Jewish Journal


August 5, 2013

Doctor Who Cares


I really feel like I gave Doctor Who a fair shot. I watched the first two seasons (well, starting with the 2005 reboot) and then, in desperation, turned to the friend who'd recommended it to me in the first place to ask for pointers. He made me a list of the best episodes in seasons three and four and when I couldn't get through those it felt fair to just let the project go. I wrote about my frustration, then. I love fantasy and I love science fiction and I have a lot of affection for weird, low-budget television (Firefly, anyone?) but I just think Doctor Who is boring. The world building is sloppy and the one-off episodes are never suspenseful and I've never turned off one episode with any kind of desire to see what happens in the next. 

And in some ways that makes my life easier, because showrunner Steven Moffat is a deeply sexist human being. He's repeatedly made sexist remarks-- most recently, when announcing Peter Capaldi as the newest Doctor, he compared the absurdity of fan desire for a female doctor to "a man playing the queen," which, of course, has happened on stage, and will happen in real life, in essence, when Charles succeeds Elizabeth-- and he's taken the show in an increasingly worrying direction in terms of its characters and plots.

I'm strongly of the opinion that you can enjoy media you disagree with or find problematic; in fact, I think it's useful to engage with culture that ticks you off, because it forces you to explore what, precisely, you disagree with, to refine and elucidate your objections, to explore facts of feeling you might not otherwise encounter. And it's always good when fans of a show are willing to take its writers to task for their sins, saying "hey, you do so well so often, and yet sometimes I still wish you would do better." I am glad there's a world of feminist (and otherwise aligned-- I'd take a Doctor of color for some diversity, too, of course) Whovians out there dissecting why Moffat's narrow-mindedness is hurting both them and the show itself. It's a fight worth fighting, as long as the show is going to be on, and people are going to continue to watch and love it. For my part, however, I'm glad to be able to stay out of the fray-- to know that since I don't like it on any level, it's one thing I don't have to watch. 

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