Beginning of the End?
So…Season 11 is officially over. There’s still our Christmas special though right?! Kind of. It will come a week later on January 1st 2019. And then comes the news that has sparked much debate among Whovians… Season 12 won’t air until early 2020. I was rather surprised by this news. The last I’d heard, both Chibnall and Whittaker were ready to leave after releasing a partial season 12 next year. I guess the BBC and Chibnall came to a compromise over the issue and now, we will get a full season 12…we just have to wait for it.
I am praying that they will take the extra year to reevaluate, rewrite, and get things back under control after a seriously disappointing season 11. I was so set to fall in love with this new Doctor, new showrunner, and new feel for the show. I was ready. But I found the writing to be seriously lacking…all surface, no depth at all. The stories were for the most part small, inconsequential vignettes. Unrelated to each other. I knew that there would be no ‘original’ villains this season as Chibnall made very clear. But these villains were nothing compared to Moffat era unique villains. I’m sorry, but when you have a tiny Gremlin-style marshmallow or a tooth-fairy warrior prince as your two ‘most feared villains’ I’m going to be left wanting.
As I read dozens of glowing reviews for episode after episode this season, I wondered if I had misjudged or lost my way with the show. And after seeing the ‘incredible’ high-90’s rotten tomatoes score, I thought for sure that I just didn’t understand the appeal the show had garnered….Until I started reading fan/user reviews. It seems that none of the ‘higher profile’ review sites wanted to be the first to say they found the new Doctor Who lacking. But it’s fans have something to say. As much as we love the idea of a female Doctor, and were ready for a new showrunner to breathe some life back into the show…this was not what we were looking for. The show feels completely different to the Doctor Who I fell in love with. I miss those convoluted story lines, space adventures gone wrong. Where’s my confident, snarky, ‘don’t need no man’ Doctor? I feel like Graham had many more meaningful, heartfelt, character growth moments than the main character of the show! In the finale…Graham gets the center stage. It’s all about him facing his demons and coming to terms with Grace’s death.
The writing this season was so unpolished. The stories never had the heart that the older seasons did. I never found myself rooting for the characters in the same way I did for Martha, Bill Potts, Amy and Rory, River…and the other dozens of amazing characters. Ryan and Yaz were such ‘window dressing’ characters that I still feel like I barely know them. Graham definitely stole the show for me though. Bradly Walsh pours heart and soul into Graham and it definitely shows. I love me some Graham. He feels more like the Doctor than Whittaker.
Speaking of Whittaker. I really love her as an actress. She was amazing in Broadchurch, and I feel like if she had been given the chance, she could have blown the roof of of Doctor Who. Sadly though, the heart of the story just really wasn’t there this season. There was no growth from the Doctor, no true self discovery anyway. There was no stand out moment that stood out to me as “That’s My Doctor!” You know? The way that, in the past the Doctor stands between the villain and all of humanity and says “you’ll have to go through me first.” Man I miss those moments. Also, the fact that this season were 10 stand alone stories really didn’t do it any favors. I know in the past, the writer’s used to fill in the blanks with funny dialogue about travels we didn’t see, or adventures that happened without the audience, but I felt like this entire season was one disjointed mess. Like we were living in the ‘in-between’ moments and missing the main story. At first I didn’t mind the companions bringing up adventures we missed, but by the end I feel like we’d missed more than we’d seen. I couldn’t tell you how long the companions were on the TARDIS with the Doctor. Or why any of them stayed on to travel together. The disjointed story line also pulled away from a dramatic season finale. The finale could have been placed anywhere in the season and I wouldn’t have been able to tell. It’s just another average story, same as all the other episodes this season.
Ah..too much looking in the past. What’s coming for the future of Doctor Who? Though all the tumultuous rumors and behind the scenes drama, it appears we will get at least one more full season of Thirteen. After Season 12 though, it’s anyone’s guess. If I had to say, I’d assume that both Whittaker and Chibnall would step down and BBC would replace them with a new showrunner and new Doctor. They have well over a year to get things squared away, and I doubt BBC would give up on a show like Doctor Who that easily. Only time will tell now.
Now, only three more weeks until the New Years Special! Maybe my Christmas Wish will come true and we’ll get to see a classic Who villain back on screen. More Daleks please! (I swear if it’s that damned P’ting again I’ll lose my shit.) See you in the New Year!