Geeklectica's DOCTOR WHO discussion forums are alive, well, and eagerly anticipating the coming of the inimitable Russell T. Davies, who is returning after a 13-14 year absence.
The nature of the show Davies will bring to bear this time around, and how Team Davies will (or won't) address some of the bumps and bruises inflicted on franchise mythology by previous show runner Chris Chibnall, is the million dollar question at the moment, alongside how Tennant's returning doctor will segue into the upcoming new Doctor Ncutti Gatwa.
Tennant has indicated that his refreshed iteration of the Doctor won't be a carbon copy of the Doctor the got to know during RTD's original tenure as show runner. This is a logical and wise decision on both conceptual and narrative levels, although the notion of a different 'flavor' of Tennant Doctor is likely to ruffle the feathers of rigid fans who are clearly, perhaps erroneously, anticipating a speedy return to the previously established Tenant-Davies "Comfort Zone."
Which circles back to the question posed above: what might we reasonablY expect from Russell T. Davies' Second Era (aka RTD2) as show runner? While the ultimate outcome can't be, and, optimally, shouldn't be anticipated, a few factors spring to mind that might provide a few hints.
1) 13/14 years is a very long time. Davies is older, wiser, more experienced, more confident now than he was when he ran this show the first time around. The heartbeat and 'soul' of the show will likely, and should naturally, reflect such growth.
2) Science fiction on television - on both a conceptual and production level - has changed considerably since RTD1. DOCTOR WHO will, one way or another, need to adjust to modern sensibilities and proclivities in order to remain relevant in the grand scheme of things, and amongst so much broad-thiking, well made competition.
Part of this will certainly pertain to the show's budget, which Davies has already indicated is not as dramatically enhanced as some initial reports lead the public to believe - but is fleshed out a bit to a comfortable and useful extent. But beyond the budget, RTD2 will have to exist with a particular mindset in terms of sociopolitical perspectives and narrative flexibilities and inventiveness to not seem "stodgy" or "passe." An example: if STAR TREK can crossover animated characters into live action setting, and offer full-on musical episodes to highly successful viewership numbers, this sets something of a bar for a show as inherently funky and gonzo as DOCTOR WHO, does it not?
3). In the same way the above factors have evolved and changed since RTD1, viewers have morphed as well, in sometimes difficult and petulant ways to be sure. But fans of many franchises have also demonstrated considerable ability to accept "out of the box" thinking - even if begrudgingly so. Again: RTD2 will have to accommodate, and answer, this growth.
Things, simply, are not the way they used to be.
All of this points to one natural, perhaps even obvious, conclusion: it's easy, perhaps even 'exciting' to have RTD around again, because we know how he thinks, we know he CAN think, and we have a sense of what qualities he'll bring to the table. But: it may be foolish to expect him to do the same exact thing the second time around, as doing so would be dull and damaging to the franchise, and disingenuous to how all involved - and the world around them - have changed since the halcyon days 0f 2005+. And, at the end, it would simply be impractical. Things can't be the same. The show shouldn't be the same. Which is borne out by THIS quote from RTD:
"There are things coming up that are brand new ways of telling stories that have never been done before, so it just feels new – I wouldn't have gone back if it wasn't feeling new..."
!! IMAGE GALLERY COMING TO THIS SPACE SOON !!
For my money: I'm excited for RTD2 not becauseI I crave the familiar, but because many of the same people involved with a really great show that ran from 2005-2010 are back to give us a fresh take and a new spin on material they clearly love and, above all, understand. And I want to have that experience. I think we'll get a DOCTOR WHO iteration that is at once imminently familiar, in an effort to fold back in those alienated by Chris Chibnall's shenanigans- but I also think we'll see that same comfortable familiarity hybridized with very necessary boundary pushing and fresh-feeling forward-think.
Which segues into THIS interesting piece about how the RTD2 Era came together, which is sweet and fun in one way, but frustrating and alarming in another. Seems Davies' return to the show was not some "Oh my God, come save us!" maneuver by BBC, or some impassioned, Machiavellian plot by Team Davies to reclaim the throne. Rather, it all fell into place somewhat happenstantially. Which, while I'm glad that it ultimately did so, somewhat diffuses the sense of "strategic genius" surrounding the initial announcements of Davies' return. So Davies just asked about what BBC's plans were, and BBC took the bait because it didn't really have any other plans. Ah, well...perhaps some thing truly never change.
Some interesting and recent developments:
** Ncutti Gatwa's upcoming launch episodes will not be referred to as "Sesason 14" of the show (counting from post 2005). Instead, we're back to "Season 1." So says THIS article.
** Our first look at Tennant's new Doctor iteration will come November 17 via a Children in Need broadcast. More HERE. This is one week-ish before RTD2's official launch.
** Davies will not re-write or adjust Chibnall's 'Timeless Children' origin for the Doctor, per a piece in SFX synopsized HERE. Personally, I'd rather see it neutralized, as I felt the notion was disruptive, daffy, and unproductive. But, I fully understand the impulse to not get bogged down tackling doing so - given limited screen time and resources - when, realistically, the concept doesn't ever have to be revisited again.
**The Daleks episode from 1963 will be rebroadcast (yay!) in a colorized form (boo!). This will release on November 23, two days ahead of RTD2's premiere.
**The forthcoming "60th Anniversary Specials" (the new Tennant episodes) are already up for preorder on Amazon UK. Standard packaging HERE, with Steelbook packaging HERE.
Includes all 3 of the 60th Anniversary Specials, as well as additional extra content.
The Star Beast
Wild Blue Yonder
Starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and companion Catherine Tate returning as fan-favourite Donna Noble. Guest stars include Neil Patrick-Harris, Yasmin Finney, Aneurin Barnard, Jemma Redgrave and many more.
Exclusive to the 60th Anniversary specials release:
Rachel Talalay's Scene Breakdown
Chanya Button's Scene Breakdown
Tom Kingsley's Scene Breakdown
The Star Beast Behind The Scenes
The Fourteenth Doctor Reveal
Wild Blue Yonder Behind The Scenes
The Giggle Behind The Scenes
The Giggle In-vision Commentary
The Star Beast In-vision Commentary
David and Catherine's Flashbacks
Yasmin Finney Introduces Rose Noble
Designing the Fourteenth Doctor
Set Tour with Yasmin Finney
The Star Beast - Behind The Scenes Trailer
Wild Blue Yonder - Behind The Scenes Trailer
The Giggle - Behind The Scenes Trailer
The Cast Introduce the Villains in 'Wild Blue Yonder'
Behind The Scenes Fun with David and Catherine
Video Diary with David Tennant's Stand-in
TARDIS Set Tour with David Tennant and Phil Sims
Ruth Madeley Introduces Shirley Bingham
Neil Patrick Harris Introduces the Toymaker
Becoming the Toymaker
60th Specials Recap with David Tennant
So, now we're off and running into the RTD2 Era, and quickly careening toward the 60th Anniversary Specials, and Season 14...err...SEASON 1!
The rules here remain the same:
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.
If this is your first time here - feel free to either partake from afar, or participate. This is very much a 'safe space.'
If you're returning for more fun? Welcome back, we're so glad you're with us!
And, to all, enjoy!
COMING NOVEMBER 23
(EPISODE PREMIERES NOVEMBER 25)
DOCTOR WHO: THE STAR BEAST