Editorial: Unlucky 13–My Problems With Jodie Whittaker

jodie whittakerWell, it happened. A couple weeks ago, the new Doctor was announced. And it’s Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to ever play the role. And what happened? Exactly what I predicted. This is why I didn’t want a 13th Doctor. This is why I said it would kill the show. Many fans are rage quitting, although some don’t care. And Radio Times is saying “If you don’t accept her, you’re not a real fan.” (Real smooth) Some fans like myself are claiming that Doctor Who is once again caving in to pressure from special interest people and giving in to the new gender politics. Some of my fellow Christian fans of Doctor Who have considered this the final betrayal and are giving up on the show entirely. I’m conflicted myself.  As I said, I didn’t want this. But I also said I’d watch to see if I’m proven wrong.

First, let’s refute some arguments. No, I don’t have a problem with a female lead. I currently watch Bones, Supergirl, and Jessica Jones.  And one of my favorite Star Trek spin-offs was Voyager.

I also don’t mind gender swaps when they work. The Doctor Strange movie had Tilda Swinton playing The Ancient One, who was originally male in the comics. That idea wouldn’t have worked in the movie, because he was stereotypically drawn to look like the typical Asian character–Fu Man Chu mustache, yellow skin, you know the look. That would’ve led to more problems, and Swinton was up to the challenge. Voltron: Legendary Defender changed Pidge into a girl named Katie Holt, who now uses Pidge as an alias. This was fine because the original Pidge was an androgynous effeminate boy, so I think making her a tomboy works better.

No, my problem is that I perceived the Doctor’s masculinity as part of his character. To all you women who love this idea, I want to ask you something. Let’s say they rebooted the Alien movies, and had Vin Diesel playing Ellen Ripley. That would be a bad idea because the whole point of those movies is that Ellen, a woman, is saving the day instead of a man. It’d reduce the movies to a generic sci-fi action flick and nullify its significance.

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Editorial: Top 10 Best Writers

In the 50+ years Doctor Who has been on the air, the show has had many great writers. While some have only made a minimal impact on the show’s history, others like Terry Nation and Russell T. Davies have made lasting contributions to the mythos.  For this editorial, I’ll be counting down the best writers.

Note: Writers must have written at least two episodes for the show. Also, I am not including writers such as Neil Gaiman who have a large body of work besides Doctor Who. In the case of Gaiman, his work is too vast to focus solely on his two stories for Doctor Who, no matter how much I like them.

sarah dollard

10. Sarah Dollard (Best stories: “Face the Raven”, “Thin Ice”)

When Peter Capaldi became the 12th Doctor, Moffatt wanted to take the show in a darker direction and hired several new writers. While Sarah hasn’t been on  the show as long as the others on this list, I really hope she sticks around.

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9. Toby Whithouse (Best stories: “School Reunion”, “The God Complex”, “Under the Lake/Before the Flood”)

Toby Whithouse seems able to take familiar formulas used in Doctor Who and use them in new unique ways, as seen in “The God Complex” and “Under the Lake/Before the Flood”.

mark gatiss

8. Mark Gatiss (Best stories: “Invaders From Mars”, “The Unquiet Dead”, “Robot of Sherwood”)

Mark Gatiss is one of the many writers that Russell T. Davies brought on from Big Finish, and while he’s not always written a good story (“The Idiot’s Lantern” is one of his less-inspired stories), he’s always managed to entertain and show Doctor Who‘s lighter side.

douglas adams

7. Douglas Adams (Best stories: “The Pirate Planet”, “City of Death”)

Douglas Adams is actually more well-known for his writings outside of Doctor Who, such as his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. His unique brand of humor is still felt on the show thanks to the writings of Mark Gatiss and Russell T. Davies.

paul cornell

6. Paul Cornell (Best stories “Loup-Geroux”, “Human Nature/Family of Blood”, “Father’s Day”)
Another Big Finish contributor and he also worked for the show during Davies’s tenure as show-runner. I think what makes Cornell such a great writer is that he can combine both the human and alien aspects of the Doctor.

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Enough Complaining!

I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since the 80’s, back when it aired in the United States on PBS affiliates. They’d do it different ways. Some did each episode of each serial in the actual 30 minutes, while others would run 2 or 3 episodes in a block, or even the entire story uninterrupted. For the longest time, this was the way to watch Doctor Who for Americans like myself. And it wasn’t just Doctor Who. PBS also ran other British programs like Blake’s Seven, Red Dwarf, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Black Adder, and Keeping Up Appearances.

These days, Satellite companies have BBC America, which is basically the same idea, when it’s not showing reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Doctor Who ran for quite a long time, starting in 1963 until it was cancelled at the end of the 80’s.

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Editorial: Why I Don’t Want a Female Doctor

It’s been revealed that series 10 will be Peter Capaldi’s final series as the Twelfth Doctor. I’ll be sorry to see him go. We’re also getting Chris Chibnall as the new show-runner, with Moffatt stepping down. I’m sorry to see both of them go (yes, I said it. I still like what Moffatt did. I’m entitled to that opinion.). As with every time the actor exits, we get speculation about who will take the helm next. Some even think someone who had the role originally might come back. And then there’s talk that we may get our first female Doctor. Here’s why I don’t think that’s a good idea.

First of all, it’s not a new idea. It’s happened before, in a Comic Relief sketch called “The Curse of the Fatal Death” (which was actually the first Doctor Who-related thing Moffatt ever wrote). It was all done for parody, and I don’t think we should take a cue from that.

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Doctor Who Starting Points

Doctor Who has been on for over fifty years. Starting a show that’s been on that long seems daunting, especially when you consider how many actors have portrayed the Doctor, and how many writers, producers, etc. have worked behind the scenes. For this reason, I’m presenting four possible starting points and the pros and cons of each one.

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  1. “An Unearthly Child”–starting with the first episode seems the most logical place. The problem is many of William Hartnell’s episodes are still missing. Also, some concepts that later defined Doctor Who’s mythos aren’t present, such as the Doctor having two hearts, the sonic screwdriver, or UNIT. Those come in later eras.

spearhead-from-space

2. “Spearhead From Space”–this is the first episode to be filmed in color, and starred Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. It’s a great starting point and will introduce you to UNIT and its commanding officer, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. (Although technically, both were introduced in Troughton’s era.) Of all the eras, Pertwee’s era has the most earthbound stories, as the show was finding ways to work with the limited budget. Beginning with “The Three Doctors”, the show becomes less earthbound. The Master is introduced in this era, portrayed by Roger Delgado, in the episode “Terror of the Autons”. While some of the episodes’ colorized versions are missing, the black and white prints still exist, and I hear some of those have been retouched so that they are now colorized.

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Why BBC America Should Run Classic Who

Welcome to a new feature for my blog. Each month, I will post an editorial.

Because I live in the United States, I watch Doctor Who on BBC America. It’s no longer on Netflix, and Hulu is no longer offering a free service. Thus, my only means of watching Doctor Who is BBC America. I don’t like it, but I deal with it.

My main gripe with BBC America is that most of the time, it’s a rerun channel. I don’t mind reruns, but here I think some thought must be put into things. BBC America is a British channel. Yet, what reruns do I see? Star Trek: The Next Generation, CSI Miami, and other Star Trek programs. It seems like the only British shows I see rerun are Doctor Who and Planet Earth. Do you know where else I can watch those shows I mentioned? I can watch Star Trek on Netflix. CSI Miami shows on USA and I think TNT. That’s not right. And when Doctor Who does show, it’s the revival version. American programs do not belong on BBC America!

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