Buzz about the new Doctor Who series is swirling around the internet. The fandom is divided – as usual – but I think the general consensus is positive which is lovely. For myself, I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know this new Doctor. Peter Capaldi is brilliant and Jenna Coleman is now being given a real chance to shine.
Something has really piqued my interest though. I’ve found myself contemplating the Doctor’s characterisation more closely than usual. I’m particularly interested in trying to predict the dynamic between the Doctor and his yet-to-be, kind-of-companion, Danny Pink. The conclusion that I’ve come to (and am slightly concerned by) is that the Doctor might be becoming Sherlock. And could Danny be Dr John Watson?
It started with this line:
“Top layer, if you want to say a few words.”
At the time I laughed and reveled in the delicious darkness of that line. Later I thought, “Oh, shit. Sherlock just spoke out of the Doctor’s mouth!”
A lack of empathy largely defines Sherlock’s character. He is described as a high functioning sociopath and while the Doctor is thankfully still reaching out to people for connection in his grumpy kind of way, one could argue that his dialogue at least is sounding rather devoid of empathy. In fact, his dialogue is sounding extremely Sherlock. It doesn’t take much effort to imagine Benedict Cumberbatch delivering the above line in his droll, uniquely resonating voice. Similarly, I can hear his voice in this:
“Yeah, my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.”
But moving on.
There’s been a fair bit of talk about the Doctor suddenly having a disdain for soldiers. At first I didn’t want to think about it but eventually I had to admit that this doesn’t seem to make much sense. The Doctor has had many close dealings with U.N.I.T. Clearly the Doctor has never thought much of the way soldiers choose to deal with things but he’s never displayed any specific distaste for them that I can recall. If anything, he’s been more chiding. Perhaps it might be argued that this Doctor’s more bristly personality means that he is now happy to be open about his disdain. I’m not sure that I’m sold on that though.
This brings us to Danny Watson, I mean – Pink.
“I just wish you hadn’t been a soldier.”
Journey Blue was denied companion-status and the only reason this scene was written is because it sets up the relationship between the Doctor and Danny, a former soldier.
It stands to reason that Danny’s relationship with the Doctor might help him come to terms with his killing of a civilian. I expect we might see antagonism and bonding over this shared experience. One tick for character development.
But what might make Danny want to travel with the Doctor in the first place?
Danny is a soldier-turned-teacher and perhaps he simply wants to learn more about his love interest, Clara. But might we see a, “You’re not haunted by the war, Dr. Watson. You miss it,” moment? I don’t think that Danny will necessarily miss war. But I do wonder if travelling with the Doctor will reveal Danny’s need for excitement and danger in the same way that Dr Watson needs these things in his life.
Well, I don’t know. I love Doctor Who. I’ll follow the journey wherever it takes me. Some things I’ll love. Other things I won’t.
Writing is hard. Writing for a successful show like Doctor Who must come with a lot of pressure. Writing for Doctor Who and Sherlock sounds… well, super hard. So I wonder whether it was inevitable that one show might bleed into the other.