TV preview: Changes ahead for ‘Doctor Who’ with launch of latest season

Let the countdown begin! The latest season of “Doctor Who,” the BBC’s hit TV show about a time traveler in a blue police box, premieres on April 15. The 10th season of the rebooted show will feature both arrivals and departures — hello to Pearl Mackie as new companion Bill and farewell to Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. It also marks the final season for showrunner Steven Moffat, who will be handing the reins to Chris Chibnall.

This new season brings bittersweet feelings for me personally. I’m always excited to get a new season of “Doctor Who,” but I’m sad to see Capaldi go. David Tennant has always been “my Doctor,” and I didn’t think anyone could occupy the TARDIS quite like he did. However, Peter Capaldi has come pretty darn close. As much as I loved Matt Smith’s younger, zanier Doctor, I appreciate the more serious perspective Capaldi has brought to the show. He is able to work in more hints of darkness and danger without making the character TOO dark. And I know there has been some fan controversy surrounding the sonic sunglasses (as opposed to the sonic screwdriver), but I think they’re super cool and a perfect fit for Capaldi’s unique take on the character.

Fans have had their disagreements throughout Capaldi’s run — and the entire run of the rebooted series, for that matter. Some loved Jenna Coleman’s companion Clara; others were ready for her to depart from the TARDIS. Some love Michelle Gomez’s irreverent and saucy take on the Master; for others the performance doesn’t quite work. However, season 9 had some really, really solid episodes that rank among the best of “Doctor Who’s” rebooted run.

“Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood” featured a creepy mystery about ghostly beings killing crew members of an underwater base (I made the mistake of watching “Under the Lake” right before bed, only to learn it was actually a two-parter). Maisie Williams played the tragic Ashildr, a girl trapped in time when the Doctor saves her life but renders her unable to age or die. And “Heaven Sent” is a “Doctor Who” masterpiece that finds the Doctor trapped in a castle-like compound after Clara’s apparent death, struggling with his feelings of guilt and anger.

I’m really excited to see what Capaldi does in his final crop of episodes, and to meet his new companion, Bill. I will say that as much as I’ve enjoyed many of Moffat’s episodes as showrunner, having a new showrunner will be a good change. Part of what makes “Doctor Who” so fascinating is the fact it’s constantly in flux; changing out actors every few years prevents the concept from going stale. Having a new showrunner will bring a fresh perspective to the show and help us to see the Doctor and his journey with fresh eyes.

And speaking of fresh eyes…rumors are running wild about who will play the 13th Doctor (who hopefully won’t be cursed by having an unlucky number!) 😉 It’s anyone’s guess at this point who will get the job, but on my personal wishlist is a female Doctor or a diverse Doctor — or a diverse female Doctor! This too could help provide a fresh perspective for the show as it heads into its 11th season. Whoever it is, Capaldi is going to be a tough act to follow, but I always try to reserve judgement until I’ve actually seen the new Doctor in action.

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