Doctor Who Series 11- Will it Suck?

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The 7th of October is drawing closer and closer, my friends. Doctor Who Series 11 is incoming, and I have talked about it before, but I feel it best to share my opinions one more time before we see what the new show has to bring.

What we know

We know that under the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall (Of Broadchurch fame), a new Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, will take the show in a ‘bold, new, and courageous’ direction. She will be joined by three companions; the first time this has happened since 1981. The new series will not feature Daleks or Cybermen, finally giving the iconic villains a break for at least a year. From interviews, it seems that Chibnall wants the show to be more educational, similar to the original intention of the show from 55 years ago. It will feature new monsters, new characters, and a completely new tone.

What I like

I feel it best to start on the areas I do like, or at least think will be good. Firstly, and most importantly, giving Daleks and Cybermen a break. They need it. The villains have been overused and have become cannon fodder. The fact that we had to bring the latter back in their 1960’s design shows a serious problem with overuse of these aliens, even if I think that World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls were excellent episodes. I like the idea of multiple companions; even if one of them is Bradley Walsh, and indeed the potential of having pure historical episodes in Doctor Who, with no sci-fi shenanigans. Also, no Murray Gold this series. Good.

What I don’t like

Well, pretty much everything else. I admit, sadly, that I was one of the sceptics who criticised Jodie Whittaker, and indeed the concept of, a female Doctor. And, in rare form for me, I admit that I was wrong in that sense. Whittaker is a relatively new actor, and relatively young too, and I applaud the choice to cast her, as I think this role will help make her a big name. My issue is no longer with the concept of a female Doctor. Its the execution so far.

You may have seen a recent promo for the show, whereby a glass ceiling destroys itself to a pop song, and a ‘funny’ reaction from The Doctor saying ‘whoops’, and then a tagline of ‘its about time’. Let’s move away from the potential anti-SJW cuckold arguments of ‘muh show bein taken by the feminazis’ and try to rationally take this BS down. Firstly, the music choice is wrong. Pop music in promos is frankly abysmal. Never use it when promoting a drama. Secondly, the vision of breaking a glass ceiling is very on the nose. Third, the tagline ‘It’s About Time’, its about time that CGI glass falls and lacerates a woman? Damn, BBC. You hate Jodie a bit too much.

I don’t like this promo. It’s on the nose, and has one fundamental flaw: It doesn’t promote the show. It promotes an idea, but not the show. I want to see what the show has to offer with a new cast and new story potential. The promotion has been awful. But the ‘Muh Feminism’ is not my main concern. My main concern is Chris Chibnall.

He’s not a good writer. At all. NitPix did a fantastic video on the 4 Chibnall penned episodes:

I recommend a watch. When Steven Moffat became Showrunner, he had written six episodes for the show (though two were 2-parters), and, before 2010, had adapted a famous book with Mark Gatiss, that book being The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, and was developing Sherlock. Chibnall has written 4 episodes, the most recent of which was 5 years ago. This is the man they chose as Showrunner. Chibnall’s record shows that he lacks compelling characters, especially in Broadchurch. He also tried, and failed to revive Torchwood. And, of course, he wrote…

…Cyberwoman.

I also remind you that Chibnall’s idea of ‘strong, independent woman’ is Nefratiti from Dinosaurs in a Spaceship. Truly creepy. I admit, however, as of the 20th of September, a more full trailer was released, and it is the best promotion that I have seen for the new series so far. Mind you, the pop music is still there, and it is awful. But when I think about the trailer, and I see how good it actually, it just makes me mad how lacklustre the promotion has been.

The promotion and PR have been an unmitigated failure. This is why so many people, fans or otherwise, have been able to attack this new series so effectively. This is why there are so many sexist attacks against Jodie, which I think are unfair. It’s not her fault she was picked, or how she has been promoted. She’s an actor. The promotion, and how the showrunner has ignored and shot down concerns by calling them ‘non-existent’, ‘sexist’, and many other names. If I was the showrunner, I would be taking these people on by telling them that The Doctor is The Doctor, and promising great stories, not by arguing that people are sexist.

So, will it suck?

At this point, when we haven’t seen any of the episodes, no one can make a conclusion, even the naysayers and the disaffected, such as myself. I doubt that I will ever like Chris Chibnall’s work, as his previous episodes for the show have often lacked a clear threat, and have relied on tropes, like countdowns and the likes. The fact he wrote Cyberwoman as well is a big alarm for me; even if the episode has been reassessed over time and has been used in an academic study. Furthermore, the American style production, with a writing team and the first episode acting like a TV pilot for a show that has BEEN RUNNING ON AND OFF FOR 55 YEARS, is another alarm.

Ultimately, you are going to have to watch, even if you don’t like the idea. None of these critics has seen a single episode, and I include myself in that. Will the new series be good or bad? Only time will tell.

About the author

Ben

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

4 comments

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  • Chibnall is not a good writer.
    Broadchurch in spite of a great cast was dreary, and mean spirited.
    Torchwood had some good moments ( good cast) but everybody was killed off including Capt Jacks Grandson. I know happy endings are not akways true to life, but we like them because of that.
    First new Doctor Who had a death.
    Gone from great writers like Gatiss, Moffat and Davies to Chubnall.
    It is not going to work.
    People like myself will not continue to watch.
    Don’t mind female Dr. Who.
    Have been talking about one for years.
    Whitaker. Doesn’t cut it for me.
    Guess she came along with Chibnall.

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