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Why Doctor Who Can Go Way Beyond 5 More Years On TV

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Recently, Stephen Moffat, who is the current showrunner for Doctor Who, noted that he believes that the show could go on at least five more years. He said that because apparently that’s the current scope he and BBC are thinking about at the moment. But even Moffat concluded that the show could go beyond that. I happily agree with that notion.

Doctor Who is a show that embraces change, regardless of how fans will react to it. Every major change affects the show, from its stories, to the interactions with characters, all of it. And it is because of these changes and more that I truly believe Doctor Who can last for a very long time.

Allow me to list off some of these reasons.

1. New Doctor, New Rules

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One of the things I personally love about Doctor Who is that every Doctor brings something new to the table. The funny thing is, that wasn’t meant to happen at first. William Hartnell (the original Doctor) was absolutely killing it, but soon the schedule was beginning to get to him. It was taxing his body and mind greatly. The people at BBC knew they had to do something. So they decided to create regeneration, the process of which allows the Doctor to take a new form, and a new personality. At first this was just to test to see if fans would go for this idea, along with continuing the show itself, but soon it became a key part of the Doctor Who mythology.

With every Doctor comes a new ideology of sorts. True, they all want to do good, do no harm, and live up to the name of the Doctor. How they go about it, and how they interact with people is totally different. Take William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, the first and second Doctors. While Hartnell’s was shrewd, slightly insulting, and very rough, Troughton’s was a whimsical fool, he played a flute, he looked like a member of the Beatles, you couldn’t take him seriously. Yet both were the Doctor through and through.

I’ve often heard Doctor Who described as an onion of sorts, cause every regeneration peels away a layer and reveals something new about him. Another great pairing example is the last two Doctors, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. The former was fun, energetic, always wanting to make you smile and laugh, show you a good time. Whereas Capaldi is more intense, a more foreign entity if you will. He’s focused, but that causes him to sacrifice certain things, like compassion, and the willingness to do and say certain things when the opportunity arises.

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A new face for the Doctor brings the potential for new stories, or even similar stories done in a different way because of new Doctor’s personality.

With Capaldi’s Doctor, a new regeneration cycle formed. No longer (at least for now) are we confined to the (we only have a few regenerations left) rule. We know that can be broken. This show can literally be run on the power of the Doctor, and the versions of him (or her…) we may see in the future. If they wanted to, the next five years could solely be about Capalidi’s Doctor, then they’ll hand off the baton and start all over again.

New series, new Doctor, new adventures, same Doctor Who fun.

2. New Companions, New relationships

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If there is a certainty when it comes to Doctor who, it is this: Everyone has favorite Doctor, everyone has a favorite companion. Instead of “this episode is about this character, and this one is about that one”, Doctor Who plunges the Doctor and his companions into adventures that they’re forced to resolve, help, or escape from. The companions are our view not only into the universe, but into the Doctor himself.

Some see a friend in the Doctor, some have actually loved him, and wanted to be with him. Some have seen an untrustworthy man, or a shrewd manipulator. All are unique, and the interactions with the Doctor is based on who he is, who the companion is and the relationship they forge.

Case in point, Clara Oswald, the “impossible girl”. She loved Matt Smith’s Doctor, with all her heart. Then… he was gone, regenerated into the much older Capaldi version, and you knew the relationship had to change. They went from potential couple to more of a father-daughter like relationship. New dynamics lead to new conversations, like the “Am I a good man?” question he asked in the latest series.

It’s not all about how they interact with the Doctor though, the companions always seem to learn more about themselves as they travel with the Doctor. Amy and Rory truly found they loved each other, and wanted to be with each other forever. Martha realized she was probably better without the Doctor. And many more have found their way in life because of him, and that’s compelling story wise. Doctor Who has never been accused of keeping things too stagnant with its companions, cause they can leave (or have something happen to them) at basically any point in time.

But to be truly honest, the funnest thing about the companions, is the companions themselves! Just like the Doctor, each companion is unique, and it’s fun seeing how they act and react to certain situations. Some companions have been warriors, some have been scientists or doctors, some chose to come to the Tardis, others literally got swept up into everything. Every companion is different, and it’s so much fun that way. There are some character types that honestly still haven’t been used with companions, just as there are some with the Doctor. We could spend years meeting those companions, adventuring with them, learning about them, then get a new one and not feel too bad about it.

3. The Fans Will Keep It Going

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This one comes from personal experience, along with a line from Moffat. He noted that the ratings of Doctor Who have been roughly the same since the series returned in 2005, and technically it’s bigger when you count the international markets. At one time, Doctor Who was truly a British TV show solely (with a few exceptions to be fair). Now? The US loves it. Fans all over the world love it! Doctor Who is practically for everyone.

If you go to a comic book convention (of which I have several times), you’ll find people dressed as the Doctor, companions, enemies, etc. You’ll find booths with art of the characters and items from the show. You’ll see the Tardis (just the outside), and possibly even some Doctor Who panels. It’s an experience that shows that fans love the show so much they want to express it as best they can.

But it’s not just cosplayers, or stores who do this. It’s regular fans who decide to make something truly Doctor Who worthy.

The best example I can give is a game called Doctor Who: Legacy. This was a game made by Doctor Who fans, FOR Doctor Who fans. The fun part is that it’s totally backed by BBC. This was as simple idea, “let’s make a fun Doctor Who game that you can play on your phone or computer”. It has become a phenomenon. Why? Because this game, this mobile title, has every Doctor, nearly every companion, numerous villains from the show and beyond, almost every location the Doctor has ever been to, and to top it all off, it has original stories for you to play through in the game!

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This game (which is free to play, by the way) features every part of Doctor Who lore. From the shows, the movies, the Titan Comics run, and even the audio books. Nothing is left out, because they want a full experience to give to fans. That’s dedication to the Whovians, which is awesome. When they think of new stories, they don’t think “how can we make money off of this?”, they think “how does this tie in to Doctor Who?” That’s how fans think. And it’s because of fans like them, and more, that Doctor Who endures during its long hiatuses.

Fans make series continue, it’s a known fact. You’d be hardpressed to find a fanbase more loyal, more fun, and more enduring than Doctor Who fans.

4. Plenty of Stories and Mysteries Left To Explore

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With Doctor Who, story is as important as characters. Especially when you have all of space and time to explore. While some may think the show may be close to running out of stories, the recent run of Doctor Who has proven otherwise.

When the show returned in 2005, we were instantly given a mystery. A lot of time had passed since we last saw the Doctor, there was a Time War, and now he’s the last of the Time Lords. What happened? The next ten years of the show developed that mystery and more, giving us not only compelling stories, but a deeper and darker look at the Doctor.

Filling in that overarching story were tales of great heroism, terrible loss, the price one pays for traveling through time, and more. As time went on, more and more classic characters appeared, and classic villains returned. The Daleks were given new life, along the Cybermen, the Autons, the Ice Warriors, and more. Even The Master returned (twice) to stir things up. That’s not even mentioning the epic new villains we’ve met like the Weeping Angels, the Silence, and the Boneless.

And now? We have the mystery of where Gallifrey is. Will the Doctor find it? Save his people? What will happen when the Time Lords return? Mysteries and stories abound…

Russell T. Davies and Stephen Moffat have crafted two incredible runs for the show, giving it new life and new purpose. Moffat may be in charge now, but he won’t be around forever. When someone new takes over, they’ll put their own spin and twist on things. More and more new writers are penning episodes and are quickly winning over fans. As long there’s a story to tell, Doctor Who can live on.

Doctor Who is a series 50+ years in the making. They’ve stumbled. The show was cancelled, but the enduring love for the character allowed the series to continue. Now? Every fan can’t wait for the show to return, and are already talking about where we’ll go next, who we’ll meet, and what will happen.

So if you’re worried that this “5 years” thing is a literal deadine for Doctor Who, I say relax. I have no doubt it’ll go beyond that.

Trust me, I’m a Doctor.