Saturday, November 7, 2015

Doctor Who: Future Tension - Part Two







Hi there! You may think today is Saturday…unless you’re reading this on a different day so I can’t help what you’re thinking. I think I lost control of that sentence. 

Let me come in again.


Hi there! You may think today is Saturday but the really cool people know its Doctor Who Saturday. Tonight is episode 8 of Series 9 as the Doctor faces down Zygons and humans who may or may not be Zygons. We’ll see what happens tonight and I’ll write it about it for tomorrow. But today I wanted to post some other stuff about Doctor Who and you probably will not regard this as good news.



A few weeks ago I posted a theory about the immediate future of Doctor Who. While the long term future of the show seems secure (despite some slips in the ratings over in the UK), I felt there were a number of threads converging to suggest there may be reason to expect Series 10 would be delayed in some capacity, either in total from 2016 to 2017 or in part with some episodes of Series 10 in 2016 and the rest in 2017.


And it seems that I am right. 


Doctor Who Series 10 will be split over the next two years.*

*Actually some of the tabloids have been painting a different, more dire picture but I think it's just a matter of semantics. More on that later in the post.



The reason given is…Peter Capaldi. He may be having the time of his life playing his childhood hero, the Doctor; but making Doctor Who is hard work, taking about ¾ of the year to make a series of 12 to 13 episodes. There are location shoots, stunt preparations and special effects rigging that eat up a lot of time. And more often than not, Peter Capaldi as the star of Doctor Who is usually in the middle of all that. And the man is 57 years old now, working a schedule that exhausted Matt Smith who is about 30 years younger.


There is also the idea that Capaldi needs to do other things. Among the things cited that will be occupying his time in the near future is directing a film based on his time with the punk band, the Dreamboys. He’s also slated to direct two episodes of the American TV series, Veep. And if the World War Z sequel gets going, Capaldi may have to play WHO Doctor again.


As I noted in the previous post, the production schedule was inching up further every year. To give Capaldi and company any decent amount of downtime before resuming production, Series 10 would have to debut even later in the year. Series 8 started in August 2014 and Series 9 started in September. Following that schedule, Series 10 wouldn’t start until October 2016 and full dozen episodes would run through December and would put the kibosh on the beloved tradition of the Doctor Who Christmas Special which has typically done very well for the BBC. The only thing that made sense from a practical stance was for Series 10 to split up with a smaller selection of episodes to air in 2016 and the rest in 2017, following the model of Series 7. The other alternative would be to postpone the entirety of Series 10 until 2017 but I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen. 


At any rate, it means less Doctor Who for 2016 which may give you an idea of why the DW spinoff, Class, got the green light. If the Doctor and the TARDIS can’t represent the Whoniverse directly, at least we have the kids of Coal Hill School. (And no, I am not feeling this concept yet. Just can’t work up the enthusiasm for Class. Sorry.) 



Now while I'm referring to Series 10 being split, some of the tabloids have been reporting Series 10 as being "reduced" or "cut in half".  Here's what Steven Moffat said about that.  


Let's look at part of the text from the Radio Times post:

"We’re making a full series. I can confirm that," said Moffat. "I’m making a full series of 12 episodes, plus a Christmas special. I don’t know when it goes out. That’s up to someone else. And even if I did know – which I genuinely don’t – I wouldn’t be allowed to say so as I have absolutely no say in it whatsoever." 


Now I think the key here that the Moff stresses he's working on a 12 episode series plus a Christmas special. I think where the tabloids are blowing things out of proportion is saying that the next season is being cut short or in half. I still think we won't see a FULL series in 2016 but there will be a complete series spread out over two years. Note the Moff's caveat here: "I don’t know when it goes out. That’s up to someone else."


So I think Moffat is being coy with us. There's just too much stuff coming together that makes sense for there to not be some kind of change in Doctor Who's production schedule to make those 12 episodes and a special. 

The last time there was a split schedule (Series 7), it played out as two separate productions with a change in opening theme music, graphics, redesigned TARDIS, a new outfit for the Doctor and a new companion popping up in the middle. But the powers that be elected to call the whole shebang Series 7.


It's all semantics. Whether you see it has Series 10 being reduced in 2016 or Series 10 being the same size but spread over two years, it all means the same thing: less Doctor Who in 2016 and 2017. We probably won't get anything out of Steven Moffat on this subject until at least after Series 9 has finished airing. 


Guys, we’ve been here before. In 2008, we knew were only going to get a handful of specials for the following year until the proper return of Doctor Who in 2010. Looking ahead to 2012, we faced the prospect of having only 5 episodes and a Christmas special with just 8 episodes and two specials for 2013. But sometimes I think we need to be able to miss Doctor Who, for a bit. It’s such a worldwide pop culture phenomenon these days, it seems like Doctor Who gets a bit overheated sometimes. Sometimes it’s important to pull back on the throttle and cruise awhile. Yes, I want a full season of Doctor Who every year but if I don’t get it, I’m OK, at least I am as long as we don’t return to the lost wilderness from 1989 to 2005.



OK, that’s it for now. Tomorrow, more Doctor Who as I post my recap/review thing about tonight’s episode, The Zygon Inversion.


Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 



Dave-El

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