Sometimes, what Doctor Who needs is a fresh start. That doesn’t mean completely abandoning continuity: it means the show attracts a new audience and is accessible to all. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Steven Moffat promises for Doctor Who Series 10.
At the New York Comic Con, Moffat expanded on the tone of the upcoming series, which will air next year:
“The tone is very different [to Series 9]… If I gave you one tone word for this series, it’s ‘new’. It’s brand new. You’re getting to see the Doctor all over again through a very different pair of eyes. In fact, we went to particular pains to make sure that Episode One is really Episode One. It could be the first episode you ever see. It explains the entire mythos of Doctor Who — in the two minutes it takes — and you can start there. Brand new is the tone.”
This is good news. Series 9 had considerable baggage, even picking up a plot thread from The Day of the Doctor with The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion (although as the 50th anniversary special was one of the most watched episodes, it’s fair to say not too many would’ve been left in the dark), while in the season opener, you arguably needed to know a bit about the Doctor and Davros’ relationship.
Obviously, the show should never completely ignore its history – and it won’t be doing so, if rumours about at least Missy returning are anything to go by – but accessibility is key. That’s partly why stories like Spearhead from Space, Rose, and The Eleventh Hour work so well.
The thing is, Moffat knows what he’s doing. As it’s his last run as showrunner, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s litter it with fan-pleasing references to his tenure and further back, but he’s leaving the show as new, which is exactly what it needs to be. Chris Chibnall, in 2018, will likely do similar, but the more accessible the series is, the bigger an audience it’ll pick up.