Doctor Who: New Doctor, New Showrunner, New Lease of Life
I’ll start by saying I am not a massive Doctor Who fan in the sense that I only started watching episode after episode midway through David Tennant’s spell as The Doctor so I don’t have a particularly long history with it. I know that fans have been up and down with it over the years with memorable episodes and villains and some not so impressive villains.
In the short list of Doctors I have watched on screen, I do have an order of favourites but there have been none I have disliked. Jodie Whittaker continues that trend with her likeable, geeky Doctor similar to Matt Smith and certainly more joyful than Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
Of course, some people argued that a re-generating time-travelling alien who just so happens to take human form couldn’t be a woman as it wasn’t ‘traditional’ (the tradition of not giving women big roles it would seem) so it was nice that she fit the role so well. She is just The Doctor and acts as The Doctor does with her own little spin on it rather than painting the TARDIS pink as some idiots feared.
Her companions are all likeable as well and are a diverse bunch but they all serve a purpose, no-one is there to fit a checklist of diversity and no-one is there to serve as a stereotype of their age, race or religion. I would say Ryan is the weakest companion but that sounds harsh; it is only because Yas and The Doctor have a chemistry while Graham is the most entertaining one whoever he is talking to.
In previous years, Doctor Who had become a bit of a chore for me to watch. There were some memorable episodes but too often, they were overshadowed by an overly-complex story that ran throughout the whole series where half of the time, I didn’t really understand what was going on and I didn’t care about it enough to find out. I know there can be a lot of complexity when it comes to the consequences of time travel but this latest season showed that simpler is better. I stopped watching at the beginning of Peter Capaldi’s final series as The Doctor because I knew a change in the writing was coming.
There’s a notable change in tone and storytelling now that Broadchurch creator and writer Chris Chibnall is the new showrunner. It is clear that the show has more of a focus on the human interactions to create a lot of the drama which plays to Chibnall’s strength. I was sceptical at the Doctor having three companions but this writer was probably the right choice to make sure they all get their fair share of lines, good lines and that they all interact well with each other.
While some of the episodes may not live too long in the memory, it is nice to watch episodes that aren’t a convoluted mess, an episode that is simply enjoyable and interesting to watch rather than causing major headaches. Personally, I always like episodes during significant historical periods on earth where some kind of supernatural being can be attached to the causes of an event and so the show delivers on that front.
I know there are a lot of people who take Doctor Who much more seriously than me and watch it with more passion but as a casual fan, it’s nice to watch a more simplified, streamlined sci-fi adventure which usually has a feel-good or bittersweet ending. Also, they only mentioned reversing the polarity once in this whole season which was nice to hear, especially as it seems like a tongue-in-cheek solution, rather than it always being the answer to every unsolvable problem.