Sunday, July 16, 2017

So This Happened ...

Image result for jodie whittaker

This is Jodie Whittaker in the announcement that she -- yes, she -- will be the 13th incarnation of the Doctor.

The news has been out for a few hours, which means it's already old news that in this year's Christmas episode, the Doctor will regenerate into a woman. We'll have a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall and a new era for the show in a big way.

The Internet has reacted as you would expect: with calm and reasoned discourse.

Or not.

Seriously, I'm feeling encouraged for society that the majority of the Twitter reaction I've seen this morning is positive, though there's been enough sexist trolling that you don't have to look far to find it.

My initial reaction was excitement. Yes! Finally!

Followed closely by: She looks familiar. Who is she?

A quick search on IMDB confirmed that I had indeed seen her before in "Broadchurch." She was also in "Attack the Block," which I haven't seen but is now on the top of my Netflix list. Any movie that stars Finn and the Doctor has got to have something going for it.

I was cautiously optimistic when Peter Capaldi was announced, but I didn't enjoy his Doctor until this past season, when the tone became lighter and Pearl Mackey came on board. This past season blew me away, and I suddenly wanted Capaldi to stay. Bill, too. And Nardole. The entire dynamic in the TARDIS clicked in a way it hadn't before in the current run.

I am also cautiously optimistic about Jodie Whittaker. I'm curious how the character will change -- not just because of the new incarnation but because of the change in gender. Will this fundamentally change how the Doctor views and approaches the world? Or will the character continue on as before because, as Capaldi's Doctor recently said, Time Lords have moved beyond worrying about differences between the sexes? (He also said "One can only hope" when asked by the Master: "Is the future all female?")

One last thought for today: The announcement fits the recent pattern of regenerations being guided by whatever happens to be at the forefront of the Doctor's mind at the time. Nine sacrificed himself for Rose and regenerated into a man who was attractive to her. Ten didn't want to go and regenerated into a similarly young and energetic hero. Eleven was thinking about Amy right before he regenerated into a man with a Scottish accent. And in Twelve's contact with Missy and the Master, he found the female version to be the preferable one. (Also a possible factor: Bill's last words to him were about her preference for women.)

The changing of the guard is exciting. There's so much potential.

I'm eager to see where the show goes next.