Thirteen

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:46 am
purplefringe: Amelie (Default)
[personal profile] purplefringe
So I did a lot of shrieking yesterday. A lot of capslock on my phone to my friends. I don't even know how to begin writing about it, but I wanted to say something here, that I can look back on.

The thirteenth Doctor is a woman!

Yes, she's still White, and yes, that is absolutely something that we should address. There is still a way to go. But also: she's a woman. After 54 years! And a really wonderful woman at that. I didn't know Jodie Whittaker before Broadchurch, but she was absolutely mesmerising in all three seasons of that show, and I know she's going to be completely amazing. From the bits and pieces I've read from her so far, I know she *gets* the show, and the Doctor, and we are in extremely safe, capable, brilliant hands.

I knew Thirteen wasn't going to be another White Dude. With 100% certainty. And whilst Jodie Whittaker hadn't been particularly on my radar as a contender, I knew that it was not unlikely that they'd cast someone Chibnall had worked with before. But still - that first moment in the trailer when we saw her hand, and then her eye - I felt all the breath knocked out of me. Then I think I may have screamed? It's all a bit of a blur. I certainly screamed a lot for the next hour or so.

I'm going to miss Twelve a LOT. I love him, and I love his beautiful, subtle, expressive face, and his absurd inability to run in a dignified manner. I love his prickly, difficult kindness, and I love his easy forgiveness. I love the way he's grown and evolved as a person more than any of the other Doctors before him. I'm going to miss him terribly, the way I miss them all. But if there was one thing that could make me able to deal with him leaving, it's this. I can't wait. <3

I don't know what the show will look like under Chris Chibnall. Whether it will be closer in tone to Moffat's vision or to Rusty's, or something completely different. As probably anybody who knows me or has read this journal knows, I'm a huge fan of both Moffat and RTD and would fight bears for them both. Yes, even Moffat. I don't think his seasons have been perfect by any means - but I also don't think they have been any more problematic than RTD's seasons. Just differently so. But in both cases, the problematic elements have been, for me, completely outweighed by all the joy and wonderful things they have done. With that in mind, here are a few things I would love to see going forward:

1) Companions leaving in less dramatic, traumatic ways. I get that Doctor Who is Event TV these days, and Event TV creates high viewing figures, etc etc. But not *everything* has to be the end of the world, or a life-changing trauma. I'd love for a Companion to leave because she's inspired to stay on Earth and make the world a better place, or because travelling with the Doctor full-time isn't for her (but she's still got her number and can call her for a day trip any time) (oh my god I just got a little thrill from typing 'her' in reference to the Doctor) or because she has other dreams to fulfil. I guess the closest we've had of that in New Who is Martha, but even that was less a positive choice than a self-preservation strategy prompted by a soul-sapping combination of utter trauma and unrequited love. I just want an ending that isn't a 'goodbye forever', and doesn't leave me thinking 'but where do their friends/parents/colleagues think they are now?' (sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about how Clara is mysteriously dead in an alley from unknown causes, and the last person known to have seen her alive is Rigsy, and I hope nothing bad happens to Rigsy because of that) (sometimes I lie awake thinking about Amy's parents, and where they think their daughter is, or that friend of hers whose bridesmaid she was going to be - what does she think happened to her friend?) (these things bother me a lot)

2) Overlapping Companions. I'd love for Companion A to meet Companion B partway though the season, overlap with her for a few episodes, then tag out. As happened so often in the Classic series. (On that note, that's my dream for Bill - that she travels with Thirteen for at LEAST a few episodes, maybe even the whole season, and at some point is joined by someone else, who stays on with the Doctor when Bill leaves. Because we haven't had enough of Bill, and she can continue to travel the universe with her water goddess girlfriend whenever.) I love the idea of that unbroken chain, of Companions who already know each other and can find each other again later, and whose departures don't leave the Doctor a broken mess. I love a Team!Tardis. I imagine that with a female Doctor, the Powers That Be will want a male companion, and that's fine, I'd love to see a male companion with a female Doctor. But what I'd love more would be a male AND a female companion with a female Doctor.

3) Different sorts of Companion relations. So far, all but Martha (again!) have been only children. I'd love a pair of sibling companions! Or an older Companion and a younger one, as we had with Ian/Barbara and Susan. A male/female combo who don't start off/end up romantically involved. Or maybe a pair of best friends. In a show about aliens and time travel, that's always been one of the MOST unbelievable things for me - the way none of the Companions seem to have close friends. Rose had her mate Shirin, who she talked about a bit but we never met, Amy in S7 was going to be someone's bridesmaid, Bill was going to move in with one of her friends. But mostly: they have very few friends, and they always end up irrevocably separated from them. If the Doctor landed in my flat right now, the very first thing I would do would be to swing by to pick up [personal profile] such_heights. No question. I'd love a Companion to do that - 'yes I'd love to go into space with you! Just hang on whilst I call my bff.'

4) Companions from different times and places. We've had this a little. We've had Jack and River and most recently Nardole. But they were all experienced time/space travellers already. I want regular Companions from Earth's past, from Earth's future, from Earth's distant space colonies, from other planets entirely. Companions who can come to 21st Century Earth and experience it the way the other Companions experience Akhaten or Midnight or the Ood-Sphere. I want an alien Companion who has lived their whole life on a Space Station, or a Jewish companion who escapes with the Doctor from 1940s Germany, or, or or...

5) Relatedly, Companions coming on board in different ways. So far in New Who we've had four broad categories for the full-time Companions: Companion randomly encounters the Doctor mid-crisis, impresses him, and gets invited aboard because (s)he's 'earned' it (and proceeds to fall in love with him) (Rose, Martha, Jack); Companion appears to meet the Doctor randomly, but is in fact at the centre of a mystery that intrigues him (flirts with him a lot, but doesn't - canonically - fall in love) (Amy, Clara); Companion randomly meets the Doctor, knows him for a while and then goes on a first adventure with him after knowing/being aware of him for some time (and is absolutely, categorically, not romantically interested in him) (Donna, Bill, Nardole); and gets dragged into things via their girlfriend (Micky, Rory). That's not to say that all those stories are the same, because they're not. They're wildly different. And we've had a few oddballs - River, of course, is her own category. But I want to see, IDK, a TARDIS stowaway! Or someone who's picked up for one trip, but for Reasons of Plot never quite manages to get back to the right time and place.

6) Companions who are not White and able-bodied. I loved the inclusion of a Deaf character, played by a Deaf actress, in last season's Flood two-parter (this is partly because I've been weirdly obsessed with BSL since I was 11, but that's another thing) - why can't we have a Deaf full time Companion? Or a Companion who uses a wheelchair, which she gets to make a little more sonic? I want a greater spectrum Companions (and, from Fourteen onwards, Doctors) to more accurately represent the huge racial diversity of this world, or even this country.

7) As for non-Companion things...I'd love a season that didn't involve the Daleks. Again, as with the Companion-Event-TV thing, I get that Daleks are big sellers, that kids love them, and that every Doctor wants to get to act opposite them. But I remember back in S1 and S2, when seeing the Daleks on screen - even for me, as a teenager! - was a HUGE thrill and a genuine excitement. I don't get that any more. I thought Moffat dealt with it very well this season, by having them appear in just one five minute section of the first episode. But a whole season without them would be great - would really create more impact when they inevitably came back. Though I imagine that we will get Daleks next season, because I'm sure that with such a Big Change, they'll want to surround Thirteen with all the familiar iconography of the Doctor, and that includes Daleks. But maybe the season after!

8) I'd love to meet another Time Lord who isn't the Master (though I'm ALWAYS up for the Master/Mistress inexplicably coming back from the dead every few seasons!) - perhaps a returning old school Time Lord, like the Rani (OR ROMANA MAYBE THIRTEEN COULD REUNITE WITH ROMANA OMG) or a new one. Perhaps a new ally. I'm less keen on exploring the exact details of the Doctor's childhood, because I think that's best left as much of a mystery as possible, save for tantalising bits and pieces. But more interaction with Gallifrey, every now and again. Even if it's just to turn up, refuse to be President, and swagger off again. Another Time Lord can also include The Doctor in previous incarnations, btw. I am always here for multi-Doctor snark. Maybe in 2020, for the 15th anniversary...

9) I'd love to visit other Earth periods we haven't seen much of before. As much as I enjoy the Victorians and am interested in the World Wars and *especially* adore the Romans...I do feel we've kind of DONE all of those now. For a while. Let's go somewhere else! Let's go 100 years in Earth's future, or to historical events we haven't visited yet! I want to see NEW ERAS. And I want to be inspired to research and fall in love with new historical figures, the way I fell (more) in love with Van Gogh after Vincent and the Doctor.

10) I want the show to engage with the fact that the Doctor's a woman, but not in stupid biological ways (fingers crossed they avoid this anyway) - but I want it to be acknowledged that she can't just swing by random historical periods on Earth and expect everyone to listen to her straight away. But I don't need this to be hammered home - ultimately the Doctor is someone who, through sheer force of will and personality and just fucking TALKING a lot, almost always gets to be in charge, wherever (s)he ends up. And when that goes wrong (a la Midnight, for example) it's memorable. And in 10 or 11 episodes a season, I don't want that to change.

11) I want MOAR WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOUR behind the scenes. More female directors and writers especially. Sarah Dollard's episodes have been two of my very favourites from the past two seasons, and I want her to write at least one episode every season until she eventually becomes showrunner. But I want more women! I want writers who aren't white dudes! I want young, up-and-coming female writers and directors to be given the chance to shine on Doctor Who the way men are, and I want well-known writers like Joanne Harris and Malorie Blackman, who have both publicly said they'd love to write a Doctor Who episode, to be asked to do so - yes, perhaps they don't know how to script for TV, but they could co-write with a more experienced TV writer. I'd love to see what they could do.

12) I want - and I realise that out of all the things on this list, this is the one I'm least likely to get - for the fandom to stop using every positive change (like this one) to trash what has come before. Or, vice-versa, for the fandom to stop claiming that every new development is garbage and that the previous era was untouchably perfect. I am so tired of people, from some of my casually-DW-viewing colleagues to much more intensely fannish friends, saying things like 'I love Bill! She's *so much better* than Clara!' You know what? She's not. I LOVE Bill. And I love Clara. And perhaps you love Bill more than Clara! And that's great! Bill is wonderful and she deserves all the love in the world! But she's not inherently 'better'. Or 'worse'. The same thing applies to showrunners - I'm overjoyed with how happy the vast majority of fans are that we are finally getting a female Doctor, but it hurts my heart a little each time I see someone saying something along the lines of 'thank fuck Moffat's going and we're finally getting a woman Doctor'. Who do you think paved the way for this to happen? Who gave us Missy, and the General, countless references to Timelords changing gender? Who has vocally supported the idea of a female Doctor in every interview he's been asked about it? I realise this is a stupid thing to want, because fandom is always going to be this way, but it would be really nice if, going forward into a new era of Who, we didn't always have to tear everything down in order to build up something else.

13) And as for the Doctor herself...god, I just want her to be magnificent. I can't even think. I want her to be dazzling and brilliant and funny and fierce and intense and playful and majestic and mercurial and fabulously well-dressed. I want her to be exactly like every Doctor before her, and, like them, to be utterly, uniquely herself. I just. I can't. <3



...in other news, I already have a vidsong for the Regeneration and I have to wait until Christmas to make it /o\
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