Disney Is Making Sure the 60-Year-Old Doctor Who Doesn't Make Anyone Feel Left Out in New Season

Not only do we have a new Doctor, but we also a new platform to watch his adventures. That means a lot.

Doctor Who
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The new episodes of Doctor Who, one of the greatest sci-fi shows in history, have arrived, featuring Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, his new companion. While the new season if full of all the usual flavor of Doctor Who, it comes with a unique challenge: a legacy more than six decades long, which can be intimidating. 

In many countries worldwide, the new Doctor Who will air at the same time the BBC releases its new episodes—a first for the storied series. This is due to a collaboration between the BBC, which is still in charge of producing the show, and Disney+, the platform in charge of transmitting it worldwide.

But there's much more to this new season than simultaneous emission. There’s also a clear intention to make Doctor Who a much more popular show than it has been until now. That’s why it's been officially reset (at least partially): This season is the 14th, but it’s also the first. There’s no official denomination in that sense. On Disney+, the new episodes are classified as season 1, preceded by the specials where Gatwa replaced former Doctor David Tennant and we met Sunday.

That’s not the only sign that this season is a sort of reset. The logo has also been redesigned to give it a friendlier and more familiar look (less sci-fi). And there’s more. In the first two episodes premiered so far—well, actually three, given that the first one aired on Dec. 25 to preview the new season—Doctor Who is making sure that no one feels lost in a series as long as this one.

How to Take Everyone by the Hand

The lore of Doctor Who isn’t particularly complicated, but it has been forged, sometimes in contradictory ways, over six decades. For this reason, its background is not so simple. The Doctor is an alien who travels through time and space in a ship called the TARDIS, which is disguised as a police phone booth. He grew up on a planet called Gallifrey, where the population was completely wiped out, but he doesn’t know his true origin.

Disney and the BBC, as well as shower and head writer Russell T. Davies, make sure no one is left behind. In the first scenes of his new adventures, the Doctor tells to his new companion about his background, intentions, and abilities. This is normal in Doctor Who, but in this case, there were more details than usual. Notably, there’s no need to know anything about the previous fourteen Doctors. However, if all goes according to the BBC’s plans, more than one curious viewer will delve into the character’s past.

The new season does makes references to other past Doctors, though. There are mentions to first Doctor from the '60s, interpreted by William Hartnell, detailing that he has a granddaughter. However, these homages don't feel like a barrier for new viewers. Instead, they act as an invitation for the audience, almost saying: If you're liking this season, there's more where that came from. 

The tone of the series, more familiar and accessible than ever, leaves only one question hanging in the air: Will we see this new Doctor enter the realms of dark metaphysics or cosmic terror, as his predecessors have occasionally done, or are we looking at the definitive Disney version of the character?

In any case, the BBC and Disney's strategy is clear: This Doctor doesn’t want anyone to feel left out. That’s likely why, in the show's most recent specials, it split the Doctor's personality into two. One personality, darker and more tormented, remained with Tennant, the previous Doctor. Meanwhile, the more classic and light-hearted personality stayed with Gatwa. As a result, the tortured Doctor from recent years remains off to the side, without the need to dig too much into what he knew—and what he didn't—about his origin. 

In short, the new season is a blank slate to travel through time in the typical and crazy style of Doctor Who. We're looking forward to the ride. 

Image | Disney

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