Sci-Fi Guide Reviews – 21st Century TV – Doctor Who Series 11:

So it’s the end of Doctor Who Series 11 and here at the Galaxy wide Sci-Fi, I’ve been watching through the whole series and if I have to be honest, this season is a very very mixed bag in many ways.  Let’s say, it could really be better when compared to the other recent seasons of Doctor Who. To say the least, it’s conceptionally disappointing especially in the fields of story and dialogue (with some exceptions) but visually looks the best it has in a while. Before I go further, I would like to dive into some plot of the season.

The actual series this time doesn’t have a specific plot this time around, there’s no hidden themes and teases much like Russel T. Davis or Moffat’s runs, rather episodes follow an episodic structure much like the original series  (stories usually without an overarching plot for that year). This is a benefit and detriment of the series. Whilst you get 10 individual episodes that aren’t focused on series plot, rather just 10 individual stories. What we get is honestly a mixture of good and bad episodes that look great visually but lack in great writing the show once had, Chibnal just doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do with the series. 

Not that there hasn’t been great writing this season, you have Demons of Punjab, Kerblam, Rosa, It Takes You Away, The Woman Who Fell to Earth which is all decent to good episodes. The main problem is that a lot of the dialogue and acting sometimes isn’t exactly up to scratch. They’re entertaining and different I guess but the main thing they lack is a spark of what Doctor Who once was. The music is good in a unique and interesting way (even talking as a Murray Gold fan-boy, he should honestly have more work), the direction and cinematography are fantastic as well but the show feels quite hollow. It kind of feels like Doctor Who but the passion just doesn’t seem there behind the scenes. 

Jodie Whitiker is very good as the Doctor but she needs a better direction and writing to tighten up her version of the character. She’s the adventure Doctor but we don’t get this idea until very late in the season. You have a subtle character development of the Doctor as you slowly get an idea of who this Doctor is but this is isn’t highlighted because there are way too many companions (this was a problem in Classic Who, the reason why we’ve only had one or two companions at the time unless they are properly developed in earlier stories). It’s just way too much to get used and develop which makes for a bad flow in the series, no one feels fully developed or touched on in each episode, (they are all fine characters but they never get to spotlight their talents in all episodes).  

A major problem for the series is that we also don’t get great villains throughout the series such as the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarins, the Ice Warriors and we don’t really get anything as good as those alien races not even Tim Shaw. I get why they did it as well, it’s a good idea to get a break from the main villains this series to enhance character development and Sci-Fi concepts, it works on paper but just hasn’t been done well in execution this time around. It’s a real shame because I love that Doctor Who as a show can morph and change with the lead writers, producers and actors but still keep the same mythos and main concept.

Not that I don’t have hope that next year will be better but I just wasn’t too impressed by this season. Again, don’t get me wrong, I like the ideas that they are trying to do but in execution, they just haven’t worked and a large component of that was probably Chris Chibnal writing too many scripts this series and probably didn’t have enough time to get things polished. In fact, a lot of the scripts feel somewhat unpolished this season even if there were a few very good ones like Rosa and Kerblam (with It Takes You Away having a great concept and idea that just needed to be focused a bit more and several other examples). 

In short, this season was fine in many aspects. The show looks great with some great direction and cinematography along with a damn good soundtrack by new composer Segun Akinola who gives a unique take on the music behind Doctor Who. The main problem is the show’s writing as I have stated. Chibnal has just written too many scripts this year and sadly, it seems he’s run out of unique ideas for it, although some of his ideas for running the show seem to work on paper.

The casting of the actors is good, some of them need acting lessons but nothing exceptionally bad, except none of them really get a moment to shine this year which is unfortunate. All in all, it just feels a bit hollow this season even with some interesting character moments. It just feels like a Sci-Fi soap opera, with an exception of a few episodes from our guest writers, and those two genres don’t mix well in the slightest. What’s good is that the show has got a bigger budget and effects but with many elements that weren’t too impressive, I just hope as a fan of the show and Sci-Fi nerd that it will get better but at the minute, that sadly seems unlikely . 

That’s me for this week fellow future thinkers, I hope you enjoyed reading my take of series 11 of New Who. There were just elements that I thought were interesting but just never used to their full potential. It’s just a disappointing series especially in writing although I was never bored during the series, it just didn’t have the same heart it usually has and when it tried, it just felt a bit forced. Anyway, what are your thoughts on series 11, did you like it, were mixed or hated it? Let me know in the comments below…

Michael McGrady, Signing off.

3 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Guide Reviews – 21st Century TV – Doctor Who Series 11:

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