Lately, it seems like a franchise is not truly a franchise until it’s gotten its gritty reboot. Superman had Man of Steel, Batman had the Christopher Nolan trilogy, and Doctor Who now has Twelve to bring some dark realism to a show about a man who travels around space and time in a mysterious flying police box. Previous seasons have seemed to mix the show’s campier, sillier side with a few serious moments, but the first full trailer for Peter Capaldi’s time at the helm of the TARDIS promises a season that is decidedly darker than Matt Smith or David Tennant’s runs.
But Doctor Who is not a show that has exactly shied away from darkness before. Between the horror that creatures like the Weeping Angels or the Silence bring and the show’s many tragic deaths and departures, not to mention the ramifications of the Time War that haunted the Doctor for years, there has always been plenty to temper the more ridiculous aspects of the show. However, this time around, the show seems to be re-focusing on the darker functions of the Doctor’s story, with goofier elements like dinosaurs rampaging through London taking a backseat to questions about the Doctor’s morality.
In fact, this darker edge seems to be the selling point for the new Doctor. That’s most likely due to the fact that Capaldi is an established dramatic actor, and we as an audience are used to seeing him play darker moments or roles. Even his most famous character, the aggressive and very profane Director of Communications Malcolm Tucker was arguably more of an anti-hero than a straight-forward good guy. Though Capaldi is often funny, both on and off screen, he’s better known for being brash, mean and sometimes evil.
Doctor Who started to take a darker turn towards the end of Smith’s tenure, with much of his happy-go-lucky façade slipping to reveal the guiltier, tortured side he hid underneath. Bringing in Capaldi gives the show a better opportunity to explore some of those more serious elements, as Eleven always needed to hold on to his goofier side. Twelve, however, is a blank slate, which allows the writers to properly delve into the grittier side of space and time travel, and being responsible for the fate of an entire planet. And since the anti-hero is so popular right now, it makes sense for Doctor Who to hop on the tortured male lead bandwagon with someone who is adept at playing that role.
Of course, no matter how good Capaldi will be as Twelve – and given everything we’ve seen him in thus far, it’s likely to be a fantastic performance – it remains to be seen how well Doctor Who as a whole will be able to pull off its gritty reboot. Recently, the show’s darker moments have been somewhat hit-and-miss, so it would be a challenge for the writers to maintain such a serious tone for the entire season. Recently, the show has struggled to ensure that its serious moments have the right amount of impact, thanks to show runner Steven Moffat’s disregard for continuity and love of resurrecting characters from the dead. A tone like this requires consequences in order to be effective. Audiences need to be worried about the fate of Clara and the Doctor, scared by their actions or the actions of the enemies they face, and since Moffat doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of lasting consequences, it doesn’t bode well for the new season.
However, if Doctor Who is able to maintain its balance between camp and drama, it should be able to ensure a memorable run for Capaldi. The goofiness will offset some of the tension, allowing audiences time to relax, breathe and enjoy the time they’re spending with these characters, as well as taking some pressure off of the consequences of the show’s darker moments, while the grittier elements will be able to raise the show’s stakes as well as allowing them to explore new territory with the Doctor, both in terms of location and character development. Although, if they really run out of options, they could always just have Twelve verbally eviscerate the Daleks. That should help them find the ideal blend of comedy and darkness.
The eighth season of Doctor Who premieres on August 23 on BBC One.
British actor Benedict Cumberbatch nearly missed out on the lead role in hit TV show Sherlock because the programme's producers feared he was not sexy enough. Cumberbatch has become a small screen favourite since landing the role as the genius detective in the BBC's modern re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories, and amassed an army of female fans.
However, the Star Trek Into Darkness actor nearly missed out on the coveted job, as show bosses were looking for an actor with more conventional good looks.
Scriptwriter Steven Moffat compares Cumberbatch's casting with that of David Tennant in the BBC's 2005 mini-series Casanova, saying, "They said of casting David Tennant as Casanova, 'Damn you should have cast someone sexier'. With Benedict Cumberbatch, we were told the same thing. 'You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him'."
However, Moffat is convinced the casting of Cumberbatch and co-star Martin Freeman is the key to the show's success, saying, "The show would have been a much smaller thing without those two playing the parts."
I have to say, I was expecting a Smith/Coleman kiss this episode ... something along the lines of the Ninth Doctor/Rose pre-regeneration smooch? We got a lot of face-caressing and hugs, but no dice on the kiss. Ah well. But in that spirit, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite Doctor Who kisses:
10. 11th Doctor/Amy
Okay, so this one was awkwardness embodied, and it was more than a little cringe-worthy. But you've gotta admire Amy and her chutzpah, right? It's even better when you watch the Doctor Who Confidential for the episode and realize that Karen Gillan "subconsciously" touched Matt Smith's inner thigh during filming.
9. 11th Doctor/River Song
Well, these two have kissed multiple times, but my personal favorite was that flail-inducing first kiss of theirs (or for Eleven, anyway) back in "A Good Man Goes to War."
8. Captain Jack Harkness/Rose
Pretty sure that Captain Jack has excellent chemistry with everyone.
7. 9th Doctor/Captain Jack Harkness
Ditto! Captain Jack's got game. Dang, what will get Stephan Moffat to bring John Barrowman back?
6. 10th Doctor/Donna
The mutual dislike of both parities for this kiss made it one of the best on the show. And hey, it saved the Doctor from being poisoned!
5. 11th Doctor/Victorian!Clara
Alas, the only Eleven/Clara kiss we'll ever get. But still – Matt Smith's flailing is pretty hard to beat (and of course, Jenna Louise Coleman is utterly delightful).
4. 10th Doctor/Cassandra!Rose
David Tennant's post-kiss bliss-stunned discomposure was deliciously funny – as was his little quip ("Yep, still got it"). And that's not even mentioning the fabulousness of Cassandra!Rose's lasciviousiosity!
3. 11th Doctor/Rory
This one certainly wins in terms of shock value. This kiss was improvised, much to an unsuspecting Arthur Darvill's chagrin.
2. 9th Doctor/Rose
Nine is way underrated, in my opinion, and to me this remains one of the most romantic kisses in New Who history.
1. The "Journey's End" Kiss
Nothing short of iconic (it doesn't hurt that David Tennant and Billie Piper's collective chemistry is off the charts).
What are your favorite Doctor Who kisses? Did you have a soft spot for the problematic Queen Elizabeth I? Madame du Pompadour? Rory and Amy? Let us know in the comments!
When we heard Billie Piper and David Tennant were returning to Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary special, we were excited — some might say uncontrollably ecstatic — but after watching “The Day of the Doctor,” we were a little disappointed. Although everyone assumed Piper would play her iconic character, Rose Tyler she didn’t; Piper played the consciousness of the world-ending device the Doctor planned to use to end the Time War. Although the device’s consciousness recognizes it is the face of Rose Tyler, it’s not actually Rose Tyler. We don’t know about anyone else, but we feel a little cheated.
Half of our excitement for “The Day of the Doctor” was based on getting to see Rose Tyler meet the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) or finding out what happened to Rose after she went off with TenToo, the non-Time Lord clone of Tennant’s Doctor. But we didn’t get any of that! Piper only interacted with John Hurt’s War Doctor, and then it wasn’t even as the Rose we fell in love with.
On the bright side, some might say the lack of Rose was a good thing since some fans were wary of how Doctor Who showrunner and writer Stephen Moffat would treat our favorite companion. Since he’s called her a “needy girlfriend,” maybe it’s for the best that he decided not to touch the actual perfection that is Rose Tyler.
However, all of that being said, we still expected to see Rose and when we didn’t get Rose, we were sad. Our only chance to see Rose again was snatched away. (Maybe we’re getting a little carried away.) We’ll have to take comfort in the fact that at least we got to see the Tenth Doctor again.
In a vote by Britain's RadioTimes.com, David Tennant one the honor of the most popular doctor, capturing 56% of the vote. His long-time companion Rose (Billie Piper) was fittingly voted the best companion.
This vote suggests a nostalgia for a Doctor Who that was not so long ago. Tennant was the Doctor from 2005 to 2010, and he preceded an era in which the sci-fi show has wavered. Under Steven Moffat's writing, Matt Smith's doctor, and the memorable companionship of Rory and Amy Pond, Doctor Who has had some great moments, but its most recent episodes have been among the show's weakest. Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman), the current companion, only managed a ninth place finish, and the last season has seemed to be a long string of unremarkable and uncohesive episodes. Perhaps, as RadioTimes.com editor Tim Glandfield said, the appearance of Tennant and Piper in the 50th anniversary special is a much needed return.
"It's clear from the results of our poll that they define a golden era of Doctor Who and helped introduce a whole new generation to the show - how fitting that they'll be reunited next week for the 50th anniversary special."
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special is just days from hitting our eyeballs. And, with five decades of history to mine, it has the potential to bring back dozens of familiar faces (or voices). It won't be a shock to see Billie Piper, whose involvement was announced months ago and has figured prominently in the excitement-building PR campaign. Piper is heavily responsible for the success of the modern series, as new audiences were introduced to the traveling Time Lord and the TARDIS through the eyes of shopgirl Rose Tyler back in 2005. Based on the cryptic trailers for the special, fans have begun to wonder if Piper is even playing the Rose we know and love in this new story. For the sake of this list, we'll assume that she is, though we fully understand how futile it is to try to predict Doctor Who. Right or wrong, here are five reasons to rejoice over the return of Rose Tyler:
1. It's Rose freakin' Tyler.Every Whovian has a favorite companion, but there's no denying the role that Rose Tyler played in grounding the modern series. She was the perfect doorway into this bizarre world for newbies, a normal girl who possessed huge stores of bravery and compassion.
2. We can catch up with Rose and TenToo.When last we saw Rose, she was sucking face on a beach with her half-human clone Doctor. What have they been up to over in the alternate universe? Is it kids and game nights and bagged lunches, or have they kept on running and getting into trouble? Bets on the latter.
3. It's time for Rose to meet Eleven.She's known two of his faces already; we've been craving a meeting between Rose and Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. And considering he's the same man who gave up the love of his life for her own sake, we expect some good old fashioned angst.
4. She'll huff and puff and blow your house down.Remember when Rose absorbed the time vortex and disintegrated the Daleks and saved the Doctor and made Jack Harkness immortal without even knowing it? That was awesome. There's a moment in the 50th trailer where her eyes glow like Bad Wolf Rose, so fingers crossed we'll see this badassery again.
5. David Tennant and Billie Piper, you guys.Chemistry like this can't be manufactured, folks. And we really had so few episodes with the perfect pairing of Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor. It will do hearts good to see these two together again.
And one reason to fear it.
1. Steven MoffatWhile her creator Russell T. Davies had great affection for Rose Tyler, the current showrunner has gone on record calling the companion a "needy girlfriend." Do we really want our beloved Rose in those hands? Be kind to her, Steven. Or at least fair.
Celebrated TV screenwriter Peter Moffat was honoured with a top prize at the 2013 Writers' Guild Awards in London on Wednesday (13Nov13). Moffat picked up the Best TV Drama award for legal series Silk, starring Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones, seeing off competition from another of his shows, The Village, and hit crime drama Broadchurch.
Legendary playwright David Edgar was also feted at the ceremony, winning a prize for his "outstanding contribution to writing and writers".
The prizegiving is held annually by The Writers' Guild of Great Britain.
Doctor Who fans from around the world will be able to watch the show's 50th anniversary episode at the same time. The feature-length installment of the sci-fi favourite is set to be shown on the BBC on 23 November (13), when current time lord Matt Smith will appear alongside his predecessor David Tennant, and producers have announced the episode will be broadcast in at least 75 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Australia and Mexico, at once.
Executive producer Steven Moffat says, "The Doctor has always been a time traveller - now he's travelling time zones. On the 23rd of November... it will be 'The Day of the Doctor'!"
Smith will step down as Doctor Who at the end of the year (13), and he will be replaced by the 12th TV time lord, Peter Capaldi.
"They were quite apprehensive about working with each other, actually. but they got on pretty much instantly, and they are a very, very funny double act on screen." Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat on teaming up the current TV Time Lord, Matt Smith, with his predecessor David Tennant in the upcoming season of the sci-fi series, which will be Smith's last as the 11th Doctor.
Harry Potter star David Bradley has been cast as the very first Doctor Who in a new TV movie celebrating the 50th anniversary of the cult sci-fi drama. The first image of the actor, who portrayed Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch in the Potter films, as the late William Hartnell have appeared online and Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat has now opened up about film tribute An Adventure in Space and Time, which will debut on the BBC later this year (13).
The project chronicles the birth of the Doctor Who franchise and how veteran thespian Hartnell became a TV sensation overnight back in the 1960s.
Moffat tells Entertainment Weekly magazine, "It's the story of this unexpected Indian summer William Hartnell had at the end of his career.
"He thought he was all washed up, and then suddenly he's this huge star, and he goes through the experience of that and the experience of leaving it."
And Moffat feels sure the film will be tough for outgoing Doctor Matt Smith to watch: "It's quite relevant to this time in Doctor Who. I bet Matt Smith will cry when he watches it."
Smith announced earlier this summer (13) that he would be handing over the keys to the Tardis to a new time lord when he departs the sci-fi show after it's annual Christmas special in December (13).