FYI – This is my opinion. Just my two cents. I understand that other people have a different view than me and that’s fine. It’s a television show. Just remember that.
It was announced today that Jodi Whittaker will be the 13th Doctor for the long running series Doctor Who. The news was received with mixed feelings. Some applauding the choice while others, not so much. I happen to be one of those people who don’t care for the decision.
Now before you label me a misogynistic woman-hating bigot, let me clear the air on a few things. Since Doctor Who returned in 2005 there have been characters on the series that one would label progressive or counter-cultural. For example the omni-sexual Captain Jack Harkness. Captain Jack likes men, women, robots or pretty much anything he can have relations with. I had no problems because Captain Jack made sense in a show full of various aliens and creatures. Sadly we haven’t seen Captain Jack since Russel Davies quit writing the show. Most recently we have the Doctor’s companion Billy. An inquisitive young college student who just so happens to be a lesbian. Her character makes sense because the Doctor was moonlighting as a college professor and it’s not uncommon to find someone of Billy’s sexual orientation on a college campus. I enjoyed her character and thought it obnoxious that they turned her into a Cyberman. On Battlestar Galactica the character Starbuck was turned from male to female. Katie Sackoff’s depiction of the character made sense and maintained the essence of the character.
What I’m getting at is that I don’t have a problem with characters that are gay, transgendered, gender change or anything else for that matter as long as they make sense in the story. Throwing in characters that don’t make sense or changing a character because you feel like it or want to be progressive does not sit well with me. And that is exactly what they are doing with Doctor Who.
For the past thirty-five years I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who. My father and I used to watch it every Saturday on PBS. I even watched the 1996 made for TV movie, when they tried to bring the Doctor to the US. I was excited when the Doctor came back in 2005 and watched every episode of the Davies run religiously. I started to loose interest when Moffat took over. I found his storytelling sloppy and disjointed. It irritated me that he had such an amazing talent in Matt Smith, yet didn’t seem to know how to write to his strengths. Moffat got better with writing for Capaldi. The trade off was that Doctor Who became more politically charged. I do enjoy sci-fi that allegorizes current events, but there is a difference between challenging the viewers perspective (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) and being outright propaganda. So it doesn’t surprise me that all of this female doctor talk started during Moffat’s tenure as hack writer.
Again, as a fan of Doctor Who for the past thirty-five years I believe I’ve come to know the character. The Doctor I know is a curmudgeonly old man who in a spontaneous urge, stole a TARDIS and never looked back. He stumbled upon a planet called earth and he felt a certain affection for it’s inhabitants. In time he became earth’s protector and on occasion chose a human companion to travel space and time with. Throughout the Doctors 54 year history he has always been the Raggedy Old Man. A few times the doctor has regenerated into someone in their 30’s. Again, that made sense and was explained by William Hurt’s War Doctor. Matt Smith’s Doctor references himself numerous times as the old man with the blue box. It made sense in the overall story. The Doctor regenerating into a woman does not.
So what do I think about Missy (Michelle Gomez)? I think she is an amazing actress and she played a fun character. But the Master regenerating into a female I chalked up as one of Moffat’s crap ideas that would be fixed when he left as hack writer. Some things you overlook and move on. If you watch The Walking Dead you know what I’m talking about.
So what am I getting at? I think the Doctor regenerating into a female goes against the essence of the original character and is a gimmick perpetrated by a creative team that is more interested in integrating their ideological views than staying true to the integrity of the character. George Takei played Sulu on the original Star Trek. In the new movies Sulu is gay. Here is what Takei, a gay man himself, had to say about the change:
I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.
I’m sure the actress they chose to play the Doctor will do a good job. I’m sure the newer fans of the show who think changing genders of a character for the heck of it will enjoy the show too. Me, I don’t plan on watching anymore. For me the Doctor’s story ends there in the snow and ice, where he has a conversation with his original self, closes his eyes and the curtain falls.