Doctor Who, Season 11, and Jodie Whittaker is The Doctor

I just got around to watching season 11 of Doctor Who and the New Years special Resolution this past week.

As a fan of the show from the days when Tom Baker was The Doctor and it appeared weekly on PBS‘ Saturday nights, I’ve been looking forward to every new regeneration and every new actor who’s taken on the role of The Doctor.

When the announcements were made that the show was getting a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall, that the newest regeneration of The Doctor would be a female, that woman would be Jodie Whittaker, I really wanted to see how the new Chibnall would handle the show and how Whittaker would handle the role.

I was familiar with Whittaker from her role as the nurse Samantha Adams in the movie Attack the Block. Thinking she was fantastic in that role and seeing that role as a sort of pseudo-practice for the role of The Doctor, I approached her time on the show positively. Unlike some viewers, the precedent set with The Master generation of Missy convinced me the casting would work.

I felt the season started strong and Whittaker quickly established herself as someone capable of filling the role of The Doctor. However, I also felt that as the season progressed, Whittaker was a victim of subpar writing by Chibnall and the individual episode writers and that the show was missing an overall season-long storyline that really bound the whole season together.

While the new episodic styling of wrapping up a single story in a single weekly episode can be a beneficial change in some ways, in the case of season 11, it made the stories feel rushed and incomplete. The absence of the usual suspects in the monster of the week role was definitely noticeable. The replacement of the Daleks, the Cybermen, and The Master with watered down predator knock-offs, time-traveling white supremacists, and an intergalactic survivor knock-off left the adversaries feeling unworthy of The Doctor’s attention.

The Resolution New Year’s special episode brings back the Daleks, or at least one, and presents that Dalek as monsters we all know and love. While the writing of that episode still felt a bit rushed, it offers hope that Chibnall is learning the ropes and that season 12 with be a marked improvement over season 11. In the meantime, Jodie Whittaker is The Doctor and season 11 is worth a watch to familiarize yourself with the newest actor to fill the role.

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