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The Thirteenth Doctor: Jodie Whittaker

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On 1/2/2020 at 1:31 PM, Sakura12 said:

I love Jodie's Doctor. Moffat's era turned me off the show. It was too much world ending stories and villains over staying their welcome that ruined the fun for me. 

I liked the return of smaller stories with the occasional bigger arc. I liked the premiere and am looking forward to where it goes. 

I'm in the middle of Smith's era at the moment (on pause for now since Amazon Prime pitched Doctor Who out the window on Dec 31 in preparation for HBO Max taking it in the Spring). I found I enjoyed the big and little stories, though perhaps I'll tire of Moffat's stuff by the end of Smith's era (particularly killing principals off and then bringing them back and some companions overstaying their welcome). I too love Jodie and 13. I was one of those who enjoyed Series 11, though I don't think I'll mind if the stakes and stories get bigger and there's a bit of a thread running through the season. I totally enjoyed Spyfall. I think the mix of big and small for a Doctor is probably a good balance.

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2 hours ago, whoknowswho said:

What fun?  I honestly watched this episode until Whitaker said she'd "had an upgrade" and I just couldn't. My husband, a very casual watcher, watched the episode, kept asking me questions while this longtime fan (and I'm a woman, so it's not all men who dislike this series's Doctor with her "fam" with the exception of Graham because Bradley Walsh can actually act)  pouted and watched youtube instead.  Every time I looked up at the TV The Doctor had on her O face, or her whacky quirky lip sneer face on.  Nope, I'm done. I was done last series, but like my anger for Game of Thrones I really wanted it to turn out better. It won't.  I'm still angry that they chose a not very talented woman to play The Doctor. Those who say they "love" this series are probably really new fans, not long term, long lasting ones.  I've watched since the 1960s!  There have been a few poorish seasons in the past, Capaldi's era wasn't my favourite but the constant digs at fans just makes me want to kill my TV.

The things that made it fun for me were the locations, the party, the spy theme (and them not being good at it) and the classic Master stuff like the tissue compression.   I've been watching DW since the late 1970s on Iowa Public Television myself. I didn't care for Six until CB started doing Big Finish, so I'm very familiar with not liking certain incarnations.

The first female Doctor was always going to have an uphill battle winning over fans. I thought Jodie was fine in Broadchurch, though I haven't seen her in anything else. (I was pulling for Hayley Atwell if we had to have a female Doctor.) Her first series was boring to me, though that was mostly the showrunner's fault. She did channel David Tennant a bit too much IMO and I'm glad she toned it down a bit from that.

I wouldn't say I "love" this series but I do think TPTB are trying to address some of the last season's weaknesses.  And I'm willing to give them a chance to see how it goes. 

The lovely thing about Doctor Who is that if you don't like the current Doctor, there are decades worth of stories to rewatch.  IPTV is showing Sylvester McCoy right now, so I have the best of both worlds.

 

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1 hour ago, DanaK said:

I'm in the middle of Smith's era at the moment (on pause for now since Amazon Prime pitched Doctor Who out the window on Dec 31 in preparation for HBO Max taking it in the Spring). I found I enjoyed the big and little stories, though perhaps I'll tire of Moffat's stuff by the end of Smith's era (particularly killing principals off and then bringing them back and some companions overstaying their welcome). I too love Jodie and 13. I was one of those who enjoyed Series 11, though I don't think I'll mind if the stakes and stories get bigger and there's a bit of a thread running through the season. I totally enjoyed Spyfall. I think the mix of big and small for a Doctor is probably a good balance.

I loved, loved loved Matt Smith's tenure, I loved the convoluted complexities of the stories with Amy and Rory.  Anything Weeping Angels, still terrifies me. (Blink and Tenant I can't even watch it in the dark!)

Some of his series I didn't love, but that's because I loved Amy and Rory and disliked Clara. I sobbed like a baby when Amy said "Goodbye" in Angels take Manhattan. Any problem I had with Stephen Moffat's era was how he paid off some of his complex story lines poorly, or not at all.  While I tolerated some dropped plots, Because Capald's Doctor still had Clara, his tenure was my least favourite. Till last season.

All the Doctors till now I've connected with.  With Jodie Whittaker I just cannot.  I gave her a season. The faces she makes...I just cant.  I liked her in Black Mirror but there's a difference between being in an episode and carrying a series. Never watched Broadchurch so I can't comment there.  She's just not MY Doctor.  She doesn't seen to have any backstory other than occasional snark directed at hardcore fans. Matt Smith's Doctor used to rage about how old he was, what's he's lost and cost and things and we believed he was an infinitely old, tired, angry, manic and witty lover of fish fingers and custard. Do we know anything about Jodie's Doctor other than she's "an upgrade"? In whose world?

Much of the problem is Chibnall's writing, which till now has been pretty abysmal..

So, it's a failure for me.

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I find that my issues with the Thirteen era so far have been showrunner/writing-related. I haven't hated any of her episodes, but I find the show under Chibnall to feel very middle of the pack. Both RTD and Steven Moffat did stuff that I love to pieces and stuff that aggravates the hell out of me, but Chibnall, so far, seems to me to range between "eh" and "pretty good."

Unfortunately, I do think Thirteen has been hampered by the writing in different ways. Leaving out classic villains/references/the word "companion" from her first season might have come from a desire to reset and do something new, but it had a side effect of feeling like Thirteen didn't have access to the Doctor's full playground. It lets her bring less of the Doctor's long history to her episodes, and more than any other since maybe Two, it's vital that she feel every inch the Doctor. I liked getting to see her interact with a Dalek last New Year's special, and the classic-Who nuggets featured in "Spyfall" hopefully augur better things on that front.

I also agree that she sometimes comes across as unsure of herself. I'm not sure how much of it is a writing issue vs. a perception issue (would the same sorts of lines/scenes ring differently to us coming from a male Doctor?), but I know Jodie can bring the gleeful confidence when she has an opportunity to do so. More significantly, if the mysteries aren't very complex or the solutions aren't written very cleverly, an episode can pass without it feeling like she really did all that much, and that's never a feeling you should have when watching Doctor Who.

To use a weird example, it reminds me a little of the costumes in the first Hunger Games movie. Reading the book, I loved the character of Cinna and how smart he was in tactically designing Katniss's outfits in the example, creating these unforgettable looks that told a story across several appearances. But in the movie, I thought the costumes looked cheap and generic, and it annoyed me on Cinna's behalf, because this production element of the film was making his character look less cool and capable than he was. I have a similar reaction sometimes to how the writing right now can let Thirteen down a little. If the mystery is unfocused and the Doctor spends a lot of it asking the same questions or coming across as less effective than she can be, it's taking away from letting her show all she can do (although, I have to say, the costumes in The Hunger Games annoy me a lot more!)

Again, I don't dislike this era of the show. Chibnall has yet to have an episode like "The End of Time" or "The Time of the Doctor" that makes me want to tear my hair out (mileage obviously varies, since I know plenty of people love those episodes, but I thought both were overwrought messes that did a disservice to the Doctors they were sending off,) but I'd like to see more for Thirteen's tenure than "pretty good." Because I have a lot of love for Thirteen. I adore her delight for the wonders of the universe, her puppy-ish enthusiasm for her friends, and her fondness for tinkering. She's had some really topnotch moments so far, like her one-on-ones last season with King James and the Solitract ("It Takes You Away," bizarre as that episode is, is definitely my favorite of hers so far.) I just continue to want more for her, and I hope season 12 will bring it. "Spyfall" was a step up for me (though it continues to have some of the same issues,) and I hope we keep moving in that direction.

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@angora I’ve seen one or more people say elsewhere that 13’s propensity for talking out the problem before coming up with the solution instead of just presenting the solution like other Doctors did may make a number of people feel she knows less and is less confident. I find that an interesting theory. Perhaps it’s too much information for some viewers. I find it interesting, though perhaps too talky at times, and the talkiness does seem to be a problem for some

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I don't mind talkiness - the Doctor has always been a talker! And really, plenty of Doctors work things out aloud, getting excited when their brain catches up to their mouth halfway through. The scenes that I notice more are the ones where the Doctor seems to be spinning her wheels. The first that comes to mind for me is in "The Ghost Monument," where, as they're trekking across Desolation, the Doctor repeatedly wonders why the planet is so dead. Each subsequent instance of her asking more or less the same question doesn't add anything new, and the answer is given to her rather than her working it out, when they find the message from the dead scientists scrawled on the floor. For me, that's the type of thing that can make her come across as less effective sometimes, and it frustrates me, because it feels more like a writing weakness than anything else

But I'm also sure that I'm hypersensitive to stuff like that with her. It's a tricky thing to balance. I absolutely want her to have room to fully be the Doctor, which at times means being overwhelmed or despairing or suddenly realizing that they just got something dreadfully wrong, but 1) I know she'll be judged harder than her predecessors and 2) just like there needs to be room for big mistakes, there needs to be room for big, impressive wins as well, and that needs clever writing to back it up. I really want her to have writers who can create those moments for her.

I'm additionally aware that I can be overly-protective of Doctors at times and want all the things for them, hehe (I spent most of season 8 wishing Twelve could have a companion who would just tell him he's a good man already!)

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4 hours ago, angora said:

I also agree that she sometimes comes across as unsure of herself. I'm not sure how much of it is a writing issue vs. a perception issue (would the same sorts of lines/scenes ring differently to us coming from a male Doctor?),

For me, it's the other way around - would she be written to sound so uncertain if she were a man? It drove me mad last season how often she used the word 'presumably'. Presumably this, presumably that, never committing herself to being certain about anything - compare that to David Tennant confidently making up an explanation that sounded cool rather than admit he didn't know. And she is, as you say, made to repeat herself a bit much. Of course, all Doctors have their personality quirks, but the uncertainty stands out for me because the Doctor is more traditionally full of confident swagger, so it seems a bit pointed to take that away from the character in the first female regeneration.

Mostly, though, I think she is suffering because she hasn't been allowed to form strong one-on-one relationships with her companions. She always treats them as a group, addresses them as a group, has them trailing after her like so many ducklings. Even when she does split off with one of them into a sub-plot, she is all business, doesn't really spend much time chatting with them, bonding. Which makes it harder for us as an audience to bond with her. And maybe that's been a deliberate choice - it is clear that she hasn't wanted to reveal too much of herself to this group, and it also seems clear that some of that wall she's put up is going to be torn down this season whether she likes it or not. But it wouldn't be the first time a long-term Plot choice made by the showrunner has hurt the character and prevented viewers from truly bonding with them.

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