Trailer courtesy of Gallifreyforever97
The Pyramid At The End Of The World
The Lie Of The Land
Empress Of Mars
The Eaters Of Light
World Enough And Time
Stephen Moffat had said before the Season started that the 10th and his final season of the show would work as a sort of soft reboot. After a much needed break from the show last year, returning fresh and with a changed emphasis is absolutely the right move. New companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) is the perfect companion for The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) who takes on a more grandfatherly role as a nod toward Classic Who. Whisper it, but Capaldi’s final season on the show is one of the best since the show returned.
Unlike previous Seasons, the stories here are stripped right back to their most simplest form and the show is all the better for it. The early episodes are used to get to know Bill and her character while weaving individual story lines throughout. Although some of the story lines feel like they’re resolved a little too quickly, Moffat wisely breaks up the Season to include an epic three part story before heading back into the single episode stories for the rest of the Season. Its a wise move and its frustrating that this balance between complicated stories and stripped back, simple sci-fi episodes has taken so long to perfect in Moffat’s tenure. The stories themselves all stand out and for the first time, it feels like the stories are written by individual writers with their influence shining through in the different episodes. All too often in the past, its all felt unnecessarily convoluted, with time lines and time itself being used to frustrate and ultimately confuse viewers but its wisely missing this Season, with only trickles of complicated plot threads coming in the three parter I mentioned earlier. Of course, at times logic is thrown out the window but after such golden episodes in the past featuring the moon as an egg or The Doctor running with the Olympic torch, its always been that way and is nowhere near as incredulous as those moments.
Part of the brilliance this Season comes from new companion Bill who’s legitimately one of the best companions on the show. Her quirky sarcasm, wit and geeky knowledge are the perfect compliment to The Doctor, even if its mentioned a little too much that she’s gay through the Season. Although this in itself of course isn’t a bad thing, mentioning it almost every episode in one form or another is a bit much – especially with a certain John Barrowman already flaunting the gay vibes on the show in the past. With no Bad Wolf or Impossible Girl in sight, Bill is used exactly as a companion should be in Doctor Who – as a supporting character to The Doctor. Far too often companions have been used as larger than life figures that overshadow The Doctor but thankfully the dynamic here shifts to Capaldi’s Doctor acting as a Grandfather figure to Bill.
Capaldi finally feels like he’s found his form this season. There’s hints of Jon Pertwee in some of the scenes, tinged with the madness of Tom Baker and the grumpiness from William Hartnell and although some of these fragmented pieces of the Classic Doctors were evident before, they come into full fruition this season. Alongside the perfect comedic sidekick Nardole (Matt Lucas), the balance is just right. Nardole is the perfect tool to lighten the mood in some of the darker episodes and Bill’s strength and innocence work on a different level.
Its been a bumpy ride for Peter Capaldi, with Season 8 one of the worst in the show’s history, a drawn out farewell for Clara that soured the character and the threat of Doctor Who dissolving into mediocrity but thankfully Season 10 brings the show back to where it should be. The stories are more polished this time around with some of the creature design legitimately scary. The return of a classic design for one of the show’s more iconic creatures in the finale is a great touch and the shocking return of another blast from the past is a welcome arrival to the show. These minor gripes aside, its increasingly apparent that taking a year off for the show was absolutely the right move as Doctor Who has a wondrous excitement and a hopeful optimism for the future.
Overall, Season 10 of Doctor Who is one of the best in the show’s history. The clever use of a three parter midway through the Season breaks up the monotony of the singular episodes whilst allowing Moffat to weave his trademark complicated time bending stories without over complicating the rest of the season. It all feel fresh and exciting this year and unlike in previous years, Season 10 strips it right back to what makes the show so good – a simple story told well and driven forward by the characters. With a satisfying end to the majority of the characters in this Season and a character arc for Bill that’s well written, Season 10 is the perfect goodbye for Stephen Moffat who’s brilliance finally shines in one of the best Seasons of Doctor Who since the show returned.
Verdict - 9.5/10