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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Matt Showruns Doctor Who!

YOU LISTENING, MOFFAT?
First thing is that I'd have 10, 1 hour long episodes (or 13 if we're being idealistic) instead of 45 minute ones. For the purpose of the explanation I'll have 13, and I'll assume Series 7 is the starting point, so Asylum onwards never happened. Nothing against Season 7; or Moffat for that matter; I'd just rather work with a Series I actually know the ending of and not have the potential baggage of the Clara Oswald arc!

Amy and Rory DO NOT return (well, they do, but I'll get back to that). The new companions are a man from the not too distant future called Samuel and an alien with the form of a humanoid woman called Katie for short. I'll get into them later.
Farewell Ponds!
The idea I would consider making the main story arc for the series is the companion who never was. The Doctor can't always save everyone from every disaster, we've seen as much in SJA and especially Torchwood. I think that - somewhere in the universe - there was someone The Doctor missed. Someone with great potential who would have been the perfect companion for him. She heard stories of the time he visited before, but he never returned, so all that potential turned to jet black hatred. She thought she had found someone to replace her Doctor, but he died, so her plan is to both ruin The Doctor and to compress time so her knight could return to her. It stemmed from a backstory I thought Kovarian could have, but never really did.

This arc would be the big focus of around four episodes: The first (around episode 5) where she attempts to set Time Compression, but The Doctor doesn't know who she was. The second (episode 9 or 10) she isn't directly involved in, but The Silence attempt something suspiciously similar in a desperate bid to stop The Doctor from revealing his secret at Trenzalore. The two part finale unveils (surprise) that the not-companion has at least partially been a puppet of The Silence, and time is actually devoured... Until the end of the series anyway.

There are two major themes I want to tackle throughout the series: The first is The Doctor's almost symbiotic relationship he has with his companions (thus the Companion-who-never-was arc). As much as companions benefit from The Doctor's influence, it's undeniable that he also needs them. That will be painfully clear over the course of the series, as The Doctor's manipulative and less morally sound qualities shine through and it's Samuel and Katie who keep him from going off the deep end.

The second theme ties in with The Doctor's morally ambiguous portrayal  and that's his increasing willingness to mess with time. A number of episodes involve The Doctor actively changing history to suit him and his plans. I don't want to take it to the "Time Lord Victorious" extent of David Tennant, but it will tie in to ideas I want to investigate more in the second series of my tenure, where I'll be dealing with The Doctor's darkest secret and the my own interpretation of events at Trenzalore.

The first episode has The Doctor still travelling with the Ponds on similar terms to Series 7 where they would take shorter breaks with him, shown in the form of a ridiculous opening montage. I don't have an exact idea for a story for the first episode, but it'd be a bit like The Snowmen in terms of style but backward when it comes to The Doctor's character development: He gets more isolated and cold throughout. I was thinking a nightmare themed episode filled with red herrings and misdirection. Though one key element is that the Ponds are placed in terrifying amounts of danger which would make even the most casual viewer consider that maybe The Doctor should be more responsible. Ah, that's the other element: The events of the story - Amy and Rory being in danger in particular - are entirely The Doctor's fault. It ends with The Doctor and the Ponds agreeing to put an end to the travelling, mutually deciding it's much too dangerous now Amy and Rory has established their own lives and roots.

Second episode - "The Vanity Gods" - introduces the two companions. The Doctor fights a diva-esque   dictator on a planet in the far future which draws heavy influence for Ancient Greece. The entire culture has been built around the Diva for as long as anyone can remember, but is she really as powerful as she makes out? Above all this has to be a fun episode. The two companions are like The Doctors students, and he has so much fun teaching them and defeating The Diva with them that he wants to have them along. There will be a faintly disturbing parallel between the act of taking them on and The Diva's behaviour, though.

Third is a Modern Era story in London. A real Bells of Saint John affair. I've not thought about this story too much, so I'll just leave it at that for now. It needs to be companion-centric though; showing off which each of them is like and their talents.

Definitely an inspiration for the story, I admit
Fourth is called "The Deep End". A mindless monster has come through a spatial rift and is attacking a base at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It will be a morality tale centring around whether The Doctor should kill the creature because otherwise it will destroy the base and kill everyone else. This is another one for the companions. Partly to establish why The Doctor does indeed need them, and to show off more of their personality.

Samuel is idealistic and pushes The Doctor to find a peaceful decision. He continues to be the one who pushes The Doctor, as he comes to idealises him over the course of the series and won't let him to be anything other than his hero. This comes with slightly dangerous devotion and being outright confrontational with him at times. Katie has morality which is a bit outside normal ideas. She's opportunistic, devious and a bit selfish, but ultimately a good person who wont allow anything unjust.

Episode Five - the one introducing the not companion - is called "One Moment". It's set in an ancient castle in the far future. The rooms of the castle are from different time zones: ruins are pressed right against the newly-built foundations! Starts off as a bit of fun with the mix of future and past, but it becomes clear that it's at least partially The Doctor's fault as the not companion makes her hatred known and the story becomes a lot darker. The TARDIS itself has been hijacked to set the plan into motion, but the kinks of the machine couldn't be worked out without it. The episode is resolved by causing such a huge paradox using the rich history of the castle to send the Time Compressing device into meltdown.
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Obviously the palace won't be Kuja's from Final Fantasy IX,
but this is the feel I want for the 'new' castle.
"The Beast of Sokrovenno", Episode 6, is a mystery thriller set on a jungle planet. A group of researchers have set up a base to extract drugs and potential medicines from the wildlife. The TARDIS arrives as the leader of the group is murdered, and the team must solve the mystery of the bloodthirsty hound stalking the halls to clear their name before anyone else is killed. Maybe The Doctor can prevent the team from developing a drug which started a deadly pandemic while he's there... Some vibes from The Waters of Mars, but it's very obviously based on The Hound of the Baskervilles.


Episodes Seven and Eight form a pretty loose two part story. 
In Part 1 - "Peacemaker" - four alien races are going to war, with the American Revolution as their battlefield. Return of the Sycorax, Dark Horde and Rutans. The fourth party - The Timoreen - are mere days away from deploying their superweapon: The Peacemaker. The Doctor, Sam, and Katie are separated when they're caught in the crossfire of a battle between the Sycorax and the Timoreen. The trio struggle to keep a bloody massacre from erupting while trying to protect themselves in the process. Katie learns about the Timoreen's trump card, and the trio are eventually reunited, but it's too late: The Peacemaker is ready.

In Part 2 - "Justice of the Storm Warrior" - The Doctor appears to be making the ultimate shot in the dark as he escapes the war to the Timoreen home planet of Cyrennis. We learn more about the Timoreen, such as how their leaders control the weather and the environment to oppress, and enforce it's warped sense of justice. There are no prisons or concepts of just punishment; anyone considered to have done wrong simply has the elements turned against them to make their life unlivable. Their military is popular purely because they're relatively well treated. Anywho, The Doctor infiltrates his way into the deepest depths of their weapons facilities. Meanwhile  Katie and Sam (reminded of their situation in The Vanity Gods) try to encourage the population to revolt, but their only visible effect is drawing the attention of the authorities, with hints their actions eventually led to the Timoreen suspecting spies were on Cyrennis and the lit the spark for war. Returning to 18th Century America, The Doctor... Well, I won't spoil the ending. I shouldn't expect it'd be difficult to guess. Especially if I mention that an element of the resolution is reminiscent of a certain speech-y scene from The Pandorica Opens.

Episode Nine is a full on horror story called "Most Haunted" (or maybe "Phantoms of the Hex", which is strangely suitable...). The Doctor is interested in the rumours of the sinister spirit inhabiting a farm house who has terrorized residents for centuries. He joins the team of Most Haunted to investigate before deciding to head back into the past to uncover the incident which started the reign of terror. There he finds the spirit wasn't malicious at all: It was a warning. The first victim of a force far stronger than The Doctor thought. The entity (who will be left as a mystery) launches a full scale attack, poltergeist-style. Those of you who have seen the Torchwood episode Countrycide and the SJA story The Eternity Trap should have a good idea of what to expect from this one.

Episode Ten is "The Late Samuel Themis" - an idea which started as The Late Amelia Pond. Starting on an alien planet, The Doctor and his companions are escaping reptillian/fish like aliens with a Jade Relic and follow the signal back to Da Vinci's studios. A harp is the other piece of the puzzle, but The TARDIS tries to separate them by taking the relic (and Sam) back through it's personal timeline. The Doctor and Katie plant messages in Da Vinci's work to instruct him how to pilot The TARDIS back. The two items brought together would have caused a rip and unleashed a time devouring monster as Sam worked out when the TARDIS returned to the planet from Episode 2. Luckily, crisis averted. Unfortunately, The Doctor missed obvious signs of The Silence's involvement.

Episode Eleven: Time to bring back Amy and Rory! The Doctor has made enough references to the Ponds at this point that Samuel suggests he pays them a visit... So he does. Meanwhile, an alien race visits Earth offering technology and support. The TARDIS team stick around to watch how events unfold - this isn't supposed to happen.  Someone assassinates the alien leader and trouble starts brewing. A plot device seen in Children of Earth: Day Four and eyewear from The Girl Who Waited saves the day, as it becomes clear that the aliens are nowhere near as noble, or indeed powerful, as they made themselves out to be.

Finale Two Parter! The not-companion unleashes her plan properly. In the first part - "The Tower of Alleos" - is the big build up to the plan's execution. Following the previous two episodes, The Doctor is very aware that some kind of external force is manipulating history, and correctly guesses that it is The Silence, given their previous modus operandi. He dives in to solve the ancient mystery of the vanishing Tomb of Alleos, knowing full well it's almost certainly a trap. From here, it's all very Indiana Jones: traps, torches and the Whispermen (not affiliated with the Great Intelligence). As the trap to begin the Time Compression closes, The Silence reveal themselves and it becomes clear the Whispermen were in fact trying to stop The Doctor from becoming caught! But alas, Time is thoroughly screwed.

The second part has The Silence and the Whispermen duking it out across what remains of existence, but the plot focuses more on the Not-Companion. We see her past through the Time Compressed world, but her knight in shining armour has been one of the casualties of the compression. "Like compressing data on a CD, some detail is lost...". With some convincing from Samuel and Katie, she resolves to help The Doctor, ending the episode on friendly terms and warning him he may have to fight her past self again. A reference to a future story or One Moment? Who knows!

With the last few Christmas Specials being at least partially based on classic books, I'm thinking my first would incorporate elements of Alice in Wonderland. The Doctor is invited to the great palace of Kalina: Queen of the Twelfth Ocean. A Christmas-esque festival is being held to celebrate the destruction of the the Nephele Treaty - destruction being celebrated as allows new alliances and rules to form. Anyway, one of Kalina's servants is kidnapped to be used as political leverage. Naturally, The Doctor and Co. embark on a dangerous journey into the wild world of the Red Queen to rescue her before the Looking Glass claims its next victim.

Perhaps I could replace Matt Smith, too?

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