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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 Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:17AM (#44507749)

    It seems awful to me. The writing is bad. The characters are bad. The plots are bad. The props/special effects are bad.

    Is it something we Ironically like because its so bad or does it have good aspects I've over looked?

    Don't get me wrong. I love science fiction. But this seems like garbage.

    Anyone have an idea as to what I'm missing here?

  • by ggraham412 ( 1492023 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:35AM (#44507927)

    Surely a science fiction concept with a female lead can be developed outside of the current Dr. Who franchise. Or, a spin-off series featuring a female timelord can be developed in parallel, like Star Trek did with Voyager. The can have separate adventures and then guest star from time to time on each others' shows. Seems like you get more audience that way. Why is there a need to take an established character and turn it into something completely different?

    Dr. Who will always be Tom Baker in my imagination anyway.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 08, 2013 @08:36AM (#44507931)

    Yes indeed. Everything, and I mean everything must be co-opted to support the feminist cause or it has no right to exist.

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:21AM (#44508447) Homepage

    Just because Who happens to have the regeneration plot device, which would make it possible for him to come back as a woman

    It also makes it possible for 'it' to come back as a man. The point some people are making is that there is no reason not to have 'it' come back as a woman. The character has been largely asexual and could remain so. Personally I think they've selected the next doctor well but I think it'd be nice if they cast one of the many capable actresses available at some point in the future.

    I think you're probably fully aware of the nonsense of your James Bond remark; largely because if you're able to use the internet you would realise that James is a man's name, a male character and human thus not able to change gender. That said, I personally would have no issue with it if they rebranded as "007: The next films not enough" and the next 007 was a woman; it'd be quite refreshing to see the bravado of James Bond portrayed by a woman and I think we're finally reaching the point where it wouldn't seem jarring.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:30AM (#44508581) 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 Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:41AM (#44508725) Homepage

    Possibly. But is there any particular reason it has to be the same Gallifreyan? Do you really want to break what appears to be continuity and almost certainly alienate a large proportion of the viewers just for that? (Personally it wouldn't bother me but it doesn't bother me that it's not either and I'd rather have a Doctor on the screen than than a PC Doctor cancelled. It took long enough for it to come back last time.)

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @09:49AM (#44508815)

    John Barroman is actually pitching for a spinoff show with his Captain Jack character traveling through time with River Song.

    I would much rather they create a spinoff with a Time Lady than change the Doctor into a woman.

    The biggest reason for this is that if they change the Doctor to a woman, the ratings will be big for an episode or two, but then since the whole premise of the show had been upended, ratings will crash and it'll get cancelled.

    I'd rather they try out a new show than mess with the concept of the original show.

  • by Warma ( 1220342 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @10:12AM (#44509101)

    While I try to refrain from insulting entertainment by insinuating that it's aimed at pubescent boys, and while this might make me seem one in your eyes, I feel that Dr. Who actually is cheesy and lame.

    I had avoided the show for various vague reasons until recently, when a friend of mine forced me to watch the first episodes of the most recent series to change my mind. While the writing was rather interesting and the retro visuals had enough charm to make me understand why someone might like it, there are some serious problems with the show.

    First, I was annoyed that The Doctor is portrayed as somewhat all-powerful for no reason at all. He can threaten his enemies and make appeals with no credentials whatsoever. I kind of understand that scenes where he says that "the Earth is protected" by him are perhaps awe-inspiring to a 50's born nerd who has watched all of the previous 200 episodes, but I really don't get why the aliens he is currently facing won't just incinerate him on the spot. To an outside observer, it simply seems like a lame would-be superhero saving the day by just boasting about it. This is actually repeated twice during the first three episodes.

    Secondly, while all of the previous posters are talking about strong female leads, I was left with pretty mixed feelings about this character in the most recent show. Of course she is shown as intelligent and resourceful, but at the same time, she is shown to be a slave to his charms, eloping the very day before her wedding. The convenience of the former is rather astounding, as the series of course contains time travel and implies that the female lead can experience a whole new life, whisked away to adventure by an exciting man, and still return to her life with the random beta (or absence of it, depending on the attitude of the scriptwriters), like nothing had happened.

    Is this really what being a strong woman is about?

  • by agrounds ( 227704 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @12:35PM (#44511041)

    The other Gallifreyans are all gone. If they wanted a female Timelord, they should have done a Romana spinoff years ago.

    The best part of a show about time travel is that there is nothing that is actually immutable. Doctor Who has rewritten plot lines in the past, and utterly ignored previous canon when it suits the writers.

    That said, bringing back Romana would be awesome. Preferably the Mary Tramm version in terms of character. The haughty brilliance she brought to the show was the perfect counterpoint to Tom Baker's goofiness. Our newer doctors really need that authority figure to contrast the manic screwdriver-waving stupidity we have gotten lately. Donna Noble was the closest we got to a proper companion like the original show, and her departure was noticeable in every aspect of the character interactions.

  • by Latent Heat ( 558884 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @01:04PM (#44511363)
    C'mon people, Dr. Who has always had a female sidekick, a very youthful and "pneumatic" (borrowing a term from Huxley) female sidekick, or somehow acquires such a woman companion in the course of the particular adventure or story arc. One such companion was a "cave woman" dressed in (poorly draped, yes!) skins; another was a flight attendant from an airliner that got caught up in a time warp.

    These sidekicks are hot by the standards of women on British TV where the extremes in cosmetic dentistry, dermatology, and plastic surgery are not followed as rigorously as in Hollywood.

    So would the female Dr. Who have a beefcake dude sidekick? Would the female Dr. Who be a babe or perhaps a mature woman in the tradition of Helen Mirren, Judy Dench, or Amanda Richardson? Or maybe a West Indian babe with a delicious regional accent as the police captain who thinks Holmes is a dangerous vigilante and medler into police business as in that Sherlock Holmes reboot (and gosh no, not the Robert Downey Jr. one).

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault