New Series Series Ten


A Perfect Way to End by Niall Jones 19/10/18

Series 10 encapsulates what I believe to be the essence of the Steven Moffat era: combining respect for the past with ceaseless experimentation. An example of this can be seen in the finale, World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls, which references stories including The Tenth Planet, Logopolis, Human Nature and The End of Time without ever feeling in debt to them.

Once again, Moffat experiments with the series' structure, placing a three-part story in the middle and frequently linking episodes directly on from each other. While this makes the series narratively tight, it has the negative effect of making Bill's time in the TARDIS feel very short, which is a shame considering how good she is as a companion. Unlike Clara, she is instantly likeable, bringing wit and energy to the TARDIS, while her close friendship with the Doctor is moving and believable.

While I was initially sceptical about Nardole's reappearance in the series, my fears were unrealised. He is genuinely funny and brings a wonderful sense of alien-ness that we haven't seen much of in the revived series. In fact, my only gripe about Nardole is that he is occasionally underused, such as in Empress of Mars.

The subplot surrounding Missy further highlights the series as being focused on character, rather than on complex plots, and, while it could be argued that the Doctor's plan to turn his oldest enemy into a new ally is quixotic in the extreme, a view espoused by Bill, the way that this subplot comes to a head in the finale is truly excellent, feeling both inevitable and unexpected.

Nevertheless, while the series does feel more character-based than others, it does not sacrifice plot. There are no weak episodes in the series, with the opening and closing episodes being particularly good. However, one thing that the series fails to do is to introduce standout monsters. While the Monks are an intriguing creation, they never feel truly threatening, and many of the episodes revolve around the way in which humans treat other species and each other, rather than on alien threats. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does feel at odds with the show's past.

All in all, Series 10 feels like the perfect way to conclude Steven Moffat's time as head writer and Peter Capaldi's time as Doctor. Also, given Chris Chibnall's announcement that there will no recurring characters or monsters in the next series, it is a relief to see the Ice Warriors, the Cybermen and the Master handled so well.