No matter who ends up playing the next Doctor, there are a few things diehard fans of the show would like to see, whether it's returning monsters, companions, or episode settings. Regeneration is a great way for the show to be refreshed and brings in new energy along with whichever new actor takes up the role. Let's look at a few things, old and new, that would be great for the Fourteenth Doctor to tackle.
The show hasn't included many historical settings in recent seasons, and the Fourteenth Doctor's run should bring them back. Some of the best episodes of the revived series have been those set in distinct time periods, often with famous historical figures along for the ride. Episodes such as "The Fires of Pompeii," "The Unquiet Dead," and "Vincent and the Doctor" all became instantly classic episodes due to their setting and subversion of a familiar historical setting and event and inclusion of famous figures.
"The Unquiet Dead" was both spooky and featured a pre-fame Charles Dickens, while "The Fires Of Pompeii" created empathy for the people of Pompeii who had their lives cut short. The episode "Vincent and the Doctor," with its focus on Vincent van Gogh and mental health, has become one of the shows' most beautiful and beloved episodes. The Doctor has access to all of the universe's history, and it would be great to see that being utilized more instead of focusing solely on future and space-based storylines.
Along with historical plot lines, it's time for Doctor Who to be scary again. Genuinely scary, not just for children scary. Episodes like "The Impossible Planet," "Midnight," and "Hide" from the revival series, as well as episodes like "The Awakening" and "The Curse of Fenric" from the classic show are nightmare fuel for children and adults alike. Even hardcore horror fans were frightened by the mimicking monster from "Midnight." While the revival series has had some excellent horror-themed episodes, it has been a few years since a genuinely frightening new story has had viewers hiding behind the sofa.
Speaking of "Midnight," solo Doctor adventures are hugely underutilized in newer episodes, and can be an excellent way to create creepy or suspensegul stories. In "Midnight," The Doctor boards a tourist shuttle on the planet of Midnight to view a waterfall of sapphires, leaving Donna behind to lounge by the pool. On his own, The Doctor is faced with a terrifying entity trying to board the shuttle from the supposedly uninhabited planet. As the thing takes hold of a passenger and eventually begins to steal The Doctor's voice, the passengers quickly turn on him and each other in fear. It is a genuinely tense and fraught episode, showing The Doctor alone without the buffer of a companion in what is very nearly a hopeless situation, and it changes the dynamic of the episode and relationships within. Depending on what the Fourteenth Doctor brings to the character, it could be fascinating to see what a solo venture brings out in them.
Speaking of character development, there's also a great opportunity for Fourteen to have a companion that would be out of time to a current audience. Dropping the Doctor and a contemporary companion into strange, futuristic, or past situations is all well and good, but throwing an Edwardian chimney sweep into the year 2022 would be a fun fish-out-of-water perspective, one that hasn't been explored in the revived series yet. Better yet, making the new companion a time-displaced alien learning about human life and culture for the first time is a great way to hold up a lens to human stories and create relatable characters and stories.
Most importantly for the Fourteenth Doctor, though, is that their character progression is not erased in their upcoming adventures. Yes, a show about time, space, and a mad alien with a hero complex randomly popping up to change things does leave scope for a lot of retconning and timeline changes. However, finally having a canon female Doctor was a huge stride forward for the show and its audience. While the companions on the show have often been female, especially in the revival series, and have been generally well-written and strong characters, there has still been the distinct smack of damsel in distress. Too often, the companion has been a lovesick or awe-struck girl following the Doctor around to the ends of the Universe. Having The Doctor change gender, and showing their joy at experiencing something new and embracing the change wholeheartedly, is an incredible step forward for being a role model to young people in the audience.
Doctor Who is a show about acceptance no matter where you come from, who you are, or who you want to be. Keeping that at the core of the new Doctor is part of what will keep the show growing and changing. Incorporating new ideas and bringing older ideas back in new ways is how Fourteen can inject new life into the show and keep it bringing timey wimey adventures to living rooms for years to come.