I love”Doctor Who” and I did before it was nerdy kid cool. I was watching it in 2007 while I was living at home and my siblings kept asking me what kind of cheap cheesy PBS show I had gotten into. Of course, that whole sentence is ridiculous but they were teenagers, so we can forgive them. I’ve introduced the show to many friends and family over the years, and yet even for me, a decade plus lover of all things Who, the whole thing has started to feel stale.
I enjoyed Peter Capaldi’s 12th doctor fine enough. There were episodes I enjoyed throughout his run and I think he captured an acceptable version of The Doctor, and yet through no fault of any cast member something has just not captured my imagination like it once did. I’m clearly not the only one, as the 2017 viewer numbers where as low as they had been since the debut of the rebooted version of the show in 2005. I think when that happens, it’s probably time to either call it or blow the whole thing up as much as they can.
It’s clear for the debut of the new, female 13th Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, they opted to blow the whole thing up as much as they could. The rules are still largely the same. Time Lords like the Doctor have the ability to live a very long time, and can regenerate a new body when one has gone capute. And that new body comes with a distinct personality and style. Generally the same moral compass and promise to be The Doctor who does no harm (at least in theory), but it always take them an adventure or two to really figure themselves out. But this time, rather than do what the doctor has always done, namely regenerate into a Caucasian dude, the doctor became a women. A women who can create gadgets and is probably the Doctor most capable of empathy I’ve yet to see.
Some argue the appearance of a female Doctor is a gimmick. Some argue it's a great way to change the pace of a show that has obviously become a little bit tired. Either way, at least for the first episode, it worked, bringing in the shows biggest numbers in the decade. Now whether that was all out of curiosity is yet to be seen. There’s new showrunner, (Chris Chibnall, writer of the internationally popular British show “Broadchurch”) and a group of “companions” traveling with the Doctor, in contrast to the typical one or two “best friends” style companions who have normally been brought along for the ride. So maybe that will equate to a very fresh feeling “Doctor Who”. I’ve got my fingers crossed that those high numbers and the feeling of newness Whittaker seems to have brought to the role are here to stay,
Strange Perspective is a weekly look into pop culture, written by columnist Rachel Strange for the Claremore Progress.