Today, the Whoniverse lights up with the return of our favourite TV show for Series… well, actually, which series is this?
Billed as Series 7, this is the 33rd season of Doctor Who since 1963, but seasons and runs and episodes can get confused. From 2008-2010 we had a run of five specials which were not considered to be a series, yet the run that kicks off with Asylum of the Daleks is just five episodes long.
Throw into the ring that fact that the rest of Series 7 is coming in 2013 and that last year’s Christmas special The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe technically falls in Series 7 and things get more confusing – something that isn’t helped by the new designation of Series 7a (we’re not sure where that came from).
Of course on the plus side, we can hope for Series 7b pretty early in the New Year, looking at the progress that is being made on those episodes.
But until then – it’s time for the annual Kasterborous Doctor Who news series preview! The following information is in the public domain, but if you wish to remain untainted by spoilers until the episodes airs, this isn’t the thread for you…
Series 7a Summary
1. Asylum of the Daleks – Written by: Steven Moffat, Directed by: Nick Hurran, With: Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voices), Anamaria Marinca (Darla), Naomi Ryan (Cassandra)
2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship – Written by: Chris Chibnall, Directed by: Saul Metzstein, With: Rupert Graves (Riddell), Mark Williams (Brian Williams) and David Bradley (Solomon)
3. A Town Called Mercy – Written by: Toby Whithouse, Directed by: Saul Metzstein, With: Andrew Brooke (the Gunslinger), Ben Browder (Isaac) and Adrian Scarborough (Kahler Jex)
4. The Power of Three – Written by: Chris Chibnall, Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon, With: Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Mark Williams (Brian Williams), Steven Berkoff (Shakri), Selva Rasalingam (Ranjit) and Alice O’Connell (Laura)
5. The Angels Take Manhattan – Written by: Steven Moffat, Directed by: Nick Hurran, With: Alex Kingson (River Song), Mike McShane (Grayle) and Rob David (Sam Garner)
In time-honoured tradition, Steven Moffat has provided a summary of the episodes to the Radio Times. These can be found in the latest edition for September 1st-September 7th, and on the Radio Times website.
Asylum of the Daleks
“Does it surprise you to know that the Daleks have a concept of beauty?”
The Daleks are mad. That’s what makes them unique among the Doctor’s enemies. The others can be sinister or manipulative or plain evil – a Dalek is a robot with anger problems, a tank that hates you, a killing machine driven by a ranting slug. What could be worse than that? Well, since you ask…
There is a legend the Doctor has always dismissed as fantasy – there are stories from the darkest corners round the camp fire of a place called the Dalek Asylum: a planetoid that’s been cracked open and filled with the battle-scarred, psychotic Daleks even the Daleks have come to fear.
A summons from the mysterious Darla Von Karlsen, and a plea to rescue her daughter, leads the Doctor, Amy and Rory into the deadliest adventure yet. Because the Dalek Asylum suddenly is much more than a myth or a story – it’s their destination…
In all the time I’ve been working on Doctor Who, as writer and now executive producer, I’ve never got to write a Dalek story. Finally, I couldn’t resist.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
“Enjoy your bounty.”
There’s a giant spacecraft plunging to Earth and all humanity is imperilled. But this is no ordinary space craft – for a start it’s ancient. How ancient? The clue is in the cargo. After 65 and a half million years of extinction, the dinosaurs are coming back. All at once. In a spaceship!
In the race against time to save not just the human race but the last of the dinosaurs, the Doctor and the Ponds are forced to recruit a crack team: Queen Nefertiti, big-game hunter John Riddell – and Rory’s dad!
I pitched this story to Chris Chibnall just as a title, and sat back, hoping he’d be impressed. He looked out the window for a bit and asked, “Could the Doctor ride a triceratops?”
Some people are never satisfied…
A Town Called Mercy
“Could everyone who’s not an American drop their weapon!”
A tale of war, betrayal and vengeance, converging on one small town in the Old West – a town under siege. Just crossing the boundary line summons a not-quite-human killer from the desert heat haze.
The Doctor finds himself not just in the crossfire of an ancient conflict (a cyborg killer and an alien fugitive) but faced with a moral dilemma. Which side should he take? Who really is the victim here? This time, though, the Doctor doesn’t seem to care. Has the Time Lord been alone too long? Have the long days of travelling between his adventures with the Ponds taken their toll? Because for one of the few times in his long life, the Doctor takes a gun…
Like all the best westerns, this is a tale of one man standing against impossible odds and his own personal demons. And like all the best westerns, it was shot in Spain. And like all the best dramas, it was written by Tony Whithouse.
The Power of Three
“The day the Earth got cubed. The year of the slow invasion. The time the Doctor came to stay.”
There have been many ways to invade the Earth, and the Doctor has seen them all. Or so he always thought – and then the human race wakes up one morning and discovers the world has been overrun by… small black cubes. Which then proceed to… do nothing much at all. A plan is afoot, humanity is endangered – but by what and how and, above all, when? For the first time in his world-saving career the Doctor has to call upon the least of his virtues: patience. And the Ponds face something possibly more terrifying than any world-ending apocalypse – the Doctor is moving in!
Not just a tale of alien intervention, this is also the story of a nice young couple who happen to have a bow-tied lunatic from space staying in their spare room. It’s halfway between an alien invasion movie and The Man Who Came to Dinner.
The Angels Take Manhattan
“Never let him see the damage. And never, ever let him see you age. He doesn’t like endings.”
The Doctor has been dropping in on the Ponds for some years now, and he’s barely even noticed that his little Amelia Pond is now wearing reading glasses.
Surely nothing has to change now? Surely this can go on for ever? Has the wandering Time Lord at last found a family and the nearest thing to a home he could imagine?
But out there in New York the Weeping Angels are waiting for them all, and a very different destiny is falling into place. Not even River Song can save them from the terrible events to come.
Heartbreak is always a terrible thing. But imagine if you had two of them…
That, of course, brings us to the end of Series 7a and the Time of the Ponds. What will happen to the Doctor on the way and beyond this we don’t know – we’ve just got to sit down tonight and make sure we’re one of the eight million!