With DOCTOR WHO wrapping up the first part of its sixth series tonight in the USA (on BBC America), we Whovians can console ourselves with the terrific news this week that the BBC has commissioned 14 more episodes starring Matt Smith! Those will take the form of a 2011 Christmas Special and a 13-installment seventh series (or, more properly, a 33rd season) in 2012. No word about Karen Gillan (Amy) and Arthur Darvill (Rory), but still, what’s not to love?
Well, the tabloid press never met any good news it couldn’t twist to manufacture controversy and sell papers, so the lack of a firm premiere date (which is not the least bit unusual nearly a year ahead of time) has provided an excuse to speculate about delaying the series somehow – either pushing it all the way back to a fall 2012 premiere or repeating the split-season format we’re experiencing this year. Plus, more fear-mongering about ratings in the U.K.
Personally, I would prefer to see all 13 episodes run as one solid block, rather than adopting the recent American trend of breaking up seasons with huge gaps. Looking at the big picture, however, a summer-long hiatus does spread out the new episodes and reduce the size of the drought between seasons, so that is a virtue. Still… it’s tough to wait to get the full story of the Doctor’s death — and find out all about Amy and Rory’s child!
But whatever the schedule, the best part is that Smith will be back to continue his absolutely inspired portrayal of the 11th Doctor. I’ve said this before, but Smith completely won my over with just “The Eleventh Hour,” and he seems to get better with each episode, as he gets more and more and more comfortable. I would have no problem watching Smith as the Time Lord for…say, the next 200 years?