I’m going to preface this article with some very simple facts.
- I’m not an old school Whovian (Doctor Who fan). I joined the series at the beginning of Matt Smith’s run.
- I have watched everything from Hartnell to Whitaker (so far) as it was made available to me.
- I do agree that Time Lords can be male or female at any regeneration.
- I enjoyed Missy, probably one of my favorite villains.
- I think there is something to say about tradition.
- I understand that progress should happen, but it should not be forced.
There. Now you get a small idea where I am coming from when I say the following: I’m not too sure I like the latest version of The Doctor.
Now excuse me while I hide. I can almost hear the clicking of keyboard keys as people are already gearing up the usual responses of “You’re a sexist! You only hate her because she’s a woman! You are on the wrong side of history! etc etc etc!” To be honest, I might just be some of those things. However if you remember a small opinion article I wrote for this very site when the announcement was made, you’ll know that I’m firmly in the middle of all this. I welcome the change of Jodie Whitaker into the main role after many decades of males in the role. However I think there is a lot of this being driven by the leftist fearing entertainment industry that will go to insane degrees to convince itself that all females need to be in every lead role for everything these days.
First I’ll explain why I’m torn, then I’ll explain why that scares me.
What brings me to being torn is the whole look of the show so far. Nothing remains of the old series. Thanks to an interview in Variety, the new show-runner Chris Chibnall and his fellow producers are calling this season a “Recruitment Year” for the show. This means that they are doing everything that they can to distance themselves from every single previous version of the Doctor and the show itself in order to bring in a new audience… And it’s working. The BBC has reported that this season so far has had the highest ratings (Though the debut episode only placed 3rd overall. The 9th Doctor’s debut still is number 1) for young girls and woman in years. Good for them. This is the audience that they wanted, an exclusive “No Boys Allowed” club featuring one of the most well know Sci-Fi TV series in history.
But that isn’t what has be feeling like for the first time since I started watching, I could safely skip Whitaker’s run on the show and miss nothing.
Turning on the show for the debut of Season 11 felt like watching someone’s YouTube based fan fiction come to life. The sets are too minimal, the looks too basic and the whole thing just looks like there was no budget used. Then there is the story itself. Episode 1 featured a guy named Carl being the “Chosen One” who is hunted down by an evil alien overlord looking to make his claim to leadership by right of the hunt. Now we spend most of the episode learning about our new companions before getting The Doctor who doesn’t remember a thing yet still knows everything. Whitaker’s Doctor loves anything her female companion says, but quickly dismisses her two male companions as a couple of devolved monkeys. This one sided enjoyment of gender isn’t anything new to anyone who sat through the Capaldi Era. Near the end of the series we saw a huge tonal shift in the show that breaks down to: Women smart, men dumb. Nothing pointed this out more than the terrible Christmas episode where Moffat went out of his way to say goodbye to the series he helped reintroduce to the world by shitting all over the original show and it’s difference in gender and sexual rights. Season 11 however, looks to be taking this and ramping things up beyond 11. Episode 1 as I mentioned features men being nothing but aggressive, angry and dumb; with only the females having enough brains to do anything noteworthy. Episode 2 brings this on even further when Ryan, someone who is well versed in engineering is shoved aside by Whitaker who doesn’t think he has the skills to work out an engine. Not to mention the theme of this episode is “everyone is a winner” with two people who are competing for their very lives are forced to win together because that is what’s “best” during a survival situation. Sure, let’s throw Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” out the window because it’s 2018.
By the time I’ve gone through both episodes with my girlfriend, we are both still very undecided on if we want to continue with Whitaker’s Doctor. The upcoming episode 3 entitled “Rosa” and featuring Rosa Parks and the crew having to “keep history as it should be” while they face off against… Wait for it… A white male aggressor! SHOCK! Horror! Yep, only 3 episodes in and we’re going to dive into Black History month style stories where the white male is the big evil that wants to change history. Now coming off this, my girlfriend and I just looked at each other, partly getting ready to give up on the series. “My biggest problem is that I spent time on my phone” came the words from my Girlfriend. The stories just don’t grip her as they used to; just like they do with me. I’m just not feeling as required to watch every second of the show because it’s going a big stink coming from it. There is a big stink coming from this series and it’s name is Social Justice… And that’s why I’m afraid to give my views publicly.
I have a lot of friends on Facebook and Twitter who do sometimes read this site, but more often than not would see my indecision about siding with or against Whitaker’s Doctor as more along the lines of I’m against the show, therefore I’m a sexist, racist, evil Nazi. You know, the usual outburst of shut down comments from the limited minds of people who cannot accept the fact that their opinion might not be my opinion too. If I go to Facebook first with this mindset, I’ll be met with scorn and hate.
I wish I could freely express my feelings that the stories just aren’t engaging anymore, the characters feel like fan fiction junk, the lack of connection with the previous series and the efforts to go out of the way to avoid mentioning or even hinting at that past just creates a disconnect with me as a viewer. If anything, the fact that Whitaker is The Doctor is probably right down the bottom of the list on complaints I have with this new outlook on the series. To be honest, I don’t mind Whitaker so much at the moment as she comes off as Smith-lite, trying hard to get bad jokes over while being the smartest person in the room at all times. However this isn’t something I want from Whitaker either. This whole thing has been about reinvention, yet the main character comes off as someone else who was far better in the role; almost a second rate hack job.
I always said that with this new Doctor, just like a lot of other heavily promoted female centrist hype, I would judge the show based upon it’s content. That is what I did. So far I’m leaning towards walking away from the series until the next Doctor comes along or maybe a different show-runner is announced. The backstage politics of trying to create a balance between male, female, white, diverse, etc writers in the writing room is leaking heavily into the show. To be honest, that’s not something I want to see with Doctor Who. Sure, the show can somewhat tell stories relevant to modern times, but at the same time Doctor Who is a timeless adventure. Featuring things like Rosa Parks under attack and attacks against African people to be sold as slaves to the Americas (Yes, that’s an upcoming episode. Episode 6: “Demons of the Punjab”) just because people feel a “need” to throw their white guilt all over the screen all the time isn’t going to keep me around. I hate being talked down to like if I say my own opinion that it is wrong due to group-think. If Doctor Who becomes Doctor Leftist Group-think, then I’m out; and it won’t have anything to do with Jodie Whitaker… Except no one will see it that way.