By: Aaron Goins
This time of year, we would normally be gearing up for new episodes of Doctor Who. The last two seasons started on August 23rd and September 19th, respectively. But this year is different. Back in January it was announced that Series 10 of Doctor Who will not air until Spring of 2017. That means there will be a long 16 or so months separating the finale of Series 9 from the premiere of Series 10.
So what do we do during the wait? Well, there was another major announcement in January: Steven Moffat will be leaving Doctor Who and new showrunner Chris Chibnall will be taking over starting with Series 11. With Series 11 not coming until 2018, we have even longer to wait to see what his version of Doctor Who will look like. But it’s never too early to start doing your homework.
Chibnall has written five episodes of Doctor Who making up four stories (one of the stories is a two-parter). What better way to get a feel for the future of Doctor Who than to watch the future showrunner’s previous work? So while you are waiting for this year’s Christmas Special, check out these four Chibnall-written Doctor Who stories.
Chibnall’s very first Doctor Who writing credit was for a 2007 episode featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha. This episode was unique in that it was the only Chibnall-written episode to not feature the Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds. The main villain in this one was a sun-entity that possessed people and burned them up from the inside. Or were the villains the humans who were stealing energy from the entity? You decide. Chibnall can write scary and intense. He gave David Tennant’s version of the Doctor some very memorable scenes that rival the most emotional Doctor moments. There was also some nice foreshadowing of the Master’s return at the end.
"The Hungry Earth" and "Cold Blood"
Chibnall returned to Doctor Who in 2010 and penned this two-parter. The Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory traveled to the wrong place and time and encountered some scientists who were unknowingly drilling into an underground civilization. The aliens below the surface did not appreciate this and wanted to start a war. Humans carelessly hurting an alien species and paying the consequences...sound familiar? We can definitely see some themes Chibnall enjoys to write, although this one is somewhat of a Doctor Who staple. These episodes also featured the return of a Doctor Who alien we had not seen in the series since 1984, the Silurians. The Silurians appeared or were mentioned in three of the five Chibnall-written episodes. I wonder if we should expect to see them more when he takes over the show for Series 11.
"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"
This 2012 episode of Doctor Who took us from one extreme to another. It showed us a very silly side of the Doctor, not uncommon in Matt Smith’s run. It also showed us the dark side of the Doctor, where he essentially killed a man, or let’s say, let him die. This episode gave us one of the more interesting villains in the modern series, a man who was so void of morality that the Doctor wasn’t sure exactly how to deal with him. As Chibnall takes over Doctor Who, I hope to see more villains like Solomon and more dark moments for the Doctor. The triceratops that acted like a dog? Let’s not revisit that.
"The Power of Three"
Chris Chibnall’s last Doctor Who episode was also written for 2012’s Series 7. It was a story featuring little black boxes appearing on Earth and the introduction of a villainous species with a lot of potential, the Shakri. But this was all just the vehicle to carry the real story, which was the Doctor coming to terms with having to say goodbye to the Ponds. Some of the best dialogue of Series 7 can be found in conversations between the Doctor and Brian (Rory’s dad) and the Doctor and Amy. Chibnall showcased his ability to write the tear-jerking emotion we all love to see in our Doctor Who.
Which Doctor Who episodes have you been watching while waiting for the show to return?