Hey guys! Welcome back! The hub for Planner Peeps, Cre8tives & Geeks! If you’re into the Planner Community, Writing Community or Geek Community be sure to hit that big friendly subscribe button to join Claire’s Cre8tive Club and ring my bell to catch me in the next Geeky episode! Right, so it was roughly a month ago that Dr. Who Season 11 first premiered and gave “fans” a plethora to complain about. And I decided to re-watch SE11 to see if my feelings about it have changed.
So today we’re asking the question: Was SE11 Really. That. Bad? Stay tuned, because the answer might surprise you!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am a HUGE, I mean a colossal fan of Doctor Who! I’m also a major supporter of Jodie Whittaker, and the new cast and crew of Team TARDIS after Capaldi & Moffat, & Jenna Coleman & Pearl Mackie said farewell and launched us into the new era of Chris Chibnall. But what I don’t broadcast as often, is how dissatisfied I was with Dr. Who SE11 as a whole. In fact, I deliberately avoided posting a video review about it because I didn’t want to sound like a complete Dalek in my review.
But, I thought it’s been about a year + now, so why not give it another go and see if it was bad as I remembered.
But first click subscribe so you don’t get left behind like Graham did when getting a spot of peanut butter for the Doc!
Now then, let’s talk about Doctor Who SE11 and see if I can without sounding like a Dalek. Because here’s the thing; even when an episode is not … not my favorite, it’s still Doctor Who! Hearing the theme song, seeing the BBC logo with that posh new logo with the pppsssphh effects still gets me very excited every time I play Doctor Who.
But with the last season specifically, I thought the acting was TOP NOTCH! I did wonder before the season started and the promo’s were hyping us up since early 2018, if having so many companions was going to be problematic. In some episodes, having four companions did prove to be too much for the writers. (More on that later) But the actors themselves were just incredible! They all truly took on the spirit of the show and ran with it. And then some!
And as soon as Jodie’s “Doctor” remembered who she was; I was Totes McGotes on board with her as the Doctor. That whole scene with her on the crane was just amazing and well done! But, to be honest I was even totally on board with Jodie as the Doctor since the “Glass Ceiling” advert way back in early 2018. Whoops! And funnily enough, the more “fans” got angry with the Doctor having a pair of boobs claiming SJW’s “ruined” the show; the more I really, really liked it!
But yeah, let’s talk a moment about how so many companions effected the show. At first I was super excited for the sheer diversity of the show. I mean they have a cute Indian girl who is a police officer wanting to prove herself as more than a ticket grunt. A cool black guy with a dexterity disability. A post-middle-aged white man grieving over the loss his adventurous black wife. And finally the Doctor who regenerated from an angry Scotsman to a posh lady who talks so fast you need the Closed Captions setting just to catch most of her brilliant quips and speeches.
So, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning combination recipe for success in my cookbook. That combination of diversity in the Doctor’s new friends got me very excited for the new season after watching the first episode. So what happened? How could such a diverse group of companions whose love and trust for the Doctor is what brings them together go so very wrong?
Well, in my non-Dalek opinion; it wasn’t the acting, it wasn’t the new music composer (although some “fans” claim they hate the new music). It wasn’t even the new showrunner!
It was the stories themselves.
On paper, each story sounds pretty interesting.
But the execution is where things get bad. Or at least, not great.
Remember that Yaz was a police woman? Yeah, neither did I until I re-watched the pilot. Same with Ryan’s disability. The pilot set up so much darn potential for these characters that unfortunately the stories following after the pilot just didn’t deliver. But, here’s the kicker. Minus the finale, that spider episode ending and the conundrum of something; the stories themselves weren’t. That. Bad.
((Yes, Yaz, that’s how we ALL felt about the finale lol))
So maybe the problem … is in the fandom?
Here me out.
Now I don’t 110% blame the fandom per say, we’re simply used to the RTD & Moffat’s grand arc style. Think of Bad Wolf in series one. Harold Saxon in season three. And season 5 having a bit of a fairy tale style set up. So the fandom is very, VERY used to series arcs. And there I believe lies the true problem. There wasn’t a sense of continuity in the episodes, or rather, there was no build up from one episode to the next i.e. an arc. Because the episodes didn’t have a feeling of being part of the same series, rather as individual stories, for many fans, myself included, it felt on the side of lame.
But after I re-watched the series and stopped comparing it to past seasons, I found myself rather enjoying the Doctor Who SE11 experience a lot!
I truly think this series was aimed at new fans. And you know what? I’m glad for it. I’m glad they got sexism & politics “out of the way”. I’m glad they played “the woman card” in the Witchfinders episode just to get it “out of the way”. And when I say “out of the way” I don’t mean for it as a negative context! But now that it’s been pointed out that the Doctor is now a woman, one of the companions is black and another of an Indian descent; we can focus on other areas of history.
But they did a REALLY good job in episodes like Rosa and Demons of the Punjab pointing out how the true demons are the racial dividers humans place on ourselves.
Because I think it’s important that Doctor Who embraces the SJW crowd as critics have claimed. That’s what I love, love, LOVE about sci-fi is that it takes out flaws of society like racism and sexism and purposely throws it in our faces. Personally, I think that’s what this season got right was showcasing the social injustice issues!
Where it got wrong, really wrong, was not exploring the companion’s of the new Team TARDIS and they need to work on giving all three of them something to do in EVERY episode. Not just having an episode that showcases a glimpse of the companion one at a time. One episode that did nail this, however, was Kerblam. Kerblam was my fave of the series aside from the pilot because it gave each of the companions something to do and each companion played a big part of the story.
I think that season 12 definitely needs to focus more on character development. We still don’t really know a lot of the companions; like their hobbies and things. Yeah Ryan does YouTube and Yaz has a family; but what about them really makes them tick? If we did have more character development, it might help have the stories feel more a sense of continuity.
Like in Series 7 part One, although the stories felt like Hollywood Blockbusters rather than a series with the lack of story arc, the consistency of exploring the Pond relationship was what kept that series strong. In series 11, however, I didn’t feel a really strong sense of connection between the two companions. Except Ryan and Graham, who were grandfather and grandson through marriage, although Ryan purposefully kept him at arms’ length. Although it was a VERY satisfying moment in the Witchfinders episode when Ryan finally does call him, endearingly, “Gramps”. I wish there was more interaction between Ryan and Yaz, because when they were on screen they both kind of were just there, minus that very powerful scene in “Rosa” when they were hiding from the white, racist sheriff.
I hope that in series 12, even if Chibnall didn’t want a fancy arc style to connect the series; that it’s the companion’s character development that helps make the series feel strong; instead of just individual stories.
Also in series 12, I would like stronger villains.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun – even if a bit predictable of a twist that the humans were actually the real villains; but Jodie’s doctor is just SO cool! It’d be great if she had a killer bad guy to match her bad-assery just like the other Doctor’s got to have.
While I’m still sad there is no new Who in 2019; I hope they are taking the break to create better stories.
And what did you think of the new shorter season structure? Did not having as many stories in a season actually help the season? Or did the shorter season just made you wanting more as it did for me? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
So I could literally talk about Doctor Who all day; and I practically do on Twitter @ClaireCre8tes, but that wraps it up for today on Claire Cre8tes!
Some final thoughts after watching this season a second time. I concluded it truly wasn’t as bad as I remembered and that the Internet is claiming. I think the extra enjoyment came from appreciating the stories as I was watching them, instead of feeling sad there wasn’t a connected story arc or master bad villain as we were used to. Yeah Tim Shaw as kind of cool, but he was also kind of lame compared to some baddies in the past. But by focusing on each story as I was watching them, they actually were very enjoyable. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed Witchfinders the second time around! I really hated it the first time, but the humor with King James and Ryan, plus Jodie pointing out how unfair it was she wouldn’t have been so undermined if she was still a man, actually made it a fun episode. Even if the ending was still not my fave, which was a theme for SE11 for me. My fave episodes were Kerblam, Demons of Punjab, Woman Who Fell from Earth, Rosa and the Witchfinders.
What was your fave episode in this season? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
I would rate the series as a whole a solid 3 out of 5 stars … but still declare it totally Binge-worthy! Just try to appreciate the stories themselves and not compare it to the other seasons. Because, it seems too different for a fair comparison. And maybe, that’s what makes this season very special was how different it really was.
Well, until next time, Cre8te often and be kind always! Don’t forget to hit the bell so I can see you in the next one! Cheers.