At long last, this weekend brings us to Series/Season 13 of DOCTOR WHO. Which also brings is thismuch closer to a new era of DOCTOR WHO.
A lot has happened since our last posting: the news that current showrunner Chris Chibnall is on the way to departure, the news that former DW show runner Russell T. Davies would be returning to the franchise, the news that Jodie Whittaker's tenure as the Doctor is coming to a close this Season/Series as Chibnall departs.
What will DW look like and feel like with RTD revisiting his stewardship? Given the unquestionable consequence and influence of his past work with the show, there are innumerable fascinating questions and possibilities here - and a few perils as well. How will, for example, RTD retcon some of Chibnall's more ham-handed contributions to the show's mythology? Or, will his New WHO simply brush past them, make the best of whatever rubble Chibnall leaves in his wake, and hit the ground running with greater clarity and resolve than was ever evident in the Chibs Era? Will past DW personalities and influencers - like Mark Gatiss or Steven Moffat - return in some capacity, given their history with Davies? What kind of Doctor might we expect now that the show's continuity - and the world in general - has made room for more inclusive interpretations of the role?
All of this said, and with no detail yet available about how RTD will be approaching his renewed WHO, it's time to turn our attention to Series/Season 13.
S13, to me, feels like the day of departure of that houseguest we really can't stand - but whose visit we have somehow suffered our way through. And, now, we've come to the realization that there's only a few more hours of that guest's visit before he or she gets on a damn plane, likely never to be heard from again. Thus, it's a strain to be sure - but it's also a relief. A light at the end of a tunnel. A path to days that, IN THEORY, should be 'better' not only for the show, but its viewers in general.
For this reason alone, I eagerly anticipate getting through FLUX - and the 'event' installments which follow it - as I am quite ready to move on to theoretically greener pastures.
Subtitled FLUX as a way of encompassing a Season/Series-long storyline, and presumably also to present the appearance of S13 being some sort of 'event' (even though it doesn't really feel like one) - this next batch of episode begins with The Haunted Halloween, described thusly by The Powers That Be:
On Halloween, all across the universe, terrifying forces are stirring. From the Arctic Circle to deep space, an ancient evil is breaking free. And in present day Liverpool, the life of Dan Lewis is about to change forever. Why is the Doctor on the trail of the fearsome Karvanista? And what is the Flux?
Which doesn't necessarily sound unappealing at face value. This recently released tease, however, looks and feels hinky and cheap, and evokes a Public Access spot more than anything particularly legit. Fingers crossed that this was a pseudo-viral gag which simply stumbled and fell on its face, rather than representing where The Powers That Be's head may be at throughout the upcoming Series/Season...
FLUX is also notable for its conspicuous return of many 'classic' DOCTOR WHO institutions, including Ood, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, and Sontarans.
The cynic in me can't help but ask: why? Not 'why' in a narrative sense, but in a real-world sense.
Given Chibnall's (apparent) attitude toward established DOTOR WHO mythos, it seems peculiar that, suddenly, a parade of favorites - conspicuously evidenced in S13's marketing - is now on display. It would be easy to say this is merely Chibs' way of honoring the show's legacy and its fans as he's on the way out - but such hasn't been his MO from day one. I would guess that it's far more likely, and I may be completely wrong here, that these icons are now put into place via behind the scenes politics to remind fans that DOCTOR WHO is still DW - a particularly consequential reassurance considering how many souls have drifted from the show in its current iteration. And, I don't think it's happenstance that we receive such a reminder as it becomes clear to onlookers that Chibnall is on the way out.
Am I reading too much into all of this? Perhaps. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine BBC didn't have an innate understanding that the show needed at least some degree of saving as it moved into S13 - and set about doing just that by re-associating the property with the man who so triumphantly inserted the franchise into the zeitgeist - like never before - back in 2005.
Come what may, at the very, very least the months and years ahead will be interesting on the DOCTOR WHO front. Perhaps not only interesting, but even - dare I say it? - 'exciting!' And Geeklectica's DW Reader Response forums will continue as the wildness unfolds.
With this, The Haunted Halloween discussion threads are now open for business! The rules are as simple and inedible as they've always been:
We warmly invite and encourage an open discourse and free exchange of ideas, but will enforce a strict zero tolerance policy regarding trolling, disrespect, or hate speak of any kind.
COMING NEXT WEEK:
War of the Sontarans