Yesterday while half of nerdom was getting excited about the Game of Thrones season premiere, the other half was freaking out about the announcement of the thirteenth Doctor for Doctor Who. I’ve included the teaser for it below if you’re so inclined.
In case you hadn’t noticed by my avatar, I’m a Doctor Who fangirl. I can’t help it. Back in 2010, when I was really struggling financially, I refused to let myself leave the house. Every time I left the house, I’d spend money. I couldn’t afford cable but I managed to maintain my Netflix account. Netflix, in its infinite wisdom kept recommending the show to me despite my constant avoidance of it. I finally gave in, watching the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccelston. I enjoyed it well enough. It was just, OK. I figured I’d give it another go and started watching the 10th Doctor, David Tennant. From there I was hooked. I loved his bravado and his silliness. I loved the storylines and the action. I just fell in love. I cried like a baby when he left. Then came Matt Smith. Oof. Matt Smith brought with him a ton of emotional depth and range that constantly floored me. His are the episodes that I tend to go back to more often than anyone else. Then came Capaldi. After Tennant and Smith, Capaldi was a bit of a letdown for me. He was definitely the Doctor, but I felt like I lost a little something when he came around.
Every time the Doctor regenerates, fans all over the world start thinking about what they would want to see in their next iteration of their favorite character. For a while now there has been a call for the Doctor to become a woman, or literally any other ethnicity than Anglo-Saxon. I’ve never given much thought to what the Doctor looked like so much as I always just wanted the right actor for the role. It’s a daunting task to cast a character that has been in the public mind for 50+ years.
When the announcement was made yesterday that Jodie Whittaker would be taking over the role of the Doctor I was overjoyed. It didn’t even register that they were switching the Doctor’s gender at first. I was just excited because I love Jody Whittaker. Having followed her on Broadchurch the last few years, I have already seen what she’s capable of. She’s going to be Dynamic as the Doctor. Her gender has nothing to do with it for me.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of people online who were pissed that they changed the gender of the Doctor. Fans everywhere started the hate immediately. Many felt the gender swap was against cannon. Many felt that the show runners were kowtowing to political correctness and inclusion. Many were just blatantly rude and misogynistic about how much they hated the idea of a female Doctor. There was no assuaging these naysayers. These people would not have been happy with anyone chosen. Perhaps some of their points are valid. It’s all going to depend on the writing and production that accompany the new Doctor. It always seems to go like this though. One of the arguments I saw along the way is that they were upset that the show runners opened up the cannon to allow for more than the standard number of regenerations. I guarantee you that had they kept the original number and let the show end, they would have been more upset. Some times there's just no winning with people. i genuinely don't understand why there's an issue with the gender switch. I'm actually happy they did it. By casting a woman and changing the gender of the character, even if only temporarily, it opens an entirely new dynamic to a character and universe that is already rich and nuanced. The new layers will only add to the series.
I for one, am incredibly excited. I feel great about the choice, not because she’s a woman, but because I believe her to be the best actor for the job. What do you think fellow Whovians? Are you as excited as I am or are you upset with the choice?