Saturday, March 23, 2024

I finally go on the chaotic journey that is the 13th season of Doctor Who

 Very recently, I sat down and got caught up on Doctor Who. I almost never binge TV shows but Doctor Who has long been my favorite TV show and I had fallen far behind.

Honestly, after the 12th season, I was burnt out. While I thought that Jodie Wittaker was a great Doctor, I felt that Chris Chibnall was not a good show runner.

In fact, I felt like the tone indicated that Chibnall was ashamed to be producing a science fiction show. Looking at his history, I learned he has a long history of working with Doctor Who and a longer history of being a fan so that wasn’t the case. Instead, it just felt like he struggled with focus and resolution.

I actually thought that the Endless Child idea could lead to some great stories if used well. However, it felt like it was being dropped in that season’s holiday special and not getting used at all.

At that point, I took an unintended break because it felt like Chibnall, at best, couldn’t resolve the plot and character elements he introduced. I just didn’t feel like watching anymore.

But I can’t stay away from Doctor Who. And I wanted to see what Russel T. Davies was up to when he came back to the show.

Season 13, the Flux storyline, was the best Chibnall season for me. While I still felt like the resolution was very weak at best, it took longer to get there so I enjoyed the journey more. 






I found Dan Lewis, Karvanista, Vinder, Bel, Claire Brown and Professor Jericho all more interesting than pretty much any other characters from Chibnall’s run, sadly including Graham and Ryan (although I think those two suffered from uneven writing) Bel in particular was great. A pregnant badass in a decaying universe full of desperate Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans in search of her child’s father, she could have carried a series all by herself. 

There were also some wonderful moments. The Doctor being transformed into a Weeping Angel at the end of the fourth episode is honestly one of the most striking visuals in Doctor Who on a whole.

However, the actual story doesn’t make much sense. More than that, the resolutions with Tecteun, Swarm and Azure (the different bad guys of the overall story) all fall flat. Literally, someone else kills each of them with the Doctor not having any engagement. 

The payoff just isn’t there but the journey had some nice bits.

Honestly, I could write a lot more about it (and I’m pretty sure anyone reading this has already watched it and won’t be spoiled) but this isn’t a Doctor Who blog.

And the specials running from Eve of the Daleks to the Church on Ruby Road were their own experience, particularly watching all of them in a row like I did. (I will say I did _not_ expect to see Davies pull a character from the Doctor Who comic books)

Doctor Who is a long, insane tapestry of multi-media science fiction. And some bumps along that road are less fun than others. But both it and I survived the 1996 TV movie and that makes Chibnall look like Philip Hinchcliffe.

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