It's been a long wait for Doctor Who fans - with a full eight months between the 2013 Christmas Special "The Time of the Doctor" and the season 8 premiere "Deep Breath." Like many fan-favorite BBC dramas Doctor Who isn't beholden to a specific programming schedule but, this year, the hiatus has been even harder to bear - given that Whovians still aren't sure what to expect from the new Doctor portrayed by Peter Capaldi. Both the actor and showrunner Steven Moffat have teased a darker, more "alien" version of the Time Lord - even suggesting that the character could earn the nickname "Doctor Rude" once all is said and done.
Appearing for mere seconds in the 2013 Christmas Special (along with a blink and you'll miss it cameo in the 50th Anniversary Special), fans know very little about the Twelfth Doctor. Yet, with only two weeks left until the season 8 premiere, viewers know even less about what adventures lay ahead for The Doctor and companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Louise Coleman). The season 8 trailer teased a trip into darkness, with a mix of familiar and new evildoers to confront, but the BBC has been keeping the finer details under tight wraps - until today.
In preparation for its August 23rd debut, BBC has officially unveiled a story synopsis for the season 8 premiere.
Fans who are eager to find out the episode premise can read the synopsis below:
"When the Doctor arrives in Victorian London he finds a dinosaur rampant in the Thames and a spate of deadly spontaneous combustions. Who is the new Doctor and will Clara’s friendship survive as they embark on a terrifying mission into the heart of an alien conspiracy? The Doctor has changed. It’s time you knew him."
We'll have to wait until the episode airs to see exactly how Doctor Who intends to draw connections between a Victorian Tyrannosaurus Rex and combustible humans - but viewers can get a sneak peak at the dinosaur at the 0:40 mark in the prior Season 8 trailer (below).
If an ancient "tyrant lizard" (not on a spaceship this time) and exploding people weren't enough to get Whovians back inside the TARDIS for another season of adventuring through time and space, the synopsis also makes sure to address the question on every fan's mind: who is the new Doctor? Not to mention, how will the Doctor's new (prickly) regeneration impact Clara?
It's been a full year since Capaldi was first revealed as the successor to Matt Smith's whimsical Eleventh Doctor and many viewers have begun to wonder if the new Time Lord might be the darkest iteration yet - possibly darker than John Hurt's unnumbered War Doctor. As indicated Capaldi and Moffat have said time and time again that the new iteration will reflect a different take on the Time Lord - as well as give the writers fresh material to explore.
That said, some fans have begun to worry that the Twelfth Doctor might take too many liberties - presenting a depiction that no longer feels like the character viewers have grown to expect (and love). Following after two beloved Doctor actors (and subsequent onscreen depictions), it makes sense for Capaldi and Moffat to use the latest regeneration as an opportunity to drastically mix up the formula - providing them both creative freedom to make the best show possible.
Nevertheless, while season 8's marketing has understandably teased a harsher Doctor, hopefully the actual upcoming slate of episodes will also provide opportunities to showcase more familiar elements of the character. One of Doctor Who's greatest accomplishments is selling viewers on the notion that even though the Doctor changes, small subtleties carry-over - creating a genuine sense of evolution and continuity (in spite of Doctor and companion casting change-ups).
Should Capaldi be able to incorporate the Time Lord's charm and vulnerability within the framework of an overall more stern and rude Doctor, fans will likely still enjoy traveling with the character - even if we're headed into darker territory.
We'll keep you up to date as more Doctor Who season 8 details are revealed.
Doctor Who season 8 will premiere August 23rd on BBC and BBC America.
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