Sunday, July 16, 2017

Doctor HER.

You know, I thought I had hit a bit of a pop culture dead spot and writing on this blog would have to be put off for a couple of weeks or even months.  I even considered revisiting some topics I wanted to talk about in the past when I didn't have this blog yet.  But then, the sky parted and the pop culture gods gave me a perfect topic.

You see, the BBC has just posted this video to announce the new actor cast to play the Doctor on their seminal show Doctor Who:

That's right, folks.  For the first time, the character of the Doctor is going to be played by a woman.

Naturally, some sections of the internet have not responded well.  And while some of it may be genuine sexism, a lot of it is probably people feeling kind of weirded out.  The culture we live in has so often tried to reinforce the idea of sexual and gender identities being hardwired that it's hard for some to believe that in some cases it isn't.

The Doctor with his/her ability to regenerate into a completely different person is one of those cases.

But I'm going to tell you that I find this change interesting.  Why?  Because it could possibly bring something different to the character and how they are forced to operate.  Just like the Third Doctor being stuck on Earth and working for UNIT affected the character.  Just like the Ninth Doctor being the last of his kind affected the character.  This change could bring about new elements of story that could be interesting.  And it's probably going to be our culture's preoccupations with sex and gender that'll do it, ironically enough.

While the various alien races that the Doctor encounters may not react to the Doctor any differently, we must also remember that Doctor spends a fair bit of time in Earth's past.  And Earthlings from the past will probably react to a woman Doctor differently than a man Doctor.  Sometimes in little ways, but also maybe in bigger ways.  Imagine the Doctor suddenly having to deal with sexism as an obstacle.  There will likely be some bullish males in the past for whom waving around a piece of psychic paper is not going to get the Doctor a free pass.

Or maybe it won't.  Maybe they'll just act like this Doctor is the same as every other Doctor.  But the possibility is there.

Whatever the outcome, I'm definitely intrigued.  And it's just nice to see roles like this opening up more to women.  And we're seeing it happen more and more.  Wonder Woman had her first blockbuster movie.  We even had female Ghostbusters and a female Mummy.  While those movies weren't particularly good, it was bad scripting and direction that were the problem not the gender of the stars.

Also, you've got to admit, this is probably the prettiest actor to play the Doctor since David Tennant.

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