Doctor Who is one of those shows that has a complicated relationship with religion. New Who seems to be written by people who are either mostly ignorant of religion or hostile to it (or both). After all, the Doctor is the great modern champion of science and reason. He’s the enemy of ignorant assimilation, and what better manifestation of ignorant assimilation is there than organized (read: Christian) religion? It’s offensive to religious people, sure, but the science vs faith trope is too juicy for most sci-fi to pass up. So it’s no wonder that when Doctor Who does decide to play with religious ideas, things go haywire. For example, take the idea of a soul. Lots of religions and philosophies have different ideas about what a soul is, and yet instead of sticking to just one, Doctor Who just uses the vaguest idea of what it might mean, whenever it’s convenient.
Hit the jump for spoilers.
I could not be more pleased with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary episode. It may not have been perfect, but it certainly was one of the most entertaining episodes of Doctor Who that we’ve seen in a very, very long time.
So I babysit a seventh grade girl, whose best seventh grade friend happens to be a Whovian. This friend has been trying to sit my (umm…) child down and get her to watch Doctor Who for some time. The friend was failing. So I took it upon myself to right this wrong and get this girl to watch some Doctor Who. And I’ve gotten her hooked. We started with the first episode of Eleven, “The Eleventh Hour”, because it was available for free on demand. We just watched “Vincent and the Doctor” and are at a standstill because the TV doesn’t have the next two episodes (the one with Craig and the first part of the season finale). Here are my feels upon rewatching. Continue reading
By now, I hope you’ve caught up with Series 7.2 of Doctor Who. The last episode of the season, called “The Name of the Doctor,” concluded with an amazing scene that needs to be seen to understand what I’m going to be talking about. Obviously, everything after the jump is spoiler-filled. So don’t read/watch unless you want any part of this brave new world we’re entering.
Hi, all. So you might have noticed that I left off my Doctor Who episode reviews after “The Bells of St. John”. Never fear, though: I’m here to make up for it with a review of all the remaining episodes in one post. Buckle up for mediocre plots, tired tropes, and characters with no character after the jump!
(WARNING: there will be some minor spoilers from Series 7, so if you still plan on catching up in the series, catch up and come back.)
So, I’ve already tackled how the Ninth Doctor was born into anger and depression stemming from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also discussed how, while some progress had been made, the Tenth Doctor was still horribly depressed because of how the Last Great Time War went and how he lost Rose Tyler and Martha Jones and Donna Noble. I covered how Ten tried to be the Time Lord Victorious but ended up falling into a deeper depression which ultimately led to an immense hesitation when Ten begun his regeneration.
But we’ve moved past that. And here comes the Eleventh Doctor. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, actor Matt Smith is the youngest actor to ever play the Doctor (Smith was 27 when he took up the sonic screwdriver, second to David Tennant at 34). And his Doctor shows that young bravado. Heck, one of his first actions post-regeneration is to drive a big red fire truck. What a punk kid. Surely, the Doctor is finally recovering from all the bad things that have happened to him since the end of the Last Great Time War?
Because it wasn’t that exciting.
So I have a vested interest in minority representation in Doctor Who. Anyone who’s read my S7 episode reviews knows that I’m annoyed at the lack of realistic LGBTQ characters. But I’m also concerned with the overwhelming whiteness of the show. I even have an essay being published in the Doctor Who and Race anthology about the lack of Asian characters in Doctor Who. (It’s coming out next year for anyone who’s interested.) We’ve been going through the editorial process pretty constantly over the past few months, and so the issue is even more at the forefront of my mind then it usually is.
So what was it about “TATM” that made history? Well, Doctor Who has a history of avoiding Asian locations, characters, and storylines. The only time in new Who that we’ve seen a character in Asia is when the entire Chinese army becomes the Master in “The End of Time”. “The Angels Take Manhattan” marks the first time where the Doctor is shown in China doing things.
So why did it suck?
Well, first of all, it wasn’t a part of the storyline but rather a stopping point so that the Doctor could drop a note to River on a Qin dynasty vase. It was actually so brief that I couldn’t find an image of it on Google—I had to screencap this myself.
Second of all, the characters are not agents, they’re objects. They exist in the show so the Doctor can pop in and manipulate things as he sees fit and leave. You could switch out the vase from China with an artifact from any other culture and nothing about that scene would have changed. It’s not like they played an important role.
This is just another fail in a long line of fail on Moffat’s part this season. Here, have a cissexist joke about a trans* horse! Trans* inclusion! Amy’s a bridesmaid in an off-screen gay wedding mentioned in a throwaway line! Queer inclusion! Ancient China is onscreen for less than a minute! POC inclusion!
This is not okay, Doctor Who. This is not real diversity. Step up and do something that actually makes a difference.
I have many excuses for why this is late. For one thing, I was watching The Avengers and getting smashed on Saturday night. For another thing, I have a lot of feels to parse through. Hit the jump to find out what those feels are.