Doctor Who has been absent from our screens for a year now, with season ten not set to air until Spring. Therefore, the annual Christmas special was greeted eagerly, with fans of the Time Lord looking forward to seeing Peter Capaldi back in the TARDIS once more. Traditionally, the Christmas specials are usually a stand alone, altogether lighter affair, and ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ held pretty much true to this, though there was reference to the 2015 special, ‘The Husbands of River Song.’ There was also a larger role for Matt Lucas, as Nardole, reprising his character from ‘The Husbands of River Song,’ a role that will continue to expand in season ten.
‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ received rather mixed reviews after its airing on both sides of the pond, but plenty of people tuned in; clearly the promise of a festive Doctor Who is still a big pull. In fact, according to The Wrap, ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ broke ratings records for BBC America, becoming their most watched broadcast of 2016. Doctor Who pulled in an impressive 1.7 million viewers across the board, with 900,000 of those coming from the rather broad demographic of 18-49. Not only that but Doctor Who was the most talked about show on social media, too, a tool that is often far more influential than critic’s reviews.
However, the return of Doctor Who did have a lot resting on it, and it seems as though, despite viewership numbers, the show failed to deliver. In part, many complaints came from the U.K. viewers, who felt that the episode pandered too much to the Americans – though considering the episode was set in New York, Americans were naturally going to feature. Overall, ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ had another problem, which is that many viewers (on both sides of the pond) felt that the show didn’t feel like Doctor Who at all. On top of that, the episode dragged at times and felt like it was too self-indulgent on showrunner Steven Moffat’s part- since he had previously confessed he had wanted it to be an homage to the era of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, his favorite superhero.
The impressive viewing figures could be a result of nothing more than curiosity, but Moffat will be needing those viewers to tune back in when season ten makes its long-awaited debut, especially since viewing figures for season nine were down from where they were when Matt Smith or David Tennant were playing the Doctor. Pearl Mackie will make her debut as Bill, the new companion, and of course, there is the addition of Lucas as Nardole, but will that be enough to keep people coming back for more?
Season ten will be Moffat’s final outing at the helm before Chris Chibnall takes over after Christmas 2017. It’s also possible (though not confirmed) that season ten could be Capaldi’s last, too. Rumors are circulating that the BBC want Chibnall to start with an entirely clean slate, but Capaldi is insistent that he’s been asked to stay on. He just hasn’t made his mind up yet. Either way, Doctor Who season ten will need some pretty impressive episodes to keep 1.7 million U.S. viewers coming back for more.
Doctor Who Season 10 will arrive in the Spring.
Source: The Wrap