If I was an unscrupulous Time Lord with the ability to travel through the fourth dimension and to try to affect changes that I thought would make things better, there’s probably a bunch of stuff I’d do with my favorite TV series, Doctor Who. Like many-a-fan (I assume), I’ve thought of these things from time to time, and I now I’m going to list them over a series of posts.
(Daily Doctor Who #205)
I’ve been doing this for a little while now, and managed to create cool alternate reality where Doctor Who is even better than it was in the original timeline (you can read about my involvement with the eras of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, plus The Five Doctors, by following the links). However, my ambitions became too grand and eventually my activities drew the attention of those officious guardians of reality, my own people, the Time Lords.
Undaunted, I continued my heroic work, once again with the Eighth Doctor, and now we reach the revived series in 2005 and the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston.
To avoid drawing more unwanted attention, I will be trying to keep all my manipulations subtle. So I won’t be mixing up actors from different time periods, or bringing in futuristic special effects technology, or doing a bunch of stuff in one era that has massive implications on the future of the show.
I also try to limit myself to five alterations to each era.
So…what are we after?
The Ninth Doctor’s run on TV was pretty short–only 13 episodes (one series) before the actor left the roll. It’d be great to give him more episodes, but this also has some tricky implications.
One is that of course if we give him a second season, it’ll run into David Tennant’s time as the Tenth Doctor, and we don’t want to do that. We could, of course, debut the Ninth Doctor earlier–having him come on the seen in 2004, without causing too many problems.
But the second issue is what to do with the story. If there’s an extra season, do we have a whole another group of 13 episodes of the Doctor running around with Rose Tyler? It seems like it does strange things to her story arc if she has a whole other year with the Doctor before he regenerates. On the other hand, it seems like the Ninth Doctor’s character progression changes a lot if there’s a year of stories with him before he meets Rose.
So my thought is to strike a compromise–let’s give him two seasons, but of only eight episodes each, plus a Christmas special (2004). So that’s four whole extra episodes, sprinkled through the overall story of the Ninth Doctor and Rose. It feels like that would be a real treat, without causing too much havoc to the general sense of his era.
My plan is to make the first eight episodes Rose, The End of the World, The Unquiet Dead, Aliens of London / World War III, Dalek, and then a brand new two-parter. (This will mean putting Adam being kicked off the TARDIS into a new context, but I think that’s not a big deal.) Then, we will expand on Father’s Day to make it the Christmas special.
Then the second season will start off with a new single episode, then The Long Game, The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, another new episode (with Rose and Captain Jack), Boom Town, and finally Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways.
Get away from earth!
For whatever reason, the early days of the revived Doctor Who felt compelled to keep all of its actions on or near earth. Somewhere in David Tennant’s era they finally felt the freedom to break away from that, but I don’t think there is any reason to wait that long. So all four of our new episodes (two for each season) will take place away from earth. I think the new two-parter can even go to an alien world, to a big space ship, to the world’s moon or something like that. Let’s get epic!
Robots of Death!
In these early days of revived Doctor Who, they rightly were being careful about how many elements from the original show were brought back. When the Daleks returned six episodes in, for example, that was a big deal. So we don’t want to overload our expanded Ninth Doctor era with too many familiar faces, but I think a repeat visit to the Robots of Death would still be fun.
Of course, in story they are not called the Robots of Death–that’s just the name of their 1977 Fourth Doctor story. The serial was a murder mystery set in a society that was dependent upon and complacent about their robot servants. That story was set on an isolated sand mining vessel. Our re-visit could take us to the society itself–this has been explored in spin-off media, but never on the series itself.
This could be a great way to kick off the second season of 9th Doctor adventures, and would be another way to get the show off of earth. The robots themselves would be a little like what was coming with the Host in Voyage of the Damned, but with more of a mystery-intrigue vibe.
A little bit less…silly…
Doctor Who has always had a light-hearted vibe, when it’s dealing with full blown horror or tragedy. And that’s as it should be. But there were times when the newly revived Doctor Who just got a tad sillier than I wanted it to be. I’m thinking of the farting Slitheen from Aliens of London and the burping wheelie-bin from Rose. Quite low-brow sort of comedy, and I’d just raise that brow a couple of millimeters higher.
More satisfying final Dalek confrontation
In general, most people seem to like The Parting of the Ways, the 2005 finale, with the Doctor’s big confrontation with the Daleks, better than I do. The story works hard to show how tough the Daleks are by having them march relentlessly through a space station overwhelming their defenses and killing people. They do this so while the Doctor hurriedly assembles a weapon which will kill the Daleks but also destroy the earth. In the meantime, the earth is being destroyed, but entirely off-screen (and thus completely narratively unengaging). In the last moments, the Doctor refuses to use his weapon, choosing to be a coward over being a warrior, but the Daleks get destroyed anyway thanks to the happy accident of Rose getting infected with the whole time vortex.
So…the Dalek threat is either repetitive or off-screen, the solution comes as a giant deus ex machina, and the Doctor does little to bring about the solution. What will I do? Not completely sure, but our goal will to be do better.
Do better, Senator!
Isn’t it enough to just say that?
And that’s it! My Time Meddling efforts are back again! What will I get up to next?