The football has started. Doctor Who is starting. Yes, I am doing my ‘season predictions’, based on this teaser list: http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/doctor-who/31785/doctor-who-series-8-episode-synopses
- Deep Breath
There will be obligatory fucking-about whilst Clara decides whether she can trust the new Doc or not. This, like all other episodes of its type (Robot, Castrovalva, The Twin Dilemma, Time and the Rani) will be a bit shit in retrospect. It will be pretty because Ben Wheatley is directing, but we will wish that Ben Wheatley had also written it.
Key scene: In a moment of crisis, Clara chooses to trust the new Doc because where would her entire personality be otherwise?
- Into the Dalek
A reassuring ‘post-new-Doc’ episode where we go ‘back to basics’ – the basics in this case being: rip off an old episode you think no one will remember (1977’s The Invisible Enemy); a familiar foe about whom you ask the same question you always ask (I, for one, predict the Dalek will be a Dalek); references to relevant 90s films that you think people will appreciate (here Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! and Innerspace) and therefore forgive that you can’t think of a new plot really.
Key scene: The Dalek makes a pithy observation about the Doc being e.g. a genocidal loon, which nobody bothers to follow up.
- Robots of Sherwood
Mark Gatiss realises he is running low on ‘old-adventure-TV-references-beloved-by-everyone’ and panics, resulting in him thinking everyone both remembers AND gives the remotest shit about 80s TV oddity Robin of Sherwood. Unable to back out, he hits the whimsy bottle far too hard and makes an episode that tries so hard to be loveable that you end up wanting to vomit down its throat until it drowns.
Key scene: Maid Marian being appallingly characterised, even by the standards of female characters in the series as a whole.
Moffat bingo. A collection of leftover scenes from every episode he’s written so far. This is the one cynically intended to scare the kids, so the parents out there should take the necessary precautions for how hyperactive they’ll be. We will think ‘gosh, he’s writing a LOT of them, isn’t he?’ and wonder whether that’s a tacit admission that he’s generally quite bad at picking writers.
Key scene: A children’s toy is scary.
- Time Heist
As the title would suggest, it’s probably very contrived and has virtually nothing to do with the series arc, which actually suggests it might be quite good. Phrases such as ‘the bank of Karabraxos’ indicate that Steven Moffatt’s contempt for people who like sci-fi has reached a new peak.
Key scene: The Doc goes either up or down some stairs, gesturing with both arms at some wondrous CGI. They then enter a modest studio set where there are some people in robes.
- The Caretaker
The producers attempt to (re-)convince us that Clara is a rounded character by showing her coping with various things like some kind of ‘modern woman’. She then encounters some peril and has to be saved, so that we remember how active and interesting she is.
Key scene: Lots of jump-cuts at the start where Clara is ‘busy’. A child asks her if she wants any children. There is a pause. We never return to this question.
- Kill the Moon
Because Doctor Who has ‘done’ all everyday objects, it decides to make the moon scary, like, moonlight turns your head inside out or something. Hopefully this will be the one that maintains its air of mystery in a non-annoying way, but they might throw too many FX at it.
Key scene: The promised dilemma is solved with relative ease because Time Lord.
- Mummy on the Orient Express
The one that is SO MUCH FUN it needs a baffling time-based plot device to keep the tension going. Also so much attention was paid to the blurb that the expression ‘most deadliest’ was allowed to be published.
Key scene: Something that references a Hammer horror movie. Yes, that could be a lot of scenes.
Backup Clara episode to be used in case of emergencies. This apparently is an emergency.
Key scene: Clara reaching out away from some vortex/time shit/etc
10. In the Forest of the Night
Concept-rich, drama-lite episode written by a Proper Screenwriter, possibly to follow up Richard Curtis’ well-received, but alarmingly cack, ‘Vincent and the Doctor’. Nasty feeling this might just be a cuddly version of The Silurians, only with trees.
Key scene: The Doc presses his face against a tree and they have a humanitarian chat and reach an understanding and everything goes back to normal. Or maybe ‘only Clara can do it’ for some reason.
11. Dark Water / 12. Death in Heaven
Moffat end-of-series bingo. About ten minutes of actual plot and and a fuckton of vague doom-yness, with the occasional old-school rush of ‘oooh look, it’s a Zarbi!’. A plot device from an earlier episode turns up to fix everything. No, not Clara… although actually yeah, maybe Clara. Perhaps even River Song comes back again, in a misguided attempt to demonstrate Moffat’s feminist credentials.
Key scene: The 10-second recap of ‘Dark Water’ at the start of ‘Death in Heaven’ which makes more narrative sense than ‘Dark Water’ itself.