More on Doctor Who Spin-Off Thinking

A couple of weeks ago, I mused on potential Doctor Who spin-offs.

I’m not the only one. SyFy’s Blastr website yesterday posted an article on the five modern Who characters who deserve spin-off series:

  • River Song
  • Liz X
  • Canton Everett Delaware III
  • Sally Sparrow
  • Martha Jones

Let’s set aside the fact that the last two won’t happen — Carey Mulligan has a movie career, and Freema Ageyman is working on Law & Order: UK. What about the other three?

I’d have no problems with any of the first three. But to me, two of them — River Song and Canton — would have series that are, essentially, Doctor Who without the Doctor.

There’s a discussion thread about the article at TrekBBS, and I wrote a comment that, due to the bulletin board’s maintenance, wasn’t posted, but fortunately I was able to snag the comment from the website form. Here’s what I wrote:

The Sally Sparrow concept would be interesting, though it won’t happen because Carey Mulligan is busy with other things. I’d probably recast it as a Spaced-esque sitcom, though. For that matter, you could do an Office-style sitcom with Donna Noble, the best temp in Chiswick. Or a college sitcom with a pre-regeneration Mels from “Let’s Kill Hitler.”

If you get the idea that I think the next spin-off should be a sitcom, you’re right. You can’t just do “Doctor Who without the Doctor”; that road leads to diminishing returns. You need to think outside the box completely.

That said, I wouldn’t object to a period 1970 Canton series (or special), though I’d probably do it as a Torchwood 1970, with Jack.

If you’re going to do a Martha series, drop the alien hunting completely. Have her join Doctors Without Borders or do something freelance like that, and she gets involved in medicine and politics in sub-Saharan Africa. Show Martha making a difference to make the world a better place.

Michelle Ryan’s Lady Christina de Souza would also be awesome. You could do a Modesty Blaise-style criminal caper series, with her always one step ahead of the law, and she has a UST relationship with the Interpol agent who knows she’s up to no good but can’t prove it.

The other thought that occurs to me.

You don’t need a spin-off that can run for years and years. Most of the Blastr ideas seem like ideas that could run for a while. Maybe the approach should be a series of six episodes that runs for a single year. Concepts set in the Doctor Who universe, like my oft-stated wish for a Madame de Pompedour Masterpiece Theatre-style costume drama.

Hell, you know what I would do? (And it’s totally different than the idea I alluded to here, by the way. Or my wish for an Abslom Daak series.) Option Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade, and turn that into a Doctor Who universe story. Start it out as a sequel to “The Time Warrior.” What if Linx sent out a distress signal before he died, and what if a Sontaran ship, contemporary to the Middle Ages, visits Earth to investigate? The Sontaran lands in England, he gets overwhelmed, a bunch of knights investigate his ship, and then…

They’re whisked off into space!

Then, for a couple of episodes, we have some 13th century knights against the might of the Sontaran war machine, and the series follows their wacky adventures!

That’s thinking outside the box. :h2g2:

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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