Thoughts On The New Doctor

I started watching Doctor Who a few years after “new Who” started, begining with Eccleston and continuing on in order. I liked Nine, but fell in love with Ten. Even though I was still catching up at that point, knew it was coming, and had Matt Smith episodes that I could watch, I went into mourning for a month after he regenerated and refused to watch any of Eleven’s episodes. But I finally did, and I liked him almost instantly.

And then just a few years later he left. By that time I’d caught up with all the episodes, so there wasn’t the assurance of knowing who’d replace him. It was, in many ways, more traumatic than David Tennant leaving because on top of losing a Doctor I loved, I didn’t know who might replace him. It could have been anyone — a woman, an American (the Horror!), a non-Whovian …

… and then it was Peter Capaldi, and I stopped freaking out. That’s when some of my friends started freaking out, though — he’s too old and too grumpy and shouldn’t be trusted with our favorite character. But I had a good feeling about him for some reason.

SPOILER WARNING

I think I was right. It takes a while the first episode after the Doctor regenerates for him to settle into a personality, and he flitted through a few of the old ones before we got a good sense of who he’ll be now (including asking for a very long scarf and screaming “Geronimo”). Still, I think I’m going to like the Doctor this way. And I have very, very high hopes for the upcoming “Robot of Sherwood” episode (I’m a bit obsessed with Robin Hood legends. Actually Medieval things in general).

There’s plenty of in-depth reviews already, so I’ll just touch on a couple things I though were of note …

Steampunk title sequence! Last time they changed the title and music I was upset, but this time I liked it. I suppose the gears are actually supposed to make me think of time and watches rather than steampunk, but who cares — it was cool. Like bow ties.

The cameo appearance of Matt Smith might not have been surprising for some people, but it was for me. And it was splendid. Clara needed it, and I think some of Matt’s fans probably did, too. *cue sobbing*

“Girl In The Fireplace” is my favorite episode, so I loved the parallels here. Well, “loved” in the sense that I liked how it reminded me of this episode even though robots harvesting human beings for spare parts is bloody creepy.

Clara was splendid. There have been rumors floating around that Jenna Coleman will be leaving in the Christmas episode, and I really hope that’s not true. I’ve liked her as a companion, and I like her even more after seeing her stand up to Madam Vastra and try to convince The Doctor that she’s not an egomaniac by shouting “Nothing is more important than my egomania!”

One of my favorite scenes is where the Doctor is talking with a homeless man (didn’t catch his name, but planetclaire.org says it’s Barney) about his new face.

The Doctor: Why this one? Why did I choose this face? It’s like I’m trying to tell myself something. Like I’m trying to make a point. But what is so important that I can’t just tell myself what I’m thinking? I’m not just being rhetorical here. You can join in.
Barney: I don’t like it.
The Doctor: What?
Barney: Your face.
The Doctor: Well I don’t like it either. I mean it’s alright up to the eyebrows. Then it just goes haywire. Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows. You could take bottle caps off with these.
Barney: They are mighty eyebrows indeed sir.
The Doctor: They’re cross. They’re crosser than the rest of my face. They’re independently cross! They probably want to cede from the rest of my face and set up their own independent state of eyebrows. That’s Scot, I am Scottish and I’ve gone Scottish.
Barney: Yes you are. You are definitely Scot sir. I hear it in your voice.

Love the bit of Scottish attitude that’s showing up along with his new accent, and I particularly like the more reflective side we’re glimpsing in this Doctor as he puzzles over why he chose this face — what message his past selves are trying to send him. On the same subject, there’s a particularly heart-tugging line of dialogue at the end where he tells Clara, “You can’t see me, can you? You look at me and you can’t see. Do you have any idea what that’s like? I’m not on the phone, I’m right here. Standing in front of you. Please just… just see me.”

We see you, Mr. Capaldi. And you look like The Doctor. Not my Doctor perhaps, but certainly a Doctor we can learn to love.

12th Doctor Sale going on at my Etsy store until the end of August

 

Hiatus

EDIT: oops — I accidentally scheduled two posts for today instead of an edited version of this one for next Monday (here’s the post meant for today). Oh well. I guess you just get two today 🙂

I’m experiencing an absence of blogging ideas today, so I decided to write about another absence that has showed up in my life recently — new TV episodes to watch. Every show I like is now 1) cancelled or 2) on hiatus.

  • Almost Human — cancelled (not that I was shocked Fox cancelled a sci-fi show I liked after only 13 episodes …)
  • Doctor Who — back in August (new trailer!)
  • Downton Abbey — season 5 is filming
  • Grimm — on hiatus, but renewed
  • Falling Skies — back on June 22
  • NCIS: Los Angeles — on hiatus, but renewed
  • Sherlock — who knows. (BBC wanted a 2014 Christmas special, but there’s scheduling conflicts. Could be years. In other news, the phrase “hiatus intensifies” has come back to Pinterest and Tumbler)
  • White Collar — cancelled, but at least we get a 6-episode final season

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is on hiatus, too, but there are episodes I haven’t watched yet and I still haven’t decided if I like that show or not. It’s been renewed, though, so I’ll have a second season to make up my mind, if need be.

This lack of new episodes isn’t all bad, though — I’ve read a mountain of books. The latest 5 are were Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, Chalice by Robin McKinley,  The House At Riverton by Kate Morton, and  Shadows by Robin McKinley. I’m currently re-reading The Hobbit, and I picked up four more at the library on Friday, all young adult novels. I’m calling it “researching the target audience” for my novels.

 

 

Why The Next Doctor Should Be a Man

If you’re a Whovian, you already know what I’m talking about from my title. If you’re not a Whovian, you are probably going to stop reading right about here, but I’ll explain anyway. Doctor Who is a British sci-fi series celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The main character is an alien and he can “regenerate” instead of dying, hence taking care of the problem of recasting an actor. The 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, will be leaving in the Christmas special this year.

Okay, with that out of the way we can get to the core issue. The past 11 Doctors have been men. Some people want a female 12th Doctor. This is the first regeneration I’ve been through as a Whovian (I started watching with the 9th Doctor, but Matt Smith was the current Doctor at the time), so I didn’t know until now that this has been a debate for years. I honestly don’t think they’ll cast a female Doctor, but I’ve gotten tired of reading the arguments without adding my “two cents worth.”

Bad Arguments

First off, I’ve seen some terrible arguments in favor of the Doctor remaining male. And they’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Oh and by the way. No.

(This is an exact quote. I didn’t add a single “no” myself.) This just makes it sound like you don’t have a rational argument. Probably because you don’t.

It’s “Doctor Who” not “Nurse Who”

Haven’t seen this one myself, but I heard someone griping about it on a podcast. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you’re only argument is a grossly outdated “men are doctors, women are nurses” idea?

It’s like casting a female James Bond

Actually, I like this argument, but I admit it has flaws. For one thing,  you can argue against it pretty easily by saying Bond isn’t an alien. Although some people think he’s a Time Lord, the roles really are different enough to make this one of the weaker arguments.

Good Arguments

Okay, on to the “serious” arguments against turning The Doctor from a Time Lord into a Time Lady.

Time Lord vs Time Lady

I’ve only watched new Who (since 2005, as opposed to classic Who from 1963-1989), but I’ve read enough to say the following with almost 100% certainty: there are Time Lords, and there are Time Ladies. They are as different as male and female humans. As far as I know, the only time we know of a Time Lord regenerating as a female is The Corsair, as mentioned in “The Doctor’s Wife.” Yes, it can happen according to cannon. No, it’s not normal or likely. Gender isn’t nearly as fluid as some people like to think. And all indications are that The Doctor sees himself as a man (1:36-1:40 in this video he is seriously freaked-out that he might have regenerated as a girl), which would make a gender change as problematic for him as it is for the audience.

Bad For Business

Doctor Who is an established show with an established character. The Doctor changes personality a little when he changes faces, but some things remain consistent, including the fact that he is a madman in a blue box who travels with a female companion. Shaking that up too much risks estranging the fan base and sending Doctor Who on another 16 year (or, horror of horrors, a permanent) hiatus. While I don’t trust Steven Moffat not to cast a female Doctor so he can go down in Who history, I don’t think the BBC will let him do that.

“I don’t think I could kiss her”

This is my personal favorite. When asked about the possibility of casting a woman as The Doctor, this is what Alex Kingston said (she plays River, who’s married to the Doctor). I think there are plenty of fan-girls who would agree.

Who Should Be The Next Doctor?

To be honest, I don’t really care who they cast as the next Doctor as long as it’s truly in keeping with the character. And that means it has to be a man. Ethnicity and age don’t even matter, so long as he’s talented enough to develop his own take on the classic character. I don’t have a specific actor in mind, mostly because the actors I’m familiar enough with to know they’d be a good Doctor probably wouldn’t commit to the 9 months of filming required by Doctor Who. It doesn’t have to be someone we recognize — Matt Smith was relatively unknown when he was cast, and turned out to be a great Doctor. I’d prefer if the new actor was British, but I suppose even that’s negotiable.