So I’m a pretty big Who fan, I originally got into the series around the start of Nu Who in 2005, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Even going as far as to watch a lot of the earlier series dating as far back as the 60s. It’s been a wild ride and there have been laughs, tears, fits of rage and tension to keep you hanging off the edge of your seat. I love Doctor Who.
A lot of things have bothered me across the series, from that episode with James Corden where they literally defeat the cybermen with the power of fatherly love. I have so many rants and arguments to have about this series, as do most fans. One of the things I’ve never really been bothered about though, is that the Doctor has historically always been played by a white male. Something Joss Whedon seems to have a problem with, stating that he wouldn’t write for Doctor Who unless the Doctor was either female, or Idris Elba. Personally I think we should make it both Idris Elba, but also a woman, just to fuck with Whedon.
Now, I don’t have any problem with The Doctor becoming a female or a black man, or any variation of any kind of human or even alien for that matter. It literally doesn’t matter to me what the character looks like, or who plays them. I just want to see The Doctor doing what The Doctor does best, being The Doctor. I truly believe this is a character that can be fulfilled by anyone, however I don’t think that forcing this is ever going to be the way forwards. Progressives might want it and cry for it, but until there’s a good written story for it, it really should not happen. Tokenism doesn’t actually help at all.
Yet I find it kind of rich for Whedon, the man who is responsible for Firefly, to be complaining that the lead character is a white male. While having been in charge of a space exploration show featuring the lead character as a white male. It’s rather hypocritical no? And you’re right, there were people of colour and female characters who took centre stage quite often in the one series of Firefly we were given, and they did really well, despite one of those female characters being a literal sex object. Yet if we compare Firefly to Doctor Who, you can see almost the exact same format.
White male captain of the ship, with his trustee female companion, and his further supporting cast of males and females. They go exploring through space and more often than not, the white male captain of the ship is the one who saves the day – often with the help of his trustee female companion. We can even go further back to look at one of my all time favourite shows ever, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and count just how many white males were called in to help the legendary slayer across her tenure. From Giles, to Riley, to Spike, to Angel, to Xander and others too.
Whedon hasn’t got a leg to stand on when it comes to giving females and non-whites starring roles in television shows. Frankly, if the only way he will ever write for Doctor Who is to force the change to a black or female character, then I’d much rather he didn’t bother. If he can’t or refuses to write for the character of The Doctor as a white male, then he can’t write for the character of The Doctor at all, as the character is the important part, not the person playing it.
Perhaps Joss, you should try to pander less to the vocal feminist audience, and actually think about writing something good instead? Just a suggestion.
(though I’d gladly watch a good reboot/sequel to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I marathon the whole thing like once a year anyway.)