For the modern fan, the shift from the Eleventh Doctor to the Twelfth was a jolt, as Matt Smith’s youthful wackiness was suddenly replaced with the grumpier, more abrasive Peter Capaldi. He doesn’t do hugging.
By and large, the change was welcome, giving the Doctor a whole new dimension – especially his dry, cynical humour. But there were still times when he came across more as the villain of the piece. “Am I a good man?” he would ask, while letting bit-part characters die and putting Clara in horrific positions. It was all a bit jarring, but here’s hoping series eight was just his teething period, and this is where he starts to mellow out a bit…
But not too much…
Remember that terrible bit in Deep Breath when the Twelfth Doctor wasn’t the Twelfth Doctor yet and he was still stuck in wacky mode? Falling out of trees, riding horses in a nightie, that sort of thing. Yeah, that’s a bit too much. Capaldi’s Doctor is at his best when his silly side is used sparingly and with restraint.
The Doctor to have his big Doctor moment
Capaldi’s Doctor credentials are not in doubt. Whether it’s telling a child that fear is a superpower, or explaining that a hug is just way to hide your face, his Doctor is one of delicate little moments. However, unlike Matt Smith’s Pandorica Opens speech, or Christopher Eccleston’s “Everybody lives!” scene, the Twelfth Doctor is yet to have his defining big moment – the one we’ll all remember him for. It is only early days, of course, but series nine – a series not weighed down by the novelty of being his first – would be a great place to start.
A great Dalek story
Not since 2005’s Dalek – a fantastic episode – have the Daleks truly been done justice. Asylum of the Daleks came close, of course, but we’re yet to get the villains’ true defining episode; the one that will remind fans why they’re the dread of the universe. With series nine’s opening two-parter The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar, will we finally get the Dalek story the pepper-pots deserve?
The Doctor to find Gallifrey
Now that the bickering Doctor and Clara have found a deeper understanding of one another, it truly feels like the time to work together properly to reclaim the Doctor’s home. Back in David Tennant’s day, referencing his home planet for one second sent him off on one of his traditional melancholic stares into the distance. Yet, so far, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor seems to have been putting it off. We wonder why?
Clara to keep on soaring
Now that Clara has matured into a much more nuanced and fleshed out character, her importance in the Doctor’s life has never been greater. And after losing her boyfriend Danny at the end of series eight, it feels like Clara is due some catharsis this year – not that things are ever quite that simple when you’re a passenger on the Tardis.
A great new monster
The trailer for series nine gave us eerie glimmers of all manner of weird and wonderful new threats for the Doctor to discover. During Moffat’s tenure, the quality of the Doctor Who monsters has shot up from, say, the Slitheen or the Absorbaloff, to the Weeping Angels and the Silence. Still, beyond a mummy and a monster that maybe wasn’t a monster at all, series eight was lacking that wow factor. A more layered and nuanced Doctor Who is all well and good, but sometimes you just want to see Peter Capaldi starring down a big, scary alien.
To meet more historical figures
When was the last time we had a history episode? Yes, OK, we did meet Robin Hood in series eight but – seeing as he’s not real – he doesn’t count. Queen Elizabeth in The Day of the Doctor was the most recent to feature, of course. Yet 2010’s Vincent and the Doctor was the last proper episode centred around a historical character. Just like the Daleks, it’s not the sort of fromat you can overuse, but more than enough time has passed for another.
And finally… To find out who Gus is
A lot of the mysteries from series eight – who is Missy? what is the promised land? – have been resolved. A thread that’s been left dangling, though, is the identity of Gus from Mummy on the Orient Express: a computer that represented a force seeking to capture the Foretold (or Mummy) and reverse-engineer its abilities. It’s not the first time we’ve heard of him either. He first tried to tempt the Eleventh Doctor onto the train at the end of The Big Bang. So who is really behind Gus? Our money is on that affable engineer played by Frank Skinner…
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