Doctor Who Season 14 begins with an apology tour after its rough recent years. It implores fans to remember the good times and welcome them back with open arms. Beloved showrunner Russell T. Davies and star David Tennant are back. This is a common predicament for long-running franchises. Most attempts feel cloying, ineffective, and pathetic. Instead, Doctor Who found its nostalgia by blending old elements and remixing one of its best tricks.
Doctor Who’s Season 14 Companion Is New Yet Familiar
Every new outing for this impossibly long-running sci-fi classic introduces new elements. Doctor Who Season 14 brings the fan-favorite Tenth Doctor back alongside his showrunner. Tennant returns with Donna Noble, but she might not become his companion again. As “The Star Beast” ends, Donna and the Doctor disappear into unknown time and space. The Fourteenth Doctor will lead three one-hour specials before handing the torch to the upcoming Fifteenth Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. I and many fans saw Rose Noble, Donna’s teenage daughter, as the most appropriate candidate. Donna may be back temporarily, but returning favorites is a temporary phase. These specials are a transitionary period linking the new seasons to the less well-received recent entries. Rose Noble could cross that bridge and forge a distinct story.
Rose Noble grew up with the unusual influence of her mother’s hidden persona. For those who don’t remember “Journey’s End,” the fourth season finale involved Donna fusing with the Doctor. The DoctorDonna persona lived in Donna’s mind for years and passed genetically to her daughter. Rose picked her name from Donna’s memories of the Doctor’s experiences. She grew up feeling alienated, as if she came from another planet. Her woodshed, a crude recreation of the TARDIS, was stocked with toys that resembled various alien species. Rose remembers the Tenth Doctor in her soul. She didn’t see the Doctors that came after. Like many fans, she loved the show during the Tennant years and dropped off shortly. This is a brilliant way to increase excitement. Making a character an internal fan of the story heightens everything. It’s also the same clever trick Steven Moffat used when he created Amy Pond.
Russell T. Davies Finds the Best Parts of Other Showrunners’ Seasons
I think Chris Chibnall and Steven Moffat had their strengths, but their overall runs struggled to stack up to Davies’ tenure. Chibnall received the lion’s share of hatred, partially for his best choice. Casting Jodie Whitaker was a bold move forward for the franchise, but countless considerably weaker storylines wasted her talent. Moffat’s Doctors were frequently bogged down in self-aggrandizement. Supposedly, Tennant’s Doctor struggled with an inflated ego. Comparatively, later Doctors spent half their screentime reciting or listening to monologues about how critical he is to the universe. The opening specials allow Davies to play with these traits, including his unique creative decisions. Whether their presence will be noticeable in the upcoming season remains to be seen, but Davies has taken time to draw attention to his successors/predecessors.
Chris Chibnall’s commitment to diversity is admirable, but it wasn’t his only decisive trait as a showrunner. Davies partially maintained that mandate, bringing a trans woman into the fold and casting the first black Doctor for season 15. Chibnall also leaned away from the ever-present “dark side of the Doctor” subplots. He delighted in referencing old-fashioned Doctor Who. Conversely, Moffat’s Who constantly dove deep into the Doctor’s psyche. He saw the Doctor as either a fairytale hero or a malevolent deity. In “The Star Beast,” Davies gives the Fourteenth Doctor a monologue about his dark side and some newfound diversity. He’s been on a walking tour of reboot Doctor Who since his departure. It’s a wonderful way to make the new outing feel as reverent as it is groundbreaking.
As Doctor Who enters the season proper, it will have to move on from nostalgia. In its current form, however, now is the perfect time for a look back. Russell T. Davies demonstrated his understanding of Doctor Who in an hour. He re-established his tenure, played with his successors, and re-entered the conversation with precision. The Doctor is back with the prominence he deserves. Season 14 of Doctor Who finds the right way to handle nostalgia.