As people were counting down the final moments of 2018 last Monday, I was looking at my watch in anticipation for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special: “Resolution”. From the opening moments of ”Resolution” to the end, there were thrills, chills, and a couple of surprises that I absolutely loved. It did not have the usual opening credits to set the mood but it smartly provided a epic prologue to kick things off in fine fashion. While usual ‘Who’ formula was in full effect I could not help noticing a little flashes of Torchwood embedded within this episode as events took place in Sheffield.
The highlight of this episode is the return of the Daleks. The reintroduction of this iconic monster (in this case, the singular Dalek) was interesting and definitely fresh, thanks to the new design the Doctor Who team came up with. The story itself worked well to showcase this familiar foe in a new way and luckily, I did not feel that the Dalek was forced upon us in any way to please the fandom.
Sure, Chris Chibnall (the series showrunner) has mentioned in many press junkets, including the San Diego Comic-Con 2018 press conference and panel, that his goal for this season was to create new stories, as well as new villains in order to spice things up. After watching the new season, I can say that he has technically kept his word. Whovians, of course, do want to see the occasional classic monster or villain at some point. It was only a matter of time before the writers bringing back the classic storylines.
Going back to the episode, the visual effects were dazzling which included many amazing moments like the Dalek Disruptor or the scenes where the TARDIS is in-flight. Speaking of great shots, I do hope the fine folks in the BBC Marketing Department use some of those gorgeous shots for posters and calendars.
The firefight between the armed forces and the Dalek, along with its ability to latch onto the backs of humans to control them, were stand out moments. Without spoiling too much, I bet a few people will think twice before getting too close to a squid or octopus-like creature after watching this episode!
As for this season in general, it has not only been historic, but it was a supernova of fresh adventures that included a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Jodie Whittaker made the role her own and brought us a Doctor that is full of wonder and a little quirky. This current incarnation of our favorite Time Lord is also a hands-on leader with a cool head. Yet this Doctor is not shy to speak her mind or call someone out as she did when she first met Ryan’s father, Aaron (Daniel Adegboyega).
I also thought that the “Fam” (the show’s nickname for the group of companions) was a perfect complement for this new Doctor. It brought in more character development which helped us better understand how different this new Time Lord was going to be. The writers also struck a good balance of storytelling for Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Yasmin (Mandip Gill) throughout the season. I was, however, a little concerned about the number of companions the Doctor was about to have, yet those concerns were quickly resolved by the third episode, “Rosa”. For example, it was interesting watching the scenes with Graham (Walsh), who would deliver a few light-hearted moments like the scene where he tells a person in 1965 Montgomery, Alabama that Ryan was his son. The writers have only begun to scratch the surface and I hopeful there is plenty more to learn and see in season 12 for each new companion.
The guest actors this season were also very good and the stand out for me was Ellie Wallwork (who plays Hanne in “It Takes You Away”). Wallwork, who is blind from birth, was paired up with Ryan while the Doctor, Yaz and Graham investigate a portal, which is located in her home. Since they both had to deal with the absence of their fathers, they developed a unique bond by the end of the episode, that I thought was nice character development. Other standout guests this season were Alan Cumming (who played King James in “The Witchfinders”), Mark Addy (who played Paltraki in “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos”), and Shaun Dooley (who played Epzo in “The Ghost Monument”). I do hope that the Doctor sees them again in the near future.
My hope for season 12 and beyond is a return of the multi-episode stories. I miss that feeling of the suspenseful cliffhangers which kept me on edge for an entire week and I waited in anticipation for the next episode.
(By the way, for a look back at this past season, the whole season is available On Demand at BBCAmerica.com or via the BBC America App. Also, the entire series will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 29th.)
So, while the adventure may be over for now, the good news is that entire cast will be back for season 12, which will begin shooting later this year. This means that we will have to wait patiently until 2020 for the continued adventures of the 13th Doctor. Based on this past season and the New Year’s special, I am sure there will be plenty of surprises in-store for fans new and old. Until the next time Doctor…