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Doctor Who Season Seven: Five Gifts It’s Given The Mythology So Far

The first half of the seventh season of Doctor Who may be over, but it may end up being the gift that kept giving for the show’s larger mythology. Despite the promise of each week offering a standalone episode, each episode so far has introduced new ideas and concepts for writers to play with in future. Here’s five of our favorites.

Undercover Daleks
Congratulations, “Asylum of the Daleks,” for the creation of the Dalek sleeper agents – Humans that have been, essentially, hollowed out and replaced by Dalek technology to become mind-controlled agents of the evil pepper pots. Not only is it an idea that manages to make the Daleks just a little bit creepy again for the first time in far too long, it’s also something that allows you to go back and watch any earlier Who episode, pick out a character that you didn’t quite trust and think, “Yup, there’s a unactivated Dalek sleeper agent.” Everyone wins!

Historical Companions
Even though the Doctor was, of course, with Amy and Rory up until last week’s “The Angels Take Manhattan,” we saw in “Dinosaurs In A Spaceship” that he couldn’t help but hook up with people to share his adventures with – A reason that the whole “Never travel alone” message from Amy seemed off last week, by the way; it’s not as if the Doctor has ever really been a loner before Amy and Rory, after all – including Queen Nefratiti. While the show has played with historical figures throughout its entire 49 year run, I feel as if this was the first time that we’ve really seen a real life figure essentially act as a companion in a story… And it opened the door to that happening again, and for a longer period of time. How long before we can get Amelia Earhart as a companion, do you think?

Brian Williams, Dad Adventurer
And speaking of companions, I highly doubt that I’m the only person who would like to see more of Rory’s dad – A man who didn’t quite understand what was going on the first time that he met the Doctor, but was very much on board with doing his bit to save the world the second time. I really liked Brian; there was something about the fact that he just wanted to help in both appearances that I really appreciated. In a series full of extraordinary people, Brian is wonderfully ordinary – but that intentionally makes him stand out, and his ordinary decency and desire to just be useful is something I couldn’t help but adore. Can we get a spin-off series for Brian, please?

UNIT Reborn
Thanks to “The Power of Three,” we also have a new UNIT to deal with – Or, rather, a repurposed old UNIT that now believes in science instead of military might, and that’s a really interesting idea to have around for future use: A quasi-military arm that’s more interested in discovery and the truth than conquering or protecting. Whether or not we’ll see more of the new incarnation of UNIT any time soon in the show, I have no idea, but there’s so much potential here that I can’t believe that this organization will stay unused for too long…

Years of Amy and Rory With The Doctor We’ve Never Seen
A throwaway line in “The Power of Three,” but a true gift for those involved with the various Who spin-off material: If Rory and Amy have aged ten years in the time they’ve spent with the Doctor, then that means there are literally years of unseen adventures together that can appear in comic books, novels, audio plays and whatever other licensed material people want to produce based on this era of the show. Sure, said stories may not be “canon,” but since when has canon really been that important to Doctor Who…?

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Comments

  • Lion_okitkat

    Love Brian and UNIT, and LOVE! the idea of Amelia Earhart being a Doctor Who companion, it would be interesting to see the Doctor work with someone with the same name as Amy Pond and the emotions that would bring forth.

  • JozefAL

    “Even though the Doctor was, of course, with Amy and Rory up until last week’s “The Angels Take Manhattan,” we saw in “Dinosaurs In A Spaceship” that he couldn’t help but hook up with people to share his adventures with – A reason that the whole “Never travel alone” message from Amy seemed off last week, by the way; it’s not as if the Doctor has ever really been a loner before Amy and Rory,”

    “A throwaway line in “The Power of Three,” but a true gift for those involved with the various Who spin-off material: If Rory and Amy have aged ten years in the time they’ve spent with the Doctor, then that means there are literally years of unseen adventures together that can appear in comic books, novels, audio plays and whatever other licensed material people want to produce based on this era of the show.”

    Okay, Graeme.  I trust you’re aware of how effectively you shot down your own first argument with a complete “gift” just a few short paragraphs later.

    The simple fact is that, just because the audience has never seen a run of shows where he’s “ever really been a loner” doesn’t mean he hasn’t been (bear in mind that, per “The End of Time,” the Doctor had a series of Companionless adventures, including a marriage to Elizabeth I).  And, let’s not forget, we don’t know what the Doctor did before the original series began.  Aside from the Doctor, the Master and the Rani, it doesn’t seem as though any other Gallifreyans ever left the planet (even Romana’s adventures with the Doctor were more of her having to do a job and less for “fun”–granted, neither the Master nor the Rani seemed to be just gallivanting for the sheer adventure of it all but I think it’s fair to say they were having a sort of “fun”).  Were there classes in “How to operate a TARDIS” and, if so, did a teacher/instructor take the students out (sort of a Gallifreyan “Driver’s Ed” program)?  It was stated in one episode that the TARDIS wasn’t designed to be operated by just one person, yet the Doctor didn’t seem to really train any of his longterm companions on the proper operation.  Hell, we don’t even really know what happened with the Eighth Doctor following the one-shot special and we don’t know just how long the Ninth Doctor had been traveling before he encountered Rose (yes, in real time, that’s a little less than a decade but, as we know, the Doctor can cram centuries of subjective time into a day of real time–even his own real age is case for speculation since “Time and the Rani” stated, in the dialogue, that the Doctor was over 950 years old, and that story aired more than 15 years before RTD’s declaration of the Doctor’s age of 903 in “Voyage of the Damned” and Moffat’s having the current Doctor declare he’s over 1200 in “A Town Called Mercy,” an episode that aired just 5 years after “Voyage”).  There’s plenty of possible stories where the Doctor went traveling without a Companion and we’ve simply never seen (or heard or read) any of them–whether in continuity or not.  Then too, there’s the rather loose interpretation of what constitutes a Companion.  In “Voyage of the Damned,” the character of Astrid is often described as a Companion, but she never ventured anywhere with the Doctor–a trip to Earth and back to the “Titanic” doesn’t really count.  OTOH, Jackie Tyler DID travel in the TARDIS but is never described as a “Companion” (okay, that was a bit of a special circumstance but she was the ONLY person in the TARDIS at the time who’d never been in it as a traveler).

    In short, we’ve come to expect a Companion on the show (and in the comics and other assorted media) and that’s what we’re given.  It doesn’t mean, however, the Doctor’s never been without a Companion, whether short-term or long-term.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhoadey David Rhoades

    Wait, how did his paragraphs contradict each other?

  • slafaive

    And don’t forget the wiping of the Doctor from memory.

  • Demoncat4

    happy unit got dusted off again and is back in the who universe . and the daleks sleeper agents just prove how really nasty and creepy the daleks truely are . and they will stop at nothing for their goal even turning  creatures they hate into their own kind. can not wait for the rest of the season

  • Demoncat4

    as for the doctor being with out out a companion the only times is when he has lost them briefly like rose or they have left like suzann from the very first doctor. though if one would consider k9 just  part of the doctors stuff like the tardis then he could be traveling a few times with out one . o;ther wise the doctor is hardly ever without one .  

  • Guest

     Dalek sleeper agents aren’t new. Controlled Dalek agents appear in Evil of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks and though not covert ones, Dalek Invasion of Earth. Resurrection of the Daleks is ALL about covert Dalek agents. Several comics and audios also deal with the ideas. It’s not a new contribution no matter how well used it was here, it started in 1965.

  • Niteaudit56

    I am under the impression that the novels published during the gap between the first and new series were canon, making the wonderful ones featuring the Eighth Doctor enjoyable filler.
    I hope they continue to publish the adventures between the television episodes, since they are free of costly special effects.
    This includes the Torchwood series, of which I hope to see again, only not on Starz, since I can barely afford basic plus cable as it is.

  • Tlburrill2

    Love Brian as well and always loved the UNIT gang. Would love to see some of the old UNIT gang like SGT Benton. Kate Steward is a wonderful addition and it softens the blow a little to us long time fans that had hoped the Brig would be back on DW. 
    Perhaps the 10yr line was a way of adding in the book series 

  • Dreamweaver

    I think you may have missed the point of the “do not travel alone” message.  In fact, I think it’s very important. Don’t forget, after the Doctor left the Ponds behind at the end of the God Complex, he travelled approximately 200 years without the Ponds.  The next time he travelled with them was when he met up with them in Utah.

    He may have had occasional companions during those 200 years, but we could presume there was no one permanent.  And after being a relative loner for 200 years, Amy noticed that the Doctor changed his attitude a bit, i.e. initially deciding to let Kahler Jex die to save Mercy (A Town Called Mercy), or when he sentenced Solomon to death (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship).  Hence, Amy pleads the Doctor not to travel alone because he might completely lose his compassion.

  • FredII

    Here’s a weird question…when did the Doctor eliminate his records…specifically, When as in at what point in space time.  Clearly there are records of him in the past.  (Unit knows who he is, at least annecdotally) so, at what point does the Doctor remove himself from history….And of course once you go there you got the question of do Daleks in the past know who he is?  If the Doctor goes to 1908, and Daleks show up, do they know who he is?  What about written records seen in the first few seasons of the Doctors adventures in teh past…or the Doctor showing up in Laruel and Hardy movies,

    Is it just me or is the whole, Doctor removed his records from the universe, just no make much sense, and will likely wind up being quietly written out of the show next season?

  • Nataniel Costard

     It’s just setting up the stage to the “motto” of this is season, which is the answer to the question “Doctor who?”, as seen at the end of the sixth season. That’s what I think at least.

  • Erikgalston

    The Doctor DIDN’T remove his records, that was Oswin… The Doctor had NOTHING to do with it. 

  • GerardMorvan

    Oswin only removed the records the Daleks had of the Doctor. For the rest, I think that was the Doctor himself (River implies as much in TATM).

  • David Hancock

    In terms of real figures as companions, Mary Shelley has been an excellent companion to the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish audios [thankfully, Doctor Who has always been mature enough NEVER to have a defined “canon” – technically, accepting anything that is licensed by the BBC as being canonical]. And there have been numerous hints toward Agatha Christie being a traveling companion. I also agree with the suggestion that Amelia Earhart would be first rate.

    On the subject of companions though, I have always preferred more than one at a time. The shortened storylines in the new series make this more difficult, but Amy and Rory proved just how well it can work.

    I would love to see a more stable UNIT in the new series. Rather more akin to the old season 7 – a large UNIT with lots of one offs, but with a small group of regulars who have direct interaction with the Doctor, so that we have some identifiable characters (correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we’ve had only one UNIT character return for a second appearance in the entire new series).

  • Omniaural

    I don’t think anything is really canon until it appears in the TV series.

    ‘Human Nature’ for example, was a book first and they adapted it to fit in with the TV series.

    If a book comes up with a compelling enough premise then it’s due reward is to be folded into ‘canon’ within the TV show.

  • http://www.bluetowel.wordpress.com/ benmc47

    HG Wells sort of functioned as a companion for one adventure back in the Colin Baker days.

  • David Hancock

    The beauty of Doctor Who is that successive production teams have always allowed fans to make their own minds up as to what comprises “canon” rather than laying down fascist concepts Niteaudit56 is quite right that the books plugged the gap as the officially licensed continuation of Doctor Who. RTD specifically said in regard to Human Nature that it was a good story and it was up to individual fans to reconcile the two versions how they saw fit.

  • Alrac

    Of course he has travelled without companions. At the current estimation
    he is 1200 years old. We have not seen 1200 years of adventures. There
    is PLENTY of room for him to have travelled solo.

    I would LOVE to see
    Brian as a new companion. Was so disappointed when it was announced that
    we were getting another ‘pretty, young female’… enough already!

  • Alrac

    (I know this is a repeat I put it in the wrong place up there^ Sorry.)Of course he has travelled without companions. At the current estimation he is 1200 years old. We have not seen (or been told of) 1200 years of adventures. There is PLENTY of room for him to have travelled solo.

    Anyway… I would LOVE to see Brian as a new companion. I was so disappointed when it was announced that we were getting another ‘pretty, young female’… enough already!

     

  • Gary LaPointe

    I think it’s always been there that there are more adventures with (or without) companions that we’ve never seen.

    It’s time travel, no reason to not make a 10/Rose adventure special from before they separated (or 9/Rose or 10/Donna or 10/Martha) for the 50th anniversary. Rose could even meet 11 from before they separated, she understands he regenerates, he just can’t offer any spoilers.

    Just a thought…
    Gary
    http://GarySaid.com/

  • dreamsphoto

     if the doctor has aged 200 years while traveling with amy and rory, who aged 10, then the doctor travelled 190 of those years (potentially) alone.  amy could see the effect it had on him, since the doctor was, rather than trying to save the guy, was just letting the ‘bad guy’ win, and amy sees that its because he hasn’t had the moral compass of his companions during that time… so not so much a throw away line, as a line reacting to the doctors actions, recognizing why they’re so different then the actions of the raggidy man she first met….

  • I_Captain Blanco

    Actually, the Doctor very nearly did have Amelia Earhart as a companion, in several drafts of the never-made movie script from the wilderness years between the end of the original series and what turned out to be the TV Movie.  As I recall, her name was abbreviated to “Amy” also!

  • http://profiles.google.com/laurieagarner Laurie Garner

    Great points!  However, per point two: I think Amy says the Doctor shouldn’t travel alone because the writers (Moffet?) go out of their way to show how the Doctor’s time alone (in between trips with the Ponds) leads him to act out of character (using a GUN in “A Town Called Mercy”??? What???).  We all know that he has spent time with others, but he clearly needs a fairly constant companion to help him stay true to the positive parts of his nature.  I think Moffet (or maybe Matt Smith?) said something to this extent in one of the little pieces they showed during the commercial breaks this season.

  • http://profiles.google.com/laurieagarner Laurie Garner

    Great points!  However, per point two: I think Amy says the Doctor
    shouldn’t travel alone because the writers (Moffet?) go out of their way
    to show how the Doctor’s time alone (in between trips with the Ponds)
    leads him to act out of character (using a GUN in “A Town Called
    Mercy”??? What???).  We all know that he has spent time with others, but
    he clearly needs a fairly constant companion to help him stay true to
    the positive parts of his nature.  I think Moffet (or maybe Matt Smith?)
    said something to this extent in one of the little pieces they showed
    during the commercial breaks this season. 

  • Zygon

    Anyone else think that the ‘don’t travel alone’ thing was just a rather clumsy device used by the writers to avoid all the tedious soul-searching about never putting companions in danger again that slowed the script down after some of the other recent exits?

  • yalensis

    Let us not forget “The Deadly Assassin” (Doc #4).  This is the very first episode ever where viewers see the Doctor travel alone in the Tardis and in fact have an entire adventure on his own.  (Not necessarily the first time he does this, just the first time we see it.)  The Doctor had just left Sarah Jane Smith behind on Earth and returned to Gallifrey on his own, responding to a summons from the Panopticon.  At that time humans were not allowed on Gallifrey.  (This rule changed later, and the Doctor’s subsequent companion, Leela, was allowed to accompany him to Gallifrey.)

  • yalensis

    Love UNIT too.  And love the idea of the Brig’s daughter heading it up.  But what happened to Martha?  Didn’t she get a job as Chief Scientist in UNIT?  Why wasn’t she involved?

  • Postie

    I’m not so sure having Amelia Earheart would be the best choice of a companion for the Doctor. Unless of course she and her copilot ended up stranded on another planet, captured by aliens, and left on another world in cryostasis in the Delta Qudrant to be found by Captain Janeway and the Starship Voyager crew somehow. lol