Easy there tiger, I’m not proposing that we reboot the entire series and its carefully cherished history, so please put down the pitch folks and douse the burning torches. Rather, I’m suggesting we draw a line under some of the poorer decisions from the Russell T Davies years that have seemingly restricted the story options available to later writers, or required ridiculous use of a Deus Ex Machina to get around them.
Case and point was the Time War and its subsequent Time Lock, where the only way for the Daleks and Time Lords to feature was through Davies creating various caveats to get them out of the Time Lock.
It’s not that these haven’t provided for some interesting episodes, but to a large extent, they’re also limiting the direction future series can go in. For instance, it’s difficult to explore the Doctor’s own personal back story without Gallifrey. Likewise, his most ancient of rivals, the Daleks, have been reduced from a galaxy spanning empire down to a scattered remnant.
From a creative point of view, I can see the Doctor’s struggle with being the last Time Lord alive losing its novelty value rather soon. We’ve seen him deal with the various issues this brings up since the series returned in 2005, and there is only so much further it can go before we’re rehashing the same character material.
What I’d like to propose is that in a similar vein to how Davies used the Time War/Time Lock to draw a line in the sand between the old and new Doctor Whos, the rumoured Doctor Who movie should be used to draw a line before the Time War/Time Lock and the post-movie Whoniverse.
For instance, we’ve already seen time itself collapse in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang and we’ve had time occur all at once in The Wedding of River Song. Why not use the movie to have time reset itself to a period before the Time War? We could go back to a time when the Time Lords strode the universe with a sense of arrogance and large collars, while Daleks were intimidated by stairs.
Indeed, the plot of the movie could revolve around this and/or the Time War itself. Because rather than the movie itself being an entire reboot of the Doctor Who franchise (because we all know American reboots are terrible), it could be used to address one of the major events in the history of the Whoniverse, and to put right the grave wrong that Russell T Davies did to us.
It also provides a great opportunity to further developing the Doctor’s character. Imagine seeing the Doctor having to cope with there being an authority to answer to after so long on his own. How would the Doctor deal with the Time Lords reasserting themselves? And how would he view their own hubris in bringing about the Time War in the first place (that is, if you ascribe to the view that the Time War’s opening shots were the Doctor attempting to prevent the creation of the Daleks)?
Certainly, current Executive Producer, Steven Moffat is hardly suffering from a lack of ideas. However, I just can’t escape the notion that the Time War/Time Lock sits as this giant box preventing the Doctor Who universe from reaching its full potential.