With the arrival of Tales of the TARDIS, Doctor Who has set about redressing past narratives and enriching the lore of the franchise. This new chapter marks an evolution, particularly in addressing disparities from Jodie Whittaker’s last chapter as the Time Lord in The Power of the Doctor. It’s evident that the Whoniverse is undergoing a restoration of sorts, an initiative helmed by returning showrunner Russell T Davies that is already making waves among fans and critics alike.
Per Screen Rant, the first in the revitalization effort is the recognition of Tegan and Nyssa’s relationship. Once subjects of mere speculation, the companions of the Fifth Doctor have now been rightfully acknowledged in canon, a development many enthusiasts have awaited since the pair’s escapades in the 1980s. This solidification of their bond, once sidelined, now shines in the narrative, acknowledging the layered lives these characters lead. The subtlety with which Tales of the TARDIS handles Tegan’s reference to Nyssa – a clear nod to their romantic connection – speaks volumes to the care the new era is taking to right the ship, especially after the vague allusions in Whittaker’s finale that left many feeling cold.
Additionally, The Passenger, a short film within the Doctor Who anthology, utilizes Tegan’s profound connection with Nyssa to elevate the storytelling, cementing their relationship through both struggle and affection. By delving into the intricacies of its characters, the series has been rejuvenated, offering a satisfying closure to arcs that have spanned years.
The treatment of the Seventh Doctor’s dynamic with Ace also received a thoughtful recalibration. The lack of resolution and acknowledgment of past mistreatment was a missed opportunity in Whittaker’s final appearance. Tales of the TARDIS, however, doesn’t shy away from confronting the complexities of their relationship, casting a more introspective and penitent Seventh Doctor who finally addresses the manipulation and secrecy that once tainted their partnership. This candid admission opens a path for healing and growth, adding layers to The Doctor’s persona and offering a more profound connection for the audience.
Where The Power of the Doctor introduced a companion support group – a concept that received a lukewarm reception – Tales of the TARDIS elevates this idea with the Memory TARDIS. More than just a place of reunion, it stands as an interactive archive, a sacred space where former companions and Doctors can congregate, reminisce, and find solace. It’s an imaginative leap from the original notion of a support group, transforming it from a quaint gathering into an expansive experience that’s both communal and intimate.
The Memory TARDIS serves not just as a sanctuary for past companions, but as a symbol of the series’ ongoing evolution. Where the previous iteration depicted The Doctor’s companions as needing a form of group therapy, the new approach repositions them as active participants in a larger narrative, engaged with their own histories and with the Doctor as a central figure in their processing.
These deliberate shifts indicate a forward momentum for Doctor Who, a recognition that the essence of the show is not static but ever-changing. As the 60th anniversary approaches, the series seems to be embracing its heritage while simultaneously crafting a future that acknowledges where it has been, who has been a part of the story, and how each thread contributes to the grander design of its universe.
Tales of the TARDIS goes beyond rectifying former shortcomings; it’s an assertion of the show’s ongoing evolution, a testament to the enduring and expanding legacy of Doctor Who.