Is a Completely Revamped Doctor Who Really a Good Idea?
We get it, Chris. You're not Moffat, but you don't have to let go of everything.
New Doctor Show showrunner Chris Chibnall is saying there will be no River Song, no Daleks, and no Missy in upcoming season of Doctor Who, to which I say, “But why?” The entire modern-day series, from Christopher Eccleston’s start as the Ninth Doctor in season 1, has relied on the nostalgia of the original decades of Doctor Who, as well as introduced enduring fan favorites.
According to Syfy, Chibnall is saying that the show “will be all about the new” and serve as a “clean slate” to viewers who may just now be joining the audience. Growing Who‘s audience is a great goal, but Doctor Who is a show with an extensive history in fandom and an incredibly rich official canon developed over the course of more than 800 episodes. To say “we’re focusing on the new” is, honestly, not my favorite move coming from Chibnall. Many of us dropped in at extremely different seasons and points in time and were fast able to determine what a Dalek was.
They’re already changing a major aspect of the show with Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, and I say this as someone who wanted nothing more than a female Doctor for quite some time. So to not include some of the most iconic aspects of the show feels like it’s moving Whittaker away from the Doctor as we know the Doctor, rather than centering her firmly as the Doctor. Chibnall has also asserted that we’ll see no Cybermen or Weeping Angels, either, among other well-known characters.
Taking the Daleks (or any of the Doctor’s past villains) entirely out of the equation almost feels like Chibnall is trying to make a brand new show. Sure, Doctor Who needed a breath of fresh air, but at the end of the day, it should still be Doctor Who. We should come into the show and be excited to see the Doctor go to new places; that won’t change.
But the looming threat of the Daleks should always be on our minds while we are watching the show. Or else, Chibnall at least could have left us guessing about who would or would not be making an appearance. He has a real chance to create his own new iconic characters and villains here, which is exciting, but that doesn’t have to mean nostalgia is out.
Honestly, having a River/Thirteen storyline would be absolutely revolutionary for the show, equally so if they kept Missy involved. Cutting off both the characters feels like the show just doesn’t want a female Doctor to have a wife. (Something we’ve already caught a whiff of.) It possibly means that they’re not interested in having many female characters as the focal point of the show, though of course, we’ll have to see where Chibnall takes the TARDIS.
Up until now, modern Who has always been the Doctor with a female companion, with the occasional other man thrown in. Very rarely has there more than one female character as a main player and, with the exception of Jenny Flint and Madame Vastra, there hasn’t been as much queer representation as there could have been prior to Bill’s introduction in season 10. This was the show that gave us Captain Jack Harkness in 2005, after all.
Ultimately, this is Chris Chibnall’s show, and he can do with it what he likes; we are definitely rooting for him. We could not be more thrilled about Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, but we kindly ask that Chibnall and Co. remember that this is Doctor Who, and Doctor Who is a show that many have loved for years. Taking away the Daleks, River, The Master/Missy, and more leaves us unsure about what’s coming next, when we want to be 100% jumping up and down about it.
(via SYFY, image: BBC/Screengrab)
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