Audience expectations for a TV show exist in a somewhat delicate balance with the show itself, and this is uniquely true of Doctor Who, what with its long history and ever-changing cast. What’s more, in an all-change year such as 2018 has been, not unlike 2010, that the contract is foregrounded as a little bit more.
Furthermore, TV shows in many ways teach audiences how to watch them. Russell T Davies set the template in 2005, Steven Moffat tweaked it for Matt Smith, and now Chris Chibnall it taking his turn at marrying his style of Doctor Who to what audiences, both old and new, have come to expect.
Here at the Tour, we’re not lamenting this years change in tone, notably in the pre-announced form of stand-alone episodes, but we would be remiss if build-up that a crack-in-the-wall or ‘Bad Wolf’ could provide in a sense of scale, and so far Series 11 hasn’t got it.
Series 11 has been smaller and more personal with stories such as Rosa and Demons of the Punjab centered effectively on one or at most two people. Logopolis or Journey’s End with world-ending ambitions or consequences they most certainly are not. One the ‘leavening’ aspects of The Witchfinders was that peril attached to at least the Doctor during the story, and we duly took note of it and ranked it higher as a result.
There are two episodes left in Series 11. Will the stakes be raised? Quite likely. Will that then seem out-of-place with the rest of Series 11. We’ll find out soon enough.