the doctor holding something and ruby looking at it
(Disney+)

Russell T. Davies Brought Weirdness Back to ‘Doctor Who’

The new season of Doctor Who is finally here, and it’s a return to form, which is exactly what I wanted. Somehow, returning showrunner Russell T. Davies is changing his approach to Who while retaining his signature style.

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Davies’ original run on Doctor Who (2005 – 2010) leaned too heavily on the monster of the week elements without an overarching storyline tying the plot threads together until the season’s end. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after watching what Steven Moffat did with the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi eras, I hoped the two showrunners would find a way to merge their styles and give us the best of both worlds.

Series 14 sees Davies launch a new era led by Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor, and we’re now seeing more of an overall theme tied into his Monster of the Week episodes and it is glorious! The first episode of the season, titled “Space Babies”, takes the Doctor and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) to a spaceship seemingly run by a group of highly intelligent babies fighting off a snot monster. If that isn’t some Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant nonsense, I don’t know what is.

But baby genius hijinks aside, the episode hints that something about Ruby is special and the Doctor has a mystery to figure out. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season plays out. But I also cannot forget how weird and funny the episode is and it made me realize that I missed that side of Doctor Who.

We’re back and weirder than ever

the doctor and ruby standing side by side
(Disney+)

Davies’ first episode in Eccleston’s run, “Rose”, had mannequins trying to kill people. His take on Doctor Who has always skewed toward the weirder side, which is why episodes like “Blink,” written by Steven Moffat, made such an impact. Davies brings a lighter energy to his monsters and it typically works out for the season.

The sheer oddness and WTF nature of “Space Babies” transported me back to the 2005 era of Doctor Who. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker’s seasons, because I did. But their Doctor Who was a darker, more serious take on the series. Davies brought back that hilarity and weird energy that the Doctor can have.

I hope the rest of this season maintains this balance of serious episodes mixed with the absolute absurdity of something like “Space Babies”, because that is Doctor Who at its best. And God, it feels good having Davies back.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.