I’m a self-professed Doctor Who fan, though admittedly I’ve never seen any original series episodes. I fangirl out quite a bit whenever a new episode comes out, but lately I’ve been noticing some tension within myself.
Because there’s my inner fan that’s just happy to have more content out, and then there’s the analytical and academic part of me that’s grown up during college and beyond that is less than thrilled with some of the turns the show is taking, primarily in character development.
I used to be listen to my friends point out problems with the show and my response would be that, yes, there were problems, but I still loved it. Now I’m noticing the issues of my own accord…
Let’s start off with the newest character, Clara.
I really like that Clara is quick witted and bright, since so often the companions end up playing second fiddle to The Doctor. She’s also mysterious with her multiple appearances across space and time, dying each time except for this last time. She’s River Song-esque without being a complete retread of that character arc.
What I’m not a fan of is that in every. Single. Episode. so far The Doctor has had to rescue her. The last episode wasn’t quite as bad since it was only for a scene, but in the other ones it’s been a major plot point.
It makes sense to have that happen sometimes but when it’s happening every episode it puts a damper on her self sufficiency and intelligence, which are her main strengths as a companion.
I’m also not particularly thrilled with how The Doctor is being portrayed either. I liked that he was rude and uninterested at the start of the Christmas special, citing that he’s saved the universe for a thousand years and the universe just doesn’t care (with implications that it would be fair if the Ponds had stayed with him).
That’s great! That’s character development and change, and an entirely understandable reason to not want to deal with humans for awhile. But when it only takes a couple minutes and a mystery to get him back to his normal personality it feels more like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum than an adult frustrated and beaten down by the universe.
I’m not saying give us forty five minutes of The Doctor sulking, but at least make him aloof for a couple episodes, curious but still hurt by the past.
This isn’t an isolated event either; at the end of last season we saw River Song advising the Ponds that The Doctor hates endings, and hates seeing his companions age. Again, this sounds like a kid that doesn’t want to grow up instead of a thousand year old time lord.
I have hope that maybe Russell T Davies can turn this season around, and I’ll still excitedly cue up each new episode, but right now for the first time I’m really missing Tennant-era Who.