Whovians unite with mixed emotions on the new season

Sofia P.

Staff Writer

The cult science fiction television show Doctor Who is back but with a mixed response as opposed to its usual enthusiastic reception. The show just had its eighth season launch on August 25, but because the schedule may not be accommodating to all fans, not everyone can follow the program on PBS. Those who cannot see Doctor Who on TV have the option of accessing it on Amazon Prime or On Demand; however, most fans will probably just wait until the show is accessible on Netflix and Hulu. Given how few fans have actually seen the premiere, people are still unsure of how everything will play out with its new lead actor, Peter Capaldi, coming into play and with Doctor Who reaching its eighth season.

One of the ideas that creates the most excitement among Doctor Who fans is that the show has an alternating spot for the role of the lead protagonist, the Doctor. Not only will the Doctor’s appearance change, but so will his personality, leaving room for speculation as to how this change will affect the show. Peter Capaldi, World War Z actor, will be the one to play the twelfth personality and face of the iconic Doctor. Many different actors have had the chance to play the Doctor, considering the show started in 1963. The show’s fame mostly started becoming popular and recognized in the media when Steven Moffat took the show under his wing and wrote the personality of the eleventh Doctor. Although fans have their own personal favorite Doctors, the eleventh doctor marked the point the show became widely recognized in America. This character was a youthful and child-like character, and the popularity of the character seems to rely on these immature features when it comes to popularity. Although many different actors play the Doctor, it has been a while since an older actor has stepped up to the plate. Jenna Brown, sophomore, says she’s “not as excited because he [Peter Capaldi] is older and not going to be as lively.” Capaldi is 56, which is much older in comparison to Matt Smith, the actor who played the eleventh doctor, who was 27 when he took up the role. It seems unlikely that the studio would just keep repeating the same roles amongst Doctors. Mr. Tim Morris says, English teacher, speculates, “I would expect that the new Doctor will be more serious than Matt Smith, considering that the Doctor before him was more serious. They seem to go in that pattern.”  The general opposition amongst the fans is that the writers’ choices for a new cast most likely stem from an attachment to the previous Doctor. Ms. Sonja Ryberg, English and yearbook teacher, who has been following this season, said, “I’m not completely taken with Capaldi, but I’m sure that by the end of the season I’ll have warmed up to him.” Regardless of reason, people seem to believe that the funny antics and liveliness of the previous Doctor will disappear to make way for a more serious character and possibly a more serious show.

Though the cast has changed, one factor is staying the same in Doctor Who, and that is the writer. Steven Moffat took control of the writing for the show in its fifth season, writing in the fantastic character Matt Smith played. Known for having twisting plotlines and exciting characters, Moffat tends to have scary or dark plotlines offset with his character’s sense of humor. This seems to give people hope that the show will not change too drastically, considering the show is still being guided by the same writer. Justin Tuck, senior, has no fear of the show taking a turn for the worst, saying, “I’m curious to see how the new actor portrays a new Doctor’s personality. I am looking forward to new plots and new characters and new storylines and am overall excited about the continuation of the series.” Even if the main character changes, Mr. Morris does not seem to believe that this change will simply mean failure for the show. The show’s appeal is not only in the goofiness of the characters but the complexity of its plots.

Then again some fans fear Steven Moffat continuing to write episodes for Doctor Who, for fear of him lacking fresh ideas for the show to continue. Like any writer, he seems to have an overall theme and pattern for his writing. Doctor Who does hire outside writers, but Moffat is the one who commands its direction. Like any season, the show will have a big bad guy who will not be announced (but is alluded to) until the end. Season eights seems to be “the promised land,” which has a slightly worrisome resemblance to season three’s “utopia.” Brown says she thinks that Moffat is out of ideas and that he is just going to repeat old themes from past seasons. Ms. Ryberg adds to this by saying, “I think they’ve had some good plot ideas, but sometimes they don’t seem as engaging as they could’ve been. Some episodes are written more ‘Doctor Who’ in feeling than others.” The protagonist of the show is changing, but will the content be as stimulating as it was when Moffat wrote the eleventh Doctor?

Whether people are wary of the ongoing season or excited, the reception of the show’s eighth season will not be determined until all the fans are able to see it. Despite the constant talk and exchange of ideas, no one can predict if the show will be as good as it was or if the actors will play characters as interesting as those who came before. Even those who have been following the show are still in speculation of the final outcome, which, knowing Doctor Who, cannot be determined until the conclusion of the season.

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