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 #227)
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 restarted my heroic work, once again with the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors of the revived series in 2005, and now we hit the Twelfth Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi.
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?
Let’s start here this time. In general, we always want more Doctor Who episodes. The Capaldi years, such as they were, consisted of three seasons of 12 episodes each spread over four years, with each year also getting a Christmas episode. So in our revised timeline, the obvious thing to do is to have a fourth season stuck in there as well. It’d go into 2016, which in the original timeline didn’t have a season at all, and thus it would go in between Capaldi’s second and third set of stories.
So what well do is this: after Hell Bent and that year’s Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song, we’ll proceed into our new season, starting with a story that includes the Doctor “repairing” Nardole and having him as a companion. Matt Lucas can thus be the co-star for the year. The episodes can include some of the ideas below, but the end of the season would include a bit–either as a major part of the story or just a quick extra bit–where the Doctor finally saves River Song out of the virtual reality of the Library (I’d say with a Flesh duplicate body, as seen The Almost People) and then they have 50 years of adventures together before she finally dies for good.
I always hated the idea that he saved her and then just sort of abandoned her, and so I’d like to see that resolved.
One of those new episodes could show who was behind Gus, the malevolent computer that caused all the problems in Mummy on the Orient Express. That’s a story that I’d like to have seen completed. And I love the idea of creating a new recurring nemesis for the Doctor–someone who is not the Master or Davros, and who doesn’t even travel in time, but is an ongoing threat for the Doctor. That could have been part of the “Gus reveal.”
Day of the Doctor
What was the Twelfth Doctor doing there at the climax of Day of the Doctor? Obviously, it was just a throwaway tease and easter egg, but why not make a story about it, from the Doctor’s point of view? Maybe there was another threat, looking at taking advantage of the temporal chaos that was going on, that only the 12th Doctor knew about it and could deal with.
Maybe even a previous Doctor could have a had a cameo in the story, although that might just get distracting.
Bill and Heather
World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls was a near perfect story. The biggest problem is the ending of Bill’s story. She is miraculously saved from being a Cyberman thanks to Heather, the seemingly omnipotent puddle of oil that became enamored with Bill because of the last thoughts of the girl that it inadvertently killed and replaced…a girl that Bill had chatted with briefly and been attracted to.
OK, I can sort of deal with all of that, except then the story has Bill deciding to leave the unconscious Doctor (who believes that she is dead) and go and travel the universe with “Heather” like it’s some grand, romantic story. It’s not grand, it’s not romantic…it’s actually shallow and kind of creepy, and completely undercutting to Bill’s sense of agency as a character. And the fact that the previous female companion had also left the Doctor by having her nature transformed and then going off with a female immortal recurring character on her own travels through time and space didn’t help things at all.
Really, it’d have made far more sense if it were revealed that when Heather “fixes” Bill, she also tweaked her brain to make so that she’d make such a strange decision.
Make Twice Upon a Time just a little bit…better
Twice Upon a Time was not only Peter Capaldi’s last Doctor Who story, it was Steven Moffat’s. It featured the return of the First Doctor, now played by David Bradley, who had previously played First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the TV movie An Adventure in Space and Time. I had high hopes for it and there were moments that I really liked (the Captain turning out to be related to the Brigadier, the Christmas Day truce at the end, and the discussions about why the Doctor left Gallifrey).
But there were also plenty of moments I was disappointed by, such as the First Doctor’s strange sexism, the ho-hum nature of the the Testimony, the visual awkwardness of Jenna Coleman’s cameo (due to the actors not being available at the same time and place), the inclusion of Rusty the Dalek (not a terrible idea, but far from the element from Capaldi’s era that I was keen to have back) and the repetitious nature of the Doctor regenerating in the TARDIS which then is flung out of control (three times in a row now!)
In my new timeline, I will rework the story to address all of that.
And while I’m at it, I’d seize the opportunity to have the Doctor finally “go back” and see Susan on 22nd century earth, either played by Carole Ann Ford or by Claudia Grant, who appeared with David Bradley as Carole Ann Ford in An Adventure in Space and Time.
And that’s it…both for this post and this series. I certainly have things I’d like to change in the Thirteenth Doctor’s era, but since we’re still in the midst of that I’ll save my thoughts on this for a future time.