'Doctor Who' Season 11 Sacrifices One Popular Episode Format for Another

Doctor Who Season 11 is starting fresh in a big way. Forget Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, and even the frequently used two-parter episode format — for Season 11 anyway. Almost everything is new, but historical episodes are about to make a big comeback in the latest season. This is a time travel show after all.

During a press event on Sunday morning of New York Comic Con 2018, new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chinball, executive producer Matt Strevens, and star Jodie Whittaker each confirmed that the new 10-episode season will exclusively feature new villains and monsters. They’ll also be at least one “historical” episode that moves outside of the United Kingdom.

“You will certainly see that we go around the world this year maybe in a way that some series have been a little bit more U.K.-centric,” Chibnall told press at NYCC. “But our first historical is not a U.K. historical.”

“First historical” definitely implies we could see more than one in Season 11, a sentiment echoed by Strevens.

“One of the great things I’ve always loved about Doctor Who going back to the ‘70s when I first started watching are the historical episodes,” he said. “So Chris has made sure that there’s a really nice smattering of historicals. So we do the historicals, but we do them in our way with a different twist.”

A “smattering”? Could we see three (or more) evenly distributed through Season 11?

Much like the inclusion of three companions for the Doctor in the TARDIS, which hasn’t been the case in decades, a focus on the historical connects with the very foundation of Doctor Who. “It links back to the very first series of Doctor Who,” Chibnall explained.

“They did Marco Polo,” he said. “They did the Aztecs. They did the French Reign of Terror. There’s this golden thread going back to 1963 which is very important.”

When asked whether the new season might explore more of the future or the past, star Jodie Whittaker also said, “I think you’ll get to see both. Without telling you anything, I think the interesting thing is that although some of them are not always new worlds, there are moments in history that haven’t been visited in the Who world before.”

So for any Doctor Who fans who always hoped the show might explore more historical times and places at the global scale, Season 11 seems primed to deliver.

Doctor Who Season 11 debuts October 7 at 1:45 p.m. for a global simulcast.

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