I’m so glad to be writing this.
Action, suspense, intrigue and an exciting and dangerous universe to explore – all things that were completely lacking from the previous series of Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi’s first outing was, unfortunately, almost universally awful. In fact, Mr Capaldi himself was more or less the only good thing about it, with the insufferable know-it-all Clara somehow becoming more unbearable than ever. I could just about handle her, but my girlfriend wanted to punch her in the face. Honestly, we both came very close to giving up on the series entirely.
As much as I loved Matt Smith, his later series (and Capaldi’s first) were overly silly, relying on The Doctor as a meme generator than an actual character. Last year’s series, meanwhile, has been an absolute revelation. With a return to longer, multi-part stories and plot arcs that actually make sense, the whole series managed to keep me gripped, with the exception of one or two weaker moments.
For me, this series peaked in the fantastic Heaven Sent. This episode is straight up there with Blink in being one of the best Doctor Who episodes since the show came back in 2005. Capaldi is all alone, giving him plenty of space to explore the script and the character with wit and intensity in a way that previous Doctors might not have been able to match.
Plenty of people don’t like Doctor Who. If that’s you, there’s no way this series will change your mind. But if you’re a lapsed fan, or you found the last series disappointing, this really is a stellar return to form.