The Doctor?”  For the most part, no actor has played The Doctor more than 3 full seasons other than Tom Baker, who played the role for 7 years.  David Tennant sort of did 4 seasons, but the last season was four specials, not a full season.  So is history is any indication, Capaldi might not be around for much longer.  I hope I am wrong about that.  Capaldi is perfect as The Doctor, and I don’t want him to go.
  • And what about Steven Moffat as the showrunner?  I know he’s kind of polarizing for Doctor Who fans.  Many people love him (count me in that group), and many people say that he’s ruined Doctor Who.  Honestly, at times in Series 8, I thought that maybe he was coming close to the end of his run.  He seemed to be out of fresh ideas and I thought maybe a fresh voice was needed for the new Doctor.  BUT, he definitely turned it around this year, writing what I consider the best overall season of Doctor Who since the relaunch.  I am looking forward to seeing his season 10, and like Capaldi, I hope he sticks around for a while longer.
  • Jenna Coleman was terrific as Clara Oswald.  Last season was a little too focused on Clara’s life on Earth and the conflict between that and her life on the TARDIS.  This season, they cut down on that some and just told stories of her adventures with the Doctor.  I think she was able to grab onto that a lot better, and it made for much more entertaining stories.  And her death speech when she tells the Doctor that he is not allowed to go seek revenge was one of my favorite scenes of the season.
  • I still think that Doctor Who needs to get away from the “mysterious word or phrase” plotlines that run through the seasons.  Bad Wolf, Torchwood, You are Not Alone/Saxon, Medusa Cascade, Knock Four Times, Cracks in Reality, Silence, Missy/Heaven, and now The Hybrid.  I don’t mind the longer stories, but it’s just been done to death at this point.   And the question about “Who is the Hybrid?” is never even answered, though I will admit, I liked that aspect of the finale. 
  • One thing this season was lacking was good supporting cast.  Doctor Who usually introduces some great memorable supporting cast characters, even ones that only appear for an episode or two.  This season, I can’t think of any real stand outs, other than characters we’ve already seen before like Kate Stewart and Osgood.  Honestly, that is a relatively small complaint, I just thought it was noticeable.  I also hope that we get a few more returning characters next year.  I really miss Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.  At least we’re getting River Song for the Christmas special.
  • Best Episode of the Season: Heaven Sent – This episode is just haunting to me.  Since I’ve seen it, not a day goes by where I don’t think of what The Doctor went through in this episode, dying literally billions of times just because he refused to lose.   Granted, I am not sure that the secret of the Hybrid was worth going through all that, but it’s still a very powerful episode.
  • Least favorite episode: Sleep No More – I appreciate that they tried to experiment and do something different here, but it just fell flat.  I haven’t been this bored watching a Doctor Who episode since The Rings of Akhaten which I consider to be the worst episode in the history of the show. 
  • Now with Jenna Coleman leaving the show, we can start speculating about who the next companion will be.  Personally, I kind of liked old school Doctor Who when the Doctor had two or three companions at a time.  It changes the dynamic up some, and we really haven’t had that for any long periods of time in relaunched Doctor Who.  I also hope that they get away from the “modern woman from Britain” which is the only companion we’ve had for a long time in Doctor Who.  I think the last time we had a companion outside of that description (for more than an episode or two) might have been Turlough during the Fifth Doctor’s run.  And yes, I know that Peri is technically American, but she’s played by a British actress so I am counting her. 

That just about wraps up our look at Doctor Who Series 9.  See you in a few days with my review of the “Husbands of River Song.”    I am actually going to see in the theater on Monday, but I will probably still watch it on Christmas Day too.  Tradition!