Monday, 8 October 2018

Doctor What?

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

I'm sorry to say that in the rush to rescue a programme with falling ratings, the choices made to alter character development have been somewhat transparent and ill-thought. Jodie Whittaker may be a great actor, she may have proved her acting worth in Broadchurch to the degree that producer Chris Chibnall thinks her ideal for the role of Doctor Who - well, I don't.

This is not a gender argument, for me, Jodie doesn't capture the nuances of the role. I think she is playing the role histrionically rather than allowing herself to give it a fresh interpretation. I think that, and it has been happening for a while, that the characters are all too called upon to show their emotions rather than allow introspection. This is a sign of a paranoid society uncomfortable with addressing their concerns with thought and preferencing fears with emotional reactions masquerading as perception. 

Why is the shift from the Doctor as a man to a woman so controversial? It's not. It's just a poor character development. It's not even a gender argument, why would it be creating Paddington Bear's offspring as little pigs running around London to get into scrapes a bad idea? Why would turning Peter Rabbit raiding gardens into badgers raiding gardens a bad idea? Why would it matter if James Bond was a robot? Why would Alice be better as Tom in Wonderland? Just because it's fiction and it can happen doesn't mean that somehow by stripping the character of its characteristics and essence doesn't effect that character, of course it does. 

The Doctor has male characteristics, and whether you think that we all have differing degrees of characteristics it doesn't mean that we are all a melting pot. Some of us have more of one type of character stereotype than another. It is what makes us individuals and not homogenised neutral beings all easily replaceable by the next person. This is called being an individual. The Doctor is an individual, he/it/she became that individual when William Hartnell stepped out of TARDIS, like it or not that is what you got. From that point onwards you got variations of the same person. That person happened to be a man like Wonderwoman happened to be a woman. Wonderman is yet to hit our screens, I wonder why?

The Woman Who Fell To Earth was contrived to play on these grey areas of self-awareness and identity but in honesty, it contained a rather unbalanced promiscuity of gore. An alien who tore apart human jaws and stuffed their teeth in its face. Okay, so we get some kind of celebration of our social responsibilities to gender representation but instead of equalling that with intelligent "tension writing" in the narrative to encourage kids to leap behind the sofa, we are served with a pseudo-Freddy Krueger-esque alien complete with a Hollywood super villain voice as low as the human laranx can muster. 

To the the writer who penned the title "The Woman Who Fell To Earth", we know you are being a wit but it's so literal it's almost painful to think that you needed to play on The Man Who Fell To Earth to punctuate the transition from the Who character becoming a female. Why not give it a neutral title? Something that doesn't need to spell out the change? 

For me, Doctor Who was long on its way out. I loved the casting choices, despised Moffat's convoluted self-reflexive interpretation of the show but put up with it, appreciated the upgrade in villains, clung to the music, and followed with interest. I hope that Jodie will bow out graciously along with Chinball (I loathe Law and Order) and that the show will be reprised once again with the remarkable brilliance of science-fiction leading its every step. 

Feed me, Seymour!


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