Is Doctor Who getting repetitive? It seems the show is going in circles for each series and not giving much new. Doctor Who seems to be sticking to the same type of writing every year making the show more predictable. But how can we improve the show and get it back on track?
An example of what Doctor Who is repeating every year is similar story arcs. The arcs are usually returning villains that we have seen before and not giving us a new enemy for the Doctor to go up against. I really respect the cracks in time and The Silence story arcs as they tried something new and different. Another problem is the story arcs always have a specific mystery behind them whether that’s a word or something showing up every episode. It seems it is staying to a certain formula everyone has already seen. Everyone is expecting a certain theme or villain to show up and a mystery that no one can figure out with a big (and unsatisfying) plot twist at the end. I think it’s time for a different take on the show.
Another repetitive element is the companions. I wrote about this in an article which you can view here were NuWho is only exploring modern day companions instead of doing anything new. It has been argued that companions that aren’t from modern day Earth won’t be relatable enough for the audience which I strongly disagree. The audience don’t relate to were characters come from, they relate to how they react and their emotions along with travelling through time and space. The companion doesn’t have to be human to give human characteristics to them. Classic Who has explored dozens of companions all from different places. A robot dog, a Time Lady, a warrior of the Sevateem tribe, a 18th century highlander, a teenager from Perivale etc. If Classic Who made so many different and lovable characters and be successful, why can’t NuWho do the same? It would be great for the modern series to go in-depth with a character from another time and her reactions to seeing different places would be a lot more intriguing.
My next point is the villains. Not since series 5 and 6 I haven’t seen a new threat (expect the Hybrid but I still don’t know what the hell that was). One of the main villains that keep on making their continuous return is the Daleks. I’m not sure is the copyright from the Terry Nation Estate is true that the Doctor’s most infamous foes must be used every year; however I think the Daleks should have a long deserved break or less of a big role in the series. A cameo would be ideal for these monsters instead of a full episode every season. Remember the days when fans were ecstatic for their return? People are getting bored of the Daleks. A long break will make people yearn for their return and increase their reputation. The show also needs new villains with a bigger role for the show for instance their own story arc. Wouldn’t it be great to see a brand new villain in the finale and create a new icon for the show?
Writer’s for Doctor Who haven’t changed much either with only a few new people joining to write for the show frequently. I think we should get many new writers for the show with fresh ideas. It would also be incredible to get some Big Finish writers on team as they are amazing writing stories for audio. You could also bring back writers who haven’t written in a long time and have limited stories such as Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman.
So why do we need Doctor Who to stop being repetitive? It’s not a secret that Doctor Who has been losing faith with its audience including its own fans. I’m thankful we’re getting a new head writer in 2018 (even though I think that should have happen by series 8). Perhaps because we’ve had Steven Moffat for so long it seems the show hasn’t changed massively in a long space of time. Chibnall could create a whole new format for the show and have a different approach to story arcs and make new villains to prove the show is still able to regenerate and become new and interesting again.
The worryingly thing is if the show does not change for the better the show will lose its audience and the show will be at serious risk. There’s no doubt that Chibnall must succeed as head writer or the show will be on a slippery slope. The idea of a writer’s room seems a great way to help the show. A more collaborative process can create better story arcs and prevent writers making very formulaic arcs every season. The show will become a lot more organised and consistent which the show currently suffers. Popular shows in the US have gained large success and have used this method of writing. Perhaps Doctor Who could gain its success again from this approach.
To conclude, Doctor Who needs to change its approach to doing series and give something new to the table instead of repeating a cycle of ideas. With an era in the distance as Chris Chibnall as head writer; this gives the opportunity for the show to change for the better. I hate talking about the show in a negative way but the new era of the show has to exceed which I am having high hopes for. Do you think Doctor Who has been getting repetitive lately? Leave your comments below or tweet us at @GallifreyRchive your thoughts.