If you are a sci-fi fan or maybe just a follower of pop-culture in general, you’ve probably heard the news today—so I’ll just cut to the chase here. I have 100% no problem with Doctor Who being played by Jodie Whittaker.
Now why is that? Because Dr. Who is a TV series about a character who regenerates into different bodies & has to adapt to each one. That’s a central “thing” about Dr. Who. Thematically, the fact that this character might be a woman or a person of color or whoever “works” with this concept—at least for me.
Some people compare this somehow (as either a good or bad thing) to the possibility of a female James Bond. That comparison just doesn’t wash for me, because as far as I’m aware, the character of James Bond doesn’t regenerate into different bodies. An actual “female James Bond”—a “Jane Bond,” if you will—would be a cute “gender-bending” concept that might actually be pretty cool. But it’s not something that would emerge organically from the universe Ian Fleming built.
Now let’s move on to the casting. The casting is solid here. Whittaker is not a light-weight actress. She gives a bowel-looseningly intense performance in the BBC series Broadchurch (which featured of course Who actor David Tennant). I had personally been hoping that the role would go to her Broadchurch co-star Olivia Coleman—but this is probably the very next best thing to that.
I realize there is a bit of controversy regarding a female taking on the Doctor role—and I’m not going to ignore how much Whittaker’s hair in the press photo looks like Hillary Clinton’s (something a little too “on the nose” for me, but I get it).
The danger here is that this all becomes about the Controversy and not about the show—as it happens so very often. But then it becomes a matter of bloggers and writers and pop-culture journalists making it a point to not focus on the dissenters every damn post as some sort of freak show of various malcontents. I know it gets great clicks, this constant ideological “geek war.” I’m not fucking interested.
I’m just interested in watching the show. That’s it. I don’t feel like I’ve personally “won” something as a woman because Jodie Whittaker got this role. Maybe if the writing is good on the new season, I may be able to identify with some plot points or nuances better than if a man was in the role; certainly. But I don’t know, because these new eps have not come out yet. We really know next to nothing at this point. We have a press photo and a teaser.
So again: I’m happy with the overall concept. I’m happy with the casting. But now it all has to deliver.
Next chapter, as they say.
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