“Oh, Brilliant!” – these were the first words uttered by the brand new 13th Doctor last Christmas after she regenerated from her 12th incarnation. Based on the footage we’ve seen from the upcoming series of the BBC show and early reviews, it seems that line could also reflect how great this new era just will be for Doctor Who and the Whovians who love the franchise. But just why should we be excited for a show that’s been running for 55 years? – well, I’ll tell you!
For the first time in the show’s history, the Doctor is a woman. Not only has this had an immense impact on women and young girls throughout the world, but the casting has also helped reignite the interest of many people who may not have watched the show beforehand or tuned out during the more connective throwback Moffat era. Jodie Whittaker, our new Doctor is also a fantastic actor in her own right with outstanding performances in Chris Chibnall’s other hit project Broadchurch, which allowed her to show off how well she can tackle a dramatic storyline and films including Attack the Block, another beloved sci-fi project.
With stories set to delve into eras such as the rule of James I of England, it will be interesting to see how the Doctor reacts to certain events and stereotypes through a different lens. Jacobean England was wrapped up in the Witch Trials and James I himself wrote a book that supported the idea that witches were indeed a threat to be dealt with. Of course, with the Witch Trials effectively being an opportunity to execute women of any age of being a witch just for having a mind of their own, intelligence, or simply for disagreeing with you, how will the Doctor view this from a fresh POV. Alan Cumming (Goldeneye, X-Men 2) announcing that he will be playing James I, it’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of the Doctor – perhaps mistaking her for a witch?
But most of all, it’s Jodie’s innate glee in playing the role that seems to beam from her characterization. In such a dark time, it feels so good to see a lead woman with a positive outlook doing what’s right because it’s…well, the right thing to do.
As many Whovians know, every time a new era hits the show – we see the new showrunner’s mark come across by revamping major themes, designs, and status-quos, including the TARDIS. We saw the last major TARDIS revamp back in 2010 when the St John’s Ambulance sticker was re-applied. However, that’s gone again! – the exterior now sports a darker blue colour, black “pull to open” sign that reflects a classic TARDIS design. In fact, the TARDIS had a darker pull to open sign from 1966-1976 and a blue one from 1976-1996 (albeit in different styles), so it’s not a massive shock to see designers returning to this – a perfect mixture of past and present.
Dimension Wise (ha), the box appears more like a classic real-life police box – which looks gorgeous compared to recent designs. In terms of the TARDIS interior, we have absolutely no idea how it’s going to look but that actually works in the show’s favour, allowing us to view it for the first time from the Doctor’s friend’s perspective. Rightfully so.
Instead of the term “companion” or the classic “assistant” phrases, this upcoming series of Doctor Who is now using “friends” to describe the individuals who find themselves traveling the universe with the Doctor. This is such a simple, yet refreshing change that helps to both focus on the friendship between this alien adventurer and the people she travels with as opposed to them having the direct ‘role’ of a companion.
It also just seems more realistic? You find someone you like to hang around with and they’re your mate, not your ‘companion’…unless you’re a super villain.
Doctor Who has such an impressive array and back catalogue of fantastically designed, written, and imaginative creatures/monsters. But ever since the show returned in 2005, we’ve been through plenty of Dalek Invasions and Cyberman Skirmishes. Now, show-runner Chris Chibnall has decided to focus on newer monsters for this new iteration.
There are two reasons why this is good news:
- Once upon a time, the Daleks were merely a new idea – having new creatures and monsters make their mark allows the opportunity for them to one day make a similar mark throughout the years.
It allows our fan favourite monsters to have a little rest, perhaps on the spas of Skaro, means their return will have a legitimate impact on us as an audience and perhaps return some threat to our beloved villains.
Basically, there’s only so many times you can watch a Cyberman head explode, even if that’s still pretty awesome.
We have plenty to look forward to with Jodie Whittaker’s run as the Doctor. From a beautifully designed new TARDIS and sonic screwdriver, to brand new planetary environments and historical adventures – which sums up any new era of Doctor Who. Everything feels new, and to an extent, it is, but the deep core of the show is the same: to educate, entertain and follow those key tenants of being kind.
To quote the 13th Doctor one last time: ”let’s get a shift on”.
Doctor Who airs on Sunday 7th October on BBC One (UK) and BBC America