On Saturday night, April 15, season 10 premieres. The Doctor gets a new companion, Bill, played by Pearl Mackie. Also joining the Doctor aboard the TARDIS is Nardole, played by Matt Lucas. Introduced in “The Husbands of River Song”, he was the Doctor’s companion in “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”. This is the end of the Peter Capaldi era on Doctor Who. (He might not be playing the Doctor on television after this season, but he will always be the Twelfth Doctor.) I will personally miss him because he has been a great Doctor. Even in some of the episodes I didn’t care for as much, he was never the reason for the episode’s failure. He always elevated the material he was given. In addition, this is Steven Moffat’s last season as the program’s show runner. I know some people are glad it is his last season. Aside from some convoluted storylines and a few hazy character beats, his time as show runner has been excellent. It is probably time for him to move on, but I think people will appreciate his service to Doctor Who with some time and distance.
Let’s take a brief look back at season nine to understand where we are now. Too much of Twelve’s first season was spent on the Doctor trying to determine if he was a ‘good man’ and Clara (Jenna Coleman) trying to juggle between being a companion and being Danny Pink’s (Samuel Anderson) girlfriend. By the end of the Christmas special “Last Christmas”, their relationship was on solid ground.
The Doctor spent much of season nine mining the question, “Who is the Hybrid”. The hybrid in this case is the mingling of two great warrior races. The hybrid was prophesized to bring the destruction of Gallifrey. The first hybrid suspect was the Doctor himself. The Doctor supposedly left Gallifrey because he thought he was the hybrid. The second suspect was a young Viking woman named Ashildr (Maisie Williams). After she died in “The Girl Who Died”, the Doctor used Mire technology to bring her back to life. This gave her immortality and she was a mix of the war like Mire race and the war like human Vikings. The third suspect was Osgood (Ingrid Oliver), who was a mix of the Zygon and human race. By the end of the season, the Doctor and Ashildr who now goes by Me decided the hybrid was the Doctor and Clara together. Their devotion to each other made the Doctor blind to the effect they had on others. Clara had died previously in “Face the Raven” but the Doctor went back to Gallifrey and uses an extraction chamber to retrieve Clara from her timeline right before she dies. He went through all sorts of torments to achieve this. Clara made him realize he had gone too far for her. The Doctor tried to remove Clara’s memories of him (Donna Nobles anyone?) but Clara alters the device and it removed Clara from his memories. Clara and Ashildr have their own TARDIS and leave to go on their own adventures. (I would love to see that spinoff.) The last two episodes after season nine were the two Christmas specials. You can read my review “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” on this site.
From what I know about the new series, (and you can gleam this from the promos) the Doctor meets Bill at university. I’ve read he is a lecturer there and Bill serves fish and chips. They meet and she becomes his new companion. (I’m sure that was helpful to you.) One article I’ve read says the Doctor takes a grandfatherly interest in Bill, harkening back to the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan. With the Nu-Who Doctors having a more romantic interest in their companions, this is a refreshing change. Bill is the first openly gay companion, so there wasn’t much chance of romance between the Doctor and her. Maybe if the Doctor regenerates into a woman this Christmas that changes.
The ninth season was my favorite since the fifth season. The storylines weren’t as convoluted as some of the storylines had become after the fifth season. Once the Doctor figured out, “I’m an idiot, one just passing through, learning and helping where I can” then we got the more focused and fun Doctor of season nine. I enjoyed his relationship with Clara, and I thought they did a good job of making Clara her own person outside the Doctor. My favorite episode was “Hell Bent”, a top 10 Doctor Who classic (you can include classic Who in that). My least favorite was “Sleep No More”. I nearly slept through it.
The new season starts Saturday at 8:00 p.m. here in Austin. After the season premiere will be a new show from the BBC, “Class”. It is a spinoff of Doctor Who. It takes place at Coal Hill School, the famous school where we met the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan, and where Clara taught. I hope it is as good as the other Doctor Who spinoffs, “Torchwood” and the “The Sarah Jane Adventures”. I will be recapping and reviewing this season of Doctor Who so I hope you’ll join me then.