They say that 13 is an unlucky number, and that is true for Doctor Who, and its latest incarnation, Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor. For some, she struck a chord with and they loved her, but for others, they made their hatred for Series 11 very vocal.
Some fans have become so full of malice, that many are calling the fandom of Doctor Who ‘toxic’ and ‘unpleasant’. This newfound prolific behaviour was at its peak at the halfway mark of the series, where the two weakest episodes arose to criticism not seen in the fandom before.
But, to the series’ credit, the majority of fans praised episodes like Rosa and Kerblam! which showed deep emotional nuance and a return to traditional Who which some have grown to miss. However, only one episode stuck to the roots of classic Doctor Who. Everything else remained vastly different to what we’ve seen before.
This was what Chris Chibnall, the show’s new head writer after Moffat’s leave in December of last year, hoped to achieve. No old enemies came back, the format had changed mechanically. Episodes were on a Sunday afternoon, there were 2 less episodes with slightly longer run times, and a general difference of tone.
Last year, many eager fans of Who waited for Wimbledon to end, and find out who the next Doctor would be. While many rejoiced at Jodie being the chosen one, some fans weren’t at all pleased. They claimed the show had become self-indulgent pandering to every demographic.
There’s still a hashtag roaming on Twitter. #NotMyDoctor.
Another common issue many have, even some of the patrons had to concur later on, was the sudden introduction to three companions travelling with Whittaker simultaneously.
Many expressed that having a triad of characters with The Doctor would be too much to juggle, and each would feel less rich or developed then previous characters. Fortunately, Ryan and Graham do get a satisfactory arc relating to their dynamic as family and now the death of a loved one can bring people together.
Yasmin Khan has had the least development and hasn’t been fully fleshed out, which is ironic considering she had two episodes revolved around her and her family.
Along with alterations to the basics, the growing sense of social commentary and justice was on full showcase with these episodes. Each representing some flaw with society in a not-so-subtle manner, at times feeling pretentious and far too left-wing for a show about sci-fi.
The only episode to seemingly benefit from the preaching is Rosa, where our ensemble go to the 50’s to meet Rosa Parks, and it gets really emotionally.
Now, Doctor Who has a lot of lore, after all, it’s one been on for 55 years, and mythology is guaranteed to snowball. But Chibnall has seeming left all the established tidbits of Doctor Who’s universe in place for an all-new slate of world building. Fans wished to see more than throwaway lines of past events or characters.
One of the greatest pitfalls of Series 11 is the antagonists, all new.
Tim Shaw – Suffered from cliches, general incompetence and a lack of any interesting personality.
The Rags – They didn’t do anything!
Tate Krasko – Apparently a racist who slaughtered thousands and ended up in Stormcage, But was made inept by a chip implanted in him.
Jack Robertson – Too akin to the current POTUS to have any real character.
Pting – What’s meant to a deadly killer is actually a cute little dude perfect for a bobblehead.
I could go on…
Generally, The Doctor hasn’t been facing actual monsters, but instead human nature, further pushing the social commentary agenda down our throats. Prejudice, pride, greed, selfishness and psychopathy.
Doctor Who has always been a source for controversy and discussion, but this series has fractured the fans, made most bitter and now they pray that ‘Resolution’ the New Year special, Can relight the old spark they’ve lost this year.
Thankfully, the fandom will have to regroup and make peace again, with another year of no Doctor Who, Series 12 will arrive in early 2020.
I’m still hopeful that the New Year special will be good, and convert some fans back to their previous ways.