TV Whitenoise: Doctor Who Season 9
I didn’t dislike Season 8, in fact there were many great things about. The thing is – it felt patchy; inconsistent – like they didn’t quite know what to do with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor after making such a bold statement of intent, namely that the Doctor would be a lot darker … and then they couldn’t quite decide.
I don’t know if they’re delivering on that promise with this new season, but they are delivering something, and it’s great – consistency, both of character and writing. I am five episodes in and loving it. And there is one particular scene where, running along, you see Tom Baker become William Hartnell, become Capaldi, and the special effects are so smooth.
You know, it’s funny, I see the angolophiles pick it up and run with it, but, and this is no parochial arrogance I am displaying here … as an ex-pat British guy, there is something very resonant about this vagabond Sherlock Holmesian character spiralling out through the complex architecture of time and space. There is something only a British guy is going to get. Does it matter if he is black or a woman in the future? No. Does it matter if he stays British? I think it might. British heroes creak and rattle in a way an American hero can’t. The Doctor has lineage in a certain British tradition of sci-fi, and it is very hard to shed that; very hard to imagine him untethered from the British sensibility that hobbles him in unique ways, and makes him that much more interesting.
I can’t wait to see on what shore this season drops him.