Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

We have reached the end of Jodie Whittaker’s first season as the Doctor. Join Deb, Erika, Lizbeth, and Tansy as we talk about the series as a whole — the arc-or-not, the villains-or-not, the development-or-not, the consequences-or-not, and much more. We liked a lot, we questioned some of it, and as usual, we don’t all agree on the details but have a delightful time breaking it down.

What are your overall thoughts on series 11? Did they play it too safe? Is the Doctor too perfect? Do you want some classic monsters next season? Let us know in the comments!

^E

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Comments on: "Ep 186 – A Very Different Sort of Season" (9)

  1. Enjoying the episode. I am at the 55 minute mark where you are discussing who She is & is not specifically about “punishment”. There was a theme this season where she never took it that far. You keep discussing her dealing with the repercussions of Tim Shaw from episode 1 BUT if you look back she did not send Tim Shaw through time it was the guy Tim Shaw was hunting who pushed him off the crane & She said to him it was not his place to do that. Also you keep talking about her “forgiving” others but I came away believing most of these behaviors is because she does not seem to have an ego that leads to revenge or thinking it is her place to judge & convict people. In any ways this is my view of previous women/mom’s roles (have to balance I was one of 9 kids & a twin so my mom had to do the balancing act of not taking sides to an extreme for fairness sakes.) So it was my belief that her THEME through the season was “leaving things to sort themselves out as far as personal accountability of individuals” she seems to be that quietly confident experienced people we have in out lives-the people who have seen so much with so many experiences they naturally know how address appropriately without going too far or too short.

  2. squibby said:

    Deb I agree with you about the lack of consequences, which I feel is due to some of the writing and the lack of character development of Yaz and to some extent the Doctor.

    Worst example -Arachnids in the UK – dead bodies, giant spiders and chemical waste dumps and we don’t see police officer Yaz call the authorities, even anonymously?! That lack of a few words in a scene gives the impression of no consequences and seriously undermines Yaz’s character. Seems to hint she’s a hopeless police officer that the firce won’t miss – completely in contrast to her first appearance in ep 1.

    The Verities were debating/grumbling at Deb when Deb said she felt she hadn’t learned anything character wise about the Doctor through the series. And then TRIED to define the Doctor’s character with a lot of head canon. If the Doctor’s character was even half established there’d be little head canon needed.

    I feel four people in the Tardis is one too many in the modern format, especially without a multi-episode story arc to fill in narrative gaps. Yaz seems to only be there to be the Doctor’s chaperone – avoiding the woman (Doctor) and two men alone means ‘wicked lady’ trope

  3. I love that while I was listening to this episode I was putting together a little list in my head of the things I loved about Doc 13 that really showed something completely new about my greatest childhood and forever hero, and suddenly Erica spoke my thoughts precisely! The Doctor, in the wonderful ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’, being called out by Astos for her bad behaviour and she accepted the criticism and apologised!?! OMG! That was a glorious head-explode moment for me and made me love Jodi’s Doctor even more.

    • Sarah42 said:

      …Whereas a woman being very ready and quick to apologize simply looks different than it does when it’s a male character, and leaves me feeling dissatisfied. It just seems to be yet another aspect of her being weirdly passive. I suppose one *could* read it as the character learning to practice healthier communication skills, but… really? It just doesn’t… quite… work, at least not for me, but I’m sure I’m wrong!

  4. Thank you for your interesting podcast! Your animated discussion has helped me realise that I’m more on Deb’s side, and you’ve helped me to understand what’s lacking about the 13th Doctor and the show this year, for me. It’s not angst (which is another name for self-pity – never an attractive character trait), but DANGER.

    For me, the best Doctors have always been the ones that have a bit of danger about them. It’s sometimes there in the writing, but it’s usually just about the actor. Even Troughton, who gets held up as the most cuddly and ‘user-friendly’ Doctor had a hint of danger about him, and he could turn it on at will. That’s one of the reasons you can;t take your eyes off him.This is why my least favourite Doctors are Davison and McCoy – they’re about as dangerous as hamsters.

    I think Whittaker has it too, and we’ve seen flashes of it from her this season, but the show hasn’t given her mush to get her teeth into, yet. And let’s face it, she hasn’t had any formidable enemies or villains to face up against.

    I come at all this from a Doylist perspective. Doctor Who is a TV show that I want to watch and enjoy regularly. It’s an adventure show and I want to find it compelling and exciting. For that to happen, it often helps if the Doctor is a bit arrogant, unpredictable, and given to righteous anger when he’she finds things that he/she doesn’t like. That stuff is interesting to watch.

    If the Doctor is going to be a paragon of virtue who never makes questionable choices, the show is going to be awfully boring.

  5. Thanks for your great podcast as always – a highlight of my listening week.

    I found it a bit hard to listen to Deb trying to get a feminist point in (if the Doctor had been more X it would have been a bridge too far for the audience) and getting jumped on so she could hardly speak – I feel like it should have at least been given some space? If someone says, well actually, I think there’s some gender bias at play, it can be tempting to say “well, we’re beyond that” like, not being gender blind is less progressive (people can do this with “race blindness”). I’m not saying oh people needed to agree, but it seemed more like discomfort with the concept than anything.

  6. I love 13, and enjoyed series 11, but I had issues that I’ve finally pinned down. We do know SOME things about 13 and Yaz, which I really enjoy. What we DON’T know is what they WANT that they don’t immediately get. Yaz says in episode one that she wants “more” than the parking disputes she’s being assigned at work. But she literally gets more 5 minutes later and that’s sort of that. The Doctor wants to find her home/TARDIS, but that only takes two episodes (still made me cry) and then she wants friends who choose to be with her in an informed way, which happens in episode four (also a gorgeous moment). But that was basically it. For the rest of the season, we don’t know what she wants that she doesn’t already have. I mean, she presumably wants to explore and see things, but that’s fairly generic and she’s already doing that, so it isn’t something to pursue.

    Graham wanted to find closure after Grace’s death and to connect with family (Ryan). That is something it took him all season to do, and I think that’s why people felt so connected to him. Ryan wanted to understand what it means to be a father and to have a father. It wasn’t quite as compelling as Graham’s story, but it was serviceable and led to interesting moments. Plus, his love and affection were being pursued by Graham, which kept him at the heart of the most compelling journey in the story.

    It’s not that we can’t list random attributes of all of the characters, it’s that only two of the characters actually want something that they don’t already have and get to pursue that all season. And I don’t love that it’s the men who get that and not the women. I think there was space for them all to want something, and that it would have been more narratively satisfying if they had.

    In contrast to Capaldi’s last season, wanting his best friend to stop being criminally self-centered and stand with him to do what is right without witness, without reward, etc. That was an incredibly powerful storyline with a really gorgeous/heartbreaking payoff. I think that in THEORY I enjoyed the stark decrease in angst (it’s definitely classic Doctor Who, and that’s cool!) but I have to admit (as a New Who fan) that I do miss the heightened sense of drama around the Doctor and I’m sad that the first time they go basically angst free is with Jodie, as she is a lovely dramatic actor (hello Broadchurch) and would have absolutely nailed it.

    I do think this feels like a purposeful decision, though. So I’ll probably never see 13 get a character arch. My hope is that at least Yaz will get to want something next season and we can see her get that in the end.

  7. markalanix said:

    To me, the most obvious echoes this season of Classic Who are Peter Davison’s first season. It seems to be obvious to me. Look at the way he runs breathlessly from scene to scene. And there’s so much more. And the situation is very similar: the youngest Doctor ever, the first woman Doctor.

  8. Joris M said:

    For better or worse this season of Doctor Who felt a bit like a cosy detective series, say midsomer murders. Minor character development, since it is not the focus. But the protagonists (with their basic roles) set into a new environment to explore every single episode.

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