I didn’t know two years ago I’d be itching for new Doctor Who content. I’d quit the show after season 7 and many people’s impressions of 8 left me wanting, so I dropped it from my very full TV schedule. It always going to be one of my favorite shows, even if I took a break every now and then, but with the announcement of Pearl Mackie as Bill and her glorious fro, I jumped back into the TARDIS and haven’t left since.
While season 10 left a lot to be desired with its ending, and while I was personally fine with the Doctor remaining a dude (but with better writing and representation for women and people of color), the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor has definitely breathed new life into this Whovian. The rollout of information for season 11 has been quite slow, but after Jodie and after Tosin Cole (our third Black full-time companion, fifth Black cast member) and Mandip Gill (the first EVER South Asian lead on the show) were announced, and the new logo/color scheme, every new reveal gets me more and more pumped for the new season.
And today delivered (mostly). The SDCC panel dropped a cute Jodie video, a trailer, some new show art, and the reveal of the new sonic. Many thanks to the die-hard Whovians and press folks who ended up in the Hall H panel and live-tweeted it for the rest of us. Here were 13 thoughts I had while avidly refreshing my Twitter timelines for panel content.
1. Jodie Whittaker is precious.
Did you see the “Jodie gets to SDCC” bit BBC America put together? Between that and the first official trailer, I am ready to love a new Doctor. I love her sheer hoodie, her wavy hair and can’t wait to see her actually in action as the Doctor.
2. Thirteen has a very Nine accent.
I know he’s from Lancashire and she’s from Yorkshire, but that’s all North in England right? Either way, her accent gives me Nine vibes and poor Nine doesn’t get enough respect. (Though I was disappointed he didn’t want to appear in the 50th, but maybe with new blood and a woman Doctor he’ll let down his shell a bit? That would be awesome.)
3. Tosin Cole is already my favorite.
He was spilling the beans about being on Doctor Who before he was supposed to tell anyone! He’s invited onto the TARBIS (that’s Time and Relative Blackness in Space, the podcast I co-host with Robyn and Bayana and which is part of the Hard N.O.C. Media network) anytime he wants. I really hope he’s treated with more kindness than Mickey and Danny. I think maybe third time’s the charm (both as a Black male character and a Black companion).
4. I’m also so excited for the overall diversity in the TARDIS.
It’s the first New Who season with three full-time companions to start and I am thrilled that Manip Gill and Tosin Cole are among the cast and being placed front and center on the team. I’m sure Bradley Walsh is great, but the show has had a lot of trouble with PoC rep in the TARDIS. As I mentioned earlier, there’s, of course, Tosin Cole’s Ryan, but Mandip’s Yaz makes the first South Asian actor on the show, which is just as well past time as a female Doctor.
I’m glad the show is making strides towards representation and I hope that representation is also inclusive and makes sense for their respective backgrounds. (Colorblind casting often leads to characters who don’t make sense as they’re written because they don’t change things to reflect the specificity of that character’s racial background). I just wish the show didn’t feel the need to seemingly shoehorn in a white male companion in a season with so many other awesome firsts. Feels like a qualifier for the fans who are upset about the Doctor being a woman. But he’s also typically last in the line of four, so I’m gonna use my strength to big up Tosin and Mandip, who are also younger/newer actors on the scene.
5. No Daleks!
With just two weeks of shooting left, there hasn’t been a Dalek spotted on set. Showrunner Chris Chibnall seemed to insist this season be a completely fresh start, with no old villains or any references to old material beyond a few Easter Eggs. No Daleks is fine with me. If they say no Cybermen either? After the whole Bill as a Cyberman thing, I could do without them for a few centuries.
6. Thirteen has different versions of the rainbow shirt!
I’ve always said the blue shirt with rainbow striping that has become a part of Thirteen’s wardrobe reminded me of Ikea (#random), but the new trailer revealed she has a few versions of the shirt, one, at least, in red! Like Ten and Eleven before her, perhaps she chooses colors depending on whether it’s the past or future! Can’t wait to dissect her wardrobe as it evolves. But I will say, I was really digging her rolled up arms in what I presume is still Twelve’s old outfit. Let’s also do more of that too.
7. There’s a new sonic screwdriver…
And it leaves a lot (or very little) to the imagination! Let’s just say it’s shaped a bit differently than previous ones and the tamest thing I can say is that it looks like a Schick razor on the end.
But I am LOVING the yellow light! Matches the new logo which I also love. But I’ll let you decide what the sonic looks like most… It might be the only thing I am sighing very heavily about. (Well not the only thing #tokenwhiteguy).
8. I think I am okay with ten episodes.
After a “feature length” premiere, there will be nine 50-minute episodes in season 11. I am trying not to be salty about the woman Doctor getting fewer episodes because 1.) I don’t know Chibnall like that and maybe I only need 10 episodes from him and his full-season style. 2.) Many TV shows are continuously and gradually moving towards shorter models (at least in the States, which has long been based on the brevity of U.K. TV, which then feels it needs to go even shorter). And 3.) Less filler! Well, it sounds like there aren’t any series arcs anyway — more season 1/season 9 than season 5 and 6. (Let’s not talk about the jumbled-ness that was season 7.) As long as we get Christmas too.
9. The Dark Days of Who are perhaps coming to a close.
While there are bits and pieces I like from previous showrunner Steven Moffat’s latter years, the moody darkness of the show wasn’t one of them. I miss the brighter TARDIS desktops of Nine/Ten and Eleven’s first season. And while Capaldi is fantastic, he got a lot of the heavy broodiness while also wearing lots of dark clothing and wearing dark sonic sunglasses that covered his eyes… I’m ready for the light again. While we didn’t get a glimpse of the new TARDIS in the new trailer, I hope that what the showrunner is saying about the show being about hope and Thirteen being “child-like” means we get a brighter TARDIS and some more fun episodes rather than just scary ones. (Or “look at me being clever” ones.)
10. The Doctor says, “Yes New Friends”
As I mentioned earlier, this will be the most packed TARDIS in a long time. Still not quite enough to properly pilot the TARDIS, but a good number of hands. Most previous (New Who) Doctors came by their families slowly, with many periods of loneliness and isolation. Where Nine ended with just Rose, Ten ended with Rose and Jackie and Mickey, Martha, Jack, Donna, Sarah Jane, and even a second version of himself. A full house! Eleven obviously had Amy and Rory and River, but when he lost them, he tried to pass on Vastra and Jenny and Strax to Twelve, but that seemed to not take, leaving Twelve with just Clara. Then poor lonely Bill.
Contrastly, Thirteen said, “I need new friends and you three are right here, so let’s do this!” Already more personable and friendly and open to companionship. But alllso maybe in season 12 the Doctor can visit her wife, River. Or meet an immortal Time Agent named Jack… (Since Chibnall also worked on Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood).
11. Alex Kingston is at Comic Con as well.
This is less about the panel and new trailer, but if they’re not gonna put Alex on the show, at least let her and Jodie meet at some point this weekend! It’s all I ask!
THEY DID IT!
12. And speaking of River, but mostly unrelated to the new panel goodness:
Shonda Rhimes named her dog River Song and I just…! Two of my favorite things! I guess Shonda’s kids love the show and convinced her into naming the golden curly haired-dog after the doctor’s bespoke psychopath. I’m a big fan of Shonda’s “tiny humans.”
13. I just really love Doctor Who.
As I said earlier, Doctor Who is my favorite show and I quit it for two whole seasons. I think many agree with the reasons why I quit (which we’ll leave somewhat in the past for now), but it’s never easy giving up something you love and watching it move on from afar. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave it forever — something I think the show itself understands at its core. So I’m back and I am so happy to feel so excited about this show again. I hope they can keep up the momentum because I would love to be one of the voices drowning out the handful of haters who are salty about change. And it’s a show about change, another core model of the series. I just want the thing I love to be better and perhaps better is coming. We’ll see soon.
But also I’d love for them to tell us when it’s returning. Fall isn’t an answer!