TV Review: “Doctor Who” Season 9 – Fun Adventures

Written by Caitlin Cooper December 14, 2015

doctor who

“Doctor Who” is one of the longest running sci-fi shows on television, and that’s in large part to its ever-changing cast, non-stop adventures, heart, and comedy. As a fairly new “Doctor Who” fan, last year’s change from the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) to the 12th (Peter Capaldi) was jarring for me. And in hindsight, season 8 was kind of a mess. But the time between season 8 and season 9 gave me some much needed distance and allowed me to come into the new season with a fresh perspective. And while season 9 is far from perfect, I enjoyed it much more than season 8.

The Doctor and Clara (Jenna Coleman) were put through the ringer in season 8. They parted ways as friends, but in season 9, they’re reunited quite surprisingly by one of last season’s main villains, Missy (Michelle Gomez), who apparently did not die at the end of season 8 like it seemed. Once reunited, the Doctor and Clara immediately find themselves in hot water, but together they save each other, and various people in trouble throughout time and space. But this season, the Doctor makes a mistake that leads to an unexpected “friend” following them through time. And the Doctor comes to regret it.

“I’m the Doctor. Google it.”

Right from the start this season is different – oddly, the Doctor has sonic sunglasses instead of his trusty sonic screwdriver, and he occasionally likes to play electric guitar for no apparent reason -, but it goes back to its roots in terms of comedy. The comedy is much more what we’re used to from “Doctor Who”, and every episode brought laughs due to the witty remarks characters make. Aside from that, we see the Doctor and Clara coping with how they’ve changed, and Clara still pushes him to be better. The Doctor is thankful for her presence in his life, and they’re friendship while he’s wearing this face really blossoms into something special again. The writers this time around created better scripts for the most part, and that made the show enjoyable to watch this season. The introduction of Ashildr (Maisie Williams)  in “The Girl Who Died” brought an interesting and dark touch to “Doctor Who” and posed the question of bad consequences despite good intentions. Perhaps my least favourite episode of the season is “Sleep No More” because for some reason the creators thought it would be a good idea to film it a la home video style, almost like “Blair Witch Project” or any of the “Paranormal Activity” movies. For me, that shot style is tedious and detracted from the story which was otherwise okay. One of my only other kind of big issues with the show is the way Clara left the show (as the Doctor cycles through his companions quite frequently). Her death seemed weakly written and thus it didn’t felt like the writers had done the character justice. Thankfully, this is somewhat soothed when the Doctor travels back in time to see Clara one last time before she dies. But the fact remains that it would’ve felt more organic if Clara had just decided to live a normal life without the Doctor instead of die.

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On “Doctor Who” season 9, the cast is truly great. Capaldi seems to have fully settled into his version of the Doctor, and now the character is much more enjoyable to watch. He’s funny, vulnerable, and more. You really see his character pushed to his limits, and Capaldi’s plays it well. Coleman is fantastic as Clara as usual – she even plays evil Zygon “Clara” copy well – and it’s sad that she’s no longer on the show. Williams adds darkness to the show with her new character, but it was good. Gomez is great at playing a crazy and oddball villain. It was also nice to see the familiar faces of Ingrid Oliver as Osgood and Jemma Redgrave as Kate, two humans who help the Doctor and Clara save the world in “The Zygone Invasion” and “The Zygone Inversion”.

“What’s the point of a time machine if you don’t get to meet your heroes?”

“Doctor Who” season 8 may have been disappointing for some Who fans, but season 9 sees the writers stepping it up and finally giving us the stories we expect. The season isn’t perfect – there’s a whole episode I wish was filmed differently and Clara’s death was weakly written – but mostly it was a fun adventure through time and space, and also on earth where the Doctor and Clara save the day.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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