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:

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