Being a fan of Doctor Who, I was curious and excited about Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the character. After receiving Series 8 for Christmas, my family and I plowed through it. Did I like it? Did I not? Was Series 8 a good kick-off season for the new Doctor? Read on…
Capaldi had some pretty big shoes to fill. Following Matt Smith is not an easy task. Smith was a very popular Doctor. Matt Smith himself had more similarities than differences with his predecessor, David Tennant, so that was an easier transition. This new Doctor is so different, it’s almost a different show.
So, did Capaldi do a good job? Hard to answer. His portrayal shifted vastly from episode to episode. Sometimes he was quite fun to watch, like in Robot of Sherwood. But for much of the season, instead of being the smartest person in the room, it felt like he was the only one that had no idea what was going on.
Clara took a bossier role this season. Often it felt like she was the one calling the shots and the Doctor was just along for the ride. Many of the storylines took place around her school and her relationship with Mr. Pink.
Danny Pink is one of the worst main characters I’ve seen on the show so far. He’s whiny, mopey, passive-aggressive, rude, has no-personality and is not likable in any way! There is no discernable reason why Clara loves him. By the end of the season, I wanted Missy to take him!
Missy was a mysterious entity for most of the episodes. That was good. She kept us guessing about her identity the whole time. The plot of her final reveal didn’t make a whole lot of sense, though.
That brings me to the real bad guy of this season: the writing. There were only a handful of episodes that I enjoyed all the way through, like Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline. Many of the plots had some very clever ideas that fizzled out by the end. Just when an episode was going smooth, the Doctor (or often Clara) would come up with a solution that left you going, “What just happened?”
The best example of what I mean comes from the episode Kill the Moon. The Doctor, Clara and one of Clara’s students land on the moon where giant spider-creatures are killing a team of astronauts. Great Who suspense! The very clever surprise of the episode is that the moon is actually a ginormous egg! Fantastic! I loved it! The team is stuck with the decision of killing the creature and saving earth, or letting the creature hatch and possibly destroy earth in the process. Here’s where it goes downhill…
The Doctor claims it’s not his decision to make, hops in the TARDIS and leaves! (REALLY!?) So, after years of telling countless aliens that earth is under his protection, the Doctor says, “Not my problem, this decision will help you grow as people.” Clara and the astronaut commander can’t agree on what choice to make, so Clara sends a message to earth. Everyone is supposed to shut off their lights to destroy the moon or turn them on to let it hatch. (REALLY!?) So, the entire population of the planet (at least on the half of the world they can see) has to be receiving her broadcast and come to a unanimous decision when two of them couldn’t even do it in the first place? Inexplicably, everyone decides to turn their lights off, siding with the commander. At the very last second, Clara deactivates the bomb anyway. (REALLY!?) So, even though literally everyone in the world has decided to blow up the moon, Clara thinks “Nah, I wasn’t invited on this expedition to the moon in the first place, but let’s do it my way.” Then the Doctor returns and says, “Good job. That’s what I knew you would do.” (REALLY!?) I just can’t…
END OF SPOILERS
While I had high hopes for this season, it left me very disappointed. But it wasn’t Capaldi. I think I can get used to him if they smooth out his character. Sometimes he was quite fun to watch. It was the absurd plot solutions. Maybe after a second viewing, I’ll come to accept them as canon, but for now, blah!
But everyone has their own opinions. Here’s the thoughts from my teenage son and tween daughter…
- From Geek Spawn: “I liked most of the episodes, but some of them (like Death in Heaven) were ridiculous. Every season NEEDS weeping angels, because they are awesome!”
- From the Nerdling: “I liked about half or a quarter of the episodes. The other half was scary, especially Mummy on the Orient Express. I also like the 11th doctor more than the 12th.”
I’m sure YOU have your own feelings about the season as well! Feel free to share them. Did you like it? What did you think of Capaldi’s Doctor? Comment below!