Monday, July 17, 2017

A Female ‘Doctor Who’ Is Exactly What the Franchise Needed

“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.” – Jodie Whittaker

It’s the groundbreaking casting decision that’s caused aftershocks to ripple across the internet: 35-year-old Jodie Whittaker, best known to U.S. TV viewers as Broadchurch’s Beth Latimer, will be the thirteenth actor to portray the central character in the long-running BBC series Doctor Who, marking the first time in the show’s 54-year history that the part will be played by a woman. Some will call it political correctness run amok, and they’ll be entirely wrong.

This development is something Doctor Who desperately needs — not even counting the 27 years of it that ran from ’63 to ’89, it’s an old series at this point. In its latest iteration, it’s been on for ten seasons across 12 years, amid a sci-fi/fantasy/superhero TV marketplace that gets more crowded every season. In order to stay relevant, Doctor Who must continue to reach for the stars and do things that make it stand out from the pack. It’s no longer enough just to be the oldest sci-fi series on TV. Making the Doctor a woman wasn’t just necessary, it was inevitable.

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