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Sci-Fi Television

Should the Next 'Doctor Who' Be a Woman? 772

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jennifer Finney Boylan writes in the NYT that for those who did not get beaten up in high school, 'Doctor Who' is a beloved British sci-fi series about a character called the Doctor who is able to regenerate into a new body whenever a mortal would die or whenever an actor grows tired of the gig. The Doctor has been played by 11 different men since the show went on the air in 1963 and with Matt Smith, stepping down this Christmas, many fans had hoped that this time, a dozen cycles in, the Doctorship would finally go to a woman. 'Maybe it was the election of Barack Obama that made it seem, fleetingly, as if there were no more glass ceilings, for offices from president to pontiff,' writes Boylan. 'Whether the 45th president is a woman (Hillary Rodham Clinton?) or a Latino (Marco Rubio?), it still feels, on a good day, as if we've entered a time when there are fewer limits on what men and women can aspire to.' But unlike presidents or popes, we may not get that many more chances at a glass-shattering Doctor. According to long-held Doctor Who mythology, the character's 13th regeneration could be his last. 'As the producers think about whom they want to take on the role next, they should keep in mind the way people's hopes are lifted when they see someone breaking the glass ceiling, even when it's for something as seemingly trivial as a hero on a science-fiction program. Equal opportunity matters — in Doctor Who's universe as well as our own.'"
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Should the Next 'Doctor Who' Be a Woman?

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  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:12AM (#44507707) Homepage Journal

    Why not a vegan tranny black lesbian Muslim in a wheelchair?

  • Ever notice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:12AM (#44507711) Homepage
    It seems there is a subset of people out there who just can never be happy unless they are going against the grain. There will be people out there who make a big deal about who the next Doctor is regardless of who gets it. Not everything has to be groundbreaking or new. Sometimes tried and trusted are the way to go.
  • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:15AM (#44507731)
    The Dr had a wife and child. Unless you are going to make the time lords all capable of changing sex, and boy could that get confusing with some times straight some times gay families, he cannot we a woman.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:20AM (#44507777)

    I think that people who want to see the next Doctor be some sort of handicapped post-op lesbian hermaphrodite never watch the show but just want to push some sort of agenda to get some checkbox filled somewhere. They would never watch a single episode with their politically-corrected Doctor but that's not really the point.

  • Re:Ever notice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <[sorceror171] [at] []> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:21AM (#44507787) Homepage

    Sometimes tried and trusted are the way to go.

    From here []:

    We learn how to act, and how to accept things, through our fiction, and we have a gigantic problem with women in authority. By creating a female Doctor, and then giving her interesting male companions and having them work together without falling mutually in love, having sex, or keeping her locked in the male gaze, we could begin to work through some of the issues our society has with women in authority.

    It may seem silly to pin these hopes on pop culture, but remember that it took Star Trek to bring us one of the first scripted kisses on television. A female Doctor wouldn't just be fun, it would be important. It could be a way to teach young men how to treat powerful women with respect, a lesson that is rarely discussed well, anywhere.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:28AM (#44507847) Journal

    The Doctor: "You know the definition of a vegan don't you? They're people too insensitive to hear a carrot citizen of Denigula VI scream."

  • Or maybe.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:31AM (#44507887) Journal

    So somehow changing an indubitably male character into a woman is a 'victory' for women?

    Perhaps we could just work on creating an interesting, engaging, successful female character and celebrate her? Or celebrate one of the many strong female characters already present in media?

    Perhaps there's a moral in here for the whole feminist movement.

  • Re:Ever notice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:31AM (#44507889) Homepage Journal

    I don't accept the premise. We have lots of powerful women in our society. Not enough, granted, but the ones we do have don't seem to have trouble being taken seriously by the majority of people.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:33AM (#44507905)

    That is just absurd !!

    Not nearly as absurd as his archenemy being The Mistress.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:36AM (#44507939) Homepage

    Also it has no explosions caused by bullets hitting a car tire, no bodybuilders screaming slogans only three words long yet still incomprehensable, no storylines designed to last for 20 seasons only to be cancelled after the second season, nobody trying to be "cool" or "edgy" or "bad-ass". Quite frankly, it's a breath of fresh air amongst so many sci-fi series desperately trying to appease pubescent boys.

    I thought Dr. Who would be tacky/cheesy/lame as well until I actually saw a whole episode, now I'm hooked.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:37AM (#44507951) Homepage Journal


    It seems you are not British, so perhaps you see it differently to us. A lot of the Russell T. Davies stuff was cheesy crap, but Moffat's episodes are good. Many of them are quite dark and produce a real sense of drama.

    It works both ways of course. A lot of US shows that people rave about seem pretty bad to us too. Many of the good ones have British actors in the major roles.

  • Re:Ever notice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:40AM (#44507989) Homepage

    The whole point of Dr. Who (well, one of the points) is that the female assistants keep on showing him's a showcase for smart, self-empowered women.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:41AM (#44507997) Homepage Journal

    A joke is technically something intended to make you laugh. It is not necessarily factually accurate, or even representative of the beliefs and opinions of the teller.

  • by The Pirou ( 1551493 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:41AM (#44508001)
    It takes different strokes. Possibly you don't appreciate the story because you're not familiar with older plot lines from 30 years ago that are quietly addressed. Possibly you've never read any of the well written books from that time either. Possibly you like Mango Ice cream or Kardashian's when everyone else is going 'yuck.' It's television. If you don't get it, don't hurt your brain trying to figure it out. Some people simply have different tastes, and your perception of lame is someone else's uber. It's perfectly reasonable to hate the old black and white shows, specific Doctors, or the entirety of the show, but it's not a mathematical proof that can be explained to you in hopes that one day you'll understand (especially since you've already walked into the conversation with the idea that Dr. Who blows monkey chunks).

    My Uncle has been taping the show since it's inception, and he owns every book that came out prior to 1992. He's hated every single Doctor since 8, and calls the current show all manner of names. He'd agree with you that everything currently playing is garbage, but then again, he thinks the only good think on TV these days is H20.
  • by YukariHirai ( 2674609 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:42AM (#44508005)

    In spite of its legendarily low budget in... well, just about all of it prior to the Christopher Ecclestone series, it's been some groundbreaking science fiction. Oh it's had its dud episodes, you might need to suspend disbelief more than you would for most other TV shows, and the special effects should be taken as a symbolic gesture rather than actually looking like something, but it does actually do some pretty interesting stuff.

    That said, it's not everyone's cup of tea. Culturally, the show is very British, so Americans don't tend to "get" it as much as the British or Australians.

  • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:44AM (#44508021) Journal

    So true. I don't understand why this keeps coming up. Just because Who happens to have the regeneration plot device, which would make it possible for him to come back as a woman, doesn't really make the why of it any different than any other long-running series with a male lead. Should the next James Bond be a woman? I'm a big fan of sci-fi with female lead characters; Buffy, Lost Girl, the Underworld movies, Resident Evil. You do not need to screw around with a series with a male lead character if you want female leads.

  • Oh, shut up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:44AM (#44508027) Journal

    Jennifer Finney Boylan writes in the NYT that for those who did not get beaten up in high school...

    Whining about diversity and coming out with the stereotyping right out of the gate(and yes, it's a quote from TFA, I did check). Maybe she thought that was cute?

    I had a nice rant with lots of big words about diversity not about messing with established characters and missing the point and all that, but you know what? Screw it.

    Why should we bloody-nosed, inhaler puffing masses give a fuck what this imbecile has to say?

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:52AM (#44508119)

    Really depends on what you've seen. A show that's spanned half a century has some good ones and some bad ones.

    If you want to check out the best of what the new series can offer, try The Girl in the Fireplace [], or Blink [].

  • One word... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:52AM (#44508123)
    .. why? If gender doesn't matter any more why are we fixating on it here?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:18AM (#44508415)

    Also, what kind of sexist demands for Doctor Who to be a woman? Certainly not a single woman I've ever met. They want a charming sexy man, and who 'd blame them? :)
    But those same sexists would probably call that "sexism" too.

    Doctor Who is a man. I don't go demand that female roles be played by men either!

    The whole thing is fucking retarded, and a textbook example of what happens to a good cause, when a bunch of monkey-see-monkey-do passive-thinking morons go overboard with it.
    The women who originally started the equal right movement would probably die just to turn in their graves.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:28AM (#44508545) Homepage

    You don't think Dr. Who as a female would make for some interesting stories? Are you dead inside? Political correctness is the last reason in the world why we'd want a female Doctor. We'd want a female Doctor because it would be interesting. Honestly, male Dr. Who has been done to death!

  • by metrix007 ( 200091 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:38AM (#44508691)

    Could you paste your post a few more times to make sure everyone see's it?

    Look, the character is male. He should remain male unless there is a convincing reason to make him female. Because it would be interesting is not reason enough, not when there are are still many interesting stories to tell with him as a male.

  • by Jeff Flanagan ( 2981883 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:03AM (#44508977)
    The other Gallifreyans are all gone. If they wanted a female Timelord, they should have done a Romana spinoff years ago.
  • Re:Ever notice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:11AM (#44509081) Homepage
    So how are men supposed to look up to capable, masculine role models? Tim "Tool Time" Taylor and his thousands of bumbling, idiot clones did massive cultural damage to men by teaching them the best thing they can do is nothing. Helping only harms or makes you look stupid.
  • Re:Ever notice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @12:12PM (#44510715) Journal
    Sarah Jane Smith was very much a strong female role model, and solved several mysteries on her own. Most of the time The Doctor solved things before her during her era, it was because it either required some esoteric knowledge that you don't get from growing up on Earth, or because it required some technology from the TARDIS.
  • by agrounds ( 227704 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @12:14PM (#44510735)

    Well, if the last few seasons are any indication, running is no longer required. Neither is a plot, creativity, or fun 4-episode arcs. Under Moffat's tenure, the only requirement is waving around a sonic screwdriver like it's a magic wand.

    Under these strenuous conditions, the vegan tranny black lesbian Muslim in a wheelchair would be more than sufficient.

    Hell, the good Doctor could be replaced by a muppet with the screwdriver firmly velcro'd to its hand with no noticeable impact to the show. Come to think of it, this describes Matt Smith's run perfectly.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @12:31PM (#44510985)

    It's not a bad idea to bring in Susan, but I think people want The Doctor.

    Honestly, I've been watching him since the late 1970's as a male. After all that time, making him female just seems like a gimmick. While I don't think there is any in-universe reason he couldn't be a female, but there's been almost zero reason to believe it would ever happen.

    And what's worse, they'd probably have to do something like make it either traumatic or "super cool" for the Doctor. In either case, I could see that being annoying, story-wise. Given the tenure of current actors in the role, they'd spend half their time on the "I'm a female now" arc before moving on.

    I do think that they should somehow work in a female Time Lord, like they have in the past, and make her a lot more integral than Romana or the Rani were. The other females like River Song, or the Doctor's daughter might have Time Lord physiology, but they aren't Gallifreyans culturally and never lived in Time Lord society. I think they need a new, actual female Time Lord, but I'm not sure how that would work out.

    Susan is technically the best candidate (if she's still alive outside the Time War), but I think they'd benefit from introducing a new character.

  • Re:Ever notice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:36PM (#44512325)

    it's a showcase for smart, self-empowered women.

    It's a common trope of portraying men as bumbling fools in need of a woman to steer them through life. Witness just about every sitcom and police procedural in existence. There would be much hell raised if a female doctor was constantly being upstaged by a male companion in the same manner.

Variables don't; constants aren't.