Peter Capaldi brings a new look to ‘Doctor Who’


Photo via BBC under Creative commons license

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor) and Jenna Coleman (Clara) looking mature in their season eight promotional picture.

Tess O'Brien, Arts and Entertainment Editor


Although he’s the one of the oldest actors to play the Doctor so far, Peter Capaldi has brought a whole new look to the show “Doctor Who.” Serious, sarcastic, and somewhat sinister, Capaldi is a much more mature Doctor than the previous few. So far, I’m enjoying the new and exciting change, but only time can tell how the rest of the season will turn out.

In the season so far, Capaldi has added another layer to the already-complex character known as the Doctor. While I loved and will always love Matt Smith and David Tennant, I feel like many people were attributing their talent to their looks. Not only were fans doing this, but the companions of the show oftentimes had crushes on the Doctor. It was starting to become too much- incessant flirting is not what “Doctor Who” is about. Now with an older Doctor, it has already been established in the season premiere that he is not anyone’s “boyfriend” and never was. This change is already starting what I hope to be a return to the more iconic, mysterious Doctor that I know and love.

In the months leading up to the premiere, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. This season would not only bring along a new Doctor, but a new show runner as well. Steven Moffat, creator of the BBC hit series “Sherlock,” would be in charge of the show. While I do love his writing in “Sherlock,” I found most of his storylines in “Doctor Who” to be confusing and full of plot holes. If you’ve seen Matt Smith’s last episode, you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and just skip to the very end. Anyways, with Moffat in charge, the prospects didn’t look too promising. My opinion changed drastically after the first episode.

I’m not saying that the first episode was amazing, but I did like it. “Deep Breath” premiered on Aug. 23, revealing Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. For the most part, it was hard to tell how Capaldi’s Doctor would act. Some parts were funny while others were serious. Some parts were just unnecessary- the dinosaur, for example. Overall, the storyline wasn’t anything special, but it was fun to watch. It left me wanting more, and Moffat delivered in the following episodes.

With such a long running show, it is hard to come up with concepts and story arcs that haven’t been done before. Luckily, Moffat has been on a creative streak with the new episodes. His best this season has probably been the fourth episode, “Listen.” I loved the message of it: fear makes you stronger. Just like many of the other themes of “Doctor Who,” this one helps the audience relate to the characters and story more, as everyone experiences fear. Also, there was strong character development and even more emphasis on the importance of Clara in the Doctor’s life. I can easily say that “Listen” has made it into a spot on my top five favorite episodes.

Some people may argue that this episode, along with many of the newer ones are too scary for family entertainment. While I do agree that “Listen” had some of it’s suspenseful moments, I believe that it was within it’s limits. The Doctor’s stories are supposed to be realistic, not in plot, but in emotion. Just like in reality, “Doctor Who” portrays some scary situations, but the underlying factor is that everything always ends up okay. Yes, there will be rough, scary times, but goodness will always prevail. No matter how bad everything gets, the Doctor always makes it through, always saving as many people as he can, and in my opinion, that is what the show is all about.

Arguably, the best part of the new season is the Doctor’s companion, Clara. In previous seasons, I felt like she never had much of a personality, and I found her a little bit boring. She had so much potential and I felt like the writers were wasting her character- she’s the Impossible Girl! That title in and of itself should make her interesting. Now, however, she has developed more in these past five episodes than she has throughout her entire time on the show.

I love it.

She puts the Doctor in his place when needed and makes him recognize that he is her “hobby,” not her main priority. Clara is a voice of reason to the Doctor, always keeping him grounded or lifting him up when he needs help. Without her, who knows where he would be today? In the end, what I like the most about her is her flaws. She is temperamental, bossy, and egotistical. Sometimes, she needs to be put in her place as well, which shows how much she and the Doctor complement each other. With both her positive and negative qualities, Clara makes for an exciting character with room to grow and change.

If you’re interested in watching the show, it premieres every Saturday at 8 p.m. on BBC America. Happy watching!