Doctor Who: Flux–not long now…

A release date has been announced and now it’s less than two weeks until the new Doctor Who season gets underway.

(Daily Doctor Who #330)

It appears to be called Flux. If that’s the actual title of the overall story (as in “Flux part 1,” “Flux part 2” and so on) it won’t be the worst title the show has ever had, but it’ll be close.

It might also be a subtitle for the season, though–something which I’ve also seen in Young Justice, for example. In that case, we might still get individual names for each episode? Not sure. It could lead to some clumsy stuff like Doctor Who: Flux: Part 1: The Glare of the Sontarans.

Speaking of Sontarans, I’ve seen a decent amount of excitement on social media about the alien’s redesign. I was fine with how they looked in the Davies / Moffat era, but I’m also happy with this.

And I loved Strax as a supporting character–that guy was hilarious–but I’m also ready to see the Sontarans become a real threat again.

However, some of the social media comments take this further and say that the Sontarans are another example of how Chris Chibnall is doing such a great job taking the classic monsters and giving them more of a classic look, and thus making them scary again. That I don’t agree with.

Usually, the comments are referencing the Cybermen and the Daleks (which makes sense–they are the only “classic” monsters to show up, really, in Chibnall’s era).

I thought the steampunk Dalek from Resolution was pretty cool, but only makes sense as a one-off anomaly–and the same is true about the Lone Cybermen. And while the way Daleks are able to control people’s bodies is kind of scary, I’d hate for that to become a regular part of their M.O. (actually, you’d think that would gross them out). It certainly doesn’t lean into anything “classic” about the creatures.

The Cybermen are far worse. Are they still supposed to be people who have replaced body parts in order to survive? Then having them be able to send their heads flying around is just silly. And Chibnall’s story did not make the Cybermen scary again–they were as scary as they ever were the last time they showed up, in Steven Moffat’s World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls.

Back to the trailer, it certainly seems like the story is a big and bombastic spectacle.

This is no surprise from Chris Chibnall–after, he’s the guy who gave us Ascension of the Cybermen / The Timeless Children. It looks like it could be a lot of fun and it would not surprise me at all if the season got off to a strong start on October 31st. But the real question for me is whether it will deliver a solid ending with satisfying character arcs–after all, this is the same guy who gave us Ascension of the Cybermen / The Timeless Children.

But if I put the lessons of the past out of my mind than the trailer makes me feel like I’ve got lots of reasons to be excited. Cramming tons of returning monster into one story is not really something I’d have recommended, but even I am interested in seeing the role that not just the Sontarans are playing, but the Ood, the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels as well. Plus, Chewbacca’s cousin Fido.

The trailer does not betray any obvious COVID limitations in the prodction, and he glimpse we have of the main casts’ vibe is seems pretty fun. Without so much competition for attention I’m hopeful that Yaz, Dan and Jodie’s Doctor all come across strong, and with all the production limitations–often very good for creativity–I’m hoping that Chris Chibnall outdoes himself by a long shot.

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