Doctor Who
The Doctor encounters his most famous foe in the season opener 'Asylum of the Daleks'

Doctor Who returns to our screens for the first time since Christmas Day for five spectacular episodes that script editor Steven Moffat has promised will deliver a "blockbuster every single week".

Now don't be disappointed by the relatively small number of episodes, as after the Christmas special we'll get a further eight episodes to round off the seventh season in 2013 - the 50th anniversary of show.

One of Britain's most iconic programmes, since its relaunch in 2005 Doctor Who has been a phenomenal success for the BBC and galvanised the British public into once again sitting down and watching television as a family. But after so many breathtaking moments last year, from menacing villains The Silence to the wedding of River Song, how can the show possibly get better?

For the sake of symmetry, here are five things to look forward to from the five episodes to be broadcast in the next few weeks.

WARNING - Mild spoilers are contained below...

1 - Familiar foes

Doctor Who has managed to simultaneously appease old fans whilst bringing in a whole new audience through successfully reintroducing some of the Time Lord's old enemies in a modern and compelling way. From The Silurians to the Sontarans, some of the Doctor's best known foes have reappeared, none more vividly than the Daleks.

Just one Dalek on its own is scary enough, but in the season opener, 'Asylum of the Daleks', it appears the Doctor is facing every kind of Dalek that's ever appeared in the show. This could lead to some rather bemusing comparisons between the various incarnations, as modern Daleks fly around whilst those from decades past struggle to get up the stairs.

Moffat stated that his aim was to make the Doctor's familiar foe scary once more:

"There is a tremendous temptation to go kitsch and sweet with the Daleks. You shouldn't. They are insane tanks." With that knowledge, expect the words EXTERMINATE! to be ringing in your ears long after the episode airs.

2 - Blockbuster episodes

The five episodes this year are all standalone features, a sci-fi smorgasbord featuring everything from a cyborg in the Wild West to dinosaurs running amok on a spaceship. The budget has increased for the show year on year, and this has been matched by the writers' ambition to make Doctor Who a real blockbuster on the small screen. Producer Caro Skinner told SFX magazine the aim was for the five episodes to feel as if they were bigger than your ordinary television show:

"We wanted to make it feel as if it was a real movie every week, and they do feel as though they have a big blockbuster quality to them."

The second episode, titled 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' required one of the largest sets to date to house the prehistoric creatures, whereas Moffat notes that the third episode, 'A Town Called Mercy' takes its inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns.

"We knew from the start we need some serious location shooting for this one, and given the most iconic American setting imaginable, there was only one place to go - Spain."

The crew do return to America for the fifth episode, with footage in the trailer below showing the TARDIS landing in one of the most iconic places on Earth, Times Square.

3 - Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Stuff

One of the criticisms of last season in some quarters was the show's increasingly complex storylines. Last year's opener 'The Impossible Astronaut' started with a future version of The Doctor dying, as the audience spent the rest of the season desperately trying to work out how the Time Lord's impending doom could be prevented.

And that's not all. While Amy and Rory's discovery that River was their daughter doesn't sound particularly confusing, the fact that she once was a completely different person who went to school with them is!

Don't be surprised if Steven Moffat once again frazzles our brains with more scattershot storytelling and knotty plots.

4 - Matt Smith wearing a strange hat

First it was the fez, then it was the Stetson; what could Matt Smith's Doctor wear next? Personally I'm hoping for either a trilby (when the doctor visits the IB Times UK offices to discover all journalists really do wear them), or a sombrero, as the Doctor battles alien banditos down in Mexico.

It's not just his fondness for exotic headwear that makes Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor such an eccentric persona. From dipping his fish fingers in custard to turning up with a bag stuffed with cash to pay rent, expect far more baffling moments from the oddball alien this year.

5 - Farewell to the Ponds

Unless you've been living in a cave with your fingers sellotaped to your ears you'll know that this season will be the last we'll be seeing of the wonderful married couple Amy and Rory. The Ponds have quickly become amongst the most beloved companions to journey with the Doctor in the TARDIS, and this is in no small part to their relationship, which feels heartfelt and authentic amongst the silly and fantastic elements that encapsulate Doctor Who.

In the build up to their departure, the BBC website has been showing 'Pond Life', a series of one-minute webisodes about what the couple have been up to between seasons 6 and 7. The fifth episode, set in New York, will be the Pond's final outing, and Skinner admitted many viewers will be left teary-eyed:

"It's an incredible script that Steven's written, and even at the read-through everyone was weeping tears of three years' worth of emotion."

The first episode kicks off this Saturday at 7:20pm on BBC One. I'll be blogging about the series each week by my desk here in the heart of Torchwood Tower (or IB Times HQ). It's time to reunite with the Doctor once more, and witness Amy and Rory's swan song. Geronimo!