Showing posts with label Dr Who. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr Who. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This is the End of Doctor Who as we know it...

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

We have come to an end of an era!

The Doctor was always a male character; it was an essential and foundational part of who the character was and the story of Doctor Who followed certain patterns because of this. Now, because they have fundamentally altered the character it is no longer Doctor Who as we knew it. It will become something... different. It can never be what it was even if after this iteration they go back to a male character.

I look at it this way: For a character to have genuine value, that character has to have a few consistent core characteristics. When those core characteristics are fundamentally changed, the character is irrevocably changed. So all of this talk about the Doctor being a man or a woman changes the essence of the character. What was once reliable and understood now becomes unrecognizable and distracting. Granted there are revelations and secrets revealed over the course of a character’s story arc that alters them, but without the core foundation fans have come to recognize, the story becomes convoluted. Also, if gender change was so easily manipulated in this character's race, why hasn't this been addressed in any serious way before? I know some will mention the last season or two as a fact that supports this change, but really, that shoehorned in bit of reconning seems disingenuous. That’s another thing that makes this move so jarring and unsettling.

Why does a character, who for 50 plus years being presented one way now has to change so radically? Why do you think Captain America fans were outraged when he turned out to be a Hydra agent? True fans feel betrayed on a fundamental level. Not because they are gender biased or bigoted, but because they were devoted to a character that was presented in a way they identified with. Then the rug was pulled out from under them and the character they cherished and loved for so long, because they had the core characteristics they loved, was essentially dead. That's what has happened here.

I have no ill will toward female centered stories. EllenRipley is
one bad-ass you do not want to mess with, partly because of her gender. And no one I know of has suggested rebooting Aliens with Eric Ripley or worse yet making another Aliens movie in the same cinematic universe and just cloning the now dead character as a man, because 'it's about time' as it's been said for Doctor Who.

Wonder Woman is an extreme example of female power that has dominated comics for years. One of the defining, and endearing characteristics of Wonder Woman is that she IS a woman. Her battle for righeousness and justice is in part framed and influenced by her feminity and there is nothing wrong with that. But there's no clamor to alter her gender. 

What really bothers me is the fact that those in power at the BBC and Doctor Who felt it necessary to usurp an already established character to implant a new paradigm. That to me is lazy writing. Why not introduce a new strong, dominant female character that has a chance to become a full-fledged independent character all on her own without a crutch of 50 years of character lore? Hmm? Or perhaps reintroduce a strong, well-liked character that is already established, like Romana? Is that some kind of subconscious admission that a female character can’t or couldn’t hold their own in a male centered Whovian universe? I think Ellen and Diana would disagree.

I remember a long time ago when Tom Baker jokingly suggested the idea of a female Doctor. I found the quip trit and silly then, and now I find the actual change irritating for more than just what some people might call gender bias (the aforementioned lazy writing for one). We could talk about this ad nauseam but it really comes down to established norms and character expectations. If this gender bending was a mainstay of the character from the beginning, or introduced or even hinted at long ago, it would be easier to identify with that aspect of the character. 

Doctor Who as we've known it is forever gone. Whatever comes next will be new, a variation, an alteration, some perhaps would say an aberration, but not a continuation.

Thanks for reading.
Comments are always welcome. 

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