Why ‘Doctor Who’ TARDIS might need to stop at repair shop

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Doctor Who’ stars ready for alien battles.

It’s the second season for Peter Capaldi, as the 12th Doctor, not counting unnumbered War Doctor John Hurt, and the third for Jenna Coleman as time-space traveling companion Clara Oswald: They are old friends by now, with each other, and with us; they feel right. (Matt Smith?If you’re even a little familiar with “Doctor Who,” you’ve probably heard the rumblings of discontent in recent years about its general disregard for women.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The socially awkward Doctor could definitely learn some social skills from actors Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, who play the Doctor and his companion, Clara Oswald, respectively, on BBC America’s Doctor Who.On Wednesday, Jenna Coleman announced she was leaving her role as Clara Oswald, after Doctor Who’s the ninth season, which starts airing this Saturday (9 p.m.Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has previously been tight-lipped about what fans can expect from the ninth series, which begins on BBC One tomorrow night. Spoilers are deadly here — to the fun, certainly, but conceivably to the person who reveals them as well — but a few cats have officially been let out of the bag. There will be Daleks — yes, again and already — including what feels like a nod back to Coleman’s first appearance in the series, before she became a companion, back in “Asylum of the Daleks.” There will be Missy (Michelle Gomez), the transgender reincarnation of the Master — news whose goodness the two-part opener, “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar,” penned by show runner Steven Moffat, only confirms. (One of Moffat’s great gifts to the series is a string of memorable women — indeed, all his best inventions have been female characters.) Also, as trailers have shown, the Doctor will play an electric guitar with all the authority of a man — Capaldi, that is — who once led a Scottish punk band (Dreamboys, with Craig Ferguson — that Craig Ferguson — on drums).

The proof of his evolution on women, and “Doctor Who,” is evident in the first episode of the show’s new season, airing Saturday at 9 p.m. and featuring so many women it makes you wonder if you’re watching some sort of feminist spinoff. It will be Capaldi’s second season on the 52-year-old British sci-fi franchise and Coleman’s third and last: She confirmed to BBC Radio 1 Friday that she will be leaving the series later this season. It’s a pointed, and explicitly pointed-out, reminder that David Tennant’s and Smith’s young and madcap Doctors still live within him: “It’s my party, and all of me are invited.” Said another way: He’s not as old as he looks. (Some 2,000 years of living notwithstanding.) If you have never seen this show, I imagine you’re quite confused by now.

Changing actors involves risk, especially when casting a Doctor who isn’t “another quirkily handsome young man with interesting hair.” Capaldi’s Doctor intrigues Moffat. “While he’s quite forbidding looking, there’s a sense of some emotional turbulence about him. The sci-fi show promises to introduce a spine-chilling new gang of monsters, including a species called the Mire, as well as a whole city full of classic villains the Daleks.

Well, Moffat’s given us some clues that might have put that speculation to bed – or not. ”She is not playing a returning character, she’s a brand new character,” he said. “She’s not someone from the Doctor’s past… unless I’m lying.” The brief trailer for series nine promised plenty of terrifying new creatures – and we reckon Moffat will have a few more surprises up his sleeve. When even the Daleks can’t track down their ancient foe, and the Doctor’s old friend and nemesis, Missy, is forced to ask for help, does it mean that the mad man in the box has truly disappeared? As great a choice as Capaldi seemed from the moment he was announced, and has proved to be, the year felt wobbly, as if Moffat — who has now been running the show nearly as long as rebooter Russell T Davies, and is responsible for many of its most vivid new characters and concepts — in reaching for big themes and drama had lost control of the tone. She’s an ace baddie who’s now, oddly, billing herself as his BFF and joining forces with Clara (Jenna Coleman, who has announced she’s leaving after this season) to find him.

The answers are more dreadful than Clara’s worst imaginings, and she finds herself embarking on a journey into the Doctor’s worst nightmare… “The Doctor is trapped. Clara (who gets in a saucy early line about how Jane Austen is “a brilliant writer and, strictly between ourselves, a phenomenal kisser”) teams up with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (in the show’s lore, she’s the daughter of a previous recurring character named the Brigadier) and her awesomely geeky second-in-command, Jac (Jaye Griffiths), who mans the computers and says things like “pardon my sci-fi.” We also meet a strange, pale character named the Shadow Architect (Kelly Hunter) and find the Doctor in intergalactic hiding with the the Sisterhood of Karn.

Q Looking at the previews for Season 9, it seems a lot darker — not that the last one wasn’t also dark — how does that pair with the adventure theme that you’ve talked about? As the Doctor, no longer wondering (for the moment) whether he’s “a good man,” and Clara free of the insufficiently felt yet textually overstated relationship with fellow teacher Danny Pink, things are getting moving again, as when a rock band decides to can the heavy, arty stuff and get back to its roots.

And although the opening episodes suffer, if that’s the word, from Moffat’s typically curlicued, loose-ended, pot-holed plotting, it zooms along from moment to moment, full of energy, adventure and crackling repartee. It wouldn’t be a series of Doctor Who without a showdown with the Daleks and fans are speculating that this year could see the Doctor visiting their home planet, Skaro. Moffat himself cuts to the heart of the matter when he has the Doctor (discovered sipping tea where no tea should be) say: “Of course the real question is where did I get the cup of tea?

Last year there was a whole lot of Clara trying to pull The Doctor back from over the cliff edge, whereas this year she’s right by the cliff edge with him, ready to jump. I had never seen a script before,” he says. “It made me realize I wanted to be part of this world of being an actor and a creator and making things.”

Capaldi came into his own by the end of last series: saving the world from becoming Cybermen, flirting with dinosaurs and becoming a droll, curmudgeonly, avuncular figure to Clara. Unit’s scientific adviser, Osgood, sends a desperate message to the Doctor — but since Osgood is long dead, how is that even possible? “Humans cannot accept us the way we really are. We’re particularly interested to see what Torchwood writer Catherine Tregenna (remember the excellent episode ‘Meat’?) comes up with in The Woman Who Lived. But it’s interesting, the fact that we’ve not really explored the idea that there are many, many echos all through time and space of Clara in all these different forms out there. I think the main difference is that Matt’s Doctor was much more like a Tornado that you had to dance with, where Peter’s Doctor much more makes the room come to him and he’s much more enigmatic and impenetrable.

Because before taking on a big, iconic part you have to be really sure you’re going to do a great job. (Laughs) So I think that would be something to investigate before launching into it. I think you’d need to know what kind of Doctor you want to be, and what kind of Doctor the show’s director is taking it before you grab hold of that part with two hands. I can’t really see a point why and when it would come to an end, so naturally I think, Peter was cast because he was an antithesis to Matt and where the show’s been.

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