Season 1/Series 14/Season 40 ❓

The decision to make a “soft reboot” and designate the current season as Season 1 makes sense to me. Production is in the hands of Bad Wolf Studios and there is an international distribution contract with Disney+ for at least two seasons for the stuff from the 60th Specials onwards. Naturally they want to capture new viewers, and calling it series 14 and not having the first 13 series available for most of the world doesn’t really make commercial sense.

When you are on Disney+ though there is no indication that the three specials should be watched beforehand and they aren’t even joined under a single header but rather as three individual shows. (Add on to that that The Church on Ruby Road is still labelled as it’s own thing “Special 4” AND is listed as episode 1 under the Season 1 banner :thinking: ).

But does it really make narrative sense to try to make The Church on Ruby Road a “jumping on point” for new viewers of Doctor Who?
By all indications right now the storyline for this season is very much connected to the three specials from last year and then you make the big bad a villain from 48 years ago that wouldn’t even really create an emotional response from fans who haven’t seen the classic era.
And even if you start with Special 1: The Star Beast then that story still really requires some sort of knowledge of the 2005 era, at least I would be extremely confused if Star Beast was my first episode and it starts with that really weird fourth wall break recap from 14 and Donna (What does “Once Upon a Time Lord” even really mean? )

I’m not quite sure it makes narrative sense to call this season 1 when it is that intervowen with both the 2005 and Classic eras.
Do you think this decision with the new numbering while continually calling back to the past will alienate new viewers and turn them away from the wider show when international viewers doesn’t have the entire Whoniverse at their fingertips like it is with iPlayer?

Thanks for coming to this session of ramblings from a grumpy former UNIT Agent :sunglasses:


I call it Series 14. It isn’t coming back from a break/cancellation. It’s just a creative team change. It smells of a marketing department calling it Series 1.


It really does. But if the point is to get new viewers/make it accessible to a wider audience then the production team shouldn’t really treat the season as Series 14, maybe more of a clean break for Season 1 and then become more and more intertwined with the previous seasons after that.


Not even remotely. Imagine, if you will, starting with Church, and then getting some of the most experimental, lore dumpy episodes we’ve had since The Timeless Children. Leaving Classic Who aside, not having seen 2005 I think you’d be lost - who is UNIT? Why am I getting all this lore thrown at me? Now there’s a big mythological creature from the 70s…?

I think for those of us who are in deep, it’s fun because we have the ability to pick apart the most minute of details and connect it to stuff, but I honestly think a brand new viewer would be completely turned off if they had no idea what they were getting into.

That said, it is completely in tradition for a ‘new’ showrunner to come along and a. completely overwrite whatever the last person said, and b. bring back some niche thing from twenty years ago and making that incredibly important.


Well Moffat called the first episode of Series 10 “The Pilot”, and made a concerted effort to make it a jumping-on point for new viewers (new companion, everything explained again, minimal callbacks)… and THEN ended the series with something that only made sense if you had watched Series 3! (The Saxon Master reveal). Plus re-introduced the Mondassian Cybermen, a villain from the 60s.

I think trying to make jumping on points whilst also trying to honour and callback the past is extremely difficult. But I’d rather they keep trying, as it expands the audience and doesn’t throw away the past. If Season One on Disney was a real reboot, I wouldn’t like that at all.

I do think Disney messed up with the naming of the specials Special 1, Special 2, etc., and not putting them in the same place as Season One.

Everything would be a lot easier if it were just Season 40, but then how many people would start watching from Season 40 Episode 1? :expressionless:

It’s difficult!


That’s true. But the continuation of this show probably hinges on getting more viewers hooked on Disney+ (if it doesn’t change to a different distributer then), as such a different approach would probably be called for.

Those of us who are in deep could easily enjoy one or two seasons that are a bit disconnected from the greater Whoniverse and get all the references to old stuff after more seasons have been secured :slightly_smiling_face:


I really think people tend to underestimate casual viewers’ ability to understand things, which is strange in a fandom where I’ve seen so many people who started watching on some random episode that nobody would ever have intended as a jumping on point. I don’t actually think a new viewer jumping in at CoRR would have any real trouble with this season. Sure, there’s some references that they’ll miss, but it really establishes everything it needs to. And particularly I think the notion that you need to have watched Classic Who to appreciate the finale is just not true, as I haven’t seen Pyramids of Mars and still loved LoRS, as did my wife who’s never even heard of Sutekh


Yeah I couldn’t remember a thing about Pyramids of Mars and now that I’ve watched it twice since TLoRS I don’t think it is required watching at all.


There is probably some personal preference here as well.

With the Sutekh reveal I just think I would have reacted by going who is this dude? That’s exactly how I reacted with Abaddon in Torchwood, I had no idea where that Kaiju Devil came from and it really spoiled my experience/enjoyment of it.


That’s the thing, really, isn’t it? Season One invites people to step aboard, series 14 not so much. Season 40 is terrifying to many who’ve not watched anything previously.

It’s a tricky thing to navigate. I guess RTD and the production team are hoping Season One will pull people in internationally (it makes pretty much zero difference in the UK by my reckoning), that the fast pace, spectacle and diversity of ideas will keep people watching and that they’ll just soak up references to the past along the way.


Yeah but Abandon is just a massive deathclaw.

You don’t need any more context lol.


I’d personally just stick with “season 1”. That’s what most outlets and reviewers are referring to it as. Not that I agree with calling it season 1. I think the only way for it to work in my head would be if there was some kind of big dramatic event for the Doctor or a time jump. Kind of like with the Time War. But we didn’t get that, we just got a direct reference to the Flux, and it’s carrying on as if it’s series 14.

But for convenience sake it’s season 1 yk?


Season 1? Season 14? Lets be honest, RTD probably only said it was season 1 to keep Disney happy.

As for Sutekh, I think the redesign helped. Such an imposing threatening villain dwarfing the TARDIS. Even if you’d never heard of him you’d guess he was a big deal/threat.


I agree and would add that the story with which a person starts in a new franchise just has to be interesting for the individual. Nothing more, nothing less.

Every good story, having a beginning, middle, and an end, is able to stand on its own.
The perception may vary greatly depending on whether one knows the background of the happenings in the story or not.
However, even a scene like the opening of ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ can be intriguing for a new viewer, precisely because all the characters meeting and greeting are unknown. Who are they? What’s happening with all the strange events unfolding?


To everyone curious how this new era plays to someone new to the franchise:

This guy’s first episode was The Church on Ruby Road, and he’s been fine so far. He finds the loredumps helpful as exposition and the references to previous stuff either go over his head or act as cool worldbuilding. I had the same worries you did, but this helps prove that the new approach can work


I am almost positively certain that Season 1 is because of Disney+. It makes the most sense from a marketing standpoint.

I for one can’t stand that storytelling device where we just at the last minute is shown who the big bad is when there has been no history with the main villain but only vague references. There was a really great build up to the Sutekh reveal, but if Harriet Arbinger had said “And forevermore his true name shall be Fred”? That would be kind of anticlimactic for me even with Ncuti looking shocked :slightly_smiling_face:


I’ve just been referring to it as Sereasonies 55 - I think that covers all the possible iterations adequately.


Didn’t I see somewhere that in America or somewhere they refer to every Classic season as eg “Doctor Who Tom Baker Season 1”? Or was that a dream.

That would actually make sense. Each time there’s a new Doctor, start the numbering again like it’s its own show :thinking:


The Collection sets are labeled like that here, and Tubi has Classic Who split up by Doctor (though does show the normal season number)


Yeah this is how the blurays are marketed in USA.