Doctor Who changes genders; fan reaction mixed
I asked the resident newsroom Whovians if they were outraged and disgusted. Nobody was.
Whovians are to Doctor Who what Trekkies are to Star Trek. Only not so creepy. One Whovian here even has a toy Doctor Who TARDIS (timetraveling police box), a sonic screwdriver and an 11th Doctor Who (Matt Smith) action figure (atop a Dr. Hooves My Little Pony) on her desk.
But some fans are peeved because the BBC and BBC America made the unprecedented move of naming Jodie Whittaker (she’s a female) as the new Doctor Who, a spaceand time-traveling alien from the planet Gallifrey. She will be the 13th Time Lord in the hugely popular sci-fi series that debuted in 1963 with William Hartnell as the Doctor.
How big was the news? The BBC made the revelation on live television after the Wimbledon men’s tennis final. The Twitterverse exploded.
In case you’re out of the loop, the show adopted the concept of the Doctor regenerating into a new body in 1966 when Hartnell became ill and had to leave. That’s how we get different Time Lords as the years pass.
Whittaker will be replacing Peter Capaldi, who is leaving the series in January. He has played the Doctor since 2013.
About her assuming the iconic role, Whittaker told the BBC, “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey — with [new head writer Chris Chibnall] and with every Whovian on this planet. I can’t wait.”
About all the fuss, Whittaker said, “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.”
And for those upset about the break with tradition, she added, “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”
About his decision to pick a woman, Chibnall (also the creator of Broadchurch), said, “I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our No. 1 choice. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role.”
And to finally silence any trolls still hating on the internet, Capaldi said, “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Viewers may recognize the 35-year-old Whittaker from her many BBC roles, but most recently as Beth Latimer on Broadchurch.
New on Netflix. Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, about two hours north of Branson, is a lovely vacation spot. One hardly ever associates it with “infidelity, corruption, entrapment and murder.” But that’s what’s going on with Ozark, the latest original series streaming on Netflix.
Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) stars as a Chicago financial adviser who has been laundering money for a drug cartel kingpin. Triple Oscar nominee (You Can Count On Me, Kinsey, The Savages) Laura Linney plays his wife.
Things in Chicago get heated, so he moves his wife and two teenagers to a quiet little place on the lake. Things don’t remain quiet for long.
Ozark is a tense, 10-episode crime thriller, as well as a series about a fractured family struggling to put back the pieces.
Room 104. This anthology comedy/drama (maybe even horror) series from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Togetherness) premieres at 10:30 p.m. Friday on HBO. The late time slot ought to tell you something.
The mature, sometimes dark themes play out over 12 half-hour episodes with a different cast in each, but all set in a nondescript room in a nondescript, lower-end American roadside chain motel.
The setting is also a character. Think of it as a series of one-act plays all set on the same stage. It will be eccentric and eclectic.
The large ensemble includes a number of actors whose names you probably don’t know, but there’s also Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek, CSI: Cyber).
Plots include a couple of Mormon missionaries in the midst of a crisis of faith; a crash survivor debating on whether she should pretend to be dead and start her life over; and a housekeeper who meets her younger self in Room 104.
Jodie Whittaker has been named the 13th Time Lord in Doctor Who. The first woman in the iconic role begins her duties when the series returns to BBC America in December.