And so, the new season / series of DOCTOR WHO is upon us: and the one thing that I never believed could possibly happen has happened: I don't give a damn.
This is the first time in the past six or seven years that I have not pre-ordered the new series of WHO from iTunes; and I have no expectation of ever ordering it in the future. I'll be following the reviews and I honestly hope that I'll see something there that will make me change my mind. But for now -- I'm sticking to my vow that the BBC will never get one more dime out of me for New DOCTOR WHO so long as that self-important prat and Moron of the Year Chris Chibnall continues as show runner.
Unfortunately, everything that I've seen in terms of news and previews has convinced me not only that Chibnall has failed to see the error of his ways, but that he's doubled-down and is determined to force-feed us his vision of the show whether the fans want it or not. If there was any doubt in my mind, the slogan that's been adopted for the new series is all that I need: "Space. For All."
The nauseating and heavy-handed "message" put forward by that slogan tells me that Chibnall is still more interested in promoting an agenda of inclusiveness than he is in telling great stories about interesting characters. He touted his first series on the show as "a great jumping-on point," but fails to understand that "a great 'jumping-on" point" is also a great jumping-off point.
Not that there's anything wrong with inclusiveness. But that's not why we watch television and that's not why we watch DOCTOR WHO. We watch WHO because we love the character, and because we love the weekly straight-shot of imagination that the show always provided until the egregious Mr. Chibnall took over.
Again I feel compelled to explain that I am not a hater nor even a nay-sayer on the issue of The Doctor's sex. Nor am I even against "message stories" per se, so long as that message comes out through a well-developed plot and interesting characters. As long as it's good DOCTOR WHO, I would be on board for it. And I even believe that, GIVEN BETTER WRITING, Jodie Whittaker could be good in the part.
But Chibnall has shown himself to be incapable of writing good DOCTOR WHO. He has shown himself to be incapable of creating characters that people can care about. In his one season on the show, the only positive I have derived from his work is that he's managed to make even the worst of past DOCTOR WHO look extremely good by comparison with the fake, heavy-handed, preachy garbage that he's served up so far. Yes, I can now look at the John Nathan-Turner era with new appreciation (and in the blu-ray reviews section you will see that I am doing just that).
I'm very grateful that DOCTOR WHO is a show that's been on the air for so long now that there's more than enough already produced that I can re-watch and enjoy for years to come. And this helps me be a little bit philosophical about it all: provided that he doesn't actually kill off the show (which could happen) WHO has been around long enough to prove that it can survive almost everything: including the braindead writing of Mr. Chibnall. The guy can't live forever, after all. Sooner or later, he has to fall off the damn planet.
Maybe then, just maybe, we'll get back the show that we still love, and that we wish was better-served than Mr. Chibnall is capable of doing.