Growing up, Doctor Who was my favorite TV show. It’s a staple franchise for my family; we’d always watch the new episodes together, all the way from 2005 to 2015. From the classic series to the current show, this goofy sci-fi program was always something special to me.
As time went on, however, my interest in the show began to wane. The stories started to feel increasingly repetitive and the series started turning in directions that didn’t mesh with me. Not long after season 11 started and Jodie Whitaker took over as the iconic character, I checked out completely. It felt like it was time to put the show behind me and move on.
But then something interesting happened.
With the release of the series’ most recent special, ‘The Power of the Doctor’, we saw the end of the Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who. Jodie Whitaker has taken her bow from the role, wrapping up with a regeneration scene like all the other actors before her. Watching this clip, I eagerly awaited to see the new actor, Ncuti Gatwa, step into the role of the 14th Doctor.
Imagine my surprise, then, when it was not the 14th Doctor who emerged from the flames, but the 10th.
Doctor Who is no stranger to revisiting previous actors for the character. It is a time travel show, after all. They’ve been doing it since the classic series. David Tennant himself did just this in the show’s 50th-anniversary special. But in previous examples, the returning actors have performed alongside their modern counterparts. Never have they completely taken the starring role like this!
Obviously, this was done for fan service. The 10th Doctor was, and still is, the most popular version of the character to date. Normally, I’d be against something like this; countless beloved IPs have ruined themselves with such fan service. But in this case, it works well for the narrative. It creates a mystery that looks to be integral to the coming special. Plus, it grabs the attention of old fans who checked out of the show.
You can tell that worked because I am writing this article.
David Tennant isn’t the only person from the old days coming back. Russel T. Davies is returning as the showrunner. The man who ran the show from seasons one to four of the modern series, what many people consider the best seasons of the show. This guy proved that he knows how to run the show back then. Hopefully, he’ll be able to breathe some fresh life into it once again.
That being said, his return isn’t a sure sign of success. It’s been well over a decade since he last worked on Doctor Who. Since then, he’s worked on a whole slew of shows that I’ve never even heard of, like Wizards vs Aliens, Queer as Folk, and a lot of mini-series. He also worked on spin-off shows like Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures. Point is, the man isn’t perfect and it’s been a while since he worked on this show. I just hope he still has the magic he worked back in the day.
I am feeling optimistic about the next actor to take the role of the Doctor: Ncuti Gatwa. From what I’ve seen, the man is a very talented actor, and he seems very passionate about the series from interviews that came out when his casting was first announced. Hopefully he’ll have the chance to prove himself in the next special.
I mean, he has the perfect acting partner to do it with. Who better to show a new actor for the Doctor the ropes than the most popular actor to ever take the role? Assuming the two characters interact; please, god, let them share at least one scene together!
All of this together has me feeling pretty optimistic about the show’s future. I doubt I’ll go back to being a hardcore megafan; the childhood delight and wonder required for that are a thing of the past for me. But maybe this show I used to love will at least become fun to watch again. That would be more than enough for me.
Just so long as we never get another episode like that spider one in season eleven. Remember that one? With the not-Donald Trump? Where the Doctor locked up a whole colony of giant spiders to slowly starve to death because that’s ‘kinder’ than shooting them?
Yeah. Let’s never do any of that ever again. Please and thank you.