Trailer courtesy of Gallifreyforever97
The Magician’s Apprentice
The Witch’s Familiar
Under The Lake
Before The Flood
The Girl Who Died
The Woman Who Lived
The Zygon Invasion
The Zygon Inversion
Sleep No More
Face The Raven
Regrouping after the lacklustre Season last year, Doctor Who returns with a season full of interesting stories, compelling characters and most importantly an identity and rhythm for the Doctor sorely lacking until this point. With the exception of a few dud episodes and another frustratingly open ending for Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) who leaves the show this season, Season 9 is largely a triumphant return to form.
This season opens with a mud-spattered battleground with a boy surrounded by hands reaching out the ground. Calling for help, the Doctor arrives and asks the boy his name. Davros is the reply. The Doctor is torn – does he help the little boy knowing its Davros or does he fly away? Within the first 5 minutes, its already clear that this Season is a more mature, confident show that finally knows what to do with its lead star Peter Capaldi. After spending so much time on Clara last season, the focus shifts as it should do to The Doctor himself and its here where Capaldi is finally given the platform to shine. There’s some new ideas that don’t always hit (including ditching the sonic screwdriver for sonic sunglasses) and a few of the episodes do drag a bit but the writing is vastly improved from last year.
Taking on the criticism surrounding last year about a number of issues, Season 9 addresses all of them and comes out swinging. There’s more substance to the stories, more memorable characters with a great performance from Maisie Williams who joins the cast and thankfully a return of the two part episodes sorely lacking from the last 2 seasons. Its here that Moffat really shows what a good writer he is, using his ability to craft a good story across 90 minutes rather than cramming his ideas into a neat 45 minute box that doesn’t always hit. With a confident eccentricity surrounding The Doctor and a new optimistic enthusiasm surrounding the show, its refreshing to see the show hit its stride again after such a slump.
Despite some great writing and some really good episodes, the criticism comes in the form of a returning Jenna Coleman who feels lost. An inability to effectively end the character is a black cloud over an otherwise decent season of television with the writers clearly unsure what to do with the impossible girl. A few of the episodes aren’t quite at the same calibre as some of the episodes this season but more importantly than anything else, it feels like a return to form for the returning Peter Capaldi.
Season 9 is triumphantly a success. Peter Capaldi is on form for large periods of this season, showing a charismatic confidence and eccentricity sorely lacking last year and it feels like Moffat finally knows what to do with this iteration of The Doctor. Some ideas don’t always hit but its largely a success, with memorable characters and stories finally the main talking point of the show. With Clara Oswald taking a backseat and ultimately leaving the show, there’s an optimism over the future of Doctor Who. After last Season’s largely unambitious poor showing, it feels like it was just the kick up the backside needed to end its complacency and return to being one of the best science fiction shows on television.
Verdict - 8/10