Having taken the long way round since series 9 aired in 2015, with only a pair of Christmas specials to tide us over... welcome, at last, to the NeoGAF Doctor Who series 10 discussion thread!
What is Doctor Who?
Doctor Who is a long-running (54 years!) family-oriented science-fiction series from the BBC, in which the main character, the Doctor, travels through time and space (he's the old bloke in the middle there). There have been many incarnations of the Doctor, but the current one is played by Peter Capaldi, who has formerly appeared on the show in series 4 before his casting. The Doctor, along with at least one (typically female) companion, frequently finds himself mixed up in fantastical escapades.
Who's in this thing?
Starring Peter Capaldi as
We have a new companion this year, Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie. She's on the left in more ways than one, as she's notable for being the first official openly gay companion on Doctor Who. Companions who are now on Arrow or *shudder* ITV don't count, apparently.
They'll further be joined by:
Matt Lucas' Nardole, an alien who first appeared in the 2015 Christmas special and reprised his role in 2016. Will now be a full-time companion for this season after Steven Moffat fell in love with the character.
Yeah, we're not sure either, but he was good in the most recent Christmas Special, I guess?
Fifty years sounds like a lot. Do I need to catch up?
Don't worry. There have been numerous continuity reboots over the years, and in fact the opening episode of this season is called "The Pilot", which writer and showrunner and Steven Moffat has confirmed is essentially a reboot of sorts so new faces can join. Where references to past events are necessary, such as the return of the Master from series 4, the show is typically very efficient at bringing new viewers up to speed.
If you are interested in catching up, the new series is available on Amazon Prime in the US and up to series 8 is on Netflix in the UK. All series of the new show are also available in various On Demand formats (Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, etc) but those get expensive quickly.
What do we know about this new season?
We know that this will be Steven Moffat's final season as showrunner, which is important mainly because nobody knows what Doctor Who fans will whine about incessantly in the future.
It will also be Peter Capaldi's last season as the Doctor, although he is expected to take part in the Christmas Special. Bill is also not expected to return in future series, leaving open the question of what will be done with her character.
In terms of specific stories, we know that guest stars include David Suchet as a mysterious character called the Landlord, while returning villains include the Ice Warriors and the original Mondasian Cybermen, and that John Simm, the Master from series 3 and 4, is returning to the role alongside Michelle Gomez, the most recent incarnation.
John Simm's Master was last seen seven years ago before regenerating into Gomez off-screen. You get used to this sort of thing
A group of Doctor Who fans attempts to kill Steven Moffat, who has called on Peter Capaldi to defend him
(actually a group of Mondasian Cybermen)
Also notably, we have the first writer to return from the original series, Rona Munro (who wrote "Survival", the last ever serial of the original Doctor Who). All involved will be hoping she has better luck this time around.
Synopses for all the episodes, courtesy of the Radio Times:
Episodes 6, 7, and 8 are expected to form a three-part story, the first in nearly eight years, while episodes 11 and 12 a two-parter, as is traditional for series finales.
1 - The Pilot (Written by Steven Moffat and Directed by Lawrence Gough)
"What's the one thing you never see when you look at your reflection?"
Meet Bill Potts. She works at St Luke's University, serving chips to students, and nothing ever, ever happens. Then, one day, she finds there's another world beneath the one she knows. A familiar face in a pool of water, and a love that is over before it can begin, will change her life for ever - because this is the day Bill meets the Doctor.
2 - Smile (Written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Directed by Lawrence Gough; Guest Star: Ralph Little)
"Between here and my office, before the kettle boils, is everything that ever happened, or ever will. Make your choice."
In the far future, at the edge of the galaxy, there is a gleaming, perfect city. This brand-new human settlement is said to hold the secret of human happiness - but the only smiles the Doctor and Bill can find are on a pile of grinning skulls. Something is alive in the walls, and the Emojibots are watching from the shadows, as the Doctor and Bill try to unravel a terrifying mystery...
3 - Thin Ice (Written by Sarah Dollard and Directed by Bill Anderson)
"So the Tardis has dresses and likes a bit of trouble? I think I'm low-key in love with her."
In Regency England, beneath the Frozen Tames, something is stirring. The Doctor and Bill arrive at the last of the great frost fairs and find themselves investigating a string of impossible disappearances - people have been vanishing on the ice! Bill is about to discover that the past is more like her world than she expected, and that not all monsters come from outer space.
4 - Knock Knock (Written by Mike Bartlett and DIrected by Bill Anderson; Guest Star: David Suchet)
"Did you hear the trees creaking outside when we arrived?" "Yeah. It was the wind." "There wasn't any wind."
Bill is moving in with some friends and they've found the perfect house! So what if it's strangely cheap to rent, and the landlord is a little creepy? The wind blows, the floorboards creak and the Doctor thinks something is very wrong. What lurks in the strange tower at the heart of the building - and why can't they find any way to enter it...?
5 - Oxygen (Written by Jamie Mathieson and Directed by Charles Palmer)
"You only see the true face of the universe when it's asking you for help."
The Doctor, Bill and Nardole answer a distress call in deep space, and find themselves trapped on board space station Chasm Forge. All but four of the crew have been murdered - and the dead are still walking! In a future where oxygen is sold by the breath, and space suits are valued more highly than their occupants, the Tardis crew battle for survival against the darkest evil of all.
6 - Extremis (Written by Steven Moffat and Directed by Daniel Nettheim; Guest Star: Michelle Gomez)
"They read The Veritas - and chose hell."
In the Haereticum (the Vatican's secret library of blasphemy) there is an ancient book known only as The Veritas. Throughout history, anyone who has ever read it has immediately taken their own life. Now a new translation is online, and the danger is spreading. The Vatican appeals to the Doctor. Will he read The Veritas? But can even the Doctor survive the ultimate truth?
7 - The Pyramid at the End of the World (Written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat and Directed by Daniel Nettheim)
"Fear is inefficient. We must be loved."
A 5,000-year-old pyramid stands at the centre of a war zone, where the Chinese, Russian and American armies are about to clash. There are many problems with that, but the one that intrigues the Doctor is this: there wasn't a pyramid there yesterday. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole face and alien invasion unlike any other - before conquest can begin, these alines need the consent of the human race.
8 - The Lie of the Land (Written by Toby Whithouse and Directed by Wayne Yip)
"I'm sorry, Bill, I really wanted to make you see!" "Oh my God, this is real. You're really doing this!"
The world is gripped by a mass delusion and only Bill Potts can see the truth. When even the Doctor is fighting on the wrong side, it's up to Bill to convince the Time Lord that humanity is in deadly danger. And if she can't do that, she may just have to kill her best friend.
9 - The Empress of Mars (Written by Mark Gatiss and Directed by Wayne Yip)
"It's a simple choice, Iraxxa. The oldest one in the book. We must live together. Or die together."
The Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive on Mars and find themselves in an impossible conflict between Ice Warriors... and Victorian soldiers. As the Martian hive awakes around them, the Doctor faces a unique dilemma - this time the humans, not the Ice Warriors are the invaders. When Earth is invading Mars, whose side is he on?
10 - The Eaters of Light (Written by Rona Munro and Directed by Charles Palmer)
"Now you have a choice. You can all keep on slaughtering each other till there's no one left standing, or you can grow the hell up!"
A long time ago, the Roman legion of the ninth vanished into the mists of Scotland. Bill has a theory about what happened, and the Doctor has a time machine. But when they arrive in ancient Aberdeenshire, what they find is a far greater threat than any army. In a cairn, on a hillside, is a doorway leading to the end of the world.
11 - World Enough and Time (Written by Steven Moffat and Directed by Rachel Talalay; Guest Star: Michelle Gomez)
"My name's Doctor Who."
Friendship drives the Doctor into the rashest decision of his life. Trapped on a giant spaceship, caught in the event horizon of a black hole, he witnesses the death of someone he is pledged to protect. Is there any way he can redeem his mistake? Are events already out of control? For once, time is the Time Lord's enemy...
12 - The Doctor Falls (Written by Steven Moffat and Directed by Rachel Talalay; Guest Star: Michelle Gomez)
"Without hope, without witness, without reward."
The Mondasian Cybermen are on the rise. It's time for the Doctor's final battle...
Sounds good! When does this show air so I can watch it?
Episodes will air each Saturday evening. The BBC are sometimes flexible with the timeslot in the UK
The next episode is "World Enough and Time", written by Steven Moffat. It will air at 6.45pm on the 27th of May on BBC One in the UK and at 9pm/8c on BBC America.
but if all else fails, iPlayer is your friend.
What are you doing about spoilers?
Once an episode has aired in the UK, it is fair game for discussion and there will be open spoilers in the thread.
For future episodes, anything that is released officially (e.g. trailers or official BBC press releases) can be discussed without black spoiler bars. In the event of anything leaking unofficially it should be tagged with specific reference to the episodes concerned, e.g. DOCTOR WHO EPISODE 1 LEAK: Peter Capaldi is in it
Are you my mummy?
Oh god get away from me