Wow, what a twist. This morning Steven Moffat, our cultural Voldemort, announced the entire season nine of Doctor Who, episode by episode, including titles and summaries. This is a big deal for a show that nearly lost its mind last year after the first three episode scripts were leaked by a Brazilian subtitling company. Now we know what the rest of 2015 plays out like, and boy, is it bizarre.
OBVIOUS SPOILERS TO FOLLOW
There was already some discussion that the season may involve some two part episodes, but it turns out that all twelve episodes will be divided into six storylines.
The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar features scripts by Moffat himself but are directed by Hettie MacDonald, a female director whose only other Whoverse work was a little episode called “Blink” you may have heard of. It’s the story of The Doctor going into hiding, and when even the Daleks cannot track him down, Missy and Clara must team up to find the man who saves the universe.
Under The Lake / Before The Flood features scripts by Toby Whithouse (“A Town Called Mercy,” “The God Complex”) and direction by Daniel O’Hara in a Who debut, but previously cut his teeth on ‘Being Human’ episodes. In another episode that borrows from Carpenter’s The Thing, the Doctor and Clara find an underground spaceship under siege by the undead. They’re pitching this a bit of a mix between Mummy On The Orient Express and Waters Of Mars and oh boy would that work for me.
The Girl Who Died / The Woman Who Lived features scripts by Jamie Mathieson (“Flatline”) and Catherine Tregenna (“Torchwood”) with direction by Ed Bazalgette making his Who debut. These episodes feature Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones and deal with both Viking mythology and finally answer the question of how Capaldi could be both The Doctor and the only survivor of Pompeii.
The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion features scripts by Peter Harness (“Kill The Moon”) and direction by Daniel Nettheim, who has just an incredibly impressive list of BBC credits. This double episode follows up the 50th Anniversary episode and its Zygon peace accord by showing a modern London co-inhabited by these body snatching monsters and a delicate peace undone by UNIT’s on Osgood (who may not be dead now apparently wait what how are we doing that ugh OK fine.)
Sleep No More is a Mark Gatiss stand-alone story about footage from a space mission. While details are scarce, this feels like something in-line with the film Europa Report.
Face The Raven is penned by Sarah Dollard of Primeval and Merlin, and features directing by Merlin’s Justin Molotnikov. The graffiti artist Rigsy returns in one of those vague stories about the secret power of feeling weird in a moment or catching something out of the corner of your eye. If last year’s “Listen” is anything to go by, this’ll be great.
The season finale Heaven Sent / Heaven Bent directed by the awesome Rachel Talalay, it appears the Doctor will have to take on an impossible challenge all by himself. Rumors have spread that this double episode may only feature The Doctor, or at least the character of The Doctor, dealing with all of his demons.
And that’s our series nine! There’s something very exciting about this double-parter pattern, especially since the last few seasons have really fallen into a pattern of “oh it is minute thirty-eight time to start wrapping this up.” Some of these episodes seem more connected than others, and even just having a thematic through-line and having each director take on back-to-back episodes means we’ll be hitting bigger strides and exploring more interesting concepts, which feels fresh after last season’s very staccato approach to storytelling.
How does today’s reveal affect your feelings of the upcoming season? Is it kind of a bummer to have this much information ahead of time or does this all sound promising enough to get you invested again?
You can catch frustrated recaps and brutal nerd-rage throughout Doctor Who Season 9 by subscribing to the Laughing At Archaeologists podcast hosted by comedians Rye Silverman and Brock Wilbur.