Doctor Who rant: Critiques and Responses

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So, here we go, another Doctor Who rant. This time, not about casting, but more about the criticism of the new and bold direction the show seems to be taking when it hits TV screens in Autumn in 2018. Needless to say, reaction to these changes has been mixed, much like the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor. A lot of people are criticising the critics. Let’s talk about that.

A lot has happened since the summer of 2017. Not only do we know who the new Doctor is, but we know she is going to have 3 companions at once, a first for the new show. This is something I actually like, and with a mixture of ages as well, it should make an interesting dynamic (Though I am still not sure on Bradley Walsh). Today, the BBC unveiled the first picture of the new Doctor’s outfit and the newly redesigned TARDIS exterior. The latter I do like, but the costume is bad.

The TARDIS seems to resemble the version used in theĀ  70’s and 80’s, with black signs, though the St. John’s Ambulance logo is seemingly gone. For shame. As for the costume, they have created something that is meant to be androgynous, and that’s good at least. But I really don’t like it.

First of all, I think the colours are too muted. This seems to be the trend with most of the recent costumes, since Eccleston. The colours are too dark and muddy. The 11th Doctor’s costume was a step in the right direction, with purples and blues, but this new costume is too brown for me. Also, the coat looks silly, it looks like she is wearing it wrong. It also doesn’t really fit with the rest of the costume in my opinion. I’ve seen fan art of what fans speculated the new costume to be like, and frankly, they were better. I wouldn’t have minded if she wore a suit, it’d be dull, but it’d be good. All in all, I am rather displeased with it. Fortunately, it’s not what I have to wear, so good for me.

This brings me to the main point of my post, namely criticism and counter criticism. I have been a critic of the show since the announcement of Chibnall as showrunner and the casting of Whittaker. Chibnall’s episodes for me have been weak to bad for me. I get that he did Broadchurch, and that was well liked, but his actual Doctor Who work is rather dull and worthy. Whittaker would not have been my choice for a female Doctor. I didn’t want a female Doctor, but rather than complain about her lack of a Y chromosome, I will share my better arguments against her. She is not a good actress in my opinion. Casting her feels, to me, like RTD casting David Tennant; going with someone he has worked with rather than someone new and different. I wanted a female Doctor to be played by Lindsay Duncan. She would have been excellent.

My criticism is rather reasonable, but I and others who disagree or have dissenting opinions, are considered to be ‘crybabies’, moaners, and therefore wrong. People who say that do not realise that this show has a nerdy, passionate, and widespread fanbase. Of course, there are going to be lots of opinions. Opinions on the new show direction have been mixed, which is understandable as this is a big change for the show, like when Moffatt replaced RTD. Fan reaction has been very mixed, with a skew towards negative.

I want to make this clear, saying you disagree with a Doctor with XX Chromosomes is not a watertight argument. I agree that women should have their own new role models; rather than changing long-standing role models. Telling people to change their views because ‘they’re crybaby moaners’ is as big of a problem. People dislike things you might like, and that’s life. Sometimes, those negative views will be the majority (Ghostbusters 2016), or the minority (Wonder Woman). This is a big change to the show, and it is going to alienate a lot of people, and perhaps peek curiosity in others. I just want the stories to be good, as Series 10 was the best series; as a whole, in a while.

And to the BBC, you have made a big change to Doctor Who, your crown jewel in foreign exports and merchandising. This show is up there with Sherlock in terms of the brand recognition. You have made a big change, so don’t alienate people. People were bent out of shape when Top Gear changed, which slashed viewers in half and led to you having to sack one of your main hosts and retool the show. I think you’re setting yourself up for problems if you don’t keep the show accessible to the loyalists, those who have been there since the start, the fiercest nerds, the people who make up fan theories about Season 6B, and why the Seal of Rassilon is used by other alien races. This is a big change. You are gambling, so put on your poker face and raise your bet.

 

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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